Summary: What the world needs now more than ever are followers of Jesus who are people of character. Thankfully, the Bible is filled with examples of people with exemplary character.
Timothy: A Young Man Of Character
Text: Phil. 2:19-24
1. Illustration: We are created after the likeness of the eternal God. This has both moral and motivational implications. In our morals and motives we are to reflect God’s character. Thus, I am to be not only an extension of his life…I am an expression of his character. If my salvation is working, my life is a fitting expression of what God is like. (Jack Taylor, God’s Miraculous Plan Of Economy, 20).
2. A recent survey by George Gallup Jr. revealed a startling trend in our culture. According to Gallup the evidence seems to indicate that there are no clear behavioral patterns that distinguish Christians from non-Christians in our society. We all seem to be marching to the same drummer, looking to the shifting standards of contemporary culture for the basis of what is acceptable behavior.
3. What the world needs now more than ever are followers of Jesus who are people of character. Thankfully, the Bible is filled with examples of people with exemplary character.
4. Today we will examine one of those people; his name is Timothy.
a. Who Was Timothy?
b. A Man Who Cares
c. A Man Who Is Trustworthy
5. Let's stand together as we read Phil. 2:19-24
Transition: First, we must answer the question...
I. Who Was Timothy? (19)
A. I Hope To Send Timothy
1. Paul begins this passage by saying, "If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along."
a. Since the outcome of Paul's trial is still up in the air, he "hopes" to send Timothy.
b. This hope is based on Jesus Christ, as is all hope.
c. The word soon, which normally means "quickly," but that is obviously not the intention here. Since in v. 23 he indicates that he would send him "as soon as possible," it is clear that is his meaning here.
d. The reason for sending Timothy is very different from Paul's usual reason to send one of his co-workers to a church.
e. Typically he sends them out for their sakes - to straighten up a problem or finish something not completed. However, here Paul states that it is for his sake, so he can know how they are doing (Fee, 264-265).
2. But this begs the question, "why send Timothy?" Well I believe that it has to do with his character.
a. Timothy probably became a Christian after Paul's first missionary visit to Lystra (Acts 16:1-5).
b. Timothy already had solid Jewish training in the Scriptures from his mother and grandmother.
c. The first aspect of Timothy's character can be summed up in one word - willingness!
d. By Paul's second visit, Timothy had grown into a respected disciple of Jesus. He did not hesitate to join Paul and Silas on their journey.
e. His willingness to be circumcised as an adult is clearly a mark of his commitment. (Timothy's mixed Greek/Jewish background could have created problems on their missionary journeys, because many of their audiences would be made up of Jews who were concerned about the strict keeping of this tradition. Timothy's submission to the rite of circumcision helped to avoid that potential problem.)
f. Beyond the tensions created by his mixed racial background, Timothy seemed to struggle with a naturally timid character and sensitivity to his youthfulness.
g. Unfortunately, many who share Timothy's character traits are quickly written off as too great a risk to deserve much responsibility.
h. By God's grace, Paul saw great potential in Timothy. Paul demonstrated his confidence in Timothy by entrusting him with important responsibilities.
i. Paul sent Timothy as his personal representative to Corinth during a particularly tense time (1 Corinthians 4:14-17).
j. Although Timothy was apparently ineffective in that difficult mission, Paul did not give up on him. Timothy continued to travel with Paul (Life Application Study Bible, 2059).
B. Willingness To Serve
1. Forty-Two years ago, the Miami Dolphins embarked on an unforgettable & unparalleled season. 14-0 regular season, then a 3-0 run through the playoffs culminating with a Super Bowl victory. No other team has matched that perfect record. Every year 30-some odd teams try, but for 3 decades, it stands alone. Sports enthusiasts all have their own opinion about who might be the "Greatest Team of All Time", but one of the 1972 Dolphin team members put it best: "Perfection has a way of shutting peoples mouths." The opposing coach going into the ’72 Super Bowl was asked to comment on stellar Miami defense. "I can't recall any of their names," he said, "but they are a matter of great concern to us." Who knows the nickname of the ’72 Dolphins Defense? The "No-Name Defense." What made that team special was not the handful of superstars – it was the dedication of every team member. The willingness of every player to execute his position with excellence for a common purpose. Something special happens when everybody plays their position. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. They had some great players, no doubt. But plenty of other teams over history have had better personnel. More Pro-Bowl players, superstars, Hall of Famers. Yet no team has reached level of achievement that they did.