Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman…
I. THE DUTY OF THE CHURCH.
1. To encourage and develop Christian talent. When Paul went to Lystra he found the Church there speaking well of a young disciple, Timotheus. This convert was "well reported of by the brethren" (ver. 2), and "him Paul would have to go forth with him" (ver. 3). The Church praised him who was praiseworthy; and the minister trusted and encouraged him who was trustworthy, leading him on to higher things, and placing him in a position in which his consecrated powers would have freer range and extended usefulness. The Church of Christ seldom does better than when it nourishes youthful piety, and paves the way for the exercise and development of growing talent.
2. To make timely concession. "Him Paul took and circumcised because of the Jews" (ver. 3). Paul thought these men wrong in their views, but he consulted their sensibilities for the sake of concord and progress. The true triumph is, not to work well with those with whom we are in full sympathy, but to co-operate, without friction, with those between whom and ourselves there is variance of view or difference of disposition. There is no possibility of rendering any considerable service in the cause of Church organization, without a large measure of the conciliatory spirit, and without a considerable amount of actual concession. Not the man who carries his point by obstinate persistency, but he who yields at the right time and in the right spirit is commended of his Lord.
3. To be faithful to all compacts. (Ver. 4.) Probably Paul and Silas might have safely said nothing about the decision at Jerusalem; the people of Asia Minor would have heard nothing about that. But they were scrupulous to carry out the compromise in all its particulars. Fidelity to an undertaking is a clear and urgent Christian duty; the Church or the minister who should slight it would be doing something which is not only unworthy but discreditable, displeasing to Christ, injurious to itself or himself.
4. To keep in view consolidation and extension: to preserve a fair and wise proportion between these different branches of Christian work. Under the hand of Paul and Silas the Chinches of Asia "were established in the faith, and increased in number" (ver. 5). The missionaries were not more desirous of extending the line of active evangelization than of securing the ground which they had taken. This is Christian wisdom. The two complementary works should always go together; one will minister to the other; one cannot shine without the other.
II. THE REWARD OF THE CHURCH. This is twofold.
1. To glean individual results. True and keen must have been Paul's gratification to find such a disciple as Timothy at Lystra. Well was he recompensed for the cruel stoning he received in that town by gaining such a "beloved son" and valuable helper in his work of faith and love. And it is the individual results of the Christian teacher's labor which are his most appreciated reward now. The recovery of that lost one; the decision of that vacillating one; the consecration of that promising one; - these are his joy and crown.
2. To witness general progress. To find that "the Churches are established," and that they are "increasing in number;" to know that the cause of Christ is advancing, that his kingdom is coming, that his name is being honored, and his praises sung by those who had been ignorant of his dying love; - what joy, what intense and pure satisfaction, is this! Other sources of delight may pass, or they may leave a stain rather than a tint behind them; but this is a gladness that abides, and which purifies and ennobles the heart of him who is made happier thereby. - O.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: