One Million Timothies
In a rather interesting manner, Paul explains to us what joy is really all about in this life. J. O. Y. JOY. If you want to have joy in your life, you put Jesus first. That’s the “J.” Put others second. That’s the “O.” Then, you put yourself last. That’s the “Y.” When you get it in that order, it spells “JOY.”
In chapter one, the emphasis is upon the Lord Jesus. As you read that first chapter of Philippians, you will find repeatedly that he comes back to the Lord Jesus Christ. He emphasizes Jesus. He exalts Jesus Christ. Put Jesus first, in your life.
Then, LP when you come to the second chapter you will discover that now, the emphasis turns to others. All through this second chapter, the emphasis is upon living your life for others. If you really want to have a joyful life and a fulfilled life, then live your life for others. He begins by giving the greatest illustration of all, of someone who lived for others. It is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. Paul writes in Philippians 2:4, “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
As we move through chapter two, we will discover that Paul begins to use some illustrations of people with whom we can identify. One of these is this young man named Timothy. Paul says, “I can’t come. I’m going to send Timothy to you.”
Timothy was a young person. He was a great example of what it means to be a Christian. For instance, it says in I Timothy 4:12, “ Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” This young man Timothy is an example of a powerful believer.
Think about some of the young people who have influenced Christian history. Martin Luther is one. He was only 33 when he nailed his thesis to the door of Wittenberg and started the Protestant Reformation. Think about Billy Graham. He was just 31 when he conducted the now famous Los Angeles crusade, which launched his career as the greatest evangelist in the history of the Christian faith. Many of the great Christians in the pages of church history were young people who were on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Young people are a vital link in the gospel chain. It is through young people as they carry on the message of the Lord that the good news of Jesus gets out.
For instance, in II Timothy 2:2, it says, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful people who will be able to teach others also.” Do you see the link? Paul is saying that we have been taught by others. We in turn are going to teach others. The gospel chain goes on from link to link, from generation to generation.
That’s why we are committed to young people in the Global Church Network®. We understand the importance of the shaping and the molding of young people in order to carry forward the gospel of the Lord. Did you know that we are only one generation from paganism in our churches? We are only one generation away from paganism in our world and our nation.
Why do movements become monuments? Why do movements usually become the opposite to what they started out to be? Why does passion become apathy? Why does inspiration become indifference? It is because, throughout the last two thousand years, at some point, the Church fails to raise up a new generation of Bible-based, faith-fortified, Spirit-filled servants to impact their generation.
The first generation generates; the second generation motivates; the third generation speculates and the fourth generation dissipates. The only way out of a decline is up. The only way to stop the erosion of our evangelism is to raise up young champions for Christ.
Paul is going to write about a young man who is a young preacher. I can identify with what it means to be a young preacher. The Lord called me to preach when I was a 14-year-old boy. I was the most unlikely person in the world to be a preacher. I preached my first sermon at the age of 18.
I was a young preacher just like Timothy was a young preacher. I want to show you some things about this young man Timothy, and I believe it will encourage you about young people, and I believe it will encourage young people.
I. We Are Sons
I want to remind us that which was true of Timothy, should be true of every young person and true of all of us. The first truth I want to write regarding Timothy is that he is a son. In Philippians 2:22, Paul writes by saying, “But you know of his proven character, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.” Timothy is a son. He is a son in the gospel. He is a son in the faith.
We Are Shaped
Timothy’s background emerges from the book of Acts, chapter 16. We learn something there of how this young man Timothy is shaped by his family background. All of us are products of our family backgrounds. What you are, most of what you think, and many of the things you do are influenced by the kind of family you had. Family is very important! Family molds and shapes the lives of its boys and girls and young people.
Here is a sad commentary on the life of many of our young people. One young lady said, “Why do I need a home? I was born in a hospital, educated in a college, engaged in a car, married in a hotel. I eat out of a grocery store and paper bags. I spend my mornings on golf courses, my afternoons at a bridge table, and my evenings at the movies. When I die I’m going to be buried at the undertakers. All I need is a garage.”
We read about Timothy in Acts 16, we discover some things about his family background. For instance, we read that there was a minus in his family. We are told that his father was an unbeliever. He was not a believer in the Lord. His background was the background of an unsaved man. That’s a minus in Timothy’s life.
There are some who are reading this, whose dad is not saved. Your mom may not be saved. In fact, you may be the only one in your family who knows Christ as your Savior. You may come to church alone. Your family could care less whether you are in God’s house or whether you know Christ as your personal Savior. They really aren’t interested. You are the only saved person in your family who is faithful to the house of God on Sunday.
Let me encourage you by saying that you are the opportunity in your family. You are the one God can use perhaps to bring your whole family to know Christ as their Savior. Live for Jesus in front of them. Show them that Christ makes a difference in your life. Be a witness to the members of your family. You may win your sisters and brothers to the Lord. You may win your own mom or dad to the Lord.
Timothy had a minus in his family. You may have a minus in your family. But God can take that minus and turn it into a positive.
Not only is there a minus in Timothy’s family, but if you study it carefully, you will discover that there is a plus in his family also. We know from the Bible record that Timothy had a Christian mom and a Christian grandmother. In II Timothy 1, we are told that his mom, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, were saved. Timothy, Eunice, and Lois. Lois was a saved grandmother. Eunice was a saved mother; and because of them, Timothy was a saved son. What a wonderful heritage it is! If you’ve got a Christian mother, you’ve got much to be thankful for. If you’ve got a Christian grandmother or a Christian dad, you’ve got much to be thankful for.
Paul said, “When I recall the unfeigned faith in your mother and grandmother,” that is, the un-hypocritical, the real genuine faith. Timothy could look at his mom and his grandmother and he saw a faith that was real. It was genuine.
What do your children see when they look at your faith? What do your grandchildren see when they look at your Christian testimony? Sometimes young people are turned off to church and to the Christian faith because of the inconsistencies of their parents. They see the inconsistency of your life and they see your unfaithfulness to the house of God, “Well, if it doesn’t mean anything to them then why should it mean anything to me?”
Here is a young man named Timothy who has a great advantage. He has a Christian background in his family. But that in and of itself, though wonderful, is not enough. It is true that his family background molds his life, but something has to happen in this young boy’s life to master his life as well.
Family doesn’t save you automatically. Just because your family members are saved, it doesn’t mean that you are automatically saved. There has to be a personal experience with Jesus. As we put the pieces together of the background of Timothy, we will discover that there came to his city a gospel preacher named Paul. In Acts 16, we read about Paul coming to the city of young Timothy. God’s getting ready to put Paul on the path of this young boy. Let me encourage you, if you are a parent, get your children in contact with a preacher. Be sure to take them to God’s house so they can hear a preacher.
When I was brought up I was taught to love preachers. I think one of the reasons I have had this love for preachers and a special spot in my heart for preachers is because my parents taught me that. I loved my pastors, who preached the Word to me. I love pastors and preachers today, who faithfully preach and teach God’s Word.
We Are Saved
One week Paul comes to church there where young Timothy attends. Somehow as he preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit takes the message of the Word preached by Paul and it touches the heart of Timothy. Timothy, on a Sunday perhaps, comes forward and gives his hand to the preacher and gives his heart to Jesus. Paul leads this precious young boy to faith in the Lord.
I can imagine that somebody went home from church that day and someone asked, “What happened at church today?” “Not a lot happened today. We didn’t have much response. In fact, the only response we had was one young man, Eunice’s son, Timothy saved. Not much happened at church today.”
Not much happened? A young man came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior and not much happened? Here was a young man who was saved and was going to change the world. Not much happened? There was a teenage young man, who was going to hell and now he’s going to heaven. Not much happened? Here was a guy named Timothy, who was saved and it caused fruit baskets to be turned over in heaven and the angels rejoiced. They shouted, Timothy was saved today! God wrote his name in the Book of life. Not much happened?
He’s saved. How was Timothy saved? Timothy was saved just like you and I are saved. He realized he was a sinner and that Jesus died on the cross for his sins. He repented of his sins, and he invited Jesus personally to come into his heart and life and be his personal Savior. He becomes a son in the faith. He becomes a child of God.
We Are Seasoned
Notice not only how he is shaped and saved, but I want you to see how he is seasoned. Paul goes on his journeys, He evidently comes back to where Timothy is; and putting the pieces together, I can almost imagine that when Paul comes back there, they say, “Have you heard about Eunice’s young son, Timothy? He was saved one Sunday when you were here. Timothy is just an amazing person. He is just growing by leaps and bounds. He’s maturing in the Lord. God is going to do great things in his life!”
God has got His hands on young Timothy. God has His hands on this son in the faith. I want to point out to you that Timothy becomes a traveling companion of the Apostle Paul. I want you to notice that he didn’t put him to work immediately. As you study the record, you will see that he has to have time to mature and develop.
The same thing is true with young people today. I was 18 years old when I began to travel and preach the gospel. I was unusually mature, I guess, for my age. But you have to be very careful with young people. You can’t put them in a place where they are not ready.
Timothy had some growing to do. For instance, when we study the Book of Timothy, we find that he had some physical liabilities. He had some stomach problems. We also find that he had a moody disposition. The record indicates that sometimes he would be fearful and discouraged. You will find that this young man Timothy, like all of us, had to grow and mature.
Just because you think your child is the most mature child in all the world, they may not be. They may not be ready for the place of responsibility that God has for them. God works and molds and shapes us and gets us ready for where He’s sending out in the future. But you’ve got to be careful with young people. You can do damage to young people if you push them too soon.
II. We Are To Be Servants
In Philippians 2:22 we read, “But you know of his proven character, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.” He is a servant. We know that Timothy was called to preach. God called him to be a servant of the Lord.
God calls young people today to serve Him. God calls young people today to step out by faith and do what God would have them to do. I believe that God has a purpose and a plan for every life. There is a reason for every young person. Jesus has a plan and He has a purpose for their lives.
We Have A Calling
God calls this young man Timothy. God calls him to be a preacher of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. God gives him a concern for other people. Paul writes in Philippians 2:19, “But I hope, in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.” In verse 20, he tells you why he is sending young Timothy. He says, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.” That literally means “of equal soul.” He’s saying that young Timothy has an equal soul to mine. He has the same heartbeat as Paul. He is interested in and willing to serve others. He is a servant.
Then, Paul makes what I think is a great indictment. In Philippians 2:21, he says, “For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” Isn’t that an indicative statement there? He’s saying that everybody around here is watching out for themselves, and they have little concern for the things of Jesus.
For too long the Western Church was watered down the calling of God to lay His hand on a young person and to call him/her into the ministry. It became fashionable to turn Bible Colleges into Christian Universities with the belief that just as many will be trained for ministry. Yet, how mistaken that decision was. We don’t train God-called ministers the same way we train lawyers, doctors, secretaries and business leaders, to name just a few. Over the last twenty years, this training approach has netted less, not more being trained for fulltime ministry. In a lot of denominations there are not enough God-called young people “in the pipeline” to carry the Western Church forwarded with fire for the future.
I believe one of the greatest growing crises is the fact, at the current rate of trained young people for the ministry, the Church will have enough ministers to complete the Great Commission. With this stark reality in mind, the Global Church Network® launched the Million Ministers Mandate® several years ago. As we move forward, every Global Church Network® Hub should have at least 40% of the attendees between the ages of 15 to 35. Additionally, the Global Church Divinity School® (www.GCDS.tv) was developed to help turn every member into a missionary and every church into a seminary. In the next ten yeas, we believe it is possible for at least one million young ministers to be called, equipped and sent into fulltime ministry!
We Are To Be Concerned
In other words, Paul went over his list. He needed somebody to go to Philippi, someone he could count on, a servant spirit. He went down his list and said, “No, I can’t count on him. No, I couldn’t send him. She could have gone but she wouldn’t go. They were too wrapped up in themselves.”
Through the years, I have had a list. When it comes time to pick people to do certain things, to serve in certain capacities, I go over the list. I say, “Can I count on this one? Will this one work? They are capable. They have the ability and the gifts. They could be so effective, but I can’t count on them. I don’t even know if they are going to show up or not. I don’t even know if they are willing to pay the price.”
Today you are in one of two verses in Philippians. You are either in Philippians 1:21, or you are in Philippians 2:21. Do you see the difference? Philippians 1:21, says, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Is that the verse you are living in or are you living in Philippians 2:21? “For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.”
Where does Jesus fit into your plans? Where does Jesus fit into your activities? In the way you arrange your priorities? Are you totally committed to Jesus?
Paul says about young Timothy that he is a servant. He’s concerned about other people. He has a genuine concern. Notice carefully what Paul writes in Philippians 2:20: “For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare,” of equal soul, “who will naturally care for your state.” The word “naturally” is a word that means “birthright.”
In terms of our own natural condition, we really don’t care about people. But the word there means a birthright. It means something you get by virtue of birth. He is talking about what has come into Timothy’s life because of his new birth experience. Because he has been born again, he’s saying that now he naturally, by his birth, cares for you. Timothy not only naturally cared for people, but he supernaturally cared for people.
God has to teach us to care for people. God has to create love in our hearts for people. God has to give us the servant spirit. Timothy is called and he is concerned.
We Are To Be Cooperate
Look at his cooperation. In Philippians 2:22, “But you know of his proven character, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.” Paul was his spiritual father, not his physical father. Paul calls him a son in the faith. What Paul is saying about Timothy is that he is in the family business. Paul and Son, in the faith.
Look at the contrast of Paul and Timothy. Paul is an old man; Timothy is a young man. Paul is a full-blooded Jew; Timothy is a half-breed. Paul is bold; Young Timothy seems to be rather timid. Yet, they are in cooperation, serving together. What’s the key? “As a son, he has served with me in the gospel.” That’s what puts the generations together.
III. We Are To Be A Substitute
What Paul says about Timothy should be said of us, “He’s a son.” Are you in the family? Then, he says that he’s a servant. Are you a servant? Then, he says, “I want to come see you but I cannot come right now so I’m going to send Timothy.”
That means that Timothy is a substitute. He is substituting for Paul. “I am sending him in my place. He is my substitute.”
You will study the life of Timothy and you will find that he was constantly willing to be sent somewhere. For instance, he was sent to Corinth. He was sent to Thessalonica. Now, Paul says, “I’m getting ready to send him to Philippi.” He is a substitute.
Timothy was evidently willing to go anywhere. Are you? Are you willing to go anywhere Jesus wants you to go? Timothy was also willing to help anybody. It didn’t matter who they were.
But that’s not all. He was also willing to sacrifice anything. Look at verse 22, “But ye know the proof of him.” The word “proof” is a word that was used for the melting down of ore. It meant to be put to the test. What Paul says about this young man is, “He has been through the fire. He’s willing to sacrifice anything to be a substitute, to be a sent one, to go for God and to go for me.”
Are you willing to go anywhere, serve anyone, and sacrifice anything? By the way, if you are not a witness for Jesus where you live, what makes you think a jet plane trip to somewhere else is going to make a missionary out of you?
Later, Timothy became a pastor that was greatly used of God. In fact, the Apostle Paul wrote two letters to Timothy. In the last letter he ever wrote to Timothy and the last letter we have any record of in the Bible, he said, “Come before winter.”
I wonder if God is saying to you, “I want you to go.” Are you willing? Are you ready to go? Is He saying, “come before winter.” In other words, don’t delay but come now. Come while you are able. Come during this season of life. Is God calling you?
When I was thirteen years old, God called me into full-time evangelistic ministry. As I shared earlier, I began traveling and preaching when I was eighteen. During that same timeframe, my brother, James L, Mike Bagwell, and I devised a plan to knock on every door in the city of Mobile, Alabama. I still have a copy of the simple brochure we wanted to give to people who answered their door.
We next mapped out neighborhoods long before Google ever devised a much more simpler way. On Sunday afternoon, for months and months, the three of us would knock on doors and share Christ with perfect strangers. Why? Because people are lost and most times do not even know it. Why? Because Christ moved our hearts to reach out to the best of our ability to the least, last and lost. Why? Because if we can be faithful with the “little things,” our Lord can trust us with the larger things.
Many years have transpired since my brother, a dear friend and I have shared gospel together. I don’t know what happened to Mike. I have tried and tried for many years to find where he is. I have concluded that he has already completed his life on earth. My brother, James L. and I continue to run the only race that matters: to find God’s will, to follow God’s will, and to finish God’s will.
Come before winter. Make a decision today to follow Christ and to fulfill your divine destiny He has for you!