I. "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:"
A. It was at Lystra where Paul was stoned on the first missionary journey, and was drug out of the city because they thought he was dead.
1. Five years had lapsed since Paul was last here.
2. He was no doubt thrilled to find young Timothy going on in the faith.
a. Paul called Timothy his son in the faith.
b. He said that there was no one so likeminded to him as Timothy. He wrote the Philippians:
But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. But you know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he has served with me in the gospel.
c. It seems that Timothy became a companion and helper to Paul from this point on.
d. It is possible that Timothy was just a teenager when Paul first met him five years earlier, now a young man in his early twenties.
e. Paul had written to Timothy not to let anyone despise his youth.
f. In another place Paul told him to flee youthful lusts.
g. To find and disciple young men who show promise is a great thrill.
h. You feel so close to them and so much a part of their ministry.
i. I think of Greg, Mike, Jeff, Don, Skip, Raul, Ricky, Joe, Bil, Steve, and our own sons Jeff, and Chuck, and our son-in-law Brian. And I could go on listing hundreds of others
B. We are told that his mother was a Jewess who believed.
1. When Paul wrote the second letter to Timothy he said: That he was filled with joy when he remembered the unfeigned faith that he had, which first was in his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice; and was also in him.
2. He said that Timothy had known the scriptures from his youth.
C. He must have been an exemplary young man, for the brethren in the area spoke highly of him.
1. It is interesting that Paul wrote him to be an example of the believer in word, manner of life, love, in spirit, faithfulness, and purity.
2. Again, what a thrill it is to see young people committed to the Lord.
D. Paul wanted to take Timothy with him on this missionary journey, possibly as a replacement for Mark, sort of a go-for-it young fellow, and to give him the opportunity to get hands-on experience as an intern.
E. Paul had him circumcised for the sake of the Jews, because all knew that his father was a Greek.
1. Paul had won a great victory in Jerusalem when it was decided that the Gentiles did not have to be circumcised.
2. Yet to avoid controversy he had Timothy circumcised. This is one of those places when Paul is becoming all things to all men that he might gain the more. To the Jew, he became as a Jew.
3. Here Paul is following his own exhortation to live peaceably with all men as much as possible.
4. It certainly was not for spiritual reasons that he had Timothy's circumcision.
5. Paul knew that the true circumcision is of the heart.
6. There is no sense raising a controversy just because you hold to a position that has no eternal consequence.
a. If having Timothy circumcised can quell many a debate and possibly hinder his ministry among the Jews, go ahead and do it.
b. It is sort of the position we take concerning a Christmas tree. I have great liberty in Christ, and could have a tree in the home and it would not bother me, but I would rather enjoy the smell of pine, but because it might cause some person with strong convictions against Christmas trees, I do not do it.
F. In contrast Paul did not have Titus, another young protege of Paul to be circumcised because he was a Greek. Writing about it to the Galatians he said:
Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with [me] also.
And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
G. Paul wrote to the Galatians his position on the subject of circumcision.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
II. WHEN THEY WENT TO THE GENTILE CHURCHES IN THESE VARIOUS CITIES, THEY TOOK WITH THEM THE LETTER OR COPIES OF THE LETTER THAT WAS SENT FROM THE COUNCIL IN JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE RELATIONSHIP THAT THE GENTILE BELIEVERS HAD TO THE LAW.
A. It seems that everywhere that Paul would go, he would be followed by these who were known as Judaizers who would try to put the believers under the law.
1. I am always suspicious of those groups who seek to make converts from other churches.
2. Until we had our security men patrolling the parking lot, there were other churches who would send people down here to place flyers on the windshields of the cars advertising their programs.
a. Romaine would call the pastors and let them know that when we had special services we did not send people over to their parking lot with flyers, but to the beaches or other public places for we were not wanting to bring other Christians to our church but the lost.
B. Thus it was important that these Gentile believers who were so far from the church in Jerusalem, and were so new in the faith, that they know the decision that was made by the Jerusalem council.
1. They delivered to the churches the decrees they were to keep.
2. The decrees that the Gentile believers were to keep were to:
a. Abstain from the pollutions of idols.
b. Abstain from fornication.
c. Don't eat meat that had been strangled and blood.
C. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
1. I believe that it is the will of God to bless His church.
2. I believe that there are certain things necessary to obtain those blessings.
a. Jude said to keep yourselves in the love of God. Keep yourselves in that place of blessing.
b. There are things, if allowed, can hinder the work of the Spirit in the church.
c. We are commanded to grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.
d. We are also instructed to quench not the Spirit.
e. What are things that grieve or quench the Spirit?
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descends not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
3. The prophet Hanani said to king Asa:
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him.
4. When the church is what God wants the church to be, then God will do for the church what He longs to do.
5. What does God want the church to be? A place for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, to build up the body of Christ until we all come into the unity of the faith, in the knowledge of the Son of God, unto the complete man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
6. We read that in the beginning of the church that they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
7. The result was that the Lord added daily to the church such as should be saved.