Timothy was Paul’s protege.
Timothy was placed in charge of the house churches of Ephesus, arguably the most precious ministerial work Paul ever did.
In 1 and 2 Timothy Paul instructs and exhorts his young protege in how to lead the church.
1 Timothy 1:2 Paul states, “To Timothy, my true child in the faith . . .”
We first learn about Timothy in Acts 16. Paul was at the beginning of his second missionary journey and stops in Derbe and Lystra. He picks up a disciple named Timothy, who was the son of a believing mother, but most likely not the son of a believing father. For all practical purposes Paul became Timothy’s spiritual father.
I actually see 2 Timothy 2:2 as leader multiplication strategy more than a general discipleship strategy. Paul is challenging Timothy to rasie up more leaders for the Church. But he knows there is one besetting sin that will always be the likely one to render a leader ineefective for the cause of Christ. This is the issue of sexual immorality.
With the revelation of the Ashley Madison scandal it has become evident that possibly hundreds of pastors or other church workers were engaging in extra marital affairs. The total fallout is till to be revealed. In 2 Timothy 2:20-21 Paul reminds Timothy that there are vessels for honoable use an dishonoarble use within God’s kingdom. It is only the clean vessel that is able to be used fully by God. This teaching is followed by a double command, to flee and to pursue.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith , love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22
These are present tense commands. Paul fully intends for Timothy, and those emerging leaders around Timothy, to flee youthful passions and keep on fleeing every day of their lives. Paul fully intends for Timothy, and those emerging leaders around Timothy, to pursue righteousness and keep on pursuing every day of their lives.
To flee means to shun or avoid something abhorent. It is to escape a trap. It is to be saved by flight.
To pursue means to intensely strive after something. It is to do something with intense effort with a definite purpose or goal.
Paul declares that one should flee youthful passions. The notion is to not covet or desire what is not yours. The context implies immoraltity. To have an affair is to always over desire something that does not belong to you. This was King David’s problem even though he had been warned. David committed adultery with Bathsheba. It was David’s servant that keenly reminded David that Bathsheba was another man’s daughter and another man’s wife (see 2 Samule 11:3). Bathsheba was not his to pursue. He was to flee in every sense of the word.
Paul also provides the remedy. Every leader is to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. And we are to do so in community–so as not to become islolated alone with our lusts. Every virtue and vice is rendered more powerful with an object. Lust leads to sin when it finds it’s next. Righteousness, faith, love, and peace find their true fulfillment among others within the body of Christ.
Tim Challies provided a timely and strong exhortation via his wife for all Chrisitan leaders to cease from sexual sin in My Wife’s Plea to Christian Men. You need to read this pleading post. You and I need to heed her exhortation and the exhortation of Paul to Timothy. The very future of the Church depends on it.