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Model Spiritual Servants, Part 2: Timothy

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2023 3:00 am

Model Spiritual Servants, Part 2: Timothy

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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December 1, 2023 3:00 am

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Paul said, ìI am so concerned about you, I am so burdened about you, that I am sending Timothy.î And somebody might say, ìWell, if youíre so uptight and so upset and so burdened, why donít you come yourself?î Iím sending Timothy because Timothy is my beloved Son in the faith who will remind you of all my ways.

Timothy was a reproduction of the Apostle. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur. Iím your host, Phil Johnson. These days it seems thereís a handful of great achievers, and then thereís everybody else. The superstar player and the rest of the team.

The leading lady and the supporting cast. Of course, those standout achievers didnít become that overnight, or on their own, without help. These great achievers were nurtured by people they learned from, mentors they trained under. Thatís certainly true in the area of spiritual heroes. Today on Grace to You, John MacArthur looks at one hero of the faith who began as a protege of the Apostle Paul, who was our hero from yesterdayís broadcast, but our focus today, a man named Timothy. So with todayís lesson from the series Heavenís Heroes, hereís John. Letís open our Bibles to Philippians chapter 2. Weíre looking at verses 17 through 30 as the setting for our message.

Philippians 2, 17 to 30 presents to us three model spiritual servants. Now this particular portion of Scripture is not profound theologically. Itís not even a doctrinal passage as such. Itís not a difficult passage. There arenít any hidden treasures here. Itís simple, straightforward.

In fact, itís very practical. It is profound in the sense that I believe it presents to us a model for spiritual living, for spiritual virtue, and that is precisely Paulís purpose in this text. He has given 16 verses of precepts in this chapter. Verses 1 through 16 really lay out precepts, how we are to live humbly, without complaining, working at our salvation with fear and trembling. We are to even be like Christ, have this mind in you which was in Christ. Very high, lofty goals. Look not on our own things but the things of others.

Love everybody the same way. These are very lofty goals, never grumbling, never disputing, always with a healthy fear of God, always working out that inward salvation. Duties, duties, duties.

And now, as if to say I know duties are limited, I know principles are limited, let me show you pattern, let me show you model, let me show you example. Paul gives us three models of spiritual service, three models of how to live the Christian life, three models of how to serve God. First is Paul, second is Timothy, and third is Epaphroditus. We looked at Paul and we called him the sacrificial rejoicer. Look at verse 17 and 18. Paul, pointing to himself as an example, says even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.

And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me. Paul says to them, I see my life as an offering, a drink offering poured out on top of your sacrificial offering and I do so with great joy. His selfless, humble, uncomplaining working out of salvation was a way of life and he saw it as a sacrifice and a joyous one at that. So we call him the sacrificial rejoicer and we kind of reduced it down to one very important principle, ultimate joy comes from the ultimate offering of one's life to the will of God. It isn't just service God desires, it is humble, uncomplaining service with sacrifice and joy and Paul is the model of that. Humble without complaint and joyful in his sacrifice. Now from the sort of sacrificial rejoicer or humble rejoicer if we can call Paul that, let's go to the second model, Timothy. We'll call him the single-minded sympathizer just to give him a title and I want to take you through verses 19 to 24. Again, it's not theological, it's not real deep and profound stuff, it's just practical. It's a lovely portrait of a wonderful servant of Christ who can act as a model for us to follow to take duty and put it into a context in which we say that's possible. That's possible.

He did it, I can do it. Let's look at verse 19 and meet Timothy the single-minded sympathizer. 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.

We'll stop at that point. Paul would love to have gone to Philippi himself, there's no question about that because he had such a relationship with the people. They loved him, he loved them, they had a bond that was really wonderful and rich.

In fact, every time he thinks about them it is with joy. Chapter 1 verse 3, I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. Verse 4, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all. Down in verse 8 he says, God is my witness how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

He had a great, great, loving, affectionate compassion for these people, did Paul. In chapter 2 and verse 24 he says, I trust in the Lord that I myself also shall be coming shortly. He calls them in chapter 4 verse 1, my beloved brethren whom I long to see my joy and crown my beloved. He's almost diffusive about his affection for them.

Because of this affection he wants to come and see them. And as I noted in chapter 2 verse 24 he believes that shortly he'll be able to do that. That is certainly his heart's desire. Back in chapter 1 verse 25 he said, I know I shall remain that is in this world and not die and continue with you all for your progress.

That's interesting, for your progress. That tells us there was another element in his wanting to be with the Philippians. It wasn't just fellowship, it wasn't just love, it wasn't just affection, it was also spiritual progress. While he was a prisoner at Rome and while he may have been a little bit melancholy as he thought about the affection he had for these Philippians, he was also pretty astute in his mind and he realized that he needed to be there not just for the sake of fellowship but also for the sake of their spiritual progress.

They had some real needs. So he wanted to be with them for affection's sake, he wanted to be with them for spiritual progress's sake, spiritual progress having to do with the issue of unity internally and the issue of doctrine externally and fighting against the opponents of the faith who were coming against them not only in terms of what they taught but in a persecuting effort as well. Now because he had such a strong desire to help the Philippians out of love and because at the time he was a prisoner, he had no recourse other than to send someone else and so verse 19 he says, I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you. Obviously Timothy then is going to carry Paul's mission. He will carry Paul's affection, he will carry his message and effort toward unity and toward doctrinal clarity and strength against persecution.

That's why he wants him to go. Thus we are introduced to Timothy. Notice how Paul frames what he says. I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy.

I like that. I hope would not be enough for Paul because everything he hoped for had to be submitted to the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus. That little phrase in the Lord Jesus simply means consistent with his will, his purpose, his person, his plan. Just that. In accord with his will.

Paul never did anything. That's the baseline. That's the bottom line in Christian experience. The goal of the believer is to fill out the will of God. To do what God wants him to do. So you live in constant submission to the will of God and we should always say I hope in the Lord Jesus.

I trust in the Lord Jesus to do this or that. Paul never wanted to act independently of his master's desires. He submitted all of his plans to the Lord. The Lord was sovereign. Everything was submitted to the Lord.

That was the bottom line in his life. And by the way, this is not a stock phrase like if the Lord is willing, sort of slapped on the end, tacked on in an unthinking way. Nor is it some especially self-abnegating phrase indicating that Paul hasn't got any clue about what his future is and doesn't have any idea what's coming and so he just sort of pushes it off to the Lord.

It's not that either. It's simply to say I make plans and I make strategies and I set goals but they are all subject to the sovereign Lord under whose leadership I live. That's the only way to live. To live in a confident trust in the sovereignty of God. So he says I hope in the Lord Jesus. That is if the Lord Jesus wills it and if the Lord Jesus wants it and it's consistent with his person and plan to send Timothy. Do we need to remind you about Timothy?

Just a few things. He was a native either of Derby or Lystra. Two little towns in the area we know as Galatia. His mother was a Jew by the name of Eunice. His grandmother, Lois. His father was a Greek so he had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. And thus he was able to meet those two sort of colliding cultures, Judaism and Hellenistic Greek culture.

Obviously he had not been circumcised. He had to be circumcised but he had not been circumcised and as a consequence to that it's indication that probably he was educated in Greek culture and Greek circles formally. So informally he was educated by his mother and his grandmother from whom he learned the doctrines of salvation. As Paul tells us in his epistle to him.

From his father and the culture of the Greeks he learned that world and that perspective. So he was eminently qualified to go with Paul into the Greek world to bear the message of Jesus Christ. We don't know when he was converted to Christianity.

We don't know the details about it. We know by the time Paul met him in Acts 16 he had already become a Christian and was such a proven young man that Paul said I want to take him with me. He became Paul's protege. I don't know if you know how extensively he was a part of Paul's life. He speaks of him as his son in the Lord, his son in the faith, his true child.

He speaks of him as his brother and his co-worker and his fellow servant and his fellow slave. He was with Paul in Philippi. He was with him in Thessalonica.

He was with him in Berea. He was with him in Corinth. He was with him in Ephesus.

He is with him here in Rome as he writes this. He was associated with Paul in the writing of some of his epistles such as 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 2 Corinthians, Colossians, Philippians. And when Paul wrote to the Romans, Timothy was there as well. He was of great use to Paul because he was so willing to do anything Paul ever wanted him to do. Paul could send him somewhere he would go. Paul could take him with him he would go. Paul could leave him somewhere he would stay.

And always faithful to fulfill that which God had given him to do. A message in the hands of Timothy would be as safe as it was in the hands of Paul because Timothy was truly his protege. The Philippians knew him too because he had been in Philippi from the very beginning. He was taken up by Paul in Acts 16.

Later in the 16th chapter, the church at Philippi was founded. Timothy was surely there at the very founding of the church. And so they knew Timothy as long as they had known Paul. And certainly next to Timothy, he must have been their second favorite.

So he was the right choice. And Paul was very anxious to send him because of his concern. Notice the word in verse 19 is the word shortly, quickly. How quickly? Well, he has to qualify that down in verse 23.

I hope to send him immediately as soon as I see how things go with me. The only thing that was restraining Paul at the moment was the fact that he had some personal matters to which Timothy must give his attention. Say, what were they? Well, we don't know. It might have been some personal thing in the life of Paul. It might have been some ministry that he was engaged in on behalf of Paul. Now, Paul was a prisoner, but he could preach and teach concerning the things of Christ without being hindered. That's why so many people in Caesar's household were being saved, as the end of the epistle indicates. And so there must have been many duties to bring people to him, to assemble them, to follow up the people who came to name the name of Jesus Christ.

And Timothy, along with Epaphroditus, would have been very busy. So there were some specific reasons why he says, I'll send him shortly, and in verse 23, I'll send him immediately as soon as I see how things go with me. Some think he meant as soon as I hear the outcome of my trial so that I can send him with the news about whether I've been released or whether I'm to be beheaded. But nonetheless, he delays for a short while because of some pressing need before he will send Timothy. The purpose of sending Timothy is given also in verse 19, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. He was sending, this is a lovely, gracious, humble way to say it.

He was sending Timothy so that Timothy could see them, find out all the good about them, and report it back so Paul could rejoice. The assumption here is that all was well. He has a very positive outlook, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. That's a very, very positive approach, saying I'm sure you're doing well. Love always believes the best, doesn't it?

It's an example of real trust. I want him to come so he can see how wonderful you're doing, how your progress is moving ahead, and then he'll come back and he'll tell me, and that will be so wonderful for me to be encouraged. The word in the Greek means to be glad, to be happy when I learn about your condition. So the main object then of Timothy's mission was to go to assist them in this matter of unity, to assist them in the matter of facing persecution and false doctrine, helping them with those things, then to return to Paul to bring him great gladness of heart when he reported back the condition of this dear, dear congregation. Now, since Timothy is going to the Philippians, he wants them to accept him, and he doesn't want any equivocation on that.

So starting in verse 20, he gives us a profile of Timothy, and it is beautiful. It is magnificent, and it is real. It is a pattern. It is an example. It is a model for us to follow. This choice servant, and I want you to see seven features that Timothy models in the matter of spiritual living. He is a unique young man.

He lived a sacrificial life for the sake of Paul, for the sake of Christ, and there are seven things Paul notes that mark him out as a model of spiritual virtue. Number one, let's just say he is similar. Let's use the word similar only for the sake of esses.

There might be better words, but you'll understand the point. Similar to what? Verse 20, I have no one else of kindred spirit. Similar to Paul.

Paul is saying, as I survey the people that I might send to you, I have only this man. I have no one else available to me of kindred spirit. He's the only one similar to me. He's the only one who's like me. The word there is one, really two words in the Greek, of kindred spirit.

Iso suke, one-souled, one-souled, S-O-U-L-E-D, one-minded. He is one with me in mind, one with me in thought, one with me in feeling, one with me in spirit. In other words, he thinks like I think. He acts like I act. He reacts like I react.

That's why I'm sending him. He operated like Paul. He learned to think like Paul. He learned to perceive like Paul. He learned to evaluate like Paul, to assess like Paul. He came with a spiritual mind, not with emotion. Now please notice in verse 20, I have no one else like him.

No one. You say, well maybe there wasn't anybody with him. Yes, verse 21 of chapter 4 says, The brethren who are with me greet you, all the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household. In Rome there had been a church established. There were a number of saints there.

There were obviously even some preachers there. Back in chapter 1, some were preaching Christ in envy and strife against Paul. Some were proclaiming Christ out of selfish ambition rather than pure motives. Philippians 1, 15 and 17. So there were preachers there whose motives were bad, who were envious, selfish, strife ridden, who wanted to hurt Paul and injure Paul.

All was not well on the front in Rome. And there were other brethren and there were other saints from Caesar's household and from other places. But he says, when it comes down to someone whose heart beats like mine, I have no one else. That's a great reminder of the fact that you may spend a lifetime in ministry and when you come down to the end, find that you have been indeed rich if you have produced one who is like you.

I have no one else. Even Paul found that those who were unusually faithful and those who were unusually able and those who were unusually gifted were very, very few, very few. Only Timothy. Now I don't think he's necessarily slurring Luke and Aristarchus. They had been with him but had been already dispatched. According to Colossians and Philemon, they had already been sent away. So Luke and Aristarchus weren't there and they would have been the closest thing to Timothy, certainly to understand the heartbeat of Paul. But even Luke and Aristarchus weren't of kindred spirit in the same sense that Timothy was. To show you how much like Paul he was, 1 Corinthians 4. 1 Corinthians is a corrective letter, probably the most detailed corrective letter in the whole New Testament. The Corinthian church was a mess, to put it mildly.

They were engaging in every kind of deviation from proper godly living. Paul is so concerned about them, so burdened about them, that in chapter 4, verse 16, he says, I exhort you, therefore be imitators of me. Be imitators of me.

Then notice what he says immediately. For this reason, what reason? Because I want you to imitate me. I have sent to you, whom? Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ.

Stop at that point. Paul said, I am so concerned about you, I am so burdened about you, that I'm sending Timothy. And somebody might say, well, if you're so uptight and so upset and so burdened, why don't you come yourself? I'm sending Timothy because Timothy is my beloved son in the faith who will remind you of all my ways. Timothy was a reproduction of the apostle.

That's why I use the word similar. By the way, this is the goal of discipleship, reproduction. When a man is fully discipled, Jesus said he'll be like his teacher, but it's rare.

It's rare to find someone who has all the elements that you would want to reproduce. He says to them, you should receive Timothy. Don't think it's anything less than if I were to come because Timothy is like me. He thinks like I think.

He has similar qualities of soul, similar passions. Now, do you understand why Timothy was so precious to Paul? Do you understand why when Paul comes to the end of his life, the last book he writes is 2 Timothy, the last epistle he writes to Timothy is to keep Timothy on track because Paul knows he's going to leave the world. He says, I'm ready to be offered.

I've finished my course. I've kept the faith. He knows he's going to die soon. And the one thing he wants so desperately is continuity in his ministry. And so for the sake of continuity, he pleads with Timothy to stay on track because Timothy is his clone, his carbon. Timothy is his protégé. And this, beloved, is a mark of spiritual virtue that you model after the model of Paul.

All of us must come along under the Pauline model. Timothy is a classic illustration of what all of us are to be. People ask me all the time, who are the people who influence you most? Who is your model? And you say, well, apart from Christ, who is the model of sinless perfection, which is an unattainable model, the man I have most patterned my life after, and I say this honestly to you, is the Apostle Paul.

He is the man who is modeling for me all the time as I pore over his life and his writings hour after hour, week after week, month after month, year after year through my life. No man has influenced me like the Apostle Paul. Yes, I need the model of Jesus, but that's a model of sinless perfection. I need the model of Paul, who is a model of a victorious believer with a sin principle in operation. Timothy was set apart uniquely as an effective believer because he was so similar to the apostolic model. And in the process of you and I moving through our Christian life, it's fine for us to take other folks as a pattern as long as those other folks are taking the apostolic model, and Paul provides the greatest model for all of us. And bless his heart, Timothy then, by bearing that same model, becomes to us a model as well. You're listening to John MacArthur, chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, showing you Timothy's example of humility and service.

That's an example for all of us today. Today's lesson on Grace to You is from John's series, Heaven's Heroes. Well, now I need to pass along an important reminder.

If you're looking for a special gift for a loved one this Christmas, we have some suggestions for you in that regard. And John, the first thing we want to suggest is that people would do well to place their orders from grace to you immediately. That would be a good thing to say since this is the last day.

Sorry to sneak up on you like that. But this is the last day that we can recommend placing Christmas orders using our free standard shipping. You got that, right? This is the last day for our free standard shipping, so you need to place the order today if you want that benefit. Deadline for phone orders is 4 p.m. Pacific, so that would be 7 p.m. Eastern time. Internet orders, the deadline, 2 p.m. Pacific or 5 p.m. Eastern time.

So you have some time left, I hope, to get your order in. And quickly I can suggest the following for you as Christmas gift suggestions. Number one, a MacArthur Study Bible. In the New American Standard, the ESV, the New King James, plus a number of other languages, Spanish, Russian, German, French, Italian, Chinese, and even more Arabic. Just amazing how this Bible has developed in its ability to reach these multiple languages around the world.

So all of those are available. And the MacArthur Study Bible is just that. It has all the tools in the Bible itself to help you understand the richness of Scripture.

And then I would suggest another marvelous Christmas gift is a book called One Faithful Life. It's a one-of-a-kind look at the Apostle Paul blending all the writings of Paul, all his letters, and the Book of Acts into one continuous narrative that tells his story. Filled with study notes that explain the passages, including some of the most challenging portions of Scripture. It's 500 pages.

It's loaded. And you'll come back to this book as a resource again and again. The title, One Faithful Life, the full biblical story of the Apostle Paul. And then finally, just to mention, the MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series.

I've covered all 27 New Testament books in 33 volumes. You can order the entire set and enjoy a very significant saving for each volume if you do it that way. Or you can order them book by book or in multiples, your choice. You can order these commentaries in whatever is the best way for you to receive them and find them useful.

New Testament Commentary Series, One Faithful Life, or a MacArthur Study Bible. This again is the last day we recommend placing Christmas orders if you want the free standard shipping. Order by phone by 4 o'clock Pacific Time or internet orders that headline 2 o'clock Pacific Time.

That's right, friend. Take advantage of our free standard shipping. Get your Christmas order in today for the MacArthur Study Bible, One Faithful Life, or the MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series. Again, to order from our website, do it today before 2 o'clock p.m. Pacific Time.

You go to or you can call us before 4 p.m. Pacific Time at 800-55-GRACE. One Perfect Life costs $17 and the individual volumes of the MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series each cost $19. And the MacArthur Study Bible is reasonably priced in various English and non-English translations with a variety of binding options including premium leather.

You're sure to find a MacArthur Study Bible that is right for you or for a loved one this Christmas. Again, this is the last day we recommend placing Christmas orders with our free standard shipping. So, phone in your order today by 4 o'clock p.m. Pacific Time at 800-55-GRACE.

And if you intend to order online, do it earlier. Do that by 2 p.m. Pacific Time today at And thanks for remembering to pray for us by praying for Grace To You. You're taking an active role in reaching people around the world with life-changing biblical truth. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Be sure to watch Grace To You television this Sunday Direct TV Channel 378 and be here Monday as John continues showing you Heaven's heroes. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace To You. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-01 05:36:19 / 2023-12-01 05:47:35 / 11

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