Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. – 1Tim1:1-2
The letter to Timothy shows a healthy model of discipleship in action. From the outset Paul addresses the young Timothy as “a true son in the faith”. 2nd Timothy is addressed “To Timothy a beloved son”.
There was a strong, healthy relationship between Timothy and his spiritual instructor Paul. Paul didn’t regard Timothy as just a minion for his purposes, but nurtured a relationship where both could respect each other and were of mutual benefit to each other.
Ultimately Paul could trust Timothy to stand in those places where Paul himself was not able to be present.
(19) But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state.
(20) For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.
(21) For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.
This letter to Timothy shows some of the input Paul had into Timothy’s life. A healthy discipleship model incorporates a close relationship which involves encouragement and support but also allows exhortation and honesty.
Timothy was young and timid and so Paul frequently exhorts him to “Fight the good fight”. Paul writes:
1Timothy 4:12 - Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
From this it seem like some in the Ephesian church saw Timothy as unqualified for the job, yet Paul saw the qualities that mattered for ministry.
As we read in Acts where Paul first selected Timothy for the ministry we pick up on what some of those qualities were.
(1) Then he (Paul) came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.
(2) He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.
(3) Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.
(4) And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.
(5) So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
For a detailed list of those observable qualities have a listen to last weeks sermon.
For now we need to ask ourselves:
What are we passing on to those who are younger in the faith?
Who do we have in our lives who can keep us accountable and growing and fighting the good fight?
Pray that God would open your eyes to identify these very beneficial spiritual relationships.