"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

BOOKMARK AND SHARE

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

CROSSING The T’s STUDY in 2 TIMOTHY – Biblical Precepts and Principles for Pastoral ministry: CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION
: From Barnes Notes we have the following:
In the epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon, written during his first imprisonment, Paul confidently looked forward to a release, and to a speedy departure from Rome. In this second epistle to Timothy, he had no such expectation. Thus he tells the Philippians, (PHIL 2:24) "I trust in the Lord, that I myself shall come shortly." See also PHIL 1:24. In the epistle to Philemon, PHILM 1:22, he says, "But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you."
In this epistle, however, the author had no such expectation.
2 TIMOTHY 4:6,
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness
.

After what some calculate to be about thirty five years in the ministry as an apostle of Jesus Christ, “Paul the aged” is nearing the end of his race. He must soon say goodbye to this world, and to those who he labored with, and most especially the one he referred to as “my true son in the faith”, Timothy. In this, Paul’s last epistle before his execution, he referred to the young man as “a beloved son”.

The tone of this last epistle has a somberness to it, of deep intimacy with this young man who learned much from the elder and apostle. There is a great deal of admonition here, a directness regarding Paul charge to Timothy and a reminder for faithful stewardship.
If first impressions are lasting impressions, then last words are most remembered words.

Can you imagine what it must have been like to have someone like Paul of Tarsus as your personal tutor? A vast intellect, a profound scholarship, a fiery passion, and a warrior’s heart was Paul the apostle.
In contrast, we had Timothy the timid, the sensitive, the thoughtful, devoted to his elders, an avid student and one that had a good reputation (ACTS 16:1-2) which Paul attested and agreed (with the assessment of others regarding this pastor).

The sorrow of this departure between mentor and disciple, and of father and son is but a momentary sorrow; our sorrow is not like that of the ungodly – for they have no hope after death, and we have every hope, placed solely upon the risen LORD of Glory Who defeated sin, death and hell, the LORD Jesus Christ (1 THESS 4:13)!

Like Paul, may we at the end of our own lives say,

2 TIMOTHY 4:7
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith
:

So let’s get into the first chapter of this last epistle of the apostle Paul:

PART ONE:

2 TIMOTHY 1:1-2
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

We have the promise of life, made by GOD Himself Who cannot lie. This life is according to Christ Jesus, the Author of Life – for us to receive this life eternal is GOD’s will – as certainly as the office and or calling in life that we have by our Maker and Redeemer.

Paul’s calling was that of an apostle; what’s yours?
As Christians, saved by grace, we are foreordained to good works by GOD (EPH 2:10; also a few verses further down in our text: vs. 9 “…saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace…”), and those works are in accordance with our “holy calling”.

Just as certainly as we begin to walk in accordance with that calling, there comes a time when that walk, that calling comes to an end. Such is the case here with Paul. The time of his departure is at hand:

2 TIMOTHY 4:6
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand
.

We talk about pouring ourselves into our life’s work; it’s an unreserved, absolute devotion and dedication towards something.
In a drink offering, it’s the same idea, but in this case, it’s a pouring out to GOD, with nothing reserved for anything else – so that by the time it’s done, the vessel is empty.

Paul’s spirit will soon fly away once he’s beheaded, and his bodily vessel will be empty; he gave Christ his all, without any reservation, and he gladly did so for the LORD he so fervently longed to be with:
PHILIPPIANS 1:20-24
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
In all of Paul’s epistles where grace is mentioned, peace follows afterwards. Here we see an addition inserted between the two: “mercy”.
We are weak vessels, often failing, seldom steadfast – and yet the LORD has compassion on us, knowing that we are little more than dust (PS 103:13-14). In His mercy, He stays with us faithfully, working in us His Spirit, recreating the nature of Jesus in these clay pots that we are. He never gets disgusted or put out with us for our failures, never will He cast us aside (IS 42:3; MT 12:20).

Once Paul the mentor was gone, Timothy wouldn’t have his wisdom, his guidance, his emotional support, this genuine father figure who was a stalwart pillar of strength for the young man. It was enough to apprehend the mercies of GOD, to employ His grace, and to rest in His peace all of which enabled the pastor of Ephesus to wax valiant in the great war against the powers of darkness, for the truth.

2 TIMOTHY 1:3-5
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also
.

Paul is able to declare that he has a clear conscience – in his service to the LORD, in his life as a disciple and apostle of Christ. I wonder how many pastors and Christian leaders can say this in today’s world?

In this spiritual warfare, a vital piece of the armor is the “belt of truth” (EPH 6:14) – truth in the sense of integrity, honesty, transparency, and accountability. These things are essential in such a war, and lacking them, the insidious ploys of the enemy will work their ways into the hearts and minds of the easily corruptible.

This man of impeccable integrity stated that he prayed “without ceasing…night and day” and he “greatly desired” to see his beloved son in the faith. I have a few of those, and I can relate to that great desire – and one Day, we shall all be together with the LORD! How I yearn for that Day – as do they all!

Paul remembered Timothy’s tears in petition and prayer, that his aged father would be filled with joy in the midst of abhorrent prison conditions and a possible execution in the near future

I think this is always the case with Christians – that they don’t mind for themselves to depart from this world and be with the LORD – who would?? But for the sakes of those left behind who will experience the sorrowful pain of their absence, and not wanting to see our loved ones go through such things, desiring to spare them. I’m certain that this old saint shed many tears himself for his beloved son in the faith, asking GOD to strengthen and encourage him once the apostle was executed by beheading.

The times of persecution were beginning to heat up intensely, and the apostle knew that his young protégé was in for the challenge of his life, pastoring a church in Ephesus that would encounter attacks by pagan Romans as well as Jewish synagogues.

Paul knew however, that Timothy would be fine and brought to his remembrance “the genuine faith” of both his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. The same faith that ruled Timothy’s life.
This once timid young man faced off a large procession of pagans engaged in gross idolatry, rebuking them for it, and was met with the angry mob that beat the pastor to death with clubs (around 97 AD), about the same time that John the apostle was exiled to Patmos (For details, see the following article).

2 TIMOTHY 1:6-7
6 Therefore I remind you to stir up 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 fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind
.

The gift of GOD wasn’t something given to Timothy, but the gift “which is in [him]”, by means of laying on of hands. This was an outward show of prayer, guided by the prophetic word, ordaining those called to the ministry:
HEBREWS 6:2
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

1 TIMOTHY 4:14
Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
In these days GOD makes it clear on who should be selected for ministry, particularly those called to the pastorate through the criteria outlined in Scripture – which are selected among the elders, the qualifications of such are listed in these pastoral epistles (1 TIM 3:1-2; TITUS 1:5-7; 3:15; 1 TIM 5:17).

In the true church, pastors are not voted into office; those elders that are led of the Spirit only ratify by recognizing those qualities that enable men to be pastors. It’s GOD that ordains, and the elders verify the calling on men’s lives.

I myself have recognized in our little fellowship certain men and women that exhibit certain giftings that are suited for offices specific to those giftings. For example, there is listed among the gifts of the Spirit “the gift of helps” and that allows a brother in our fellowship to engage in benevolence ministries, whether one needs a Bible of their own or a kitchen sink repaired, this brother is cheerfully available and ready to help.

There is the gift of administrations, and I know of some sisters who excel at organizing and dispensing material needs, and who are also able to allocate personnel to various tasks.

In the days of this epistle a pastor’s life would be endangered, because as I said, persecution was beginning to foment. The Roman government understood that to effectively demoralize Christians the arrest, torture and martyrdom of church leaders should become common practice.

This is why Paul stated: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”.

The LORD directed us clearly on this matter:
MATTHEW 10:28
And fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell
.
GOD has given us His power: We who have the baptism of the Holy Spirit have been endowed with His power (“dunamis”):
ACTS 1:8
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
This power was to affect our ability to testify of the truth with boldness and remain faithful as the LORD’s witnesses (martyrs), fearless before any threat by the enemy or by any human being.
Those who have died a martyr’s death first lived the life of a martyr: that is, one who is accustomed to dying to self, that Christ may live and be known through our lives.

GOD has given us His love: GOD is Himself love (1 JN 4:7-8), of the Divine sort; those secure in such will be able to brave anything that this world and the god of this world could afflict us with. The love of Christ compels us, motivates us, enables us to live and work in the will of GOD (2 COR 5:14; GAL 2:20; PHIL 1:20).
1 JOHN 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
GOD has given us His mind:
PHILIPPIANS 2:5-8
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross
. (1 COR 2:16).
A sound mind is based upon sound doctrine, for our lives are affected by doctrine in from doctrines either good or bad. The Word of GOD inundating our minds will do its vital work and brings an order and soundness to our beings that no fear could deteriorate (1 THESS 2:13).

PART TWO:

2 TIMOTHY 1:8-10
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings 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 given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel
,

Therefore, seeing how we have the power, love, and mind of GOD (even if we find ourselves standing alone) have no cause to be ashamed, intimidated, or fearful in our bold testimony of the LORD, in the face of overwhelming odds, and cruel mockery, being made a laughing stock before a godless, unbelieving world.

Paul was intimately acquainted with sufferings; his epistle to the Philippians has as its central theme, “joy through suffering” and he invites his protégé to share in this. It’s seems entirely incongruent that we should be able to experience joy while suffering. How can such a thing be possible?
Like the three friends of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) remained in the fiery furnace when they could have escaped: they did not, because they preferred the furnace, in the company of the LORD, than to live outside of that furnace without the LORD’s near presence.

There is this “fellowship of His sufferings” (PHIL 3:10) that only those who’ve undergone the most severe of circumstances, stresses, pain, and suffering can understand. Those who do, experience a joy beyond the comprehension of human understanding.

The suffering saint has the Gospel to thank for their sufferings, and only because the Gospel is that which liberates Satan’s POW’s from their prison camps, something that the god of this world in his unequalled pride is loath to happen. Naturally then, Satan will do all he can to impede or bring to a halt altogether the advancement of the kingdom of GOD, by way of the preaching of the Gospel, the heralding of the Cross of Christ.

The LORD Jesus Christ didn’t merely save us to save us, though that was the heart of His heart: to redeem these precious but damned souls from their eternal fate. His compassion and love would settle for nothing less. But in saving us, He also chose us, and calls us in holiness to His purpose, granting to us His grace, but with no contributions of our own works.

This life of ours, He has planned since before the beginning of the world:
EPHESIANS 1:4-6
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved
.
“…given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…”

This revelation has brought the frigid, numbing fear of death to an abrupt halt:
HEBREWS 2:14-15
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage
(see also LUKE 1:68-79).
Christ Jesus is the fullness of revelation in all the truth of GOD; the Father Himself gave to Him this revelation, which He in turn shared with John the apostle (REV 1:1-2).
This revelation brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, and thereby “abolished death”. Throughout the pages of Scripture, we see foreshadowing, hints and glimpses of the entire plan of GOD, but it took the Son to reveal the ultimate truth of the Gospel!

That Gospel is a death destroying Gospel! The LORD abolished both death and the fear of death, by dying Himself for the sins of the world!

2 TIMOTHY 1:11
to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles
.

Paul was appointed to this office as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. Elsewhere he stated:
1 CORINTHIANS 9:16-17
16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
Let’s look at some Greek words associated with these ordained offices appointed to Paul by GOD:

A preacher – kerux: a herald, that is, of divine truth (especially of Gospel truth).

An apostle – apostolos: a commissioner of Christ and endowed with miraculous power, a messenger, one who was sent, an ambassador of the Gospel.

A teacher – didaskalos: an instructor, doctor, master, teacher.

The question often arises, What’s the difference between preaching and teaching? There are a number of good answers to that question. Here are a couple:

Preaching is the essential component of the Gospel (MK 16:15; LK 4:18; ACTS 16:10); it’s primarily exhortation, persuasion, and encouragement to receive salvation through the message of Christ crucified and resurrected from the dead (ACTS 2:38-41).

The preaching of the Cross wherein the truth of GOD is declared, is foolishness to those who perish (1 COR 1:18); the Light of which pierces the darkness in the sinful soul (JN 3:19-20). For that, we the heralds of GOD are persecuted.
We are not the originators of this Gospel, we did not contrive or construct it or conceive it anymore than we invented the Bible (2 PET 1:16-21): both come from the LORD GOD, and yet because this world can’t persecute GOD (other than His time on Earth as a Lamb two thousand years ago!), they can and do persecute us His body (ACTS 9:4).

While preaching is aimed primarily at the lost sinner, whom the preacher seeks to bring to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (1 COR 9:22), there is certainly a secondary application of preaching to the saints. The church likewise needs exhortation, persuasion, encouragement, as well as reproving and correcting to fully embrace their life in Christ as well as death to self (2 TIM 4:2; ROM 6:3-4).

Teaching is aimed at the church, the saints of GOD; having learned the Gospel, received, and fully believed, they are to proceed to discipleship and learn the many doctrinal truths of the Scriptures (ACTS 2:42; JN 8:31).

Continuing, not beginning in the Word is the mark of the disciple. The repentant sinner who receives salvation in Christ has begun in the Word; the foundation has been laid, which is Christ (1 COR 3:11), and now they are to build on that foundation (1 COR 3:12-14) as those who read, study, and learn the Word (orthodoxy; 2 TIM 2:15) and practice what they’ve learned in a life devoted to Christ (orthopraxy; MT 7:24-25).

Preaching is inspirational; teaching is informational. Both are important to the church, but emphasis must be placed on teaching. One way of determining this is by looking through the epistles, for they’re more instructional (and applicational); not so much inspirational.

Even looking over the number of times teaching, and preaching are mentioned in the Bible is insightful: teach and teaching are mentioned 134 times; preach and preaching are mentioned 77 times.

Both are essential however for souls in need!

There are a lot of people claiming to be an apostle, but the quintessential requirement is that they had to witness the Risen Christ - which all of the apostles - including Paul, excluding Judas - saw. The apostles were also granted extraordinary spiritual power to validate their ministry but only in as much as these signs corroborated their ministry of the Word, which they taught in truth.
In a more abstract sense, missionaries can be seen as apostolic, because they are "sent" by commission of the Spirit, Who leads them out to preach the Gospel and establish churches.

2 TIMOTHY 1:12-14
12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us
.

That Day is when the church is raised up, and we finally meet our LORD face to Face, and in His presence, our works done in His name will be evaluated (2 COR 5:10). All works done in Christ’s Name (according to His nature, His character, with His heart and motivation of agapeo love), and through His Spirit shall earn great reward. Paul was confident that Christ was able to keep those things that he “deposited into heaven’s treasury”, preserved forever: lasting works that shall outlast the sun, moon, and stars.

For that reason the apostle was willing to suffer all the things that he did, and expected to not be disappointed at all, because the resurrection of Christ ensures life eternal, where we shall reap the benefits of all our labors (GAL 6:9; 2 TH 3:13). Without the resurrection, there is no hope, no reason for enduring such afflictions and we Christians would be considered among everyone, the most miserable (1 COR 15:19).

As previously stated, sound doctrine breeds sound minds – and Paul exhorts Timothy to hold securely the ‘template of truth’ as it were which the apostle invested into his young protégé. Yet we must hold the truth in righteousness, not in unrighteousness:
ROMANS 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness,
Those who hate the truth will do all they can to suppress it, to “pin it down” like a wrestler does when he places his opponent in a lock so that they can’t move. Rather the reverse is true of the saints:
We extol and exalt, glorify and revere the truth of GOD’s Word (we are sometimes accused of being bibliolaters – that we worship the book called the Bible; we don’t; but we do worship the Author!).

How does one properly revere GOD’s Word? Through “faith and love”. Faith in GOD, believing every word that comes forth from His mouth (MT 4:4), and by expressing our love for the LORD by obeying His Word (DEUT 30:20; JN 14:15).

Just as Paul entrusted Christ to keep that which he committed into His care, the apostle instructs Timothy to keep that which was committed to him, by the indwelling Holy Spirit. This, as opposed to these others who turned away from the apostle: Phygellus and Hermogenes, among others not named, probably because Paul was arrested and likely to suffer martyrdom. These didn’t follow after Christ Who warned that persecution would be experienced by any who truly followed our LORD (MT 13:21; 24:10; JN 16:1-4).

Onesiphorus alone was faithful to the apostle, and will find the abundant mercies and graces from the heart of the LORD, for what he did for the least of His apostles, this man did it unto the LORD, just as certainly as the sheep ministered unto the least of our LORD’s brethren during the time of the tribulation (MT 25:31-40).

2 TIMOTHY 1:15-18
15 This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; 17 but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. 18 The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day--and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus
.

No comments:

ReferenceTagging.tag();