When the Spiritual Comes Naturally
Intro: There are several things about Timothy that impress me in this passage.
A. The Seriousness of his Mandate – sent by Paul in his place to visit the church; What a responsibility!
Paul wasn’t asking for a financial statement.
Paul didn’t send him to look for a preacher boy or lady to teach in the Christian school.
Paul didn’t send Timothy to evaluate their choir or the pastor’s preaching.
He wanted to know the state of the church.
B. The Scarcity of his Maturity – How many young men do you know that could do what Timothy did here?
PROOF: approved, tried character; a proof, a specimen of tried worth
Timothy had shown his value; his worth to Paul and to the church.
Timothy was a young man that had wisdom and maturity far beyond his years.
C. The Spirituality of his Mind – He was likeminded with the Apostle Paul! How rare was this?
What an oxymoron in this verse. Here is a young man that naturally cares about spiritual things.
The natural man in the Scripture refers to the unsaved man.
- 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Yet Paul referred to Timothy’s interest in spiritual things to be a natural thing.
- NATURALLY: genuinely, faithfully, sincerely
The message tonight is this: we should live so that spiritual things are not forced or faked; they come natural.
What is necessary for spiritual things and the things pertaining to the church to be natural.
There are several clues in these verses that I believe will help a person.
I. Cultivate Spiritual Discernment – “…when I know your state…who will naturally care for your state.”
How was Timothy able to visit a church that was not his home church and know the spiritual state of that church?
The state of the church is truly known by very few in the church.
You can’t know the state of the church by only coming to the services.
You can’t know the state of the church by watching the livestream.
You cannot know the state of the church if you are only here three times a week.
You cannot know the state of the church by staying in your little area of the sanctuary; talking to the same people.
Paul needed someone to go into the church at Philippi and know their state.
How do you cultivate spiritual discernment?
By using it!!
- Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
II. Concentrate on Spiritual Desires – vs. 21 “…for all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christs’…”
Paul started out chapter two by placing great emphasis on what we as Christians are concerned about.
- 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
- 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Verse 21 is a powerful statement that is still true today.
- Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
Jesus’ own words:
- Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
III. Cooperate with Spiritual Direction – vs. 22 “…as a son with the father…”
- 1 Timothy 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
- 1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
- 2 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
- 2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
NOTICE how Paul treated the church of Thessalonica.
1 Thessalonians 2
- 11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
- 12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
Timothy was teachable.
Timothy allowed Paul to teach him; mentor him; show him; correct him; instruct him.
- 2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
IV. Co-labor with Spiritual Doers – vs. 22 “…he hath served with me in the gospel.”
Nothing will cause you to see the ministry accurately like working alongside others that do.
Watching people work is not the same as working with them.
Watching people serve is not the same as serving with them.
It’s called OJT – on the job training.
- It’s not hard to naturally care for the spiritual state of people you invited to church.
- It’s not hard to naturally care for the spiritual state of people you won to Christ.
- It’s not hard to naturally care for the spiritual state of people you helped disciple.
- It’s not hard to naturally care for the spiritual state of people you have invested your heart and soul into.
Conclusion: We need a church full of people that naturally care about spiritual things.
It’s not forced. It’s not fake. It’s not put-on.
It’s not an obligation.
It’s not checking off their list of things to do.
It’s not a selfish, self-gratifying job.
It is a natural care and concern for the spiritual state of the church as a whole.