“There is a story about four preachers discussing the merits of the various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version best because of its beautiful, older, English. Another liked the New American Standard version best because it was closer to the original languages. Still another liked the New International Version because of its up-to-date vocabulary. The fourth minister was silent for a moment, then said, “I like my mother’s translation best.” Surprised, the other three men said they didn’t know his mother had translated the Bible. “Yes,” he replied. “She translated it into life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw.”
We are celebrating Mother’s Day today and it is a day when we take time to honor our mothers. Many cards, flowers are given and phone calls made on this day to honor our mothers. Often, mother’s day brings the largest attendance of the year for some churches because everybody’s mom wants them in church and we know everybody wants to honor their mom.? It’s fitting that we take time to honor our mothers. We have been commanded to honor our mothers. Exodus 20:12 states…
Exodus 20:12? “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
As we turn our thoughts to honoring our mothers today, we will depart from our study in Genesis and we are going to focus on the greatest gift a mother can give to her child. Join me as we look at 2 Timothy 1:1-5.
2 Tim 1:1? Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to 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.
3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers 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.
5 I have been 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.
In the opening verses of Paul’s letter to Timothy, we see that Paul considers Timothy his “dear son.” Now Paul wasn’t literally Timothy’s father but in a spiritual sense he was. Paul tells Timothy that he constantly remembers him in his prayers and he longs to see Timothy. Paul mentions Timothy’s sincere faith in verse 5 and he points out that Timothy’s sincere faith first lived in his grandmother Lois, and in his mother Eunice.
Timothy was a Godly man with a Godly heritage. That heritage began with Timothy’s grandmother Lois and continued on in his mother Eunice. Timothy’s mother Eunice is who I’d like us to focus our attention on today. We’re going to be looking at three aspects of the faith of Eunice. These are really the blessings of a Godly mothers faith. We’ll talk about the reality, responsibility and results of her faith.
First of all notice that Paul says that Timothy has a sincere faith that first lived in his grandmother and mother. The word sincere here means, “unfeigned, without dissimulation, without hypocrisy.” In fact in the KJV, the word sincere is translated, “unfeigned.” That isn’t a word that we use very often, but the root word, feign means “to give a false appearance of; to represent falsely; pretend to or to imitate so as to deceive.”
When it says that Timothy had a sincere faith that first lived in his grandmother and mother, we understand that Eunice had a faith that was genuine. She wasn’t putting on an act or going through the motions, she had a faith that was real. She didn’t have a cheap imitation of faith intended to deceive. She had a true, sincere faith. Her faith was real.
As Timothy’s mother can you imagine if her faith had all just been an act? How long do you think it would have taken for Timothy to notice that his mother’s faith wasn’t real?
We can come to church and put on a pretty good act for others, but if we don’t possess a genuine faith, it’s much more difficult to keep up the act at home. Our families see our frailties and weaknesses much more quickly than outsiders do. I guarantee that my wife and children know my failures and weaknesses better than you do. It’s easy for us all to put on our nice clothes on Sunday morning and put on perfume and comb our hair just so (well–some of us), even hold our faces just so. But it’s another thing altogether when you live with someone.
Eunice had a faith that was real. Timothy saw first hand the reality of his mother’s faith as he was growing up. Have you ever heard of someone being turned off from a relationship with the Lord because they grew up in a home where mom or dad claimed to be a Christian, but in reality they weren’t? Children and teenagers see hypocrisy and they want nothing to do with that kind of empty profession.
G. Campbell Morgan had 4 sons and they were all preachers. “Someone once came into the drawing room when all the family was there. They thought they would see what Howard, one of the sons, was made of so they asked him this question: “Howard, who is the greatest preacher in your family?” Howard had a great admiration for his father and he looked straight across at him and then without a moments hesitation he answered, “Mother.” (source unknown)
What an impact Mrs. Morgan had on her four sons and it all started with her own relationship with the Lord. If you are a mom and you want to be the best mom you can be it all starts with a real relationship with your Heavenly Father just like Timothy’s mom, Eunice had. If you know the Lord today, thank Him for your faith because that faith in Jesus Christ is the starting point for being the best mom you can be.
Maybe you don’t have a real faith like Eunice did. Perhaps you put on a pretty good act. Maybe you’ve convinced others and maybe even yourself that your faith is real. Maybe you aren’t even trying to put on an act; you just know that you’ve never experienced salvation that leads to a genuine faith like Eunice had. You can change that today. You can be a woman of faith, of genuine, sincere and real faith like Timothy’s mother. It’s possible because of what Christ has done for you in dying on the cross for your sins. All of us have sinned. We have all done things that are wrong. Because of that, we are separated from God. But if we believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and took the penalty for them and ask Him to save us, we can have a right relationship with God. We can have the real faith that was apparent in the life of Eunice. You can have a real faith today and it will give you the opportunity to be the best mom you can be.
Children need Godly mothers. Are you a Godly mother? Have you surrendered your heart to Christ? Do you have a faith that is real?
Theodore Roosevelt had some high praise for mothers.
He stated, “When all is said, it is the mother, and the mother only, who is a better citizen than the soldier who fights for his country. The successful mother, the mother who does her part in rearing and training aright the boys and girls, who are to be the men and women of the next generation, is of greater use to the community, and occupies, if she would realize it, a more honorable as well as important position than any man in it. The mother is the one supreme asset of the national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, or businessman, or artist, or scientist.”
Think about the influence you can have as a mom. Think of how much greater that influence can be if it starts with a faith that is real. I am so thankful that I have a mom whose faith is real. I had the privilege of growing up with a Christian mom like Timothy did. Perhaps you had that same privilege. Maybe you grew up in a home where your mom didn’t know the Lord, if you know the Lord you can be thankful for the reality of your faith. Maybe you didn’t experience the blessing of growing up in a Christian home, but you can establish a Christian home and be a blessing to your children. It all begins with a faith that is real.
I wonder how Timothy would have turned out if his mom had put on an act. What if she had gone through all the motions of being in church every week and acted very pious around others but lived like the devil in her home? He might not have wanted anything to do with God. Instead he had the example of a Godly mother whose faith was real. He embraced faith in God for himself. He believed in God and had real faith and was greatly used by the Lord.
We’ve seen that Eunice had a faith that was real. The reality of her faith is clear from Paul’s letter to Timothy. The second thing I’d like for us to consider is the responsibility of her faith. Real faith leads us to act responsibly. If we truly know the Lord, we’ll realize that we have certain responsibilities as believers. Our responsibilities are clearly given to us in God’s Word.
Eunice knew that as a Christian mom, she had certain responsibilities to her son, Timothy. Let’s look at 2 Timothy 3:14-15 for a moment.
2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Paul urges Timothy to continue in what he has learned and become convinced of because from infancy, Timothy has been taught the Word of God. You see his mother knew that as a believer, as one whose faith was real, she had a responsibility to her son. What was that responsibility? It was to teach him the Word of God. We are told in Acts 16:1 that Timothy’s mother was Jewish.
Acts 16:1? He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek.
She was familiar with the Old Testament and took seriously the truth of Deuteronomy 6:6-9.
Deuteronomy 6:6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
As a believer, Eunice understood the importance of training her son in the Word of God. She didn’t waste any time either in training her son, Timothy. Paul says of Timothy, “from infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures.” When a child is born into a family, a Godly mother has a responsibility to teach that baby the Word of God. Training our children in the Word of God should be part of the natural flow of our everyday lives. In Deuteronomy it talks about teaching our children while we sit at home, while we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up. In other words, we should always be training our children from God’s Word.
We shouldn’t get to the evening and say, “okay, now it’s time to learn God’s Word. Sit down while I read you a Bible story.” Now, there is nothing wrong with sitting down at bedtime to read God’s Word to our children, but if that is all you do, that isn’t enough. Throughout the day, our children need to be learning about the Lord and His Word. We need to take advantage of the every day opportunities to instill in them God’s Word. It should be a natural part of each day.
The primary responsibility for the education of our children lies with the parents. People often ask why Carolyn and I train our children at home, and this is why. We see this time in our lives as a very special opportunity to shape and mold young hearts in the things of the Lord. Very soon our children will be grown and on their own in this world and we want them to be well grounded in the things of the Lord and fully prepared for His service.
Now, you may choose to send your children to a school to be educated, but it does not relieve you of the God given responsibility you have for the Godly upbringing of your children. And it is not adequate to leave the spiritual training of your children to the church. The church is primarily here to equip you in the faith–prepare you for the Godly upbringing of your children.
Don’t get me wrong. We love children here. We want to see little ones won to Christ just as much as we want to see adults won for Christ; but we have been impressed with the great responsibility that has been given to us as a church for the equipping of the saints. Because, you see, Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us?
11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
So you see the work of the Church and it’s God given leadership is to equip believers, preparing believers for acts of service, and for encouraging maturity in the life of believers.
Since fathers have been given the responsibility of being the primary provider for the family, Moms generally spend more time with their children than fathers do. They have many opportunities to instruct their children in God’s Word. If you are a Christian mom, you have a responsibility to teach your children the Word of God.
Ideally, it should begin when your child is a baby, just like it did in Timothy’s life. Some of you may have gotten a late start, but your commitment to your responsibility to teach your children should be the same.
A Godly mom is actively involved in training her children. She doesn’t leave the responsibility to her child’s training in the Scripture to the church or a Christian school. That isn’t to say that a child shouldn’t be in church or in other activities were God’s Word is taught, but it is saying that a child’s training begins in the home. Yes the church can reinforce what our children are taught, but the primary responsibility is given to the parents.
A Godly mom has a tremendous opportunity to teach her children the Word of God. It’s a precious responsibility and it’s one that Timothy’s mom took seriously. From infancy, she taught him the Scripture.
We’ve seen the reality of Eunice’s faith. We’ve seen the responsibility of her faith. Now let’s look at the results of her faith. In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul talks about Timothy’s “sincere faith.” Look again at 2 Timothy 3:14.
2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
Paul says that Timothy has “become convinced” of the things he has learned. Timothy embraced his mother’s faith for himself. He wasn’t automatically a Christian because he had a Christian mother. He had to be convinced in his own mind that saving faith came through Jesus Christ alone. He couldn’t expect to die one day and be let into heaven on the merits of his grandmother or mother’s salvation. No, he had to place his faith and trust in Jesus Christ himself. That is what Timothy did. He became convinced in his own mind that what his mother had taught him was true and he became a believer just like his grandmother and mother. Each of us must choose to follow the Lord. It won’t matter when we get to Heaven whether our parents knew the Lord, it will matter whether we know Him.
Eunice had a real faith. She took her responsibility as a believer seriously and saw to it that her son was taught the Word of God. What was the result? Her son took notice of the reality of his mother’s faith. He learned God’s Word and he wanted that faith for himself. The greatest gift a mom can give her child is to set a Godly example and to instruct her child in God’s Word.
A believing mom has no greater joy than to know that her child walks in the truth. Charles Spurgeon said of his mother,
“I cannot tell how much I owe to the prayers of my good mother…I remember her once praying, “Now Lord, if my children go on in sin it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold on Christ and claim Him as their personal Savior.” (C.H. Spurgeon)
Spurgeon’s mother understood that if her children didn’t follow the Lord it wasn’t because they hadn’t been taught about Him. She had done her part but it was of course up to each of her children to follow the Lord themselves.
A mom can’t force her child to follow the Lord, but she can have a tremendous influence on him by having a faith that is real and taking the responsibilities of her faith seriously. Most likely, she’ll like the results she sees in her children if she takes the time to invest in them like Timothy’s mom did. Eunice had a faith that was real, she took her responsibility as a Christian mom seriously and the result was a Godly son.
Listen to this thoughtful poem from the Daily Bread?
Blest is the household where honesty reigns,
Where dad and mom practice the truth;
Blest are the children whom God leads and trains,
And are taught His Word from their youth. (Fitzhugh – October 13, 2001, Our Daily Bread)
We’ve been talking to mothers mainly today, but this really applies to all of us as well. Maybe you are a Dad. It’s just as important for you to have a real faith and a faith that takes responsibilities seriously. Maybe you don’t have any children, but you can have spiritual children. Paul considered Timothy his son in the faith even though Timothy wasn’t literally his son. We can influence others for the Lord just as Eunice did her son, Timothy. If you are a believer, you have a responsibility to share the Word of God with others. If they see a faith in you that is genuine and you teach them God’s Word, you might see some wonderful results in their life like Eunice did in Timothy’s life. We can influence others by our example by sharing God’s Word with them.
Today is set aside for honoring our mothers. I hope you’ll take the time to let your mom know today how much you love and appreciate her. Maybe you no longer have the opportunity to do that because your mom is no longer living. You can honor your mother by living a Godly life yourself. There is no greater honor that can be given to a mother than a life that is well lived. A life that is Godly is a life that is well lived. Are you living a Godly life that will honor your mother?
Many moms will receive gifts and acts of appreciation today, but mom what kind of gift will you give your children today? Will you give them the gift of a Godly heritage like Timothy’s mom did? Will they see the reality of your faith? Will they know God’s Word because you have taken your responsibility seriously to instruct them?
We need moms today like Timothy’s mom. Are you that kind of mom? Are you that kind of believer?
Abraham Lincoln once said that, “no man is poor who has a Godly mother.”
Our world needs Godly moms. If you have a Godly mom, thank the Lord for her. If you are a mom, determine to be a Godly mom. Husbands, give your wives the support they need to be Godly moms. The influence a Godly mom can have is remarkable. The world may not value the work of a mom, but God does. Moms you can make an eternal difference in the lives of your children. Are you working on that?
Lorne Sanny of The Navigators once wrote of his mother: “My mother gave birth to me in a frontier house on a midwestern prairie. On the kitchen counter she placed a list of the ingredients necessary for my formula. At the top of the list was ‘prayer,’ and that remained at the top of her list for me throughout her life…I have her to thank for firmly establishing my spiritual roots.”(Today in the Word, MBI, January 1990, p.23)
Wouldn’t it be a blessing to have it said of Jonesville Baptist Church that we are a church filled with moms who are Godly and determined to influence their children for the Lord?
2 Timothy 2:1-15
May 12, 2002