Have you ever experiencing proving yourself? In school, have you tried proving yourself? In family, have you tried proving yourself? In career, have you tried proven yourself? How about in love life, have you tried proving yourself?
I love hearing love stories. Lately, you can see a lot of wedding and grandiose proposal just to show to the whole world their love for each other. We heard about Chito Miranda and Neri’s proposal, we heard about the Youtube couple Jamichi where the girl proposed to his long time boyfriend, and we hear about the wedding of Jericho Rosales and his girlfriend Kim. All these tells us, that as a human being it is just but natural to prove something that we claim.
Today, we will be learning something of similar matter. We will learn that together, Paul and Timothy had taken for themselves the role of a servant in preaching the good news, that in his letters to the Philippian Believers, Paul had commended Timothy, on how they have similar desire, same passion, and above all, similar heart in serving God. “Together, Prove Ourselves”.
Read: (Philippians 2 : 19-24, NKJV)
“(v.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, (v.20)for I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state, (v.21) for all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. (v.22) But you know his proven character that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. (v.23) Therefore I hope to send him at once as soon as I see how it goes with me, (v.24) but I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.”
Paul commends Timothy in his letter to the Philippian Belivers. It is also good to take note that while he express his plans to the Philippian Believers he is also recognizing the fact that he is depending on God’s grace and wisdom if God will permit this particular plan of his.
In his commendation of Timothy it can be clearly seen how Paul characterized Timothy and later we will understand the importance of doing so. As a Christian, we are taught to be united and like-minded in Christ. In the text that we read, Paul was able to demonstrate how he and Timothy is united most specially in serving Christ.
Let us now examine how Timothy was described or characterized by Paul and learned how he can have similar characteristics be found in us. Allow me to share with you two characteristics that Paul commends Timothy.
1. Like Minded – v.20a ‘for I have no one like-minded. . .’ like Timothy. Paul confidently expresses his trust to Timothy. He is confident that Timothy shares the same thoughts, the same affection, and the same beliefs that he has, and that he is assuring the Philippian Believers that having Timothy sent to them is almost the same as having Paul himself going there.
So how are they like-minded? What kind of similarities they share? I pray that our Pastor, our leaders, and even Christ Himself can also confidently say that we, as a congregation, as a body of Christ, are like-minded. Here are some of the following characteristics of Timothy that Paul had express their similarities.
a. Sincere – v.20 ‘. . .sincerely care for your state.’ Timothy genuinely cares for their well being. With Timothy they are ensured to be taken care of as if Paul himself is there, That is how much Timothy was regarded by Paul.
b. Selfless – v.21a ‘. . .for all seek their own. . .’ but not Timothy, he care for others well being before his own.
c. Consistent – v.21b ‘. . .not the things which are of Christ.’ Most believers and “servants” of Christ had fallen astray of their original love and purpose, they now teaches things that are self-serving and self-edifying. But now Timothy, he is consistent in his character, in his belief, and in his passion. Everything that he pursues, he pursue with Christ in his mind.
What a contrast in how we live in our current time and culture. How many of us can honestly say that in whatever we do, whatever we think, and whatever we pursue, we always have Jesus Christ in our mind? When we choose our career, did we choose with Christ in mind? When we pursue our goals, our passion, and our dreams, did we pursue with Christ in mind? When we choose our spouse, did we consider Christ in our mind? Or do we blindly make our decision, following our ‘hearts desire’?
Here we are being taught that Timothy, like Paul, shares the same characteristics that he has, especially when it comes to their everyday, practical living. He is sincere and genuine in taking care of the Lord’s flock; he is selfless and self-serving, putting others interest before his; and finally and most importantly, he is consistent in his faith and attitude with Christ, he put Christ, above everything else, first and foremost in his every decision, every choices, and every action that he makes.
Timothy was commended not only like-minded with Paul, but also of his proven character.
2. Proven Character – v.22 ‘But you know his proven character. . .’ Paul commends Timothy with something that the Philippian Believers can attest themselves. Proven, means, they have witness themselves and seen before their very eyes what Paul is telling them about Timothy. It means, Timothy was able to live consistently with what they are preaching and what they are telling them on how to live as a servant and child of God.
It is good that we go to church on Sundays to attend worship service, it is even better if we also find time and make an effort to be involved in other fellowship as well, but it will be even greater, if find a way to be faithful on our personal devotions and prayer time with God. But you know what makes the most impact to unbelievers and even to weakening believers? It is a proven character. Meaning, everything that we learn from here, we learn from our personal bible study, and we learn from other fellowships, should be clear and evident in our lives. That is why a change life should be clear and visible in our daily living. Everyday is an opportunity to showcase God’s love, grace, and mercy in our lives. This is how we prove our character in Christ.
So how did, Timothy, has proven his character? Paul described Timothy’s proven character like a son to a father. Like a son to a father, he is obedient; like a son to a father, he is faithful; and like a son to a father, he is a servant with Paul. That is why Paul is eager to send Timothy to them, because sending Timothy is almost like him being actually there.
If we truly want to appreciate how Paul regards Timothy you only have to open your bible and you will see the two letters that Paul have given to Timothy and you will have an idea on how Paul regards Timothy. As a son to him, Paul had taught him his responsibility, given him instructions on how to deal with matters of faith, and have encouraged him to remain faithful to the Truth that was taught to him.
In summarizing Timothy’s proven character, allow me to share with you three major proof of his character.
a. Obedient – we can have a clear understanding on how Timothy may have obediently followed and lived a godly life, by examining Paul’s instruction to Timothy on how to conduct himself. In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul instructed Timothy to don’t let anyone think less of him because of his youth, but rather prove himself by being an example. Paul instructed Timothy to be obedient in the word of God by being an example. ‘be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.’ Paul further instructed Timothy in verse 15 and 16 to ‘Give your complete attention to these matters, throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress, (v.16) keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.’
b. Faithful – in 2 Timothy chapter 3, Paul had warned Timothy about the dangers of the last days, and have reminded Timothy how he had live his life, his purpose in life is, and his faith. So he charged Timothy to be like him, to be obedient to the Word of God and to remain faithful to the things that were taught to him. And he can remain faithful by following the scriptures, but he can only follow it if he read them faithfully. That is why it is essential for us to read our bible faithfully and regularly because in times that we are tested, in times we tried, and in times we are facing difficulties, we can remain faithful just like Timothy because through the bible, we can learn how to deal with them. (v.16) ‘All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (v.17) God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.’
c. Servant – Like Paul, Timothy has a duty bound to share the good news, like Paul he is a servant of Christ, not servant of Paul, by preaching the Good News, and what is the Good News? This is how Paul described the Good News to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:9-10; ‘(v.9) For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, NOT because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from the beginning of time – to show us His grace through Christ Jesus (v.10) and now He has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way of life and immortality through the Good News.
This is how Timothy has proven his character, which the Philippian believers can attest for themselves. For Paul he is a son to a father. Like a son to a father, he is obedient; like a son to a father, he is faithful; and like a son to a father, he is a servant with Paul. That is why Paul is eager to send Timothy to them, because sending Timothy is almost like him being actually there.
How are we proving our character? How do we work out our salvation? Do we actively make an effort to prove our faith in our everyday life? It is hard, I know, I am not pretending it to be easy. But if consider ourselves genuinely a child of God, like Paul, like Timothy, we should prove our faith in everyday practical living.
Can we do it? Of course we can, we are already doing it on non essential things, like when you are in love, is it enough to tell your spouse or your significant other that you love them? No, even if you tell them that, you still need to prove it. In school, how can you show that you are a good student, or that you excel as a student? Do you accomplish it by boasting and announcing about it? No, you have to prove it with grades, and in order to get that grades, you have to do hard work, study countless hours, submit excellent project, you do everything to prove that you are a good student. In home, how can we claim that we are a good child? You prove it! How? by being obedient and respectful to your parents. In God, how can we proclaim that we are genuinely child of God? We prove it! We work out our salvation! We reflect in our lives what we believe in and show them the changes brought about not by our own understanding and ability, but by the grace, tender mercies, and love of God. We show them a proof! We prove to them, with CHANGE LIFE.
Today’s message is a reminder not only for you, not only for me, but for each and every one of us. Also it serves as an encouragement and a challenge. An encouragement for us to be like minded, to share the same passion, the same attitude, and the same purpose in Christ, and as a challenge to prove ourselves to the world, prove them the faith we all believe in by being obedient, follow the commandment of God, fulfil his great commission; by being faithful, read the word of God, open your bible, make a conscious effort in diligently studying them; and being a servant for Christ, be part of the revolution, make an effort to serve God, prove your worth, He has given so much to us, it is only natural for us to be grateful by doing something in the service of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. May we, as a church, as one body of Christ, as a one family in Christ hear this message today. “Together, Prove ourselves”.