May 14, 2017
Mothers Day 2017 – Mothers that Change the World
Mothers Day 2017 – Mothers that Change the World
Today is Mother’s day, and with that in mind I am going to do something that I have never done before. I am going to preach a mother’s day sermon. I know that sounds strange but I have really never done this before. Today we are going to take a break from the book of Mark to look at 2 Timothy chapter 1. Now before we get started I want to address the problems of doing a Mothers day sermon. There are a few. The first is, that not everybody who is here is a mother. In fact, there was a time when Elizabeth and I were married (about 3 years) that we dreaded Mother’s Day. You see we really wanted to have children but we couldn’t. So Mother’s Day was a hard day to attend church with the sting of not having kids. There is also the fact that sometimes it seems as if there is no application for the men who are in attendance. While these challenges exist I believe there are several reasons to do this anyway.
- Scripture says to give honor to whom honor is do. (Rom 13:7) Each of us has had a mom. And it is important to honor our mom’s for what they have done in our lives. Many people in our world today have had issues with their Dad’s that have effected how they view God. And while some might also have issues with their mom. The truth is you hear significantly less of those than Dads.
- The truths we are going to learn today can be applied not only to mothers and children but to every relationship we have. You see I believe today we are going to learn some basic pieces of what it means to disciple each other from some powerful mothers that changed the world.
Before we go any further I want to take just a few minutes and Honor my mom. She is not here today but that does not mean she should not be recognized. Here is a truth for each of us, we all can honor and appreciate our moms whether they are here with us or not. Maybe some of you here today no longer have your mom living. You can still honor her. You can still thank God fro the influence she had in your life, and you can honor her by telling others of her.
My mom is a great lady. She is a lot like me so she has to be great right 🙂 Just kidding. My mom is a lot like me, and that created many issues growing up. In fact, my mom and I had a love/hate relationship. Many times we loved each other but at the same time we hated what we saw and did to each other. I was not the easiest child to raise and my home life was not the perfect situation. Many times my mom and I argued more than we got along. My mom did the best that she could in the situations of life that we had.
Looking back I can say that I am the man I am today because of her influence in my life. She taught me how to treat my wife with honor and respect. She prays for me and my family consistently. She believed in the call God had in my life when others did not. And most of all she taught me to trust and follow God. And for that I am and always will be eternally grateful. In one sense if any of you have been blessed in your life by me you can thank my mom. She has quite literally changed this world. There is another story of a set of mom’s in the Bible that changed the world that I would like to look at today. Turn to 2 Timothy chapter 1. This is the story of Timothy, Timothy was a constant companion of the Apostle Paul and was often sent by Paul to different churches that were encountering issues or needed some help establishing the church. 2 Timothy is actually a letter written to Timothy to encourage him in persevering in ministry. This is actually Paul’s last letter before his death so it is important what he wants to tell Timothy.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
As we look at this passage in light of mothers and the influence they can have on their children I want us to look at several investments that can be made to shape the character of those around us. The first of these is found in these first 2 verses. Here we see the close relationship with Paul that Timothy has. In fact, in some sense Paul thought of Timothy as his own son. Before we go to much further I want to notice that Timothy was able to have strong friendships. In our culture today, relationships are under attack. In fact, while we have more “friends and connections” because of social media today we have become more and more disconnected from true friendships that help us to grow. Timothy was not afraid to have close personal relationship with people. One thing we know about Timothy is he was probably the most loyal friend Paul had. Of all of the people on Paul’s team, there was no one like Timothy. For when Paul sends Timothy to the Philippian church, he says, “I have no one who is like-minded, who will naturally care for your state like Timothy.” “Like-minded” means equal-souled, our souls are the same, our spirits are the same, we are tracking together on just about every issue.
This is important if we are to make disciples. The effectiveness of your discipleship is directly linked the the depth of the relationships you have.
3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.
Here we see one of the most powerful traits that moms can instill into their children. TENDERNESS
You’ll notice in our text that the first thing that Paul remembers when he thinks of Timothy were his tears; not Paul’s tears for Timothy, but Timothy’s tears. Timothy cried. Now what’s going on? Why does he mention this?
Now, we’re not sure when that was, but we believe it was some departure that Paul and Timothy had. And I can make two guesses: once when Paul installed him as the pastor at Ephesus and then departed. That could have been the case, when he left. Or another is mentioned in Acts, chapter 20, when the apostle Paul goes to Ephesus and meets with all of the elders of that church on a beach and he addresses them. And he’s about to depart, and the Bible tells us that as they parted they wept allowed and they embraced him in a farewell.
Sad, most of all, because he said they would never see his face again. Perhaps Timothy was among them when that departure took place and he freely wept. Well, it’s one thing to do that, but it’s quite another thing to have your name written in a letter that everybody in church is going to read. “Oh, you’re Timothy. You’re the guy that cries. You’re the tenderhearted dude that wept at that departure.” It could be embarrassing for some men to have that fact known publicly. Especially men in a culture like ours where traditionally we have told boys that it’s just not manly or cool to cry; it’s weak if you do.
But scripture tells us it is important to cultivate this in each others lives. I notice this this week in fact in Ephesians 4. I spent some time poring over this chapter and this chapter reminds us of the unity we are to have with each other. It says at the end of the chapter, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Christ was exactly this, It says many times in scripture that He was moved with compassion, and that he wept. Mom’s have the ability to model this for us like no other individual. They teach us how to care and be moved by peoples situations. We are commanded to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. (Rom 12:15)
Men this is important for us to realize. Tenderness is a good trait, especially in a man. Any jerk can act aloof and macho. That’s the easiest trick in the book. That is not necessarily masculine. Because even God himself compares himself to a mother in the book of Isaiah chapter 66 verse 13. “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” That’s God comparing himself to the tenderness of a mom. Most of us learned tenderness from our moms. And I believe that is precisely where Timothy got his tenderness, from his mother and from his grandmother, the two women that would show it the most. Being emotionally present is a good thing. If there is anything we should learn from the women in our lives is to honor the fact that many times they help us to understand how to be tenderhearted to those around us.
5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
The next trait we see that Timothy had passed down to him was a sincere faith. Can I say this is one of the things I most appreciate about my mom. She showed me what it was like to be a Christian with a sincere faith.
Did you make a note that in that text of Scripture his father is not mentioned? His mother is. Grandma is. There’s no mention of his father. Why is that? It’s because we believe that his father died, or possibly he left the family, being an unbeliever. We’re told in Acts 16 when we are introduced to Timothy, it says Timothy was “the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.” The text seems to indicate that we’re dealing with a Jewish woman who believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but Timothy’s father was an unbelieving Gentile. What does that mean? Simply this: Timothy got his faith matriarchally not patriarchally; from his mother, not from his father.
We know this further by the fact that Timothy, though he was raised by a Jewish mother, was never circumcised, because Paul has to take him as an adult young man and get him circumcised to bring him on his journey to the Jewish nations. Now why didn’t he get circumcised? Probably because dad said, “Uh, that’s not gonna happen. I’m a Greek. We don’t do that. You Jews do, but I’m the dad—not gonna happen.” So it never did happen, even though that was that was part of the covenant ritual that every male Jew went through. But his name, I believe it was his mom who picked that out, because the name Timothy means one who fears the Lord. That sounds more like a Jewish woman who’s a believer naming her son that, rather than an unbelieving Greek. Timothy, one who fears God.
Let me say this up front because I know many times women come to accept Christ more readily than men do. If you are in a relationship with someone who is not a believer you can still make a great impact in the lives around you. As I have said growing up my mom was a believer but my dad was not. It was because of her faithful walk with God, her patient sincere faith that all of my immediate family is saved, even my Dad.
We do not know the complete back story here. God’s word is clear that believers are not to marry unbelievers. And Eunice (Timothy’s mom was a Jew so why did she marry a gentile). But this we do see, Eunice’s story is in the Bible to give hope to women in mixed marriages. If her son, Timothy, could grow up to follow the Lord as he did, then God can do the same for your children, even if your husband is not a believer. While God intends for the father to take the lead in the spiritual training of the children, the mother can have a great influence even in situations where the father is passive or hostile to God.
One prime quality which such a woman needs is sincere faith. The word “sincere” means, literally, “not hypocritical.” It is possible to have a hypocritical, not genuine form of faith. Phony faith is the mask that is put on in front of church members or out in public, but it’s set aside in the home. The parents may be fighting as they drive to church, but when they drive in the parking lot, they act as if everything is just great. Kids smell that kind of phoniness a mile away.
I’ve always loved a preacher named G. Campbell Morgan. A lot of you have not heard of him. He lived a century ago. G. Campbell Morgan was called the prince of expository preachers. He was a great expositor in England. Well, G. Campbell Morgan got married and had four sons, four sons—all of them became preachers. But at a family reunion when neighbors and friends and family were all gathered, and one of the neighbors asked one of the sons, “So who’s the best preacher in your home?” Thinking they would get the answer, “Well, Dad,” or “my older brother.” The young man said, “Oh, hands down, it’s my mom. She’s the best preacher in our house.”
G. Campbell Morgan himself said that he got his love for ministry and the Word of God and preaching from his mother. He writes this: “My dedication to preaching the Word was maternal. The first Bible stories I heard, I heard from my mother.” Now, when Morgan was about ten years old, he went to a meeting (I think in Manchester, England), where DL Moody preached and it impressed him. But it was his mom that gave him that real love for the Word. And so he went home after that meeting, but by age thirteen, by age thirteen he preached his first sermon in public. From ten to thirteen, you know how he practiced preaching? He’d line up all of his sister’s dolls and preach a sermon to those dolls. The Scottish have a great saying. They say, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.”
I love that. Just a little bit of mama goes a lot further than a lot of sermons from a lot of preachers. Such was the case with Timothy. So here’s Paul saying, “You know, when I think of unhypocritical faith, I think of your faith, Timothy. And you got it from your mom and then your grandma before that.” Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president, once said, “No one is poor who has a godly mother.”
Sincere faith is is so important. In our relationships with each other let us strive to have a sincere faith. Let’s not say we are Christians and then curse like a sailor and think that that is sincere. Let’s not come to church and act like Jesus has first place in our lives and forget to take Jesus (or our Bibles) home with us. We must strive to have a sincere faith.
Having a sincere faith doesn’t imply perfection. But it does imply reality with God. Such faith dwelt in these women; it was at home in them, a comfortable, everyday sort of thing. Sincere faith means that you have sincerely believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. It means that you walk in reality with Christ each day, spending time in His Word and in prayer. It means that you confront yourself with Scripture and judge your sin on the thought level. It means that when you do sin against a family member, you ask their forgiveness and seek to work on your weak areas. It means that you develop godly character qualities and attitudes of submission, thankfulness, and joy in the Lord. Your kids will realize that, while mom isn’t perfect, she does walk with God.
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Tenderness, Sincere Faith; here’s a third investment: boldness. Verse 6, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands,” writes Paul. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The principle is simple: the product of genuine faith is faithful service to God. All the years of tenderness, all the years of teaching, will come to fruition and be worth it.
Keep the fire going, keep the fire alive, fan the embers of your flame, don’t let them die out. The principle is simple: tenderness and godliness provide the impetus for boldness. They give a child all that is necessary for them to face life with that attitude of “I’m going to make it through. God’s going to do it. I’m not going to shrink back. I’m going to be bold.” Moms, the seeds you are sowing now in your young child’s life, you won’t see them germinate for a long time, but when they grow, you could possibly see this—a bold, effective witness. Want to know what happened to Timothy? I’ve told you a little bit already. He joins Paul on a second missionary journey. You know how old he is when he starts? Late teens, early twenties. Christianity has always been a youth movement.
8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.
The last investment we see is a commitment to the Gospel of Grace
12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
I Know Whom I Have Believed – Daniel W. Whittle, pub.1883
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”
There is a lot more we could look at but let me close with verses 13 &14. Look at he instructions to all of us.
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Keep the pattern of sound teaching, of faith, and of love in Christ. Guard what has been given to you. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in you.