CONTEXT: First and Second Timothy and Titus are often grouped together as the Pastoral Epistles, because they appear to deal with advice and counsel about dealing with pastoral issues. However, the primary emphasis of these epistles isn't how to help individuals with personal problems, but is rather how to deal with church polity (organizational structures, policies, and procedures governing the church).
2 TIMOTHY 1:1-2 - AN APOSTLE THROUGH THE WILL OF GOD
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God" (v. 1a). It was customary for people of that time and place to begin their letters by introducing themselves (quite different from our letters today, with the name of the author at the end), and Paul follows that convention by introducing himself at the beginning.
Paul first states his name, and then his office. He is an apostle (apostolos)-sent with a message. In Paul's case, the one who did the sending was Christ Jesus and the message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul is an apostle "by the will of God." His original name was Saul, and he was persecuting the church. As he approached Damascus, he saw a blinding light and heard a voice from heaven asking, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" As a result of that encounter, Saul the persecutor became Paul the apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:1-21). In other words, he hadn't sought the office of apostle-the office sought him, because God willed that he should be an apostle. Timothy knows that Paul is an apostle, so why would Paul open his letter to Timothy by recounting his apostolic status? There are various possibilities:
"according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus" (v. 1b). God's call was that Paul should proclaim the promise of "the life which is in Christ Jesus"-life in the kingdom of God both now and eternally.
"to Timothy, my beloved child" (Greek: teknon) (v. 2a). Paul asked Timothy to accompany him on his Second Missionary Journey (Acts 16:1-3). Elsewhere, Paul refers to Timothy as "my beloved and faithful child in the Lord" (1 Cor. 4:17) and "my true child in faith," (1 Tim. 1:2). The Greek word for son is huios, but the word that Paul uses here is teknos, which is best translated child. Most men would take exception to being addressed as child, but it would have been acceptable for a teacher or mentor (such as Paul) to address a student or disciple (such as Timothy) in this way.
"Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" (v. 2b). This is a typical greeting for Paul. He has been the recipient of God's mercy and peace (1 Timothy 1:16, 18), and desires that Timothy share in God's mercy and peace as well.
2 TIMOTHY 1:3-5 - THAT I MIGHT BE FILLED WITH JOY
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember
you in my prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well
"I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did," (v. 3a). This is a curious statement on two counts:
"How unceasing is my memory of you in my petitions, night and day" (v. 3b). In the original Greek, this is a part of Paul's thanksgiving. His unceasing memory of Timothy occasions his thanks-as are his memories of Timothy's tears (v. 4) and the faith of Lois and Eunice-and the faith of Timothy as well (v. 5).
Paul prays night and day for Timothy, who has been his most faithful companion-and who, given his youth, can be expected to carry the Jesus' banner long after Paul has died. In his prayers, Paul would give thanks, of course, but he would also pray for Timothy's spiritual well-being. The stronger our faith and witness, the more determined Satan is to derail us, so Timothy can expect to face temptations both subtle and treacherous. He will require God's help to avoid falling into Satan's trap.
"longing to see you, remembering your tears, that I may be filled with joy" (v. 4). Paul often expresses a longing for those whom he has discipled-or a longing to see again (Romans 1:11; 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; Philippians 1:8; 2:26-28; 4:1). Paul spent a great deal of time traveling from place to place-establishing churches and winning new converts to the faith. It would be difficult to leave people with whom he has established a deep spiritual connection, so he would naturally long to see such people again. That would be especially true of Timothy, with whom Paul has established such a strong relationship. To see him again would be an occasion of great joy.
"having been reminded of the sincere (Greek: anupokritou) faith that is in you" (v. 5a). The Greek word anupokritou literally means "without pretense" or "without hypocrisy." Paul has often dealt with people of compromised faith, and is a good judge of character. He knows that Timothy is free of hypocrisy.
Paul is also free of hypocrisy. He calls 'em as he sees 'em-issues rebukes as well as compliments. He stands his ground in the face of opposition.
Paul frequently offers compliments, but never lightly. If Paul says that Timothy is without hypocrisy, we can be sure that is his studied opinion.
"which lived first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and, I am persuaded, in you also" (v. 5b). Timothy's Jewish mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois are faithful Christians and have been influential in Timothy's spiritual development, bringing him up in the knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15). Timothy's father is Greek-Gentile (Acts 16:1).
2 TIMOTHY 1:6-12 - DON'T BE ASHAMED
6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
"For this cause (Greek: oun-therefore, accordingly), I remind you that you should stir up (Greek: anazopyreo) the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands" (v. 6). Having been nurtured in the faith by his mother and grandmother, Timothy should stir it up (anazopyreo) and make the most of it. The word anazopyreo combines two Greek words, ana (again) and zopyreo (to stir up a fire). Paul is telling Timothy to be proactive in keeping the flames of faith burning.
"gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands" Timothy should regard his faith as a gift from God "through the laying on of (Paul's) hands." In the Old Testament, Moses laid hands on Joshua to commission him (Numbers 27:18-23). In the New Testament, the apostles laid hands on people to heal them (Matthew 9:18; Acts 28:8), to impart the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17; 19:6), and to ordain them for a particular work (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 2 Timothy 1:6).
"For God didn't give us a spirit of fear" (Greek: deilia) (v. 7a). The Greek word deilia means fear, timidity, or cowardice.
"but of power (Greek: dynamis), love (Greek: agape), and discipline [selff-control]" (sophronismos) (v. 7b). Consider Moses, called by God to confront Pharaoh and to demand that Pharaoh free the Israelites. Consider David, a boy called by God to face the giant Goliath in a battle to the death. Consider Gideon, called by God to reduce his army to 300 men before attacking the much larger Midianite army. In each case, God asked people to take bold action in the faith that God would reward their faithfulness. God still calls people to impossible tasks. He calls us to trust his call, and to believe that he will be faithful to honor that call:
"Therefore don't be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner" (v. 8a). This might better translated, "Therefore don't be ashamed to testify (or to bear testimony to) our Lord."
It seems odd that anyone would be ashamed to bear testimony to Jesus, but we have experienced shame (or timidity). Even when Christianity was widely held to be virtuous in this country, people found it difficult to bear witness to their faith. Now that Christians are increasingly under attack, it has become more difficult. If we say that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), we are likely to trigger accusations of intolerance.
"but endure hardship (Greek: synkakopatheo) for the Good News according to the power of God"(v. 8b). Synkakopatheocombines two Greek words, syn (together with) and kakopatheo (to suffer hardship), so Paul is saying, "Suffer hardship together with me for the Gospel" or "Share my suffering for the sake of the Gospel."
"who saved (Greek: sozo) us" (v. 9a). Sozo can refer to healing or delivery from danger, but the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) often uses it to refer to the salvation of the Israelites (Psalm 44:1-8; Isaiah 43:11; 45:21; 63:9; Hosea 14:3) and the New Testament uses it to refer to Christian salvation (1 Corinthians 1:21; 9:22; Ephesians 2:5). In what sense does God save us? He saves us:
"and called us with a holy (Greek: hagios) calling" (Greek: klesis) (v. 9b). The Greek word hagios means holy or set apart for God. The tabernacle and temple were holy, because they were the dwelling places of God. Sacrificial animals were holy, because they were set apart for God. Timothy is holy, because God has set him apart for ministry.
"not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace" (v. 9c). It has been said that God calls whom God calls. That's as close as we can get to explaining why God calls certain people. Sometimes God calls well-educated people (such as Paul), but he also calls people of modest ability. Sometimes he calls people whom we would call saintly (such as Mother Teresa), but he also calls people who could be classified as borderline scoundrels (such as Jacob). Sometimes he calls people whose lives manifest impeccable moral behavior, but he also calls people who do despicable things (such as David). God calls whom God calls. But whomever God calls, he calls them to a holy purpose and a holy life.
"which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal" (v. 9d). The Gospel of John begins with these words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God." (John1:1-2). God's purpose and grace were manifested through Christ before times eternal-before time-in the infinity that stretches beyond time both before the creation and after the world comes to an end. And perhaps God has a plan for each of our lives, established from "before times eternal."
"but has now been revealed by the appearing (Greek: epiphaneia) of our Savior, Christ Jesus" (v. 10a). God's purpose and grace (v. 9c) were revealed in Christ Jesus.
"who abolished (Greek: katargeo) death" (v. 10b). The Greek word katargeo means "to abolish" or "to put an end to" or "to render inactive." With his death and resurrection, Jesus abolished the power of death over us. In the Bible, the word "death" is used in two ways:
"and brought life and immortality (Greek: aphtharsia-incorruptibility) to light through the Good News" (v. 10c). The Greek word aphtharsia means incorruptibility. Our bodies are corrupted by disease, injury, age, and death. As I get older, I experience this happening. I think of it as dying by inches-slow death. Then death brings about the final corruptibility. We have dealt with that by paying embalmers and cosmeticians to restore the appearance of life and to delay the decay. They do a wonderful but superficial job, and have no power to restore life itself.
"For this, I was appointed (Greek: tithemi) as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles"(v. 11). The Greek word tithemi means "appointed" or "set in place." Through his encounter with Saul (Paul's original name) on the Damascus road (Acts 9), Christ set Paul in place "as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles." Paul didn't initiate that appointment. He didn't submit a resume that had to be vetted. He didn't apply for the job. Christ chose him-called him-appointed him to preach, lead, and teach.
"and a teacher of the Gentiles" (v. 11b). God "called (Paul) through his grace, to reveal his Son in (Paul), that (Paul) might preach him among the Gentiles" (Galatians 1:15-16). Paul became "a servant of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a priest the Good News of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be made acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:16).
In other words, God assigned Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles, and that became the mission that consumed the rest of Paul's life.
"For this cause I also suffer these things" (v. 12a). As noted above, Paul endured suffering for the sake of the Gospel (Acts 9:16, 28; 13:50; 14:4, 19; 16:22; 21:30; 22:22; 23:1-10; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 2 Corinthians 4:8-12; 11:16-28; 2 Timothy 2:9; 3:10-13).
"Yet I am not ashamed" (v.12b). Paul called for Timothy to be unashamed (see v. 8 above), and now states that he is unashamed-unashamed of his life's work in Christ's service and unashamed of his imprisonment.
"for I know him whom I have believed" (v.12c). The focus here is on Christ rather than on doctrine. Paul knows Christ. He encountered the risen Christ on the Damascus road (Acts 9), and has served him faithfully ever since.
"and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed to him (Greek: partheke mou-my deposit or trust) against that day" (v.12d). Paul is using the language of a banker. The deposit or trust in question could be that with which Christ has entrusted Paul-or Paul could be talking about the service that he has rendered to Christ. In either case, Paul is confident that Christ has both the power and the will to safeguard that deposit "against that day." Note: When Paul uses the phrase "that day" elsewhere, he is speaking of the day that Christ will come again (1 Corinthians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:10). Paul is convinced that Christ will safeguard his deposit or trust until Christ comes again. On that day, when the vault doors open and the accounts are tallied, Paul's deposit will be found secure and intact.
2 TIMOTHY 1:13-14 - HOLD THE PATTERN OF SOUND WORKS
13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in
Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to
"Hold the pattern of sound words (Greek: hugiaino logos) which you have heard from me" (v. 13a). The Greek word logos(word) means word, but can also mean that which is conveyed by a word. In this case, the "sound words" which Timothy has received from Paul are Paul's teachings. Paul is asking Timothy to be faithful to that which he has learned at Paul's feet-both to teach it and to live it faithfully.
"in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (v. 13b). Paul encourages Timothy to hold Paul's sound teachings "in faith and love." It is all too easy to get so wrapped up in doctrinal orthodoxy that we forget to trust God and to love our neighbor. When that happens, we severely compromise our witness.
"in Christ Jesus" (v. 13b). Paul uses this phrase often (Romans 6:11; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 3:28; 1 Timothy 1:14). Being "in Christ" involves an all-encompassing relationship with Christ Jesus-a relationship that has saving power. In this instance, it is through Christ that we receive faith and love-and it is Christ who enables us to express faith and love to others.
"That good thing which was committed (Greek: partheke-deposited or entrusted) to you, guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us" (v. 14). The good thing entrusted to Timothy is the Gospel-the Good News of salvation through Christ Jesus.
But Timothy is not on his own to accomplish this. The Holy Spirit dwells in him (and us), and will make it possible for him (and us) to do this.
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
a. Paul's introduction here is like his other letters, with an up-front recognition that he is an apostle according to the will of God, not according to the ambition or whim of man.
i. Paul had a role to play in God's plan for reaching the world for Jesus Christ, and his role was apostle - a unique ambassador from God to the world. Just as Paul had his role to play, we all have our role to play - what's yours?
ii. Some of us could write, "pastor by the will of God" or "evangelist by the will of God" or "pray-er by the will of God" or "encourager by the will of God" or "supporter by the will of God." We all have our role to play, and God wants us to walk in it!
b. The words according to the promise of life are unique in Paul's greetings; since Paul is imprisoned again in Rome, and facing execution (2 Timothy 4:6), this promise is all the more precious to him.
i. After Paul was released from the Roman imprisonment mentioned at the end of the book of Acts, he enjoyed a few more years of liberty until he was re-arrested, and imprisoned in Rome again.
ii. You can go to Rome today and see the place where they say Paul was imprisoned. It is really just a cold dungeon, a cave in the ground, with bare walls and a little hole in the ceiling where food was dropped down. No windows, just a cold, little cell that would have been especially uncomfortable in winter.
iii. Paul writes this letter from his second Roman imprisonment, and he will be condemned and executed in Rome at the command of Nero shortly. Paul senses this ahead of time; therefore 2 Timothy is not only the last letter we have from Paul, there is a note of urgency and passion we might expect from a man who knows he is on death row!
2. (2 Tim. 1:2-5) A greeting and a happy remembrance.
2 To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
a. Paul is thinking much about his spiritual family - about Timothy, a beloved son; and about his true forefathers, those Jews before Paul's time that genuinely followed God with a pure heart, not in the self-righteousness of the Pharisees.
b. Grace, mercy, and peace: Spurgeon used this verse, along with 1 Tim. 1:2 and Titus 1:4 to show that ministers need more mercy than other believers do. After all, in the beginning to his letters to churches in general, Paul only says grace and peace in his greeting (Rom. 1:7, 1 Cor. 1:3, 2 Cor. 1:2, Gal. 1:3, Eph. 1:2, Phil. 1:2, Col. 1:2, 1 Thess. 1:1; 2:1:2). But when he starts writing the pastors - Timothy and Titus - he is compelled to say grace, mercy, and peace to him!
i. "Did you ever notice this one thing about Christian ministers, that they need even more mercy than other people? Although everybody needs mercy, ministers need it more than anybody else; and so we do, for if we are not faithful, we shall be greater sinners even than our hearers, and it needs much grace for us always to be faithful, and much mercy will be required to cover our shortcomings. So I shall take those three things to myself: 'Grace, mercy, and peace.' You may have the two, 'Grace and peace,' but I need mercy more than any of you; so I take it from my Lord's loving hand, and I will trust, and not be afraid, despite all my shortcomings, and feebleness, and blunders, and mistakes, in the course of my whole ministry." (Spurgeon)
c. Without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day: Timothy was on Paul's "prayer list." Paul made it a regular practice to pray with a list and to mention in prayer those who were precious to him.
i. Prayers night and day also shows us how much Paul prayed: Whenever it was night or whenever it was day! Of course, one might say this was easy for Paul, since he was in prison; but such prayer is never easy.
ii. Yet, we admire Paul for having a heart to do the most for the Lord that he can where ever he is. So he can't preach? He can pray, and that he will do.
d. Mindful of your tears: Perhaps the tears Paul remembered were the tears Timothy shed at his last parting with Paul.
e. Filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you: What made Paul really happy? To remember the faith of faithful men like Timothy, who were loving and serving the Lord.
f. Which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice: Timothy's genuine faith was due, in no small measure, to his godly upbringing and the influence of his grandmother and mother.
i. Timothy and his family came from the ancient city of Lystra, where Paul visited on his first missionary journey. When Paul and Barnabas were there, God used Paul to miraculously heal a crippled man - and the people of the city began to praise Paul and Barnabas as Greek gods from Olympus, and started to sacrifice a bull to them! Paul barely restrained them from doing so, and soon enemies of the gospel had turned the crowd against Paul, so they cast Paul out of the city and stoned him. But God miraculously preserved Paul's life, and he carried on (Acts 14).
ii. On Paul's second missionary journey, he came again to Lystra - and there met a young man who had come to Jesus, and was devoted to serving the Lord. This young man was Timothy, and he is described as having a mother who believed, but his father was Greek. (Acts 16:1)
iii. So, Timothy's mother and grandmother were believers, but his father was not (at least not at first). In the Roman world, fathers had absolute authority over the family, and since Timothy's father was not a Christian, his home situation was less than ideal (though not necessarily terrible). But his mother and grandmother either led him to Jesus or grounded him in the faith! God wants to use parents and grandparents to pass on an eternal legacy to their children and grandchildren!
iv. When Paul left Lystra, he took Timothy with him - and this began a mentor-learner relationship that touched the whole world.
g. I am persuaded is in you also: It wasn't enough that this genuine faith was in Timothy's grandmother and mother; it had to be in Timothy also. Our children, once of age to be accountable before God, must have their own relationship with Jesus Christ. Mom and dad's relationship with God will not then bring eternal life.
i. The phrase genuine faith could be literally translated, "unhypocritical faith" - that is, faith that is not an act. It was for real. Is your faith in God just an act, or is it for real? The whole book of James is about having a real faith.
B. Paul's reminder to Timothy: Boldness matters, so be bold.
1. (2 Tim. 1:6) Stir up the gift of God which is in you.
6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
a. For this reason I remind you: Timothy was gifted, valuable man for the kingdom of God; but he seems to have had a timid streak in him, which required Paul to often encourage him to be strong and bold.
i. These passages suggest Timothy was a man who tended to be timid, and who didn't like to confront people or want to alienate others with a strong stand on the issues. If we were to meet Timothy, we would probably be impressed by his great warmth and love, but it would be a love that tended to be a little "squishy" - love that might accommodate what is wrong and harmful just so no one's feelings were hurt.
ii. On the other hand, we get the feeling Paul was a man of deep love, but also a man who never shied away from confrontation - anyone who would publicly rebuke the Apostle Peter was a man who could confront! (Galatians 2:11-21). Timothy already has a shepherd's tender heart for the sheep; Paul wants to develop within him the boldness necessary to really lead and protect the flock.
iii. Going through 1 and 2 Timothy, you will find no less than 25 different places where Paul encourages Timothy to be bold, to not shy away from confrontation, to stand up where he needs to stand up and be strong. This was something that Timothy, being the kind of person he was, needed to hear! b. People are at all different places. For some, the last thing they need to hear is, "You've got to be more bold!" because they are already obnoxious. But many others come from the place where they need to hear,
iv. But some who appear bold really are just full of bluster; they use a confrontational, in-your-face attitude to mask a lot of pain and insecurity. They need to become really bold and secure in the Lord, instead of full of bluster.
b. kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you: Timothy can't be passive, and just let it all happen; he needs to be bold and to stir up the gift of God which is in you. God may have gifted a person, but just because someone has certain gifts does not mean that they are being used for His glory and Kingdom. Many gifts need to be stirred up!
i. This reminds us that God does not work His gifts through us as if we were robots; even when He gives a man or a woman gifts, He leaves an element that needs the cooperation of their will, of their desire and drive, to fulfill the purpose of His gifts.
ii. Some are waiting passively for God to use them; but God is waiting for them to stir up the gifts that are within them! Some are waiting for some dramatic new anointing from God, and God is waiting for them to stir up what He has already given!
iii. Stir up has the idea of stirring up a fire to keep it burning bright and strong; a fire left to itself will always burn out, but God wants us to keep our gifts burning strong for Him. The Greek anazopureo (stir up) means either 'to kindle afresh' or 'to keep in full flame'. There is no necessary suggestion, therefore, that Timothy had lost his early fire, although undoubtedly, like every Christian, he needed an incentive to keep the fire burning at full flame." (Guthrie)
c. Which is in you through the laying on of my hands: God used the laying on of hands to communicate spiritual gifts to Timothy. This is not the only way God gives gifts, but it is a common way - and means we should never neglect. Have you had someone lay hands on you and pray God would grant you gifts to build up the family of God? i. "We have no right to assume that hands were laid on Timothy once only. Thus Acts ix. 17 and xiii. 3 are two such occasions in St. Paul's spiritual life. There may have been others." (Expositor's)
2. (2 Tim. 1:7) Why Timothy can be bold.
7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
a. Paul sees the timidity that is in Timothy; Timothy knows the fear he sometimes feels. God wants Timothy to know that this fear isn't from the Lord; God has not given us a spirit of timidity.
i. We all face situations where we feel timid and afraid; for some, speaking in front of others makes them fear; others are afraid of confrontation, others of being made to look foolish, others are afraid of rejection. We all deal with fear.
ii. The first step in dealing with such fears is to understand that they are not from God! To be able to say, "This isn't God making me feel like this! God hasn't given me this!" Perhaps it is from your personality, perhaps a weakness of the flesh, perhaps a demonic attack - but it isn't from God.
b. In using the gifts God has given him: God has given him a spirit of power and of love and discipline. The second step in dealing with such fears is understanding what God has given us: a spirit of power and of love and discipline.
i. God has given us a spirit of power: When we are doing His work, proclaiming His word, representing His kingdom, we have all His power backing us. We are safe in His hands.
ii. God has given us a spirit of love: This tells us a lot about the power He has given us. Many think of power in terms of how much we can control others; but Jesus' power is expressed in how much we can love and serve others. Remember Jesus, on the night before the cross, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands - what did He do with all that power? He humbly washed His disciples' feet! (John 13:1-11)
iii. God has given us discipline [= self-control]: The Greek word here has the idea of a calm, self-controlled mind, in contrast to the panic and confusion that rushes in on us when we feel fearful.
c. We don't need to accept what God has not given us (a spirit of timidity), and we need to humbly receive and walk in what He has given us (a spirit ... of power and of love and discipline).
i. Boldness matters; without it, we can't fulfill God's purpose for our lives. God's purpose for you is more than making money, being entertained, and being comfortable; it is for you to use the gifts He has given you to touch His people and help a needy world.
i. Fear and timidity will keep you from using the gifts God has given you to touch His people and a needy world. God wants you to take His power, His love, and His calm thinking and overcome fear to be used of Him with all the gifts He has given you.
3. (2 Tim. 1:8) Using the boldness God gives, don't be ashamed of the imprisoned apostle.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,
a.Therefore: Paul has just told Timothy about the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, with courage, that is the birthright of every believer in Jesus Christ - now, Paul will tell Timothy how to let what God has given him guide his thinking.
b. If Timothy will take the courage God will give, he will not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. We often fail to understand that it wasn't easy to follow a crucified Master.
i. Today, we have sanitized Jesus, and disinfected the cross, making it all "safe." But in the day Paul wrote this, it would seem strange indeed to follow a crucified man and call him "savior."
ii. Think of Jesus' teaching; if you want to be great, be the servant of all; be like a child, like a slave, like the younger, like the last instead of the first. This is a testimony some would be ashamed of!
iii. Paul knew that the plan of God in Jesus Christ seemed foolish to many; but he also knew it was the living, active, power of God to save souls and transform lives. Paul would not be ashamed of it, and neither should Timothy - or we!
c. or of me His prisoner: If Timothy will take the courage God will give, he will not be ashamed of Paul (or of me His prisoner) - it wasn't easy to support an imprisoned apostle. However, Paul doesn't see himself as the prisoner of Rome but as a prisoner of God. Paul can see God as the Lord of every circumstance, and if he is free, he is the Lord's free man, if he is imprisoned, he is the Lord's prisoner.
e. But share with me: It isn't enough that Paul tells Timothy to not be ashamed of him and his chains; he invites Timothy to share in it all!
i. How can we share ... in the sufferings? We share in the same way Paul spoke of in Romans 12:15: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. We can identify with our suffering brethren across the world through prayer, through a heart of concern, and through wise action.
f. According to the power of God: Was Paul really suffering according to the power of God? Yes! The power of God is always there, but it is not always there to remove the difficulty. Sometimes it is there to see us through the difficulty.
i. In one sense, it is absurd for Paul to talk about the power of God - the power of Rome might seem a lot more real! But God's power has been vindicated by history; the Roman Empire is gone, but the gospel of Jesus Christ lives on.
4. (2 Tim. 1:9-10) The message Timothy is not be ashamed of: God's plan of salvation.
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
a. Saved us and called us: We come to God as a response to His call in our lives. We did not initiate the search; we do not "find" God, He finds us; so we must respond to His call when we sense it.
b. Why did God call us? Not according to our works, but according to His own purpose. It wasn't anything great we were, or anything we had done, but because it fit in with His purpose- because He wanted to.
c. Grace which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity: God directed His gracious work towards us when we only existed as a fact in God's knowledge. Just as a couple lovingly plans for a baby before the baby is born, so God planned for us.
i. It's been said, "I'm glad God did it before the foundation of the world, because if He would have waited until I started living my life, He would have never done it!"
ii. Before time began also reminds us that time is something God created to give order and arrangement to our present world; time is not essential to God's existence. He existed before time was created, and will remain when time is ended - and we live on in eternity with Him.
d. God's purpose and grace were revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ: He fulfilled the eternal plan of God; Jesus truly shows us what God and His plan are all about.
i. That's why we can never know Jesus too much; if you would know as much as you can about the invisible God in the heavens, God has revealed Himself to us all in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus reveals Him. Become a Ph.D. in the study of Jesus!
e. What Jesus did: He abolished death. Death isn't death anymore. In regard to believers, it is called sleep - not because we are unconscious, but because it is pleasant and peaceful. Death does not take anything from the Christian; it graduates them to glory!
i. The Christian has no place for "RIP" on his tombstone; "Rest In Peace" does not adequately describe our eternal fate. Why not the letters "CAD"? "Christ Abolished Death" would let everyone know that we are more alive than ever, enjoying the eternal glory of our Lord.
f. What Jesus did: He brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The understanding of the after-life was murky at best in the Old Testament; but Jesus let us know more about heaven - and hell - than anyone else could. He created them!
i. Jesus brought the truth about our immortal state to life through His own resurrection; He showed us what our own immortal bodies would be like, and assured us that we would in fact have them.
ii. These things make Jesus a more reliable spokesman regarding the world beyond than anyone who has a "near-death" experience.
g. God's plan of salvation began for us in eternity past, before time began; it continued with the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, and came to us when He saved us and called us, continues as we live our holy calling, and will one day show itself in immortality - eternal life!
i. When we consider the greatness of this message, no wonder Paul calls it the gospel - Good News!
ii. It is good news that God thought of you and loved you before you even existed; good news that Jesus came to perfectly show us God, good news that He called us and saved us, good news that He gives us a holy calling, and good news that He shows us and gives us eternal life.
iii. No wonder Paul was willing to go to jail, even die, rather than be silent about this great message!
5. (2 Tim. 1:11-12) The boldness God gives will enable Paul to stand strong for the Lord even now.
11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
a. for which I was appointed a preacher: We can almost sense Paul growing in strength as he pens these words; he understands again that it is a privilege to suffer for such a great gospel - so far from being ashamed, he is honored!
i. Flashing through his mind are the sermons he has preached (a preacher), the churches he has led (an apostle), and the diverse nations he has brought to Jesus Christ (a teacher of the Gentiles) - and as he considers each one, surely he must say, "Thank you Jesus!"
b. How could Paul be so bold? So honored by something others might be ashamed of? First, because I know whom I have believed. Paul knew the God he was serving.
i. We must know what we believe; but it is even more important to know whom we believe. When we know how great God is; when God and His glory becomes the great fact of our lives, then we have real boldness.
ii. "'Know thyself,' said the heathen philosopher; that is well, but that knowledge may only lead a man to hell. 'Know Christ,' says the Christian philosopher, 'know him, and then you shall know yourself,' and this shall certainly lead you to heaven, for the knowledge of Christ Jesus is saving knowledge."(Spurgeon)
c. Second, Paul could be so bold, because he was persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Paul gave Jesus his life, and knew Jesus was fully able to keep it!
i. What was it that Paul committed to Him? Surely, he first has in mind his life. Paul knew he could not keep his own life; he knew that only God could keep it. God was able; Paul was not. Knowing this made Paul full of boldness, but it wasn't boldness in self, but in God!
ii. But it wasn't only his life that Paul had committed to God. Paul had committed everything to Jesus - his life, his body, his character and reputation, his life's work, everything that was precious. What do you need to commit to Him? Everything that is precious!
d. That Day. What day? You know what day - the day Paul would see Jesus; either by Jesus coming for Paul or by Paul going to Jesus. They lived in such awareness of that day, they did not even need to identify it. That Day was enough. How precious is that Day to you? It probably depends on how much you have committed to Him!
3. (2 Tim. 1:13-14) Faithfulness matters, so hold fast the truth.
13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.
a. After speaking of the importance of boldness, Paul now calls Timothy to Retain the standard of sound words - Timothy, and all godly ministers, are called to be faithful to the truth.
i. Retain [or hold fast] suggests someone or something will try to take the truth from us; that unless we hold on in faithfulness, it will be snatched from us.
ii. It takes a special man or woman to truly hold fast; it takes someone who is not tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men (Ephesians 4:14).
iii. Isn't this an important measure for any pastor? Does he hold fast the pattern of sound words? The primary measures shouldn't be, "he's really funny" or "he's really exciting" or "he's never boring" or even "he has a real heart for the lost" because some, claiming a heart for the lost, have abandoned the gospel. The true measure is to ask, "Does he hold fast the pattern of sound words?"
b. The standard or pattern of sound words suggests that true teaching, according to God's truth, has a certain "standard" to it - one that can be detected by the discerning heart.
c. Which you have heard from me: The sound words Timothy was to hold fast came to him from a man - Paul the apostle. God uses human instruments to communicate His eternal truth.
i. We must always beware of the person who rejects all human teachers and says, "It's just me and my Bible." God used Paul to communicate the pattern of sound words Timothy was expected to be faithful to, and God uses other men and women to communicate that same truth today.
d. Timothy's faithfulness has to be tempered with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Some people take God's word and consider it only an intellectual matter, and leave out faith and love.
i. Faith and love describe how the truth is to be held. We hold it in faith, truly believing it and putting our lives on it; and we hold it in love, not in proud arrogance or self-seeking superiority.
ii. If you think you are being faithful to the truth, but aren't showing faith and love in your life, you may be nothing more than a Pharisee. They were a group in Jesus' day that was very committed to holding certain teachings, but had no fruit of faith and love flowing in their lives.
e. Timothy had something committed to him - Paul calls it that good thing, no doubt meaning the gospel and the truth of God - and he needed to have faithfulness to keep that good thing.
i. God has committed many good things to us; will we be faithful and keep them? Keep has more than just the idea of holding on to something; it also means to guard it and to use it wisely.
ii. What good things has God committed to you? His Word? A family? Time? Gifts and talents? An education? Are you being faithful with those things?
iii. We live in a time where faithfulness is only expected so long as it serves our own interests. When it stops being in our immediate advantage to be faithful, many people feel just fine about giving up their responsibility. But this is not honoring to God.
iv. Being faithful to God means having the heart that will to what is right even when it seems to be crazy to do so. But he honors those who fear the LORD; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change (Psalm 15:4). When is the last time you were faithful to something when it cost you to be faithful?
v. God is faithful with what we commit to Him (2 Timothy 1:12). Will we be faithful with what He has committed to us?
f. The last phrase of 2 Timothy 1:14 gives us the key to faithfulness: Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. God requires a faithfulness from us that is greater than we can fulfill by our own resources. Unless we are walking in the Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit, we cannot keep faithful to what we must keep faithful to.