For a moment, put yourself in Paul’s sandals and place your hand on his heart. Now read Acts 17:1-9 and walk with Paul into “a synagogue of the Jews” and listen to him “on three Sabbaths… reason with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead” (1-3). From this intense proclamation, “some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great number of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women” (4).
As can be expected from previous encounters, the Jews stirred up the crowds against Paul and Silas, and a new disciple, Jason. What was the charge made against them? “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” (6). I would not mind a charge like that if it was made because I simply preached from the Scriptures about Jesus! From this uproar, it became necessary for the new disciples to “send Paul and Silas away by night” (10) for their safety. All this took place around January 51AD.
Paul and Silas go on to Berea, Athens and Corinth. By the time November and December 51AD arrive, Paul is concerned about these new believers. It forces him to send Timothy to them who had been with Paul since Lystra. Listen to his heart; “But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:17–20).
You can be sure that Timothy understood Paul’s heart toward them. “We sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions” (3:2–3). Read that sentence again. Are you that kind of faithful Timothy that has the same heartbeat of Paul for establishing believers in their faith? We live in a day when there are many “afflictions” that are moving people away from the biblical anchor. The need for faithful “Timothys” is becoming more and more critical. ARE YOU ONE?
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