Timothy – Philippians 2:19-24
See full series: studies-in-philippians
Timothy – Philippians 2:19-24
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
Passage: Philippians 2:19-24
STUDIES IN PHILIPPIANS (16)
Tonight we continue our study in Philippians. Paul has challenged these good brethren to endure and continue to shine as lights in a dark world. He has appealed to what he is willing to gladly endure for their sake. In the text we examine tonight we find Paul mentioning two men that were a help to him and to them. As always, there are some good lessons to consider, even in these texts. Tonight we notice Timothy and in our next lesson, Epaphroditus.
- Paul hopes to send Timothy to them shortly – recall that Paul is a prisoner, probably in Rome. He cannot leave, but if this be the occasion, Acts 28:30-31 tells us that he stayed 2 years in his own rented house and received all who came to him.
- That I also may be encouraged – Paul is desiring knowledge about how these brethren are doing. In those days that meant someone had to go or a letter needed to be sent. Timothy would be sent and would return after awhile to report to Paul
- For I have no one like-minded – Paul can count on Timothy (cf. Philippians 2:2-3). Clearly, Timothy understood Paul and what needed to be done.
When we delegate authority, it is best if they have an understanding of what is actually desired. This calls for clear communication. In helping one another and working together, we need to keep this in mind.
Furthermore, we cannot emphasize enough the need to be like-minded. Having the same purpose and objectives is helpful in what we do. If someone has a different understanding, they may get something done, but in an improper or unscriptural way. This is important when we understand the importance of pattern. We need to make sure that in what we do, God is glorified by doing things His way. Else we give the world and other a wrong impression.
- Who will sincerely care for your state – he was genuinely concerned about them, as Paul was. He would act properly and sincerely. The NASB uses the word, “genuinely” and the KJV us the word, “naturally”. With these meanings we see that idea that Timothy (and Paul’s) care for these brethren was REAL (not pretentious).
We have emphasized the importance of sincerity in what we do.
Our actions AND motives need to be genuine. Philippians 1:10 finds Paul’s prayer that they be sincere and without offense. This is a different Greek word with a similar meaning – to be pure in your motives.
1 Timothy 1:5 – our faith needs to be sincere (unhypocritical).
Often in his letters, Paul addressed those who were less than sincere – Philippians 1:16 he speaks of those preaching Christ out of selfish ambitions, not sincerely…
- For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ –
Is Paul here speaking of the more common disposition of the world (which sadly seems to be the prevalent view), or of brethren? It seems to be brethren in some way.
Obviously Paul was surrounded by many individuals who would do whatever he asked (Luke, Silas, Aristarchus, John Mark, etc.), but perhaps they were unavailable (already dispatched elsewhere). But there may have been others who for self-serving motives would not help Paul when they could – required too much sacrifice, fear of facing persecutions, dealing with their own personal commitments, etc. Others were just opposed to Paul and had no intention of helping him (cf. the tone of the Roman letter indicates some there were hostile to the truth; Acts 28:24-25 which indicates some did not believe; and Philippians 1:15-16, etc.)
Sadly, this is a far too common description, in this world. And we somewhat expect it in our self-centered society.
But what about in spiritual matter? Again, far too many think of themselves and are unwilling to sacrifice or help their brethren.
Sometimes people do things the way they want to, regardless of who it hurts or who it doesn’t help. Brethren are not immune from this selfishness – we continually read of ungodly attitudes, sometimes toward brethren. But we also find that we are to think of others over ourselves, including our brethren.
Timothy was different. It was not about him ( 2:3-4). And like Paul, he is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of others, especially these Philippian brethren. His was the attitude brethren need:
1 Corinthians 10:24 challenges us as brethren to think about the other’s well-being.
Romans 15:1 calls for us to seek to please our neighbor (does this include our brethren).
1 Corinthians 13:5 – true Christian love does not seek its own.
2 Corinthians 12:15, as Paul said of himself, he would gladly spend and be spent for their souls.
IT is worthy to consider this when we think of how much we are willing to help one another and be there for each other.
- But you know his proven character – Paul had great trust in Timothy.
This is a good time to consider briefly who Timothy was.
We first read about Timothy in Acts 16:1-3 – Paul meets him in Lystra. Wants to take him with himself so he has Timothy circumcised. We then read of travels that lead to Philippi. While not specifically mentioned, it is believed that Timothy was with him when he first went there. If so, Timothy had met these brethren and had a relationship with them (Philippians 1:1).
He is mentioned with Paul in the introductory remarks to these brethren.
He had proven character – meaning he could be trusted and had integrity.
These brethren knew who Timothy was. Never underestimate the importance of one’s character. Our lives and walk begin with faith, which is followed by “virtue” (2 Pether 1:5).
It was to Timothy that Paul said he was to be an example in all things – 1 Timothy 4:12.
- That as a son with his father he had served Paul – Timothy could be counted upon to do whatever Paul needed, the way he needed it done.
Paul viewed Timothy as his own son – 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 2:2, etc.
He is mentioned more than 25 times in Paul’s letters and travels.
He is mentioned in the greetings of 6 of Paul’s letters. And, of course, two letters from Paul are addressed to him.
Because his father was a Greek, and Paul saw his potential help, he had Timothy circumcised (and Timothy willingly did this) – Acts 16:3 – which shows his dedication.
Paul frequently would send Timothy to places where needed – 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-3, 1 Timothy 1:3 – to Ephesus, etc..
He had suffered for the cause of Christ – Hebrews 13:23 tells us that he was imprisoned at least once.
- Therefore I hope to send him at once (23-24) – again, Paul concludes this by noting his confidence and hope for the near future. Timothy would come to them “at once”, but Paul’s ultimate hope was the he too would be released and able to come to them.
In Timothy, and in Epaphroditus (our next lesson) we see the value of friends and fellow workers. We need to be working as a team (or body), helping each other and encouraging each other. We need proven character where we can be counted upon to do whatever is needed of us, so that as Paul told the Ephesians, when every part does it share, the body grows (Ephesians 4:16) Can you be counted on?