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Lesson Twelve: The Character of Timothy, Phil. 2:19-24

March 26, 2020

Read Phil. 2:19-24. I'm sure that most of us have tried to pattern our lives after someone else's example. As children we naturally mimic our parents and often unconsciously behave like they do. As we get older, we expand our circle of acquaintances and often find other people, whom we adopt as examples. Possibly allowing them to mentor us.

The minister Timothy had such a man in his life who served as his mentor. That man was the Apostle Paul. In acts 16:1-5 we are told of Paul's meeting Timothy. Timothy had already reached a degree of spiritual maturity. First, he was "well spoken of by the brethren." His behavior and character were of a godly nature. Secondly, his mother is mentioned. Why is she noteworthy? Because we are told in 2 Tim. 1:3-7, that his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois had educated him in the faith. He was a believer.

So, Paul saw potential in this young man and took Timothy with him on his second missionary trip. What an education that must have been for a young minister. He heard Paul's sound teachings and learned them. (2 Tim. 1:13) But he also learned from Paul's example. He witnessed how Paul coped with persecution, dealt with opposition, how he loved people and how Christ-centered Paul's life was.

As we have previously learned about the church in Philippi it was a good church. Yet, Paul had his concerns. No doubt when Epaphroditus the Philippian minister had come to Rome, he gave Paul a full report on they were progressing. Paul had noted they were in a time of persecution. He heard that there were unity issues. He had also found out that not all of them had the humble mind-set of Christ. So, Paul chose to send Timothy to them.

This was not a slight to Epaphroditus. But Paul realized that perhaps he needed a "fresh set of eyes". Epaphroditus was one of them, a homegrown minister. Perhaps he had understated the problems out of love for his church. Paul needed to feel "encouraged". (v.19)

By this time, Timothy had labored indepently from Paul at both Corinth and Ephesus. He was exactly who Paul needed there in Philippi to correct the problems that existed there."

Paul trusts Timothy because they are "like-minded". (v.20) This quality means he could by his example encourage them to be correctly "like-minded". Paul hoped that Timothy could show them what a like-minded church looks like. The cure was for them all to adopt the "mind of Christ".(Phil. 2:5-8) Paul knew that Timothy had that "like-mindedness." He knew a letter to them would never be as effective an example. When Paul had sent Timothy to Corinth, he urged the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 4:15-17, to "imitate me." Then he points out that Timothy will "remind you of my ways in Christ." So Timothy was there example.

Paul sends Timothy because he "sincerely cares for your state." (v.20) This word "cares" is a very strong verb in the Greek language. It is translated in Phil. 4:6 as "anxious", as in "Be anxious for nothing." It notes great concern that causes one to worry. This is how deep Timothy's concern for the church was. He worried over each member.

Jesus gave the template for all who serve as ministers in Jn. 10:11-14, where He proclaims Himself as "the good shepherd". Paul had these qualities and we can be reasonably sure that Timothy had them as well. The good shepherd is willing to die for the sheep. The good shepherd will not run or shrink when wolves (false teachers) surface. The good shepherd is not just a "hired hand" who is there for money or fame, but instead he cares for the sheep. The good shepherd cares for the sheep because he knows them. Every minister will embrace these qualities if they aim to please Christ!

In v.21, Paul sends Timothy because "he seeks the things which are of Christ". Paul had already sent Luke and Aristarchus away to minister to other churches. There were others he could have possibly sent to Philippi, but all the others had one major flaw, "for all seek their own". Sure they knew God's word. However, seeking the things of Christ was not their top priority. Paul had full confidence that Timothy's top priority was serving the interests of Christ.

It should be our top priority too. Look at Col. 3:1-3. What makes a believer seek things that are Christ's? Things that are above and not things of eart? The answer is that your life, "must be hidden with Christ in God." When John the baptist was told that Jesus was making more disciples than he, John responded, "He must increase, and I must decrease."(Jn. 3:30) This is major truth, our wants should be second to what Christ wants from us. That's how Paul was, and that's how Timothy was.

In 1 Pe. 4:10, "As each one has received a gift, minister it one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." Using our gifts, and all of us have them, is a proof that one is a good steward. Timothy had gifts to offer and he used them. We should too.

Study Questions

1. In Acts 16, How did the brethren in Lystra and Iconium speak of Timothy?

2. What were two issues in the Philippian church that Paul was concerned about in chapters one and two?

3. What two churches had Timothy already been sent by Paul to minister to before going to Philippi?

4. Who had told Paul of the things he was concerned about in the church at Philippi?

5. What three personal qualities did Timothy have according to Phil. 2:20,21?

6. According to Col. 3:1-3, "setting your mind on things above means your ________ is ___________ with _______________ in God."

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