Archive for the ‘2 Timothy’ Category

2 Timothy 4

 2 Timothy 4 is Paul’s final chapter in the letter to Timothy.  He speaks clearly and gives Timothy some direct instruction on how to lead.  “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching”.  It is easy for us to dismiss this as preacher talk and not relevant to you and me.  But that is not correct.  In fact – we are ministers of the gospel – this is written to us – and we need to wake up and realize that our life preaches the Word every day.  The only question is whether we are living that message the way God intends and has instructed us in His Word.  Do you ever consider that for many in your patch you are the only picture of God’s Truth that they read and see – the life we live in the flesh – it is God’s Word to those in our patch.  So don’t ignore Paul’s words here – they are directed as us – and we need to live and speak His truth so we impact those around us.  We are responsible to reprove, rebuke and exhort.  That is our task!

He goes on to warn Timothy of how people are going to live and act – and this sure sound familiar.  “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths”.  We need to realize that not everyone will be joyful when we share the truth.  In fact, many will resist and even persecute us for living for Christ.  People want to hear what they want to hear.  They don’t like absolute truth – they want to water it down and make it fit their lifestyle and desires.  That isn’t how God’s Word works.  It is truth – it doesn’t change – and we need to proclaim it and live it that way.  Not easy – but it is the life of a Christ Follower.  We need to learn His Truth and then live that way without change.  In fact Paul tells Timothy to “be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry”.  Basically just do it – don’t waver – don’t let others impact your course – learn the Word and live it – sharing truth as you go.

Paul wraps up his words by reminding us how we should live as a Christ Follower and minister of the gospel.  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”.  I long to be able to have those words describe me when I am at the end of life.  I long to hear “well done good and faithful servant from my God”.  How about you?  Are you fighting the good fight – we are in a battle – a realy spiritual battle with a very real spiritual enemy – and life is not just fun and games.  In fact – we need to take that reality a lot more seriously than we do.  It won’t be easy but Paul reminds us why it matters – because God is keeping score.  When we live for Him the way we are instructed – “there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing”.  We have a reward ahead if we live our lives for the Father.  There is a scoreboard on life.  What we do with Jesus determines if we are in the game or not – whether we get to heaven or not is determined by that alone.  But once we accept Him and have a personal relationship to gain our entry – the rest of life is really the determination of what that eternity ends up looking like.  Life is all about preparing us for our eternity.  It is about what that will end up looking life – and what the rewards and place we will serve ends up being.  Never think that life doesn’t matter.  It does – today and for eternity.  Are you laying up treasures in heaven by making intentional choices today to walk with and serve our Lord?

2 Timothy 3

 2 Timothy 3 begins with a list of characteristics that will describe people “in the last days”.  Certainly given the events of the recent days – it feels like we may be pretty close to that time.  Check out how people will be acting and see if this too doesn’t sound really familiar:

–       “lovers of self

–       lovers of money

–       proud

–       arrogant

–       abusive

–       disobedient to their parents

–       ungrateful

–       unholy

–       heartless

–       unappeasable

–       slanderous

–       without self-control

–       brutal

–       not loving good

–       treacherous

–       reckless

–       swollen with conceit

–       lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

–       having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power

–       creep into households and capture weak women

–       oppose the truth

–       corrupted in mind

–       disqualified regarding the faith

Wow – that sort of describes our times doesn’t it.  The world will be filled with people focused on me, myself and I and totally disregarding of God. Paul’s advice is pretty simple: “Avoid such people…. their folly will be plain to all”.  Who we hang out with does matter.  I often hear people say that it really doesn’t impact them – but it does and if we are always around people with this list of qualities it will rub off at some level.  Maybe not enough to put us on the list – but certainly it doesn’t do much to building godliness and holiness into our life.  That is what we need to be focused on.

Paul goes on to tell us how he has lived and what we ought to do.  Paul says follow “my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings…. continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it”.   He set the opposite example and has given us a great look at how we ought to live.  Lots of positive qualities that come as we pursue God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  It isn’t easy though.  Paul reminds us that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”.  That’s a bummer – but it is the life we are called to live.  We are to stand firm in the faith and walk in obedience to the Father.

Paul wraps the chapter reminding us why God’s Word – the Bible – is something we all need to learn and know.  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work”.  Did you catch that?  All scripture is inspired – not most – not some – but every last word down to the period that ends the sentence.  God wrote it through the hands of inspired people so we could have His truth.  It does four things for us:

  1. teaching
  2. reproof
  3. correction
  4. training in righteousness

It has a significant purpose for our life.  God gave it to us to show us how to live – to point out when we fail – to bring us back on track – and to help us stay where we belong.  It is what we need to succeed in His economy and live a life pleasing to Him.  It is the manual for holiness.  It is the guide for godliness.  It is our direction.  Paul goes on to tell us what happens when we live by it and use it as God intends – we become competent and equipped.  It is what prepares us to deal with life and all that will come our way.  The Word of God is our light and our path.  It makes us ready to live for God.  Are you in His Word daily?  Are you studying and learning what He desires for your life?  ALL scripture is written to YOU!  Make sure you read that love letter from the Father!

2 Timothy 2

2 Timothy 2 reminds us to “be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus”.  Do you remember that there is power in the relationship we have with Christ as a believer?  Sometimes we come into a personal relationship with Him and then get sucked back into the activity of life and the world and forget that He lives in us – that His strength and grace is still upon us.  We are not living on our own steam if we are truly living as a Christ follower.  We are living under the power of God Himself alive in us.  That is a very different power source. 

Paul reminds Timothy that he has a mission: “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”.  This is the core of discipleship.  We are to learn and experience Christ and then pass that on to another who can do the same.  It is the concept of spiritual multiplication.  That is how Jesus created His ministry.  He selected 12 men to invest in with the plan that they would then take the gospel to all the world.  Think about it – if you share with one who then shares with one and on it goes – the math says that in less than half a decade that multiplication would have the entire world know Jesus.  Multiplication is a powerful way to spread the truth.  It is like compound interest – it keeps on growing and soon becomes very large.  Of course, if only one of us fails to multiply and spread what we know to another – it cuts the output in half.  And if most of us do nothing – there is no multiplication and barely any addition.  That is the unfortunate state of the church today.  At best it is a slight addition but in many cases it is subtraction as people leave faster than they are brought in.  We need to get back to the basics of God’s plan here.  Life on life – sharing truth and living large for Jesus – that others will do the same and lead others.

Paul then gives us a few if/then statements about Jesus we should consider:

–       “If we have died with him, we will also live with him

–       if we endure, we will also reign with him

–       if we deny him, he also will deny us

–       if we are faithless, he remains faithful

Scripture is full of places we see that how we live matters.  But few are as obvious as these sort of if/then statements.  If we do things one way – good things happen.  If we choose to do them another – not so much.  Paul clarifies them for Timothy and us here – the big rocks of life.  We need to give our life to Jesus.  We need to endure through the tough times.  We need to proclaim Him as our Savior.  We need to be faithful to Him even when we struggle with our faith.  Do you see the power of living for Christ here – and what we are promised as a fantastic outcome of walking faithfully with Him.  Life, reigning, claiming, faithfulness – we have every reason to live life for Jesus!

Paul also shares a very important lesson in how we must handle God’s Word.  ”Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth”.  How can we rightly handle God’s Word?  We have to be in it daily and study it and understand what He has written to us.  So many Christ Followers try to walk through life without ever reading the handbook for how we are to live.  We think that attending an hour on Sunday morning will give us what we need to know.  But if we truly want to be approved by God – we have to intimately know what He has written.  It has been given to us to guide our lives – it is our operators manual for how life should happen.  We can’t possibly follow it if we don’t know what it says.  And that can only happen if we are serious about hearing, reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on it.  Paul makes an example out of “Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth….upsetting the faith of some”.  The reality is that when we fail to get into God’s Word – it not only robs us of the opportunity to know how to live but can cause us to upset others and lead them astray from God’s desires.  It is so important for us to get into God’s Word and know it.  Is that your daily habit?  Are you truly a scholar of God’s letter to you?  If not – today is the day to dive in.  There are so many good resources to help you learn.  All it takes is a desire and willingness to dig in!

2 Timothy 1

2 Timothy 1 is Paul’s second letter to his young disciple and preacher – his spiritual son Timothy.  We see a very important reality here about Timothy – that of his spiritual heritage.  Scripture records it this way: “a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well”.  Grandmother, mother and now son – faith that was taught and caught from generation to generation.  Timothy comes from a spiritual foundation.  His life is based on a legacy that was carefully protected and lived out in front of him.  Never doubt that you have a significant impact on those in your patch – particularly your kids.  Every one of us leaves a legacy – whether it is intentional or not.  We all leave one – and the only question is whether it will happen by chance or intention.  I am convinced that we all need to make the choice to be intentional about our legacy and the spiritual aspect of that is one of the main parts of that legacy that truly matters.  Never forget that how we live makes a big difference on the lives of those in our patch.  Often we think the choices we make aren’t really that important – but they are extremely important when viewed with the impact on legacy that each choice can have. 

Paul exhorts Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God”.  Our walk with Jesus shouldn’t be something others can’t see.  It should be a fire that burns within us that others can see – that we are continually making into a bigger flame.  Paul goes on to challenge us to share our faith.  “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control….. do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord….. share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling…..not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace”.  Paul reminds us that God didn’t create us to be quiet about our relationship with Him.  We should not be afraid to live our live with Jesus in public.  If we are truly a believer our life should be marked by power and love and self-control.  We should not be ashamed to let others know – in fact we should be living in a way they can’t miss the fact we are Christ Followers.  We should be living out our holy calling and our works should point to Jesus.  Does that describe your life?  Are you suffering for the gospel by the power of God?  Do those in your patch know that Jesus is your Lord?  If not, we need to ask why.  Because we have all we need to walk for Him moment by moment.  We are equipped!

Paul goes on to challenge us further and set the example of how we should live.  “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me…. guard the good deposit entrusted to you”.  Have you considered the truth that failure to live life openly and share the gospel to those around us is shame?  If we know whom we have believed – we should certainly not be shy about sharing that.  He is worthy of our testimony.  We have plenty to talk about as a Christ Follower – He has made huge impact in our life – and is more than able to guard what He has planted in us.  Our role is to guard what He has put in us – to live our lives in a way that oozes with Jesus moment by moment so everyone around us knows that we are His.  We have been given the biggest blessing possible – a gift of grace and mercy that cannot be measured.  So it shouldn’t be all that difficult to share it with others we are in contact with.  Right?  Are you living all out for Jesus?  If not, what are you fearful off?  That people won’t listen, or like you, or you might have to defend your faith?  God will provide the power and the words and the protection and the love.  All He wants from you and me is a willingness to truly be His and let others know that we are.  Time to shout it from the mountaintops!

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