2 Timothy 1-2 Pass It On
TMS Philippians 4:18-20 Needs Met Richly
19 And my God shall supply all your need
according to His riches in glory
by/in Christ Jesus.
20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."
Observations: 4:19 Paul had learned the secret of contentment, that God would supply all his needs, giving what's best when it's best (see Philippians 4:13). He knew how to be satisfied/abound with little or a lot. His life wasn't about getting his needs met, much less his desires, but rather doing the desire of God in serving the needs of others. In the context of Philippians, they had supplied his financial needs, and now he was promising that because of their sacrificial giving, God was pleased, and would meet their needs (not wants, although in retrospect that frequently happens). The word for supply means “fill to the full” which implies abundance (2 Corinthians 9:8; Hebrews 13:21) Those who live to please God can expect His provision and prosperity (a major theme of the OT, usually applicable in NT times, unless God has something better planned). The storehouse from which their needs would be met, as they were in union with Christ, would be the riches in glory, where God keeps all His limitless treasure.
Application: We can trust that God will richly meet our needs, as we seek to meet the needs of others; all we need to do is being in union with Christ and trust Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise You that You display Your glory on behalf of Your servants so they can do Your will; I am trusting You to meet all my needs in my relationship with Christ. Thanks. Amen.
2 Timothy 1-2 Paul would be executed shortly after he wrote this final letter to Timothy, who was still at Ephesus. In it, he continues to encourage Timothy to be faithful to the tasks God had for him to do in building up the church, and making reproductive disciples (2:2). Paul gives personal advice on maintaining holiness, gaining glory, and combating the agents of Satan in the church. For you theological buffs, Paul gives a pretty decisive statement of what happens if a believer denies Christ and is unfaithful.
2 Timothy 1 Be a Good Steward of the Truth
2:1 "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 to Timothy, my beloved 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 pure conscience. How unceasing is my memory of you in my petitions, night and day 4 longing to see you, remembering your tears, that I may be filled with joy; 5 having been reminded of the sincere faith that is in you; which lived/dwelt first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and, I am persuaded, in you also.
6 For this cause, I remind you that you should stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of fear/timidity, but of power, love, and self-control. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal/of the age, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality/incorruptibility to light through the Good News.
11 For this, I was appointed as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this cause I also suffer these things. Yet I am not ashamed, for I know Him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard that which I have committed to Him against that day. 13 Hold the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, with faith, and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good trust/deposit which was committed to you, guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
15 This you know, that all who are in Asia turned away from me; of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain, 17 but when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me 18 (the Lord grant to him to find the Lord’s mercy/hesed in that day); and in how many things he served at Ephesus, you know very well."
Observations: 1:1-5 Paul reminds Timothy of the promise of life/dominion in Christ, for which he is an apostle according to God's will (despite the opposition to it). The promise is not a present possession, thus this is a reference to the future glory/dominion given to faithful servants. Paul wishes Timothy the covenantal blessings of grace, mercy, and peace. As the next verses will show, Timothy was a little timid in proclaiming truth in the face of opposition, so Paul is encouraging him with the truth that their ministry is the desire of God, and in the footsteps of those who have previously followed Him. Paul emphasizes that his service is with a pure conscience (Acts 24:16), meaning that he has not shirked from any of his responsibilities in serving God but been faithful ("hint, hint"). Faithfulness or faith (not the initial belief in Jesus' atonement which results in forgiveness/justification, but the continued belief in God's promises which results in reward/glorification) is a major theme in the letter, mentioned eleven times. Paul remembers both Timothy's tears, and the faith which dwelt in (controlled) his grandmother and Jewish mother (Acts 16:1), which he is convinced is also in Timothy. The tears most likely refer to sorrow at parting from Paul which would be replaced by joy when reunited (cf. Acts 20:37). Paul is convinced that Timothy also has the same life controlling faith exhibited in his family, although Timothy's timidity might be obscuring its expression. This is obviously not justifying faith (in light of 1 Timothy and Acts 16:1).
1:6- Paul says he's reminding Timothy of the above in order to encourage him to stir up (used of kindling a fire) the gracething that God supernaturally gave him though Paul's hands. In light of 4:5 it was most likely the charisma of evangelism, which Timothy would be hesitant to use in light of opposition. See comments on 4:14, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12 for the temporary nature of this charisma. All believers have the privilege and responsibility of sharing good news of Jesus, no special gifting required. All believers also have the responsibility to use all that God has given them for His purposes.
God doesn't give believers a crippling spirit of cowardice/fear, but a spirit (energizing force) of power, and love, and a sound-mind. The word refers to having one's passions under control, governed by objectives, which is why it is frequently translated as self-control. Timothy needed to have God's purposes govern his actions, not his emotional responses to circumstances. See Truthbase.net series on Perception and Performance for how to transform your emotional responses to stimuli. Those who don't undergo emotional transformation wind up being enslaved by inaccurate perceptions of and inappropriate reactions to life.
In light of the Spirit's empowerment, Timothy should not be ashamed or reticent but eager to share both the testimony of the Lord, and in the consequent afflictions, by drawing on God's power. God saved and summons (calls/invites) believers to holy calling (used of a wedding invitation), not on the basis of our works or actions but according to His purpose and plan. Note the order: “calling” follows being saved. The argument is that God's purposes for Timothy are not about him, but about God's plan to use him for His glory. God's purpose and power/grace were given to believers in their union with Christ, before the world began (see comments on Ephesians 1; and 3:10). Those who exercise faith in response to the revelation of Christ enter into that union, obtaining forgiveness for sin, pardon from the death penalty, and all they need to enter into the eternal and incorruptible glory of the Messiah, as long as they remain plugged into the Vine (John 15; Romans 11). In Romans 2:7 and 1 Corinthians 15:42 and 50 Paul indicates that immortality/incorruption is a reward or inheritance. God's plan for believers in Christ to receive glory and immortality is brought to light by the ministry of Christ on earth, and the ministry of those who proclaim it.
1:11-14 For the cause of bringing the light of the good news to the Gentiles, Paul was appointed a preacher, apostle, and teacher, which is also the cause of his sufferings. As the author of Hebrews (2:10) noted, that in bringing many sons to glory, it was appropriate for Christ to be brought to the completion/fulfillment of His Messianic mission through suffering, because that's also the route we must take (Mt 10:45; cf. Rm 8:17). But Paul is not ashamed because he knows that his trust in Christ is well placed, and that Christ will guard Paul's interests (desire for power, pleasure and possession) which Paul has committed to Him in view of the coming Day of the Lord (and rewarding of faithful servants). Trust in Christ's trustworthiness is wise, therefore Timothy needs to hold fast to the truth (pattern/scheme of healthy words/teaching) he had heard from Paul, exercising faith (in its veracity and in its promises), and loyal love which is experienced and expressed in union with Christ. The article “which” at the end of verse 13 is in the singular, referring only to the agape love, which Christ modeled, and energizes for those in union with Him. The good trust (used of a deposit committed to someone for safe keeping, I.e., the deposit of teaching – see 2:2), Timothy needed to guard by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of Truth, from the evil false twistings and distortions by Satan's agents.
1:15-18 News flash! Everyone, as in all the laboring believers who were following him in Asia, turned away from Paul (cf 4:16 -no one stood with him when he was imprisoned), except Onesiphorus. Paul prays that Onesiphorus and his family (4:19) would receive mercy which is used to translate the LXX hesed covenantal love/blessings, because he was not ashamed of Paul's chain, but diligently sought out Paul in his Roman imprisonment to comfort and encourage him. These verses form a chiasm centered around the end of verse 16 “and was not ashamed of my chains,” an example Timothy should follow.
Application: We should never be ashamed of the truth of God's revelation, because it is the only certain light in a dark world, but we should thoroughly believe it, and love others with it, drawing on the power we have in our relationship with Christ to do so.
Prayer: God, may I be a good steward of all You've entrusted to me, manifesting the spirit You've given me, so that others may be blessed by You life. Amen.
2Timothy 2 Passing on the Truth
2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 The things which you have heard from me among many witnesses,
commit the same to faithful men,
who will be able to teach others also.
3 You therefore must endure hardship, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier on duty entangles himself in the affairs of life, that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier.
5 Also, if anyone competes in athletics, he isn’t crowned unless he has competed by the rules.
6 The farmers who labor must be the first to get a share of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my Good News, 9 in which I suffer hardship to the point of chains as a criminal. But God’s word isn’t chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the chosen ones’ sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
11 This saying is faithful:
A. "For if we died with him, we will also live with him.
B. 12 If we endure, we will also reign with him.
b' If we deny him, he also will deny us.
a' 13 If we are faithless, he remains faithful. He can’t deny himself."
14 Remind them of these things, charging them in the sight of the Lord, that they don’t argue about words, to no profit, to the subverting of those who hear. 15 Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth. 16 But shun empty chatter, for it will develop into greater ungodliness, 17 and those words will consume like gangrene, of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 men who have erred concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past, and overthrowing the faith of some.
19 However God’s firm foundation stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness." 20 Now in a large house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of clay. Some are for honor, and some for dishonor. 21 If anyone therefore purges himself from these, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, and suitable for the master’s use, prepared for every good work.
22 Flee from youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But refuse foolish and ignorant questionings, knowing that they generate strife. 24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient, 25 in gentleness correcting those who oppose him: perhaps God may give them repentance leading to a full knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may recover themselves out of the devil’s snare, having been taken captive by him to his will.
Observations: 2:1-2 These two verses describe the essentials of the methodology of reproductive discipleship. Don't miss the importance of being strong in the grace/power that is found in union with Christ (4:17). A person who seeks to pass on what they don't own is a phoney. Timothy heard Paul teach (he learned the truth), and lived it (by obeying the truth to maintain fellowship with Christ (in verse 1; cf John 14:15; Ex 20:6) and then he was to love others with the truth by passing it on to faithful men, in such a way that they could teach others also. Truth should be reproductive: Paul to Timothy, to faithful men/women, to others, to.... The 7PASSAGES in the sidebar are designed to help you learn and own seven passages that relate to the seven key relationships a believer needs to have a fruitful relationship with God. The objective is to learn them completely, mining them for all the truth and implications they contain, incorporate the application of the passage into one's life. Once you know what it says and how it works, only then are you in a position to pass it on to someone else. The number of people who can actually do this, is minuscule, despite the years they've “sat under” Bible teaching, the scores of studies and Sunday School classes, and shelves of books they've read. It should be a simple proposition to learn them, live them, and love others with them. We're only talking about seven passages. They serve as the seed for the Christian life, so when you finish the blog, start learning them.
Passing on the truth to faithful men and women is the most difficult part, since these critters are rarer than those who know and live seven passages. When I was a young believer, I learned to look for FAT people (Faithful, Available, and Teachable). I changed the acrostic to FIT (Involved) for the athletic types. But being “available” to learn at the level required for mastery is a difficulty in our culture. The half faithful, and half teachable get roped into teaching others (parroting the party line), so there is little opportunity for the word to take deep root in their lives; nor are they available to train, because they are committed to much that is good, but not much that is best (reproductive disciplemaking -Mt 28:20). Being teachable is another rare trait, because once someone starts teaching others, they think they know enough, and have neither time nor inclination to learn more. Sigh. So what do you do if there are no faithful, available, and teachable people? From an organizational perspective, the answer is to structure church so individual quiet times and personal and small group inductive study is front and center. And teaching from the front and center (pulpit) is geared to motivating and encouraging people to get into learning, living, and loving others with the truth. See more on this topic in the upcoming Catacomb Church Blog. From a personal perspective, prayerfully invest in relationships to help people move from Curious to Convinced to Committed, and then Conformed (see Survey of Discipleship on Truthbase.net). The objective is to model how Biblical truth meets real needs in your life. Tap into their felt needs, and discuss how truth meets those needs. Then you can move from felt needs to real needs (a number of the evangelism and disciple-making sermons on Truthbase.net consider this strategy). Not everyone paid attention to Jesus and Paul, nor followed them (and they could do miracles)! Hence the need to be strong in the grace that is in Christ, and be able to draw endurance from the following verses. View those who walk away from the claims of Christ on their life as educational practice; you can't win them all (John 6:66), but you can gain skill from your losses. In seeking to minister to others, you are demonstrating the faithfulness that God rewards.
2:3-7 Paul reminds Timothy that as a soldier engaged in the service of the Lord Jesus, he must endure hardship and avoid entanglements that hinder his ability to please his Master and Commander (cf Lk 9:23-26 call to discipleship and glory; 2Cor 5:9-10). Switching metaphors to athletics and farming, Paul points out the necessity to be blameless if one wants a reward. In the games, when a person came in first, they wouldn't crown him victorious until they first checked with all the judges and coaches to see if there were any violations of the rules; then they would be called upward for the prize (Phil 3:14). As assurance, the farmer who labors and sweats is the one who participates in the fruits of that labor. Paul tells Timothy to ponder what he said, and that as he meditates, the Lord will help him gain insight. The point is that serving God as a disciple-maker is the most significant and difficult thing they will do on earth (because Satan particularly hinders obedience to the Great Commission), but it is the best use of their time on earth. Don't lose the focus.
2:8-13 Paul underscores the certainty of the Lord rewarding faithful believers by reminding Timothy that Jesus the Messiah was risen from the dead, as the seed of David, in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (2Sam 7) to rule over the Messianic Kingdom, according to the good news of Isaiah 40-66. For preaching this good news, Paul suffers and is bound, but the truth isn't bound but is free to set men free from the penalty and enslavement of sin (John 8:31-32). Therefore Paul endures all things for the sake of the choice/elect, so that they may obtain the salvation (reversal of the effects of the Fall) that is in Christ, with glory of the Age not just mere forgiveness, but the full glory for which God created them (the bigger purpose of creation -Eph 1). Then Paul recites a faithful saying (worthy of all acceptance) which is one of my favorite chiasms (not only because it's impossible to understand otherwise, but because it deals elegantly with the question of whether or not one can lose their salvation).
The outer two elements (verses 11 and 13, A and a') are concerned with justification. The inner two (verse 12a and 12b, B and b') are concerned with glorification. If we died with Christ (see Romans 6:2-3 or Col 3:3 for this imagery) and are now born again, we will live with Christ in the future. If we deny Him and are faithless (verse 13), He will still be faithful to His promises to give life to those who believe in Him (Jn 5:24, cf. 3:16). He can't deny what He has promised, since He can't lie (Num 23:19).
The two inner elements (verse 12a and 12b) refer to sanctification and the resulting glorification. If we endure, we will reign (Rm 8:17; Rev 3:21). If we deny Christ, the flip side of enduring, He will deny us. Mt 10:33 But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven. See the comments on Matthew 7:21-23 (cf Titus 1:16). Also see Some Rewarding Verses for Contemplation or the Survey of Rewards on Truthbase.net for more elaboration.
2:14-18 Paul exhorts Timothy to remind the believers in Ephesus of the above content, charging them to be faithful and spiritually reproductive in the sight of the Lord who will return to judge (Rom 14:12). They should learn, live, and pass on truth, not argue about words that don't profit by making people Christlike, or godly. Timothy should avoid empty (vain, profitless) chatter, for that develops into ungodliness. Two of Satan's agents erred concerning the truth, teaching that the resurrection already happened, and had managed to overthrow the faith of some (cf Titus 1:11). This is not faith in the substitutionary atonement, but faith that Christ was returning to reward His faithful saints. Those who believed the lie would still have their sins forgiven, and wouldn't be tossed into the lake of fire, but would miss out on the honor and glory God wanted to give them had they been faithful and true. Purposeful conversations are preferable to chatter, but social banter is sometimes necessary to develop relationships. However silence is preferable to unprofitable talk that results in loss of reward.
2:19-21 Despite the fact that some folks had their faith undermined and overturned, the foundation of God (1Cor 3:11; Eph 2:20) stands firm (cf 2:13 above), that of Christ's death for them, which has this seal or confirmation: The Lord knows who have trusted Him, and everyone who names the name of Christ (confess Him) should depart/withdraw from iniquity. In a great house there are vessels used for honorable purposes, and those for chamberpots. The difference between those that will be honored or dishonored in Christ's house/kingdom is the choice one makes/elects to purge (1Cor 5:7) oneself form iniquity (cf 1Pt 1:22 purify oneself). Then he/she will be a vessel fitted for honor, sanctified/holy, and appropriate for the master's use, having been prepared (perfect tense) through their purging, for every good work (see study on Good Works).
2:22-26 Therefore, the honorable ones must flee the desires/lusts of youth, and chase after righteousness (doing what is right in God's sight), faith (diligently seeking God's reward, cf Heb 11:6), love (the great commandment, which we will be evaluated on -1Jn 4:16-18; Rev 4:2) and the covenantal blessing of peace (it could be harmonious relationships). They run with those who also call upon the Lord out of a pure, sanctified/purged heart (1Tim 1:5, the goal of instruction; 4:12 exemplary purity). “Call upon” has meanings of praying, praising, and proclaiming, and all three are a good idea for those who follow God. This points to a change of value system (heart is where one makes decisions) that chooses what is pleasing in God's sight, rather than what is pleasing in the sight of those who don't seek God. Note that one doesn't resist temptation (we're supposed to resist the devil -Js 4:7), but one flees like Joseph did from Potiphar's wife (Gen 39:12). Note too, that holiness is a team sport. Accountability and encouragement from others helps us develop the habits of holiness that erase the habits of sin. See Hallmarks of an Accountability Relationship on Truthbase.net.
There are not just lusts of the flesh, but also of the mind that set up believers for future wrath (Eph 2:3). Vices like pride (significance/success/superiority), ambition, arrogance, vengeance, etc., anything that finds worth and value in power, pleasure, and possessions at the expense of others and apart from God is enough to disqualify us from eternal glory, since it violates Jesus' call to follow Him (Lk 9:23-26).
While fleeing with the holy, one wants to avoid foolish and undisciplined questions often raised for the sake of argument rather than application, and which tend to engender strife. The Lord's servant must not strive but be gentle towards all, patiently instructing the obtuse and oblique. Those who oppose the truth might be given a change of mind/repentance by the convicting work of the Spirit of God, so they might acknowledge/embrace the truth and recover themselves (literally “recover oneself to sobriety”) from the snare of the devil, who had taken them captive (perfect tense) to do his will. This means that believers can be Satan's agents, doing his will rather than God's in the church. This is in accord with what Paul taught the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:
29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
Note that these are believers. The corrective methodology is not to evangelize them but instruct them. The desired outcome is not conversion, but repentance to embracing the experiential knowledge of the truth. The context is believers in the household of God, not outside pagans. Unless leaders understand and recognize the potential for agents of Satan in the church, they are sitting ducks awaiting their own assassination.
Application: Flee your old lusts/desires, with the support of fellow saints, and chase after God's desires for you in this world and the next.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I live Your truth, and pass it on to others who will do the same; help me recognize or develop those to whom you want me to serve. Thanks. Amen.
God in a nutshell: God expects us to use what He's entrusted to us, for His purposes. He's given us a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, so we need not fear opposition, but can effectively oppose it.
Build-a-Jesus: Jesus is our Master and Commander, whom we should serve with the total allegiance of a loyal soldier. His resurrection to fulfill the promises to David is an encouragement that all God's promises to us will be fulfilled.
Us in a nutshell: Our time on earth is to be spent fleeing temptation, and running the race for future glory. We will be opposed and possibly deserted by all, but can always find strength and encouragement in Christ. We are to hang with the holy and pass on the truth to those who will pass it on to others in making reproductive disciples.
Where to Go for More: