990.) 2 Timothy 4

February 15, 2013

2Tim4 fought finished

2 Timothy 4   (NIV)

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

Paul uses strong legal language here — “charge” meaning to testify under oath, and with Christ as Judge.  Paul is saying, Timothy, what I am about to say is extremely important!

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

Paul’s emphasis on the word of God has been constant. There are some 36 references to the true gospel in this letter and some 17 references to false teachings. This constant emphasis makes Paul’s point clear to Timothy:

Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord (2 Timothy 1:8)

Hold fast the pattern of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13)

The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men (2 Timothy 2:2)

Rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

A servant of the Lord must be . . . able to teach (2 Timothy 2:24)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16)

–David Guzik

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Adam Clarke (British Methodist theologian and writer of a biblical commentary, died 1832) on “itching ears” — “Endless curiosity, an insatiable desire of variety; and they get their ears tickled with the language and accent of the person, abandoning the good and faithful preacher for the fine speaker.”

They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2Tim4 crown

In Paul’s day winners in the world of sports received a crown of olive or ivy leaves that soon withered and died. But the crown for God’s people lasts forever (1 Corinthians 9:25, 1 Peter 5:4).

We are promised the crown of life if we will endure temptation (James 1:12).

Some people wonder if we will walk around heaven with crowns on, and everyone will notice who has the bigger and better crowns. But in Revelation 4:10, the elders surrounding the throne of God take their crowns and cast them before Jesus — giving any trophy they have received right back to Jesus.

–David Guzik

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Music:

How gladly Paul anticipated meeting Jesus!  The same man who callously watched as Stephen gave his life for the Lord, soon is himself a martyr for the faith.  And Jesus is worthy of every sacrifice we could ever make for him.

HERE  Fernando Ortega sings his version of “Crown Him with Many Crowns.”

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Personal Remarks

Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me.

Luke, who had traveled with Paul on many of his missionary journeys, remained with Paul. Everyone else was gone. This was a significant contrast to Paul’s first Roman imprisonment years before, where he received many visitors (see Acts 28:30-31).

Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

2Tim4 Prison_Mamertine

Paul’s imprisonment in the Mamertine prison (a bleak building, interior shown above, still standing in Rome, built 100 years before Paul’s imprisonment for political enemies of Rome) lasted until he was beheaded under Nero outside Rome’s Ostian Gate at a place called “Three Fountains.”  He was martyred in the aftermath of the great fires that swept Rome in A.D. 64 — which Nero, in some manner, tried to blame on Christians. According to some traditions, Paul was beheaded on the same day Peter was crucified upside-down. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, he could not legally be crucified.

Final Greetings

19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.

Paul - Signature

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New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
fought, finished, kept.    http://www.christiancards.net/card_images/7184.jpg
crown of righteousness.    http://www.365promises.com/picture/29junp180ba800x600.jpg?pictureId=5606776&asGalleryImage=true
interior of Mamertine Prison.    http://www.biblelieux.com/images/Prison_Mamertine,_secteur_d_ecriture_et_porte,_tbq112102.jpg
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989.) 2 Timothy 3

February 14, 2013

2Tim3 16-17

2 Timothy 3   (NIV)

The Coming Apostasy

It has often been pointed out that the list of sins that follows is very similar to the description of the ungodly heathen in Romans 1.  The remarkable thing is that these very conditions will characterize professing believers in the last days.  How solemn this is!

–William MacDonald

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves (egotistical), lovers of money (greedy), boastful (braggarts), proud (over-bearing), abusive (insulting), disobedient to their parents (uncontrolled), ungrateful (lacking in appreciation), unholy (holding nothing sacred), without love (hard-hearted), unforgiving (refusing to make peace), slanderous (spreading false reports), without self-control (dissolute), brutal (unprincipled), not lovers of the good (lovers of evil), treacherous (betrayers), rash (headstrong), conceited (haughty), lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

“It is a fearful portrayal of an apostate Christendom, a new paganism masquerading under the name of Christianity.”

–D. Edmond Heibert

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Jannes and Jambres:  Though they were not named for us in the Exodus account, these two men are the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses before Pharaoh (Exodus 7:8-13; Exodus 7:19-23; Exodus 8:5-7; Exodus 8:16-19).

These men were able to work real miracles — not mere parlor tricks — but by the power of darkness and not the power of God. When Moses cast down his rod and it turned into a serpent, Jannes and Jambres could do the same. When he turned water into blood, they could do the same. When Moses brought forth a plague of frogs, Jannes and Jambres could do the same. Yet eventually they could not match God miracle-for-miracle, and their occult powers were shown to be inferior to God’s power.

–David Guzik

A Final Charge to Timothy

10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured.

At Antioch,  Paul was kicked out of the city for preaching the gospel (Acts 13:50).

At Iconium,  Paul was almost executed by stoning (Acts 14:5).

At Lystra, they actually did stone Paul and leave him for dead (Acts 14:19).

Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2Tim3 Bible

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Music:

What strength and comfort we find in the Bible!  I am sharing a song about Scripture, even though the English teacher part of me hates the way it uses the verb “impart” without an object — impart WHAT?! — but enough of my neurosis!   HERE  is Michael W. Smith and “Ancient Words.”

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New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
v.16-17.    http://evolvingcreation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2timothy3_16-17.jpg
The Bible.    http://ferrierinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/biblegodiswithyou.jpg

988.) 2 Timothy 2

February 13, 2013

2Tim2 study

2 Timothy 2   (NIV)

The Appeal Renewed

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

There is nothing that can make us as strong as saying, “I am a child of God in Jesus Christ” and “I have the love and favor of God even though I don’t deserve it.” That is the strength that comes by grace.

Paul knew what it was like to receive the strength of God’s grace, as he explained in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 — And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. He could encourage Timothy like this from his own life experience.

–David Guzik

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.

2Tim2 soldier_

The solider who stops fighting before the battle is finished will never see victory.

Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.

2Tim2 athlete

The athlete who stops running before the race is over will never win the race.

The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

2Tim2 farmer

The farmer who stops working before the harvest is complete will never see the fruit of his crops.

Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.

The Bible has been attacked more than any other book through history. It has been burned, banned, mocked, twisted, and ignored – but the word of God still stands forever. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).

10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

Dealing With False Teachers

14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

“Swords are meant to cut and hack, and wound, and kill with, and the word of truth is for pricking men in the heart and killing their sins. The word of God is not committed to God’s ministers to amuse men with its glitter, nor to charm them with the jewels in its hilt, but to conquer their souls for Jesus.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

2Tim2 garbage-can

Some of these vessels are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay.  Some are used on occasions of great honor (the gold and silver vessels), and some are used for dishonor–such as a garbage can or an ashtray.  The latter things are the things of dishonor mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:20.  If we cleanse ourselves from dishonorable things, God will regard us as vessels of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

2Tim2 gentleness

from Streams in the Desert, for June 11

“The servant of the Lord must…be gentle.” (2 Tim 2:24)

When God finally conquers us and changes our unyielding nature, we receive deep insights into the Spirit of Jesus.  Then, as never before, we see His extraordinary gentleness of spirit at work in this dark and unheavenly world.  Yet the gifts of “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22) do not automatically become evident in our lives.  If we are not discerning enough to recognize their availability to us, to desire them, and then to nourish them in our thoughts, they will never become embedded in our nature of behavior.  Every further step of spiritual growth in God’s grace must be preceded by acknowledging our lack of Godly attribute and then by exhibiting a prayerful determination to obtain it.

However, very few Christians are willing to endure the suffering through which complete gentleness is obtained.  We must die to ourselves before we are turned into gentleness, and our crucifixion involves suffering.  It will mean experiencing genuine brokenness and a crushing of self, which will be used to afflict the heart and conquer the mind.

Today many people are attempting to use their mental capacity and logical thinking to obtain sanctification (ie. Chist-likeness), yet this is nothing but a religious fabrication.  They believe that if they just mentally put themselves on the altar and believe the altar provides the gift of sanctification, they can then logically conclude they are fully sanctified.  Then they go happily on their way, expressing their flippant, theological babble about the “deep” things of God.

Yet the heartstrings of the old nature have not been broken, and their unyielding character, which they inherited from Adam, has not been ground to powder.  Their soul has not throbbed with the lonely, gushing groans of Gethsemane.  Having no scars from their death on Calvary, they will exhibit nothing of the soft, sweet, gentle, restful, victorious, overflowing, and triumphant life that flows like a spring morning from an empty tomb.

25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

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Music:

2 Timothy 2:11-13 is thought to be a fragment of an early Christian hymn.  I love that last thought:  if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.   Always, God is faithful.   HERE  are these verses put to song.

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New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Study, with candle.     http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/ecards/scripture-cards/2-timothy-2-15-550×320.jpg
Study, with boy.    http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/188/6/4/2_Timothy_2_15_by_Taikenzor.png
soldier.    http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00528/soldier_280_528877a.jpg
runners.    http://www.northwestmilitary.com/installations/military-life/2012/01/JBLM-race-calendar-takes-on-new-look/uploads/articles/17323-banner-race.jpg
farmer.     http://imgc.artprintimages.com/images/art-print/gary-smith-gardener-harvesting-summer-vegetables-from-raised-bed-vegetable-plots-uk_i-G-37-3783-SY8IF00Z.jpg
garbage can.   http://www.dirtyandthirty.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/garbage-can1.jpg
gentleness.    http://www.emblibrary.com/EL/product_images/K1437.jpg

987.) 2 Timothy 1

February 12, 2013

2Tim1 plsm

2 Timothy 1   (NIV)

The last words of famous people are generally cherished by those who loved the individuals.  While 2 Timothy does not constitute literally Paul’s last words, it is his last known writing to the Christians, originally sent to his beloved young lieutenant, Timothy.

Sitting in his dank dungeon in Rome, with only a hole in the ceiling for light, and awaiting execution by beheading, the spiritual, intelligent, and tender-hearted apostle, now aged and worn out from his long and arduous race for God, pens a final appeal to hold firmly to the truth and life that Timothy has been taught.

–William MacDonald

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my dear son:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thanksgiving

I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Timothy and his family came from the ancient city of Lystra, where Paul visited on his first missionary journey. When Paul and Barnabas were there, God used Paul to miraculously heal a crippled man–and the people of the city began to praise Paul and Barnabas as Greek gods from Olympus, and started to sacrifice a bull to them! Paul barely restrained them from doing so, and soon enemies of the gospel had turned the crowd against Paul, so they cast Paul out of the city and stoned him. But God miraculously preserved Paul’s life, and he carried on (Acts 14).

On Paul’s second missionary journey, he came again to Lystra–and there met a young man who had come to Jesus, and was devoted to serving the Lord. This young man was Timothy, and he is described as having a mother who believed, but his father was Greek (Acts 16:1).

So, Timothy’s mother and grandmother were believers, but his father was not (at least not at first). In the Roman world, fathers had absolute authority over the family, and since Timothy’s father was not a Christian, his home situation was less than ideal (though not necessarily terrible). But his mother and grandmother either led him to Jesus or grounded him in the faith! God wants to use parents and grandparents to pass on an eternal legacy to their children and grandchildren!

When Paul left Lystra, he took Timothy with him–and this began a mentor-learner relationship that touched the whole world.

–David Guzik

Appeal for Loyalty to Paul and the Gospel

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

2Tim1 plsd

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

“‘Know thyself,’ said the heathen philosopher; that is well, but that knowledge may only lead a man to hell.  ‘Know Christ,’ says the Christian philosopher, ‘know him, and then you shall know yourself,’ and this shall certainly lead you to heaven, for the knowledge of Christ Jesus is saving knowledge.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

FREE TO LET YOU WIN

Jesus Christ can set you free from having to have the last word!  We have all experienced the incredible desire to walk out after lambasting another person with a brilliant and stinging finale to our argument.  This is a classic pitfall for husbands and wives.  Why must we have the last word?  It is actually not a sign of strength but of great and profound insecurity.  We refuse to look less than the best because if we do, our self-esteem plummets.  It is a marvelous thing when we become so free that we do not have to win in every situation.  We cannot be free, truly free, until we can lose without losing our own self-respect.

All human relationships have a built-in rivalry.  God lets it stay there so we can learn how to lose–whether the victor wins justly or unjustly.  He want us to reach the place where we do not have to come out on top every time and we do not have to have the last word.  We can face defeat without being shattered by it.

Examples of Disloyalty and Loyalty

15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.

When you read “Asia” in the New Testament, it doesn’t mean the Far Eastern continent as it does today; it means the Roman province of Asia, which today would mostly be Turkey.

16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.

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Music:

An old Bible chorus, 2 Timothy 1:12, from my childhood — click  HERE.

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New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
power, love, and a sound mind.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tfg8kp6RmiI/UIipF9Y9BUI/AAAAAAAAOYA/OJSl91dq8p0/s1600/2_Timothy_1_7wallpaper.jpg
power, love, and self-discipline.    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lqjytohhvH1qe4sw0o1_500.jpg