Finding A Timothy

You make the most mileage by finding a faithful person and spending time with him or her until you have poured something of the life of Christ from your life into theirs.

Scripture: Acts 16, 2 Timothy 2


Alright, thank you very much. And, hello, radio friends. How are you? Our purpose in these broadcasts is simply to put a handle on the Word of God so that you can get hold of it for yourself. The Bible is forever true, whether or not anyone reads or believes it. But it becomes of value to you when you are confronted by its truth and when you get hold of it for yourself and apply it to your own life. So, if somewhere along these few moments you get a nugget of truth, let us say, something that you can make your very own, then my purpose will have been at least partially fulfilled. We’re studying in the Book of Acts, Acts Chapter 16. Barnabas has taken John Mark and gone off to Cyprus, and the process of reconstruction of this young man has now begun. The Apostle Paul said, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I’m not gonna give you another chance to quit in the middle of a trip. I’m gonna take Silas.” And so, they parted and left on their trips, and just to remind yourself that these men really quarrelled and that there is no record at this point that they had any prayer about it.

I’m not saying they didn’t pray. I say that the Holy Spirit who wrote this record, or who used human instrumentality to breathe it and to see that it was written the way he wanted it, did not mention that these men prayed at this point. So, whenever you’re getting into a big, red-hot argument with some other believer, back off a little and just talk to the Lord. Will you? Might make a difference. In any case, Paul went, it says, through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches, and he came to Derbe and Lystra. Now, this is interesting, because it was at Derbe and Lystra that something happened. What was it? Well, it says they came to Iconium. And at Lystra, there was this impotent man who was healed. At first, the people in the town thought that these men were gods in human form, and they wanted to worship them. Finally, Barnabas and Paul ran among the people and cried out, “Sirs, why do ye these things? We are also men of like passions with you,” and so on, and says they scarcely restrained the people, that they didn’t do sacrifice to them. But the very next verse, it says, “There came thither certain from Antioch and Iconium who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he’d been dead.”

So this is Lystra. This is a place where he was pretty near killed. And it says, “Then came he to Derbe and Lystra.” Paul didn’t lack for courage, believe me. He went right back to the place where he had nearly been killed. Do you know, if I had, or if you… Let’s put it just “we,” you know, you and I. If we had suffered an attack on us of some sort that had resulted, nearly resulted, in our death, do you think we’d go back again? Huh? Well, that’s the supreme test, it seems to me, of devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. I think of these missionaries in parts of South America and in parts of the Congo and elsewhere in the world where they have actually been attacked to the point where their life was in danger, and to find them going right straight back with the Gospel. I think of the widows of some of those men who were slain by the Aucas in the Auca Jungle in South America, going back and teaching the Gospel to the murderers of their husbands. You know? That’s something, isn’t it? Oh, yeah. So that this, it seems to me, is the supreme test of real Christian grace and faith and courage.

Paul goes right straight back to the place where they tried to kill him and almost succeeded. And out of it, he finds a person who becomes now his younger disciple, so to speak, a young man to whom he wrote one of the great letters of the New Testament, a young man who was entrusted with a good deal of responsibility in the nurturing of the churches and in the evangelistic work that Paul carried on, Timothy. A small thought here. Out of places of great tension and trial can come great blessing and results. Timothy came out of the area of Derbe and Lystra. Huh? Isn’t that something? Timothy said he was well reported on by the brethren which were at Lystra and Iconium, so that Timothy now becomes a kind of evidence that it was worthwhile to go through all of that suffering there at Lystra, to be lied about, to be attacked, to be stoned.

I mean, if you are stoned to the place where people are trying to kill you, you know these are big stones. You know that they produce great bruises and contusions and lacerations on your body wherever they happen to hit you. You know that this was an extremely painful experience, right? But out of that extremely hazardous and painful experience, thank God there comes oftentimes God’s provision just as Timothy here came out of Lystra.

Just a thought about this matter of the relationship of Paul and Timothy. Over in the letter that Paul wrote to young Timothy, you have something of the method that Paul used in teaching and in training. He says in 2 Timothy 2, “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.” Paul poured himself into Timothy in order that Timothy might in the same manner pour his life into other chosen, faithful people. Remember that Timothy had a good testimony. He was well reported of by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium. Now, Paul said to Timothy, “Look, I picked you because you had a testimony, because I knew you’d be faithful.” In the same manner, you pick out somebody else as God leads you, and pour your life into them and then teach them how to do the same thing with others. So, it’s Paul to Timothy to faithful men to others also.

And each time, the number of people has multiplied; you can see. Have you thought anything about doing that in your own life? Who is your Timothy? Huh? Who is your Timothy? Who is it that you are pouring your life into in terms of teaching and training him or her in the real walk with the Lord Jesus Christ? It seems to me that the tragic weakness of many a family and many a church is that we have enough of the pronouncement of the doctrines and the presentation of the truths in preaching and in song and in dialogue, even. But we do not have enough, not near enough, of that one-to-one eyeball to eyeball relationship where a person pours himself and his knowledge of God into somebody else. The prophet Elijah had his Elisha; Barnabas had his Saul of Tarsus; Saul, now become Paul the Apostle, has his Timothy. Who is your Timothy? Would you give some thought and prayer about this? Don’t do it lightly. Don’t make a shallow decision on this, but pray about it and say, “O God, let me find one person. Lead me to one person who is of a faithful spirit, who will take Thy will seriously, who wants to walk with God, and help me pour myself into that life.”

“Give me,” you can pray, “Give me a Timothy.” You know God will. Dawson Trotman, who founded the work known as The Navigators, told in my hearing that there came a time when he realized that all of his zeal in the work of the Lord had not produced all that much results. And he began to pray that God would give him one person into whom he could pour something of his life and experience with Christ. He found that one person, began to work with him and teach him and spend time with him and train him. This young man was stationed on one of the ships in the harbor, some place there on the West Coast, and so he did have some leave time. And on his leave time, he would work with Dawson Trotman. And Mr. Trotman said, after a while, he said to him, “Now, how many men are on board your ship?” “Well, so and so many hundred men, alright?” He said, “I want you to pray that God will give you a Timothy, one man on board that ship with whom you can spend time and with whom you can pray and work and into whose life you can pour your life, and then you can teach him how to do the same thing.”

And so that process began. Dawson Trotman found another person to work with. And this first young man began to pray, “O God, lead me to somebody,” and he found somebody. He found a young man who was a comparatively young Christian but who had a faithful, earnest, seeking heart, and he began to spend time with him and train him in the word of God. And together, they made great progress in the Christian faith. And then, he said to his young man, “I want you to pray that God will give you somebody with whom you can spend time and into whose life you can pour your own life.” And so they went on. Before many weeks had gone by, there were not just one, but about 48 of those young men on board that large ship, and they were spending time in the word of God and they were reproducing the life of Christ in other lives by that means.

Our Brother Bill Bright does very much the same thing in his Campus Crusade for Christ, as you know, and this is the genius of God’s work. Preaching is important. Preaching is important, and the services of the church are important, and other forms of Christian ministry, which we could mention, like Sunday school teaching and all the rest, these are highly important. I’m not downgrading them, not for a moment. But I’m saying you make the most mileage by finding a faithful person and spending time with him or her until you have poured something of the life of Christ from your life into that other life. And then you teach that individual to do the same thing with others also. It’s from Paul to Timothy to faithful men to others also, a process of multiplication and a very wonderful thing.

I’ll ask it again: Who’s your Timothy? Do you have one, or are you simply living for yourself while you’re on your way to heaven? Busy maybe, active maybe, faithful even in the things of God, deeply devoted to Christ, no doubt, but do you have a Timothy? Wanna think about it today? See what the Lord might do for you in your own life and ministry along this line.

Dear, Heavenly Father, today I pray that for myself and for these my dear friends, there may be opportunity for us to pour something of thy life from our lives into other lives as Paul did with Timothy, as Barnabas did with young Saul of Tarsus, as the prophet Elijah did with Elisha, his servant. And as so many others have done through the years, do it through us, I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen. Amen. God bless you, dear friend, all the way. That’s all for now.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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