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Seven Bible Mothers
2 Timothy 1:1-7 ; 2 Timothy 3:13-17
We are studying a theme today which should have in it much of value to every one of us; even the men and the young men love mother, and we believe they will be very happy to study some things about Bible mothers. So far as the young women are concerned, it is a matter of very vital relationship with them.
By way of introduction we wish to speak of Eve, whom if you will permit, we will call, "The mother of us all." We can say this because the word "Eve" means, "mother of all living." Concerning this first woman there are several things we desire to suggest.
1. Eve was taken out of the man, but not made by the man. Adam stood for everything that concerns man and woman. Eve stood exclusively for the things which concern womanhood, and motherhood. Adam existed without Eve, but Eve was a part of Adam. However, Adam did not give to Eve all of her characteristics, inasmuch as she was created by God Himself.
2. Eve was never a child. When God took a rib from the man, He made a woman, not a woman fallen and blighted by sin, not a woman touched with infirmities, but a woman of all beauty, strength, and glory. We have suggested that she knew nothing of childhood, nor youth. She was made a woman, the finished work of God.
3. Adam needed Eve. When Adam named the beasts of the field we read, "there was not found an help meet for [Adam]." Eve supplied that lack, that want in the life of the man. The woman was not made inferior to the man, but the woman was made to complete that union of spirit and life which was necessary to the perfect happiness of Adam and of the human race.
4. Eve's beauty became Adam's snare. We do not blame Eve for the fall any more than we blame Adam. Eve was the first to sin, to be sure. However, Adam's guilt, to us, was even greater than Eve's. Eve, physically, stood for everything that was lovely and beautiful in the human. Adam, however, stood for the human, but also for the Divine. He was the son of God. God said, For by Adam, and not by Eve, sin passed upon all men, "For that all have sinned."
5. God's promise to the woman. It must have been a terrible shock to Eve when she, who so delighted in beauty, was cast out of the Garden of Eden. Weary days and years followed, and yet Eve, under the curse, still realized that she should be the mother of all living, and that her seed should bruise the serpent who had deceived her, and caused her to fall.
When her first child, Cain, was born, she said, "I have gotten a man from the Lord." She, doubtless, thought that he was the seed, who was to bruise Satan. However, it was not long until she awakened to the fact that her first-born was a murderer. The blood of her second-born told out the tragedy of life.
How long she lived, we do not know, but we know that from her came the Seed four thousand years later, begotten of the Holy Ghost, and born of a woman.
I. REBEKAH, THE MOTHER OF JACOB (Genesis 27:6-8 )
Great men usually have great mothers. It has often been said that a child partakes of the characters, as well as of the faces of his parents.
1. Rebekah, the mother of Jacob, carried a family trait. We might say that she was true to her form. We do not know about her parents, but we do know about her brother, and we take it for granted that the two imbibed from their parents the disposition which marked both of them.
We know how Laban treated Jacob, Rebekah's son. He made Jacob work seven years for his daughter, Rachel, and then in deceit he gave to him his daughter, Leah, forcing Jacob to serve seven additional years for Rachel. We know that Rebekah, the mother of Jacob, connived with him against Esau, his twin brother. She made Jacob promise to obey her, then she dressed him in skins and prepared savory meat with which he might deceive his father, thereby stealing Esau's blessing.
This spirit of deception which Rebekah and her brother, Laban, both possessed always works havoc. From Rebekah, Jacob received more or less the same characteristics. He, also, was a trickster and a deceiver.
2. Rebekah, the mother of Jacob, reaped what she sowed. Rebekah's strategy worked, so far as securing the blessing for Jacob was concerned. However, her strategy caused Esau's unmitigated wrath; and Jacob was forced to flee for his life from his brother. Rebekah never saw her beloved offspring again. It never pays to do wrong, and mothers always reap what they sow.
II. JOCHEBED, MOTHER OF MOSES (Exodus 2:3-4 )
The mother of Moses lived in the day of Pharaoh's persecution. She lived when those persecutions were at their height, and when every male child born to a Jewish mother was ordered to be slain. However, Jochebed never feared the wrath of the king. She knew that God lived, and that God would take care of her son.
In the Book of Hebrews we read, "By faith Moses, * * was hid three months of his parents, because they saw that he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment." It will be interesting, therefore, to observe how Jochebed's faith saved her son.
1. Shielding her son in an ark of bulrushes. Exodus 2:3 tells us that when the mother of Moses saw that she "could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid [the ark] in the flags by the river's brink."
Here is a tremendous lesson for mothers of today. We believe that they could build an ark of prayer around their sons. They can build an ark of the family altar to shield their children from Satan and his wrath.
2. Watching over her son. After she had hid her son, we read that she stationed her daughter afar off where she could watch and see what would be done. It does not take a strong imagination to see the mother at home in prayer to God for her babe, while her daughter watched from the shelter of the trees.
3. Bringing up her son. After Pharaoh's daughter discovered the little Jewish child, Moses' sister appeared quickly on the scene suggesting that a Hebrew nurse be chosen to care for the child. Thus, being commissioned, she quickly secured the child's mother, and Jochebed brought up her own son in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
III. HANNAH, THE MOTHER OF SAMUEL (1 Samuel 1:27-28 )
According to our way of thinking Hannah stands before us as one of the most beautiful of Bible women and mothers. She is an example to any young woman who has upon her the privileges and responsibilities of family life.
1. Hannah became a mother through prayer. She had no children and she was getting old. Her husband's other wife made light of her because she was not a mother. Hannah, however, laid hold upon God. She prayed for a son. God gave her a son, and then Hannah, herself, passes out of the Divinely written story. Never again do we hear of Hannah; she is never mentioned in the Bible. What we do know of her prior to Samuel's birth is wonderful.
By faith, through prayer, she became a mother and kept her maiden vow to lend her child unto the Lord.
2. Hannah was a mother who gave her son to God. We feel that we have a perfect right to say that when Hannah brought her infant, Samuel, to the Temple and left him there as a tiny babe, she left her very life, also. We simply mean that her son was her life. When she gave her son to God, she gave the very heart throbs of her own being to God. She gave up her little one without a murmur, without a complaint. She, who had long prayed for his arrival; she, who must have loved him as only a mother can love, took her infant and left him in the house of God, as her gift.
3. A mother who lived her life through her son. We suggested that Hannah passed off the Bible scene. However, Samuel, Hannah's son passes in where the mother passed out. When we read of the wonderful things about Samuel, the boy; and Samuel, the Prophet, we cannot but feel that in it all, and through it all, Hannah will receive an abundant reward.
IV. ELIZABETH (Luke 1:5-6 )
We now come to the New Testament to consider the first mother mentioned. Our text describes that mother in a very beautiful way. We want to pick up just four things about Elizabeth,
1. She was a mother in righteousness. Our verse says, that her husband and she "were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." Would that as much might be said of every mother. A righteous mother, and a God-fearing father, are the greatest boon that a son or daughter could possibly have.
2. She was a mother of unwavering faith in God. When God told her that she would have a child, although she was very aged, she did not doubt for one moment. Her husband did doubt, but not she. Not only that, but three months later when her cousin, Mary, came to see her in the hill country, she recognized the fact that God's promise to Eve in the garden, relative to the birth of a Seed that should bruise Satan's head, was about to be fulfilled. She even said unto Mary, "Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Then she added, "Blessed art thou among women, * * blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."
God give us more mothers like Elizabeth.
3. She was a mother who stood firm as Gibraltar amid the crumbling faiths of her day. Remember that she was a daughter of Aaron, and her husband was a priest after the course of Abia. The general run of priests of that day was more like Caiaphas, than like Zecharias. However, Elizabeth amid Israel's apostasy, believed with unshaken faith and confidence.
4. She was a mother with a song. We cannot develop this thought, but we ask the student to read the magnificat to be found in the first chapter of Luke. How happy was Elizabeth.
V. EUNICE AND LOIS (2 Timothy 1:5 )
1. From generation to generation. Our key verse tells us of this wonderful fact: "The unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." Thus, the Holy Spirit traced Timothy's faith down through three generations.
We have before us very plainly the influence of a life, but we have more. We have the fact that God honors those whose children are "in the Lord." Does not the Bible say, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house"?
2. A God-given, but humanly-cultivated faith. We do not mean that Eunice was a Christian because Lois was, or that Timothy was a Christian because his grandmother and his mother were Christians.
We know that each was a Christian because of their personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, of one thing we are sure: the grandmother, Lois, observing her daughter's faith; and the mother, Eunice, observing her son Timothy's faith (in each case), cultivated, nourished, and strengthened that faith. We cannot save our children, but we can put an atmosphere around them which will strengthen and encourage the faith which God gives them.
3. Inculcating the Word of God. There is one definite thing that is written to Timothy. It is this: that from his youth he knew the Holy Scriptures. How did he come to know them from his youth? Because he was taught them by his grandmother and by his mother. This is a further proof of what we have just said. While Timothy's faith was his own personal faith, and not that of his mother or his grandmother, yet they did cause that faith to grow by their teaching him the Word of God.
VI. HERODIAS (Mark 6:17 )
It is too bad to consider one of the evil mothers in the Bible; and yet here is a story placed before us by the Holy Spirit because of its tremendous significance and warning. A good woman is God's greatest gift to man, humanly speaking. A bad woman is the greatest curse to man.
1. A mother who had disregarded her earthly marriage vows. Herodias had been married to Philip. Salome was the daughter of that union. However, Philip was not a king, or ruler. He had no special power, or authority among men. Thus it was that when Herod was a guest in the home; he broke up the home, and stole away the heart of Herodias; his brother Philip's wife.
However, we are quite sure that Herodias was as much a part to all this as was Herod. She surely desired the prestige and power which would be hers as Herod's wife. When a mother breaks her marriage vows and throws them to the winds, what can she expect of her daughter?
2. A mother given to subtlety and intrigue. Not only had Herodias left her husband, Philip, but she had also induced Herod to do away with his wife, and queen. She had done this through that cunning which she, as a woman, possessed. Afterwards, she showed the same subtlety and intrigue against John, the Baptist. John was, perhaps, the only one who had ever bluntly told Herod and Herodias of their sins. Herod trembled; Herodias was angry.
3. A mother with uncontrollable hatred. The anger of Herodias knew no bounds. She was determined to get the head of John the Baptist. In order to achieve this purpose, she brought in her daughter, Salome, and compelled her to become a common dancer at a feast of wine. God pity such a woman, and a daughter, who is raised under such an influence.
VII. THE UNNAMED MOTHER (1 Kings 3:24-27 )
1. Solomon's tribute to his own mother. We do not care to discuss David's sin, nor Bathsheba, as in any way a party to it. We do want to say that David was a friend of God, that he truly repented, and was forgiven his sin. We would add, also, that Bathsheba seems to have been a true and faithful mother to her son, Solomon. Here are Solomon's glowing words concerning his parents: "I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother." With this before us, let us study a wonderful deed by a king, the wisest of men; by a king, who knew the heart of a true mother's love. This is all set forth in the story of an unnamed mother. Here is the story:
2. Two mothers of evident shame. Our context tells us that these two women lived alone; both of them had become mothers. One of them accidentally smothered and killed her child, as it lay with her in the bed. This woman then arose and made an exchange of babes, leaving the dead child in her friend's bed, and taking the living child to herself. We stop long enough just for one thing, and that is to say that both of these wicked women still had in them a desire and a love for children; even the woman who turned out to be so cruel, at least, wanted a child. We say, in all candor, that these two unnamed mothers are far ahead of some Christian women today who abhor children, and want to have nothing to do with them. Some even go so far as to do away with them in order to save themselves from what they consider an awful time in rearing a child in their home.
3. An evil mother's devotion to her child. Before King Solomon these two mothers stood, both claiming the living child. Solomon ordered that the child should at once be cut in twain, and divided between the two mother claimants. He did this, not with the intention of slaying the child, but in order to discover its true mother.
The woman who was not the mother sternly acquiesced with Solomon's demand. The true mother, vile as she was, threw herself at Solomon's feet and begged him, rather than kill it, to give it to the other woman.
Beloved, we are bringing this plain message to our young people just to show that in the old days, people fallen deep in sin still loved their children. Even the beasts of the field love their offspring and protect them. Alas, today, how often are the little ones despised.
A great company had gathered in the auditorium for the evening service. There were men and women gray and bent, because the years had been long and full of care. There were young men and women with the morning glow upon their faces. Here and there sat a little child, and over all brooded the Sabbath hush.
Then softly into the silence began to steal the notes of a song. Tenderly, yearningly, almost caressingly, it came:
"Oh, mother, when I think of thee,
'Tis but a step to Calvary."
The silence deepened into a solemn stillness, as all the love and the longing, the joy and the sorrow, the disappointment and the achievement of the years poured themselves into the singer's voice. Again it came:
"Oh, mother, when I think of thee,
'Tis but a step to Calvary,
Thy gentle hand is on my brow,
'Tis leading me to Jesus now."
Then, as if the audience were but one great, hungry heart, hungry for mother, heads bowed, eyes closed and song and singer were forgotten. The sweetest face in all the world came back and with that face, a life. The long years gave up their store, and a little child, a youth, a man was once again with mother. Then, the heart made answer, the common heart of the great, bowed audience made answer to the song:
"'Yes, mother, when I think of thee,
'Tis but a step to Calvary'"
and thence to Calvary's God. A. B. Lamoreaux.
The Ups and Downs of a Christian
2 Timothy 1:1-18
It is a mistake to imagine that those who walk with Christ will find a level pathway without any valley or any mountain top, a pathway foreign to hills and dales. Such is far from the case.
1. Difficulties by the way. When Paul addressed his Second Letter to Timothy he made it plain enough that the Christian is not only called upon to believe in the Lord but also to suffer with Him.
Paul did not shun to set forth the fact of enemies by the way. He gave Timothy his own experiences with certain ones who made difficult his travel.
The Apostle, however, did not only set before his son, Timothy, the difficulties by the way. He also explained how the Lord would deliver him from every evil work, and with glowing prophetic words he told of the glory which would await on the other side.
2. Our guide among the wreckage. We have sometimes thought that the expression above, which we have used for our second thought, is an appropriate one to cover Paul's two Letters to Timothy. If we have ups and downs, hills and dales, turns and curves, we need carefully marked directions lest we should swerve from the main course, and become lost in the wilds of some bypath.
Our God never leaves us unpanoplied for the battle, or unprepared for the onslaught of the enemy. Of old, the Lord led His people Israel with the cloud by day, and with the fire by night. He went before them to choose out the pathway of their journey and to select the place where they should camp. He gave them laws of hygiene, ethical laws to instruct them in morals, and in no way left them exposed and unprotected against the wiles of the devil.
Thus, also, did Paul give God's leadings to Timothy and God's protection against the enemy. It will be the purpose of this lesson, first, to show somewhat the character and the call of God to the young man Timothy, and secondly, to set forth God's directing hand as to how he should preach and suffer and contend for the faith in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation.
3. A call to the young men and women of today. As we close our introductory words we want to extend to every young man and young woman an earnest plea to join with Timothy in the service of the Lord. We set him before you as a model of young manhood. We give to you Paul's instructions to Timothy, with the one thought that each of you may profit thereby.
Who is there who, today, will bend the knee before God and join with the young man Timothy in a full consecration to the Word and the work of their Master?
I. THE YOUNG MAN TIMOTHY (2 Timothy 1:2-5 )
1. Timothy was a young man dearly beloved by Paul. To us the statement above carries two suggestions. The first is that Paul the valiant Apostle had a loving disposition toward others. He knew how to love as well as how to preach.
The second thought is that Timothy, Paul's son in the Gospel, was worthy of being loved. Not only of being loved, but of being dearly beloved.
Some people wonder why they are not loved by other people. As a rule, they are not lovable. We do not talk of looks, but of characteristics. If we want people to love us, we must be kind, gentle, considerate, and not selfish, crabbed, and filled with faultfinding.
2. Timothy was a young man for whom Paul prayed. Again, we have two things; First, the man who prayed. Paul was more than a preacher and an instructor. Paul prayed. Paul prayed for individuals, Paul prayed by day and by night.
Secondly, we have the man for whom Paul prayed. Paul prayed for Timothy because Timothy had knit himself around Paul's heart. Paul saw in Timothy the possibilities of a real workman, and Paul prayed for him.
3. Paul greatly desired to see Timothy. Here is an expression of the genuineness of Paul's love, but not of that alone. Timothy, likewise, loved Paul, we catch this, when Paul tells of how Timothy wept, when Paul was taken from him. These tender touches in the Bible record, make Christianity glow with beauty. They show that the Christian life is not foreign to those marks of tender affection of sympathy, and of love, which make home and comradeship a joy forever.
4. Timothy was a young man of unfeigned faith. According to 2 Timothy 1:5 Timothy had a faith that was unfeigned. It was not a faith that was affected or professed. It was not a faith that was a counterfeit. It was real, it was genuine, it was unfeigned.
II. THE GIFTS OF THE YOUNG MAN TIMOTHY (2 Timothy 1:6 )
"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands."
1. Gifts are given of God. We read in the Epistle to Corinthians of the gifts of the Spirit. "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit." "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit,"
There are other gifts mentioned.
Concerning the gifts of the Spirit, Paul says: "Covet earnestly the best gifts." If a young man or a young woman desires a special gift of the Spirit, they desire well.
2. Gifts may be received by the laying on of hands. Paul wrote to Timothy definitely of the gift that was in him by the laying on of his (Paul's) hands.
When Paul, himself, was saved, Ananias under the instruction of the Lord visited the young man Saul, and said: "The Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou earnest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." Let us observe, however, that, as Ananias spoke, he put his hands on Saul. In the Book of Acts we frequently find the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Somehow or other we believe that it is entirely right for us to lay our hands upon the heads of young men, and young women, and to pray for them that they also may be filled with the Spirit and receive definite spiritual gifts.
3. Gifts are for service. If we ask God to impart unto us some gift, it is that we may be used of God by this gift. He who would seek the gift of the Spirit in order that he may enhance his own honor or glory, is along with Simon, in the gall of bitterness and distress.
We do not seek the Spirit nor the gifts of the Spirit in order that we may use Him or them, but that we may be effectually used by Him and because of them.
III. A CALL TO TIMOTHY FOR AN UNEMBARRASSED TESTIMONY (2 Timothy 2:8 ; 2 Timothy 2:12 )
1. God never gives the spirit of fear. This is the statement of 2 Timothy 2:7 . He who walks tremblingly and timidly and dominated by fear knows nothing of the power of the Spirit. When Peter trembled before the maid, he was moving in his own strength; when Peter, at Pentecost, thundered out, "Jesus of Nazareth, * * ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain," he was walking in the Spirit.
2. God does give the Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. There is a holy boldness resting upon those who are Spirit-filled. That boldness, however, is not rashness, because it is the Spirit of love as well as of boldness, which God gives. That Spirit also is not the spirit of fanaticism, neither of wild sayings and wild actions.
3. God makes us unashamed of our testimony for Him. We do not preach the Gospel with an apology for the Gospel we preach. We do not preach the Gospel as though we were ashamed of the Gospel. The Gospel is our glory, our joy, and our crown. The god of this world may blind the eyes of the unbelieving against it, and the sinner may deride it, but we know that it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.
4. God makes us unashamed of our brethren who suffer for Him. The Apostle said to Timothy, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner." It is sad indeed when Christian people are unwilling to align themselves to God's honored, but persecuted and despised servants.
5. God calls us to suffer the afflictions of the Gospel, but He calls us to do it according to the power of God. This assures us that when we suffer for Him and are not ashamed of Him, He will not be ashamed of us, but will prepare us to suffer, and clothe us with power as we suffer.
IV. A PLEA FOR SOUNDNESS IN DOCTRINE (2 Timothy 1:13 )
"Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."
1. The tendency to belittle the importance of the faith. There was, even in Paul's day, a turning from the faith on the part of many. Paul particularly mentioned this fact in his Epistles to Timothy.
(1) In the First Epistle we read, "The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." Do you marvel, therefore, that in the same Epistle and the same chapter Paul urges Timothy to be a good minister of Jesus Christ, "Nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine"?
(2) The Apostle Paul also speaks of certain ones who have cast off their first faith. These he says have turned aside unto Satan. Then he urges once more that God's servant should not blaspheme the Name of God, nor His doctrine. He also says, "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing." Then he adds to Timothy, "from such withdraw thyself."
(3) In the First Epistle Paul urges Timothy to fight the good fight of faith and to keep the commandments without spot unrebukable concluding with this statement: "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and opposition of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith."
2. To the young people, we urge that at this hour there is the same tendency which Paul saw in his day. If he urged Timothy to study, "rightly dividing the Word of Truth," and to shun profane and vain babblings, so do we urge you. False teaching still eats as does a canker, and men who err concerning the truth, still overthrow the faith of some.
V. FIDELITY IN KEEPING THE TRYST (2 Timothy 1:14 )
1. The young man Timothy had entered into a covenant with God. That covenant was sealed the day that the Apostle put his hands upon Timothy's head, when God's gift was imparted to him.
Can we remember the day when we brought ourselves to God and entered into a covenant to serve Him?
2. The Holy Ghost had placed into the young man's keeping both His Word and work. What a solemn tryst was his; and, what a solemn tryst is ours. The Apostle Paul said on another occasion, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." If God is faithful in keeping His tryst with us, shall we not be faithful in keeping ours with Him? May God grant that that which He has committed to us, may never be maligned by any infidelity upon our part.
3. The Holy Ghost had entered into Timothy to enforce His "keeping" power. Thus it was that Paul said to Timothy that he should keep that which was committed, "by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." If we think that alone, in our own strength and in the energy of our flesh, we will prove faithful we will be certain to fall. We must remember that God who gives us a tryst, imparts unto us the Spirit of God to enable us to keep our tryst.
VI. THE FIRST OF FOUR CALLS (2 Timothy 3:5 , l.c.)
The first call is in our key verse. The Apostle in the Spirit, had described the last days with their perilous times. He had told how men with a form of godliness, but denying His power thereof, would be "lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, * * lovers, of pleasure more than lovers of God": then he added: "from such turn away."
The call of the whole Bible is a call to separation. How can two walk together except they be agreed? How can believers be yoked together with unbelievers? How can righteousness fellowship unrighteousness? What communion is there between light and darkness? What concourse is there between Christ and Belial? Hear the Words of God as they thunder out their command: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."
God has written unto us, "Not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."
Have we, therefore, any right to remain in company and fellowship in a church which houses and succors such people?
God has said: "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Shall we call Him Lord, and refuse to obey His command?
VII. THREE OTHER SPECIAL CALLS ( 2Ti 3:10 ; 2 Timothy 3:14 ; 2 Timothy 4:5 )
1. The first call. In 2 Timothy 3:6 Paul goes on to describe those who have a form of godliness, and deny its power. He says: "Of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts."
He says that these, like Jannes and Jambres who withstood Moses, also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. Then follow the ringing words: "But thou." Shall Timothy follow with these reprobates, or shall he, who had fully known Paul's doctrine, manner of life, purpose, and faith, follow with Paul?
2. The second call. In 2 Timothy 3:12 , Paul says: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." In 2 Timothy 3:13 he adds: "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
Once more Paul sounds forth the same remarkable word, "but * * thou," and he says: "Watch thou in all things, in spite of increasing darkness, to continue in the things which he had learned, and had been assured of.
Thank God, that from a child Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures, and now he is encouraged by Paul with the statement that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.
3, The third call. The Apostle goes on to show Timothy that "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
With these words spoken, once more Paul sounds forth, "but * * thou," and he says: "Watch thou in all things, endure affliction, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
If our young people desire God's guiding hand mid the wreckage of present-day apostasy, let them study these admonitions which Paul gave to Timothy and gives to us, and they will know His will.
Some men are afraid of being too religious. What we need today is men who believe down deep in their soul what they profess. The world is tired and sick of sham. Let your whole heart be given up to God's service. Aim high. God wants us all to be His ambassadors. It is a position higher than that of any monarch on earth to be a herald of the Cross; but you must be filled with the Holy Ghost. A great many people are afraid to be filled with the Spirit of God afraid of being called fanatics. Fox said that every Quaker ought to shake the country ten miles around. What does the Scripture say? "One (shall) chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight." It takes about a thousand to chase one now. It takes about a thousand Christians to make one decent one now. Why? Because they are afraid of being too religious. What does this world want today? Men men that are out and out for God and not halfhearted in their allegiance and service. D. L. Moody.
Our Guide among the Wreckage
2 Timothy 1:3-5 ; 2 Timothy 2:15-17 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-15 ; 2 Timothy 4:1-2 ; 2 Timothy 4:16-17
One of the outstanding marks of spirituality is soundness of mind, soundness in wisdom, in words, in doctrine, in faith.
There are some people who are forever mocking Christianity with the words that, "So and so went crazy on religion." It is not true. People may go crazy when they turn aside to fads and fancies and fanaticism, but not when they walk in the Spirit. People who go crazy, may talk wildly about religious conceptions and spiritual things, but it was not the Spirit nor spiritual life which made them crazy.
A real Spirit-taught and Spirit-led believer will be recognized by the sanity of his statement, and the strength of his word. Carnality gives birth to a great many things which are erratic, and which are classed by some people under the realm of spiritualities.
Whenever there is disorder in the churches, and confusion in the house of God, we may be sure that God Is not supreme, as He is the God of order. God's universe moves in a rhythmic order, that knows no jar and feels no uncanny sense of confusion.
Let us look at the words which mark spiritual life.
1. A sound speech. Young people need to show themselves a pattern in good works, and in gravity and sincerity. They need to use sound speech that cannot be condemned. Paul wrote to Timothy that young men should be sober-minded, that young women should be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, and obedient to their own husbands.
Idle chatter and giddy talk should not be the assets of a believer. We recognize that a hearty laugh doeth good like medicine, but a hearty laugh and a clean joke is not contrary to "sound speech." Sound speech is speech that is sane on the one hand, and clean and incorrupt on the other. Sound speech is not polluted. It dwells upon the things that are pure, holy, clean, and of good report.
2. Sound Doctrine. A sound doctrine is a doctrine that is true to the Faith. It carries a tenet which is builded upon the Word of God. It is free from error. It is based upon the positive Word of Scripture.
People who are sound in doctrine, are ready to give a reason for the hope that is in them, with fear and trembling. They do not follow after every strange doctrine that may arise; they do not care to put forth the dreams of their own heads, as a basis for their Faith. They are unwilling to follow a creed or statement of faith, merely because it voices the convictions of some certain sect or class. Sound doctrine, must be based on a "thus saith the Lord."
3. Sound mind. A sound mind is, of necessity, an instructed mind, that is, a mind that knows the Truth. It is a mind that is taught of God, inasmuch as no other mind can be sound in the Faith, or sound in speech, or sound in wisdom.
A sound mind is one that is well balanced in the Faith. Not only a mind rightly taught, but fully taught. A mind that does not run off on hobbies, placing stress on one phase of Truth, to the neglect of other just as important Truth.
A sound mind is a mind that is not erratic, and not given to excesses in statements. A sound mind neither goes beyond, nor lags behind that which is written. A sound mind places the emphasis where God places it. Let young; people seek to be "sound" in all things.
I. THE GLORY OF UNFEIGNED FAITH (2 Timothy 1:3-5 )
1. The faith of Timothy was passed down from his mother and grandmother. The Bible does not teach that the faith of a parent will save the child. It does teach that the child will imbibe the spirit of faith which their parents held. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house," is a promise which is true to facts.
Joshua said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Abraham was approved of God because God said, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord." We cannot over-emphasize the value and the power of child-training in the home.
2. The admonition to "hold fast" to the form of sound words. Paul knew that there would be efforts made to swerve Timothy from the Faith, therefore, he urged upon him the necessity of holding the pattern which had been delivered unto him, by his mother Eunice, his grandmother Lois, and by Paul himself.
When God commits the Truth into the keeping of His saints, He wants them to guard that Truth through the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in them. The Truth is a sacred trust and we must keep our tryst.
3. The warning of some who had turned away. The Apostle warns Timothy how all they who were in Asia had turned away from him, and he specifies Phygellus and Hermogenes. This warning is particularly needed today. We are living in the times of the great apostasy, and we need to be rooted and grounded in the Word of God. We would not ask young people to cling tenaciously unto decadent dogmas, but we would urge them to remain faithful to the Faith which has been given by holy men, as they were breathed upon by the Holy Ghost. We would urge them to hold fast to sound words words which are wholesome and established; words which are true and God-given.
II. THE STUDY OF THE WORD OF TRUTH (2 Timothy 2:15-17 )
4. Knowing the Truth is pre-requisite to holding to the Truth. They who leave the Truth and turn aside to fables, are they who have never known the Truth in any vital way.
The Apostle was not afraid to advise young Timothy to delve into the depths of the things of God. The Bible is not a book which cannot live through the glaring light of research. The more we study it, the more we realize its eternal verities. The more we delve into the depths of its message, the more we discover that it was written by the finger of God.
2. Rightly dividing the Truth is pre-requisite to an approved workman. Of course, we cannot rightly divide the Truth until we have studied the Truth, and have known the Truth. However, having studied the Word, and proved ourselves diligent in the acquiring of the knowledge of the Word, we want to set ourselves to the dispensing of the Word. We do not study merely to obtain knowledge, but to impart that knowledge unto others. For this cause we should be workmen who need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. We must give to every one his portion.
We must know the message of God in its relationship to various classes to the Jew, to the Gentile, and to the Church of God. We must be able, for example, to divide the prophetic Scriptures, showing that portion of Scripture which refers to Christ's first coming, and that which anticipates His Second Coming. We must understand that there are various ages, to each of which God had a special and fitting message.
In doing all of this, however, we must not fail to remember that all Scripture is profitable, and that all Scripture has a message for everybody.
3. The warning against missing the mark concerning the Truth. Verses sixteen to eighteen tell us to shun profane and vain babblings. It tells us that such babblings eat as doth a canker. It gives us the example of Hymenaeus and Philetus, who, concerning the Truth, erred missed the mark. It tells us of how these two men failed to rightly divide the Word of Truth, saying, "That the resurrection is passed already," and how they overthrew the faith of some.
Let us be just as careful in shunning error, as we are in conserving Truth. When error begins to grip the mind and to take root in the life, there is no telling to what extent it may grow, to what vagaries it may lead, and what harm it may accomplish.
The statement of verse seventeen is very graphic: "Their word will eat as doth a canker." The only thing to do with false doctrine is to immediately cut it off, as soon as it shows its head.
III. THE FAITHFUL CONTINUANCE IN THE TRUTH (2 Timothy 3:14-15 )
1. A lifelong knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. The Apostle reminds Timothy that from a child he had known the Holy Scriptures, which were able to make him wise unto salvation. He reminds him that all Scripture is God-inspired and is profitable; that the Word of God not only makes one wise unto salvation through faith in Christ, but that it also throughly furnishes him unto all good works. Timothy, from a child, had known these Scriptures. He had been taught them and was therefore well versed, at least, in the letter of the Word.
2. A plea to continue in what he had learned, and in that of which he had been assured. The Apostle reminds Timothy from whom he had obtained his knowledge of the Truth. It had come to him not only from his mother and grandmother, but it had come to him through holy men of God, and from the Apostle Paul, a peer of preachers.
Apostates need to consider how they are turning away, not only from God, and from Truth, but also from saints whose faithful lives and testimony stand unimpoverished by the march of years. Apostates are leaving the paths of light, to wander in the darkness of an impenetrable night; they are leaving Truth, for error; Christ, for the antichrist; the only hope of eternal life, for the certainty of eternal death.
Let us continue in what we have learned, not because we learned it, but because of them from whom we learned it.
3. A warning concerning the last days. The third chapter, from which we take our theme, begins with warnings of conditions which shall prevail in the last days. These conditions are now upon us. It seems almost impossible that a more accurate detailment of present-day world-attitudes could have been delineated; yet, when we remember that this detailed delineation of our day was written down in the Word of God nineteen centuries ago, we are amazed, and wonder. We know that God must have spoken.
The things written, that we want to note just now, are these:
(1) A warning of "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." This is just what we have today. Old-time creeds are still left on the books, and in many places they are still memorized in old-time creedal fashion, however, the old-time power is lacking.
The Spirit is emphasizing that it is not enough to merely hold the Truth, or even to merely rightly divide the Word of Truth: we must also hold the power of the Truth a Truth that effectually worketh in those who believe.
It is not when the Word of Truth is intellectually gripped by us, that the victory is reached; it is when the Word grips us, molds us, leads us, vitalizes us in word, and testimony, that victory ensues.
(2) A warning against resisting the Truth. The Spirit brings forth an example of two men, Jannes and Jambres, to illustrate his warning. He says, "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these men resist the Truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the Faith." Heretofore we have seen no more than a passive denial of the Faith, or, a languid failure to know the power of the Faith. Now, we have an active resistance to the Faith.
The age is fast passing by mere denials of God and of His Word; it is sweeping on toward an aggressive warfare against the Faith. The enemy is girding himself for war, and a war to the finish.
In Russia the battle against God is on in all of its fury. The State is saturated with atheism, and is setting itself, at any cost, to wipe Christianity from the face of the Russian empire, and from the world, if that is possible. It will prove to be all but possible. Christ said, "When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?"
Antagonism to truth will finally head up in the antichrist, who will exalt himself above God, and all that is called God. They who follow with him will not receive the love of the Truth; and, for this cause, God will send them a strong delusion that they may believe a lie.
IV. THE PREACHING OF THE WORD OF TRUTH (2 Timothy 4:1-2 )
1. A solemn charge. Paul had instructed Timothy to study the Truth, and to continue in the Truth; now he tells him to preach the Truth.
The Gospel of God is not a Gospel to be hid away, or wrapped in a napkin; it is a Gospel to be preached, Paul did not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, and so he had a right to urge Timothy to follow in his steps.
(1) The preaching of the Word should be accomplished in the light of the Coming of the Lord, and of the preacher's appearance before the Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the raptured living and the raised dead.
(2) The preaching of the Word should be carried on in season and out of season, with all long-suffering and doctrine. Nothing should deter the one who labors in the Truth, from pressing home his mission to a happy conclusion.
2. A noble example. Paul, after urging Timothy to preach the Word under all conditions, set forth how he had, himself, fought a good fight, kept the Faith, and finished his course.
3. A prophecy of a coming time. Timothy is urged to fidelity to the Faith in view of the fact that the time will come when men will not endure sound doctrine. That time has come in many large and influential churches.
Moreover, the time will come, says the Spirit, when men will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; who will turn their ears from the Truth, and unto fables. That time has also come. The pew is given to saying, "Prophesy unto us smooth things."
Throwing of bouquets, scented with flattery, is the fad of the hour in many circles. Darkness is called light; and light, darkness. Preachers with oiled lips are prophesying peace, when there is no peace. With their mouths they speak great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration. They walk in the imagination of their hearts, saying, "No evil shall come upon you."
It is a sad day when prophets prophesy lies, and when the people love to have it so, willingly following after their pernicious ways.
V. THE LORD STOOD WITH ME (2 Timothy 4:16-17 )
We have come to the final word for today. It is a word of encouragement for young Timothy. Paul has delivered his charge to this Christian youth; he has fully warned him of the dangers in the way. In all of this the Spirit was speaking forcefully to young men and women of today.
By way of encouragement the Apostle recounts how God had stood by him in the hour of his trouble, and had strengthened him, so that through him the Gospel might be made known to the Gentiles.
Paul related how God had delivered him out of the mouth of the lion. Then, with an eye of faith, the great preacher cried, "And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His Heavenly Kingdom."
There are just a few conclusions we would like to offer:
1. How many from among our young people will this day consecrate themselves to a faithful service for God?
2. Who will make plain the fact that they are distinct from those who deny the Faith?
It is more than interesting to note in the two Epistles addressed to Timothy, how the expressions are used differentiating between Timothy and those who swerve from the Faith. We will give you one or two examples of this.
"Men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith" (2 Timothy 3:8 ).
"Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse" (2 Timothy 3:13 ).
"They will not endure sound doctrine"; * * "they * * shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:4 ).
"But thou hast fully known my doctrine" (2 Timothy 3:10 ).
"But continue thou in all the things which thou hast * * been assured of" (2 Timothy 3:14 ).
"But watch thou in all things; * * make full proof of thy ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5 ).
The above contrast suffices to establish our thought. The more that others drift from the Faith, the more we should stand strong and secure and aggressive for the Faith.
3. Why should we fear? God has given us His promise that He will-stand with us and preserve us, even as He did the Apostle Paul.
Paul, having obtained help of God, continued unto the end of his journey, expounding and testifying "The Kingdom of God," and persuading men concerning the Lord Jesus.
THIRSTY MEN DRINKING WITHOUT LOOKING
"As men in a deep thirst swallow their drink before they know the nature of it, or discern the taste of it; so when we are under a great thirst, or under great famishment as to spiritual comfort, and have great troubles upon us, we take up with comfortable notions of Christ and salvation by Him, and easily drink in these and other truths, catching at them without looking into the grounds or reasons of them. Afterwards we see the need of care and watchfulness of soul, to strengthen our assent and fortify ourselves against these doubts of mind which shake us. Then we desire to settle our hearts in those supreme truths which in our necessity we accepted without discussion." "This is a very natural figure. See how the thirsty man turns up the cup and drinks the contents at a draught; he cares little what it is, so that it quenches his raging thirst. 'Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.' But now, mark him in cooler moments! He is careful of his drinking, lest he be made top-heavy, or become nauseated. A simple, receptive faith is a fine thing for the speedy removal of the soul's thirst; but if it were not soon qualified by spiritual discernment it would lead to credulity, and the man would be ready to take in anything which might be set before him. The rapid believer would soon become the victim of superstition. The more study of the Scriptures, and testing of doctrines thereby, the better. Careful investigation may save the mind from being injured by poisonous teaching, and it will certainly endear the Truth to us, and strengthen our confidence in it.
"What a draught was that which some of us had at the first! Little enough we know; but our enjoyment of what we did know was intense! Lord, thou hast now revealed to us the ingredients of that Divine cup; grant that this may give us a new and deeper joy; but do not allow us to forget the bliss of satisfied thirst because we are gifted with fuller knowledge. Such a gain would be a loss most serious."
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on 2 Timothy 1". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30