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2 Timothy 2:1-7
A FAITHFUL SERVANT IS COMMITTED (to discipleship)
2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, [yet] is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. 7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
2:1 "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."
Because of the illustration you therefore live as follows! Be strong in the grace that is in Christ. Now, just what does that mean?
“Be strong” seems to relate to “become strong” or “make strong.” Because of what Paul has said, Timothy is to become stronger in grace.
When I took a job in maintenance at a retail store, I had been sitting at a desk for the most part for several years. I found what becoming strong was. I could do little without tiring and becoming out of breath, yet after a few months of running from one end of a three story building to the other all day; I found I could do most anything without becoming breathless.
This is all good, but what does it mean to become strong in grace? It is of note that this growth is from outside of Timothy - he only has to let it happen in his life.
The term grace is the normal term for grace in the New Testament, but it has many shades of meaning. Some of the thoughts of this word are "that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech - goodwill loving-kindness and favor.” These are all qualities that Timothy could show and certainly all come from Christ - they are not qualities we show automatically from within ourselves. Showing these is showing grace to others.
Indeed, read through the previous context and these are qualities that were in the actions mentioned.
1. Several times years ago while working with some men that took great advantage of me they would use something in one of their sermons as if it was one of their own thoughts – when in fact it was something I had mentioned to them a few days/weeks earlier.
It really bothered me for a while, but then I had one of those light bulb moments. My thoughts come from the Holy Spirit – when I am walking with Him – and these thoughts I share with others, and if they have learned they share the same thoughts with others.
Instead of being bothered I determined to be blessed – I was a living example of 2 Timothy 2:2 whether the other guy was right or not. Our purpose in life is to teach others that they might teach others. What an honor we have to share what we have learned of the Lord with those around us.
2. In an application sense 2 Timothy 2:2 also relates to the family. As we walk with the Lord and learn from Him we ought to share those truths with our families. I’m not sure this should stop when they leave the home. I have found that I share little tid-bits with our grown and married children via email. They haven’t put me on their anti-spam list so I assume they don’t mind.
3. The passage we have just looked at is sometimes used to show that Christians should not be in political office. The thought is that you are so tangled with the world you can’t be a proper Christian.
I personally do not believe this is a valid use of this passage. The passage does give clear warning to one that is in politics – don’t entangle yourself so that you can’t serve God, but it does not say that being in politics is entanglement.
I believe that if God leads a believer into government, then more power to that one that God can use to His benefit. Believers can and are strong forces within the government.
There is one truth – a believer that is called to the ministry ought not entangleth himself with political office – a call to the ministry ought to be responded to.
4. Our title for this section states that a faithful servant is COMMITTED. I think this is obvious from the text and what we have seen already. If we are not committed to the work that we attempt for God then we ought not bother.
Some make good lip service to serving God, but there is little evidence that anything is ever done. Even in those that seemingly are doing great things for God, may not be really committed – they may only be gaining good results from their half-hearted efforts.
When we are called to a ministry, it should be our total focus. We should do all that we can to accomplish all that is set before us.
Commitment is the laying of all ones’ resources, physical, mental and material before the Lord for His use in His way. Every moment, every thought, and every penny! Do I live up to this? Not hardly, but it is certainly the goal and should be our focus.
I would like to dwell a little while on the second verse. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
True this was a specific instruction from an apostle long ago to a colleague of his that was leader over a fairly sizeable group of believers, but it seems obvious that it is applicable to all believers that are of a maturity level that is higher than those around them.
The word disciple relates to instruction of another and the following of another’s precepts. “matheteuo” is the main word used in the New Testament. The root of the word is where we get the word mathematics. One is drawn by the picture of adding and multiplying in this context, but also the negative side of subtracting and division in the church.
"Discipleship involved two principles. First, it meant that the disciples had fellowship with their teacher. They lived with him as Jesus’ disciples lived with Him. Second, disciples carried on the tradition of their teacher. After he died they taught the same things that he did. Disciples were the main means of perpetuating teaching in the ancient world, since many great teachers wrote no books." NEW TESTAMENT WORDS IN TODAY’S LANGUAGE; Detzler, Wayne A.; Victor Books; Wheaton; 1986; p. 120
Humm! Doesn’t sound like Matthew 28:19-20 does it? "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen."
I am sure in most churches there are a number of people that could disciple others with the maturity that they have. This isn’t rocket science as they say – it is just sharing what you have learned of the Lord and His Word with someone that has not been taught to any great length.
How do we do this?
Know that it takes time.
Know that it takes commitment.
Know that it won’t be easy – the Devil ain’t gunna like it!
Teachers have the privilege of doing it at times – especially in college age situations or in adult classes, even youth ministries.
Pastors have the privilege of doing it at times – those that stay in one church more than the average of 18 months..
Missionaries have the privilege of doing it at times.
This is based on the assumption that they know enough about the Lord to share, and they know the basics of how to make a disciple. A study of the Gospels will give you plenty of training as to how to disciple.
there is teaching
there is correction
there is challenging
there is prodding
there is example
there is illustration
there is living example
and many others I am sure.
How does the layperson go about putting the passage to work in their lives?
1. Commit time to find someone that you can disciple – someone at work – someone in the neighborhood – someone that needs to learn more about the word.
a. Take time with them on a regular basis. Meet for coffee or a lunch and make it clear that it is a time for spiritual things – other things if there is time but the concentration is spiritual things.
b. Take time regularly to pray for the association you are building. Find others that will pray for what you are doing and for the person involved.
c. Take time to be sure you have something meaningful to say. Prepare some thoughts and topics that you want to cover. Possibly a study guide or a book that you can go through chapter after chapter.
d. When there seems to be a good maturity on the part of the other person set them loose to do the same with someone they know. How long will this take? Most likely a long long time – you will be learning new things of your own and you will need to teach them those things as well
It took Christ – Almighty God – three years, twenty four hours a day, and seven days a week and though they seemed a little inept when He was crucified, they all went on to do great and mighty works for the Lord.
It might take a long time however we aren’t preparing apostles, so we wouldn’t need to go into as great a training program as the Lord. It seems to be the thought of teaching till they can teach others.
This might not take long if you disciple a person that knows how to teach – then again someone that knows nothing of the Bible will take a lot longer. God has all the time in the world so don’t get in a hurry.
2. Find a relative or friend that you know has email and develop a relationship with them and do the same as in number one.
3. You could also do it by snail mail though it would take a long time.
4. Maybe someone you work with – you could meet for coffee break now and then.
5. Basically anyone you can find that seems willing to be discipled is a great candidate.
Finally in verses three through six we see three principles that American society seems to have set aside. We need to assist believers to get their priorities straight in these areas of Christian living.
2:2 "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
This passage was the theme verse of a couple of the Bible schools that I attended in the past - a wonderful goal to be sure.
This is also the thought of two other great passages. Matthew 28:18-20 and Ephesians 4:11 ff. Both mention the training of those that are won to the Lord.
Another text that relates is found in 1 Peter 2:2 "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
I was recently in a Bible study and this passage was considered and I was vividly reminded of my own salvation experience and the time that followed. The pastor that led me to the Lord made no attempt to follow up on the new convert. I was dumped back into the world with no clue as to what the Christian life was all about. I knew I needed something - I desired the milk of the Word, but had no one to feed me. I read the Bible but it had little meaning to me.
I was told by some believers that I ran across that what I was doing was great, but none took me under their wing to nurture.
I knocked around the world for about six years - part of which was being a typical sailor - not growing at all. What a waste of time spiritually.
We might also observe the context of this verse. It is in the context of the grace that Paul and his coworkers were showing to others, it was the grace that Timothy was to become strong in - yes, Timothy was to teach doctrine to others - he was to make disciples - but he was to teach others to become strong in the grace that is in the Lord.
Let us take a look at this word grace and some of the features that we might want to take upon ourselves for our own benefit, and to teach others.
"that which affords joy" is a trait that we certainly need in our present society. Our world is deep in despair due to humanism taking away hope - if I am all important and I don’t become all I want to be then what hope is there for me? On the other hand if God loves me and has a purpose for my life then I can have hope for a better day.
"pleasure" is something we can always give to others if we put ourselves aside so that we can minister. Just the simple activity of asking how they are doing, how their week went, and how their health is. I suggest this for those that are GENUINELY interested in the person.
I must warn against the seminary training where the student is trained to ask questions - not to gain information necessarily but simply to make conversation and make the person feel good.
We were invited to a seminary student’s house for lunch years ago. When we arrived, the football game was on quite loudly - the man would mute the television between plays and ask a question. If I failed to finish my answer it had to wait till the next play was over - or at times was never finished because he spit out another question before I had a chance to finish.
He didn’t get the hint when I started finishing my answer I was in the middle of and then answering the one he interrupted me to ask. His lack of interest was shown when he asked me the same question three times before we went to eat.
"delight" is what a family has when they get a fantastic deal on a great car. We were given a car by my father - when we showed it off to one of our friends, the wife, said, "Oh, but it is a Ford!" Such grace she was not showing it would seem.
As we interact with others, we ought to be delighted with their good fortune. At times this is difficult - when you are in hard times and someone gets a break it is hard to be joyful for them at times, but that should be the response.
"sweetness" "charm" "loveliness" - what attributes for a believer to have!
"grace of speech" might indicate we are to be at least civil when speaking to others. Really, since grace is described by all the words above, might we substitute a word and say sweetness of speech, or loveliness of speech. Kind of rubs the wrong way if you are a gossip, doesn’t it?
"good will" is the desiring of good for the other - being kindly attuned too. There are believers that are easy to get along with and there are believers that are totally difficult to get along with. I seem to attract the latter most of the time - good will is not what I always feel yet that is what the Lord would have us increase in.
I think the idea is clear, so I will simply list the other ways the word is used and allow you to consider them individually on your own.
We are to increase in:
"increases them in Christian faith"
"kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues"
"a gift of grace"
Suffice it to say we are to attempt in our lives to increase in the grace we show others - the grace that comes from the Lord Jesus!
2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Endure that which God brings your way - as a soldier. While doing this study, I watched several war movies - movies about World War II and Viet Nam. I was struck by the commitment of these men - men that had survived heavy battles and had lived when so many had died - men that had to walk immediately back into some other skirmish which could be as bad if not worse than the one before. If they survived that one, they were willing to walk into another and another, when each battle was one worthy of being their last, yet they kept going.
What an example we have in these men - they were fighting/dying for their country. We as believers have a Savior which is much more worthy of our commitment and sacrifice - how willing are we to step into hardship for Him?
We knew a couple that were pastoring a church in the Midwest when God called them to go to the mission field. They packed up their few belongings and visited a few churches and raised $150 dollars a month support and enough for airfare to the Philippine Islands and left to serve the Lord in that needy land.
Today we have missionaries that are willing to go out to the field, but they must have $5, 000 a month support. They can’t go without a full compliment of everything that they might need, nor can they leave without their retirement adequately supplied, their return fare guaranteed, and a number of other things.
Not that the missionary today should not look to his families need, but that he should look to God for his families need, not the gathering of funds.
Having said that, there are a few I have met that have gone to the field as the young couple years ago, and they have faired quite well with God supplying their needs.
2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
In recent years the President has called up the National Guard and reserves to bolster our forces abroad. Many of these folks when interviewed were crying in their milk about having to leave their jobs and their families - well isn’t that what they joined for? They knew when they signed up that it was a possibility. This passage speaks against those that were disappointed in being able to serve their country - they should have counted the cost more carefully - they are entangled in the world and not ready to serve at a moments notice.
I understand their consternation well - there hadn’t been any call ups in years so it was a safe bet they could make some bucks, get their education paid for and have some fun with no real danger of having to go - WRONG as they say.
It certainly is hard to see a mother going off to war leaving a husband and babies behind. It is also hard to see a father doing the same, however being a soldier has its requirements.
If you are a believer then you ought to be a soldier of the Lord. Be sure you are ready to serve on a moments notice. Don’t entangle yourself in this life too heavily - you want to be free to move when the orders come forth.
Entanglement can take on many forms. Some are entangled in debt to the point that they can’t go, some are entangled in marital situations to the point that they can’t go, some are entangled in business to the point that they can’t go, some are entangled in sports to the point that they don’t want to go, and others are entangled in sin to the point that they can’t go.
What a sad situation for a believer to be in – to be called, to desire to go, and not be able to because of a situation of their own making.
2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, [yet] is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
There are laws to every way of life, to every occupation, to every sport - break them and you most likely will not succeed.
Now, in our present day this is not the truth that it once was. We saw the Enron debacle as well as many others - few wrong doers were in any trouble at all.
Our judicial system is awash - little makes sense within its findings. Murder someone and you can walk in a very few years - kill a cat and look out, you may be in for a very long time.
On the whole, it is required that you obey the rules - in spiritual things it is no different. TRUST ME, in the spiritual realm we have a judge that is righteous and just - there will not be the inequities and foolishness we have in America.
A prime example of this is found in the book of Joshua chapters six and seven. Achan did that which he was not to do and it resulted in defeat at Ai. God sets down His criteria and we are to follow it, not adjust it to fit our own desires and needs.
If you desire to operate in the Lord’s realm, do it His way, not your own.
What modern day application might we find for this passage?
Can we tell all those "stars" of football, television and other sports that they should stop praying to Jesus to ask Him to let them win and suggest they concentrate on playing the game by the rules and take their chances just like everyone else?
By the way if you pray that God allows you to win and you win and some other Christian on another team has prayed the same prayer - does it mean that you are more spiritual than the other - more prayerful than the other - more favored by God than the other?
If a Giant’s pitcher prays and asks God to let him win and a Dodger’s player prays the same and the Dodgers win, does that mean God is a Dodger’s fan? NOT!
Might we put some meaning back into our prayer lives!
The Sunday I presented this study in my class I saw an ad in the newspaper. I told my class that it would help them get their prayer priorities straight – it is typical of America today. The ad was for little pendant necklaces – they were prayer boxes – “Write down your prayer, fold it with love, place it in the box and gain strength from above.” was the caption under the boxes.
2:6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
Congress rewrote this verse years ago – it reads now The government that laboureth not will be first partaker of your fruit.
Again this is a truth from the past that does not always find its way into American thought.
Example: Who is it that gets first dibs on your pay check? Not you that is for sure - it is the government. They rip of the top 20-30% and allow you what is left - thus far anyway - and expect you to enjoy the pleasure that they have given you.
The one that plants, nurtures, and harvests has the right to first fruits. If not then why bother laboring might be the outcome - I think many Americans have discovered this - why work when the government will take from those that do work hard to support you?
Of a truth in our country you plant so others can enjoy your first-fruits. God has a plan and America is treading heavily upon it. Many have repeated Billy Graham’s famous comment, “If God doesn’t judge America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” I must almost agree, but we still have a little way to go before we are as bad as those cities of decadence.
That is the way I originally wrote the paragraph above, but on the front page of the Sunday paper just before I went to teach was an article about the Episcopal diocese that had elected, by a wide majority voting, their first openly gay bishop. “When Robinson emerged as the victor, more than 300 voters and spectators at St. Paul’s Church erupted in cheers and jumped to their feet to applaud.” (Article GAY MAN ELECTED BISHOP OF EPISCOPAL DIOCESE; Statesman Journal; Salem, OR; 6-8-2003; p 1)
I am not sure that all in Sodom were homosexuals, but rather that many were, and that the rest of the population condoned or were approving of the sin. I fear America is nearer to Dr. Graham’s end than we think.
Our leader is Jesus Christ - our allegiance is to Him - we ought to be free to serve on a moments notice. If we are not in this position, then maybe we need to rectify the situation and make some changes in our lives.
2:7 "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things."
Consider what Paul says - God will give you understanding! Might we apply this in the following manner? When we read the word (what Paul says) and consider it - then God will give us understanding.
He gives understanding of the Word and how it applies to our lives. A related passage to this is 1 John 2:27 "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
The Spirit is our teacher if we allow Him that privilege. He can guide us into all truth as we walk with Him.
Now, this understanding may not be like someone pouring water into your ear – it may require some study on our part. It might take some further reading of the Word. It might take some digging into commentaries to find what other passages might assist in our understanding of things. The point is that God will give us the knowledge we need when we are in the Word.
2 Timothy 2:8-13
A FAITHFUL SERVANT IS PERSECUTED
8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, [even] unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 [It is] a faithful saying: For if we be dead with [him], we shall also live with [him]: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, [yet] he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Vs. 8 "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:"
In the first phrase the word “that” probably does not belong – there is no word in that position in the Greek. Barnes Notes states of the phrase “The idea seems not to be, as our translators supposed, that he was to reflect on the fact that he was raised from the dead; but rather that he was to think of the Saviour himself.” Other commentaries follow this thought as well.
This seems quite in keeping with the following context which speaks of suffering – the remembrance of Christ’s suffering, would naturally encourage others in the same.
The ASV translates it this way “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel:”
Paul uses a strange terminology here - my gospel. What is meant by this?
The phrase is translated correctly - Paul meant “his gospel” or he would have chosen other words - maybe his salvation was so important to him that he felt the gospel was his personally - do we feel that close an affinity to the gospel that brought us salvation?
Some translations render this phrase as along the lines of the “gospel or good news that Paul taught.” rather than “my gospel” which actually fits the thought and text as well.
Evidently some commentators in the past have considered “my gospel” to have been an insert into Paul’s thoughts by Luke, the only one with Paul at the time and probably the one actually writing the epistle. Gill states that this is not the case and continues with the thought that this is the doctrine of the apostle being taught, not that He thought it was “his” gospel.
Not sure how they would get such an idea – if someone dictated a letter to, you would you just insert your own thoughts along the way? I doubt it.
Many have used this point of Christ being risen in apologetics (apologetics are the giving of an answer for your faith). Christ is rising, He is not in the grave and never will be, thus. He is the one Savior that must be true – His grave is empty as opposed to all other comers.
He calls them to remember not only the resurrection but also that the Lord was from the line of David. Matthew 1:1 ff relates this fact to us.
Two texts might be considered at this point: It may be a way to draw attention to the uniqueness of the Lord – man yet God, able to offer salvation.
Romans 1:3-4 Is a great passage which declares not only the human side of the Lord but the divine as well. “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 1:4 And declared tobe the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: ”
Philippians 2:7 “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”
Why did Paul feel the need to call them to a remembrance of David?
1. Was he just name dropping?
2. Was his audience primarily Jewish? No, not necessarily nor would a large part of his collateral readership be Jewish.
3. Possibly it is a call to not only “to recall” the resurrected Lord but also to the God of the Jews which brought it all about.
Again, the ASV translates the passage as follows “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel:” You might note also that the phrase “was raised” is translated simply risen – there is no “was” here, only the word for risen.
We might note these are two of the mistakes that King James Only people would count in all the errors that they find between the translations.
Barnes has a considered comment that I’d like to put forth for your possible consideration.
“As the Jews universally believed that the Messiah would be descended from David John 7:42, it was of great importance for the sacred writers to make it out clearly that Jesus of Nazareth was of that line and family. Hence, it happened, that though our Saviour was humble, and poor, and obscure, yet he had … an illustrious ancestry. To a Jew there could be scarcely any honor so high as to be descended from the best of their kings; and it shows how little the Lord Jesus esteemed the honors of this world, that he could always evince his deep humility in circumstances where people are usually proud; and that when he spoke of the honors of this world, and told how little they were worth, he was not denouncing what was not within his reach.”
Clarke ties the thought of the passage up quite well. “Whatever tribulations or deaths may befall us, let us remember that Jesus Christ, who was slain by the Jews, rose again from the dead, and his resurrection is the proof and pledge of ours. We also shall rise again to a life of glory and blessedness.”
1. Since we have introduced the fact that we aren’t held responsible for what we haven’t learned yet, might we contemplate that for a while? Can or will we then be held responsible for not learning if we have opportunity? Example: We sit in church services week after week, but are we really listening? In some services it is hard to listen as closely as we ought due to distractions, poor content, and personal distractions, but shouldn’t we listen as best we can – in case something new comes along?
And one more facet, will the one teaching in the church be held responsible for not using his/her time wisely for teaching when it is given to them in the church situation. I have seen college professors that enter a classroom with a question or two relating to their topic and when the discussion is done they waste the rest of the class time on most any topic that comes along.
And maybe we should consider one more facet to keep us thinking this week. Will we be held accountable for those things we have not taught within the home to our families? If we have knowledge of the Word and do not impart it to the family are we going to be facing this failure in the future?
Well, one more aspect. Those kids and teenagers that don’t listen to their parents – you know the ones – the ones that know everything there is to know already. Yes, I think that they will be held responsible for not listening/learning what their parents – teachers – pastors – Sunday school teachers attempt to teach.
Well, okay one more aspect. I have to wonder when a pastor or teacher sees a problem in a church goer’s life and they prepare a message with application to the problem, will the member be held accountable for that teaching and the ramifications in their life because they did not hear the teaching?
Well since you insist – one more aspect. How about the pastor/teacher that teaches incorrectly and his sheep that believe what he teaches.
2. Our section title mentions that persecution is the servant’s lot. Here is a question. If a person attempts to be a proper servant of God yet does not suffer persecution, is he or she a true servant of God?
In most countries if you do what God wants, you will find some sort of persecution. In America, not always, but this seems to be changing in recent days.
Also in relation to persecution we need to understand what persecution is. It is the suffering for things of which we are innocent. If you are a liar and get caught and suffer the repercussions, do not call it persecution – it is more like “just dues.”
There is also suffering for doing right. The Bible tells us that this is to be expected and that God will carry us through.
Some of the suffering of the Bible is pictured in Hebrews 11:35-38 “35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth.”
There is great suffering going on today around the world. Preachers are being imprisoned for preaching the Gospel in the Mideast, children and adults in Africa are being sold into literal slavery because they are Christians, missionaries are being targeted by terrorists because they know they are Christians. Many are in dire straights due to their faith. Others are being starved because of their faith.
That makes what we call suffering in this country seem a little less like suffering don’t you think.
3. I would like to dwell on verse ten for a moment. “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus….”
What is it that the average American Christian “endures” for the sake of the lost today?
Let us think about that for awhile:
They might give a little money to the missionary passing through.
They might even pray now and then for a missionary – if they ever go to prayer meeting.
They might labor intently to hang that heavy prayer card they picked up on the refrigerator.
They might even witness to someone now and then.
Paul endured beating, imprisonment, shipwreck, tired feet, weary days, sore tent making hands etc. but more to the point what have you endured lately to assure a lost person salvation?
“Endure” according to Merriam-Webster means “1 : to continue in the same state : LAST
2 : to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding”
The Bible uses the word in different ways, “1) to remain 1a) to tarry behind 2) to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee 2a) to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ 2b) to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments”
Probably Paul meant a little more than what we might describe for ourselves today.
How might we change our lives to become one that “endures” that the lost find salvation?
Make prayer a priority in our lives especially for lost people: Those we know, those we don’t know.
Possibly get involved with a few missionaries and pray for those they are seeking to win.
Get involved with some country you are interested in and find out what mission boards are present and working there – pray for the mission boards – for workers.
Make giving a priority. Give MORE. Give to missionaries material needs such as cars, equipment etc.
Have a missionary family in your home for a few days between meetings.
Take your next vacation on the mission field and go out on tract distribution and assist in anyway you can – work, don’t site see. Well you can site see a little, we don’t want you to endure too much.
Go to the field full time!
Basically take a little time and consider how you might better help the effort of reaching the lost in the church, in missions and in your personal witnessing.
And even if you do all of the above, you aren’t living up to the enduring of Paul.
Just a concluding thought, we in America do not endure or suffer for the most part, though I think we will in coming days. The American society and media if not our government is turning away from being tolerant as we know tolerance. They are operating with a newly defined tolerance. Josh McDowell in and article calls our attention to this fact. Basically when media, government and society speak of tolerance it is the thought that all systems of belief are valid and true thus anyone disagreeing with anyone else is intolerant.
To apply this if you as a believer want to convert someone from a religion you are being intolerant because you assume your belief is correct and that the other person’s belief is false.
The Southern Baptist Convention has come under this type of criticism on the internet and in the press due to their desire to pray for those of other belief systems or to evangelize some of these peoples – they have been labeled intolerant.
Basically if you don’t believe homosexuality, Buddhism, Islam, and all other belief systems which would include the modern Nazi movement and other hate groups are just as viable systems as your own, you would be held as intolerant.
Do you see some enduring and suffering coming for American Christians?
Vs. 9 "Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, [even] unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound."
Not that Paul had done evil but that he was imprisoned as one that had.
The important piece of information is that though the messenger is bound the message most certainly is not.
Mankind may think it will slow the spread of the gospel but in reality they cannot. Believers may, by their inaction, cause God to revise His delivery system but even then the gospel will not be slowed.
Just a little side trail - how arrogant and foolish for man or mankind to think they can ever overcome the All Mighty God! Can you feature the one that might suggest such nonsense? Yet many have over the ages - including most of the isms of the world. Indeed, our own society is treading heavily into this concept in America.
One of the joys of contemplating death is to realize that what we hold to be the dearest truth is one of the few things that will not be swayed by our death. At death our thoughts cease, at death our dreams cease, at death our intentions cease, at death our everything ceases in this life EXCEPT that one great driving force that has been the highlight of our life – the Gospel will continue unabated. We will be gone as we relate to this life, but our driving force the Gospel will not falter.
Verse nine may hold a truth for us that by application might encourage us in time of trouble.
As we suffer indignity at the tongue of another, that abuses the truth about us, can we not have Paul’s attitude of ignoring the wrong and looking on the great truth that God will not be hindered in His great Plan and purpose?
When the tongues wag, focus on what God is doing and the fact that HE WILL DO IT! not on the ill gotten gains of a gossiping tongue.
Vs. 10 "Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."
He endures ALL things for the elect’s sake - hummm - even talking behind the back, even rude comments, even untrue stories, even being left out etc. - yep sounds like a lot of pastors I have known - endure all things the elect can throw at them. Not that the elect should live that way, but many do in our present church climate. No, that is not what Paul is talking about but the minister of God does endure many things.
Upon a more accurate reading I would say that actually Paul is speaking of the elect before they are saved in this context - that they might find salvation.
Years ago one of the joys of working in a large television shop was that the boss would send me out with the outside technicians to deliver television sets. One day he asked me to go out with a man that was not the most likeable person in the shop. He was a Biker and very crude in speech.
I jumped in the truck and he turned to me and asked, “You aren’t one of those religious nuts are you?” I told him that I tried not to be. He didn’t question me on what I meant, but launched into a long tirade about our service manager, an Independent Baptist, that had been witnessing to him over the lunch hour.
I just kept my mouth shut as he ranted on. As we jumped into the truck for the return trip to the shop, he mentioned something that gave me opportunity to just share the simple facts of the Gospel with him. He listened intently and his parting words were “Stan, I have to know if you are right!”
Enduring a little ranting and raving allowed the Gospel freedom to be shared.
Indeed, the Gospel was shared with a man that had never heard it before. He told me his home was stacked high with religious literature but that he had never heard or seen the simple Gospel.
Vs. 11 "[It is] a faithful saying: For if we be dead with [him], we shall also live with [him]:"
When I was recovering from a minor heart attack, I received an email from a friend - she mentioned that when we are in that sort of situation we either live, or we------live! What a comforting thought. We either live on in this life or live on in the next.
I think the greatest realization I have had concerning spiritual things since salvation is the fact that we do not die as such when we die physically - we just transition from one level of existence to another - both being life.
Paul knew that if we were dead - walking totally with God - that we really have true life. In short we is dead and we is resurrected, all we gotta do is the deed – namely die physically and all will be completed.
Gill states it in a much more profound way than I. “For if we are dead with him; with Christ, as all his people are, by virtue of union to him; they are dead with him, he and they being one, in a legal sense; when he died, they died with him; being crucified with him, as their head and representative, their old man, their sins, were also crucified with him, being imputed to him, and laid upon him; and through the efficacy of his death, they became dead to sin, both to its damning and governing power, and so are planted together in the likeness of his death; so that as he died unto sin once, and lives again to die no more, they die unto sin, and are alive to God, and will live forever.”
I trust you will give that some serious though. WE ARE DEAD with. Him – if we are dead how can, we LIVE as we do at times.
Vs. 12 ’If we suffer, we will also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us”:
If we suffer we will reign - not that the reigning is because we suffer - it is that if we suffer for Him it is because we are believers. We are told that we will suffer if we are His. This is a declaration of the right that will be every believer’s - reigning with Him.
The term suffer actually can be translated endure, which rather implies suffering.
In a way, is not living on in this life suffering, when we know what the next life is going to be like? That is just a thought to contemplate when you have some time. Place yourself in the day of the apostles and the lifestyle they led - not our comfy lifestyle with all our affluence and toys.
If we deny him - he will deny us.
Now, I know this is not the thought of this passage, but I would like to think about this for a moment – it is definitely a Scriptural concept, Luke 12:9 mentions “But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.” If man denies Christ then Christ will deny him – this is what the Gospel is all about – we have one chance and that be Christ. If we reject Him then there is no help or hope for our lost condition – hell is the only result.
That is a scary principle to contemplate! To be denied by Christ - that is automatic hell - He is our only opportunity for avoiding eternal torment.
I have contemplated often the heavenly scene where ALL will bow before Christ and recognize Him as Lord. What a terrible position - to know that He is Lord and know that it is too late to receive Him and His work on the cross - talk about sinking feelings.
When I saw Michelangelo’s concept of this scene when the boatman is forcing the people off the boat onto the shore of Hell I couldn’t help but think of what will go through peoples minds as they are taken off to their final place of abode.
If you can find an art book, take a look at this scene that is depicted in the Sistine Chapel called the last judgment.
The following verse seems to set the context of deny Him as salvation rather than post salvation denial. Verse thirteen says that he cannot deny himself - He is within us, so how could he deny a believer?
Vs. 13 "If we believe not, [yet] he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."
He will be faithful to stand up for us even if we fail in the belief department - not saving belief, but in all other areas of belief.
Can’t this verse relate to one doubting salvation? Of course – they are not believing what they know in their mind.
A rather encouraging statement - if we fail in some respect to grasp the truths of Scripture it will not be held against us.
I think it should be emphasized that this is lacking belief, not knowing truth and rejecting it due to our selfish desires that override taking action on what has become a belief and realization of knowledge.
2 Timothy 2:14-19
A FAITHFUL SERVANT IS APPROVED
14 Of these things put [them] in remembrance, charging [them] before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, [but] to the subverting of the hearers. 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
"Of these things put [them] in remembrance, charging [them] before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, [but] to the subverting of the hearers."
Such a warning! Strive not about words - this isn’t the total phrase - to no profit is the key - not that words aren’t important.
Why? So the listener isn’t subverted - or overthrown is another word that is also used. It is the term “katastrope” the word from which we gain catastrophe.
Don’t make an issue over minor words to the detriment of others - could be in church, in class, in fellowship, or at the dinner table.
Just where is the division between words to dispute and not dispute?
The term “strive” is "to wrangle about empty and trifling matters" - argue about what color of socks women ought to wear under their long skirts - socks that are never seen.
Should we discuss the virgin birth? Of course, but even then, not to the destruction of others - a discussion of this type most likely would be over fairly quickly and clearly. Should we discuss the number of angels that can stand on the head of a pin? Not for very long - they are spirit beings so they all can stand on the head of a pin - one at a time or all at once. This is not a great question that needs a lot of debate.
I would assume doing anything to the destruction or detriment of others would be non-productive or at least should be.
Might I suggest that we all use some amount of wisdom? We all know when things are getting heated, we all know when someone is getting upset, we all know when we are being offensive, we all know when we are hurting another’s feelings, so why do we continue on to the detriment of someone else?
There is an area where we need to stop things. When we see something going on in our class that is getting out of hand it is easy to let it slide but it should be stopped – allowing it to slide will mean it will be back being a bigger problem next time.
1. To those that make light of doctrine – HOGWASH – if that isn’t considered vain babbling then it ought to be. Doctrine is teaching and teaching should be based on the Word of God rightly divided. Anything else then is vain babbling and ought not be allowed within the church.
Just a question for your consideration. What should we do when someone in our church is teaching falsely?
a. If it is really off the wall, confront it immediately – even within the session, be it Sunday school, Bible study or a sermon.
b. If it is something that isn’t going to mislead someone into a cult right away then a personal confrontation might be best, but be sure you have Biblical support for your position.
c. How about something that just isn’t supported by the passage being used? Again a personal confrontation might be better, though if it is a difference of opinion on the interpretation of the passage, ignoring the item might be best, unless you can give good Biblical basis.
2. A faithful servant is approved. Why will God judge a servant faithful?
One that teaches the Word consistently and precisely will be found faithful. One that does not stray from that which is correct and true will also be found faithful. One that does not allow his class, study or session to degenerate into vain babblings and talk that leads others astray will be found faithful.
I would like to share a quote from Gill. “A workman that needeth not to be ashamed; the ministry of the word is a work, and it is a good work; and those that perform it aright are worthy of honour and esteem; and it requires industry, diligence, and application, and for which no man is sufficient without the grace of God; and those who are employed in it are workmen, workers together with God, and labourers in his vineyard: and such who are faithful and diligent ones, "need not to be ashamed"; such do not cause shame, neither in themselves nor in others, as false teachers do, who foam out their own shame, and as negligent ministers of the word, and such whose lives are not agreeable to the doctrines they preach; nor have they any reason to be ashamed, neither of the Gospel, which they preach, nor of their sufferings, which they endure for the sake of it, nor of their upright ministrations of the word; and as they are not afraid to suffer shame for the sake of Christ now, they will not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
3. Verse nineteen closes with “depart from iniquity.” First of all believers live where they ought not, but secondly, believers ought to live where they ought. Paul told them to leave sin. It is not wrong for church leaders to confront and deal with the sins of their people.
How approved might we be if the Lord came for us right now?
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Five items: Study - to show yourself approved before God – a workman - need not be ashamed - rightly dividing the word of truth.
“Study:” An affront to many preachers that trust the Holy Spirit to move them when they get to the pulpit! God says “study” - that contradicts the thought that we should just sit back and allow the Spirit to send the message when we get before the people.
We knew of a church that had gone charismatic in the leadership and many of the congregation. The pastors famous line was that he didn’t prepare his messages, that the Spirit gave them to him as he stepped into the pulpit.
Many of the congregation wondered out loud why the Spirit kept giving him the same sermon – he was always preaching on the same subject and seldom changed the content.
Study has the idea of preparation, of gaining knowledge, and finding truth, not sitting on your sofa waiting for the Spirit to do it for you.
This verse also should be an affront to those that prepare a lesson in an hour or so - planning to feed the flock. You don’t prepare most good meals in that short of time, how can you think you can feed a flock on such meager preparation?
There is even another side to study - study does not require two weeks full time to prepare an hour message either. Some believe that they are called to preach and nothing else - study and preach and that is sufficient to the position. Nice job if you can get it, but that much study is way more detail than most flocks have need of.
To show yourself approved before God. Well, now that is a great motivator to study! Do it so that you can stand before God and find approval. The implication seems to be if you don’t study you will not find approval. That has some serious ramifications.
The pastor/teacher that is too busy to prepare properly is not doing the Lord’s will.
A balance - be properly prepared to the work at hand would seem to be the thought. There may be some situations where an hour preparation for a few comments at the end of a children’s program would be appropriate, but and hour for a sermon to feed the flock is not enough to get started in.
Study to show yourself approved – the implication if you don’t study you may not be approved.
Just a few comments further on the lack of proper study. First of all if you don’t prepare properly then your flock is not being properly fed. They are under nourished. They are hungry, they are not getting what they need to exist, they are trying to operate in the world under prepared.
Now that gives a little emphasis for the under preparer - or should.
If there isn’t proper preparation then the preparer is not properly prepared spiritually nor physically for the task at hand. He will not be in a proper frame of reference to do the work that God has called him/her to do.
One further comment on under preparation. There are many that do not know their flock well enough to prepare properly. Some flocks contain new and old believers, people that need milk while others needing meat. The pastor/teacher that feeds everyone milk fails, and one that feeds everyone meat fails. Again, a balance is required.
It is like it is assumed that if there is a person that needs milk, then all will be fed milk. This under nourishes the rest of the flock and should definitely be avoided.
Just another comment or two on study - some of the terms used to describe this word in the lexicons are endeavor, labor, diligence, and exert - not just a quick look, not just a surface scan and most certainly not a fifteen minute preparation for a half hour sermon or study.
A workman – sounds like we are expected to work. What are the characteristics of a workman? Even today.
Doing the work for others.
Rewardless quite often.
Drudgery – boring – day in day our – same – o – same – o.
These qualities may well relate to that study and approval aspect.
“Need not be ashamed.” What a position to be in - to be standing before the Lord and feel shame for that which was done or not done in this life.
I can’t think of a worse scenario for the believer to find himself in. God is the most important part of our lives and to say we serve Him, while not doing our best in His calling will most certainly cause shame. There will be no excuse - no reason for being too busy that will suffice.
“Rightly dividing the word of truth.” This gets back to the original thought of study. You can’t rightly divide the Word if you haven’t studied and prepared.
Can you imagine the chaos I would cause at the local Safeway grocery store if I were to get a job in the butcher’s department – I know nothing about cutting up an animal other than that I might need a knife and a saw. How dare people attempt to rightly divide the Word of God without some study, some preparation?
What does it mean to divide the Word? Some might suggest the division into dispensations - some might suggest the division into covenants etc. but I think there is something else that we need to look at.
It is looking into the text and discovering what it says and what it means. There is the element of dividing truth from falsehood as well. Many have given interpretation of the Word, but not all is truth. Dividing out the false before delivering it to the people is imperative.
I might add that divide does not allow for the concept of stir in. Many stir in things that ought not to be within the confines of a Biblical study. Giving credence to anything that is not clearly taught in Scripture is not dividing, it is multiplying.
Barnes adds a thought that is worth bringing up. He relates dividing as in division of correct proportions to each member under his care. Giving food to each person as they have need. He mentions that some commentators relate this to the division of the sacrifices of the Old Testament into the correct portions.
This should put a lot of weight on the pastors/teachers of our churches!
. "But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness."
Shun, stay away, don’t go for a little snoop – avoid these things.
This would seem to relate to the previous admonition to keep away from those things that lead others to destruction, though this doesn’t reference others - this seems to indicate those involved in these babblings will become more ungodly.
That should give us indication of what the babblings are - if they lead to MORE ungodliness - those involved must already be in ungodliness.
What might profane and vain babblings be? Profane relates to the common or unholy - that which is unhallowed. Vain relates to discussion of vain and useless matters or empty discussion. “Vain babblings” is the translation of a single word “kenophonia” The word phone relates to sound in music as in Saxophone, while in language it relates to a sound that isn’t a part of the whole – any sound that does not communicate any real meaning – ca doesn’t relate much information nor does se, but the two – case – relates an idea. In short vain babblings relates to sound that really has no meaning or words that really have no meaning.
The term increase is used of a blacksmith that heats metal to pound it to flatten and move the metal forward to lengthen it. The term relates to moving forward. If you are ungodly, this discussion will move you forward into more of the same.
Ungodly relates to the lack of reverence to God thus we might assume that these discussions move the participants away from the God of their supposed service and toward a position of lacking respect or honor for Him.
This is not a good thing to be sure. This is a thing to be surely avoided. So, what is it so we can avoid it? Let me suggest what it might be in my mind in this current church climate.
A discussion about whether alcohol is okay for the believer might move those involved into thinking that it is okay and that they will continue drinking - socially of course - and might ultimately end up with a serious problem with alcohol.
It might relate to what some call grey areas. We have the truth of Scripture and we have the falsehood of the Devil but the synthesis of the world has given us grey areas (a mix of truth and false). A discussion in any of these grey areas might lead one into ungodliness.
Remember that these are probably already into ungodliness so they will have a bent toward ungodliness in any of their discussions and conclusions. Their mind will twist the facts to fit their need.
If you are walking with the Lord then there shouldn’t be much chance of you falling into this trap. You will make godly decisions and most likely won’t be part of the discussion, or at least will voice the proper attitude and the ungodly will ignore you.
When we were janitors for a large church I was cleaning up the youth room one Saturday evening and stopped to look at the writing on the blackboard before cleaning it. Written across the top were some titles for the columns. One of the columns was labeled Grey Areas. Under this list were several items such as drinking, music and the last was abortion.
Shocked to the core as a parent I approached the pastor about it. He in turn approached the youth leader that was somewhat embarrassed. He had stuck it there because he had not dealt with it as yet and never did deal with it. He agreed that someone might well have gone away from his class thinking abortion was a grey area.
Basically a lack of thought/preparation had allowed him to possibly have led someone off into areas of belief that were wrong.
"And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;"
Now Paul gets personal - these babblings are like a canker and then he names two men that were cankers. Not sure I would ever want to be called a canker, but these two men have that distinction.
Canker is not even as pleasant as it might sound. It is the term for gangrene, that malady which kills living flesh. If you have serious injury the tissue can start dying and this death if not excised promptly will continue right on its path until the person dies.
This seems to be some serious babbling that Paul is speaking of.
Hymenaeus means “belonging to marriage.” Now, I wouldn’t comment on that if someone begged me to! Philetus means beloved. The meanings do not seem to relate to the lives of the men. Names usually, in the Bible, relate to the qualities of the person - this would indicate that these two have left their appointed life with God.
The lexicon lists Philetus as a disciple of Hymenaeus, but did not list any reference to back this up. From the text I’m not sure if we could determine if one were the leader over the other or if they were cooperating members in their error.
Hymenaeus is mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:19-20 “Holding faith, and a good conscience, which some, having put away concerning faith, have made shipwreck; 20 Of whom are Hymenaus and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Since Philetus is not mentioned here, it might indicate that he is a later addition to the error of Hymenaeus.
The next verse gets into the error of these two, and some translations mention they were part of a group, thus there may have been more than the two.
We see that it is of major doctrinal concern that they have erred - Paul is quite pointed in his pointing out of the error.
Some in the church say we should be respective of diversity, but Paul says when it comes to doctrine you are dealing with gangrene! Not something you cover up and not talk about!
Barnes relates quite well. ““mortification” - the death of a part, spreading, unless arrested, by degrees over the whole body. The words rendered “will eat,” mean “will have nutriment;” that is, will spread over and consume the healthful parts. It will not merely destroy the parts immediately affected, but will extend into the surrounding healthy parts and destroy them also. So it is with erroneous doctrines. They will not merely eat out the truth in the particular matter to which they refer, but they will also spread over and corrupt other truths. The doctrines of religion are closely connected, and are dependent on each other - like the different parts of the human body. One cannot be corrupted without affecting those adjacent to it, and unless checked, the corruption will soon spread over the whole.”
If you think of false doctrine, it usually starts in one small area where there is a divergence from truth. This in turn requires other changes of doctrine to remain consistent with what is believed. From one to the next to the next doctrines will be affected.
He goes on to mention of the cankerous pair “They have gained an undesirable immortality, destined to be known to the end of time only as the advocates of error.”
Gill seems to agree with the thought of the word “canker” “And their word will eat as doth a cancer,.... Or "gangrene", which gnaws and feeds upon the flesh, inflames and mortifies as it goes, and spreads swiftly, and endangers the whole body; and is therefore to be speedily taken notice of, and stopped.”
"Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some."
You might take a look at 2 Cor. 15:12-19 for further information.
Some were suggesting that the resurrection had occurred. This brings up some questions.
1. What resurrection?
a. Christ’s might be suggested but that is required for the Gospel and would not lead people astray.
b. Resurrection of the lost might be suggested though a trip to the market would prove this wrong. Lost man is quite evident even in our day.
c. The resurrection of the children of God seems to be the obvious and only choice.
2. What doctrine might be built on this supposed truth?
It would have to relate to the true believers being gone - maybe that those speaking the falsehood are God’s special emissaries? Maybe, follow what we say or you will be lost? This would give pressure to make the followers want to adhere!
The above is one of the strangle holds most cults use - you can’t reach God without following us.
Possibly along with this line of thought they may have been suggesting that Paul and others with their message were wrong and not to be trusted.
3. Who would perpetrate such a falsehood? We know the men but were they part of a group?
Possibly they were just getting their group started though I’d guess Paul might have mentioned it rather than single out two or three individuals.
4. Why would someone do this? I assume they didn’t one day get out of bed thinking, "I am going to start a false doctrine cult today." I assume that their own minds duped them into buying into the false teaching. Indeed, this may have stemmed directly from some of those false discussions that Paul was dealing with.
This happens even to fundamental Bible believing Christians. The sister of a classmate was approached by two cult members. They used Scripture to spin their finely devised web, and because she was off guard for a few moments one evening, she began what was a several year vacation from reality, Christianity, family, friends and all that is wholesome.
I am sure these two men and if there were others, were products of their minds. They allowed themselves to become entangled with additions and philosophical ramblings loosely based on the Word of God.
My fair warning to the believer is to read a passage, take it for just what it says and no more, apply those truths to your life and walk away. Do not sit for hours contemplating the deeper meaning - if God had wanted us to dig for the deeper things I think He would have told us to do it and given instruction as to how to regulate the product of such scrounging.
One of the respected authors of our day tended to find more truths in a passage than the words would ever allow. He would wring and wring until the verse was dry and then press further trying to find more.
If this Bible is God’s message to us, wouldn’t He have given it to us in a plain package - easy to understand?
5. Are there current isms or movements might have grown out of foolish discussions? I’m not currently aware of any but I’m sure there are some.
Some evidently had bought this and gone astray. It would seem possibly that this new belief system had arisen from getting into discussions about foolish things thus it may have just been an unwise choice in using information.
I see in some of the thinkers of our own day a dangerous move to find something new and exciting from the Word. By this I don’t condemn natural study that produces valid new information.
I have been reading recently that one of the big name preachers of our day has assumed almost God like status in his own mind and in the minds of some of the movement’s leaders.
Example: They look forward to getting to heaven so they can hear this leader tell them “well done thou good and faithful servant.” This group is nearing if not already at cult status! Indeed, many of the ex followers that have been public with their accounts view the movement as a cult that teaches false doctrine.
Beware how you view Scripture - it will bite you doctrinally if you fail to be careful.
We were in a Sunday school class taught by a psychologist that considered himself quite a gift to mankind. He suggested a passage for discussion then told us what the passage said but then proceeded to tell us some of his psychological principles - items that seemed to be possibly valid.
Had he stopped there he would have been okay. He however being the gift that he thought he was proceeded to try to find something new and unique from the passage.
He started trying to screw his psychological principles into the text. As he went along it was obvious to all that the passage was never going to fit the principles. As he tried harder and harder, he pushed himself into more and more trouble.
He never stopped trying even though the students had given up much earlier.
Teach the Word as you find it. Be satisfied to find only that which has been found before by the church fathers. It is good if you find further information, but don’t press so hard that you start finding things that are not there. If you do find something that you feel is new, talk to others about your findings and see if they agree with you.
After 2000 years, I am sure most of the plain truth of the Word has been found, though now and then there are new things that arise - question them and accept if they are valid.
I don’t know for fact, but suspect highly the liberal line of thinking as well as some of the non-traditional thinking of that end of the spectrum comes from the rejection of God’s Word as truth and allowing the introduction of speculation and vain discussions of whatever came along.
It is of note to me that the evangelical and neo-evangelical movement came from a desire to be more user friendly - to be attractive to the lost - however if the polls say anything truthful, the lost have little respect for these movements - thus will probably never listen to the Gospel when preached by an evangelical.
We don’t have to repackage the Gospel to make it user friendly. Making the church acceptable to the world isn’t the answer. Making the church into the church will automatically set us apart from the world. When the Spirit begins to work in the lost person’s life – THEN – they will know where to go to get their answers – to the church that is different from the world. Why would they go to a church that is just like them to gain answers? The polls and logic say they won’t.
The Gospel is God’s, the truth is God’s, I can’t understand why some insist on trying to embellish that which is perfect.
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
God knows them that are His - what a blessing to know! We don’t have to worry about slipping through the cracks - when we are His; we know He will be watching over us.
Linked with this thought is the other side of the coin - ACT LIKE IT! If we are His we ought to depart from sin and act like the children of God that we are, not like the lost that wallow in their sin.
The back side of this is that if you aren’t departing from iniquity and name the name of Christ then one might question if you are truly His. Not that we are to judge and condemn but that we ought to be wise in how we allow people to operate or not operate within the church, our families and our lives.
If we have people in our church that live with some ongoing sin, we must wonder if they are truly His and whether we want them active in our church’s activities - as in teaching etc.
Many churches are so desperate for workers that they call upon those that are not really believers to do the Lord’s work - not wise, not even smart.
2 Timothy 2:20-26
A FAITHFUL SERVANT IS PREPARED
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
The next two verses are very entwined, so lets look at both at once.
"But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work."
Let us just observe some facts from the verses.
1. There are vessels of gold/silver.
2. There are vessels of wood/earth.
3. There are vessels to honour.
4. There are vessels to dishonor.
5. If a person purge from these - he will be a vessel to honour.
6. He will be sanctified.
7. He will be ready for the master’s use.
8. He will be prepared to do every good work.
The question is what are the "these" he is to purge himself from?
The question seems best answered by avoiding the profane and vain babblings of verse sixteen. The text lists vessels and honour/dishonor but nowhere list items to be avoided as sin etc., thus we must need go further back in the context to the babblings.
It might also be suggested that one is to avoid the two men of verse seventeen as well. Both might be the thought of the text.
Most commentaries take this to be talking about the church and the fact that there are some in the church that are worth great amounts to the Lord, and others are worthless to Him.
Relating to the wood and clay vessels, Gill relates these to the ungodly portion of the church. “there are others in a visible church state, who are like to dry wood, destitute of the grace of God, and are fit matter for Satan to work upon, and by them raise and increase the flames of contention and division, and will be fit fuel for everlasting burnings; and there are others who are sensual, and carnal, and worldly, who mind earth, and earthly things, and have no spirituality, nor spiritual mindedness in them:”
Oh, what a reason to give prospective members a good looking over – not just the quick question that elicits a brief testimony, but a good questioning that will show their understanding and acceptance of the Gospel.
I believe Gill’s thought of the text is correct. I do however feel there may be a further application which we will see later. Suffice it to say at this point the context is a comparison of spiritual/worldly if not lost people. This verse shows that some are a dishonor to God – worthless to Him, thus indicating either very off track if not lost people.
It should be clear on which side of the honor situation that the believer should be.
1. What are some of the great church disputes that you personally have lived through?
In our home church there was a great distress between factions relating to what color to paint the doors of the church. The doors were in very poor condition and looked terrible. The pastor finally took it upon himself to go to the paint store and pick out some paint of his choice and paint the doors. He chose a bright purple. At first look it was terrible - upon a second look it was even worse. Finally after a few weeks everyone became used to it and accepted it.
Verses 23-24 speak to the need to avoid strife – as believers we ought to find ways of avoiding strife.
We spoke for a few weeks in a little church where the two deacons had vast differences theologically. When I found this out, I was quite hesitant about teaching/preaching there because one was a total Armenian and the other was a five-point Calvinist. Scripture is quite literally sprinkled with waiting time bombs when you have two men such as these in your congregation.
The first Sunday school class we attended was the test of the relationship between these two men. The teacher read a verse and I knew the eruption was near – I wanted to duck. The Armenian began to talk and presented his totally Armenian position. The Calvinist then began to talk and presented his totally Calvinist view. The teacher moved on after a few brief comments. That was the end of it.
These men knew one another, they knew one another’s doctrine, and they knew this passage – the thought of never causing strife. Both presented their belief and left it there for others to consider – no discussion, no debate, no fighting, no strife. May many others in the church learn what these two men had learned in their walk with the Lord.
2.The question should be raised whether verses 20-21 are speaking of strictly saved/lost or is it on the other hand speaking of the fact that there are people that are worth more by their service, while others are less fruitful in their service. In the phrase “gold of silver” there even is a decline in value. Gold today sells for around three hundred and fifty dollars an ounce while silver sells for around five or six dollars.
I personally feel that this in itself requires us to look at this as declining values, as well as a division of peoples. That some are to honor and some are to dishonor relates to the spiritual/unspiritual or believing/lost side of the issue. It is not clear at this point in my mind whether these are spiritually corrupt believers or plain lost.
There seems to me to be a clear indication that the works/service that the vessel presents is also open to application.
Some would suggest that God isn’t a respecter of persons, and rightly so, but He also will judge us according to our works, not his ability not to respect between persons. The two are different areas of God’s character and justice.
I think also that the very nature of vessels in the house is important - some are of more value than others. When the pastor comes for lunch do we get out the Rubbermaid tubs to eat from or do we get out the best dishes we have? Some vessels are much more used than others and thus are more valuable than others. The clay pots would have been for carrying food and water, the wood vessels for mixing and gold and silver for the serving.
The final thought of proof might be that even a most valued vessel of gold can be used for the most dishonorable of uses while the most base of vessels of clay can be used for most honorable uses if that is all you have to use.
All commentaries I checked hold that the gold/silver relate to the honorable vessels and the wood/clay relate to the dishonorable vessels. Lenski does follow my thought that within the gold/silver there is a decline of value, and within wood/clay there is also a decline of value – he just does not follow through with the obvious that gold to clay also shows a decline of value.
I think there should be a realization that there is a declining of value within the materials picturing a variety of worth of members, and that there is a disparity between honorable/dishonorable as a picture of position within the body (spiritual/unspiritual or saved/unsaved).
The very fact that we will be judged according to our works just as the lost will be judged by their works pictures this variance of value. (See 1 Corinthians 3:12 ff which shows the believers works being tried by fire while Revelation 20:12 shows the lost being judged according to their works.)
There are also some passages that give indication of this truth:
Luke 6:13 “And when it was day, he called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;”
Acts 9:15 Speaks of the special mission God had in mind for Paul.
Scofield mentions in his notes on 1 Peter 5:13, “… the sovereign act of God whereby certain elect persons are chosen for distinctive service for Him….” (Note one on page 1337 of his new reference edition.)
3. Possibly some thought as to what I am not saying. Based on the above one might think that I believe that a pastor or a missionary is more valuable than a custodian.
In the “spiritual” result of the two’s labors, yes the pastor may be more important, however as to the commitment to their labor the custodian may be more valuable than some pastors – depending on the commitment of the two.
In plain English, I don’t want to be one that tries to figure out how God is going to judge us according to our works – it is His place to judge and I am very glad that He is as smart as He is so that He will know how to do His job!
Our title was “A FAITHFUL SERVANT IS PREPARED”, just how is the servant to be prepared according to this passage?
20-21 Free from false doctrine and vain babblings
Be sure he is a sanctified vessel. One set apart to assure God’s purpose
22 Not submitting to youthful lusts
Calling on the Lord out of a pure heart
23 Avoiding foolish questions
Apt to teach
25 Meek in teaching the opposition
Did you notice all the verbs in this text – this servant is also to be active – purge, flee, follow, avoid and be.
May we all be so prepared as this.
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Okay, "flee also youthful lusts" means what in your mind?
The word also lists the youthful lusts on the same plain as false doctrine - quite an important concept for the Christian!
Being young it might be clearer in mind as to what is mentioned, but as we age those lusts tend to seem less important and some may even forget them.
Let me see if I can approach this subject with any semblance of reality at the ripe old age of sixty-three. I seem to have faint recollections of physical lust that seemed to be one of the most important driving forces. Quickly behind that I seem to remember the lust for material things such as cars, neat accessories for the said cars, and maybe a little desire for other toys while desiring a pretty girl to ride in that same car.
In my day car accessories were a good radio or record player and a nice set of rims – nowadays they have great toys to lust after - $40, 000 containers for all the toys available – the GPS, the CD changers, the 1000 watt stereo systems, the televisions, the DVD players and a host of other items. I didn’t know what youthful lust was compared to the possibilities of today.
I seem also to have had a great desire toward matrimony or at least someone to accompany me through those lonesome days.
These items tend to take over the person’s thought life, time and energies.
I suspect Paul is trying to say, don’t allow anything to consume you the way false doctrine can consume you - or the way youthful lusts consume you.
He then gives a list of items to substitute for these two driving forces in the life of the believer. Items that will take ones attention from that which is incorrect.
This is Good. Substitute good habits for the bad. When the doctors told me to stop eating sugar, salt and fats, I didn’t stop eating, I just substituted a good set of eating habits for the old bad ones.
BUT do the following:
Follow righteousness: This would be the opposite of the sin that the other path leads to. Sadly, we can only serve that which is righteous or that which is unrighteous. One leads to honor and the other to dishonor.
That is a choice that each of us must make for ourselves and it is a critical choice that quite possibly dictates the path of our lives.
“Faith” in this verse is the word in Greek that is normally translated faith. It seems to mean confidence in something or assurance of something. Having faith in evolution is having a confidence in the truth of this false teaching, while faith in creationism is a belief that the Word of God is true.
“Charity” is the Greek term agape which is a self-sacrificing love - a love that benefits the object of that love even to the detriment of the one loving.
“Peace” means pretty much what we hold it to mean - peace versus war - peace of assurance of salvation - rest as opposed to turmoil.
“Call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Personally I have noticed I don’t call on Him much when my heart isn’t pure so I can know if I am praying I must be on His ground rather than my own.
"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes."
Just what are foolish and unlearned questions that we should avoid? Some would suggest a question like "How many angels can stand on the head of a pin?" I would feel comfortable using the question to begin a discussion on the character of angels, though I would not dwell on the question for long.
If, on the other hand, you allow a discussion on the question to continue, you could consume a large amount of time, and most likely sooner or later would introduce friction and strife to the group.
I used to open a class hour to discuss the Sons of God/daughters of men issue in the Old Testament. I did it so that the class could see all sides of the question and learn how to gather facts and present an argument. It normally went well, however one morning I had two women that were certain they were the dominant force in the class to be reckoned with and they caused quite a disturbance to the usually smooth discussion.
A person bent on strife will introduce it no matter the topic, but most certainly if the question has little value to begin with.
The second phrase assumes that the person knows about the result of these sorts of questions - they know they bring strife amongst the brethren.
Anyone knowingly introducing strife into a church is in question as to wisdom as well as motivation.
This is one reason many pastors, when contemplating the newcomers for church membership, call the old pastor first to see if there was trouble. If there was a problem many pastors ask the prospective member to return to settle their business at their old church before going forward with membership.
You don’t need to accept troublemakers into your assembly - you will have enough problems without them most likely.
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient,"
Now, Paul didn’t have to put that verse in at this point. In the illustration with the two ladies just above, I am afraid I wasn’t as gentle and patient as I could have been, though. On the other hand the teacher must control the class – in this instance a visitor to the class was attempting to dominate the discussion toward her opinion distracting from the class.
When questions leading nowhere come up the teacher must gently move the class onto other things.
The teacher is there to teach, not strive. Years ago a pastor, after introducing some questionable topics in his message, made the mistake of asking if there were any questions. The result after a few minutes was that one of his deacons was on his feet and the two were hollering at one another about the validity of the pastors comments.
Neither was gentle and patient, but the pastor should have been the stronger and done better with the situation. This is TERRIBLY hard for a pastor or teacher. You must be very careful in how you handle such situations.
You may find in some situations where someone is becoming obnoxious, it is best to stop the discussion and move on. If you are not allowed to move on then possibly a well thought out and well-placed comment should be made - something that brings the troublemaker up short. This is as a last resort only.
In a Sunday school class a woman was taking exception to her perceived answer to a question I had asked. She was totally obnoxious in her comments and her body language/color of her face indicated something close to rage. I made my intent quite clear and she insisted in rude comments. Finally I just quietly said that we really needed to move on and that I was sure she understood what I was getting at - the entire class was very clear in what I said and knew she was way out of line. She finally ceased her ranting.
“Apt to teach” Have you ever sat in a class or message where everything said sounded Biblical but just wasn’t quite fitting the passage used? Apt to teach indicates ability and desire to teach yet many in our churches can’t or won’t take time to properly prepare. Often the problem with this not fitting is the failure to look at the context of the passage used.
Years ago a pastor had us turn to 1 Corinthians 16:2 and taught for half an hour on why we should give like mad right now – today – Christ could come at any moment and we don’t want to take an offering after Christ gets here to pay the church bills. The context clearly is speaking of Paul coming not Christ. Not to speak of the context being a giving to help a struggling church elsewhere, not local church needs.
"In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;"
This gives indication that this is a little more than just disagreeing over the interpretation of a passage. The person is called to repentance and acknowledging truth.
These are opposing themselves - their beliefs are counter to their good condition. They are believing things which will lead them into hurtful living - these are to be gently taught the error of what they believe.
Know that there may be some that will not accept the truth and that will continue on to their own detriment.
Many years ago I met a young seminarian that was one of the men that really affected my spiritual life. A number of years later I learned that he had read a book that had really cast doubts into his beliefs. His professors worked with him at great length attempting to draw him back to truth, but he refused to be budged in his error. He finally dropped out of school and enrolled in a liberal seminary.
The result is up to God - we are to gently teach truth.
"And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
Again, it is clear that these are some serious questions that lead to destruction.
This reinforces what has already been said - it is up to God and the person to extract themselves from their wayward way, the teacher’s responsibility is to teach the truth.
Truth is the only antidote to false teaching and even it must be accepted for it to be effective.
Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany