Again this week in our beloved nation tragedy struck in the form of mass murder. News headlines report that the largest mass killing in America's history has taken place in Orlando, Florida. What is supposed to be one of the worlds most peaceful and pleasureful places on earth was disrupted by hatred, killing and misery. In one week a young, upcoming christian female singer was shot and killed. A few days later 50 people were murdered in a popular nightclub and another 50 or so were wounded. And a few days later at Disney World a family while on vacation suddenly were plunged into the most horrific event of their lives as there little two year old was attacked by an alligator and drowned. All these tragic events happening to people while they are seeking some pleasure and perhaps seeking some form of peace.
Again and again when these type of things happen the people ask the question WHY! And then they ask WHAT can we do. Our national leaders begin to push for solutions they think can solve such things. Gun control, better police work, heightened security measures, improved ways to allow others into our country and other such things are discussed as possible solutions. Pressure is applied by our leaders to pass more laws and restrict freedom in more areas in pursuit of safety only perhaps to make us a more unsafe society. Opinions of all types, on all sides only dividing us in deeper ways and creating more unrest along the way!
So what is the answer? What is the solution? What would stop all this needless killing of people by people? And what one day will even tame the wild animals to change their natural instinct to protect themselves and survive by killing that which poses a threat? May I suggest that the answer and solution is peace in the life of humans and even in the life of animals. As we read God's Holy Bible we find in the books like Isaiah, Revelation and others that when Jesus returns to this earth that man will live in peace one with another, and even wild beasts like the lion will live at peace the lamb. You ask how can that be? It is because Jesus will rule on this earth by ruling in the heart and nature of all his creation with his peace. The curse will be removed and peaceful living will return to earth in that wonderful 1000 Millennial reign of Christ.
You may ask is there any hope until then? The Bible answer is YES indeed. There is hope for at least man to live at peace with man to some degree. You see America's greatest problem is the lack of peace within the majority of it's citizens. Our society promotes materialism and secularism which in reality produces greed, lust and unhappiness. A lifestyle of such attitude and action only produce sever frustration and anger toward each other. The only answer is to have an internal peace that is only found in Jesus. To be at peace with God via the new birth and to have the peace of God via the power of God within. To receive Jesus by faith as personal Savior and to have Him dwell inside of our life bringing us peace with Him and to experience his peace inside of us. Then and then only will man learn to live with man in peace. JESUS IS THE ANSWER!
" From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence even of your lusts that war in your members ( Bodies)? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not." James 4:1-2
It is time to ask Jesus for our individual peace and then to yield to his work in us to become gentle, kind long suffering, forgiving, patient, joyful, kind, and peaceful and as we seek such lives we will be able to live more peacefully together! I know because we live in a sin cursed world that it will never be perfect til Jesus returns but it can be better. It can be more peaceful if we as families, congregations, and citizens allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts instead of greed and lust. May we plead with God for such in our own heart, homes and neighborhoods all the time pleading such for others as well.
A close study of the scripture reveals that when God raises up a man or women to become a leader for His cause a movement develops around their personality. During their lifetime of ministry they will have a following and a great influence for the truth of God and His word. But a greater test of their leadership and influence will be how the work of their influence survives once they are removed from this life. The great preacher J. Oswald Sanders once said concerning pastor leaders, " If he is to discharge his trust fully he will devote time to training younger men ( & women) to succeed and perhaps even supersede him." We must remember that the great leader Moses handed over Israel's leadership to Joshua, King David to his son Solomon, even our Lord turned over his earthly ministry to men & women. All believers received the truth of God's word and His gospel from those who came before them and one day would leave them. And the next generation is responsible to pass that influential truth on to the next generation. Parents in particular are to do this ( Deut 6:6-9) along with pastors ( 2nd Tim 2 ) and all leaders in the great Kingdom of God!
The Apostle Paul understood very clearly the power in obeying this principle of training others to replace him one day. he grasped the truth that he would depart this world one day and that the only way another generation of people would hear truth and know the gospel of grace depended upon his training others to spend their lives doing the same as he. The size of Paul's influence on others will only be seen in heaven. Yet two men stand out, he led them both to Christ and personally disciples them into mature leaders of their time. Timothy and Titus both and only are called by Paul as " My true child in the faith" ( 1st Tim 1:2 & Titus 1:4 ). Timothy was clearly Paul's protege, his spiritual son and constant companion in the ministry. It was primarily on Timothy that the mantle of Paul's leadership fell ( 2nd Timothy 2:2). The New Testament reveals that Paul took him in not only as a worker but a son. He spent years training, teaching, and protecting him. Timothy availed himself to all Paul was pouring into his life. He was became Paul's right hand man, their hearts were knit and minds were common. Near the end of Paul's life he calls for Timothy " to make every effort to come see him soon" ( 2nd Tim 4:9 ). He wanted to see him one last time. We are unsure if Timothy made it to Rome before his death but it was Paul's last request to see his son in the faith. The last letters of Paul were written to Timothy and Titus as he gave final instructions and exhortations to those who would extend his ministry as they accomplished their own.
Timothy as Paul his mentor and model leader would also suffer persecution. He was later imprisoned for the cause of Christ ( Hebrews 13:23). Tradition says Timothy suffered martyrdom in the closing years of the first century for opposing the worship of the false goddess Diana at Ephesus where he served as pastor for many years. Like Paul his example " he fought the good fight and finished his course and kept the faith" ( 2nd Tim 4:7 ).
Young Timothy especially to young believers is a model of faithfulness to follow and Older Timothy encourages each older saint to remain faithful to the end. His life characterizes true faith to follow, a man of proven worth . Philippians 2:19 reveals that Timothy had the same heart, love for people, message, doctrine, and strength that Paul had. Paul sensed in sending Timothy to the Philippians that he was sending himself. That whatever Timothy would say, do or lead in would be exactly what he would do if he were there himself. 1st Corinthians 4:17 teaches that because Paul wanted the Corinthians to imitate him he was sending Timothy to remind them of his ways which would be found in Timothy.
Paul lists 7 truths about Timothy that made him a qualified role model.
1. Timothy chose the right example. (2nd Timothy 3:10-17)
2. Timothy had a compassionate heart. ( Philippians 2:20)
3. Timothy focused on the right things. ( Philippians 2:21)
4. Timothy was a man of integrity. ( Philippians 2:22)
5. Timothy was humble. ( Philippians 2:22)
6. Timothy lived a sacrificial life. ( Philippians 2:22 )
7. Timothy made himself available. ( Philippians 2:23)
Some Final Thoughts!
Think with me about the importance of each of us finding someone to invest our life into. I mean really investing our all into someone and making a difference for the next generation. Secondly think about the importance of taking our lives and letting someone have that kind of influence in our life. To seek out the right kind of person and allowing them complete access into our hearts, minds, and souls. To seek out a truly dedicated, completely surrendered and sold out Christian who God's hand is on and letting them train, teach and hold you accountable. Think of the eternal power of such. IT TAKES TWO. By the way the best trainers are usually the be trainees.
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.