Sunday, September 2, 2012

From Acts to Revelation Part 42 – Timothy

From Acts to Revelation
Part 42 – Timothy
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

As you remember last week, Paul and Barnabas argued over taking Mark on the second mission trip. Mark, who had abandoned Paul and Barnabas in the middle of the first mission trip, became a disagreement that could not be mended.

Barnabas decided to take Mark, and left on a mission trip and is not mentioned again in the Book of Acts.

Paul, on the other hand, took Silas, who had stayed and trained with Paul for the last year, and continued on the second mission trip he was called to by the Holy Spirit.

In Paul and Silas' travels, they will come across a Godly man named Timothy, who the Holy Spirit has presented to Paul for training. A believer and Disciple of Jesus Christ, Paul takes Timothy with him on this mission trip.

Along the way, Paul, Silas and now Timothy, are prevented from preaching the Gospel in Asia by the Holy Spirit, and have to travel to Troas instead.

In today's scripture, we will see;

1)     How God continues to provide, replacing one rebellious Barnabas with two disciples to aid Paul in his second mission trip.

2)     How Timothy was brought into the fold of ministry

3)     most importantly, how Paul, one of the greatest New Testament writers (writing nearly half of the New Testament!) did not attack sinners, did not attack those without understanding, but tried to build bridges, so that they would come to Christ, and grow spiritually. He did this by doing everything in his power NOT TO OFFEND SINNERS AND THOSE WITHOUT FULL UNDERSTANDING.

This is a completely different approach than most take today, thinking that standing your ground for the faith means brow beating others into submission.

Paul did the opposite, obeying food laws when visiting Jews (although he knew he did not have to, and that it was not a requirement in Christ), talking with Pagan's who were idol worshipers, instead of attacking them and telling them they were all going to hell, and in today's scripture, having Timothy circumcised, because his father was a non-believer, but his mother was a Jew, this would allow Timothy to be taken seriously among the Jewish people he would be preaching to.

There is a higher good that Paul, and others like Christ, put before everything else, and that is reaching the people so that they may have understanding, and receive salvation, and spiritual growth.

Ask yourself, How many sinners have come to Christ because of Westboro? How many came to Christ through Paul's method?

The scriptures attribute thousands and thousands to Paul, which is by far greater than anything Westboro has done with their propagation and misrepresentation of God's hate for the lost, which is in direct contradiction to the Word of God;

the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. - Luke 19:10

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  - John 3:17

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8

We could ask the same of ourselves. Are you tearing sinners, and those without understanding down, or are you building bridges to understanding like Paul and Christ did?

Are you misrepresenting God by preaching His hate, or rightly representing Him showing sinners love, as Christ did?


Acts 16:1-8
Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.

a.      Timothy was a Disciple from Lystra

b.     His mother was a Jew, but his father was a Greek (non-believer)
i.       Textually speaking, the scripture makes point that Timothy and his mother are followers of Christ, while his father is described as a Greek, or non-believer in Christ.

c.      Believer's in Lystra and Iconium speak highly of Timothy
i.       He is obviously a real-follower, with many speaking well of him

a.      Paul, lead by the Holy Spirit, wanted to take Timothy on the second mission trip
i.       Scholars agree, that this second missionary trip will have a greater effect on civilization than anything that has ever happened, other than the first advent of Christ.

b.     So he had Timothy circumcised
i.       One may ask, why? Didn't the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem just write a letter one year earlier saying that it was not necessary for a Gentile to follow the Laws and be circumcised to receive salvation in Christ?

a.      True. However, this was wisdom on Paul's part, led by the Holy Spirit.

b.     Timothy, having a Jewish mother, and trying to reach other Jews, it would be a stumbling block for other Jews to listen to anything a non-circumcised Jew had to say. Timothy was not considered a Gentile, but a Jew.

ii.    Paul would do all he could to appease people, but not at the expense of compromising the gospel.
a.      Just because one does not openly condemn another, does not necessarily mean that they are condoning a sin.

b.     Think of when you first came to Christ, and all of the sins you still had in your life. If God was to condemn you instead of grow you, you would still be lost, and never receive salvation. But instead, salvation is not based on anything you do, but through Grace, which is afforded you because of Christ.

c.      We must seek understanding so that we can grow spiritually.

c.      They then traveled delivering the decision reached by the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem, on the matter of Gentiles having to obey the commandments of Moses, and be circumcised to receive Salvation in Christ.

d.     The churches were strengthened in faith, and grew daily in numbers
i.       Many were being saved, and the number being added was not to a building, but rather the Body of Christ, which is the body of believers. That is the church.

a.      The Holy Spirit continued to guide Paul's mission trip

b.     They traveled through Phrygia and Galatia
i.       Which probably took several months

c.      The Holy Spirit stopped them from preaching in the Asia province
i.       This refers to an area now known as northwestern Turkey.

ii.    While the Holy Spirit definitely wanted the gospel to go here, there was another place He wanted it to go first.

d.     When they came to Mysia, they tried to enter Bithyina, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them.
i.       The door was closed to this area as well.

e.      So they traveled to Troas.
i.       Which they would find also closed, as the Holy Spirit continued to lead them to the destination where god wanted the Gospel preached next.


As we can see from the scripture today, sometimes in our journey's we will know we are being led by the Holy Spirit, yet run into closed door after closed door.

This is what happened to Paul, Silas and Timothy, as they travel from Asia province, to Mysia, Bithynia and then Troas.

It was not because the Holy Spirit was not leading them, but rather, there was another destination more important that they had to reach.

We also see the “Higher Good” that Paul lived by, as Christ did.

We could ask ourselves. Are you tearing sinners, and those without understanding down, or are you building bridges to understanding like Paul and Christ did?

Are you misrepresenting God by preaching His hate, or rightly representing Him showing sinners love, as Christ did?

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