Archive for the ‘2 Timothy’ Category

2 Timothy 4

2 Timothy 4 has Paul exhorting his disciple to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching”.  Paul charges Timothy to preach the word – and in the original language that meant to testify or be a witness.  It was a strong command.  Timothy was not required to merely know the word or like the word or approve of the word; he was required to preach the word. And it wasn’t in a way to just tickle peoples ears – strong words like reprove, rebuke, exhort – he was to bring the word to bear on the lives of those in his care.  God’s Word is not just a suggestion for life – it is the way we are to live.  Not a theory or idea – but a guide to living in a way that pleases God.

Back in that day, much like today, many didn’t like what the scriptures said.  “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 really are a gullible bunch. Once we turn from God’s truth, we run to whatever makes us feel good.  When we reject God’s truth, we don’t usually believe in nothing but rather we’ll believe in anything.  Paul wants Timothy to be prepared for the folks who will press him to give them words that make them feel good about themselves no matter how they live.

Paul’s time is quickly coming to an end.  He felt like he was at the train station and his train to heaven was boarding.  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”.  Those are words all of us should aspire to be able to say as we wind down life.  Paul uses the analogy of a race throughout his writings.  We need to live life as a Christ Follower like an athlete where we are training for and running a race to eternity.  It won’t just happen well without some real intentionality, and if we don’t keep the faith we will get pulled off the course and fail to finish well.

Is it worth the hard work to fight and finish?  Paul makes it clear that it absolutely is.  “Henceforth 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”.  Remember where Paul came from.  He was a persecutor of Christians and killed many.  Yet as he winds down life on earth we are reminded that Christ’s grace covers any and all sin if we accept his grace and make it our own.  We’ll all stand before God some day and have to give account to a righteous judge.  If all we have to talk about is how we have lived, we will be toast and fail to enter eternity with God.  But if we have prepared by receiving salvation through the shed blood of Christ, we’ll end up with a crown of righteousness as well and spend forever with Paul in God’s presence!

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2 Timothy 3

2 Timothy 3 has Paul warning Timothy that people are going to be people.  “For people will be 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”.  These were the words describing people ‘in the last days’ which sure sounds a lot like where we are living today.  People will be people which means they will be self centered and full of sin, which is why we need God’s grace and a Savior.

So what are we to do with folks who are like this?  “Avoid such people….these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and  disqualified regarding the faith”.  We need to be careful who we hang around.  We are impacted by those whose company we keep.  Paul reminds Timothy of the impact of his life on him: “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings”.  We don’t have to act like the lovers of self Paul described to start this chapter.  We can choose to live like Paul and set an example where people can see Jesus in every area of our life.

But it isn’t easy as Paul warns that “all who desire to  live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”.  The world and our very real enemy in Satan himself will seek to derail and destroy our faith and foundation.  We need to “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”.  We need to hang onto the truth of God’s Word and make sure we are walking in faith as Christ Followers.

The truth comes directly from God through His Holy Scriptures.  “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”.  The Word is all we need.  It tells us a truth that means more than our opinions, tells us when we are wrong in our thinking or conduct and tells us how to live rightly before God and men.  It is all we need.  Guzik writes it is a “spiritual work, a spiritual blessing which God works in us as we come to the Bible and let Him speak to us. This goes beyond our intellectual understanding. It is filled with great spiritual power beyond our intellect:

  • The Bible gives us eternal life (1 Peter 1:23).
  • The Bible spiritually cleanses us (Ephesians 5:26).
  • The Bible gives us power against demonic spirits (Ephesians 6:17).
  • The Bible brings spiritual power to heal our bodies (Matthew 8:16).
  • The Bible brings us spiritual strength (Psalm 119:28).
  • The Bible has the power to spiritually build faith in us (Romans 10:17).

2 Timothy 2

2 Timothy 2 begins with Paul reminding Timothy how to make disciples and take the world for Jesus.  The formula is exactly the same as it was some 2000 years ago – “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”.  Making disciples is not magic.  It is about learning what it means to be a Christ Follower, and then finding someone else you can build into that can take it forward and build it into another person.  It may seem slow and inefficient – this idea of raising up disciples one by one – but it actually is built upon the concept of multiplication where one becomes two who become four who become 8 who become 16.  In 40 years, if each person in the chain just found and discipled one person for a year who went and did the same, the entire globe would be Christ Followers.

We can never get there through adding people one at a time, which is unfortunately how the church attempts to reach the planet for Christ today.  Paul’s formula started with himself -> Timothy -> faithful men -> others.  That’s how God designed the plan to reach the world.  So what is the problem?  “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops”.  We get distracted.  We don’t follow the plan and soon we’re back to adding people one at a time rather than multiplying disciples one by one.

If we truly are Christ Followers, Paul tells us we need to live that way.  “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—for he cannot deny himself”. We need to focus on how we live our days in this earth as they matter.  God cares about how we live.  “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”.  We need to know the Word and live the Word with those in our patch.

But things get in the way.  “So flee  youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord  from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant  controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will”.  We have to stay away from the things that derail us on our walk with Jesus.  The enemy is after us and is focused on helping us into the ditch so we fail in our mission to live a life pleasing to God that brings others to Him as disciples.  We have to make right choices and hang around right people if we want any hope of reaching God’s plan for our life!

2 Timothy 1

2 Timothy 1 begins Paul’s second letter to his protégé Timothy.  He begins like he does in all his letters, reminding us that he is an apostle according to the will of God, not because of what he or any other man plans for him.  Paul is in prison in Rome as he writes and was facing execution.  So this letter has some intensity behind it.  Paul begins by reminding Timothy of his heritage.  “I am reminded of  your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well”.  Timothy’s genuine faith was due, in no small way, to his godly upbringing and the influence of his grandmother and mother.

It wasn’t enough that this genuine faith was in Timothy’s grandmother and mother; it had to be in Timothy also. Our children, once of age to be accountable before God, must have their own relationship with Jesus Christ. Mom and dad’s relationship with God will not then bring eternal life to them.  Because of his history, Paul encourages Timothy to pour gas onto his faith fire.  “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God….for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”.  When it comes to our faith, we must be bold, get going, go for it.  It should drive us and we need to keep poking at it so the flame continues to burn and grown.

Paul challenges Timothy to stand tall and firm in his faith.  “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but 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, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do”.  That’s a mouth full of words.  Paul challenges Timothy to recognize just how special and amazing God’s gift of grace is through Christ, and the eternal outcome He gave of victory over death and the promise of eternal life to all who believe.  That’s the message Paul taught and is encouraging Timothy to shout from the rooftops.

It’s a personal mission for Paul.  “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”.  He sits in a Roman prison but has assurance of his salvation through Christ at a level that cannot be shaken.  We must know what we believe; but it is even more important to know whom we believe.  Paul knew exactly what he believed. Paul had committed everything to Jesus – his life, his body, his character and reputation, his life’s work, everything that was precious.  Paul knew he could not keep his own life; he knew that only God could keep it.  Paul was all in for Jesus.  That’s what he calls Timothy, and each of us as Christ Followers to do as well.  We need to be all in for Jesus.

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!

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