From Disciple to Bishop: The Legacy & Fight of Faith

Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the second New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy who was a spiritual son in the faith. More specifically today’s passage is found in the fourth chapter of this New Testament book. “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am not ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:1-8).

 

            “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take mark, and bring him with thee: For he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that I may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:9-18).

 

            “Salute Prisca and Aquilla, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren. The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:19-22).

 

            “The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time” (2 Timothy 4:22).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy his spiritual son in the faith drawing to a close. In all reality when you read the words which are found in each of the two epistles written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy you will find several different realities and truths contained within then. The more I read these two epistles the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the intention and motive of the apostle Paul when writing such letters. I have to admit that as I read each of these epistles I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with that which the apostle Paul was seeking to accomplish within the life of young Timothy. It is clear from reading the first epistle written unto Timothy the apostle Paul was writing unto a fellow companion in the work of the ministry—a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ who was asked to remain and abide in Ephesus as one who would bring forth sound teaching and doctrine among them. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if that which the apostle Paul knew and believed concerning Ephesus after his departure—namely that savage and grievous wolves would enter in among them not sparing the flock and those from their own number rising up and drawing men away from the truth of the gospel—prompted him to beseech Timothy to abide and remain in the midst of Ephesus. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the twentieth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find that when the apostle Paul delivered his farewell speech unto the elders of the Ephesian church he not only spoke of his testimony and teaching among them but also warned them of that which was going to come in the days ahead.

 

            I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in the two epistles written unto Timothy and I am brought to the place where I am confronted with the desire, the motive and the intention of the apostle Paul when writing unto this spiritual son in the faith. What’s more is that when you read these two epistles you will notice that there is a drastic difference in the life of Timothy between the time of the writing of the first epistle and the time of the writing of the second epistle. Not only will you notice the location of the apostle Paul being dramatically different between the first and second epistles but you will also notice the difference in the circumstances of the apostle Paul. If you take the time to read the words which are found in each of these epistles you will find the apostle Paul being a free man in the midst of society and culture when writing the first epistle, however, when you read the second epistle you will discover the apostle Paul was bound in prison just before being brought before Nero for the second time. What’s more is that not only were the location and circumstances of the apostle Paul different when reading these epistles but you will also notice that Timothy’s own circumstances were entirely different. In the first epistle written unto Timothy you will find this spiritual son in the faith to the apostle Paul merely being instructed to abide and remain in Ephesus to be a guardian of truth and diligently teach sound doctrine and sound teaching. When you come to the second epistle, however, you will find Timothy’s own situation and circumstance changing as Timothy would be ordained the first bishop of the Ephesian church and congregation. What a tremendous progression is found in each of these epistles for the apostle Paul moves from being a free man in society to being a prisoner in Rome while Timothy transitions from being a faithful minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to being the first bishop of the Ephesian church.

 

            I feel the great need to pause and think about what a tremendous progression would have taken place within the life of Timothy to transition from being a spiritual son in the faith, a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ and a brother in the midst of the Ephesian congregation to being ordained and appointed as the first bishop of that congregation. Consider if you will the tremendous amount of growth and maturity that would have taken place within the life of Timothy to be entrusted with the tremendous stewardship and responsibility of being the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation. What’s more is that there is something to be said about being the first at something and being entrusted with the responsibility of being the first in the kingdom of heaven in the work of the gospel. Timothy’s story would begin in Lystra and Derbe as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ who was well spoken of by the brethren and it would continue to the place where he would be ordained the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation. FROM DISCIPLE TO BISHOP! Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it is for there is great truth surrounding the progression and transformation which took place within the life of Timothy. What’s more is that when you read the words found in these epistles you will find there were certain key elements within the life of Timothy—and not only within the life of Timothy but also within his walk and relationship with the Lord—that would prepare and make him ready for such a responsibility and stewardship. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is great truth centered upon this reality within the life of Timothy who would transition from being a disciple well spoken of by the brethren in Lystra and Iconium to being ordained the first bishop of Ephesus.

 

            FROM LYSTRA TO EPHESUS! FROM DISCIPLE TO BISHOP! As I think about the progression of the life of Timothy from the time the apostle Paul found him in Lystra and Derbe to the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto this faithful servant of the Lord I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the sheer and utter transformation which took place within his life. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this for in addition to Timothy being a disciple that was well spoken of by the brethren we must needs recognize and understand there were other factors that helped contribute to his transformation and stewardship as a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am absolutely convinced that as we prepare to come to the close of this second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto young Timothy we must needs turn and direct our attention first and foremost to what was written concerning Timothy in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. It is in the opening verses of the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we are first introduced to young Timothy and discover this disciple who was well spoken of by the brethren. It was the testimony Timothy had among the disciples and brethren in those quarters that prompted the apostle Paul to desire Timothy accompany him on his missionary journeys. There was something about this disciple from these quarters that so moved and so stirred the heart and soul of the apostle Paul that he would deliberately and intentionally desire him to accompany him on his missionary journeys. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the opening verses of the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts beginning with the first verse:

 

            “Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in. number daily” (Acts 16:1-5).

 

            Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which are found in these verses of the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts for within them we not only see a young Timothy who was a disciple in those quarters but we also see a disciple who was well reported of by the brethren which were in Lystra and Iconium. I am absolutely and completely convinced we have a great need to focus our attention on how the narrative concerning Timothy begins and opens within the New Testament for what would begin with his being a certain disciple in Lystra and Derbe would ultimately transition to the place where he would be ordained the first bishop of the church in Ephesus. What’s more is that if you journey to the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews you will find additional language concerning Timothy which adds even more weight to the testimony he had as a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the final verses of the thirteenth chapter of this epistle written unto the Hebrews we find the author declaring concerning “our brother Timothy” and how he was set at liberty. Oh there is something truly astonishing and powerful when you think about and consider the words which are found in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Acts, the final verse of the second epistle written unto Timothy and the final verses of the epistle written unto the Hebrews. It is in the New Testament book of Acts we learn and discover concerning Timothy that he was a disciple in Lystra and Derbe who was well reported of by the brethren which were in Lystra and Iconium. In the second epistle written unto Timothy by the apostle Paul we find his being ordained the first bishop of the Ephesian church. In the final chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we discover that at one point Timothy was arrested and imprisoned. The words which we find here in this passage of Scripture brings us face to face with the unbelievable truth that not only would Timothy experience this transformation from a disciple who was well reported of by the brethren into the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation but we also learn how Timothy was at one point imprisoned before being set at liberty.

 

            If you want to truly understand the transformation which took place within the life of Timothy you must needs also consider the words which are found in each of these two epistles. Upon reading the language that is contained therein you will not only find instruction concerning Timothy’s personal witness and testimony among the brethren, and you will not only find instruction concerning the witness and testimony of the corporate body of Christ at Ephesus but you will also find powerful insight into the life of Timothy. While it is indeed true that Timothy was a disciple in Lystra and Derbe who was well reported of by the brethren in those quarters we must also recognize and understand that there was more which contributed to Timothy’s faith—and not only that which contributed to his faith but also to the call of God which was upon his life. As you read the words which are found in the first chapter of this second epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing unto Timothy concerning his constant prayers night and day for him and the great desire within his heart and soul to see him. The apostle Paul would go on to write unto Timothy how he was mindful of his tears and that by seeing him he would be filled with great joy. In the fifth verse of this chapter we discover and learn more about Timothy—namely “the unfeigned faith” which was present within him. What’s more is that not only do we learn of this “unfeigned faith” which was present in Timothy but we also learn of how this unfeigned faith was first present in Timothy’s grandmother Lois. Moreover this unfeigned faith was passed down from Timothy’s grandmother Lois unto her daughter Eunice who was Timothy’s mother. Essentially what we find in the first chapter of this second epistle is a powerful legacy of faith that began with one generation and would be passed down two generations to Timothy himself.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the first chapter of this second epistle and I can’t help but encounter something else concerning Timothy which served as the very core and foundation of his walk with the Lord—and not only his walk with the Lord but also his stewardship as a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s one thing for us to consider Timothy as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ who was well reported of by the brethren, however, it’s something else entirely to also recognize the faith that was present within his heart and soul. If there is one thing we must needs recognize concerning Timothy it’s that at the very heart and core of his being was this faith which was at the very center of everything he did—and not only at the center of what he did but also who he was. Oh if we are to truly understand just how important this reality and concept of faith truly is and why it was so necessary within the life of Timothy we must needs consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome as well as the words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews. If you turn and direct your attention to the tenth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints of Rome as well as the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews you will find powerful declarations concerning faith and its importance within our hearts and lives. With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture:

 

            “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if shou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them t hat preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good thing!” (Romans 10:4-15).

 

            “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:1-3).

 

            “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

 

            “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:13-16).

 

            “And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and other had a trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:32-40).

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for when speaking of faith we must needs understand that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Moreover faith is not only the substance of things hoped for but it is also the evidence of things unseen. Concerning faith we have a great need to recognize that without faith it is impossible to please the living for those who come to God must believe that he is and that he is rewarder of those who diligently seek him. In the eleventh chapter we learn that most during the days of the Old Covenant died in faith not having received the promises but instead saw them afar off and were persuaded of them and embraced them. Not only this but it was through faith they were able to confess they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews declares that those who speak such words declare plainly that they seek a country. What’s more is that faith allows us to leave behind the country from whence we have come out that we might have an opportunity to obtain a better country. In the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we find that those who walked in faith desired a better country which was an heavenly country. As a direct result of this God is not ashamed to be called their God and call them his people. All of this is incredibly important for us to pay attention to for when we consider the words in the eleventh chapter—not only do we see the substance of faith but we also see the demonstration of faith.

 

            Upon reading the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we find the awesome truth surrounding the substance of faith—the reality that faith must have more than simply a declaration of its existence. It is incredibly easy for someone to declare they have faith, however, it is something else entirely different for someone to have faith—and not only have faith but also a faith that has both substance and demonstration. I would dare say this was precisely what James the half-brother of Jesus sought to convey in his own epistle when he wrote concerning faith without works being dead and abiding alone. I am absolutely convinced we must needs pay close attention to the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews as well as the words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written by James for both bring us face to face with the reality that faith must have both substance and demonstration. If you want to truly understand what the substance of faith looks like and that which was undoubtedly found in Timothy’s grandmother, in Timothy’s mother and ultimately in Timothy you must needs consider the words which are found in both the second chapter of the epistle written by James as well as the words which are found in the first chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Peter. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in each of these two chapters beginning with those found in the epistle written by James:

 

            “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath. Not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:1-13).

 

            “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and trembled. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:14-14-26).

 

            “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fail: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:3-11).

 

            It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand the words which are found in these passages of Scripture as well as the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews for what we find within them is not only the substance of faith—virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity—but also the demonstration of faith. In all reality the words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written by James as well as the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews brings us face to face with the demonstration of faith in the midst of our generation. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for when we read the words the apostle Paul wrote unto Timothy in the second epistle we must understand this unfeigned faith which was first present in his grandmother, also present in his mother and was now present within him was such that not only had substance but also demonstration. The apostle Paul wrote unto Timothy concerning the unfeigned faith that was present in him and was passed down through two generations—and not only this but also the gift of God which was in him by the putting on of his hands. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and consider both the unfeigned faith which was in Timothy as well as the gift of God which was also present within him. When writing unto Timothy Paul not only spoke of this unfeigned faith which was present in him but he also spoke of this gift of God which was present within him by the laying on of his own hands. Thus what we find in this passage of Scripture is the tremendous truth of unfeigned faith and the gift of God both working and being present within the life of Timothy who was not only a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ but also the first bishop of the Ephesian church.

 

            The more we read the words which are found in these epistles written unto Timothy the more we must needs recognize the specific instruction that was given unto Timothy as well as the declaration of that which was present within Timothy. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture that we understand the powerful witness and testimony that was present within Timothy. We have a great need to recognize that Timothy was indeed a disciple who was well reported of by the brethren in Lystra and Iconium but there was also present within him both an unfeigned faith passed down through the generations as well as the gift of God which was instilled within him by the laying on of the hands of the apostle Paul. There is a great need to recognize and pay attention to this for it helps us encounter both faith and the gift of God working simultaneously within the life of Timothy. We know that Timothy was ordained the first bishop of the Ephesian church, however, we also know that present within Timothy was both an unfeigned faith as well as the gift of God which worked in perfect unity with each other. With this being said we must also recognize the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the third chapter of the first epistle written unto Timothy. I am not one who subscribes to coincidence—particularly and especially when it comes to the Scripture—so when I find the apostle Paul writing in the first epistle concerning one who desires the office of a bishop the apostle Paul was either preparing Timothy for such a transition or he was addressing Timothy’s own desire to be bishop in the midst of the corporate body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the third chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy:

 

            “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

 

            Oh there is a great need within our hearts and minds to recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for in addition to the unfeigned faith and gift of God which was present within Timothy we also find this additional witness and testimony in the third chapter. Although the apostle Paul does not specifically declare such words concerning Timothy we must needs recognize that if in the first epistle the apostle Paul wrote he reveals these characteristics for one who desires to be a bishop and then in the second epistle we learn of Timothy being the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation then we must needs recognize that this witness and testimony was present within the life of Timothy. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words found in the third chapter of this epistle that Timothy was indeed a man who was blameless, a man who was vigilant, a man who was sober, a man of good behavior and a man given to hospitality. I firmly believe that for Timothy to be ordained the first bishop of the Ephesian church he must have been one who was apt to teach, one who was not given to wine, one who was not greedy of filthy lucre and one who was patient. The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the witness Timothy had among the brethren which were present in Lystra and Iconium and now the witness and testimony he had among the brethren in Ephesus. Stop and consider of Timothy that he had such a powerful witness and testimony among the disciples and brethren which were present in Lystra and Iconium and now we find him as having a powerful witness and testimony among the saints and brethren which were in Ephesus.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found here in these epistles and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the wonderful truth surrounding Timothy and the instruction that was given unto him as a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you want to truly understand the epistles which the apostle Paul wrote unto Timothy you must needs understand them through the lens of the instruction that was given unto him—instruction concerning his personal witness and testimony among the saints and brethren as well as the words and instruction that was given unto him concerning the corporate testimony and witness. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in each of these epistles for they were written unto one who was not only a spiritual son in the faith to Timothy and not only a disciple of the Lord Jesus but one who was a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each of the epistles written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy were written to provide a tremendous amount of admonishment and encouragement unto this one faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. I firmly believe that when we read the words which are found in each of these epistles you will encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the instruction that was given unto this minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more I read and consider the epistles which were written unto Timothy the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding this spiritual son in the faith to the apostle Paul and his becoming the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation. What would begin as him being a guardian of truth and faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ would continue to his being the first bishop ordained in the midst of the Ephesian congregation. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the two epistles written unto Timothy by the apostle Paul:

 

            “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:18-20).

 

 

            “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how though oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:14-16).

 

            “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and excersise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little; but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach” (1 Timothy 4:7-11).

 

            “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:12-16).

 

            “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, l ay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:11-16).

 

            “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20).

 

            “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:6-8).

 

            “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us” (2 Timothy 1:13-14).

 

            “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. NO man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Timothy 2:1-5).

 

            “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymeneaus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:15-18).

 

            “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow after righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on t he Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:22-26).

 

            “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

 

            “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

 

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to what we have learned about Timothy as a man of God. Within these two epistles we have learned of the unfeigned faith which was passed down unto him through the generations of his mother and grandmother. We have learned of the gift of God that was present within him by the laying on of the apostle Paul’s hands. We have also learned that since a child he has known the holy scriptures which were able to make one wise unto salvation through faith which was in Christ Jesus. In addition to this we learn of the prophetic word(s) which was spoken over him and of the laying of hands on him by the presbytery. Within these epistles there is a tremendous amount of language given concerning Timothy and how this disciple from Lystra and Iconium would ultimately become the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation. With this being said we must needs recognize the continued and repeated charges given unto him to fight and to flee. There is such a great need within our hearts and our spirits to recognize and understand that if we are going to be a man or woman of God who is approved unto every good work we must not only fight the good fight of faith but we must also flee from those things that would destroy and distract us.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which were written unto Timothy and I am brought face to face with two of the greatest needs within our hearts and lives—namely that we fight the good fight of faith and endure hardness as good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ and flee those things which would destroy and distract us. If we are going to be those who walk in all pleasing before and unto the living God we must needs be such who not only fight but also those who fight the good fight of faith. We must needs recognize and understand that faith must needs have substance and demonstration but faith is also a fight—and not only a fight but a good fight. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must needs ask of ourselves is not only whether or not we are such who are willing to fight the good fight of faith but whether or not we are willing to allow our faith to enable us to with patience and endurance bear up under harness as good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is that while we have never been instructed to flee from the enemy we have been instructed to flee from youthful lusts and those things which would destroy us. One of the greatest lessons we must needs understand from Scripture is that the saint of God must never be one who flees or retreats and it is only the enemy who retreats and flees from us as we submit ourselves unto the living God. With this being said I am convinced that as we flee those things which can and would destroy us we will cause the enemy and adversary to flee seven ways before us. The more we read the words found in these epistles we must needs recognize that we have been called to fight and never retreat and the only fleeing we are to do is fleeing those things which would destroy and distract us. It is with this in mind I leave you with the following words found in the epistle written by Paul unto the Ephesians, the words which are found in the epistle written by James, as well as the first epistle written by the apostle Peter:

 

            “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

 

            “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:6-10).

 

            “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:5-9).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s