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2nd Timothy 1:1-12
2nd Timothy 2:1-13
2nd Timothy 2:14-26
2nd Timothy 3:1-13
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2nd Timothy 1:1-12

 

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dearly beloved son:  Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.  I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.  Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner:  but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:  whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed:  for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

 

Paul’s Remarkable Introduction

 

“This is the most, no doubt, emotional letters in the New Testament, certainly seeing things coming from the heart of Paul that we haven’t seen in some of his earlier writings.  A remarkable man, over seventy words in this short epistle that we don’t find in other places.  And he is very much bearing his heart in these things.  As he writes to Philemon, and we’ll come there, he calls himself “Paul the aged,” he’s an aged apostle, and this is like six years after that, so he’s way aged here as he is writing.  And he is aware, as he will tell us in the 4th chapter, that he is about to make his departure, that he’s about to be offered, that he has finished his course.  And a great reflective man, pragmatist, great thinker, had said in other places ‘I would rather depart and be with Christ, but knowing that it is needful for me to be here for the Body of Christ,’ he continued in that battle, in the journey of his faith, in his labour.  But now at this point, he knows that he is, his time has come, he is to be offered, as it were.  He’s in prison again, and he’s used to that by now.  He’s been in prison in Caesarea for almost two years, he was imprisoned at Jerusalem for preaching there on the steps of the Antonio Fortress, he was imprisoned at Philippi where they sang hymns and the prison was shaken.  He was imprisoned in Rome before, in Acts chapter 28, in the shipwreck there we read of, the winter of AD 60 Paul had come to Rome, arrived after winter had passed, in the Spring of 61AD after that shipwreck, finally coming to Rome proper.  A year later in the Spring of 62AD he writes Philemon, Colossians and Ephesians, in the Fall of 62AD he writes Philippians.  Those two years in prison in Rome are very lenient, he’s chained to a guard, he’s able to receive visitors, he’s able to write epistles, he’s able to minister freely.  And no doubt many of those Roman guards had the Word of God sown in their hearts and came to genuine faith as time went on.  But after two years, in the Spring of 63AD Paul was acquitted, and he is released.  Now his ministry after that first imprisonment is sketchy to a degree.  He had spoken of his desire to go to Spain [called the Iberian Peninsula in Roman days] and many scholars feel that in 64AD he made it to Spain.  There is even speculation, it’s tenuous, there’s little legitimate evidence, that he had gone to Briton.  And Rome was busy and had colonies in Briton and trading with Briton at this point in time.  But at least we know he goes to Spain, the Church Fathers agree, after that he went back to the area of Macedonia.  And July 19th in 64AD, Nero sets fire to Rome, and blames it then on the Christians. [It is believed now that Nero didn’t set fire to Rome, he wasn’t in Rome at the time, but he did falsely accuse the Christians of doing that. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nero.]  So in the summer of 64AD persecution begins proper against the Church that had been tolerated to a degree up until then.  And even to a degree against the Jews.  In 66AD it seems that Paul is in the area of Asia [Minor], fighting is taking place around Jerusalem at this time, we know it’s at 70AD finally Jerusalem is taken.  He’s arrested, Titus chapter 3, verse 12 speaks of his desire and his journey to Nicopolis, and scholars feel it was there in Nicopolis that through one circumstance or another he is surrounded and taken into custody again.  And then he’s taken back to Rome and imprisoned, it’s at 68AD, he’s in the dungeon.  He’s in the Mamertine Prison [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamertine_Prison].  He’s in the place where many that were imprisoned died just from the circumstances.  The Mamertine, where Peter would also spend the last months of his life, was a place where there was no light, it was in complete darkness, they were chained to a pole standing upright, knee deep in human waste, that has been used for centuries, and Paul was there suffering in an unimaginable way.  If he was chained to one of those poles…best case, thrown into some dungeon situation there, and it seems to be that, because he’s asking for some things.  But this is the worst of circumstances, he’s cold, he’s asking for a cloak, he’s asking for some parchment, if Timothy could possibly come and get permission to see him.  And he knows this is the end of his life.  No doubt, Timothy does too, he’s going to speak early of the fact that the last time he saw Timothy, Timothy was weeping.  Timothy probably 36 to 40-years-old at this point in time, and a remarkable relationship between these two men.  Paul has indeed taken this young man, not just as his son in the faith, but as his son in so many ways.  And I wonder as Timothy gets this epistle from Paul and begins to read, you and I read “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.” (verse 1) it sounds to you and I like so many of his other epistles, but to this young man, Timothy, as this parchment would have come to him, he would have unrolled it, that first word would have done remarkable things in his heart and mind, “Paul…”  No doubt he wondered whether he would ever hear from him again, and somebody places this in his hand, “Paul,” and what memories that flooded his mind and his heart, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,” and something very beautiful about this, because in the letter to the Galatians and other places, saying, “Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,” because he’s defending his apostleship, he’s dealing with people that are antagonistic in regards to his office.  But there’s none of that in the heart of Timothy.  So as he writes to Timothy, he’s reminding Timothy not just of their phileo relationship, as father, son, their friendship, but he’s reminding Timothy of the great authority that he had too.  Not that he has to fight for that position, but he wants Timothy to think of him also in those terms, “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,”  [I’m seeing something here Pastor Joe is alluding to here, a principle, that just the way things shake out with people God gives real authority to, whether others know or realize it or not, God knows, and the people God has ordained know who they are, usually, because life has not been made easier by knowing God has made you a servant in some way, blessed you with a real ministry in some way.  Paul, the greatest apostle to ever live, was used to lay the doctrinal foundation of the Church, Body of Christ, his ministry was continually attacked from all sides, from within and without, from one end of the Roman Empire to the other.  Just a word to the wise for those who would want a ministry or position in the church, look at Paul’s life.]  No straining, no struggling, it was there as the Lord appeared to him on the Road to Damascus, and he said to Ananias, ‘This man, Saul of Tarsus, is a chosen vessel that I will send to the Gentiles,’ and certainly in the fullest sense he’s fulfilling that and has fulfilled it, and there’s no strain, no struggle, Paul hasn’t taken it to himself.  He tells of the many things he had suffered because of his faith, because of his calling, because of his apostleship.  And now he reminds Timothy, because he is going to exhort him in regards to his own calling.  “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,” the philema, it’s not just God’s pragmatic design, it is by the emotion of God.  The “will” there is a particular word that speaks not just of “thought” but of “heart, emotion.”  And saying, even at this point in time, as he’s facing execution, ‘that it’s the will of God, somehow God has pleasure, Timothy, even in these things. An apostle, yes, ready to be martyred, yes, but all of this in the heart of God, all of this by his will, and that,’ he says, “according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,” and the sense is “in keeping with”, ‘in keeping with my calling which is in regards to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.’  What a remarkable introduction, from a man whose ready to offer himself, ‘according to the promise of life” that’s my calling as an apostle, to communicate those things to a lost world, that there is life in Christ Jesus,’  And certainly his hope at that point in time, “to Timothy, my dearly beloved son:  grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (verse 2)  If you’re reading the King James when you read “my dearly beloved son” you see “my” is in italics, it is inserted, because the grammar spoke of possession to a degree, but you have to understand, he said “to Timothy, dearly beloved son” and what that meant to him.  You know, my oldest son, when he graduated from Bible college, I said, “You know, Mike, a lot of people can have a lot of things they can say about your life, whether you’re a pastor or a computer technician, whatever you do.  There’s no other human being on earth that can say what I can say to you, son.  And there is no other man on earth that can hear what I hear from you, father.  And whatever you accomplish in life, nothing will ever impress me as much as those two words.”  And I think what he’s saying, ‘Timothy, dearly beloved son,’ and for this man, great emotion now I believe, knowing that he must soon depart from this world.  “grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”  You know his introduction, always in his epistles, “Grace and peace,” always in that order.  You never have peace until we have grace first.  But in the Pastoral Epistles, it’s Grace, mercy and peace, if you’re in ministry, you need more than grace and peace, you need mercy.  You know, grace for every work that God puts in front of you, mercy for every failing, and they will come, and peace for every circumstance, “grace, mercy and peace,” I mean, what else could he wish, I think John the great apostle who would say ‘I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truth.’  And here he says, ‘Timothy, dearly beloved son, grace, mercy, peace,’ and Paul finds complete comfort in the source, the fountain of those things, because it is grace without measure, it is mercy without end, it is peace unqualified, grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, from Jesus our Lord.  And Paul had experienced those things in his own life, and he begins, “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;” (verse 3) here is the man who said, “pray without ceasing.”  And he’s a guy who practices what he preaches to others.  “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience,”  when you’re ready to be martyred and you’re ready to leave this world, pure conscience is a great thing to have at hand.  “that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;” ready to be offered, constantly thinking of Timothy, can’t be there at this point to talk to him, can’t be there to counsel him, leaving him in charge of the churches in Ephesus and Asia Minor there, knowing the difficulty of all of those things, but there’s one thing that no one can stop him from doing, and Paul knows how effectual that is, he said ‘I have been praying for you night and day.’  [Comment:  And historically, being 68AD, the time of Paul’s death, and then Nero’s suicide, the throwing off of the Roman Empire out of Judea temporarily by the Jewish zelots, the apostle John must have been making his way to Ephesus and Asia Minor with Mary, Jesus’ mother, to keep her out of harms way, knowing that the Roman Empire would come down hard on Judea, which happened shortly thereafter.]  Without ceasing, a pure conscience, “greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;” (verse 4) Greatly desiring to see thee, chapter 4 he’ll say, ‘make haste, if there’s any way, come,’ he wants to see him.  Paul, little does he ever tell us of his emotional needs, saying to this young man, ‘greatly desiring to see you again, being mindful of thy tears.’  It may have been the last thing he saw, when Paul was taken at Nicopolis he may have seen just the tears running down the face of Timothy, not the last memory that Paul wants to have in this world of this young man.  [to see where this Nicopolis was, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicopolis]  And you think of how with Jeconiah, they took his sons, the Babylonians killed his sons in front of him and then gouged out his eyes so that the last thing he would see would be, the last memory he would have…and Paul here saying, ‘having memory of your tears, I want to see you again, make haste, come to me, I want to see your face,’ Paul says in chapter 4.  And great emotion here.  We sometimes perceive Paul as Spok on Star Trek, pointed ears, having no understanding of emotion at all, and he was a great man, not like that at all. 

 

Faith Without Hypocrisy, The Great Legacy We Can Pass On To Our Kids

 

He is being completely honest here, greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” (verses 4-5)  ‘When I call to remembrance,’ now he is mindful of his tears, but he’s filled with joy when he calls “to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee,” unfeigned is unhypocritical faith, faith without hypocrisy, faith without a mask, faith without phoniness to it.  And Paul says that at this point in time, his is like that, he has a pure conscience, serving God that way, ready to be offered.  And he says to Timothy, ‘I am confident, and I have joy when I call to remembrance’ “the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice;”  Now it’s interesting.  First of all he says this faith “dwelt” in your grandmother.  It wasn’t a visitor, didn’t come once in awhile.  To dwell means to “settle down and be at home.”  ‘An unhypocritical faith that marked your grandmother’s life and your mother’s life, and I am convinced it marks yours also.’  We hear too much of you know, ‘We need to kind of Modernize our message, to reach the generation that’s out there now, you know, we need to Gen-X the Gospel somehow, we need to jazz it up, we need to make it more palatable,’ and Paul says, ‘I’m so glad that the faith that has settled down in your grandmother is the same faith that’s dwelling in you, that had been passed on to your mother, that has been passed on to you, that is an unhypocritical faith.’  That’s the only way it gets passed along, it has to be faith without hypocrisy.  If we tell our kids or our grandkids about Jesus, and we use foul language, the message doesn’t go very far.  If we tell our kids or our grandkids about Jesus, and they see us looking at Internet pornography, they see us acting in a way that doesn’t become the Gospel of Christ, if they see phoniness in our lives, and hypocrisy, it does not go to the next generation and then to the generation after that.  It will not make that journey, it will steal away from the hearts of our children the opportunity they have to walk with Christ in a genuine way.  And it’s there, it’s paid for, it’s been passed from generation to generation, and we are always in danger of that, and it’s a conversation we have often with the pastors, the staff here.  We are living in a Christian sub-culture in America, there is a Christian sub-culture.  We have Christian music, I’m all for that.  We have Christian bumper stickers, I’m all for that, Christian television shows, I’m for some of that [laughter].  Some of those guys I like to watch with the sound off, just because I can’t believe what they look like.  But more than that, see we have Christian night clubs---what is that!?  Paul says we’re not of the night, we’re of the day, we should have Christian day clubs, not Christian night clubs.  Christian this, Christian that, people standing up getting the Grammy’s, praising Jesus while they live like the world.  And then kids saying to their parents, ‘Stand in line and get me tickets to this group, because when they got their Grammy they said ‘Praise Jesus,’ while they’re singing about getting your daughter in the back seat of the car, and they’re singing about filthy things all over the Internet, but you see, there’s like this Christian sub-culture.  And the problem is, we have been infected by the culture in America that surrounds us.  So people think we have to have a replication of those cultural things in the Church in order for the Church to be cool, but Paul is abundantly clear and so is the Scripture, that that culture is not supposed to infect us, we are to infect that culture.  That we are the ones that bring a message from another world to this world, of God’s love and God’s power to transform a life, and we are to be infecting the culture that we live in, and that culture is not to be infecting us.  And Paul says ‘I am convinced Timothy that there is an unhypocritical faith that dwells in you, I saw it in your grandmother, and I saw it passed to your mother, and I am convinced that it is dwelling in you too.’  Hey single moms, take heart.  Because evidently Timothy’s dad was out of the picture early on, there’s no mention of him.  He had been a Greek, there’s no mention of him.  Single parents, the Lord understands that, he was raised by a single mom for most of his life, evidently.  And still that message was passed on, because the faith of the grandmother was without hypocrisy.  She wasn’t saying one thing and doing another.  That kind of faith infected her daughter Eunice.  She wasn’t doing one thing and saying that another thing should be done.  Her walk and her talk were matched up.  And it was passed then to the next generation, to Timothy.  And Paul says, ‘This legacy, this faith, that is not infected by the culture, but is a faith that will infect the culture, the world, I’m convinced that it dwells in you also.’  And no doubt the fruit that would be borne from Timothy’s life would be put on their account.  What greater thing can we give to our kids but an unhypocritical faith?  It’s a struggle, because I don’t know about your testimony, but I got saved out of the world, I got saved out of Egypt, I remember the task-master’s whip, and the tears, and the bondage of the world.  And I appreciated my freedom when I got saved.  But then you raise a generation in freedom from the world, and they have a whole culture handed to them, and they think that there’s something out there, Satan convinces them of it, and he only wants to kill them.  And if the faith that you’re demonstrating is a faith with contradiction and hypocrisy, there’s no tendency at all then to embrace it, but to go out there and see what’s out there.  The greatest legacy that we can pass to our kids, again, is not something you need a lawyer to settle.  It’s a faith without hypocrisy.  It’s a genuine faith.  And I’m sure as Paul is in prison, if he’d have thought, ‘Timothy really struggles with this, he likes to go to Las Vegas once in awhile, when I’m gone I don’t know what he’s going to do, not going to be able to ride herd on him,’ no there’s none of that.  Paul wants to see him again, Paul loves him, but he says ‘I do have joy when I realize that you have this unhypocritical faith cooking in your heart.’ 

 

What Does It Mean ‘To Stir Up The Gift Of God’s Holy Spirit Within Us?’

 

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.  For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (verses 6-7)  ‘Wherefore Timothy, coming to the end of my course, knowing what’s going to fall to you, believing that there’s an unhypocritical faith that is in your heart, I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God which is in thee,’ recognizing that God had a call on his life.  And look, by the way, we’re all able ministers of the New Testament.  Everybody in this room has a calling on their life.  And every one in this room is entrusted with a stewardship of something, from the heart of God.  And we will be rewarded someday when we stand in front of him, in regards to faithfulness, not in regards to accomplishment.  I’m not going to get more rewards because of what I do, or neither will Billy Graham or Charles Stanley, you know there’s a grandma sitting somewhere, like Lois, whose faith was unhypocritical, and she was completely faithful in the stewardship that God gave to her, more faithful in that stewardship than I have been in mine, and when we get to heaven [into the Kingdom of heaven, which will end up on earth, cf. Revelation 19-21], her rewards will be greater, because God will reward us according to faithfulness, and not according to results.  He’s in charge of results.  But have we been faithful?  Because he has a call on all of our lives, all of us.  And because we’re effected by the culture we think it needs to be grandiose, public.  And the truth is, the majority of us spend our lives in obscurity, like Jesus did for the first 30 years of his life.  And remember, when he came to be baptized, a voice from heaven said ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am ‘already’ well pleased,’ hadn’t done a miracle, hadn’t preached a sermon, was a carpenter.  ‘But remember to stir up the gift of God that’s in you, stir that up,’ interesting word, it has to do with, it’s used of “fire” of stirring up coals.  How do you stoke a fire.  Ah, I have got a wood stove at home, and I love that, maybe a little bit of a sickness there, attached to it, I don’t know.  But I really like, you get a really hot fire going, and you look in there at those flames, I’m just kind of a, you know [pyro], and I love the fact that it brings the gas bill down a little bit.  I’ve got all kinds of ulterior motives, but.  The great thing is, you know you can dampen it down, put in some big logs, and in the morning there’s nothing but coals there, but if you stoke it, you open it up, and you stir it up a little bit, you open up the damper and let some air, wind, blow over it, and put some fresh fuel on it, it’ll burst back to flame again.  And we’re told to stir up the gift of God that’s in us.  And what he’s indicating is, we can tend to burn low, we can tend to sit on our lees, we can tend to get in those places we always hear from Christians, ‘I feel so dry, I don’t sense the Lord’s presence, I feel like I’m far away, I’m having a desert experience,’ you know, we use all these different terms to try to describe the fact that we need some stokin’, we need to put some fresh fuel there.  What was it that we burned before?  Jesus said [to the church at Ephesus] ‘You’ve lost your first love, remember, repent, and do the first works. Remember from where thou art fallen, repent, turn back again and do those first things you did.’  What did we do?  We read the Word, put some fuel, put some Bible on those coals.  It’s not a mystery, start to open the book again and put your face back in there, let some wind blow over it, and say “Lord, fill me with the Spirit again,” add some prayer to it, stir it up a little bit, and it will come back to flames, ‘stir up the gift of God that’s in you.’  I don’t believe it’s complicated.  ‘I feel so far away, what should I do?’  Have you been reading your Bible, ‘oh, on Saturdays,’  oh you want a seven day relationship, and a one day a week reading relationship.  If you abide in his Word he abides in you.  Are you in the Word?  People don’t want to hear that, that’s so simplistic.  ‘I can’t believe it, I’ve been going to Calvary Chapel 15 years and he’s still saying the same thing,’ and you better thank God and pray to God that 20 years from now that we’re still here and we’re still saying the same thing, because there are a lot of people who aren’t saying it anymore.  [Comment:  What’s Pastor Joe referring to here?  See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/smith.htm]  Are you in the Word of God?  It’s at the center of what we believe.  [applause]  Are you praying? Do we get alone with him, on our knees?  Are you asking, ‘Lord, fill me with your Spirit,’ ?  Stir up the gift.  There’s an exhortation to Timothy, “stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”  Now, we’re not clear whether that means, it doesn’t seem ever that it’s a human being’s laying on of hands, that is the vehicle, but it seems the grammar also indicates the timing, that it was there when Paul prayed that some of the gifts that Timothy had were confirmed.  We see Paul in Acts 13 there, with Silas and the apostles praying, and they laid hands on them and they sent them out into the missionary journey, ‘Separate unto me Paul and Silas for the ministry I have called them to,’ the Holy Spirit spoke there through one of the men.  So Paul is reminding Timothy, of whatever the circumstance was, when they were alone, how that he had prayed for him, and encouraged him, and confirmed the fact that God had called him to the ministry [and this would have been done by the laying on of hands by Paul on Timothy, which does confirm that fact, it’s a ceremony that does that].  [For another very good resource for stirring up the Spirit, see, http://www.ucg.org/booklet/tools-spiritual-growth/ ]

 

 

 

God Has Given Us The Power To Witness

 

And he says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (verse 7)  Now, no doubt fear is one of the enemy’s mechanisms to keep us from stirring up the gift of God that’s in us.  You know, a funny thing happens when we witness to people.  You know, when you witness to someone, it isn’t just what happens in them, you’re sowing seed, one man sows, another man waters, God brings the increase.  Our goal is to bring Christ to men, only God can bring men to Christ.  But have you noticed, if you get a good day of witnessing in, how much healthier you feel at the end of the day?   Because it does something in you.  [Comment:  Now some of us are in seed-sowing ministries, and some of us are into the sowing part of it.  God blesses both parts.  This ministry, similar to J. Vernon McGee’s, is a watering, nourishing ministry, doing that with the Word of God.  Pastors, like Pastor Joe here, are also more into the “watering, nourishing, fertilizing” ministry than the sowing aspect, they just don’t have time for both, although I’m sure when an opportunity to witness presents itself to Pastor Joe, he jumps in with both feet.  And there are several methods of sowing the Gospel too, some by our direct words, and others, by our direct actions.  As Franklin Graham says, “the Gospel walks on two legs,” see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/samaritan_purse.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Questions.htm.  Don’t forget, short-term missions are one way we can accomplish this as well.  See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/Short-TermMissions.htm ]  And the interesting thing is, when you’re willing to open your mouth, and you’re willing to share what you believe, all of a sudden all of these Scriptures will come flooding into your mind, all of this stuff.  And sometimes, you know, like a machinegun, popopopopopop! and you just murder the guy with grace and love.  [laughter]  And you walk away and say ‘Man!  I was good!’  No you weren’t, it was the Holy Spirit, that was the gift that was in you, didn’t have anything to do with you.  You know, I think when we witness to people, it does a wondrous thing in our own hearts, reaffirming what we believe, bringing those things back to the surface again, remembering our first love, and what it was like when we first heard, and what we responded to.  [I remember when my first love began, it was while listening to an evangelist on the radio, and after listening to this guy for several weeks, my hostility toward God and his laws dropped, and I was on the way into the Body of Christ, I remember those feelings, and even where I was, what I was doing, the excitement of knowing God was actually calling me into a direct, personal relationship with him.]  But fear can keep us from doing that.  ‘My friends, they already think I’m a Bible-thumper, if I tell them I’m not going there because I have convictions from the Holy Spirit, they’re going to write me off completely, I’ll just go and I won’t participate.’  Sure [he laughs].  How often fear of acceptance, fear of persecution, fear of angering somebody, how often that can keep us from using the gifts that God’s given us, from stepping out.  And look, this is an era where two years before this, genuine persecution had begun [64AD].  Paul’s going to be martyred because of it.  And he’s telling Timothy, ‘Don’t be afraid, God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, I’m leaving you, they’re gonna get rid of me, and you’re going to be overseeing and encouraging the Church.  Stir up the gift that God’s placed in you, your faith is an unhypocritical faith, I have joy every time I think of it, and I’m praying for you, and I’m passing the baton to you, and now you need to speak up.’  And I think Paul would say the same thing to us by the Holy Spirit, if he had looked down through the ages to us sitting here.  What a wonderful thing, you know, when most midweek services are dying all over the country, to see a couple thousand people gathered together on a Wednesday night for a Bible study, that’s a remarkable thing.  But we don’t want it to be an intellectual exercise.  As we look around our life, where are those areas where we’re afraid?  Where are those areas where we need to speak up and we’re not speaking up?  You know, when we get to heaven [into the Kingdom of heaven], I don’t think we’re going to look back and regret that we witnessed to anyone.  We may look back and regret that we didn’t witness to someone when we had a chance.  But I don’t think when we get to heaven [into the Kingdom of God] we’ll ever regret using the gifts that God has given us.  ‘He hasn’t given us the spirit of fear,’ he says, which can certainly keep us from using the gifts God’s given us, “but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  We all got one of those when we got saved, too, and I’m glad.  Because the one I had right before I got saved wasn’t of power, of love, and of a healthy, thinking Biblically, of a sound mind (ie we know what’s right, we know what’s wrong), things are clear.  You know, when someone comes up to me, and they’re backsliding or sinning, and they’re saying ‘oh, don’t know what I should do,’ and I’ll always say to people, “You know what?  Your problem is not that you don’t know, you’re problem is that you do know.  If you didn’t know you wouldn’t be here talking to me.  The reason you’re here talking to me is because you do know.  That’s why you’re groveling, going ‘ooooh, I know I need to do, ooh, I know I shouldn’t do this…’’  Look, we have the Spirit of God, we have his Word, there’s mercy for us.  Power, love, and a sound mind, ability to think Biblically. 

 

How Many Of Us Are Embarrassed To Witness To Someone?---Christians Are Like Teabags, You Find Out What Flavour They Are When You Put Them In Hot Water

 

Now Paul begins an exhortation in verse 8 that is based on the end of verse 12, where he says, look in verse 12, “for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” Speaking of “that day” down in verse 18 again he says “The Lord grant unto him (speaking of Onesiphorus) that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day…”  Over in chapter 4, verse 8, Paul says, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day…”  So he’s very cognizant of the fact that there is a day, there’s something at the end of all of this.  ‘Yeah, I’m in prison, yes, persecution has started, yeah my life is coming to an end, in this world, but with the day I close my eyes in this world, I’m going to open them up in the next, and at that day there’s a crown of righteousness, the rewards, there’s a day coming when everything will be brought into the light.  And Timothy I exhort you to go onward now, because God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,’ “Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner:  but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” (verse 8) ie, ‘of the Lord, in this day, in these days, because there’s that day that’s coming.’  And he builds everything toward that idea.  ‘Don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,’ and how many of us are embarrassed to witness to someone?  To witness to an aunt or a grandmother?  I don’t know how many people come in here and they’re embarrassed to share the love of Christ with their parents.  My mom’s Catholic, she already thinks I’m out of my mind.  You know, we rarely get, my brother lives with a Tibetan monk, you know it’s normally here, right here in our environment.  Don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.  We’re not going to be ashamed of him in that day, we are going to be glad he is who he is, that’s why we’re going to end up there in that day.  He wasn’t ashamed, he isn’t ashamed to call us his sons and daughters, the Bible says.  He bore our shame, hung on the cross, brutalized.  “Be not thou therefore” because God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, but of love, and of a sound mind, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner:” and Timothy must be thinking, ‘Paul, I love you, I’d never be ashamed of you,’  But he’s saying ‘I’m not Nero’s prisoner, I’m not Rome’s prisoner, I was never Jerusalem’s prisoner, I was never Philippi’s prisoner, I’m Jesus’ prisoner, but I’m in a dungeon now, I’m the off-scouring, I’m a castoff in this world, I’m going to be beheaded,’ that was the same as the electric chair, it was the same as the gas chamber, ‘I’m going to be executed, but don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, who was crucified,’ which was the most deplorable death in those days, “nor of me his prisoner:  but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” I don’t know about you, but I just want to get Raptured.  I’m a wimp.  “be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” I just want to teach Bible studies and sing songs about Jesus, and then hear the Trumpet blow, that just suits me fine.  Because what do you think they’ll do?  I don’t think I’d mind the guillotine, that seems fast to me.  I’ve always wondered certain things about the process, how fast the whole thing works.  But think of those who are imprisoned and tortured, “be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel…” I mean, are we willing to be partakers of the afflictions in the school we go to?  Just have somebody speak a harsh word to us?  Are we willing to be partaker of the afflictions in our homes, with our teenagers?  ‘Now you can’t watch that.’  ‘What!?’  ‘No, you can’t go there.’  Are we willing to be a partaker of the afflictions just with our family, our friends, our peers?  Let alone what Paul is exhorting Timothy here.  And look, believe me, I am not preaching at you, or speaking down to you, I mean I’m speaking to myself the same questions.  You know, Christians are like teabags, you find our what flavour they are when you put them in hot water.  And we all maintain our spirituality, but if we ever get in that circumstance, we’ll all find out what we’re made of.  Won’t we?  And how genuine we are, and if our faith is an unhypocritical faith.  Or how many at that time might say ‘No, I don’t believe in Jesus, no I’m not a Christian.’  Many did.  There is a famous story, and I don’t remember if it’s in Foxes Book of Martyrs, somewhere about a group Christians under Nero, that were being put to death because they wouldn’t say that Caesar was Lord, and they were led out by a Centurion, out onto a frozen lake in a blizzard, and they all had to strip naked, and they were standing there until they died.  And they began to sing, hymns, and they began to fall, and one of them, naked, ran out of the circle, and ran back into town, and was chased by a soldier, and he found him in front of a statue of Caesar, saying ‘Caesar is Lord,’ and they came back and told the Centurion.  The Centurion looked at those dead, and those that were still singing, and the Centurion took off his clothes and stepped into the circle naked, and died there with the Christians.  That’s not hot water, that’s cold water, but, it’s the same thing.  I don’t like the cold either.  But they say in the cold, that you get to a point, and then you have an automatic thermostat that shuts off, and you start to feel warm again.  Never done that, but it’s just what I heard.  It’s what I would hope for, come on thermostat.  So, ‘don’t be ashamed therefore of the testimony of our Lord, or of me his prisoner, be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel,’

 

‘He’s Called Us With An Holy Calling’---What Does That Mean?

 

“according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us, and with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (verse 9)  I love this, “and called us with a holy calling,”  We can all be Calvinists tonight.  What a great, great text.  “Who hath saved us and called us, with an holy calling, not according to our works,” well that’s self-explanatory, isn’t it?  Because he’s saved us, and if the calling he called us with is a holy calling, it could never be according to our works.  If he has a holy calling on your life, how could it ever be according to any of our works?  We would blow it right away.  There’s a holy calling upon our lives because it was established before the world ever was formed.  The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world, we’re called from the foundation of the world.  Do I understand that?  No.  Do I believe it?  Yeah.  You know you can get in a hot bathtub and not understand what’s happening on the molecular level to make the water warm, but you can enjoy it.  And when I read about these things, I don’t have to intellectually be able to grasp what happened before anything existed in the heart of God, I just like to pour that stuff all over me and get warmed up by it.  I enjoy it.  And the beauty and depth of it is something certainly, academically we can pursue for the rest of our lives, and the Church has through the ages.  But he’s called us with a holy calling, holy, separate, completely distinct, holy.  God is holy, because he is completely distinct.  All that exists in the universe is God and that which is not God.  All that exists in the universe is the Creator and the creation.  Everything that’s not Creator is creation.  That’s what makes him holy.  He’s completely distinct.  So his love is a holy love, his forgiveness is a holy forgiveness, and his calling then is a holy calling.  It is distinct from any calling that any human, or any occupation in this world, or any sense of worth could ever appeal to our heart’s, it’s a holy calling.  I mean, you sit alone, and you think, ‘Father, God Almighty, I can lift my head to you and say Father, and you’re proud to have me as your son?  And you look at my life, and when you looked at me, I’m justified, sanctified, and glorified, that even here with all of my struggles and problems, you’re the God that calls things that are not as though they were, you see me finished and complete.’  He’s called us with a holy calling.  That’s not according to our works.  So all of you that are sweatin’ to measure up, you’re gonna wear yourself out.  Christian perfection is not perfection of performance, Oswald Chambers said, Christian perfection is perfection of relationship.  [ie our “performance” is directly proportional to our “relationship, closeness” to God.]  That when we do fail, we are perfectly willing to go to him, and say ‘Father, I failed today, and I confess that, and I believe that if we confess our sins, you’re faithful and just to forgive us, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and I know you want me to lead a holy life, and it is the desire of my heart, and my life today is so different than it was ten years ago, but I believe Father ten years from now if you tarry, it will be much different even then it is today.  And that the holy calling you have on my life is not according to works, but according to your purpose which was in Christ Jesus before the world was even formed.’  Spurgeon said, “I know I’m not what I should be, and I know I’m not what I’m going to be, and I know I ain’t what I used to be.”  That’s the process.  [i.e. Law & Grace is a subject which every group seems to define differently, yet all who are genuine believers tend to yield up the same obedience and love for God’s laws, which is very strange.  See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm for a deeper discussion of this.] 

 

What Has God Made Manifest To Us By The Appearing Of Our Saviour Jesus Christ?---Death Has Been Abolished!

 

“who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (verse 9)  All of the grace and direction we need as human beings was there for us before the world was ever made.  “But it is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:” (verse 10)  It is now made manifest, what was extended to us before the world was formed is now made manifest, it is now louder and clearer than anything in the natural.  ‘Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the mind of man the things that God hath prepared for those who love him, but by his Spirit he hath made those things real to us.’  It’s been manifest, now is made manifest.  Now remember when Paul is writing this to Timothy, and Timothy is overseeing the church there at Ephesus, Christ has already lived, and died, and ascended.  But Paul is saying that it is now made manifest, like it is this evening.  The hope that we have in Christ is manifest, and that was made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, “who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:” better translated “he hath brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel:”  He’s abolished death, he has disengaged it.  There’s still death, people still die.  But Christ has taken the power out of it.  He’s abrogated the effect of it in the life of a believer.  Your physical frame dies, but to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and Paul says, ‘he’s disengaged death, he’s taken the power, the sting out of it, it doesn’t mean to us what it used to mean.’  ‘Well, that poor Christian died, so much potential cut off,’ well, they intended to be cut off some day.  It’s not going to be an interruption to me, it’s part of my plan.  You understand, isn’t it part of yours?  Part of our calling is to step through that door someday, that’s the grand finale in a sense.  That’s what it’s all about.  Death for you and I is not an interruption, it’s part of the plan.  It would be an interruption if we didn’t [die]…our life begins there, it doesn’t end there.  ‘So sad he’s cut off from his family,’ no we’re not, we’re going to see the ones that already went ahead.  Think of the people we’re going to see, I think of so many people in this church whose funerals I had the privilege to participate in, that I’m gonna see, so many in the last two years…he’s abrogated death, what’s your hope tonight?  Death is still here, what is your relationship to death, what do you think when you think about death?  To me death is a strange thing and I never get used to funerals.  I like doing weddings, but you never get used to a funeral.  I don’t think that God has given us the wiring to relate to death.  If Adam hadn’t sinned, none of us would have to relate to death.  And when he gets us to eternity, the first thing it says there, ‘no death there, no tears, no sorrow, no sin, no suffering, no pain, no tears.’  So now when death comes, parent, grandparent, friend, viewing, it’s all so foreign, it’s 100 percent foreign to who we are and what we’re intended for.  And I watch people try to mourn and go through the process, they try to find the file to put death in, and it isn’t there.  And thank God he’s abrogated, he’s taken the power out of it, it doesn’t have power over us anymore.  And instead he’s brought to light life and incorruption through the gospel of Christ.’  We don’t just believe in life after death, Hindus claim to believe in that.  Mormons believe in that.  We don’t just believe that there’s some ethereal realm that we sail off into, we believe in resurrection, we believe this [he’s pounding is chest] is getting up again, that you’re going to hug your grandmother, you’re going to hug your mom, you’re going to see your brother, you’re going to embrace. Christ has brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel.  And in that, he has disengaged death.  That death you and I worry about that freaks us out that we see, is the death of that physical frame.  That’s been disengaged, it no longer has power over us.  Because through Christ one day this is going to get up again. [To see what Paul was talking about, go to the resurrection chapter, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm]  Where is your hope tonight?  What do you hope in as we look at this world?  And if that’s your hope, are you ashamed of it?  Are you ashamed to tell your friends about Jesus Christ who died on the cross, paid the price for our sins, so that one day, however it comes to us, we know we’re getting up again?  And he hasn’t given us a spirit of fear in regards to these things, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  And he asks us to stir up the gift God’s given us, because there’s a lost world out there.  And if God wanted to he could just write big messages in the sky with a cloud, “I’m coming again, get right or get left [-behind]” [laughter]  The gospel says he’s chosen to do it through you and I.  Isn’t that remarkable?  He’s chosen to do it through us.  What’s our hope?  What drives us?  What do we believe?  How real is it to us?  And if we were sitting in Paul’s sandals, knowing we were getting ready to be beheaded, how much peace would we have?  What would we be thinking about? 

 

How Much Of Your Hopes And Dreams, Your Future, Have You Deposited In The Bank Of Jesus Christ?

 

He says, “Whereunto  I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher unto the Gentiles.” (verse 11)  Paul, no shame in any of these things in his calling, “For the which cause I also suffer these things:  nevertheless I am not ashamed:  for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  He told him, ‘Don’t you be ashamed, look to that day, don’t let everything be measured in this day.’  “for I know whom I have believed,” not ‘I know what I have believed,’ many of us say we know what we believe.  Paul says “I know whom I have believed,”  ‘Timothy, remember that we know Jesus, this in not about religion, it’s about relationship.’  He’s going to say at the end, ‘all men forsook me, Demos has forsaken me, loving this present world, Luke alone is with me, when I stood before Caesar no man stood with me, but Christ stood with me, Jesus was there with me.’  he said.  “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he” not it, “is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  ‘he is able to keep that which I have placed on deposit  It was a word sometimes used in the banking world, “unto him against that day.”  What is he talking about?  Paul said ‘I’ve made a deposit, my life, my faith, my future, my hope.  I know, Timothy, in whom I’ve believed, I’m not ashamed.  And I know he is able to keep against that day,’ again, ‘that which I have committed, put on deposit with him.’  How do we know that?  We know that by faith.  How do we know that?  The Spirit makes those things real to us.  How do we know that?  The Word of God clearly tells us ‘heaven and earth is going to pass away, but not one bit of this will pass away.’  What have you put on deposit?  How much of your hopes and your dreams and your future have you deposited in the bank of Jesus Christ, in his person?  [transcript of a connective expository sermon on 2nd Timothy 1:1-12, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia PA  19116]

 

related links:

 

Jesus Christ has abolished death for all believers.  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm

 

Are we ashamed to witness, share Jesus?  Two ways to share Jesus Christ with others, share the Gospel.  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/samaritan_purse.htm and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Questions.htm

 

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/Short-TermMissions.htm

 

 

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