Summary: Paul offers Timothy as an example of what a humble servant-leader looks like. In Philippians 2:19-24 we learn 4 key truths about this young man Timothy.
Paul Tells Us 4 Truths About Timothy
1. Timothy’s coming is soon. – “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly…” – Philippians 2:19 (NKJV)
A. Why was Paul sending Timothy to the Philippian church?
1. To gather information on the status of the Philippians’situation. – “…when I know your state.” – Philippians 2:19 (NKJV)
a. Because Paul was under house arrest and therefore could not leave his home he had to send someone else to gather information for him regarding the Philippian church. He didn’t have a cell-phone or email. So sending someone was the best way to find out.
2. To lift Paul’s spirits. – “…that I also may be encouraged…” – Philippians 2:19(NKJV)
a. This gives us an insight into the emotional toll that his imprisonment was taking on Paul. Paul needed encouragement from the outside. He was in a situation where he was isolated from most of the people he was accustomed to being with. He could not come and go as he pleased and therefore this loss of freedom caused Paul to get down emotionally. It’s hard to be positive when you are isolated from other Christians. Relationships are such a key aspect of our Christian lives.
b. Paul shows us the centrality of relationships to true Christianity. Knowing one another is important in living the Christian life. Do we know how each other is doing? What about the person sitting three chairs down my row? Do I know, really know, how they are doing on the inside? What struggles are they facing lately? What good things have been happening to them?
2. Timothy’s concern for you is sincere and unselfish. - “For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 2:20-21 (NKJV)
A. None of the Roman Christians made themselves available to make the trip to Philippi.
There were hundreds of Christians at Rome that could have helped Paul by making this trip for him to find out how the Christians at Philippi were doing. Paul lists 26 of the Roman Christians by name in Romans 16. But none of the Roman Christians made themselves available. Evidently, not even one cared enough about their brothers and sisters in Philippi to go and minister to them.
In other words, all of the other Christians were so busy “doing their own thing” that they didn’t have the time or the inclination to care about what Jesus cares about.
What were these Roman Christians so busy doing? They were busy with their families, their jobs, their social lives, their hobbies, their sports, their own interests.
They were busy caught up in the ebb and flow of their own church in Rome that they didn’t pay attention to their brothers and sisters outside of Rome.
They lived in the “Busyness Bubble” where I become insulated from other people’s reality. I live with such a narrow focus and view, that I don’t take the time to “get into someone else’s world”. “Busyness blinds us.” We can become so narrowly focused on our own life that we fail to see what is going on around us in the lives of others.
B. Will you stop what you are doing and let God use you in the life of another person? Will you make yourself available to Jesus Christ? For Him to minister to someone through you?
C. Paul says, “I have no one like-minded”. Evidently finding someone who cared about the same things he cared about was just as hard in Paul’s day as it is today.
D. The reality is that it can be difficult to find people that will open up their schedule and their heart to God. Thankfully Timothy made himself available for God to use him.
E. Paul turns the focus for a moment on Timothy’s character.
3. Timothy’s character has been proven by the nature of his service. – “But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.” – Philippians 2:22 (NKJV)
A. Notice Timothy’s Reputation. – “But you know his proven character…” – Philippians 2:22 (NKJV)
1. Evidently the Philippian Christians had heard how loyally Timothy had served with Paul in spreading the gospel of Christ.
B. Notice Paul’s Affection. – “…that as a son with his father…” – Philippians 2:22 (NKJV)
1. Paul had most likely met Timothy on his first missionary journey, at which point, it is possible that Timothy was converted to faith in Christ. Timothy was raised by a Christian mother and a Christian grandmother. His father was gentile and there’s no mention of his father having faith in Christ. So it’s possible that when Paul met Timothy, Paul became a father-figure to Timothy since we know so little about his biological dad.