Summary: These verses show how Paul took Timothy under his care to develop and grow him.
AUG 11 2013PM A Call to Help
Paul and Barnabas have parted ways since they couldn’t agree on whether to include Mark on the 2nd missionary journey. The disagreement was so sharp that Barnabas took Mark and went his way, while Paul took Silas with him to start his 2nd missionary journey. READ 1-3.
These verses show how Paul took Timothy under his care to develop and grow him. We have been looking at Paul’s letter to Timothy on Sunday mornings. This is where it all started. Timothy was an unexpected surprise and his love and maturity in the Lord struck Paul.
Timothy had an unbelieving father, a Greek. He wasn’t a follower of this Jewish God. If he had been, he would have had Timothy circumcised. He was an unsaved father. So Timothy was from a spiritually divided family. Yet he followed God despite his father’s unbelief. He still had made the choice to follow the Lord as taught by his mother.
Timothy had an unblemished character in the community. He was known as a young man of purity and maturity. Paul attempted a well-meaning compromise. There was a large population of Jews throughout the districts where Paul was planning to minister. As a Jew, Timothy needed to be circumcised if he was going to minister to the Jews. As long as he remained uncircumcised, he would be considered a heathen and he would never have been allowed to preach in the synagogues.
READ 4-5. The apostle Paul, following the leading of the Holy Spirit journeyed to the churches that were planted on his first missionary trip. Paul, Silas and Timothy were passing through cities, strengthening the churches in the faith, as well as seeing daily increase in people being saved. Now let me prelude verses 6-7 with this story:
An old sailor repeatedly got lost at sea, so his friends gave him a compass and urged him to use it. The next time he went out in his boat, he followed their advice and took the compass with him. But as usual he became hopelessly confused and was unable to find land. Finally he was rescued by his friends. Disgusted and impatient with him, they asked, “Why didn’t you use that compass we gave you? You could have saved us a lot of trouble!” The sailor responded, “I didn’t dare to! I wanted to go north, but as hard as I tried to make the needle aim in that direction, it just kept on pointing southeast.” That old sailor was so certain he knew which way was north that he stubbornly tried to force his own personal persuasion on his compass. Unable to do so, he tossed it aside as worthless and failed to benefit from the guidance it offered.
God’s direction is not always our direction. READ 6-7. Paul has chosen Silas as his ministry partner, and begun his 2nd missionary journey, and something interesting happens in vv. 6-7:“they were forbidden of the Holy Ghost”…“the spirit suffered them not.”
Paul and Silas tried to go south into Asia, but God said no, and put up a roadblock. Then they tried to go north and had the same response. They had come from the east, so west was all they had—west to the Aegean Sea and the region of Troas, where they awaited further instructions from God. Asia needed the Gospel, but this was not God's time. Asia was an important region and God would establish churches there but for now, Paul was forbidden to speak there.
Paul was “forbidden” of the Holy Spirit to preach the Word in Asia, and not allowed “to go into Bythinia.” His ear was trained and his heart tuned to hear what others less quiet, less loving, less obedient never could.
A lady, asked how she knew the voice of the Spirit, answered, “How do you know your husband's step and your child's cry from the step and the cry of all others? I can’t tell you how I know the voice of the Spirit, but it is as real to me as the voice of any person I know.” If we are “filled with the Spirit” and “live in the Spirit,” and “walk in the Spirit,” we shall have an intimate, personal knowledge of the Spirit as real as that of our dearest friend.
Paul, Silas, and Timothy were sensitive to the leading of The Spirit, as we should be. We should pray every day, “Lord, I’ll go where you want me to go, I’ll be what you want me to be, I’ll do what you want me to do, I’ll say what you want me to say.”
We have to be willing to lay down our will and plans for the direction that the Holy Spirit brings. God’s direction is at times the direct opposite of our direction