Monday, November 03, 2014

" . . . and Timothy, our brother."

Paul does not write to the Corinthian church alone for we find in the opening verses, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother” [2 Cor 1:1 ESV]. Immediately we discover that Paul’s concerns for the Corinthian church are shared.

What do we know about Timothy? A little study will show that Timothy and Paul are peas in a pod. Timothy’s mother mother was Jewish and his father was Greek. (Acts 16:1 and 2 Tim 1:5). Timothy was also follower of Christ, probably a convert from Paul’s first missionary journey which included Lystra, a Roman colony with Greek Culture that was home to Timothy.

Paul calls Timothy, our brother.” A few verses down we learn that Timothy was with with Paul during his initial ministry in Corinth (see v. 19) then later sent back by Paul to continue ministry in Corinth; however, his ministry was not successful so he was replaced by Titus. Yet Paul calls Timothy “our brother”. Two thoughts:

First, Timothy was part of a gospel ministry that produced results, and this very church was the evidence. “For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Cor 4:17). But there is another side to this: an enemy is present. When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.” (1Co 16:10-11) Conflict with the enemy is unavoidable; but, who is the enemy? The one doing the Lord’s work? Paul is reminding this church that Timothy is (literally) “of the same womb.”

Second, as Paul told them earlier: don’t despise Timothy because he is being obedient to God’s call in his life. Remember, brotherhood was defined by Jesus as the one who does the will of God. The Corinthians were deceived by self-made so-called “apostles”-- clearly NOT “brothers.” Corinth got to the point they opposed Paul and Timothy, challenging their credentials and authority of their ministry.

Paul’s carefully chosen words speak loudly to the church concerning brotherhood.

  1. Brotherhood points out a Parent: we have The Father;
  2. Brotherhood reveals our Position: we are Family;
  3. Brotherhood indicates the Church’s Power: we have Function;
  4. Brotherhood describes Church’s Production: we make Followers;
  5. Brotherhood explains our Practice: we have Fellowship;
  6. Brotherhood demonstrates our Performance: we Fortify;
  7. Brotherhood announces our Peace: we are Friends;
  8. Brotherhood discloses our Philanthropy: we are phenomenal!
  9. Brotherhood declares our Profession: we have Faith!

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