The “Real” Apostle Paul

“I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Tim. 1:3-7 (NIV)

Recently I was privileged to serve as the interim pastor of the Ballardsville Baptist Church near Louisville. During our nine months together, I grew to love and respect the people of the church. The church has a strong missions heritage, especially under the leadership of former pastor, Tommy Purvis and his wife Carla.

On my final Sunday, I decided to preach from 2 Timothy, my favorite letter written by the Apostle Paul. As Paul wrote from the cold, Roman dungeon, he obviously missed his close friend Timothy. This letter, like no other, shows the heart of this great warrior. We see him up close and personal–real and raw! Here are the main points I shared from 2 Timothy 1:3-7….

Paul offers the following words of encouragement to young Timothy:

  • I’m praying for you. Paul told Timothy that he constantly remembered him in his prayers (2 Tim. 1:3). I once heard someone say, “I’ll pray for you because you need the prayers and I need the practice.” I doubt that Paul needed the practice, but I’m sure Timothy needed his prayers. Billy Graham once said that there are three secrets to success in ministry: “prayer, prayer, and more prayer.”
  • I miss you. Paul said, “Recalling your tears, I long to see you” (2 Tim. 1:4). Paul mentored and discipled Timothy as they served together. Paul sometimes called him his son in the faith (1 Tim. 1:2), so they had a spiritual father and son relationship. We need to remember the role that relationships play in making disciples. See Top 5 Reasons to Disciple 1-2-1, How to Get Started with 1-2-1 Discipleship, and New Believer Mentoring for disciple-making helps.
  • People are saying good things about you. Paul told Timothy that he had been reminded of his sincere faith that he received from his mother and his grandmother (2 Tim. 1:5). I don’t know what happened or what was said that reminded Paul of Timothy’s sincerity, but he encouraged Timothy by passing along the good word. We need to be people who offer a good word on a daily basis because we all need encouragement from time to time.
  • Keep the fire burning. Paul told Timothy to keep using and strengthening his spiritual gift. Surely, Paul had been faithful to his calling, so he could encourage Timothy, with genuine integrity, to remain faithful as well. One of the strongest mentoring methods is modeling. Look at the excerpt from Top 5 Reasons to Disciple 1-2-1:

Modeling is effective in 1-2-1 discipleship. The good news with this method is that the person being discipled can see your life “up close and personal.” The bad news with this method is that the person being discipled can see your life “up close and personal.” As the discipler, we cannot model perfection, but we can model a Godly, Christian life.

  • Be brave. Paul told Timothy that God didn’t give him a “spirit of timidity” (2 Tim. 1:7). In the Greek language, the word timidity can be translated cowardness. Paul told Timothy not to be a coward. To state it in the positive, he told him to be brave. He told him to have a spirit of power, a spirit of love, and a spirit of self-discipline. See Ordering Your Private World, Discipleship Requirements, and The Value of a List for more information along these lines.

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