How Do You Pass On A Godly Heritage? 2 Timothy
2 Timothy 1:1-5 ; 3:14-17
Stephen Caswell © 1999
Illustration Of Passing on a Godly Heritage
Dr G. Campbell Morgan had four sons - all of whom followed his example by becoming ministers. It’s reported that at a family reunion a friend asked one of the sons, “ Which Morgan is the greatest preacher? ” That’s easy, “ the son replied. ” Mother! “ This son recognised the important role that his mother had in the family!
Today is mother’s day. So I thought I would talk about the role of being a mother and a grandmother. Today these positions are often belittled. But they are just as important today as they have ever been. But you fathers and grandfathers can listen too. Lois and Eunice are not very well known and only mentioned once in the Bible. But their grandson and son is. Timothy was a faithful servant of the Lord in the early church. Paul thought very highly of him and greatly appreciated this young man. Timothy was greatly influenced by both his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois. These two ladies provide a wonderful example of passing on a godly heritage. I would like to look at how Timothy turned out first.
I. Timothy - My Dearly Beloved Son
2 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul was not Timothy’s father. This probably refers to his relationship to Timothy in the faith. Paul was Timothy’s mentor. Timothy was Paul’s protege’. Paul was very fond of Timothy whom he met on his first or second missionary journey to Galatia. [Acts 16:1-2] Paul remembers 3 things about Timothy in these verses.
I Remember You
2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers night and day;
Firstly Paul Remembered Timothy’s Ministry
Paul had placed Timothy into the position of chief elder or pastor of the large church at Ephesus. Timothy was serving here when Paul wrote the two epistles bearing his name. Paul remembered Timothy’s faithfulness to the Lord and wrote to encourage him. He instructed him how to lead this large church. Paul gave thanks to the Lord for Timothy as he continually remembered him. Paul literally said I have joy before God as I remember you unceasingly. Timothy brought continual joy to Paul’s heart. He prayed for Timothy night and day. This shows the special place that Timothy had won in Paul’s heart. Philippians 2:19-22
But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
Secondly Paul Remembered Timothy’s Sincerity
2 Timothy 1:4-5a Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you
Paul remembered the tears Timothy had cried on a previous occasion. It may have been when Paul was rearrested and placed in prison. Timothy was a very sincere young man who cared for the Lord’s apostle. In fact Paul said that he cared for all of God’s people this way. Timothy had learnt what it meant to be a servant. He was sincere in all he did and wept for Paul as he was imprisoned for the Lord. Timothy was sincere and this meant much to Paul. In verse 5 Paul says that Timothy had a genuine faith. He told Timothy that he had been persuaded that he was the genuine article. Some people profess to be Christians but their lives don’t back up their profession. This was not the case with Timothy. Paul saw God at work in His heart and knew for sure he was sincere. His faith was the genuine kind.
Thirdly Paul Remembered Timothy’s History
2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Paul knew that the genuine faith that Timothy exercised was part of a godly heritage that had been passed on to him. His grandmother Lois was the first member of his family to believe in Christ. She shared her faith with Eunice her daughter who in turn believed in Jesus Christ. Then both of them passed on this rich Christian heritage to Timothy. They did this I believe through 2 methods.
1. Example - By Living Out The Faith
Timothy’s grandmother was the first to believe. Paul says that the faith dwelt in them. This word dwell means to inhabit or to be infixed. The idea portrayed is that of permanent residency. They didn’t behave one way at church and then completely differently during the week. Their faith was a consistent pattern. The word genuine or unfeigned means without hypocrisy. Their faith was not just words or knowledge, it was much deeper than that.
Paul says that this genuine faith was passed on from Lois to Eunice and then on to Timothy. Paul knew that Timothy had the privilege of growing up with a godly heritage. He knew the blessing that this brings since he had mentioned his own heritage in verse 3. Genuine faith is contagious to those who come into contact with it. Nothing puts people off more than hypocrisy. People who say one thing but live another. The old saying do what I say not what I do is so true. It seems that Timothy’s father was a Greek who did not believe in Christ. But that did not prevent his mother and grandmother leading him to faith in Christ.
I am sure that Timothy would have been surrounded with love and discipline. His mother and grandmother would have invested time and effort into training this young boy. The way he grew into a godly man was no accident. Many hours of prayer, coupled with love, correction and their own example helped shape Timothy into the man of God that he was. Those four things are essential. Love, Prayer, Discipline, Example. Children spell love, T.I.M.E. Paul wrote to Titus concerning the important roles of being a mother or grandmother. Titus 2:3-5: The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Make Them Proud
As parents, we desperately want to be proud of our children, but perhaps our first concern should making them proud of us. The story is told of a Christian writer who had received an award, the publisher sent him a roll of gold stickers designed to grace the book covers. His eight year old daughter saw them, and asked if she could have a few, with no idea what they represented. They took their place next to the cartoon character stickers on the door of her room. She cared a lot more about the willingness of her dad to share them than what they stood for. It is not our accomplishments that influence our children, but our character. It is not what we do, but who we are that counts to them. Our children - whether toddlers, teens or young adults - are more impressed by the tone of our voice than by the size of the contract we win at work. They care more about how well we listen than how well we dress. It is the moral choices we make, not the championships we win that produce that elusive quality called respect.
Timothy saw living proof of the Christian life in his mother and grandmother. Their lives had a tremendous influence on young Timothy and pointed him to Christ. There is an old saying regarding Christianity, that more is caught than taught. Our lives speak just as loud if not louder than our words. What sort of example are you setting before your children and grandchildren? Is your life consistent through out the week? Or do you behave differently at church than you do at home? Nothing turns people away from the Lord faster than hypocrisy! Do your children or grandchildren see genuine faith dwelling in you? Do you spend time with them? Do you listen to them? Are you using love, discipline, prayer and example?
2. Education - By Teaching The Faith
A. Scriptures Enable Conversion - Through Faith - [they give birth to a child of God]
2 Timothy 3:14-15 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
a. The teacher. knowing of whom thou hast learned them
The word whom is plural and points to his mother and grandmother. They were the ones who taught Timothy. Paul reminded Timothy that his mum and grandma had taught him. I believe Paul stated this here to remind him that their teaching was credible because their lives were consistent. They demonstrated genuine faith. Their faith was free of hypocrisy. That gave their words so much more authority. They practiced what they preached. They were careful to live and teach the same thing. There was no double standard.
b. The Student. And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures,
Timothy had been taught the Bible from childhood. The word child actually means baby or infant. Timothy had been taught the word of God during those young tender years when the heart is soft. But not only did they teach Timothy the Scriptures. He knew it. This is something entirely different. They were careful to test him and make sure that he knew the word. The word know means that he learnt it and retained it in his memory. They had done a good job teaching him. This would have required patience and persistence. The words translated holy Scriptures carry the idea of sacred letters. Timothy had been taught the Old Testament from his earliest years. His mother a Jewess, followed their custom of teaching their children to memorise parts of the law. The Anabaptists were well known for teaching 2-3 year olds the word of God in a loving atmosphere. They have set a good example for us.
c. The Purpose. which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Learning the Scriptures provided Timothy with a solid foundation to point him to the Saviour. The word translated make thee wise also means to enlighten. God’s word throws light on our darkened heart pointing out our sin. As Timothy learned God’s word he came to understand his own need for a Saviour. This is one of the purposes of God’s law. It convicts us of sin. This leads us to realise our need for salvation which only God can give us. God’s word is called a mirror in James 1:23. It shows us what we look like. As we continue to look into the mirror God points out our sin which only He can remove when we ask Him to.
This only happens when we place our faith in Jesus Christ. The Scriptures point out our need for salvation, but they do not provide it to us. This only happens as we believe the message and personally place our faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 10:15b-17 As it is written: ”How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!“ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ”Lord, who has believed our report?“” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
d. The Command. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of
Paul approved of Timothy’s Christian heritage. In fact he commanded him to continue in it. He had been given the right foundation for his life. He only needed to continue in the things he had learned. This is why it is so important to teach children the Bible. It is just what they need then they are young and all they will ever need for life. Timothy was assured of this too.
There was a small boy who was intrigued by a large cucumber. It was no different from other cucumbers except that it was in a bottle. The opening of the bottle was far to small for the cucumber to be placed in there. The boys uncle who had put the cucumber in the bottle wouldn’t tell him how he had done it. The boy thought that his uncle must have been very clever. Finally the boys mother told him how the cucumber got in there. The boy’s uncle had placed it in there when it was very small and could fit through the neck of the bottle. He allowed it to grow there still attached to the vine. When it was grown he cut it from the vine.
Mothers need to apply those same principles to their children. They can surround their children with prayer and instruction and the Gospel. They can place them in the protective surroundings of a truly Christian home. This protects them in those informative years from the dangers of the world. Growing up in a secure environment of love and truth they find it much easier to find salvation through Jesus Christ. Our children need this sort of protection.
Lois and Eunice were faithful to teach Timothy God’s word from infancy. They gave up the time necessary to teach Timothy God’s word. Do you have a regular family devotions with your children? Are you encouraging your children to memorise Scripture verses? Scriptures in song can be a great way to teach your children Bible verses. Do you quiz them to make sure they are learning it well? Bible stories are a great foundation to point children to the Lord. They help prepare their hearts for salvation. Do you point your children to Jesus the saviour? Do you tell them often how He loves them and wants to save them? Do you share with them the way of salvation? There is nothing more wonderful than leading your children to salvation. If you're not reading the Bible to your children, can I encourage you to start now.
B. Scriptures Enable Completion - Through Obedience [to grow a man of God]
In verses 14-15, we have just seen how knowledge of God’s word with faith in Christ gives birth to a child of God. In verses 16-17 we see how that study and obedience to the word of God grows the man of God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
a. It’s Worth All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
This verse tells us the source of the Scriptures. It all comes from God. The whole 66 books. Every part is inspired. The word inspiration comes from two words Theos God, and pneuma breath. Together it literally means God Breathed. God breathed out the words on the sacred page. They say exactly what God intended them to. 2 Peter 1:20-21 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Because it is God’s word it is very valuable and completely reliable. It is also profitable for four things.
1. for doctrine, The Scriptures tell us what is right. The word doctrine means teaching about something. God’s word tells us the truth about heaven, hell, salvation, judgement, God, Satan. They reveal to us God’s standard of perfection. What he expects from us.
2. for reproof, The Scriptures also tell us what is not right. The word reproof means refute or rebuke. God’s word points out sin and error. It condemns sinful living and points it out.
3. for correction, The Scriptures tell us how to get right. Correction means to set things right, reformation. The gospel tells us how to get right with God. They tell us we need to repent and believe in Christ. They also tell us we must confess our sin after we are saved too.
4. for instruction in righteousness. The Scriptures tell us how to stay right. This word means discipline. They show us how to live a life pleasing to God. Training is a good word here. God’s word trains in the ways of Godly living. They are our manual on Christian living. But unfortunately today, most people look elsewhere for truth. This poem says it well.
Miriam by John Greenleaf Whittier
We search the world for truth. We cull
The good, the pure, the beautiful,
From graven stone and written scroll,
From all old flower-fields of the soul;
And, weary seekers of the best,
we come back laden from the quest,
To find that all the sages said
Is in the book our mothers read.
The fourfold instruction of the Bible is balanced, and just what we need. The Bible gives us the whole counsel of God that we need to follow. Remember all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable. Both the Old and the New Testaments. Therefore let us study it ourselves and teach our children.
b. It’s Work
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The reason for studying the word of God is so that we can be men of God. A man or woman starts as a child but has gone on to maturity. The word perfect or complete means entirely suited, capable, proficient, able to meet all demands. A child cannot handle the difficult situations of life very well. They need their parents help. A mature person knows how to handle themselves in the world. By learning God’s word and obeying it we are competent in the Christian life. We live for God’s glory and demonstrate this in our behaviour. The word thoroughly furnished means to be totally equipped. God’s word equips us to show forth good works. Obviously it isn’t knowledge of the word that brings forth good works, but obedience to it.
James 1:22-25 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Remembrance Today we saw how Paul remembered Timothy for 3 main things.
a. His Ministry - Timothy had become a wonderful pastor at the church in Ephesus. Paul was able to send him to many places on his behalf because of his dependability.
b. His Sincerity - Paul knew that Timothy was sincere. He knew Timothy’s faith was genuine. His life showed it in godly living. There wasn’t any doubt about it.
c. His History - Paul knew that Timothy’s faith was part of a rich Christian heritage. His grandmother had come to Christ first. Then his mother followed this example. This led to Timothy coming to Christ whilst he was young. Who wouldn’t like to have a son like Timothy? Would you like your Children to have genuine faith? How do you leave a godly heritage? By Example and Education.
They lived out their faith before Timothy. Their faith was without hypocrisy. These ladies practiced what they preached. Could this be said of you? Or do you behave differently at church than you do at home? Our lives must be consistent if we are to be effective.
a. Its Worth
The Bible is completely reliable because God breathed it. This fact guarantees that it is all true and therefore dependable. It is valuable since it has the 4 types of teaching that we need.
1. for doctrine, The Scriptures tell us what is right. True teaching on all matters.
2. for reproof, The Scriptures also tell us what is not right. Error and sin.
3. for correction, The Scriptures tell us how to get right. Conversion and confession.
4. for instruction in righteousness. The Scriptures tell us how to stay right.Training discipline
b. Its Work
It enlightens us to the way of salvation through faith. Knowledge of God’s word enlightens us to our need for salvation. Yet it is only as we exercise faith and obedience to God’s word that we become a child of God. This is why it is so important that we teach our children. It gives them a foundation for life. It also equips us to become mature Christians. It is the manual for Christianity. As we study God’s word we are shown how to live the Christian life. But not until we obey the word do we bring forth good works and become men of God.
Lois ad Eunice taught Timothy the Holy Scriptures from infancy. This involved patience, time and persistence. Do you teach the Scriptures to your children? Do you tell them of God’s love and how He longs to save them? Do you share with them what Jesus has done for them? Do you point them to the saviour? The Scriptures give your children a solid grounding for life. Through them they can gain salvation and assurance. Through them they can go on to become mature men of God, completely equipped for every good work.
Benediction 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.