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Divine Working Relationships

1 Timothy 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIVUK)

God often chooses people who we think are unlikely or even unsuitable to work with Him.  The Apostle Paul had once hated Jesus and persecuted the church (1 Corinthians 15:9).  However Paul submitted to the command of Jesus to repent, be baptised and accept an apostolic commission (Acts 22:1-21).  That commission was equally from God who is described as ‘Saviour’ and Jesus Christ who is called his ‘hope’.  Paul had received ‘grace, mercy and peace’ from the Lord and was authorised to announce God’s transforming power to others. This apostle became the primary missionary and church planter among the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8).

Timothy was a teenager whose Jewish grandmother and mother believed in Jesus (2 Timothy 1:4-5).  His father was a Gentile and Timothy had not been brought up as a Jew.  Paul visited Timothy’s town of Lystra on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:8-20), and we presume that Timothy was converted through Paul’s preaching because the apostle calls him ‘my true son in the faith’.  When Paul revisited Lystra a few years later, Timothy was known as a young Christian man with spiritual maturity and integrity. Paul saw that Timothy had just the right attitude to be his helper, and from then on Timothy became part of the missionary team (Acts 16:1-5).

Over the years, Timothy served with Paul, often being sent to encourage and equip churches that had already been planted (1 Corinthians 4:17).  At the time of this letter, Timothy had been left in charge of the church in Ephesus, teaching the new believers and training the leaders (1 Timothy 1:3).  Although Paul was personally absent, Timothy was safe in God’s grace, mercy and peace.  However, Timothy was timid by nature (2 Timothy 1:6-8) and still needed the apostle’s encouragement and instruction - which is the purpose of this letter.

The way that God brings people together to serve Him is divinely wonderful.  First, God joins us to Himself as we repent, believe the Gospel, and submit to Christ’s authority.  But we are not to serve alone.  As He sent out the disciples two by two (Mark 6:7), He intends that we should also be linked with others.  God creates those associations, alerting us to godly people who can help, train and encourage us.  He will also show us others who we can lead and strengthen to serve Him.  But all of us are equally dependent on God’s mercy, without which we have no forgiveness or clear conscience.  His grace is essential, otherwise we have nothing with which to serve Him.  His blood-bought peace is our only secure resting-place in a turbulent world.  Having received grace, mercy and peace - let us see how we can best fit together with others in spiritual worship and work.  Divine relationships glorify the Lord.

Our Father in heaven. Thank You for joining me to Yourself and Your family when I believed the gospel and put my hope in Christ. Forgive me when I fail to see the divine working relationships You have planned for me, or when I fail to accept Your commissions because I feel weak in myself. Help me to accept the responsibilities You put upon me; and help me to accept the help from those that You have sent to serve alongside me. May I also be alert to those believers who I can strengthen, by sharing what You have already given to me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams