Derek Prince - How Did Timothy Become An Apostle?
So, what was the purpose of laying on of hands in all these cases, whether it’s servants or whether it’s apostles, or whether it’s elders? It’s to transmit authority and to set apart and endorse and equip a person for service Now, there’s another function of laying on of hands. Paul wrote to the Roman Christians and he said, I would love to come to you and impart some spiritual gift to you. But he didn’t at that time go, he went later. In 2 Timothy 1:6 Paul, writing to Timothy, says: I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. So, a gift was transmitted to Timothy through the laying on of Paul’s hands.
Now the Greek word used there is charisma from which we get the word charismatic. Let me give you my personal opinion, and you’re free to disagree with me you can still go to heaven - provided you love me! I believe that the charisma that was imparted to Timothy there was apostleship because we’ll find that there are some other apostles. Now, let’s look at the apostleship of Timothy. Timothy was also an apostle. Maybe you didn’t know that. I’ll show you out of the Bible. 1 Thessalonians 1:1. 1 Thessalonians 1:1. The letter is written by three men, which was quite normal in the New Testament: Paul, Silvanus - that's Silas and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians. So these were the writers of the letter. Not just Paul but also Silas and Timothy. Then in chapter 2 of that letter verse 6, these same men, that’s Paul, Silas and Timothy, said: Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.
So all those three men - Paul, Silas and Timothy - were apostles. You understand, the ministry of apostles has not gone out of date because in Ephesians 4 God says He’s put apostles in the church till we all come to the unity of the faith. Anybody with a candid mind would have to acknowledge we have not yet come to the unity of the faith. So, apostles are needed, pastors, evangelists prophets, teachers, all are needed until the job is complete. So, I’ve just pointed out to you we have now how many men? We have Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy and... That’s right. So there’s four or five apostles appointed after the Day of Pentecost. I want to take a little time just to go into the question of Timothy’s apostleship. Sorry, not Paul's. Timothy's.
I’ve pointed out to you that Timothy is called an apostle. How did he become an apostle? I think this is a very important question, because I believe we need apostles desperately in the church. Mind you, I have to point out that Jesus commended the church of Ephesus because they tried those who said they were apostles and were not and found them liars. Don’t accept everybody’s claim to be an apostle, they have to be tested. You know where liars end up? Do you know that? You don’t know where liars end up? They end up in the lake of fire. So, it’s a very serious issue. Somebody claims to be an apostle and is not, he’s headed for the lake of fire.
Now, let’s look at this situation. Acts 16. Paul has started out with Silas on his second missionary journey and it says in verse 1: He came to Derbe and Lystra and a certain disciple was there named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who believed but his father was Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. Now one thing that normally is required for anybody who’s going to hold a significant position in the church is they have a good report from their own congregation. If their own people can’t say well of them. what other people say about them matters very little. Years ago I was in a situation where a lady was sent out to us when we were in Jerusalem from Sweden as a coworker.
My first wife Lydia, who was very sharp, read through all the recommendations which were many. She said there’s just one thing missing. There’s no recommendation from her own church. We took her and we regretted it bitterly. She was a source of many problems. So I really try to master that lesson. When you choose a person the most important recommendation is the people that lived with them who’ve worked with them, who know them. If they can’t recommend them, no other recommendation is worth much. But Timothy had a good report from the elders of the churches in which he had been ministering or living. So Paul took him along and said, You come with me. And, we read later on we have to follow this rather carefully.
In 1 Timothy 4:14 Paul said to Timothy: Do not neglect the gift that is in you which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. So my conclusion is that a prophetic word was given saying: Timothy is to go out with Paul and Silas. On the basis of that prophetic word and because of their knowledge of his character, the local elders laid hands on Timothy and sent him out. He received the gift, or the charisma, of apostleship. That’s how I understand it. Now you’ve got to balance with that what we’ve already read in 2 Timothy 1:6 where Paul says to Timothy: Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. There could be many ways of understanding that.
I think the most probable way is in this situation in Lystra when the prophecy was given and duly tested and the prophecy said Timothy is to go out with Paul and Silas, the elders said: We endorse him. Paul said: I receive him. And Paul and the elders laid hands on him and imparted to him the charisma of apostleship. It’s very important to notice that the prophecy was very significant. Either prophecy is significant or it’s a waste of time. In 1 Timothy 1:18 Paul, writing to Timothy, says: This charge I commit to you, son Timothy according to the prophecies previously made concerning you that by them you may wage the good warfare.
Now that is a real purpose of prophecy, it’s to encourage a person who’s going to face opposition and know that God has really chosen you. I included this little incident in my book 'Laying on of Hands' and it got here to New Zealand and quite a well known Christian leader in New Zealand whose name I will not mention, had a prophecy over him when he was in the United States that said he was to do a certain task. He got very discouraged and he was about to give up and he read this and he said, I’m going to go by the prophecies. I will tell you who it is, it was... This was really one of the things that got him into his ministry which has now affected this nation and many others.
See how significant a prophecy can be if it’s given in the Holy Spirit. I have to tell you, friends, I’m sick of a lot of prophecy. I call it Charismatic fortune-telling. People come in, lay hands on you and say, You will do this and you will do that. Maybe, but in most cases it doesn’t happen. There’s a very thin line between prophecy and fortune-telling. You know that fortune-tellers can tell the truth, you know that? In Acts 16 it was a fortune-telling woman who first recognized who Paul and Silas were. Before anybody else in the city of Philippi, she knew these were the servants of the Most High God who show us the way of salvation. And yet, she was a servant of Satan. I just want to warn you of that.