"The Next Phase of Life"
This sermon reflects upon the relationship of Paul and Timothy. While it will introduce the letter we will study, it begins by examining their relationship. What can we learn from Paul and Timothy, and how does that affect the church?
The Next Phase of Life
(1 Tim. 1:1-2)
A. A good teacher is like a candle — it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, translated from Turkish
B. Mentoring has been called a lost art. To teach a person learned a trade by becoming an apprentice of some master tradesman is less common and less pushed than our collegiate system. Yet, teachers/mentors have great influence on the lives of young people. Good mentors, like the quote I just gave, are like a candle that consumes itself to light the way for others.
C. Parents are the first mentors in a person’s life. Some parents are good mentors some are evil and some are good that sometimes do evil. There are no perfect mentors, parents, or teachers.
D. The Bible tells the story of several great mentoring relationships. We walk through the exodus watching Joshua being mentored by Moses and then takes the leadership of the people as they enter the Promised Land. Elijah was a teacher to many, but his most famous student and disciple that he mentored was Elisha who followed up right up to the time God took Elijah away. As we come to the NT we see Barnabas, whose name is really a nickname given to him by the Apostles, as a mentor and encourager to Paul and also his relative, JohnMark. But the relationship I want to focus on today is that between Paul and one of the people he mentored, Timothy.
E. As we begin a study of the letters of Paul to Timothy, I want get started with their story because it is important to see their relationship in order to understand the letter in real context.
I. How They Met
A. Their meeting is told to us in Acts 16. Paul is on his second missionary journey through the northern part of the Mediterranean and comes to a Lystra. This is Paul’s second time in Lystra, but on this occasion we are introduced to Timothy.
B. It is here we read Paul’s desire to take Timothy with him on this journey. (READ Acts 16:1-3).
C. So what happened that Paul is all of sudden taking on a second person on a spiritual journey? Paul and Barnabas had split up, Paul took Silas and began this second trip and right away we have Timothy joining them.
D. Putting the story of Paul and Timothy together is not as easy as one might think, but we can draw some conclusions that are helpful in our relationship building today.
E. Timothy was the son of a mixed marriage. Father Greek, Mother Jewish. When Timothy was a child, his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois taught him the Scriptures (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15). Brought him up in the Christian faith.
F. Mixed family, brought up as a Jew but had not been circumcised. Caught between two stools – to the Gentiles Tim would have been considered a Jew, but to the Jew he would have been seen as worse than a Gentile – looked on as an apostate Jew – unfaithful to his people by not being circumcised. To Paul the outward sign of circumcision didn’t matter but he knew that they would be ministering to Jews and it would cause offence and difficulties if Tim wasn’t circumcised so he had to be circumcised before they could work together.
G. Paul must have seen something special in this young believer and decided to take him under his wing – a kind of mentoring relationship. Paul asked Timothy to go with him. Says a lot about Timothy that he said yes, was willing to leave behind family, plans and ambitions to go with Paul.
II. Paul’s Mentoring of Timothy
A. We see the relationship of Paul and Timothy develop over the years. Paul phrase of Timothy being his “son in the faith” shows the depth of love they had for one another. But the letters of Paul to Timothy also so that Paul saw the need to pass the baton on to the next generation and he chose Timothy as one of the people he wanted to see as a leader. I am reminded of the quote: A good teacher is like a candle — it consumes itself to light the way for others.
B. Paul wanted to light the way for Timothy, Titus, Silas, JohnMark and others. Paul wanted to disciple them in the ways of Jesus. This letter of Paul to Timothy is one of the ways he did that. But now apply that heart to you.
C. Every parent needs to understand this relationship between Paul and Timothy. Every Bible class teacher, preacher, elder, deacon, committee chair need to understand this relationship.
D. I love the way this book opens: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus…to Timothy, my true child in the faith. Paul proclaim his hope in Jesus to Timothy. Paul bestows the blessing to Timothy of Grace, mercy and peace that comes from God the father and Jesus our Lord.
E. Here is a question for you: What is it that you want to see happening in this congregation 20 years from? Now let me ask this question: How do expect that dream to come true? What are YOU doing to build relationships that are deep and spiritual?
F. Paul took a person who was mentored in the faith by his mom and grandmother, and developed a leader in the body of Christ. He charged him to be what God knew he could and should be. The way this congregation will spiritual mature is for you who are spiritual to walk beside, mentor, teach and disciple someone who is not yet where they can be in Jesus, and help them to be what Jesus calls them to be.
G. Who is your child in the faith? Who in this congregation will you help to become greater than they already are, commissioning them and guiding them every step of the way?
A. I have spoken more about Paul’s mentoring of Timothy, but let me close with this verse: Heb. 13:7. We need to learn to imitate the faith of godly leaders. Just as much as we out to be Paul to someone, we are also a Timothy who needs to grow, learn and become more than what we are right now. I am thankful for godly men and women.
B. What are you imitating? Paul simply stated, “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” What better example to have than Jesus as a mentor. Become his disciple, student, follower. The last commission Jesus gave his disciples was to go and make disciples, teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded. That commission did not apply to just them. If we can help you walk in the pathway of Jesus Christ, please come as we stand and sing.