Summary: This message is an overview of the book of 1 Timothy and part of a 2-year study of the Bible.
1 Timothy: Be Faithful
by, Tony Thomas
Sr. Minister, Woodland Heights Christian Church, Crawfordsville, IN
No. 54 in a series called, Route 66, a Road Trip Through the Bible
Ernest Shackleton was a British explorer who led three expeditions to Antarctica. On his third expedition disaster struck when his ship, the Endurance, became trapped in pack ice. The ice crushed the Endurance and Shackleton’s crew had to drag their lifeboats for two months to open water.
After five harrowing days at sea, Shackleton landed his lifeboats at Elephant Island. That tiny island provided fresh water but not enough food to sustain the entire crew. Shackleton decided to send one lifeboat to a whaling station on Georgia Island which was 720 nautical miles away.
Shackleton and five crew members boarded a 20’ lifeboat called the James Caird and sailed away. They used a sextant at night to navigate by stars and fifteen harrowing days later they arrived safely. He organized a rescue party – which took four tries – but four and a half months later, his crew was rescued without the loss of a single life!
Ernest Shackleton was knighted upon his safe return, the James Caird can still be seen in South London, he wrote a book about that adventure titled South -- and to this day he is considered one of Britain’s greatest heroes and explorer’s.
In 1922 Shackleton returned to Antarctica. He placed the following ad in London’s newspapers:
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages … bitter cold … long months of complete darkness … constant danger … safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success. (Be Faithful, Warren W. Wiersbe,Victor Books, 1981, page 13)
Over 10,000 applicants responded! Why? It was signed, Ernest Shackleton. The British believed that no matter what happened, Ernest Shackleton would get them home safely.
“What does this have to do w/the Bible?” you ask! Everything! Paul wrote three pastoral epistles to Timothy and Titus, telling them to be faithful. It’s always too soon to quit!
In these letters, Paul used the Greek word pistos seventeen times. Pistos means “faithful.” Be faithful to the Word, to your task and to the people for whom you are accountable.
If Paul had placed an ad in the Jerusalem Gazette, it might have read something like this:
Men and women wanted for the difficult task of building my church. You will be misunderstood – especially by those working with you! You will face the daily attack from the invisible enemy who rules this world. You may not see the results of your labor during your lifetime, and the full reward of your labor will not come until after your work is completed. Your association with me may cost you your savings, your livelihood, your home – even your very life.
In spite of the long odds, at least 120 disciples met in an Upper Room to pray. And when it was time for Paul to venture into the unknown world, several volunteered and followed. Two of those who followeed were Timothy and Titus.
We’re in a series called Route 66. We’re working our way through the Bible and today we’re in 1 Timothy, which is the tenth of Paul’s thirteen New Testament letters.
Timothy was brought up in the home of a believing mother and grandmother. His mother was Jewish and his father was Greek. Paul met Timothy in Acts 16, and he was so impressed he recruited him for his missionary journeys.
But in spite of his faith and enthusiasm, Timothy was easily discouraged! Paul sent him to Ephesus and Ephesus was a good church. But even good churches suffer minor skirmishes. So in 1 Timothy 1:3, Paul tells him to, “Stay in Ephesus.”
Timothy may also have suffered from poor health. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul prescribes a tonic for Timothy: “Use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.”
Timothy also faced some overly-zealous criticism:
4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
During his last year in office, Winston Churchill attended an official function. Two men, sitting behind, began to converse. “Winston Churchill is here tonight. They say he’s senile,” said the first man.
“They also say he should step aside” said the second. Churchill turned around and replied: “Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf!”
If you hold a position of leadership, you will be criticized. That’s why Paul said, “Be faithful.” It’s always too soon to quit. The person who succeeds is the person who holds on!
Although a lot of good people comprised the church in Ephesus, it wasn’t the easiest church to pastor. The city was devoted to the worship of Diana and Paul preached in Ephesus for three years (it’s hard to follow a legend). When you add Satan to the mix, Timothy had his hands full!