Summary: The Eword scares so many Christians. I tmakes them give excuses and avoid doing what we are suposed to do.
The “E” word
I am not sure that any of you have noticed something about me. I don’t necessarily think it is weird but you might.
I spend a little time each week thinking about stuff that seem like it should not matter to anyone. My thought this week; I wonder, as you are heading to church on any given Sunday morning, do you worry about what I might preach about?
Are there subjects and scriptures that you hope I will Not be speaking on….? Boy, I hope Tom does not talk about X, Y or Z today.
If you do have a fear like that, don’t tell me. It would be just too tempting to go there.
The thing is I could probably already name at least 5 of your top ten without trying too hard. Tithing, gossiping, persecution, failure, using your gifts, any of the sins that you might be guilty of ….
Maybe we will come back to that topic in a little while; for right now lets talk about the scripture we read this morning. As I mentioned it seems to be in the middle of a book that is sharing personal wisdom.
It sounds like Timothy is some kid. But it is very likely that he is at least 36 years old. In Acts 16:1 Timothy is call a disciple and that would normally indicate that he is considered an adult which would make him at least 20 years old. Scholars say that this letter was written at least 16 years after the event in Acts 16. So while he may be considered young. He is not a teenager.
It seems that Paul has taken him under his wing and given him fatherly advice. The only mention of a father is that he was a Greek. We don’t know if Timothy’s father is alive or not. – If he is around is a non believer and this is evident because Timothy is not circumcised.
And his mother was a Hebrew. earlier in the letter Paul praises timothy because of the faith of his mother and Grandmother. Generally, has says that theses ladies raised him right. The took him to synagogue (Church ) and taught him the scriptures.
Our reading started with a quick overview of some of the things that happened to Paul and how God was faithful even in his times of trouble. Antioch, Iconium and Lystra are cities where Paul was mistreated on the first Missionary Journey documented in Acts. Timothy was from Lystra and met Paul when he pass through on the first missionary Journey and joined him on the second journey.
Timothy receives this letter as the leader of the church in Ephesus.
Lets run down a quick list of what we know about Timothy.
• He quickly agreed to join Paul and Silas on the second missionary journey and stayed on as Paul’s traveling companion for years.
• He was respected Christian in his hometown.
• He was Paul’s special representative on several occasions.
• He spent a lot of time with Paul and probably knew him better than most people of the day.
All that sounds pretty good.
But we also know that he has some weaknesses:
• He struggled with a timid nature.
• He was self conscious about his age and allowed others to look down on him.
• He failed to correct the problems in the church in Corinth when Paul sent him.
And yet Timothy is still in ministry, he is serving a pretty big and active church.
In our reading to day Paul speaks of what Timothy knows about Paul.
He knows all that Paul has been through.
He knows what Paul knows about God and Jesus Christ.
And he knows that Paul is a trust worthy source of information about God.
Then Paul makes a statement that probably is something that none of us wants to hear.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
EVERYONE who wants to live Godly lives WILL be persecuted.
Ok, first, I don’t like that. I don’t want to be persecuted for my faith. And so far in our country it is not really common for Christians to be persecuted in the way that Paul is warning. In China and other foreign places, yes it is very real and deadly and terrible.
It is pretty easy for us to complain as our culture feels the need to exclude or attempt to exclude Christians from the political process. But I don’t think we are very persecuted right now, I know that there are exceptions.
But, in general we face very little physical persecution. But Paul says that EVERY person living godly lives Will be persecuted.