“. . . a certain disciple was there, named Timothy”
The Scriptures are filled with men and women who had a tremendous impact upon their world for the kingdom of Heaven. Timothy is one of those men. We are first introduced to him here, in Acts 16. He is described as a disciple who was well-spoken of throughout the cities of Lystra and Iconium. The word disciple means, a learner and a follower. It describes a person who has chosen to surrender to Christ, follow Him, and allow the Word of God to write upon the tablet of his heart. The disciple lets God’s Word direct his private life, public life, family life and church life. Timothy was a disciple of Christ, and set an example for the believers around him on what it meant to follow Jesus. As we continue to follow Timothy’s story, we find he became a traveling companion of Paul and Silas; bringing the Gospel throughout Asia minor and into Europe. Later we learn he became the pastor of the church in Ephesus, and was the recipient of two New Testament letters.
What an amazing life this young man lived; and what an impact he had, and continues to have, for the Kingdom of God. How did he become such a man? Notice, he grew up in a mixed household, with two contrasting influences. His mother was a believer and his father was not. It can be very difficult for children living with two completely different standards. Mom does not allow certain behaviors because she is a follower of God, but dad allows them, and the children become very confused. In many such cases, we find the children grow up only to conform to the ways of the world, and struggle to follow God. Timothy was different, he went on to follow the Lord and impact the world. How was he able to overcome the dual influences upon his life? What did his mother do to influence him to follow God?
We know that his mom made a bad relationship decision. She, being a Jew, defied the Word of God, and got involved with a man who was not a believer. Whatever course they followed, they ended up married and having a son. But she did not allow that bad decision to keep her from turning back to the Lord, and making godly decisions. We read later in Scripture, how she raised her son on the teaching of God’s Word. From his earliest childhood days, Timothy was raised on a healthy diet of Scripture. Moses instructed parents how to teach the Bible to their kids. Instead of lecturing them, he said they should first live it, then use everyday experiences to teach it. Timothy grew up with a mom who lived it. We are also told of the great influence his grandmother had upon him. Instead of her being devastated by her daughters poor relationship choice, she determined to have a positive influence on her daughter and grandson (2Timothy 1:5). The result of forgiveness, godly choices, and the Word of God, was a young man who wanted to follow the Lord.
Regardless of your past, determine today that you are going to make positive godly choices in pursuit of following the Lord. We never know what a great influence we may have upon those around us.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Questions for Acts 16
- Sometimes our “good intentions” lead us down wrong paths. As Paul, Silas and Timothy were headed on their missionary journey; the Holy Spirit stopped them from going to Asia (good intentions). The Holy Spirit then gave Paul a vision as to where He wanted them to go. What was Paul’s response to this instruction? What is your response to God’s leading when He changes your direction?
- What happened to Lydia and her household? What was Lydia’s profession?
- Paul and Silas are teaching, a slave girl “proclaiming truth” is rebuked and set free from a demonic spirit. We need to be very careful about what we hear or see in the religious world. Read 1 John 4:1.
- The owners of this slave girl were quite upset with Paul and Silas, they had them beaten and thrown into prison, verses 20-24. Did you notice that Paul and Silas do not defend themselves? They chose to pray and sing instead of complaining and defending themselves. What does God do for them?
- Looking at things from Gods perspective changes everything. The end result of this situation brought more people into the kingdom. What are we willing to go through that someone might come to know the Lord?
- The officers and magistrates came to Paul and Silas and asked for them to leave secretly. They knew that what they had done to Paul and Silas was illegal. We sometime do things that we know isn’t right. Instead of trying to hide it, confess it before the Lord. God promises to forgive you! 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Live in the freedom of the Lords grace and forgiveness today!