Tim – Time

					                                       Appearance of Timothy
                                            Acts 16 – 1 – 3
                                           Son in the Faith
                                           2 Timothy 2:1-8
                                           Rev. Jay Martin
                             First Presbyterian Church, Washington, NC
                                           August 15, 2004

Family Traditions: This is a traditional church. Who are we kidding? Some of you are sitting in
the same pews where your mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers sat generations
before you. As such, your practice of life and faith is built upon a sacred heritage. What are some
of the other signs that mark your sense of family tradition? What has been passed along from one
generation to the next that you still hold dear? In many cases, the family dinner table offers some
connection clues.

Just two weeks ago, I attended the wedding of my first cousin in Charlotte. Our grandparents on
that side of the family have been gone for over 20 years. Yet, he chose for the rehearsal dinner
menu, the very meal that was served every Christmas Eve as the family gathered; beef tenderloin,
twice baked potatoes, string beans, sweet tea and layered coconut cake for dessert. This meal is
sacred in our tradition and is still served by both our mothers on Christmas Eve to this day
(although my sacrifice for you in ministry means that I never get to eat it!).

What is it that we pass along from one generation to another? And what traditions are worth
guarding and fighting for? And should the passing along of that which is sacred be limited to
immediate family or even church alone? Our encounter here in Acts and the letter to young
Timothy is very instructive in these matters. Timothy is the first third generation Christian that we
read about in the New Testament. According to the story, he has inherited the faith of his
grandmother Lois and mother Eunice in spite of the unbelief of his Greek father. He is mentioned
in no less than ten different books or letters of the New Testament and is a young man who
struggles with timidity and identity in his youthfulness. And Paul has become for Timothy an
adoptive Father in the Faith. This is a model to the church about the nature of the covenant vows
we take at the baptism of a child. We are an extension of God the Father‟s adoptive care. Lois
and Eunice had the primary role of building faith in Timothy, but I guarantee that Paul
communicated with them at some point his intention to take this promising young disciple and
pour life and faith into him on top of the foundation he had laid. (Purpose Driven family closer –
there is a friend closer than a brother – Jesus said who are my mother and brothers? Those who
trust in the Lord) Let's consider for a moment the nature of the relationship between Paul and

In modern parlance, Paul is a mentor to Timothy but so much more. In each letter to Timothy,
Paul opens with a clear declaration of his understanding of the nature of the relationship. It is that
of a father to a son; to Timothy, my true (genuine) child in the faith, sign of affection and
commitment. Genuine means real and not counterfeit. There is here a bond between the two men
and a spiritual adoption of the other‟s welfare in all aspects of life. Paul is like a father to Timothy
in age as well. In one of the more famous lines from their correspondence, Paul says to Timothy,

“Don‟t let anyone look down on him in his youth set before the world a faithful example of life in
word and deed.” This is how the faith is fanned from a spark into a roaring blaze. I believe we are
made to live and thrive in intergenerational community and, as such, we are to have significant
relationships at not only the peer level, but relationships to those who teach and model faith for us,
and relationships to those for whom we model and teach the faith. It is a three level-reality.
Have a spiritual coach who is where you want to be in life and faith. Be a positive peer to those at
similar life station as you journey in faith together; and have an awareness of those who are
following your lead to whom you pour out your own faith and understanding. In such a
relationally connected life, we find balance, accountability and security to grow as the Lord would
have us. And together we will guard that which is sacred.

In the years following 9/11, we, as a nation, have come to value the real need to keep watch, to
have 24/7 surveillance of the landscape for those who come to kill and destroy. Some would
contend that part of the reason for the devastation of the attacks was that we had grown a bit
ambivalent to the dangers in our world and fallen asleep on our watch. We are in a dangerous
world, both physically and spiritually. In each of Paul‟s letters in the NT, he warns against false
teachers and malicious forces that would divide God‟s people. When we think of what we must
guard in the lives of our children, we worry more about their financial trust that we do their hearts.

As I consider the community of the church, an image popped in my head of the HMS Surprise, the
featured ship from the Patrick O‟Brian seafaring novel series and film last year, Master and
Commander, far side of the world. The ship, like the church, was a multi-generation community
which had common purpose and direction. Within the strata of community were leaders and
followers, men and boys, wisdom and foolishness, hardened experience and starry-eyed
innocence. Jack Aubrey, Lucky Jack, is the fearless commander with a heart for adventure and for
raising up the next generation of leaders. One of the duties he assigns to his young mid-shipmen
apprentices is that most significant responsibility of the watch.

From the opening scene, we are made aware of the perils of letting down the guard or hesitation in
the face of the enemy; guard the trust, guard the community, guard the sacred inheritance and, in
the case of the HMS Surprise, guard that which England stands for. In fact, in one later scene,
Aubrey reminds the men that the ship is actually part of England, even as the church is actually
part of the kingdom of heaven; and even as every hand on that ship has a responsibility for the
success of the mission, every hand in the church has a necessary responsibility to the security of
her mission.

The young and insecure mid-shipman on watch, on guard duty, spies a shadowy presence in the
gathering fog. He fears the worst, that he has caught sight of the French warship Acheron; but he
hesitates. He doesn‟t want to rock the boat or rouse the potential ire of his slumbering mates or
over-lording officers. He asks one of his peers for a second opinion and together they finally
sound general quarters, but the delay has been costly and the ship comes under heavy fire without
being fully prepared to counter- attack. What cost the young man was his timidity.

Paul warns Timothy to guard the trust, the pattern of sound, teaching with faith and love in Christ
Jesus, and not to have a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power. In the church, that delay can be
costly as well; if we, as a church, wait for the broadside or wait until the „perfect moment of

clarity.‟ For example, when we have “The Talk” and you know what I‟m talking about when I say
“The Talk,” we wait for perfect timing and clarity and virtually for an invitation – come on Dad,
tell me about the birds and the bees? Is that how it happened in your home? Waiting for an
invitation or perfect moment is too late. We must guard the trust pro-actively and boldly.

I have had a couple of conversations this week about the bold nature of our topic for GAP
weekend, “A Christian Response to Sexual Bombardment and Temptation in Our Culture.” One
reason for the bold and maybe startling nature of this message, is my fear that we as a generation
have allowed culture to control the dialogue on human sexuality and by default, the church and its
members have, in silence on the matter, allowed an unbelieving world to redefine truth in this
critical area of human life. As the older generation, we are called to be encouragers, which
literally means to put courage into another. We put courage into the next generation by living our
own faith authentically and boldly addressing the dangers on the horizon even before they break
through the fog or hit us in the face. This growing generation among us needs to here our voices
of truth and encouragement and love. The trust that we must guard and pass along is one of
abundant living in the protective care of Christ in us.

Do we believe that life in Christ and his family is the abundant life? If so, then what do we tell
our children about our reasons for hope and joy? Do we tell them that relationships of love and
sincerity outweigh relationships of convenience and condition? Do we show them that we care for
them enough to pray for them, remember them by name, shepherd them through growth in
understanding of their Lord in ministries such as Logos, Bible Quest, Wildlife and youth work. It
is not just for kids that this mentoring is significant. Young parents need the presence of wise and
seasoned and godly empty nesters to help to get through these challenging years. Hear two things
from me this morning. You are a roll model whether you like it or not. Secondly, there are
characteristics of your leadership which are essential if you are to follow in the footsteps of Paul,
who followed in the footsteps of Jesus. I‟m going to call these the “Marks of the Mentor”

Marks of the Mentor:

1.     The Lord is first: He points first not to himself but to Christ, deflecting the glory. (Verse 1
       of our text) The mentor does not say “Be like me." He says be like Jesus. I‟m a huge MJ
       fan and have a backboard with a Gatorade ad and MJ in Olympic uniform on it. It is about
       1/3 of regulation size. The Gatorade jingle for MJ was for years, “Be Like Mike.” I love
       hoops, but I couldn‟t be like Mike even on a goal 1/3 the size! We don‟t point others to
       ourselves in order for them to be like Jesus, we point them to Jesus to be like Jesus. There
       is a young man, now a youth worker, who talked of a 45 degree relationship with Jesus, the
       angle at which a mirror would reflect light from directly above directly out. That is the
       model for the Mentor.

2.     The Mentor Teaches in context, not isolation. (1:3 & 4) Effective apprenticeship teaching
       doesn‟t happen in a vacuum or a bubble or just a classroom. It happens in context. Paul
       lived and worked and ministered alongside Timothy.

       One of my favorite stories of growing up is the story of my father and me and the job of
       fixing the dryer. I read the instructions. He went on blind instinct. He did the appropriate

       sailor blessings, while I said oops and I‟m sorry. Learning in context. The most effective
       learning is more the apprenticeship model, doing the work under the shepherd‟s care and
       love. Paul didn‟t have time to stop and teach. He had churches to establish! The way the
       young mid-shipmen learn is under the direction and example of the captain.

       The Mentor is authentic and real: (1:12 –14) The effective mentor models: Thanksgiving,
       confession and authentic feelings. Look at Paul‟s thanksgiving and his confession of his
       former life. The testimony should be the verbal explanation of what God has done and not
       the unnecessary description of who one was behaviorally. The spoken message is “You
       are living life without God." I lived life without God. You need Him as I needed Him.

A disturbing survey came out ten years ago or so that even among Christian parents only 20% or
so felt comfortable explaining what they believed to their children. Apparently, the family
tradition of Lois and Eunice and so many of your grandparents and parents has faded. The
mentality among the remaining 80% was that it was the job of the church to teach their children
about the faith. Oops! Guess who the church is. It is those parents. It is you grandparents. It is
you teenagers whose every move is watched by the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who wander these halls.
And to fulfill this mentoring mandate, you must all be equipped to not only know what you
believe, but to live it in joyful service. How? That is a sermon series for the next lifetime! But it
begins in little and intentional ways. Reread The Purpose Driven Life for discipleship 101. Come
to GAP next weekend. The leadership of your church has gift-wrapped an opportunity to engage
you in partnership in this mentoring, faith-building, life-changing endeavor. And it‟s not boring.
We planned it away from football Saturdays and even scheduled the hurricane yesterday and not
next Saturday.

Yesterday morning, as Charley had Washington in his sights, I got a call at home from Wilma
Wells, who had gone to Washington High School for the first GAP meeting with Chap and
wondered if we had cancelled it due to the storm. What an example for everyone in this room of
one who has an empty nest, but children and grandchildren and church family for whom she cares
enough to get out of the comfort zone of home and walk across stormy waters and learn a little
more about how to be on guard duty. The gauntlet is thrown. How will you respond?