Personal and Ministry Integrity: The Foundation of Spiritual Boldness.

Paul had mentored Timothy for some time now. Timothy learned boldness in spite of timidity and learned to recognize and exercise his spiritual gifting. Timothy had watched Paul endure persecution and stay true to the gospel. By Acts 18, Timothy was strengthened to be an encouragement to his own teacher when Paul needed it. God has called every believer to be a spiritual encouragement to other saints. Even mature saints get tired and sometimes think about quitting, and even new believers can encourage these mature saints.


Paul Alone in Corinth

In Acts 18, Paul arrived in Corinth by himself. Corinth was a scary place for anyone to be alone – it was a lurid, grotesque city where immorality was so pronounced that for 500 years, the Greek language had a verb just to describe “living like a Corinthian.”

When Paul arrived, he was undersupplied and needed to work in order to meet his needs. He joined Aquila and Priscilla, a Jewish couple who had been displaced from Rome and knew the trade of leather working as he did. He worked during the week and preached in the synagogue on the Sabbath.

In Corinth as in other cities, Paul followed the pattern that Jesus modeled in Matthew 10:1-15 of going first to the Jews, then to the Greeks when the Jews rejected the gospel. After synagogue members threw him out, he went right next door to the home of Titus Justus. The leader of the synagogue ended up responding to Paul’s message, and many Gentiles were saved as a result.

God’s words to Paul in verses 9-10 show that Paul was faithfully obeying with some fear. He needed an encourager.

Timothy Supplied Opportunity for Paul to Just Preach the Word

When Timothy came to Corinth, he was able to supply for Paul’s needs through a gift from other believers. Paul was able to “devote himself completely” to preaching God’s Word six days a week instead of just one (verse 5). Timothy submitted himself in service to Paul’s ministry even though he was gifted as a pastor-teacher himself, yielding great spiritual benefits.

Paul later wrote to Timothy about the importance of prioritizing preaching in his own ministry at Ephesus (1 Timothy 4:13-16 and 2 Timothy 4:1-5).

Timothy Brought Financial Aid for Paul to Maintain the Preaching Ministry

Cross-referencing other passages from Paul’s letters shows that Timothy and Silas brought a financial gift to Paul from the Philippian church. (See 2 Corinthians 11:9 and Philippians 4:13-15.) Other New Testament passages lay the foundation for pastor-teachers and evangelists to be funded by God’s people (Galatians 6, 2 Timothy 5:17). God’s servants do what they have to do to make sure the gospel is preached and the Word is taught whatever their funding level. Even so, financial support from the flock makes their ministry less of a burden and gives them time to invest in their marriages, their children, and their homes.

Timothy Represented Determined Encouragement to Paul

Another cross-study reveals the effect that Timothy’s coming had on Paul. In 1 Thessalonians 3:1-10, Paul describes the powerful emotion of joy he felt. Paul had sent Timothy to check up on the young church in Thessalonica. He trusted his report, and it encouraged him so greatly that he said, “now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord” (verse 8). Timothy had become essential to Paul’s ministry progress.

Encouragement is necessary for every Christian minister. If you believe that leaders don’t struggle even while faithfully serving, you’re believing a lie. The enemy’s crosshairs are on leadership. They need encouragement. As the local church develops a culture of discipleship and building each other up, this need will be met more and more.

Application Points

  • No matter what your maturity level, God has called every believer to be a spiritual encouragement to other saints. Even mature saints get tired, and even young believers can encourage them. Who can you encourage this week? Simple things like sharing what you’ve been learning in the Word, asking how someone is doing, or offering to pray with them can be a significant blessing.
  • We at Grace Church value our pastors’ ability to devote their full time and attention to ministry, while still having time to strengthen and nurture their families. Do you support this reality with your own obedience in financial giving?
  • Never doubt that you can be an encouragement to your pastors, elders, and deacons. In fact, you are called to do this! Will you choose one leader to encourage this week?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Psalm 63, John 4:13-14, Ephesians 5:25-27 – The refreshing water of the Word of God.
  • Acts 6:1-7 – Eternal blessing resulted from service and prioritizing the preaching of the Word.
A Hymn to Encourage: “For the Sake of His Name”

Go to the world for the sake of His name;
To every nation His glory proclaim.
Pray that the Spirit wise
Will open darkened eyes,
Granting new life to display Jesus’ fame.

In Jesus’ power, preach Christ to the lost;
For Jesus’ glory, count all else but loss.
Gather from every place
Trophies of sov’reign grace.
Lest life be wasted, exalt Jesus’ cross.

Love the unloved for the sake of His name;
Like Christ, befriend those whose heads hang in shame.
Jesus did not condemn,
But was condemned for them.
Trust gospel pow’r, for we once were the same.

Rescue the lost for the sake of His name;
As Christ commands, snatch them out of the flame.
Tell that when Jesus died
God’s wrath was satisfied.
Urge them to flee to the Lamb who was slain.

Look to the Throne for the sake of His name;
Think of the throng who will share in His reign.
Some for whose souls we pray
Will share our joy that day,
Joining our song for the sake of His name!

Text by Chris Anderson; Tune by Greg Habegger
Copyright 2010 All rights reserved.