Summary: What a blessing to have spiritual fathers in the faith to point us to God. Be one for someone!
Happy Father’s Day Dads!
Since today is Father’s day, I thought we might look at our lesson in light of a father’s message to his son and draw some lessons from that perspective. Paul speaks of Timothy as his son four times in the letters of 1 and 2 Timothy. You might even get the impression that there was a missing father figure in Timothy’s life. This looks to be true. When Paul commends Timothy’s faith and how he received it he points to his Grand Mother and Mother, not to his father. Perhaps Timothy’s biological father was dead or missing from the family. Perhaps his father never confessed faith. What we do know about Timothy’s family is that his mother was a Christian but notice how the scriptures describe his father:
Acts 16:1 And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, 2 and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
His mother is a Jewish woman who believed, but his father… Well, what kind of impression does this leave? This is still an encouraging scripture for several reasons. Timothy was faithful even though it seems that his father was not. Young men and young ladies here today, listen to me. You can be faithful to your Father in heaven, even if your parents fail to be. It is far better and I’m sure, much easier to be faithful with the support of a godly mother and father. But God will bless you and strengthen you so that you can be faithful with or without parents who are Christians. You just need to decide that you will follow Jesus Christ yourself! You must take personal responsibility for your relationship with Christ as Lord and Savior.
Fathers and Mothers can make it easier or more difficult for their children to walk with the Lord. I was teaching a Bible class at Fall Creek Falls Christian Camp in the summer of 1999 and one young lady in my class was particularly interested in what the Bible said about baptism. I sat with her after class one day and we simply looked at the scriptures, read them together and I asked her what they said. We looked at Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38-41, 8:12-13, 8:30-39, 9:1-19, 16:13-15, 16:25-34, 18:8, 19:1-6, 22:16, Rom. 6:1-5, Gal. 3:26-28, Eph 4:2-6, Col. 2:12, and 1 Peter 3:21. I would just ask her to read the verse and then ask what it said about baptism. Then I would ask her if she believed it.
She informed me that her parents didn’t go to church much but they did belong to a church that said baptism was not a part of salvation. I proceeded to ask her if the Bible verses that we had looked at supported that teaching. She said, “No.” Then I asked her why she thought they would teach that baptism was not connected to being saved, and she said she didn’t know. I gave her a brief theology lesson showing how our preconceived beliefs can influence how we read and understand the Bible. Then I asked her this question. If you wanted the Bible to say that baptism was not necessary, what would you do with the verses I just showed you? She was sharp. She said she would either not read them or would try to find other verses that talk about salvation and left baptism out.
I suggested that this may be why some people fail to see what she just saw in the verses that we looked at. I prayed with her and for her and encouraged her to keep studying the Bible. A few weeks after camp I got a letter from her. Let me read just a few lines.
I do hope you remember who I am. If you don’t I will refresh your memory by saying that I am the girl from Bible Camp who asked so many questions about being baptized. It has taken me so long to get back to you because so many people had the need to talk to me. My mother was very displeased with the verses I came home with. She called three different pastors to come and talk to me, all of which think I have been brainwashed. I am no longer allowed to go to church unless my parents go (they never go) and I am not allowed to participate in anything that has to do with Church of Christ. This basically means I can’t go to church anymore, which to me is very disturbing. My parents also dislike you a great deal. In fact, I’m not even supposed to write you this letter…