Summary: God intends that faith is passed on from parents to children and mothers are a vital part of that
I haven’t exactly told me wife this, yet, but I’m ready to move. I am. I’m dissatisfied with where we’re at. On any given day, I could list for you a dozen things that are wrong with our house, wrong with Joplin, wrong with Missouri and with the United States. I’m ready to go somewhere else.
I’m preaching backwards today. This part that I’m starting with is the end. Hopefully, by the time I’m done, I’ll get started!
Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
I’m longing for a better country! It’s the very purpose for which God has made us, and it’s the great desire of my life! One day, I’m going to be a citizen of that city!
By grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, I have God’s promise and I’m here this morning to celebrate that and to practice for the day I start eternity in the presence of God Almighty. I’m here because I have that conviction. I’m here, because someone else had that conviction before me and passed it along. The same is true for you. You’re here only because someone else had faith and passed it along.
Erwin McManus – “…It can be sobering to realize that a major portion of our lives is given to preparing the next generation for life…In the prime of our lives we begin the process of replacing ourselves… When a healthy relationship exists within the life cycle, a selflessness of giving oneself away is created…The only way church buildings stay filled through generations is if the church lives and dies and is born again over and over. Soon we realize that the church is not the same church it was twenty years ago or even four years ago. To make the kind of impact in human history that God desires, we must find our fulfillment and the rightness of this life cycle. In the end, it is not so much about prolonging or perpetuating our own life as about giving new life to others…The truth is, if churches wait too long to die to themselves, then they ensure they will die by themselves.”
Do you realize that THE CHURCH IS ONE GENERATION AWAY FROM EXTINCTION? Talk about a thought to motivate your attitudes toward the children’s and youth ministries! One generation! Call me an alarmist, but it’s a fact!
Paul knew it in his time, and it was by inspiration of the Holy Spirit that he wrote to a young preacher:
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
Roughly paraphrased: reproduce your faith. Instill it into the next generation, because you’re not always going to be around! So, just as Jesus commissioned the Apostles to carry on His work, Paul commissioned others to take over after he was gone. In his last letter we have before he was executed under Nero, we have a picture of Paul’s effort to reproduce himself in someone younger: Timothy. The principle at work is so blatant, we even use that same name to describe what happens when young men are a part of our church family, but grow up and then become ministers somewhere else. We call them…Timothys.
I know it’s Mother’s Day. Bear with me. I’ll get to that. First, we need to review something about this young man. Most of what we know about him comes from the hand of Paul. For instance,
1 Corinthians 4:17 (HCSB)
This is why I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you about my ways in Christ Jesus,
1 Timothy 1:2 (HCSB)
To Timothy, my true child in the faith.
2 Timothy 1:2 (HCSB)
To Timothy, my dearly loved child.
Paul knew a lot of people…hundreds of people. He’d traveled a lot. Just read Ro16, where he says “Hi” to no less than 25 individuals by name, just in Rome. So, it’s real significant when he says…
Philippians 2:20-23 (The Message)
I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you. Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus. But you know yourselves that Timothy’s the real thing. He’s been a devoted son to me as together we’ve delivered the Message.
Timothy is a man of outstanding character, and character like that doesn’t happen by accident.
At the beginning of I Tim., Paul urges him to remain in Ephesus, the help the Church grow and be strong. It’s a tall order for a young man. He has to remind him to not let people look down on him because he’s young. Paul had invested 3 years of his life in that congregation. They were very near to his heart. He wouldn’t have left their care up to just anyone. Obviously he thought Timothy was up to the task. II Timothy, Paul’s last letter, Paul is urging Timothy to hurry and visit him before it’s too late. How is it that Paul grew to love and trust this young man with so much?