1. Prequel: The Church at Philippi

February 27, 2019

We see in Acts chapter sixteen the events that led up to the beginning of this church. In verse one; Silas replaces Barnabas after a dispute in Acts 15: 36-41. Paul chose Silas as a fellow traveler. Silas was also called Silvanus in 2nd Cor. 1:19; 1st Th. 1:1; 2nd Th. 1:1; 1st Pet. 5:12, he was skilled in the translation of speech. The two of them came to Derbe and Lystra, located between Antioch and the Mediterranean Sea. In Acts 16:1 they met with a young disciple named Timothy (1st & 2nd Tim.), the three of them became companions.

Timothy had grown spiritually mature, although he was rather young in the faith. Is it any wonder? After all, he was a convert of the Apostle Paul. Never judge anyone based upon time spent as a Believer. Most likely, Timothy came from a dysfunctional household. His mother was a Jewess woman converted to Christianity. While his father was an unbelieving Greek. One would think that there a lot of mental, emotional, and spiritual tension in his family (Amos 3:3). Very often, when a young man or woman comes from an unstable home life, it’s much like finding a priceless pearl when Christ becomes real to them. I speak from experience because from the moment I met Him, He became my all-in-all. He is the epitome of stability and what family should be; in Him, we find EL Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One. So reserve all judgment and criticism, lest you find yourself judged:

Matthew 12: 35 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment”.

In Acts 16:3 Paul thought it wise that Timothy goes through the rite of circumcision, because of the Jews in that region (ouch). This was because his father was Greek, and they would otherwise never have allowed him to minister to them. This is an unfortunate truth even today. Many churches will not fully accept you as a minister unless you are converted to their way of thinking. However, we must remember that Acts is not a book written with the idea of teaching church doctrine, even though they practice doctrine. For instance, laying hands on the sick, casting out demons, prophesying, and speaking in tongues. Acts is a narrative written by Dr. Luke. It’s a historical account of how The Church came to be. This is why circumcision in that instance was a necessity, but it is unnecessary today. It is not church doctrine. On the other hand, the things that are church doctrine; laying hands on the sick, prophesying, speaking in tongues, with signs and wonders following we’ve seem to have let fall by the wayside. Nevertheless, we hold to the traditions and doctrines that divide us. Paul wanted Timothy to undergo circumcision for the purpose of inclusion, not exclusion.

Galatians 2: 3 “Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you”.

So, why was Timothy encouraged to receive the sign of circumcision but Titus was not? We’ll talk about that next as we continue on our journey to the Church at Philippi. To be continued…

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