Faith Bible Church of Lake Charles
Do You Have What it Takes?
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  • Do You Have What it Takes?

    A reporter in San Bernardino, California arranged for a man to lie in the gutter on a busy street. Hundreds of people passed the man but not one stopped to help him or even show sympathy!
    Newspapers across the country a few years ago told how thirty-eight people watched a man stalk a young lady and finally attack her—and none of the spectators even picked up a phone to call the police!
    A couple of teenagers in Detroit discovered a woman in a telephone booth who had suffered a heart attack. They carried her to a nearby house and rang the bell, asking for help. The only reply they received was, “Get off my porch—and take her with you!”
    A Kentucky doctor was driving down the highway to visit a patient when he saw an accident take place. He stopped and gave aid to the injured and then made his visit. One of the drivers he helped sued him!
    Is it possible to be a “Good Samaritan” today? Must everybody harden his heart in order to protect himself? Perhaps “sacrifice and service” are ancient virtues that somehow do not fit into our so-called modern civilization. It is worth noting that even in Paul’s day mutual concern was not a popular virtue. The Christians at Rome were not too interested in the problems at Philippi; Paul could not find one person among them willing to go to Philippi (). Times have not changed too much.
    In this paragraph, Paul is still discussing the submissive mind. He has given us a description of the submissive mind in the example of Jesus Christ (). He has explained the dynamics of the submissive mind in his own experience (). Now he introduces us to two of his helpers in the ministry, Timothy and Epaphroditus, and he does this for a reason. He knows that his readers will be prone to say, “It is impossible for us to follow such examples as Christ and Paul! After all, Jesus is the very Son of God, and Paul is a chosen apostle who has had great spiritual experiences!” For this reason, Paul introduces us to two “ordinary saints,” men who were not apostles or spectacular miracle workers. He wants us to know that the submissive mind is not a luxury enjoyed by a chosen few; it is a necessity for Christian joy, and an opportunity for all believers.
    In Timothy’s experience, we learn that the submissive mind is not something that suddenly, automatically appears in the life of the believer. Timothy had to develop and cultivate the “mind of Christ.” It was not natural for him to be a servant; but, as he walked with the Lord and worked with Paul, he became the kind of servant that Paul could trust and God could bless. Notice the characteristics of this young man.

    You Need a Servant’s Mind (19-21)

    Philippians 2:19–21 NKJV
    19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.
    To begin with, Timothy naturally cared for people and was concerned about their needs. He was not interested in “winning friends and influencing people”; he was genuinely interested in their physical and spiritual welfare. Paul was concerned about the church at Philippi and wanted to send someone to convey his concern and get the facts. There were certainly hundreds of Christians in Rome (Paul greets twenty-six of them by name in ); yet not one of them was available to make the trip! “All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (). In a very real sense, all of us live either in or !
    But Timothy had a natural concern for the welfare of others; he had a servant’s mind. It is too bad that the believers in Rome were so engrossed in themselves and their own internal wranglings () that they had no time for the important work of the Lord. This is one of the tragedies of church problems; they divert time, energy, and concern away from the things that matter most. Timothy was not interested in promoting any party or supporting any divisive cause. He was interested only in the spiritual condition of God’s people, and this concern was natural to him. How did this concern develop? The answer is in the next characteristic of this remarkable young man.

    You Need a Servant’s Training (v. 22)

    Philippians 2:22 NKJV
    22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.
    Paul did not add Timothy to his “team” the very day the boy was saved. Paul was too wise to make an error like that. He left him behind to become a part of the church fellowship in Derbe and Lystra, and it was in that fellowship that Timothy grew in spiritual matters and learned how to serve the Lord. When Paul returned to that area a few years later, he was happy to discover that young Timothy “was well reported of the brethren” (). Years later, Paul would write to Timothy about the importance of permitting new converts to grow before thrusting them into important places of ministry ().
    A popular local nightclub performer visited a pastor and announced that he had been saved and wanted to serve the Lord. “What should I do next?” he asked.
    “Well, I’d suggest you unite with a good church and start growing,” the pastor replied. “Is your wife a Christian?”
    “No, she isn’t,” the musician replied. “I hope to win her. But, do I have to wait? I mean, I’d like to do something for God right now.”
    “No, you don’t have to wait to witness for the Lord,” explained the pastor. “Get busy in a church, and use your talents for Christ.”
    “But you don’t know who I am!” the man protested. “I’m a big performer—everybody knows me. I want to start my own organization, make records, and appear before big crowds!”
    “If you go too far too fast,” warned the pastor, “you may hurt yourself and your testimony. And the place to start winning people is right at home. God will open up places of service for you as He sees you are ready. Meanwhile, study the Bible and give yourself a chance to grow.”
    The man did not take the pastor’s counsel. Instead, he set up a big organization and started out on his own. His “success” lasted less than a year. Not only did he lose his testimony because he was not strong enough to carry the heavy burdens, but his constant traveling alienated him from his wife and family. He drifted into a “fringe group” and disappeared from public ministry, a broken and bankrupt man.
    “His branches went out farther than his roots went deep,” the pastor said. “When that happens, you eventually topple.”
    Paul did not make this mistake with Timothy. He gave him time to get his roots down, and then he enlisted the young man to work with him on his missionary tours. He taught Timothy the Word and permitted him to watch the apostle in his ministry (). This was the way Jesus trained His disciples. He gave personal instruction balanced by on-the-job experience. Experience without teaching can lead to discouragement, and teaching without experience can lead to spiritual deadness. It takes both.

    Only Then Will You Reap a Servant’s Reward (23-24)

    Philippians 2:23–24 NKJV
    23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.
    Timothy knew the meaning of “sacrifice and service” (), but God rewarded him for his faithfulness. To begin with, Timothy had the joy of helping others. To be sure, there were hardships and difficulties, but there were also victories and blessings. Because Timothy was a “good and faithful servant,” faithful over a few things, God rewarded him with “many things,” and he entered into the joy of the submissive mind (). He had the joy of serving with the great Apostle Paul and assisting him in some of his most difficult assignments (; Timothy is mentioned at least twenty-four times in Paul’s letters).
    But perhaps the greatest reward God gave to Timothy was to choose him to be Paul’s replacement when the great apostle was called home (see ). Paul himself wanted to go to Philippi, but had had to send Timothy in his place. But, what an honor! Timothy was not only Paul’s son, and Paul’s servant, but he became Paul’s substitute! His name is held in high regard by Christians today, something that young Timothy never dreamed of when he was busy serving Christ.
    The submissive mind is not the product of an hour’s sermon, or a week’s seminar, or even a year’s service. The submissive mind grows in us as, like Timothy, we yield to the Lord and seek to serve others.
      • Philippians 2:19–21NKJV

      • Philippians 2:22NKJV

      • Philippians 2:23–24NKJV

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