1. Introduction: Are You worthy to be a “Timothy?”
The Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ are those men whom Jesus Himself personally chose, trained, and commissioned to speak authoritatively on His behalf and to be eye-witnesses of His resurrection. We think of the Apostles as all great men, equal to or greater than even Moses and the prophets. Yet their greatness came at an extremely high price. Most of them ended their lives in martyrdom.
Having the very high honor of becoming a successful Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be one of only twelve men who will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel in the Kingdom, was not guaranteed simply because Jesus called each of them to follow Him. They all had to be trained and thoroughly tested. Judas failed entirely and succumbed to a tragic end. Peter denied Jesus. All of them forsook Him and fled when He was arrested, except John. All but one repented and were used mightily by God.
Judas Iscariot, while chosen by Jesus to be His disciple and potentially to be one of His Apostles, proved to be a traitor and unfaithful. Judas had a secret “idol,” the love of money. He was the treasurer of Jesus’ ministry finances. His idol drove him to pilfer from Jesus’ ministry finances. Judas hid it well by pretending to be concerned for the poor. He certainly had the other disciples fooled, but not Jesus. When Jesus rebuked him for his pseudo-piety and pretentious concern for the poor, he immediately became bitter. His heart became so filled with bitterness that he allowed Satan to enter him. He immediately sought to betray Jesus to His enemies for money. Jesus had previously warned His disciples, in the parable of the “Unjust Steward,” that they might fail due to the love of money and mishandling God’s resources, and consequently be rejected and discarded as stewards of God.
Luke 16:1-13 (NKJV) 1 He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ 3 Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’ 5 So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. 9 And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
The above parable is a not-so-veiled warning to those who presume to be Christian leaders and teachers concerning the mishandling of God’s resources. Judas Iscariot is an illustration of what happens when the Master calls one of His stewards, whom He entrusted with authority and a commission, into His office and says, “you’re fired.”
There are no more Apostles of Jesus Christ living today because there are no more men who can serve as eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection or whom Jesus Himself has personally chosen, trained, and commissioned. Even though most of the disciples stumbled, and one even denied Jesus, in the end there were twelve tested and faithful Apostles. Paul was the last Apostle of Jesus Christ, replacing Judas, to bring the number back to twelve, filling the vacancy on that twelfth throne. Yet, God did not leave his churches to fend for themselves without faithful leadership once the Apostles that Jesus commissioned died. The holy Breath of God had continued to teach the Apostles after Jesus’ ascension, and those twelve men delivered and entrusted “the whole counsel of God” to their own faithful disciples, leaving with them “the Faith once for all delivered to the saints” in writing in the books of the New Testament. Their job was not to complete the revelation, since that was accomplished through the twelve faithful Apostles and recorded in writing. The assignment of the men whom the Apostles mentored was to faithfully defend and advance the complete Christian Faith unchanged and uncorrupted, and to train other qualified men to do the same. In this way the pristine Faith was meant to be transmitted generation after generation until Jesus returns.
Information is scant regarding the men whom the other Apostles trained and commissioned to faithfully preserve and pass on the Faith. We have secondary information outside of the New Testament concerning some of the faithful men John trained, including Papias, Ignatius, and Polycarp. However, Luke (in Acts) left a record of certain men whom Paul chose to mentor, men like Silas, Luke, Titus, and Timothy. Paul left us in writing a record of some of his personal instructions to two of those faithful men, Titus and Timothy. These three epistles, two to Timothy and one to Titus, outline what it takes to be a faithful disciple of the Apostles for “the Faith once for all delivered to the saints.”
These three epistles give the roadmap for being a successful and faithful teacher of teachers. They outline the pitfalls, and what it takes to succeed and to eventually hear from our Savior, “Well done good and faithful servant.” One does not need a degree from this or that seminary to be a Titus or a Timothy. One does not need some mystical “calling” or Damascus Road experience to be among the disciples of the Apostles. One needs only the fervent desire to be faithful above all else, a drive to meet the strict qualifications, and then the guts to faithfully follow the instructions in these three epistles against the current of both the world and modern Christian religiosity. It takes strength of character, a willingness to stand fast for the truth, even when nearly everyone forsakes you (including family and friends). This was the strength that Paul himself demonstrated, and the potential strength he saw in both Timothy and Titus. “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” “For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness – God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.” Unfortunately, this attitude does not describe many who are in Christian leadership.
Like most biblical names, the name Timothy is a compound of two words. In Greek, it is Τιμόθεος (Timotheos), a compound of τιμὴ (value, valuable) and θεὸς (God), meaning “valuable to God.” The word τιμὴ (value, valuable) appears twice in the following verses:
2 Timothy 2:20-21 (LGV) 20 Yet a mansion does not only contain gold and silver utensils, but also wood and ceramic – some for value and others for commonality. 21 If someone, then, should ever cleanse himself from these, he will be a valued utensil, having been set apart and well-suited to the owner, having been prepared for every good work.
Notice that Paul placed our potential for usefulness and value to God in our own hands, not some arbitrary “calling.” Every Christian has gifts, and any Christian has the potential to be valuable and useful to God. But that person must prepare himself, making himself a Timothy, “valuable to God,” before God will lift a finger to give him serious responsibility as a “steward” in His genuine household.
Sure, many Christian leaders become “great” in the eyes of men by self-promotion and using the world’s thinking, methods of achievement, corporate models, and proven strategies for growing their own little kingdoms. But God cannot use them, and His holy Breath is not carrying and sustaining them. What they build will not stand in the coming storm. Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain. Their notoriety, their value, is with men not with God. There are plenty of “Τιμόἄνθρωποι” (Timoanthropoi – valuable to men) Christian leaders. What is needed for the last days are genuine “Timothys.”
God takes notice of those who diligently prepare themselves to be a “valued” utensil or tool for God. When someone prepares himself according to God’s instructions delivered through His Son and the Apostles, God will value them and use them in a role that is consistent with the gifts He has given them, a role which suits His purposes (not their dreams).
Do you have what it takes to be a “Timothy?” Do you have the drive to strive toward becoming a “Timothy?” In this series of articles, we will take a closer look at Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus, to see what this requires, in the hope that some will count the cost and become motivated to prepare themselves so that God can mightily use them in the dark days ahead. Those whom God chooses to use because He greatly values them must conform to the requirements laid out in His word.
Go to: 2. Focused on the Real Mission
 Matt. 19:23; Luke 22:28-32
 Matt. 26:56
 John 18:15-16
 John 12:4
 Matt. 26:8-9
 Luke 22:3; John 13:27
 Luke 16:1-13
 Gal. 1:1
 Peter’s presumptuous attempt to fill that vacancy in Acts 1 did not have the blessing of Jesus, nor had Peter or the others been filled with the Spirit at the time.
 1 Cor. 15:8; Gal. 1:11-12; Rev. 21:14
 John 16:12-14
 Acts 20:26-27
 Jude 1:3
 2 Tim. 2:1-2
 Gal. 1:10 NKJV
 1 Thess. 2:3-6 NKJV
10 thoughts on “1. Introduction: Are You worthy to be a “Timothy?””
I’ve noticed that amany well known Christian leaders, that I’ve viewed in my lifetime, have had some kind of major failure of character ( infidelity, monetary gain, paedophilia, sin of omission etc ) . I suspect that this is because they have been lacking in the fruits of the Spirit and not truly in Christ.
I think that being a useful vessel for God follows our commitment to Jesus’ most basic instruction for disciples.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
This is a systemic problem because much of Christianity today no longer follows the biblical model and criteria for appointing its leaders. Many Christian leaders fail morally because they are simply a reflection of the Christian community at large. The members choose their leaders who will give them what they want. Thus the tail wags the dog. It is exactly what Paul said it would be in the last days.
2 Tim. 4:3-4 (LGV) “For the appointed time will come when they will not tolerate sound teaching, but according to their own desires, they will accumulate teachers [for] massaging their ears and they will turn away their ears from the truth and be turned aside to fabrications.”
However, it is easy to criticize others, to be an “armchair quarterback.” It is much harder to step up and provide a consistent and genuine example of what being a biblical “Timothy” entails.
Very true Tim. Being seated in the peanut gallery is much easier than being up in front.
I ask myself this question continually. All I know to do is keep striving to be a Timothy. If I fall short of it, it will not be for lack of effort.
We all fall short of the ideal “Timothy” including the original “Timothy.” That is evident in some of Paul’s admonitions to him which would not have been necessary if he was the perfect role-model, not struggling himself. But understanding and acknowledging our weaknesses and failures and striving to correct them is the path to being “valuable to God.” Paul understood that in our weakness and imperfections God shows Himself strong (2 Cor. 12:9). Paul saw in Timothy a humble but imperfect vessel, one who could receive instruction and correction and was motivated to be all that he could be in God’s service.
That is extremely encouraging. Thanks Tim for the articles Tim!
Your last two posts have been encouraging. Our messages have been proportional. Very few want to hear truth, much less obey it. They prefer to have their ears tickled by Christianland characters that amuse them and encourage them like Pinocchio and his two companions to enjoy life, and that a nominal faith is all that’s required, not realizing the longer they do the more like the world they become until the transformation is complete.
Jesus said that many are invited, but few picked out. That few will endeavor to enter in the narrow gate, though many will aim to do so. May we be zealous in the Lord’s work that we cross the finish line with an overabundance of joy!
Yes much of the “Christian” world only wants to have their ears tickled, and do not want to hear anything that is different than what they have been taught and are comfortable with. But I have also seen that many who are open to these “fringe” doctrines that we teach (which are actually what the earliest Christians believed and taught) welcome them like just another conspiracy theory they can parrot against “big Christianity.” But when it comes to simple matters of obedience to the Word, they will have none of it. So for me, there is no difference between the two groups except this: “To whom much is given much is required.”
True. “To whom much is given much is required.” Is a terrifying truth, as are Mt. 5:19; 2 Tim. 2:15; Jam. 3:1. We need to be earnest in our study of God’s precepts, accurately apportioning them, as you say, that we individually, may stand qualified before God. This is a humongous responsibility! Then we need to be like Ezra in 7:10 to know the Word and do it and teach it to others. The order is very important.
Thanks again Tim for all your hard work! It encourages me to be diligent in learning how to accurately apportion the Word of Truth.
Yes, the most important component for anyone who has a teaching responsibility, or who presumes to be a teacher of the Word is exactly what Ezra set out to do.
Ezra 7:10 (NKJV) 10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus stated essentially the same thing:
Matt. 5:19 (NKJV) 19 “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
James, the faithful pastor of the Jerusalem assembly, prescribed the same:
James 1:22-25 (NKJV) 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
The Psalms of David agree regarding the self-deception described above by James:
Psalm 119:118 (NKJV) You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, For their deceit is falsehood.
Being a ‘Timotheos’ is not just talking theology. It requires demonstrating humble obedience to the Word in every area of life without compromise. Theology is important as a foundation for understanding and obedience. But humble obedience, teaching by example, is THE most critical component. Those who just want to talk theology but are not using the Law of Christ as a mirror (modifying their lifestyle to conform to God’s commandments so as to be an example), are “deceiving” themselves. They are not worthy to be a ‘Timotheos.’
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