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Timothy Series

2nd Timothy - Chapter 1

 

John Baugh
January 12, 2009

 

2 Timothy 1: 1-18

(New American Standard Bible)

 

Timothy Charged to Guard His Trust

 

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

 

3I 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, 4longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.  5For 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.

 

6For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 8Therefore 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,  9who 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, 10but 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, 11for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12For 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. 13Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

 

15You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; 17but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me --  18the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day--and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.

 

 

 

From Paul to Timothy:

 

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,  

 

It is a testimony to Paul’s life that under these serious circumstances, he still knows from where he came and the nature of his calling. To his honor, he opens his final letter to Timothy with a statement of his calling, the fact that he was called to be and Apostle of the Messiah, Christ Jesus by the will of God and not anything he had done to that point. This statement has been mirrored with simple consistency in every statement he has made up to this point. In his mind, there is no reason to vary any at all as the end of his life and ministry approaches.

 

Paul has reminded Timothy many times that Timothy has been called by his Lord to do the work in Ephesus that needs to be done. He had stated that his mission and charge from the Lord is to shepherd and guide the church there. Timothy’s calling has not changed and Paul wants to remind the disciple of that fact. Regardless of condition, our calling does not change.

 

In his greeting, Paul uses a phrase to describe the Gospel that does not appear in any of his other letters, or anywhere else in the New Testament. He says that his calling, by the will of God is “according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus”. Paul has no doubt where his life power comes from. He is certain what forces make everything he does significant. He says that he has been given the promise of Life “in Christ Jesus”. It is life with eternal meaning, life that has changed him and made him more that he ever was or was capable of becoming. Through Christ Jesus, he was changed to be what God wanted him to be. He has been healed and made free, made free. Although he may still question the why, he has no doubt that forgiveness and wholeness has been given to him, by the will of God and through the life given by his son. Paul was aware that the gospel changes people; it delivers them; it frees them; it heals them. The gospel brings people into the fullness of their manhood or womanhood; it sets them free to be what God intended them to be. Perhaps this is what he meant with the words “the promise of life in Christ Jesus.”

 

2To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Once again, Paul shows his true feelings for the young disciple and leader of the Church in Ephesus. Paul considers Timothy to be his “beloved son” in the faith. His wishes are for Timothy to receive the grace of God, mercy from God and the peace that only God can give. In fact, these are the wonderful things that Paul knows come through the Life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

 

It would be easy to read these words as a typical greeting from Paul, since he uses them freely in various forms in his correspondence, but they are not. They are Paul's reminder to Timothy (and to us, so many years later that grace, mercy, and peace are what make up the daily supply of life in Jesus Christ.

 

Grace is what God gives us that we do not deserve -- all the fullness of blessing that is ours without any effort whatsoever on our part. The best example of Grace that exists is forgiveness of sin and life made whole through Christ Jesus.

 

Then there is mercy. The difference between mercy and grace is that grace gives us what we do not deserve, while mercy withholds what we do deserve. The greatest example of mercy is that god not only forgives sin, he forgets it. To God, the sins of the redeemed are no longer known.

 

Peace is that inner sense of well-being when we realize that, no matter how dark it may look, there is a way through the trial that Jesus himself is with us and will go through it with us that he is totally in control of the event.

 

Grace, mercy and peace are the ingredients of the "promise of life in Christ Jesus." Grace, incredibly abundant grace, gives us what we do not deserve; Mercy withholds what we do deserve, it keeps us from getting all that we have coming; and peace reassures us that it will all work out to our good and God's glory. That is the "promise of life in Christ Jesus."

 

Remembering Timothy in Prayer

 

3I 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, 4longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.  5For 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. 6For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

 

I understand that a more accurate translation of the Greek for verse three may be, "When I think about you, Timothy, I have joy in God." Here, Paul is placing emphasis, not on Timothy but God, who is at work in Timothy’s life. There are lessons for us as we pray: 

 

1 – Paul constantly remembers Timothy in his prayers (day and night). He keeps his friend before God. Knowing Timothy’s need, he shared it with God, out of love for Timothy and in service to God.

 

2 – He thanks God who is at work in Timothy’s life.

 

3 – He prays with clear conscience, knowing that God has cleansed his sins. Paul acknowledges his ancestors, who cleaned their conscience through sacrifice at the altar. Pal knows that the sacrifice of Christ Jesus has cleared his conscience.

 

4 - Paul prays constantly for Timothy because of the things he could not forget about him.

 

-          First of all, Paul remembers Timothy’s tears:

 

4longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.

 

We are not told when Timothy wept with Paul. It may have been when Paul was arrested the second time, perhaps in Troas and carried back to Rome under the persecution of Nero and without any charges we know about - simply because he was a Christian.

 

Paul tells Timothy I can’t forget that. Every time I remember the tears you shared, I pray that I will see you again. And that seeing you again will fill me with joy.

 

-          Paul was also reminded of Timothy’s sincere Faith.

 

5For 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.

 

Paul is telling Timothy that he remembers the faith that he showed as a young boy while still with his mother and grandmother in Lystra.

 

Paul has carried his admiration for the Godly women, Lois and Eunice for many years and knows that as they were faithful to the Lord, so is Timothy. He still carries the foundation given to him by those who raised him.

 

His knowledge of Timothy’s sincere faith and fro where it came, leads Paul to pray for him.

 

-          The third thing Paul remembers is the spiritual Gift Timothy possesses.

 

6For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  

 

There is much speculation as to what spiritual gift Timothy possessed. It may have occurred at his conversion or ordination. In either case, Paul would have been there, because he says that it occurred when he placed hands on Timothy. In his first letter, Paul speaks of “prophetic utterance” at the point when it was indicated that Timothy was to be greatly used of God.

 

Some scholars have suggested that Timothy had the gift of evangelism. Others believe that he was gifted to be a teacher. Perhaps the gift was both. I believe whatever the gift was led to Paul’s decision to place Timothy in Ephesus and to pray for him as he worked with the church there.

 

-          Finally Paul tells Timothy that he prays for him because within Timothy was the spirit of God.

 

7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

 

Paul tells Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of timidity (to make us timid), but a spirit of power and love and discipline. And so he prays for those things for Timothy.

 

God does not give all of us the same spiritual gift. But all of are given the gift of spirit and regardless of the gift, it is given for the same reason. Regardless of who we are, the gift of spirit within us is not the spirit of fear. We may be fearful, anxious and worried about what will happen. That is normal for the human condition, but it is not from God.

 

If God does not give us the spirit of fear, what does he give to us?

 

1 – A spirit of power, the power to confront our situation by trust in the Grace of God to help us overcome wrong and set our wills to do what is right. God’s power is set free in us when we choose to obey him. We may not feel powerful, but the strength is given to us to move on, step by step in the way God would have us to go. When we set our will with his, he will see us through.

 

2 – The spirit of love – God helps us to not only be concerned about ourselves, but for those around us. There is not greater indication of a Christian life than the expression and showing of love and concern for the problems of others.

 

3 – The spirit of discipline – God helps us to have the strength to remain on course toward his will for us. It is the strength to decide what God wants us to do and then to move steadfastly, toward accomplishing God’s will. To do this requires commitment that God gives to those who call him Lord.

 

The Spirit of God is a spirit of power, love, and of sound judgment. As Paul considered these things, he was encouraged about Timothy and led to pray with confidence that God would bless him and use him to accomplish his will for Ephesus and his kingdom.

 

Paul’s Condition

 

8Therefore 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,  9who 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, 10but 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, 11for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.

 

It is touching that even though his condition was dire, Paul shares his concern for Timothy’s situation.

 

“do not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord or of me His Prisoner”

 

It may be that Timothy was present at Paul’s second arrest, or that others brought word of the arrest to Timothy back in Ephesus. Regardless, Paul is concerned that Timothy not be ashamed of him, or (I am certain more importantly) of the words (the testimony) of the Lord. I am certain there were many accusations to bring on feelings of shame. Paul was a political prisoner, held on charges in Rome as an enemy of the emperor and the people of the Roman Empire. If he were subject to the normal charges being leveled against Christians under Nero’s persecution, he would have been charged with Atheism (since he refused to state that Nero was a god. He would have been said to promote cannibalism (eating the Lord’s body and drinking his blood. And he would have been called a revolutionary (since he stated God was his Lord. The most likely outcome of these charges would be his death by execution (beheading, or worse).

 

Reading these words brings thoughts of today to mind and the shame society is willing and eager to heap on those who share the words of Christ in our world. If we listen to Paul’s words from His time, he is asking us to not be ashamed of the testimony of Jesus. Much more than asking Timothy (and us) to not be ashamed, Paul asks Timothy (and us) to “join him”. In Paul’s words:

 

8b “but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,  9who 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,”

 

Paul is very clear in his request of Timothy (and us). We are to join in the suffering (whatever level of inconvenience or suffering may result), according to the power of God.

 

Why are we to do this?

 

We are to do it because he “has saved us and called us (to do it) 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.”

 

Paul tells Timothy (and us) that God is the power of our lives and of the Gospel, with his power granted to us through Christ Jesus.

 

12For 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.

 

Paul knows how he is able to endure the prison cell and certainty of death with no shame:

 

“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.”

 

Paul is certain what his resource is. He is certain it is Christ Jesus who he has believed in. He is certain that it is Christ Jesus who is able to guard what he has entrusted to him until that day.

 

Almost two thousand years later, Paul is telling us the same things he told Timothy. Whatever things we face as we live and share the Gospel are the same as he has seen. We will be given the grace and mercy to endure and prevail today, just as Paul was in his days. The grace and mercy of his Lord was adequate then and it is adequate now. There is no need for us (or Timothy) to be ashamed.

 

 

Keep and Guard the Sound Words and Treasure Entrusted to you

 

 

13Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

 

God’s holy word is the standard we need to retain. It is given to us for our resource, as a pattern to follow, a guide to our behavior and a specific instruction as to what to do when we are up against certain circumstances. It is the treasure we have, retained through our faith, experience and the love we see expressed through and in Christ Jesus.

 

How do we protect those treasures that have been entrusted in us? We do it through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us. We daily rely on and seek out God’s Holy Spirit to help us.

 

Many Christians will quote what Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher, said about defending the Scripture. Spurgeon said, "Scripture is like a lion. Who ever heard of defending a lion? Just turn it loose; it will defend itself." That oft-quoted word has a great deal of truth in it. Notice that it does not deny that lions sometimes need defending; it merely recognizes that the best way to do that is to turn a lion loose and it will defend itself.

 

Paul tells Timothy that he has been entrusted with the good deposit “the gospel or the truth” by the Holy Spirit. Spurgeon goes on to tell us that the truth does not need defending.

 

The great claim of Christianity is not that it is a religion, but that it is the truth; it is the way things really are in life. Dorothy Sayers said, "The test of any religion is not that it pleases us, but that it is true." That is what marks the character of Christian faith -- explaining life the way it really is.

 

Consider Christ Jesus. He taught and people immediately thought, "Yes, of course. That's right, isn't it?" Jesus was speaking the truth to their experience, and they understood the truth expressed in his words. The glory of Christianity is that it is knowledge, knowledge that can free us from the lies that the world in its blindness is following to its own destruction.

 

Paul was telling Timothy that the treasure was the true gospel, sound words, given by God’s Holy Spirit – a treasure given to us, able to stand on its own as truth.

 

15You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

 

Paul does not say why those in Asia (from Ephesus, down Southward toward Jerusalem) have turned away from him, but these should be little doubt that fear of being associated with Paul and His Christian Ministry has forced the Church underground out of fear of the Roman persecution. His words indicate that he has feelings of abandonment. Everyone he counted as friends, brothers and sisters have turned their backs on his situation at the time when he needs them most.

 

Timothy would have known all about the “turning away”. He lived in Ephesus, the capital of the large Roman province of Asia, which was about the size of the State of California. Timothy had been left by Paul to teach and to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in Ephesus, so he faced every day the problem that Paul mentions here.

 

We do not know exactly who Phygelus and Hermogenes were. They evidently were prominent leaders who Paul had expected would support him. They may have been among those people, described in Acts 19, who were involved in the riot and uprising in Ephesus. Perhaps they were friends of the apostle who would be expected, perhaps in a day when Paul was under charge by the Roman government, even facing possible death, to come to his defense and refused to do so. It may be that these were people whom Paul had looked to for support in his defense but they had refused to do so, and he was left alone to defend himself.

 

At any rate, it is clear that it is hard for Paul to write the statement, "all in Asia have turned against me."

 

In many ways, we are living through similar times to what Paul and Timothy are facing here. There are cases where even the Christian community is turning away from Christian standards, morals and ethics. Like then, Christians seem to be content to change to the way of the world instead of the Lord’s way. Immorality is commonplace; famous names have turned away from Christian standards to all manner of other beliefs. It seems to be evry much like what Paul and Timothy were facing.

 

In the Roman world when this letter was written, (about the year 65 or 66), all of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire was like a smoking volcano, showing rumbling evidence that it was about to erupt. Only two or three years later, the Roman armies under Titus would surround Jerusalem and attack the city. They destroyed the temple, killed hundreds of thousands of Jews, and led others off into captivity. Paul's word for those times was to "guard the truth by means of the Holy Spirit which has been entrusted to us."

 

There Was One Who Demonstrated What A Christian Is Made Of:

 

16aThe Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus,

 

In contrast, there was one man from Asia, Onesiphorus, who Paul describes as having found a way to "guard the truth" in his day. Here is what Paul says about him:

 

16b for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; 17but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me --  18the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day--and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.

 

Onesiphorus means "bringer of help" and he was one who lived up to his name. Evidently Paul knew Onesiphorus in Ephesus – they must have been friends from Paul’s time there. We do not know why, but for whatever reason, he came to Rome, seeking out Paul after he had been arrested and placed into prison. Paul says that he took pains to locate him. Paul uses the word eagerly to explain his friend’s search. Evidently, he kept looking kept looking until he found him. And he was not ashamed of Paul's chains. To seek out and visit with Paul would have placed Onesiphorus in great danger. Nero was arresting Christians and throwing them into with wild lions for sport. He was beheading them and crucifying believers. Labeling one’s self as a Christian and friend of Paul was to take on the label of an enemy of Nero - a very dangerous thing.

 

Yet this is what Onesiphorus did. He ministered to Paul and refreshed his spirit. He did not come gloomily wringing his hands, beating his breast and talking about how terrible things were all through the Empire. He came with confidence that God was still in charge and upholding things. Here Paul prays for him and for his household praying that God would bless him "on that Day."

 

By his life and his actions, Onesiphorus showed what a Christian should be – Fearless Faithfull, Loving Compassionate, Cheerful and there when needed by a brother or sister in the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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