71% people between 18-23 drop out of church for at least a year even if actively involved in roles of youth leadership, etc. If an older adult stays in touch with them this drops dramatically. A text every other week is enough of a contact to cut that statistic by 50%!
Paul embraces next generation leaders to encourage them forward in the call of God. 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus are known as the three pastoral letters.
In 1 Timothy we find Paul, an apostle with an amazing heart for the ministry of Jesus expressed through the church, writing in his 60’s. He’s writing to young Timothy, a true son in the faith, (probably 40 years old). Paul and Timothy clearly have an intimate father son spiritual mentoring relationship.
When we understand the generational plan for our faith the young are validated and the aged are valued. Elisha saw Elijah as a part of his destiny rather than a hindrance to the new thing God was doing. The Holy Spirit utilized the old-school Festival of Pentecost to kick off something new in Acts.
Encouragement comes from brothers but there is a blessing that comes from fathers. Isaac released something of substance to Jacob when he blessed him thinking he was Esau. Later Esau begged for him to bless him but Isaac couldn’t give what he’d already given away. This is a significant occurrence in scripture that helps us see the importance of the blessing of fathers in our lives.
Tracy and I purposed to invite mentors into our lives from the very beginning of our marriage. We pursued mentors in the areas of faith, marriage, money, parenting, church leadership, etc. It is important for all of us to find examples of what we want to aim for so we can invite their input before making decisions.
Over the years we’ve been invited to mentor others. So often people make up their minds about a decision they want to make and then come to us asking for endorsement thinking they are asking for advice. When you’ve already made up your mind without the input from a mentor you’ve excluded their valuable input from the most critical time. Inviting others to help us see correctly so we can draw conclusions from a pure heart and a good conscience is something Paul was pointing toward with Timothy.
1 Tim 1:3-6 …command certain people not to…things (that) promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. NIV
Sensationalist distractions have been a problem from the beginning. Some people just want to chase ideas that stir up controversy enjoying the attention that comes from the controversy. The goal of God’s commands are love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith.
The idea of a “sincere faith” is an interesting one. This comes from the Greek word “anupokritos” and is literally an anti-hypocrite or the opposite of a hypocrite. In Biblical terms the word hypocrite references a person assuming the character of another like an actor. A sincere faith is the “inability to act” meaning the person is being true to who they are.
Paul’s encouragement to young timothy was a fatherly encouragement to be true to himself, rather than feeling the need to present something else. Friends are inclined toward reputation discovered by what friends you identify with, “the in crowd”, jocks, nerds, etc. Fathers are inclined toward character more than reputation.
Your reputation is who others think you are. Your character is who you truly are.
1 Tim 4:12-15 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress NIV
Moving back to the first chapter of Timothy there is an important truth for us to embrace.
1 Tim 1:18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.
Our inclination is to get a word from God and then take a “wait and see” attitude wondering if it will come to pass. Words God gives you are to become weapons you use to fight bringing things to pass. Embrace them! Rehearse them! Refuse to let the enemy talk you out of what God told you is true.
GP4RL: Pray about how you can mentor the next generation.
DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY GROUP LEADERS
OVERVIEW SUMMARY FOR THE LEADERS:
Just for reference. Not necessarily to be read to group.
1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus are recognized as the 3 Pastoral letters in Scripture. The first few verses introduce us to the two main characters in the book. Paul, an apostle who has an amazing heart for the ministry of Jesus expressed through the church, is writing here in his 60’s. Paul is writing to Timothy (probably 40 years old) who Paul references as his son having developed an intimate father son spiritual mentoring relationship.
Paul’s writings here address the importance of healthy church leadership as he exposes erroneous teaching and communicates helpful guidelines. Our goal in our groups this week is to get an overview of the book of 1 Timothy and to understand the importance of having lives that are shaped by the Gospel. This requires us to have some understanding of false doctrines that can easily confuse believers, especially those who neglect reading their Bibles.
DISCUSSION ICE BREAKER:
1. Share a time when you made some decision based on information you believed that you later figured out was not correct causing you to regret the decision you’d made.
Paul writes to Timothy exposing beliefs that were being taught in the church that were wrong.
1 Tim 1:3-5 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. NIV
2. What are some common beliefs of our day that are widely embraced yet violate Biblical truth?
3. Notice verse 5 – what does it look like for us to live out a love coming from a pure heart, good conscience and a sincere faith?
Paul is fathering and mentoring Timothy helping him call distractions to order.
4. Share a time somebody you would count as a mentor figure in your life helped you avoid a decision or way of thinking that could have been damaging.
1 Tim 1:12-14 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. NIV
5. What is one area for you that has been met with God’s grace bringing transformation to your life?
1 Timothy 5 talks about how the Gospel should shape the church community, not just our individual lives. Paul gives Timothy various instructions to the church concerning the gospel, community, remarriage, and eldership.
6. How have you seen gospel community lived out in the various contexts of relationship?
Conclude by having a discussion about how your group specifically can more effectively care for each others’ needs as a family within the Destiny family.
MESSAGE INTRO: 1st & 2nd TIMOTHY AND TITUS:
Christians are quite serious in believing that when they gather together for worship and work, God is present and sovereign, really present and absolutely sovereign. God creates and guides, God saves and heals, God corrects and blesses, God calls and judges. With such comprehensive and personal leadership from God, what is the place of human leadership?
Quite obviously, it has to be second place. It must not elbow its way to the front, it must not bossily take over. Ego-centered, ego-prominent leadership betrays the Master.
The best leadership in spiritual communities formed in the name of Jesus, the Messiah, is inconspicuous, not calling attention to itself but not sacrificing anything in the way of conviction and firmness either.
In his letters to two young associates—Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete—we see Paul encouraging and guiding the development of just such leadership. What he had learned so thoroughly himself, he was now passing on, and showing them, in turn, how to develop a similar leadership in local congregations.
This is essential reading because ill-directed and badly formed spiritual leadership causes much damage in souls. Paul in both his life and his letters shows us how to do it right.
Who wrote the book?
The first of Paul’s final series of letters—which along with 2 Timothy and Titus are called the Pastoral Epistles—1 Timothy offers practical and pastoral advice from the aging apostle Paul to a young pastor named Timothy working in the church at Ephesus. More than a decade prior to writing this letter, Paul had first met Timothy in the city of Lystra—in Asia Minor—where Timothy was known and respected by the Christians (Acts 16:1–4). Upon recognizing Timothy’s impressive qualities, Paul recruited the young man to travel with him as he continued his second missionary journey. The presence of Timothy would have met an important need for Paul, their friendship coming on the heels of Paul’s split with his close friend and partner in missions, Barnabas (15:36–41).
Where are we?
The Bible’s silence on the ultimate fate of Paul has engendered a great deal of debate in modern times. The book of Acts ends with Paul sitting in a Roman prison awaiting his hearing before the Roman emperor, a privilege of appeal that all Roman citizens possessed. However, the writing of the Pastoral Epistles clearly dates to a time after the events of Acts. So where was Paul when he wrote 1 Timothy? Paul had expected the Romans to release him from prison, something that likely happened near the end of AD 62 (Philippians 2:24). His release allowed him the opportunity to travel to Ephesus and eventually place Timothy in ministry at that church. Paul then went on to preach in Macedonia, where he heard reports of Timothy’s work at Ephesus that prompted him to write 1 Timothy, probably in AD 63.
Why is First Timothy so important?
First Timothy presents the most explicit and complete instructions for church leadership and organization in the entire Bible. This includes sections on appropriate conduct in worship gatherings, the qualifications of elders and deacons, and the proper order of church discipline. Paul advised Timothy on these practical matters in a way that would have helped the young pastor to emphasize the purity that should characterize Christian leaders and the gatherings they oversee.
What's the big idea?
Timothy’s youth no doubt served him well, allowing for the energy and vigor he needed to serve his people. However, it also caused inevitable difficulties with older Christians who may not have taken quickly to the leadership of such a young man because of his lack of knowledge and experience in leadership. It was important to Paul that Timothy set an example of consistent faith and a good conscience, remaining above reproach and exercising the spiritual gifts that God had given him (1 Timothy 4:12–16).
However, Paul knew that such a task would not be easy for the young man. Therefore, on two occasions Paul encouraged Timothy to “fight the good fight” (1:18; 6:12). Perseverance in what was good often became a slog for Timothy, one that required thick skin and a clear purpose.
How do I apply this?
The leaders of our churches fill important roles as they participate in encouraging the spiritual growth of Christians under their care. We know the significance of these men in our churches and in our personal lives, but 1 Timothy helps us to gain a clearer understanding of the proper qualifications and roles for church leaders. Paul’s letter shows us those things he hoped Timothy would address in his ministry, providing a template of sorts that our leaders can follow in their own ministries.
How do your leaders implement Paul’s exhortations in 1 Timothy? Our churches will be strongest when they are closest to the biblical vision laid out for them. As you look at your church or look for a new one, consider the priorities of the leaders. Look for an emphasis on sound doctrine, on purity within the leaders’ personal lives, and on living out the Christian faith by example. Find those qualities, and you will more than likely find a church where you can thrive.