by Rev Robert A Wendel
“Go, make disciples of all nations baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Proclaim the message. Be persistent. Rebuke and encourage with the utmost patience. Be sober. Endure suffering. Do the work of an evangelist. Carry out your ministry fully.” (Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Timothy 4:2-5 NRSV).
From the day Jesus returned to Heaven, Christianity became a missionary faith. Rabbi Saul was commissioned by the Risen Christ in 36AD to begin this ever expanding work as Paul (Acts 9:1-9).
Along with him came Timothy. Timothy was born and circumcised by Lystra, Turkey of a Jewish mother, Eunice, and a Greek father, evangelized and baptized by Paul. He joined the older Apostle on his Second Missionary Journey to fellowship in present day Greece in 51 AD. (Isaiah 42:7-9).
Paul sent Timothy to Corinth to help straighten out problems there. He failed. But went onto Ephesus to encourage that new group of believes (1 Timothy 1:3). Near the end of his life, Paul was in a Roman prison cell. Young Timothy, though often sickly himself, did his best to see to Paul’s needs. (4:11-14). He stayed in Ephesus, serving there as a ‘missionary superintendent’ until his martyrdom in 97AD.
Sometime in 67AD under 24 hour Roman guard, Paul wrote a pair of urgent letters to Timothy. As JB Phillips says, ‘The second letter aimed to stimulate Timothy’s faith and courage and renew his faithfulness.” Some scholars say unknown writers really authored the letters in about 85AD, putting Paul’s name on it.
Charles Swindoll, Chancellor of Dallas Seminary, urged students, “Explain the Sunday morning scripture lesson in season and out of season. Don’t by lazy. Do your homework. Avoid wholesale plagiarism. A water-downed gospel may attract large crowds, but it has no eternal influence.”
As we begin 2020, elected or appointed board and committee members should be aware of these versus from the 28th Chapter of Matthew and the 4th Chapter of Second Timothy, since they boldly declare the real purpose and mission of any Christian Church as needing to have a consistent What-Would-Jesus-Do-attitude.
Quoting Professor Tony Campolo, “Let us preach Christ and be faithful in proclaiming the gospel. But let’s leave judgment up to God.”