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Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Gospel According to Paul # 51

In His Letters to Timothy (continued)

Good News for Young People

Paul was speaking to Timothy about the gospel, and Timothy needed good news, good tidings. To begin with, Timothy was a young man. A young man who is a Christian has his own personal problems - he has many difficulties and problems in himself. A young man represents the sum of life at its beginnings: all the problems of life are resident there. Timothy was a young man. To such a young man, the Apostle says: 'It is all right, Timothy: you may be beset by all these problems and these difficulties, you may be having all this trouble spiritually in these different ways, but Jesus Christ is equal to the whole situation!' Do remember, young man, young women, that the Lord Jesus is God's answer to all the problems of youth. That is good tidings, is it not?

Timothy was not only a young man, but he was a young man in difficulties of a specific kind by reason of his position in Christian work. Difficulties were coming at him from three directions. Firstly, there was the pagan world. What a challenge that must have meant for a young man in those days! It was a world that had no place for God, no place for the Lord, no place for the things of God, and all the opposing force of that world must have seemed concentrated upon this young man. Secondly, there were all the difficulties of the Jewish world. Paul hints at them here. These Judaizers were pursuing Paul over the whole world, with the determination: 'This man shall be brought to an end - this man's work shall be utterly wiped out!' By every means these Judaizers were set upon destroying Paul and his work and his converts, and Timothy was associated with Paul. Paul says: "Be not ashamed ... of me". Association created a good many difficulties for Timothy. The answer is: 'All right, Timothy; there is good news for you! The Lord Jesus is equal to that - He will see you through it all.'

And then Timothy was a young man in great responsibility in the work of God - in the Church of God. If you know anything about that, you know that you need a fairly sure ground of confidence. He came up against some very difficult Christians. But Paul said: "Let no man despise thy youth." There were certain wiseacres - people who thought themselves to be something - who were inclined to say, 'Oh, Timothy is only a young fellow, you know - you must not take too much notice of him.' They were despising his youth. That is a rather difficult thing to endure.  It takes the heart out of you if you happen to be in that position. I remember so well, when I commenced ministry and became responsible for a church, where most of the church officers were old men, one of them was heard to say, one day, 'He is so young, you know!' But I had a champion among them, and he said, 'Don't worry about that - he is getting over that every day!' Well, that is very kind and nice: but that sort of attitude among fellow workers may well take the heart out of you, when you have to carry the responsibility. Timothy was in that position, but this is the gospel for Timothy: 'It is all right: the Lord Jesus is equal to that situation - He can see you through that too'.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 52)

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