The Church’s Gospel (2 Timothy 1)

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Difference between vacation and sabbath.

  • For most people, vacation means you return home more broke and more tired.
  • Sabbath means you find rest… divert daily / withdraw weekly / sabbath systematically

 

I have to admit; our recent trip was a bit of both vacation and sabbath.

  • We had experiences that cost, but also relational experiences that enriched us individually and as family.

 

Today we approach a text that is relational enriching.

 

1 & 2 Timothy (Titus)

  • Known as Pastoral letters bc while they are written to a church (Ephesus), they are more specifically personal letters from Paul to a pastor – two to Timothy, and then one to Titus.

 

Books of Bible… it’s what we do, and we add to our tool belt.

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EXAMINE           2 Timothy 1:1-2:13                The Church’s Gospel

2Timothy Background

  • Healthy Church

Paul wrote a first letter to Timothy concerning the church. Issues addressed were: the church’s character, leadership, credibility, and its pursuit in the faith.
– – – What do you look for in a church? Sound Doctrine of first importance, then felt needs.

 

  • Healthy leaders

Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy concerning the church’s pastor, directly to Timothy. So, this letter is very personal (“my beloved child”), and it’s also his last letter.

  • Paul & Timothy (Acts 16… mentor, mission, suffer, and legacy)
  • Paul on trial in jail cell, expecting to be executed.
    • “do not be ashamed of me – the Lord’s prisoner… suffering in chains” (2Tim 1:8, 16)
    • “At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me” (2Tim 4:16)
    • “I am being poured out as a drink offering and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing.” (2Tim 4:6-8).
  • Paul weathered & leathered –
    • Old: Paul is in his late 60’s and this is his last later, but he’s still writing, working, praying, and persevering.
    • Cold: “bring the cloak that I left at Troas… Do your best to come before winter” (2Tim 4:13, 21)
    • aching body from persecutions: “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm (2Tim 4:14). Paul bared marks all over his body (Gal 6)
    • physical hunger (Php 4),
    • alone:
      • Phygelus and Hermogenes turned away from me (2Tim 1:15)
      • “Demas has deserted me, Crescens gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia… Tychicus sent to Ephesus” (2Tim 4:10, 12)
      • but Luke was with him and asked Tim to “get Mark and bring him with you for he is very useful to me for ministry” (2Tim 4:11)
      • “above all bring the parchments/books” (2Tim 4:13). Books comfort & sustain!
    • but not abandoned by God (1:8; 1:16; 4:16-18). His sentence has received temporary rescue from the lion’s mouth but he expects execution (4:6-8).
  • Paul tethered to the gospel. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus”

 

 

  • Healthy Growth
    Paul is coaching & commanding Timothy not just how to be a pastor but how to grow godly generations. He instructs Timothy to fan the flame God’s gift (2Tim 1:6) and not just guard but give the gospel (2Tim 2:2).

 

Paul has great emphasis on the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is unashamed and unrelenting to testify of Jesus Christ as God, Lord, and Savior. The gospel is of first importance and we see 8 blessings we receive from it.

  • One generation receives
  • Next gen assumes
  • Next gen avoids gospel because it did not appear a priority.

 

  1. The gospel is a promise from God (1:1).

Paul was an apostle by the will of God and according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus. Previously, Paul was guilty of death and murdering Christians. But God had a new plan and promise for Paul. And God has a purpose for your life too… a promise of life.

  • Who’s made a promise before… who’s broken a promise before?
  • The world promises to please but fails to fulfill; only God’s promises prevail.
  • Satan promises best but pays the worst, promises pleasure but pays pain, promises gain but pays drain, promises life but pays death.
    • God’s promise is a pull on your heart & life, just like a fish pulling on line – can’t see but believe.
  • Tis So Sweet: “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus; Just to take Him at His word; Just to rest upon His promise, And to know ‘Thus saith the Lord”
  • Amazing Grace: “The Lord has promised good to me; His word my hope secures”
  • Husband took $20 from each paycheck entire life and placed under mattress. Before he died he told his wife
    to take $ and place in his casket. Wife promised she would, so she deposited the thousands in bank, wrote a check and placed it in the casket 🙂

    • Too often Christians are sitting on the church premises when they should be standing on Christ’s promises (Vance Havner).

 

  • Identify a promise of God in the Bible, print on card and review it in prayer daily for 1 week. See how your perspective changes and faith grows.

 

  1. The gospel gives grace, mercy, and peace from God (1:2).

Paul’s introductory letter writing is not inconsequential. He’s writing a summary benefits of the gospel.

  • Grace for the guilty.
    • We often think about grace to forgive sin. Paul is likely thinking similarly but also more. He’s chained to Roman guard in a jail cell with no hope of being set free. So, Paul is probably also thinking of grace that sustains the guilty, and helps us to persevere.
  • Mercy for the weak.
  • Peace for the restless.
    • Again, Paul alone in a jail cell has much time to be with his thoughts. If I were Paul, I’d likely not mention this trio of treasure, but an unholy trinity of complaint: anger, bitterness, covetousness.
    • One of the ways he copes is by reflecting on God’s peace and then working them out through writing and relating to those whom he loves. This is a lesson for us too.

 

  • Write out worries on one side of paper and in days/weeks to come write a prayer or promise from God.

 

  1. The gospel enables a clear conscience (1:3).

Paul knows what its like to feel guilty and to feel forgiven with a clear conscience.

  • Weight removed (cf. Psalm 32).
  • A clear conscience is a happy heart, giving freedom from past and focus in your future.
  • Keep short accounts; confess sins to one another for healing (James 5:16).

 

  1. The gospel equips with a Presence and powerful spiritual gift (1:6-7).

Paul recalls Timothy’s introduction to faith from his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice. The Presence of God filled and dwelled in Timothy, and Paul wanted that Spirit to be fan into flame. Further, Paul describes the Spirit as one “not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”

 

Timothy appears to be dwindling and getting discouraged from the setbacks in the Ephesian church. But, Paul encourages him to stay focused and faithful.

 

  • Recall who laid hands of prayer over you in your salvation & spiritual growth.
  • Recall godly family members who influenced you.
    • Parents, don’t underestimate time teaching Scriptures.
      • Steph to daughter who wants to be a missionary: “Your siblings are your mission field.”
      • Your home is your first mission trip.
    • You may not have a Paul (or Patricia) or godly parent, but you can have the Spirit of God. Don’t make excuses for your lack of spiritual growth – power, love, and self-control (discipline).

 

  1. The gospel sustains us in suffering (1:8).

Paul also encouraged Timothy to not be ashamed of suffering. Perhaps Timothy was being persecuted as a pastor – congregation being a little rough on the young pastor (not first or last). Nonetheless, Paul exhorted Timothy to share in the sufferings of his and of the Lord Jesus. We are in good company when we suffer for the gospel (Mat 5:10-12; Jn 15:18-20; 1Pet 3:13-17).

 

  • God allows heat bc He wants us well done on the inside and not just on outside.
  • External pressure must be matched by an inward presence (Rom 8).
  • God often allows your suffering so you can support others (2Cor 1:3).
    • Chartridge swim practice boy had to do pushups for not touching wall two handed. He whined about the punishment but his friends said, “We’ll do with you.” That’s a picture of the church!

 

  • Instead of “God, why me?” ask “God, who else?” Look to turn your troubles into testimonies.

 

  1. The gospel saves us and calls us toward holiness (1:9, 13-14).

Paul is often reminding us salvation is from sin and the sentence of death AND to holiness and the heart of God. Holiness does not come from our own works but from the working of grace in us through Christ.

 

Think about Paul: faith transformation, powerful evangelist & miracle worker, remarkable missionary, effective prayer warrior, wise mentor, and supporting friend. He even wrote 13 books of the Bible. But Paul’s call to holiness is humility in the grace of God. He tells Timothy to follow the pattern of sounds words heard from him that originally came from faith and love in Christ and the Holy Spirit of God (1:13-14).

 

  • The way to be holy is to be humble. Admit that “apart from God, I can do nothing” (John 15:5).
  • “us” Another way for holiness is through harmony with God’s people. We stir each other up to good works (Heb 10:24-25), obey one another’s of God’s commands as God uses His people to sanctify us.

 

  1. The gospel abolishes death and brings life and immortality to light (1:10-12).

Paul proclaims the cosmic impact of the gospel to abolish (render inoperable) death and bring life and immortality to light. Death stings but the resurrection of Jesus means death is now the one arrested.

 

Farmers burn fields to remove old straw and to burn up plants that will produce rich nutrients in the soil for future planting. Another reason farmers may burn fields is to protect it from incoming fires; where saying “fight fire with fire.” The fire burns around the previously burnt fire because it lacks a new fuel source.

Likewise, Jesus was burned for us so that we will never have to eternally burn. There is nothing we can do but to stand behind the protection of His scars.

 

  • Like Paul possibly gave gospel to Lois & Eunice… you’re not too old/late.
    • @Brightview, we cannot deliver from death but we can dilute its power through faith in Christ.
  • Like Paul with Timothy… you’re often not too young to know, grow and be used by God.
  • #WhosYour1

 

  1. The gospel creates relational boundaries and disappointments (1:15), but also refreshes us with a faithful community of friends (1:16-18).

Lastly, Paul remains vulnerable. He shares highs and heartbreaks: “all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.”  

 

  • In life & ministry, I’ve learned not everyone who starts with you will sustain with you. Some will leave, others will deceive and betray. Jesus had a Judas, and Paul had many defectors.
    • Knowing this doesn’t lessen the surprise or pain.
    • Knowing this means you love those who love and you pray for those who fail.
    • Paul wasn’t afraid to name names. One of the ways you can stop unhealthy criticizers is by confronting them and calling them out before everyone; bring light to the darkness.
      • Avoid unhealthy criticism by asking, “What would you do in my circumstances?”
        • Can’t be a judge and a witness at same time, many need to come down from the seat of judgment, bc there’s only One worthy to sit on that bench.
      • Avoid gossip by asking, “Can I quote you on that?” If no, then cease the chatterbox.
      • Avoid griping by asking, “Is this a 1st or 3rd world problem?” Griping declines with gratitude.
    • In the end, the gospel of Jesus guides us to create boundaries with some people.

 

Paul was grateful for “Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.”

  • There are basement people and then there are balcony friends – one’s who take you up not down.
  • Onesiphorus refreshed – breathed new life, gave wind in sails to Paul. He searched earnestly for Paul just to be with him.
    • When you walk into room do people go “Ahhh” or “Ohhh”?
    • Onesiphorus didn’t know Paul would write his name, but his legacy lives bc that was his consistent character.
    • Onesiphorus didn’t let Paul’s chains hinder him from speaking hope into his circumstances.
      • There are some people who are behind bars and we are intimidated by their present prison & pain. But God calls us to look beyond what we can see and voice faith, hope, and love.

 

  • Who is someone in your life you need to search and refresh them?
  • Know the Lord is searching for those behind bars

 

APPLY/THINK

If you were near the end of your life, how would you spend it?

Paul spends his last days with a simple act of writing a letter… it’s simple acts that change the world.

  • What simple act of faith and obedience is God calling you?

 

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