Sunday, January 23, 2011
II Timothy Chapter 1
- This is a letter from Paul to Timothy.
- “May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.
- There's a couple of things in this section...
- First, Paul says that he has served God with a clear conscience just as his ancestors did.
- Paul is looking at his upcoming execution and he sees nothing to regret. His conscience is clear...
- We have all sinned. Romans 3:23-24 says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But God, because of Grace and Mercy, calls us righteous through Jesus Christ. So now, there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
- One of the footnotes in Dake's said that the word “conscience” is not used in the Old Testament. Romans 8 goes on to talk about the law of Moses and why it couldn't save us. So God did what the law couldn't do. He made a way to cleanse not only the body, but the conscience as well.
- Hebrews 9 talks about the old and new covenants. The old covenant was based on worship within the temple. Animal sacrifices for the cleansing of sin. Verses 9 and 10 says that “... for the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For the old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.”
- Further in chapter 9, verses 13 and 14 talk about the blood of goats and bulls cleansing the body from ceremonial impurity, but the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God.
- Christ broke all the boundaries. He provided a way so that we can come to the end of our lives and say beyond the shadow of a doubt that yes, my conscience is clear of sin.
- If tomorrow your life would end, is your conscience clear?
- Acts 24:10-21
- I Peter 3:13-22
- Romans 8:1-17
- John 3:16-21
- II Corinthians 4:1-18
- Titus 1:15-16
- Secondly, Paul is thanking God for Timothy because Timothy is a true friend in the faith. Paul says he prays for Timothy constantly, just as I assume Timothy also prayed for Paul.
- When last they parted, Timothy apparently cried a little... Their parting was a sad one... whether it was one of the times that Paul was arrested or if it was just when he left to go somewhere else, but because they were so close, as close as brothers, they felt sorrow at the parting.
- Paul says that he will be filled with joy when they are together again.
- When we are parted from a family member, (for Paul and Timothy very much considered themselves to be family in Christ as should we with our fellow believers), there may be sorrow in the parting, but we will all be brought together again... if not until death... we will eventually come together though in one place... and when we do, there will be great joy because we will delight in each other's company and fellowship, whether on this earth or in heaven.
- Timothy was a man of faith. “Genuine faith”. He had listened to Paul's teachings as a young man and had seen the faith of his grandmother and mother. The same faith continued on in his own life.
- Acts 16:1-5
- Proverbs says to“train up a child in the way he should go and he will never depart from it.” Timothy was an example of this. His grandmother and mother and Paul all showed him the way and directed his steps when he was young and now as he is older, he still chooses to follow Christ.
- footnote- “At the time of his ordination, Timothy had received special gifts of the Spirit to enable him to serve the church (I Timothy 4:14). In telling Timothy to “fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you, “ Paul was encouraging him to persevere. Timothy did not need new revelations or new gifts; he needed the courage and self-discipline to hang on to the truth and to use the gifts he had already received. If Timothy would step out boldly in faith and proclaim the Good News once again, the Holy Spirit would go with him and give him power. When you use the gifts God has given you, you will find that God will give you the power you need to accomplish whatever task He gives you.”
- Whatever gift you have been given, is to be used for the glory of God and for the edification of the church as a whole. We should all work to “fan” our gifts into flames.
- God has given us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. He has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity.
- I was thinking about this today... How many times have I sat, knowing I have a gift, knowing I can be of use to someone... and been too afraid to do anything about it? Or have been so quiet and withdrawn in my speaking or in my sharing that they don't take it into account because I'm so backward about it?
- That's not God. God says go! Be bold! Be strong in me!
- footnote- “Paul mentions three characteristics of the effective Christian leader: power, love, and self-discipline. These are available to us because the Holy Spirit lives in us. Follow His leading each day so that your life will more fully exhibit these characteristics.”
- Galatians 5:22-23
- We have a friend who got saved right in the middle of the 70's. They went to an outdoor church service soon after, and they asked if anybody could play the piano... well nobody came forward... so finally, our friend finally got up and went to go play... the only song she knew on the piano... “House of the Rising Sun”. It was the only song she knew... but she said nobody else went up...
- There were a lot of people there that day... maybe even some who could play and chose not to... My friend however decided to share what little she had. Kind of like the widow who gave her two mites. She gave all she could... even if it wasn't much.
- We should never be ashamed to tell others about God. No matter the circumstances. God gives us strength beyond ourselves. Paul said to not be ashamed of him either, even though he was in prison. No matter who our fellow Christians are... even if it's not necessarily “cool” or “popular” to hang out with or to claim a certain person as a Christian... if they are Christians like you... especially those in the same church with you... like it or not, they're all your family in Christ. I know there are still certain people in your church within your age group or within your personal family circles that you talk to more than others... but you are still all a family.
- Romans 1:8-17
- There are people in my church that are in the praise band with me that I definitely talk to every Sunday. And there are people who are either always sure to seek me out to check up on my week or vice versa. And then there are people that you see at church, say “hi, how you doing?” and move on to the next person. However, regardless of how close your relationships are with all those people, you are still family and are not to be ashamed of claiming the relationship.
- However, Paul says that if trouble and suffering come, be ready to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Again, God gives us strength. Just as Paul was in prison for serving God, so will we possibly face similar persecution.
- It might be something as “small” as just somebody not wanting to talk to you, or as “big” as martyrdom. People who are living in sin and don't want to change... get very upset when faced with the truth of their sin. There's been a lot of times that I've been talking to people... just normal conversation... but something I said set them off... And the next thing I know I'm getting blasted for being self-righteous or throwing religion in their face or trying to change who they are... and I don't have a clue what I said... lol
- Sometimes it doesn't take much... it can simply be being around you... and God does the rest if you let Him use you. Sometimes God uses your life to convict the people around you... and you don't even know it until after the fact. If you're living a life that exudes Christ, whether you like it or not, you're going to rub some people the wrong way... and they're gonna get upset with you... for seemingly no reason.
- However, God called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was the plan from the beginning.
- Even before He spoke one thing into existence, He had a plan to call each and every one of us to live a holy life for Him. “But I'm not holy.” Well none of us are. But when God takes over a heart, through Him and His power, we become righteous in His sight because we are covered with the blood of Christ.
- The beauty of Grace is that we don't deserve it... but He presented it to us anyway. His free gift to us. No strings attached.
- Ephesians 2:8-18
- Titus 3:3-8
- He revealed His plan for us through the coming of Jesus Christ to this earth to minister, and to shed His blood for us.
- Christ broke the power of death. We are all condemned men and women. We are all on death row so to speak. He has all the power. Satan is our accuser. Sin is the evidence against us. And Death is our executioner.
- I Corinthians 15:50-58
- Romans 6:1-23
- Our sin condemns us to a spiritual death. There is no way out of it... We are already dead spiritually. We have no hope.
- But Christ came and broke the power of death. He broke the power of sin over us. We no longer have to be spiritually dead. When we accept Christ into our hearts and are baptized, that baptism is a representation of what is happening in our life spiritually. When we accept Christ, we die to sin and to the flesh and are buried with Christ, and through the power of Christ are raised again to new life. Baptism is the representation of that burial and resurrection.
- Through the gospel, which is the story of Christ's life and death and resurrection, we have all been shown the way to life everlasting. And because we have been called to be children of God, we have all been chosen to be story tellers. We may not all be pastors, or teachers, but we can all be story tellers.
- You know there's this cartoon series called the “story tellers” based in Rome during the time of Nero. The characters are all Christians trying to keep the gospel alive and well during this time of great persecution. And they do so through telling the stories of the life and ministry of Christ and His eventual death and resurrection.
- We are all those story tellers. No matter what else may be our calling, we are all called to spread the gospel of Christ.
- Because he was spreading the gospel, Paul was put into prison. He said he's not ashamed of being arrested. He said he has entrusted his life to God and he is assured that God is able to guard that which has been entrusted to Him until the day of His return.
- footnote- “In spite of the suffering that might have caused Paul to despair, he affirmed his confidence in God's protection. This was not a claim to strong faith; rather, it was a trust in One so powerful that even a weak faith was sufficient. Paul based his confidence in Christ on his intimate relationship with Him. Paul's knew the One in Whom he trusted with personal knowledge; he knew Christ so well that no earthly experience could break the bond of love by which Christ held him. If your situation looks bleak, give your concerns to Christ because you know Him and love Him. Realize that He will guard all you have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.”
- footnote- “The phrase “guard what I have entrusted to Him” could mean:
1. Paul knew that God would protect the souls of those converted through his preaching.
2. Paul trusted God to guard his own soul until Christ's second coming.
3. or, Paul was confident that, though he was in prison and facing death, God would carry out the Good News ministry through others such as Timothy. Paul may have expressed his confidence to encourage Timothy, who was undoubtedly discouraged by the problems in Ephesus and fearful of persecution. Even in prison, Paul knew that God was still in control. No matter what setbacks or problems we face, we can trust fully in God.”
- Stand firm on the Word of God.
- “Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned form me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.”
- Hold fast. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and guard that which you have been entrusted with... the gospel. The Truth that Jesus is Lord and there is hope for a lost and dying world.
- When we start looking at all that we go through in life... you know... Paul's talking about everybody from the province of Asia having deserted him... That's pretty massive...
- But regardless of where we stand with those around us... even if an entire city or an entire nation or continent is against us... we are still to be guided by the Truth. The Holy Spirit is our guide.
- Where we stand with the world doesn't really matter in the end... even if you feel like you're the most hated person in the world... as long as you are in right standing with God... you'll be okay... you might die in the process... but eternity is our goal... comfort in this life is at times a nonexistent idea off in the distance... however, eternal life with God... THAT is something tangible and definite. We just have to follow Him and stay true to His Word.
- John 5:19-47
- Onesiphorus came to visit Paul. Paul asks that the Lord show special kindness to he and his family because he was never ashamed of Paul's chains. When Onesiphorus arrived in Rome, he searched high and low until he found Paul. Even though Paul was in prison, this man claimed him as brother. For his kindness, Paul asks that God show him special kindness on the day of Christ's return. This man was also apparently very helpful in Ephesus.
- Again... no matter the status of a person... if they are a fellow believer, we need to come alongside them and support them and encourage them in their faith and in their walk.
- Romans 8:18-39
- Hebrews 6:10-12
II Timothy Introduction
If you knew you were going to die soon, what business would you feel the need to take care of? What would you feel to say to loved ones? Would you change your will to something different? Would you go fix relationships that had been injured?
Paul has been imprisoned in Rome for the last time. His execution is imminent. Paul is alone except for Luke.
Looking at his life and what is to come... he decides to write to Timothy with his final instructions and advice as a father would to his son.
This is a letter full of love and encouragement as well as warnings and advice.
Mainly, this is Paul, staring the end of his life in the face and hoping that everyone he taught will follow him in his faith to the death.
4:6-8 “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.”