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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 1:13-18

 

“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.  This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.  The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:  but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.  The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day:  and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.”

 

‘Hold Fast To The Pattern Of Ministry I’ve Shown You’

 

“Paul, signing off, in the 4th chapter he’s going to say the time has come, he’s ready to be poured out.  It makes you sit back and read through this and think, you know, ‘What is on this great apostle’s mind and heart from the Holy Spirit?’ as he is writing his last things, after writing so many great epistles, after teaching and founding churches, seeing all of the things he had seen and experienced.  Now he’s signing off.  And certainly there’s a lot of heartfelt exhortation towards this young man Timothy, who he’s calling his own dear son in the faith.  And in this first chapter he’s exhorting him not to be discouraged, not to be fearful, not to be ashamed.  That basically runs through this exhortation to chapter 2, verse 13.  Now we left off in chapter 1, verse 12 last week, where Paul said that he suffers all of the things that he suffers as a messenger of the gospel.  “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.”  And he has this idea of “that day” present in his writing.  Again, in the end of chapter 1, and again in chapter 4, verse 8 he mentions it, “that day.”  He’s convinced that Christ is able to keep that which he has committed or put on deposit, as it were, with him against that day.  He’s committed his life and his life’s work, his faith, and his hope and his future.  Now as he speaks to Timothy in verses 13 and 14, he gives him a two-fold exhortation, to do two things, to hold fast, in verse 13, and in verse 14 to keep, or to guard.  So he charges Timothy now, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” (verses 13-14)  So, “hold fast the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me,” ah, what a beautiful text.  I think of a very strange idea I had of this before I was saved, when I was into Eastern meditation, and holding fast the form of sound words, like there was this big secret thing there, man, I was from another planet, I didn’t know what I thought, just in another world.  Present tense, ‘hold, be  continually holding fast the form,’ where we get schematic, ‘the sketch, the pattern of sound words,’ “sound words” is ‘healthy,’ they produce health.  Paul says first of all to Timothy, ‘Be constantly holding onto this pattern, this sketch, this concept of ministry that you’ve received in the healthy teaching of the Word that you’ve heard from me, and the way I want you to do that is in faith and in love which is in Christ Jesus.’  ‘So Timothy, don’t let go, constantly be holding on to holding fast the pattern you’ve seen.’  Now ministry is, you know, in the Old Testament there was the school of the prophets, and the young prophets spent time with Elisha, or they spent time with one of the prophets.  It isn’t just a mental exercise.  Jesus spent three and a half years with those 12 men, and kept them close.  Paul, reproducing that pattern, knows that time and exposure, the writer to the Hebrews ‘Our senses are sharpened by experience,’ it’s not just an intellectual thing.  You know, from time to time over the years, we’ve done what we’ve called a ministry training class here at the church.  I think we’ve done it three or four times in the last 20 years.  But in one sense, it’s a misnomer, ministry training.  You can’t train someone [for ministry] who doesn’t have a calling on their life from the Lord.  You can accentuate that calling, and be an addendum to it, and an encouragement to it, but you can’t train somebody for ministry if there’s no calling on their life to be in ministry.  So it ends up to be a grid kind of where we really discover a lot of wonderful people in the church that were called to a specific kind of ministry.  But it isn’t a mental exercise.  Paul says ‘I want you to continue to hold on to that pattern you’ve experienced, you’ve observed, you’ve seen how fruitful it is, you’ve seen the health that it produces, and you’ve seen it in my life.’  Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”  Not an intellectual exercise, “in faith”, that’s how it’s to be exercised, and [in] love”.  Now both of those things require a lot from us.  “in faith”, that means stepping out beyond logic sometimes [been there, done that J] when the Word exhorts us to do something, giving our lives to Christ sometimes when it may not seem like the most practical exercise in a particular circumstance.  It certainly sometimes is not the safest coarse to take, because we become vulnerable sometimes, when the Lord asks us to do something we’re not inclined to do.  But that we should exercise the ministry we’ve learned “in faith and in love” pouring out of our lives to others.  That’s the first exhortation, is to be holding on, Timothy, to this.  Secondly “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” (verse 14) Paul says ‘I’ve made a deposit with the Lord,’ he’s saying ‘Timothy now, that good thing,’ which is healthy that form Timothy has observed, the way ministry should be done, the truth of the Scripture, the things he’s heard from Paul, ‘that good thing which is put on deposit with you, guard’ he says, ‘and that, by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.’  I am completely convinced that the Holy Spirit is willing, if our spiritual antennas are up, to give us discernment in any time about something that’s a wrong direction, or something that’s grieving him, that we can know, and sense ‘I don’t have a peace about this, I just feel like I’m grieving the Spirit.’  He’s saying ‘Guard, Timothy, now that which is put on deposit with you by the Holy Ghost.’  And I think any time we’re willing, the Holy Spirit will do that.  He will never contradict the Word he inspired, so that’s your first safety mechanism, is “What does this Book say?”.  The Holy Spirit will never contradict the Word of God.  We have people come up to us sometime and say ‘Well the Lord told me,’ no he didn’t, you’re living in sin.  You’re saying the Lord told you to do something that he said in black and white not to do.  But there are circumstances where we need discernment, we need that check, we need the Holy Spirit just to deal with us.  And he says ‘Continually guard’ military word, ‘that which has been put on deposit with you, of all of these things Timothy, and that by the Holy Ghost.  Not by your own energy or wisdom.’  “which dwelleth in us. 

 

Two Guys Not To Imitate, One Guy You Should Imitate

 

This thou knowest,” and he’s assuming Timothy’s completely familiar with this, “that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” (verse 15)  Who would name their children Phygellus and Hermogenes?  Culture, you know.  He’s going to, by example, continue this exhortation, of those who you should not imitate, and Onesiphorus who has set a good example.  So, he’s going to say, ‘All those in Asia [Minor] have turned away,’ now I’m not sure of the circumstances.  We know that it was on July 19th, AD 64 that Nero set Rome on fire [again, recent history has proved, Nero didn’t do it, he was actually out of town.  But he did blame the Christians, looking for a scapegoat, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nero], and then blamed the Christians for that fire, and persecution began.  So by this time, there was a cost to  being a Christian.  Paul is writing from the Mamertine dungeon in Rome, and he’s saying ‘all of those in Asia,’ the area of Turkey, Armenia, that would be Asia Minor, ‘have turned away from me.’  Evidently refusing to communicate or refusing to come, or refusing to visit Paul, we’re not sure exactly the context.  [I know what it’s like, when a longstanding friend from years past, a fellow brother or sister in Christ, refuses to communicate, usually over some petty doctrinal disagreement in their minds, which won’t amount to a hill of beans in the resurrection to immortality, when we all meet again.]  In contrast to that, he’s going to set Onesiphorus up as a good example.  And he’s concerned about Timothy,  because he’s going to say ‘Don’t be ashamed of my bonds, I’m not ashamed.  Timothy, I don’t want you to be ashamed.  You know yourself that all those that are in Asia [Minor], they’ve turned away, they don’t want anything to do with me anymore.’  There’s a certain cost to it [being a Christian] at this point in time.  “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:” now that seems to be the contrast he’s establishing with the other two, “but when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.” (verses 16-17)  So, ‘when he was in Rome, he sought for me.’   Now there was no phone book, it wasn’t like you could get to Rome and look in the Yellow Pages or look in the White Pages, under apostles or something in the Yellow Pages.  During Paul’s first imprisonment he was kept, basically at leisure, it wasn’t a dungeon situation.  He was chained to a Roman Portonium, but they were able to talk with him, and Paul was able to write epistles, and they were able to fellowship with him.  This time Paul is thrown in the dungeon.  He’s going to tell us, in chapter 2, that he’s treated as an evil-doer, as a malefactor.  It’s only used in one other place in the Bible, and that’s in Luke 23, speaking of the two that were crucified there with Christ, malefactors.  Paul’s saying ‘I’m treated now like a malefactor’ one that would have been in a Roman dungeon, Roman prison.  So, this is not a very gracious circumstance he’s in.  And he says, ‘Onesiphorus, when he came to Rome, he sought for me.’  And we can almost imagine him with a Roman guard going down in the dungeons, from cell to cell, until he found Paul, and how much that meant to Paul.  “The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day:  and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.” (verse 18)  So, Onesiphorus had a previous ministry toward Paul, a twofold in Ephesus, and now he had come to Rome and found him.  You know, it’s very interesting to hear Paul say that, “he oft refreshed me,” and again, that’s the only time that’s used in the New Testament.  It speaks of either a cool breeze or a cool drink of water, ‘he refreshed me.’  He didn’t have Paul catered to, it was his presence.  Paul is bearing the fact, that in the realm of human emotion, Paul dealt with the darkness of the dungeon, and the loneliness of it, trusted the Lord, knew the Lord was with him.  But how much it meant to him when somebody came, when somebody came.  It wasn’t like Onesiphorus knew theology that Paul didn’t know.  It wasn’t like he could tip him off about something that he wasn’t aware of spiritually.  It was just his presence, he came, and he sought Paul out, was the kind of man that whatever cost it was to his own life, he stepped beyond that and sought Paul out.  You know, and I think it’s an exhortation to us, in regards to visitation, in regards to getting to someone whose sick, or somebody whose in prison.  You know, Frank’s got a great ministry, God’s blessed it, with the prisons, but it’s not just for him.  The pastors can’t do it all, the Body builds itself up in love.  Sometimes you know someone whose in the hospital, or you have an aunt or an uncle whose sick.  Sometimes you’re the one who has to step out of your comfort-zone like Onesiphorus, and whatever the cost is to you, you need to understand, it may not be what you say, it may be just your presence.  The best counselor is always the best listener.  And sometimes just by someone taking the time to be there, you bring a blessing from the Lord into someone’s life.  [When Steff’s dad was in the hospital in a coma, it was hard at the time, awkward, but looking back, I received a blessing of having seen him before he died, and being with Steff.  Strangely, that is a very fond memory I have been blessed with.  But it definitely was stepping out of my comfort-zone at the time.  There weren’t many that made the visit to see him.]  And Paul bears his emotion at this point in time, how he was blessed just that Onesiphorus came and found him, and sought him out, and spent time with him.  I think it’s very important.

 

    2nd Timothy 2:1-13

 

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  And if a man strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.  The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.  Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:  wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.  Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  It is a faithful saying:  For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:  if we deny him, he also will deny us:  if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful:  he cannot deny himself.”

 

‘Timothy, Be Continually Strengthened In The Grace Of God

 

“Thou therefore,” now there was no chapter break when he wrote this, “my son,” because of this exhortation he’s given him in all of these things, “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (verse 1)  Now, “thou therefore, my son, be strong” I think Weeks translates that “be clothed with inward strength by the grace of Christ Jesus.”  It’s, the grammar indicates it isn’t something that Timothy is going to drum up on his own.  He is involved in it, the grace of God is there, Paul’s saying, but ‘I want you to be continually strengthened in the grace of God which is in Christ Jesus.’  He’s pointing Timothy in a direction, ‘Timothy, be continually strengthened in the grace of Christ, it’s there for you, you don’t produce it yourself, it is there, but avail yourself of it, avail yourself of it, grow in it.’  Because he knows certain things.  Timothy seems to be a little bit timid in spirit, as seen by some of the exhortations.  Ah, Timothy is being ground on a little bit, some people are a little bit critical because of his youth.  Timothy can get himself in the position of not feeling up to the task, when once Paul goes to be with the Lord.  And he’s encouraging Timothy to be established, and continue to be established and strengthened in grace.  [“…Grace is also regarded as the sustaining influence enabling the believer to persevere in the Christian life (Acts 11:23; 20:32; II Cor. 9:14).  Thus, it is not merely the initiatory act of God in grace which secures the believers’ eternal salvation, but also that which maintains it throughout the entirety of the Christian[s] life… Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible Dictionary, p.322, col.2, selected parts of par.2  Their whole definition is pretty good.]  Peter, as he signs off, “Grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  And that process is lifelong.  Paul will define it more in Titus, saying ‘It is grace that drew us to salvation, it’s grace that teaches us in this present world to deny ungodly lusts, and it’s grace to look forward to the coming of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ,’ it’s grace from beginning to end.  And he knows that if Timothy, you know, one of the great enemies of [proper] doctrine were the legalists, the Judaizers.  [Comment:  And the Judaizers were not against the early Church because the early Church was keeping the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath and Holy Days during the time of Paul, which it was still doing, they were against the early Church because it had stopped keeping the ceremonial laws of God, which as Paul explained in Hebrews 10 were abrogated by the very sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the real Passover Lamb of God, and also the abrogation of physical circumcision because the Holy Spirit had come to circumcise the hearts of all believers (cf. Acts chapters 2 and 15).  At this point in time, the Temple still stood, the Priesthood still existed, and the Judaizers, many of them Pharisees who had physically come to see Jesus as Messiah, didn’t want to give up the ceremonial laws that made Judaism and the Jews distinct as a race.  Soon God would allow the Temple and priesthood to be destroyed, which destroyed all their arguments along with it.  Often people have labeled the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God as being legalists and Judaizers without properly understanding what a legalist and Judaizer was in Paul’s day, those guys who dogged Paul’s steps across the Roman world.  Because a Christian keeps the 7th day Sabbath and Holy Days of Leviticus 23 does not make that person a legalist or Judaizer.  But a legalist, even in today’s terms, and there are ones on both sides of the “days of worship” fence, is a person or church group who with disdain looks down at or over their shoulders at their brothers in Christ to see how well or poorly they’re obeying God, instead of focusing on their own relationship with God.  Jesus gave a beautiful example of a legalist in his parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector in the Temple.]  And Paul is giving his life to bring a message to the world of God’s unmerited grace, of God’s love.  And we hear people, even today, criticize that.  And to me I think there’s tremendous power in it.  Whitfield said, as you look back on his ministry, he saw better and longer lasting fruit from preaching the love and grace of Christ, than from preaching hell-fire.  Lloyd-Jones at the end of his ministry said if he had it to do all over again, he’d have preached “grace” all the way through.  Because to me grace is the most demanding Gospel of all.  You see if you’re a legalist, what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna burn out, quit, throw in the towel, somewhere along the line you won’t live up to your own standards.  But grace actually says to you, ‘Yeah, you blew it, now get up, yeah, you are unworthy, now get going.  Yeah it is a miracle he picked you, now get on with it.  Yeah there’s lots of people that can’t believe it [laughter], but let’s go for it.’  Grace is the thing that demands everything, it takes away every excuse.  And it appeals to our heart, that we love him because he first loved us.  ‘Be constantly strengthened in grace, and grow in it, be strong in it, which is in Jesus Christ.’ 

 

‘The Things You Learned From Me, Commit Them To Faithful Men, Who Then Will Teach Others’

 

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (verse 2)  “the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses” now that’s not “by many witnesses”, that is, the grammar indicates “publicly.”  This is not private things that Paul sat alone with Timothy and communicated these mysteries of faith, he’s saying ‘Timothy, you watched me publicly, house to house, things that you heard from me among many witnesses, publicly, the things that you saw me demonstrate.  You know what my teaching was in public.  Timothy, it’s gone from me, to you, and then I want you to commit it, it’s on deposit with you, you know, I’ve taken my work, it’s on deposit with the Lord.  Now the things that have been deposited with you, Timothy, I want you to guard and always hold fast those things, and then I want you as you are strong in grace, and remember the public example you saw in my life, the things you learned from me, then to put them on deposit, commit them to faithful men, who then also will teach others.’    Now we know this works, because here we are, here we are, 2000 years later, here we are [actually about 1950 years later, 2014AD – 64AD = 1950 years later].  How?  I don’t know.  Because somebody figured it out?  Not exactly.  Lightfoot says by the end of the 1st century there were already congregational, episcopal and presbyterian forms of government in the Church.  [Comment:  “Episcopal would equate to the hierarchal form of from the top down government under one strongman, like the Roman Catholics under a pope.  This form has very bad fruits spiritually.  Congregational is purely a “one man, one vote” democracy, which the early Separatists and Puritans in New England governed their churches by. This form also yields bad fruit over time, as the members are ruling over the pastor and can fire him at will.  And presbyterian is a council of elders, pastors, who rule their overall body of churches by this council. The United Church of God presently has a form of this government, with a counsel of elders who meet once a year, and they have a president who rules their overall church day to day, by the approval of that counsel of elders.  All three of these forms of government will fail if Jesus Christ, the actual head of the Church, is not actively ruling over it by the direct consent and obedience of it’s members to him.  That’s the bottom line.]  Now these are from the guys who heard right from the Lord, and who heard right from the apostles.  But the thing is, Satan hasn’t figured out how to stamp out the Church [overall Body of Christ], because we haven’t figured out what we’re doing.  [laughter]  If it was just one form, he’d have nailed it down a long time ago.  It’s a vehicle [church government is], for the truths that Paul received from Christ.  ‘I have delivered unto you that which I myself have received of the Lord,’ he could say.  He says ‘Timothy, now that’s on deposit with you, you have witnessed, you’ve watched the public ministry, you sat there and you drank in the Word for years, now it’s on deposit with you, the truth of it all.  It’s a pattern, it’s a sketch, it’s not a catechism, not something that has to be recited, it’s a form, it’s a sketch, it has leeway, it can flex, but it contains truth.  Now you take that, and then you commit that to faithful men.’  I like that.  First requirement, it’s first required, Paul says, of any man in ministry, that he be found faithful, he’s a steward.  Not first required that he be found brilliant, not first required that he can speak more than two languages, not first required that, it’s first required that he be found faithful, he’s a steward.  Well what does that mean?  Well this is all blood-bought. It doesn’t belong to me, it doesn’t belong to you, it’s blood-bought, and a truth that saves has been passed on to others.  Paul says ‘I’ve received of the Lord, Timothy, you’ve bathed in it for years now, it’s on deposit with you.  Now you, Timothy, find faithful men, faithful women, and then you put on deposit in their lives these central truths, these things that are unmovable, unshakable, that will never be compromised through the history of the Church.  You put them on deposit, with faithful men,’ “that then they may teach others.”  Now that’s at least three generations.  Then the “others,” ederos, some try to make the point that that’s speaking of unbelievers.  Maybe, the idea is, as they go forward and teach the Word of God, it will have its impact on the world.  You know, people come sometimes and say “What’s your evangelism program?”  We say “I don’t know.”  “Do you have an evangelism program?”  “I don’t know.”  You know, we had someone say, ‘Here, we have this evangelism program, let us into your church, we’ll address your congregation, and we want to teach everybody in your church this is evangelism program. And we were just at this other church, here in Philadelphia for the last 5 years, and we worked there with it, and we want to work in your church now.”  And I said, “Really, how much did the church grow while you were there?”  “ah, I don’t know.”  “Well, how many people were saved?”  “We’re not sure.”  Well I said, “In the last five years we’ve grown by 2,000 people, and we’ve given away four or five thousand Bibles here, at church.  And I don’t know how that happened either.”  “But you want me to trade away what I don’t know, that does work, for what you don’t know that doesn’t work?”  [laughter]   You know, shepherds don’t beget sheep, sheep beget sheep, and healthy sheep reproduce.  And if you take the Word of God, that’s been put on deposit with you, and you received it in a healthy, life-giving way, that you conserved in faith and power and love, and you then put that on deposit with the next generation, you find those that are faithful, and you put the Word of God on deposit with them, they then in kind will reproduce after their kind, and teach others also.  And here we sit 2000 years later.  And the Church has many forms, much of the Church, yeah, in a post-Christian era, a lot of the Church, human, [is] stepping away from the virgin birth, or the inspiration of Scripture, or the Deity of Christ, his atonement.  But here we are, evidence of the fact that this kind of reproduction is a reality.  So you pass it to the faithful.  You know, it’s interesting, we probably have a dozen real churches that have spun off from here, none of them planned, but living congregations.  [That would explain how I heard that Pastor Joe’s Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia had 30,000 people in it.  Whenever it got too large, he’d find and/or train up a qualified Calvary Chapel pastor, someone God had called to the ministry as he says, and give them a congregation to shepherd.  30,000 divided by 12 = 2,500 people.  That’s about right.  That is also very sound management, not trying to lead and govern more than you can handle.], thriving, and some of them are starting out to spin off, you know.  The Book of Acts says ‘Wait in Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high, with the Holy Spirit, that you might be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria to the uttermost parts of the earth.’  That baptism is in context with the unsaved world.  Charismania always wants to make that in context with church life [ie taking the charismatic empowering of the Holy Spirit on the 120 on the Day of Pentecost, which was aimed at the unsaved world, that some might be saved, an evangelistic movement of the Holy Spirit, and making it into a weird side-show that takes place within their churches, that’s what Charismatic churches tend to do.].  It’s in context with there [in Acts 2] with the unsaved world, and the Scripture says reproduction will be the evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit, because the testimony will go from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth.  Paul is saying here, ‘You take this Word, and you invest it, you put it on deposit with faithful men, who themselves will be able to teach others.’ 

 

An Exhortation Using Three Analogies

 

‘Endure Hardness As A Good Soldier’

 

Now, it’s not a cake-walk.  He’s going to now give him an exhortation about some of the difficulties, and he’s going to use three analogies, three idioms.  He’s going to first talk about a soldier, and then he’s going to talk about an athlete, and then he’s going to talk about a farmer, and exhort Timothy to move forward.  “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (verses 3-4)  ‘OK Timothy, the first thing I want you to do is, holding onto these things, you’re guarding them, and you’re undertaking this work in the power of the Spirit, I want you to know it’s quite like soldiering, it’s like warring, and there’s a hardness to it, that’s the problem.  I want you to endure hardness,’ it’s the same word he uses for “afflictions”, is “afflictions” in the first chapter, there’s going to be some static.  If you’re going to hold onto something, and not let go of it, and you’re going to have relatives and friends and people you work with who are going to say ‘You believe WHAT!?  And you think WHAT!?  And you mean to tell me THAT!?  Are you one of those Bible-thumpers!?  Are you one of those born-again’s?  Are you like that guy on TV that’s swings his sports coat?’  No, that’s where we draw the line, we’re not like one of them, that’s not us…But I’m a thumper, I’m a Bible-thumper, ok.  I’ll go that far.  “endure hardness,” there’s going to be difficulties, he says, “as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”  How do we do that?  How do we endure the struggle of this all?  He says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (verse 4)  Now, it’s ‘no man that’s soldiering,’ there’s different ways to translate that.  What he says here, and of course it’s interesting with the folks we have up on the wall [photo’s of church members on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan], he says ‘no man that’s on active duty,’ you understand?  A man that’s on the battlefield, a man that warreth, that’s the sense of it.  It’s not a man that’s at home on base somewhere, this is the man whose on the battlefield.  ‘No one whose called up to active duty entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him that hath chosen him to be a soldier.  So, Timothy, look, I want you to press forward in these things.  You’re gonna have to endure hardness, but as a soldier.  And remember, no one whose on active duty entangles’ entangle is to “weave”, ‘he doesn’t dull himself with civilian pursuits,’  Entangleth himself with the affairs of this life is where we get the word “pragmatic”, and it’s not necessarily anything bad, involving yourself with the affairs of this life.  You know Christians who love the Lord, they go on and they grow in Christ, but it seems though as time goes on, they get so involved with their business, and the business starts to grow, and then it demands more time, and then they invest, so they don’t have to pay taxes, and they get tax shelters, and then they end up with more money, because they did that, and then there’s nothing wrong with that, but what he’s saying is, what Jesus said about the Word being sown into the hearts of some, and then the cares and the riches of this life can choke that Word, so that they’re not effective.  Paul made tents to support himself in some places.  But I know if you went there, you wouldn’t see a big ad in the paper ‘Wholesale Tents By Paul, We’re Having A Tent Sale On This Day, and I’m selling stock in the tent company,’ he didn’t do that.  He made tents to eek a living out of this world, to live with dignity, we’re all supposed to do that, the Scripture instructs us to do that. But Paul is telling Timothy, ‘Look, if you are on active duty, you have to be on your toes,’  You see these guys now [in our Army over in Afghanistan] they have to watch civilians that approach them, they have to watch a car that comes up because it could be a car-bomb.  They have to be vigilant, because there can be something that looks innocent that can be dangerous to them, as they’re on active duty.  And Paul’s saying, ‘The first thing, Timothy, look, there is a problem, there’s hardness to this, it isn’t easy all the time.’  Paul gives us a list of the things he had been through [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians2/2nd%20Corinthians%2011%201-33.htm and scroll to the paragraph title “Paul Boasts About What It’s Like To Be A Real Apostle” ].  I mean, to me, I don’t like it when I have to do little things.  You know, Paul, I read about him, floating in the ocean three times, getting beat, you go through that list, and I think ‘Who wants to be an apostle?  Yi, yi, yi.’  And I think, ‘what a wimp I am, I complain about the littlest things.’  Paul’s saying, look, endure hardness, there’s going to be difficulty, and know this, nobody who warreth, no one called up to active duty, because they’re in the middle of the battle, is in the process of entangling themselves with the pragmatic things of life that, yeah, they have to be taken care of, but that’s not what that person is about at that time. He’s on active duty.  The reason he does that, he says, what’s his motive?  He says “to please him that has chosen him to be a soldier.”  ‘What’s the motivation behind it, Timothy, if it’s not to accrue things in this life, it’s to please,’  Paul had said, ‘I know whom I have believed, I am persuaded that he is able to keep that thing that I have committed unto him on that day.’  He says here at the end, ‘I’m ready to be offered, I’ve finished my course, I’ve kept the faith, I believe there’s a crown of righteousness now laid up for me, and not for me only but all those who love the Lord’s appearing.  Ready, I’m ready.’  So he says ‘Timothy, don’t be tangled up with the things of this world, but rather live in such a way as to please the one who has called you.’ 

 

Athletes Run To Win, But They Have To Obey The Rules

 

Then he moves from that issue of commitment to the athlete, and under the guise, the picture of the athlete, he talks about Biblical morality.  And Paul does that, and Paul talked about the Games all the time.  Ah, who has cut in on you when you’re running in Galatians.  When he talks about the Word having free course, it’s a word from the athletic field.  He says in 1st Corinthians chapter 9 that he buffets himself, keeps his body under subjection, so that he himself after he’s run the race, is not disqualified.  And he says, “run to win.”  And in the race that we run, it’s not a race that we run against other Christians, ‘I’ll never win the race at Calvary, there’s 8,000 adults, there’s faster people there,’ no, no, no, we’re not running against each other.  You have a course, Paul says, ‘I’ve finished my course,’ and he says, ‘but run to win.’  They, they diet, imagine that, these athletes that were in the Games.  They had specific diets, they had training regimens, they went through all of this stuff, Paul says ‘to win a laurel wreath, that you know, you put it on, it looks great, two days later when you show your friends, it’s dry, has bugs, you know…but us, an incorruptible crown.’  So now, and even there, he’s saying it’s in a moral context, and here it’s Biblical morality.  He says, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (verse 5)  Strive, agonizing, for mastery, for the Games, for wrestling, to be a runner, “yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”  You have to do it according to the rule book.  That’s why they have drug testing for Olympic athletes now.  We’ve seen Olympic athletes win the gold, and then a few weeks later, have it taken away, because they find some problem, where they were doing something that wasn’t according to the rules, doing something wrong.  Paul says here we have to do it according to the rule book.  The end, Paul says, does not justify the means.  ‘Yeah, I’m selling Moonshine, but I give 50 percent to the church.’ [laughter]  We want to do all kinds of things to justify.  Paul said, ‘Well that’s not according to the rule book, you can’t do that!’  If you’re striving for masteries, there’s a Biblical moral quality to all of this, it has to be done lawfully, according to the rules.  ‘I’ll marry him, and then get him saved, after I marry him.’  Great intentions, evangelistic dating-society, but it’s not according to the rules. [besides, you get bit in the butt royally, if you go down that road.]  First he talks about commitment, then he talks about Biblical morality, the right way to strive, the right way to do this, it’s with cleanness, it’s according to the rules, it’s to do it the proper way. 

 

Every Farmer Is Concerned About The Yield

 

“The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” (verse 6)  And lastly, the husbandman, the farmer, ‘the man that’s working in the field, that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.’  Yea, there’s commitment, there’s a right way to do it.  But there’s a goal in mind.  Every farmer, year in and year out, as he plants his seed, is concerned about the yield, he’s concerned about the drought, he’s concerned about the insects, like the blight or one or another thing that might interfere with the harvest.  He lives and breathes for when the grain is gathered in, and it can be brought to market, and he can look at his wife and his kids and know that he survived another year.  It’s tough for American farmers, we should pray for them in a lot of ways.  [Right now, California has been in the midst of a 3-year-long drought.]  But you have to have enough to feed your own family, he’s first partaker of the fruits, he’s the first one that enjoys it.  In the Old Testament, you don’t muzzle the ox that treads out the grain, and the husbandman first has to be partaker of the fruits, he’s worked, he’s laboured, he’s got to eat to do that, so he’s the first one that enjoys the fruit of his labour.  And certainly that would be in this world, and in the world to come.  If you’re serving Christ, it’s a rewarding experience, not just in eternity, but now.  It will be in glory, more than we can imagine.  But it’s a wonderful thing now, to see somebody’s life change, to see somebody make, be committed to Christ, to see somebody come up and say “I really appreciated that.  That really helped me through a difficult time.”  “those few words, that letter, those things you said, the way you cared, the way you reached out, the fact that you’ve been faithful, it kept us, it strengthened us,”  And you see the fruit of that labour now, and also we will see it in eternity.  So, there is the commitment involved [as a soldier], there is the moral clarity and purity of it, Biblical morality [of the athlete], and then of course there is the harvest, the thing that we look forward to.

 

‘Timothy, Spiritually Take Hold Of These Things I’m Telling You’

 

Look, verse 7, “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.”  The idea is, ‘Grasp, continually grasp, continually take hold of, Timothy, the things I’m trying to say to you here.’  That’s the exhortation he’s giving to him.  ‘Get hold of this, Timothy, this whole idea of holding on, this whole idea of guarding these truths, this whole idea of the labour that’s necessary to pass it on to those who are faithful, to see it reproducing and bearing fruit, Timothy, there’s a struggle, like a soldier, there’s a struggle like an athlete, there’s a struggle like the man who labours,’ and it means labour to the point of exhaustion, ‘the farmer, go to any farmer, they labour to the point of exhaustion.  Take hold of what I’m saying, Timothy.’  “and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” (verse 7b)  Now, isn’t it interesting, ‘Timothy, take hold of this,’ and notice, it’s not just mental acumen, but it’s spiritual teachableness.  It isn’t just having a proper systematic theology.  I think everybody in this room, don’t ever believe me, Paul says the Bereans were more noble, Acts 17:11, because they studied the Word of God to see if those things were true that Paul was telling them.  All of you should do that.  And as the years go on, our [personal] systematic theology morphs and it develops and it grows.  We should be attentive to that, I think that’s important for us, that we know why we believe what we believe.  [And this website is the result of over 40 years of doing just that, within both the Calvary Chapels and the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God, and I’ve learned things from both groups, as my own personal systematic theology has morphed, hopefully under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit.  And you must prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good and true, casting off whatever you prove to be error, in the development of your own systematic theology.  That is something that should never, ever be left up to the denomination you belong to, in that sense.  If God had wanted robots, he would have created robots.  He created mankind instead, who could reason and prove out things for themselves, under the guidance of his Holy Spirit.]  But it isn’t just mental accumulation of theological truths.  ‘Because Timothy, I want you to take hold of these things, and hold onto them,’ “the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” (verse 7b)  ‘Timothy, if you just have the horizontal of this, and you don’t have the vertical of it, you’re going to sink.’  You know, again, I love the verses in Psalm 119 that say ‘Teach me thy ways O LORD, incline my heart, make me to walk in your statutes,’  You know, over and over, crying out, the complete acknowledgement of the vertical in the Word of God.  That’s what makes it the Word of God, that’s what gives it power.  And he says here, ‘Timothy, the Lord give thee understanding in all things.’  Now I know he does that to you.  Does the Lord ever give understanding to anybody here?  Do you ever sit somewhere reading something, and all of a sudden, snap! a lightbulb goes on?  I’m just saying that, it’s not a light bulb, it’s an expression to help us communicate here, Wednesday night as we’re in the sanctuary together.  Ever just be reading something, and all of a sudden, just, you get tears, all of a sudden the Lord just speaks to your heart, all of a sudden the light just goes on?  We all experience that.  [It’s strange, funny, although I shouldn’t be surprised, but in the creation of this website, it went together sort of like a jigsaw puzzle, one article inspired to be written, that would dovetail into another, or into some of these expository studies that would be done down the road, all fitting together in perfect harmony, and not that of my own design, although there will be those that say it is by my design, or that I’m pushing some sort of agenda.  But I’m not.  It’s all just flowing together, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, with that light bulb going on as needed, guiding my steps.  It’s having the “vertical” input from God that does that, makes it all come together.  We’re getting close to the end, it would appear, as you compare prophecy to world events unfolding around us.  The article linked below was written around the time just after 9/11: http://www.unityinchrist.com/terror/terror4.htm.  I haven’t altered it from the time I put it up, and look how current events are jumping off the page lining up with that article!  We must be about God’s work now, whatever he places in front of us as individuals and denominations.]  And he’s saying ‘Timothy, that needs to be part of the reality of your experience here, in taking hold of these things.  Consider, continually consider and grasp what I’m saying to you,’  “and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.”

 

The Vessel That God Uses To Pass The Word Of God Along Can Be Bound, But The Word Of God That’s Passed Along Can Never Be Bound

 

“Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:” (verse 8)  I couldn’t find a manuscript that has the word “that” in it, it’s just “Remember Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:”  In fact, the tense is “Continually be remembering Jesus Christ”  I mean, how central in ministry, because if you don’t, if you don’t, you can get tired.  You can ask yourself “Why am I doing this again?”  [You can get tired from the work, but you should never get tired “of the work.”]  And you can just be going on in momentum, and then realize you’re running with an empty tank.  He says ‘Timothy, continually be remembering Jesus Christ,’ and it’s in his victory, “the seed of David, who was raised from the dead according to my gospel:” the Good News, without the resurrection of Christ there is no Good News, there’s no Gospel.  ‘Remember that he’s risen, Timothy.  Remember what this is all about, remember that day, be continually remembering Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, of the seed of David, whose raised from the dead.’  “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.” (verse 9)  As an evil doer, as a malefactor.  Even unto bonds, and he was in that situation in the dungeon now in Rome, which is a dark place.  “but the Word of God is not bound.”  And again, the evidence of that is here we are [ie the Romans weren’t able to stamp out Christianity, even by killing one of its greatest apostles].  The communicator might be bound, but the Word is not.  The vessel that God uses to pass the Word of God along can be bound, but the Word that’s passed along can never be bound.  You know, one of the interesting things with Russia is the Iron Curtain came down.  Now there are all kinds of groups, from Scientologists to Jehovah’s Witnesses, trying to get them there, but there were millions of Bibles that flooded into Russia.  Now, you know, there’s some struggle over there, right now.  And there’s some consideration amongst the government officials that ‘We should only let Buddhism, Islam and Russian Orthodoxy be official religions here.’  But it’s too late.  It’s too late.  Because millions upon millions of Bibles have flooded into the former Soviet Union.  And the Word of God is not bound.  They might put a piece of duct tape across everybody’s mouth and send them out of the country, but the Word of God is not bound.  Here we are.  You know, you think of the martyrs, you read through Foxes Book of Martyrs, you think of the martyrs in the first century AD.  You know, again, Polycarp, when they came to put him to death, in his nineties, he knew the Romans were coming for him, so he made dinner for them.  He prepared a meal.  And when they got there, the Roman soldier in charge felt so bad, this nice old guy cooked this dinner, he said, “Look, just deny Christ, and say Caesar’s Lord, say it real fast, and we’ll just get out of here,’  He said “85 years I’ve served my Master, he has always been faithful to me, and he has never let me down.  How is it that you could expect me to deny him now?”  And they said ‘Polycarp, we’re going to tie you to the post and light the flame, the flame that we’re going to light is going to be hot,’  He said, “Not as hot as the flame you’re going to experience if you don’t accept Christ as your Saviour,”  Tradition says that, we don’t know, as they lit the fire and it started to burn around him, and it didn’t get near him, so somebody hit him with a spear, and then the blood squirted out and put the fire out, you know, we don’t know about that tradition.  But you know.  The Word of God is not bound.  Polycarp went on to be with the Lord, but here we are, remarkable power of the Word of God.  I remember reading a verse, and read the verse, and the presence of the Lord stepped in, and that’s how I got saved, from a verse.  It was after arguing with Christians after a few months, but just sitting alone, read this verse, and the presence of the Lord stepped into the room.  Not a power, not an “ism”, a person.  And I remember weeping and weeping, just feeling like wave after wave of love just washed me.  I got up the next day, the sky was blue, I never knew that before, I knew it, but I never knew it.  Birds were singing.  I never heard it before.  I heard it my whole life, but I never heard it.  I mean, I was alive.  The Word of God is not bound, and I’m glad. 

 

‘I Endure All Things For The Elect’s Sakes, So They Might Receive Salvation’

 

“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (verse 10)  It isn’t just salvation, it’s with “eternal glory.”  I like that.  “I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation” it’s an interesting combination of sovereignty and human responsibility here.  “that they may obtain salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”  That’s our hope, eternal glory.  What’s it going to be like?  I recognize most of your faces, I’m well beyond names.  So if I say “Hey buddy, how you doing?” if your name’s Buddy, be impressed with my memory.  [laughter]  If your name isn’t Buddy, you’re still my buddy.  I call my kids that, you know, we’re family.  I’m beyond, no offense, everybody’s name.  But there, we’ll know fully, even as we are fully known.  Imagine just being there, knowing everybody’s story in this room, every heartache that everybody had had, how Jesus was faithful in everybody’s life in this room, everybody’s story, and all of that being thrown at his feet in worship and just, you know, a Communion service that just doesn’t go away.  I’m looking forward to that.  No beepers, no cell-phones, what a day.  “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

 

Four If’s

 

The ends in these verses, four “If’s” here you’ll see them, difficult passage [verses 11-13].  It is a faithful saying:  For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:” (verse 11)  Now what does that mean, “if we be dead with him”?  Well Paul wasn’t dead, and Timothy wasn’t dead.  He’s ready to be dead.  He says in chapter 4 ‘I’m ready.’  Now the reason he was ready, is because he wasn’t going to die in chapter 4.  He had died long before that.  ‘I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live.  Yet not I, Christ liveth in me.  And the life that I’m now living in the flesh I live for the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’  Paul had given up his life decades before this.  He had been a dead man for years upon years upon years, died for Christ, died in Christ, died with Christ.  ‘Timothy, if we’re dead with him,’ from the prophetic past tense I guess, but he’s saying ‘we’ when he’s talking to Timothy too, ‘If we have died with him, we’re dead with him, we shall also live with him.  It’s a sure saying, it’s faithful.  You know, whatever comes, Timothy, you see Rome is persecuting the Church right now, I’m going to be put to death here in Rome for my faith, but hey, if we’re dead with him, we’re gonna live with him.’  “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:  if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (verse 12)  And probably your translation says “endure”, that’s probably a better idea, ‘If we endure, we shall also reign with him, if we endure, we’re gonna reign with him.’  What a day that will be, when he rules and he reigns, takes up his Scepter and the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea, that will be a remarkable day.  So, if we be dead with him, we’ll live with him. If we suffer, or endure, we’ll reign with him.  But “if we deny him, he also will deny us:  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful:  he cannot deny himself.” (verse 13)  What’s he talking about?  I like the first half of that, I don’t like the second half.  Maybe the second half ain’t in the oldest manuscripts.  ‘If we die with him we’ll live with him.  If we endure, we’ll reign, if we, Timothy, deny, disassociate ourselves from him, he will deny us.’  What’s he talking about?  You know, Jesus said ‘Whosoever therefore shall confess me,’  that’s the tenses, it’s a lifelong process, but it begins somewhere, before men, ‘him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.’  If we deny him, he will deny us.  “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful:  he cannot deny himself.”  He’s saying ‘Timothy, look, this is the bottom line, if we’re dead with Christ, we’ve gotten saved, you are dead with Christ, you’re life is hid in Christ with God, seek those things which are above, not those things of the earth, you know, if we’re dead with him, Timothy, just remember we’ll live with him.  If we endure, we’ll reign, just as certainly as those who deny, if we deny, he denies us.  Those that are saved, are saved by entering into Christ, those that are lost, are lost by denying, refusing.  If they say they don’t believe, doesn’t matter, he remains faithful, he can’t deny himself.’  You know, it’s like the “new math”, ‘I don’t think 2 and 2 is 4.’  Well this is the old math.  ‘I don’t think God is really there, so there!’  Well he’s up on the throne, ‘I have to see my analyst, look at my mood ring, it’s changing colors,’  Look, if you don’t believe, God is on the throne, it doesn’t matter whether you believe or not, doesn’t have nothing to do with whether or not he’s real.  He abides the same, he’s faithful, he can’t deny himself.  His existence is not determined by whether a human being says he’s real or not.  He says, ‘Timothy, look, if we enter into the death of Christ, we receive him as Saviour and Lord, we give our life to him, we’re gonna live with him.  If we endure, we’re gonna reign with him.  If we deny him, he’ll deny us.  If we don’t believe, it doesn’t  mean he’s  not there, he abides faithful, he can’t deny himself.’  

 

In Summary

 

Great exhortation.  But take the Word of God and pass it along to faithful men.  Look, if you’re here tonight, and you don’t know Christ, Jesus said this about the Word of God, he said it’s like seed, like a man in the field.  And when human beings hear it, they hear it with more than just their ear, because Jesus said ‘he who has an ear to hear,’  Well your ears are not just to hold your glasses up, ah, you might have ears for lots of reasons, hold your ear rings.  No, no, Jesus said, ‘If you have ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying.’  The Word of God, he says, is like seed, and it falls on a human life just like seed falls on the soil, and it has power within itself.  You know the guys out there planting seed, doesn’t matter whether he throws it over his shoulder, throws it under his arm, the power is in the seed, and when it hits the soil, within itself, the DNA code is there, to put a root down and to put a sprout up, and it responds to moisture and to light and to the soil.  And he says the Word of God is like that, when it hits the human heart, it has power within itself, it’s incorruptible seed, to produce life.  And if you’re here this evening and you’re listening to this, you have to know that.  Nobody can know it for you.  You know, we’re trying to hold onto these things that are faithful, and pass them along.  I want my kids to know them and be grounded in them, I want the people I teach here in church to know them and be grounded in them, so when you go somewhere else you know you have this.  If somebody tells you to drink cool-aid and go up on a mountain to wait for flying saucers, you can say “show me that chapter.”  I ain’t going if it’s not in here.  This is all of your faith and all of your practice here [holding up his Bible].  Now he’s saying ‘Timothy, take hold of the Word of God, take hold of the pattern of church life you’ve seen, and the things that have been delivered unto you, and hold onto those things and guard those things.  And then I want you to commit those things to faithful men so that they might teach others.  And yeah, there’s a struggle.  It’s like being a soldier, it’s like being an athlete, it’s like being a farmer.  But Christ is risen, and I want you to take hold of these things.  And I always want you to be remembering Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, of David, whose risen.  And as for that cause, I’m here, as a malefactor, an evil doer, suffering in prison.  But for the sake of the elect I endure all things, that they might be saved, and have Christ in eternal glory.  Timothy, this is a faithful saying, it will never change.’  It hasn’t changed tonight.  ‘If we receive Christ, we enter into Christ, into his death and resurrection, make him our own, we’ll live.  If we endure, we’ll reign with him.  If we deny Christ, he’ll deny us.  If we say we don’t believe, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t change him, he remains faithful, he can’t deny himself.’  [transcript of a connective expository sermon on 2nd Timothy 1:13-18 and 2:1-13, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia PA  19116]

 

related links:

 

Things Paul Had To Endure.  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians2/2nd%20Corinthians%2011%201-33.htm  (and scroll to the paragraph title ‘Paul Boasts About What It’s Like To Be A Real Apostle’)

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