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The Kinda Bro You Want to Be and Have in Your Crew
Living examples: Timothy, part 2–Philippians 2:19-24
We are on our way to Together for the Gospel with the Training Center men and Daniel Nunez shows me a YouTube video of some guys singing about bromance—Guys Who Like Each Other. I thought it was hysterical, containing lines like,
“You’re my homie, Yeah ya know me.
You’re more important than the rest,
I confess I’m a mess.
If I’m not hangin’ with my BFF,
Shouldn’t be ashamed or hide it,
I love you in the most heterosexual way.
I got your back until the end.
A brother from another mother,
Never knew how much I loved ya.”
It was fun, but it reminded me of a concern. Do you have Christian brothers who are close friends? Sadly, men don’t make friends as easily as women. Yet one of the missing keys to spiritual growth today is discipleship–intentional relationships for the purpose of growth in Christ . . . men to men, women to women and couple to couple.
Next to the Word of God with dependence upon the Spirit are the life-on-life relationships which focus on Christ–for those relationships result in spiritual growth. And the biggest part of the impact of life-on-life is example–modeling, imitation, and patterns to follow.
Open your Bibles to Philippians 2 and its living examples. Paul just exhorted and commanded the Philippians to walk worthy of the Gospel. After impacting them with the example of Christ in verses 1 to 11, a worthy walk requires living a life of obedience in verse 12, a life of dependence upon a sovereign God in verse 13, a life of guarded speech in verse 14, a life of holiness and evangelism in verse 15 and a life committed to stand firm upon God’s Word in verse 16.
This kind of daily living seems impossible, until Paul offers up three examples of men who live the truth–three who live blameless and who actually walk worthy. We need models to imitate and patterns to follow. We need living examples. We can learn principles, but they only tell us our duty. When we learn from people, they give us possible patterns.
Spiritual leadership means being an example–dad to children, staff to student, teacher to children, community group leader to member, grandma to grandkids. People in general will learn more from pattern than precept. People will be influenced by example over exhortation. Example is the strongest rhetoric.
First Paul uses himself as an example in verses 17 to 18. Paul actually offers himself, gives his very life to the will of God. Like Paul commands the Philippians and Christ demonstrates in verses 1 to 11, Paul lives a humble, uncomplaining life of sacrificial service to the Lord Jesus Christ–he’s a model. But like me, you might say, “Yeah okay, that’s great, Mr. Apostle–sure you can walk worthy. You’re above reproach.”
“I mean, Paul–you’ve actually been to Heaven already. You were taught by the Lord Himself in the desert for years. Fine, maybe you’re an example for those in another league, but what about the common Christian, everyday dudes–a bro! Enter living example number two—Timothy. Timothy, who was ashamed of his youth, anxious enough to have to drink a little wine to help his stomach issues. Timothy the half-breed, half-Jew and half-Greek is a living example.
Timothy is a guy you can know and a dude you can follow, the kinda bro you want to be and have in your crew. Timothy is a true living example–a true bro! I love student ministry and we still have one of the best around. Shawn, Morgan and Jon do an amazing job. The best part of student ministry is the staff. Single men and women, along with young couples who run hard after Christ, coming alongside your students as examples, as patterns to follow.
Many of you think, “Chris, they only need their parents.” So you have all the spiritual gifts and perfect Christlikeness? There is no command for them to be isolated from the Church. Think about it–students never see either parent when they were single and pursuing Christ. They never saw you as a young married couple following Christ. They don’t remember how you parented by the Word when they were 2 to 6 years old. They need younger examples, just like Timothy.
Paul is a great example of walking worthy of the Gospel, but Timothy is a young example of walking worthy. Timothy is a bro. For 16 verses, Paul wrote principle. Now with the rest of chapter 2, Paul offers practice. For 16 verses, it was exhortation. Now the rest of the chapter is example. Here is a young man who died to self, lived for others, humbly gave up his rights for others and pursued Christ. Timothy learned to live by the pattern of verses 1 to 16 and became an example, which is the most powerful rhetoric.
Parents, disciplers, CG shepherds heed this warning. If you’re finding your children, discipler or sheep not living the truth in some area, ask yourself these questions first. Am I an example of that truth? Am I merely telling them, or am I showing them. Am I laying down mandates or modeling? Am I a loud exhorter or a living example? Never say to those you want to influence, “Do what I say, but not what I do.”
No, the most powerful rhetoric is example. The greatest influence is to say, like Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” Today you will see ten clear attributes of a true bro. You will meet Timothy. Do you know much about Timothy? Study the New Testament, and you’ll learn.
Timothy was a native of Lystra in the province of Galatia, which is part modern Turkey today. His mother, Eunice, was Jewish and his father was a Greek and probably a pagan. Paul led him to Christ, probably during the apostle’s visit to Lystra on his first missionary journey. Both his mother and his grandmother, Lois, were believers and instructed Timothy in the Old Testament.
The fact that Timothy was not circumcised as a child suggests his father had educated him in Greek learning and culture. Yet Timothy’s combined Jewish and Greek heritage made him uniquely qualified to minister the Gospel with Paul to the Gentile world. Paul wisely waited 5 to 6 years before bringing Timothy along to serve in ministry. When he did, Paul had Timothy circumcised to make him more acceptable to the Jews, the ones they sought to reach with the Gospel.
By the time Paul wrote Philippians, Timothy had been Paul’s almost constant companion for ten years. As a result, Paul spoke of Timothy with great affection, calling him “my true child in the faith”, “my beloved son”, “my beloved and faithful child in the Lord”, “my fellow worker”, “our brother” and in this letter, a fellow bond-servant of Christ Jesus.
Timothy was with Paul in Corinth, then sent to Macedonia and accompanied the apostle on his return trip to Jerusalem. Timothy was associated with Paul in his writing of Romans, 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, both Thessalonian epistles and Philemon. Timothy eventually served as Paul’s troubleshooter in Corinth, Thessalonica, Ephesus, and now here in Philippi.
What does Paul say about Timothy? Read verses 19 to 24, and as you read, see if you can discover Timothy’s living example. “But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. 23 Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me; 24 and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly.”
What kind of living example was Timothy? What kinda bro was he? How can you be like this young man and walk worthy of Jesus Christ? Paul gives us ten brief and crucial qualities that make up the kinda bro you want to be and have as your crew.
#1 A GO-TO Bro
Are you a go-to brother or sister? When something needs to be done, leaders ask you. Why? Because they know it will get done in a manner that pleases Christ. We have go-to bros here at FBC–are you one of them?
Look at what Paul says of Timothy in verse 19, “But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.” Paul is not known for positive speak. Paul is sincere and the Greek confirms it. Paul’s hope is a fact. Paul is trusting Christ to send Timothy to the church in Philippi.
When? Quickly–shortly means soon. Paul wants to hurry. Why? Verse 19, “so that” Paul might be encouraged. Encouraged means he might have a good soul. Paul literally expects his agony of heart over their sinful division, persecution and the heretical attacks they face will be replaced by an encouraged heart.
The end of verse 19 tells us how that will happen–see it? “When I learn of your condition”—once Timothy fills me in and I have literally come to be knowing about you, I’ll be encouraged in heart. Timothy is the go-to brother–he’s the one Paul can send. He is the one Paul can trust to accomplish the task. Timothy is the one who will represent Christ in any task.
A go-to bro is one who is busy, but responsible. His yes is yes and his no is no. But if he says yes, you can have absolute confidence and complete trust the assignment will be fully, faithfully, fabulously finished to completion. A go-to bro gets the job done–is that you?
#2 A KINDRED Bro
Look at verse 20, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.” For a fact, Paul says there is no one else like Timothy. ESV says there is no one who will be genuinely concerned. That sounds like an ouch-insult, until you understand the meaning of kindred spirit.
Kindred spirit means one of three things here—1) Timothy is unique, 2) Timothy is the only one who could do this job, or 3) Timothy is just like Paul. Kindred spirit means equal-souled, one-souled, or like-minded. Used in passages describing a disciple being like his teacher, Timothy thought like, related like and ministered like Paul–like his teacher.
Paul seems to be saying Timothy is just like me. Timothy is selfless, and he is legitimately anxious about how the Philippians are doing. There are other awesome men who labor with Paul, but no one who represents the apostle Paul better than Timothy. Timothy is like Paul, a kindred bro–are you?
#3 A Genuinely CONCERNED Bro
Look at verse 20, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.” Why is Timothy a kindred spirit to Paul? Paul says here, Timothy is genuinely concerned for them–that means Timothy is legitimately anxious for others. Timothy is burdened for the Church.
Concerned is the Greek word for anxious, expressing a strong feeling for someone to the point of being genuinely burdened for them. The word concerned is used by Jesus of needless worry. Later in Philippians 4:6, concerned is being anxious. Here, concerned is used in a positive sense, like Paul who had a great concern for all the churches in 2 Corinthians 11:28, “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.”
As an Apostle, Paul was burdened for all the churches. I know I’m often overly burdened for all of you. I know our elders are concerned for your welfare. And Timothy was genuinely anxious for the Philippians. The Greek for genuine is used in Romans 12:9, telling believers to make certain their love is genuine, meaning authentic. And Timothy’s concern for the church in Philippi was authentic, anxious concern. Tim wasn’t all talk–Timothy’s concern for others was real.
Chapter 2 is about humility, being selfless for others. Timothy is functioning at the level of a genuine shepherd. As a living example, Timothy belongs to the maturity club. This is the group of believers who are more concerned about Christ and others than themselves. Timothy is a genuinely concerned bro–are you?
#4 A FIRST-LOVE Bro
Look at verse 21, “For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” Paul says to the Philippians that Timothy actually seeks after their best interests. Timothy is not the guy who shows you he cares about Christ by going on a short-term team. Timothy is not the bro who shows his concern by giving a one-time gift.
No, the tense of the verb seek is continual. Tim is not like those who literally seek themselves continually. No–Timothy is the bro who continually seeks Christ and others. It is so easy to put your plans, your family, your career and your kids first–but to do so is to distort your life and miss the greatest blessings Christ offers.
But if Jesus Christ is your first love, it means not only that Christ is the most important person in your life, but it also means Christ is first in every aspect of your life–first before family, first before friends, first before pleasure, first before sports, first before entertainment, first in everything. You love Christ above your other loves and first with all your loves.
Plus the person who loves Christ first in all things is the one who also loves others with the greatest intensity and greatest consistency–that’s a first-love bro. Other useful brothers like Luke were with Paul in Rome, but they were not kindred, or just like Paul. Many others around Paul were selfish. Paul tells us later, at the end of his life–all deserted me (2 Timothy 4:16). But Timothy was a first-love bro–Tim loved Christ first and as a result, Timothy genuinely loved the Philippians.
People sometimes leave churches, for good and bad reasons. Regardless, when they leave other pastors sometimes categorize them. Sometimes they’re a blessed subtraction. Sometimes they leave and it is a no-difference departure. Sometimes they’re a hurtful disappointment. Sometimes they are a heartache of missing and sadness. And sometimes their departure is like getting your arm cut off, because they love Christ so much. That was Timothy–a first-love bro. Are you one?
#5 A PROVEN Bro
Look at verse 22a, “But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel, like a child serving his father.” Paul reminds the Philippians, you continually know as a fact that Timothy is proven. The word prove is used in Romans 12:2, “to prove the will of God,” 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine [or prove] themselves”, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Examine [or prove] everything carefully.”
Proven doesn’t mean you don’t struggle nor battle through deep trials with your kids or health. Proven means you have a track record. Proven means you have lived the truth over time. Proven means you are approved as genuine in character. Timothy is very young, but Timothy is very seasoned. The Church knew Timothy and trusted Timothy. Timothy’s character was approved after testing.
Once when agitators from Thessalonica forced Paul to leave Berea, Timothy and Silas were entrusted to remain in the midst of those same agitators and carry on the work of Christ. Timothy knew ministry pain and service sacrifice, yet he continued to love Christ and love people according to the Word of God. Timothy is a proven bro–are you?
#6 A SERVANT Bro
Look at verse 22b, “But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.” Paul says, Timothy literally slaved with me, describing the kind of service Tim was known for. Timothy didn’t just show up when he needed to, he was bound to the work of service like a slave.
The Greek word served with me in verse 22 is used in the New Testament to describe enslaved, in bondage, be slaves to and render service. We’d say, “Timothy worked like a dog.” Timothy never quit. Tim was committed to the work. When you asked Timothy at the last minute, when it was the most inconvenient, Timothy would say, “Yes!” Timothy was always there, and Paul could count on him.
Notice the words carefully, Timothy’s service was not service to Paul, but it was service with Paul. He served with me. Timothy served with Paul, but Timothy was serving Christ, with a never-quit, always-on-time, responsible faithfulness. Timothy was the slave of Christ and it clearly showed. Jesus says you’re not to be like others in Luke 22:26, “The one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” Timothy was a servant bro, are you?
#7 A PURPOSEFUL Bro
Look at verse 22c, “But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.” Timothy was serving Christ by being purposeful about our mission. Timothy knew why he was here on Earth. Tim knew he was serving like a slave for the good message.
Timothy surrendered his personal plans for his life and jumped into Stephen Curtis Chapman’s, Great Adventure. Seeking to be fruitful and finding his satisfaction in Christ regardless of the suffering or sacrifice, Timothy sought to clearly explain the message of the Gospel, the good news of how God alone saves sinners.
Like Paul, Timothy considered himself under obligation to preach Christ to everyone. The bad news is you are going to Hell because you’re a sinner and can have no relationship with a sinless God. The good news is God sent His Son to take the punishment we deserve for sin upon the cross. But only if you surrender your life by faith and turn from your sin in repentance–only by exchanging your life for His life can you be saved.
Timothy was purposeful, serving with Paul, verse 22, in the furtherance of the Gospel. Timothy didn’t live for his friends, for comfort, his team, or finding the perfect gal. He lived to share the Gospel. Timothy was a purposeful bro–are you?
#8 A LOYAL Bro
Look at verse 22d, “But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.” The normal duty of a son is to obey his father, but Timothy served with Paul like a child serving his father. It wasn’t duty, but desire. It wasn’t formal, but family. It wasn’t Timothy’s job, it was Timothy’s joy.
Beyond the fact that Paul did lead Timothy to Christ, Paul is describing a loyal bond between these men. There’s no generation gap here. Thousands of years ago, Socrates described the youth of his day in this way, “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect for older people, and act as tyrants. They contradict their parents and tyrannize their teachers.”
But what you see in verse 22 is a family loyalty between this younger bro and older man–why? Both Timothy and Paul were passionately working together–to pursue Christ and accomplish His work in the Church and in the world through the Gospel. There could’ve been jealousy, misunderstanding and undermining. But beyond Timothy not forsaking Paul in prison, Timothy would not even ditch Paul in a crowd.
Instead, with this older man and younger man, there was a loyal partnership–each obeying God’s Word in passionate service to Christ together. Tim served Paul, verse 22, “like a child serving his father.” Timothy was a loyal bro–are you?
#9 An AVAILABLE Bro
Look at verse 23, “Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me.” Paul’s hope here is a continual certainty of sending Timothy quickly. Paul needed Timothy a little longer. Paul seems pretty convinced in this letter he’ll be released from house arrest in Rome, but there are some details Paul still needed Timothy for. As soon as those details are taken care of, Paul will send Timothy to the Philippians.
How can he say that, do that? Timothy is available. He has no agenda except for Christ’s agenda, expressed through his Father in the faith and apostolic mentor. Timothy was an extremely gifted, intelligent, energetic, talented and hardworking young man. Yet he’s available to be at Paul’s beck and call. Beck and call–do you know where that came from? It started in the 14th century, call means to summons, but beck is shortened from beckon. It means to signal silently by a nod of the head or a motion of the hand, indicating a command.
Timothy is available to respond to Paul’s beck and call. Like three of David’s mighty men who, after hearing David’s longing for a drink from the well at Jerusalem, fought through an entire enemy army on their home turf to fulfill their kings desire. Timothy was available to go whenever and wherever Paul sent him. Timothy was an available bro–are you? And finally . . .
#10 A TEAM Bro
Look at verse 24, “and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly.” Paul had been trusting he’d be able to come to Philippi and he’s still trusting in the Lord he’ll be able to come. But Paul is not expressing confidence in his circumstances, but he is believing in the Lord and trusting Christ’s character. Paul says, “I trust in the Lord.”
Both Paul and Timothy put their “trust in the Lord” and not in their current situation or in people. Paul hopes he will be able to get to Philippi shortly, which means quickly, at once, hastily, and easily. Paul and Timothy are working together. Timothy is laboring as a part of a team. Ministry is not all about Timothy or Paul, but about Christ. Ministry is a team effort pursuing Christ’s work together.
Timothy had health weaknesses, battled with lusts and struggled with the insecurity of being young. Just like you, Timothy had weaknesses keeping him dependent and reminding him he needed others. Timothy needed Paul. Second Timothy 3:14, “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them.” Timothy needed Paul. Both Timothy and Paul functioned together as a team, making Timothy a team bro–are you?
So what kinda bro or sis are you? Timothy was the young man with mega weaknesses, yet Tim was living out the worthy walk. He was the go-to guy, trusted by Paul, proven in ministry, genuine of heart, concerned for others, selfless in his labors, focused on the Gospel, loyal to his mentor, committed to the Church and dedicated to the work of Christ. Timothy is your living example of the worthy walk. He’s the evidence you can live for Christ at this level. Timothy’s the model for all believers to follow
1. If you’re young, Timothy is reminding you of your purpose–not to rebel against authority, dismiss your elders, or be distracted with your abilities, but learn to serve Christ, minister within the church and witness in the world. To live 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
One way to become the example is to watch the older generation as examples to follow. Ask them questions in order to become a true disciple of Christ. God designed the younger generation to learn from the older generation. It is God’s will.
2. If you’re older, raise your kids, mentor your class, disciple your students, shepherd your community group to be bold for Christ, to study God’s Word, to serve others with the dedication of a slave and the crazy availability of a Timothy. Show the younger tireless service to the body of Christ, to ministry and with attendance. Be a living example to make pursuing Christ attractive for the young.
3. If you’re unfruitful, ask yourself–what’s my true passion? What’s the focus of my life? What is my mission? Are you more like Philippians 2:21, “For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus” (is that you?), or Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”?
The fruitful live for Christ by the power of the Spirit according to the Word of God. The unfruitful live for themselves by the power of the flesh for their own glory. Start serving others by depending on the Spirit of God by the Word of God for the glory of God and watch what God will do through your faithfulness.
4. If you’re unproven, then commit to faithful ministry. Right now, if you left our church, how would others describe you? A blessed subtraction or would it feel like losing a limb in the body of Christ? Commit to faithful ministry.
5. If you’re unloved, then start loving in community. The world says when you’re unloved, make someone love you. Jesus says when you’re unloved, start faithfully loving others and watch how Christ will lavish you with love.
6. If you’re unsaved, are you lost, confused, uncertain about your relationship with Christ? Then cry out for God to open your proud hard heart to believe Christ is God who became a man to take the punishment for sin you deserve. He died so you would not have to die forever in Hell. And He rose so you could live with God now and forever. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Turn from your sin in repentance and depend on God by faith. Trust in Christ now before it is too late. Let’s pray.