Saturday, February 07, 2009
2 Timothy 1 How to Keep En- Couraged
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy,5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Paul is in the Mamertine Prison (also referred to as the Tullianum) was a prison (carcer) located in the Forum Romanum in Ancient Rome in Rome awaiting execution. The Prison was constructed around 640-616 BC, by Ancus Marcius. It was originally created as a cistern for a spring in the floor of the second lower level (there were two, the lower of which was where prisoners were kept by lowering them through the floor of the upper room), but eventually a passage between the cistern drain and the Cloaca Maxima was constructed, reputedly for flushing out dead bodies.
Typically, only higher profile prisoners were kept in the prison, usually foreign commanders who were defeated and became the centerpiece in a Roman triumphant procession. They usually remained incarcerated until they were paraded and strangled in public, unless they happened to die of natural causes first (Roman law did not recognize imprisonment itself as punishment).
He needs encouragement, but instead sees the necessity of encouraging Timothy. It is the picture of the old Soldier encouraging the young soldier.
Here Paul faces death, and there are some things that Paul knows will sustain Timothy through whatever Timothy needs to go through. Paul’s counsel is only good for a Christian. And his counsel is good for you and I whatever stresses and trials we suffer. I am convinced you have a sincere faith.
I was encouraged by Barry Kidson recently. We talked of times when Lorelle and I were under threat of our lives for assisting with information that lead to the arrest of several drug dealers. I reminded Barry that in those times I had stood inside the door of our house with a good sized cricket bat, knowing it wouldn’t do much good against the hand guns and other weapons that the man who was insane enough t vow to kill me would be carrying. I then elaborated to him that I felt greater degrees of depression with our current situation than I had with those situations. Barry encouraged me by saying, “Then you were only worried about your physical life. Today your character and reputation and ministry are under attack. There is more under attack today than then.”
Perhaps that is why Timothy needed the encouragements.
Paul does encourage him. He reminds Timothy of several truths that will undergird and strengthen his soul… Do you need spiritual strength today? Are there some crises you are facing that threaten to swallow you up?
Are there pressures upon you that are simply overwhelming?
John Hunter in his book ‘Knowing God's Secrets' writes: "Medical science now recognizes that between 60 and 90% of our sicknesses are caused by such emotions as fear, sorrow, envy, resentment, hatred."
You may be like one fellow I heard about. He was called Farmer Joe. He had been involved in an accident and decided his injuries from the accident were serious enough to take the trucking company to court. In court the trucking company's fancy lawyer was questioning farmer Joe. "Didn't you say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine,'", said the lawyer.
Farmer Joe responded, "Well I'll tell you what happened. I had just loaded my favourite mule Bessie into the......." The lawyer interrupted, "I didn't ask for any details, just answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine!'" Farmer Joe said, "Well I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road..."
The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question."
By this time the Judge was fairly interested in Farmer Joe's answer and said to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favourite mule Bessie." Joe thanked the Judge and proceeded, "Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favourite mule, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side. I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other.
I was hurting real bad and didn't want to move. However, I could hear ole Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans. Shortly after the accident a Highway Patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her. After he looked at her he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then the Patrolman came across the road with his gun in his hand and looked at me. He said, "Your mule was in such bad shape I had to shoot her. How are you feeling?"
1. Remember Who Is In Control
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. Sometimes you have to look at the things that are happening in your life, and recognise the Sovereign hand of the Lord in the them. Sometimes it is by God’s will that we are in difficult predicaments. Paul was in the Mamertine Prison because this was God’s Will.
Sometimes people like Timothy will be distressed and depressed. And yet this is part of God’s Sovereign will for their lives.
2 Timothy 1:4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. [NIV]
Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. [NIV]
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. [NIV]
2 Corinthians 2:4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. [NIV]
2) Sometimes you will go through Spiritual Dry Spells.
2 Timothy 1:6 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. [NIV]
1 Timothy 4:14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. [NIV]
1 Peter 5:2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; [NIV]
2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. [NIV] 1 Corinthians 2:3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. [NIV]
2 Corinthians 7:5 For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn--conflicts on the outside, fears within. [NIV]
4) Sometimes you will be embarrassed to Share your Faith.
2 Timothy 1:8-9 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,  who 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, [NIV]
2 Timothy 1:12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. [NIV]
Romans 1:14-17 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.  That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.  I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.  For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." [NIV]
Luke 9:26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. [NIV]
5) Sometimes you will lose the Battle.
2 Timothy 1:15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. [NIV]
2 Timothy 4:16-18 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.  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.  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. [NIV]
2 Timothy 3:13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But recognise that all of this comes to you in God’s Sovereign will.
Romans 8:28 still says We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.
2. Remember Who Saved You according to the promise of life which is in Christ
In Titus 1 Paul says something similar. Paul, a slave of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, 2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
This purpose to save was predetermined before the fall, before time began.
And then it was promised from the time of that fall.
Genesis 3:14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. 15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
Eternal God, Thy love is great and deeper far than mortal mind; when on our need we contemplate A rich supply of grace we find Thy majesty beyond compare is seen within Thy tender care From hearts of praise this cry we raise, How great how great is Thy love How great is Thy love.
When mankind chose the shades of night thou art the One who saw Him fall thy love so kind so fill of light began each erring one to call Through prophets old we saw Thee trace The path o death that holy place From hearts of praise this cry we raise, How great how great is Thy love How great is Thy love.
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Grace is what God gives us that we do not deserve -- all the fullness of blessing that is ours without any effort whatsoever on our part. Grace consists of, for one thing, the forgiveness of our sins. What a marvelous thing that is! The older I grow the more I value this great gift of the gospel -- the forgiveness of sins, the lifting of the guilt of life. There is false guilt in our lives, I know. The enemy is quick to try to make us feel guilty about things we ought not feel guilty about. But there is also a very great load of true guilt for things we have done, for the loveless attitudes, the hurtful, hateful, shameful actions we have indulged in, the rebellious, defiant attitudes and actions that have hurt many. But the glorious word of the gospel is that, because of the death of Jesus as our substitute, God is rendered free to lift the load of that guilt and to not hold our transgressions against us.
Then there is the consciousness of God's love and presence, not only to forgive us, but to welcome us. In the gospel we feel ourselves welcomed home like the prodigal son, with a Father's arms about us, a Father's loving concern for us, and a Father's welcome in his heart.
Then there is mercy. The difference between mercy and grace is that grace gives us what we do not deserve, while mercy withholds what we do deserve. It is God's mercy which tempers the trials of our lives and adjusts them to our weakness of faith and flesh.
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father." Peace is that inner sense of well-being when you realize that, no matter how dark it may look, there is a way through the trial that Jesus himself is with you and will go through it with you that he is totally in control of the event. "This is the great 'shalom' of God," the inner calm that keeps you panic proof. Are you panic-proof? Have you learned that God is in charge, that the circumstances that come are of his permitting, that he is going to see you through and it will come out to blessing?
3. Remember Who Pointed you To Christ
5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
Paul is writing to timothy of his mother and his grandmother’;s faith. Paul is writing in about 64 AD.
Timothy’s mother and grandmother must have become Christians in the first breath of God’s Spirit upon the land of Palestine. Perhaps they were eyewitnesses of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Perhaps they had suffered much. Timothy has come to know the Lord in a place called Acts 16 1 Then he went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him.
Acts 14:1 The same thing happened in Iconium; they entered the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against the brothers. 3 So they stayed there for some time and spoke boldly, in reliance on the Lord, who testified to the message of His grace by granting that signs and wonders be performed through them. 4 But the people of the city were divided, some siding with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5 When an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to assault and stone them, 6 they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian towns called Lystra and Derbe, and to the surrounding countryside. 7 And there they kept evangelizing.
Paul is nearly stoned to death in Lystra.
These believers would have suffered much for the sake of the gospel. Paul is reminding Timothy of the steadfastness of his family’s faith, in spite of physical persecutions.
Do you need to look back to your forebears in the faith to see their courage in the midst of terror?
To read of the courage of faithful believers in times of persecution is a reminder of the courage we should have in difficult times. I am encouraged when I read of how Sir Francis Drake preached the gospel from probably a Baptist perspective to his sailors on his ship usually twice a day. And this in a time when nonconformists were persecuted for their faith.
Paul is saying that the same courageous blood that flowed through Timothy’s mum and grand mum’s veins flows in his! Timothy should take heart and emulate their faith and faithfulness.
4. Remember Who Equipped You
.6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands
. I read about a farmer who was asked one day by neighbour, "How's your cotton coming along?" He said, "I didn't plant any." The neighbor asked, "How come?" The farmer said, "I'm afraid of the boll weevil." The neighbour asked, "Well, how's your corn coming along?" The farmer said, "I didn't plant any." The neighbour asked, "How come?" The farmer said, "I'm afraid of the drought." The neighbour asked, "Well then, how's your potatoes coming along?" The farmer said, "I didn't plant any." The neighbour asked, "How come?" The farmer said, "I'm afraid of the potato bug." The neighbor asked, "Well, what did you plant?" The farmer said, "I didn't plant anything." The neighbour asked, "How come?" The farmer said, "I'm playing it safe."
Matthew 25. In the parable we see a man who gave each of his servants talents according to their ability. To one he gave 5 talents, to another 2, and to another 1.
In Luke we see that the man gave the money to his servants for the purpose of investing and increasing the money. We read in Luke 19:15, that when he returned he called his servants together "that he might know how much every man had gained by trading."
The man with 5 talents turned it into 10 talents. The man with 3 talents turned it into 6 talents. But the man with 1 talent buried it and hit it in the ground. Why? Notice verse 24-25, "Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine."
It was fear that kept him from stepping out and investing his talents like the others. Fear kept him from doing what his master had wanted him to do. The man with one talent was doing more than being safe. He was being scared. Yet, I mindful of how fear keeps many people from doing what the Lord wants.
How many have been hesitate to obey God and do His will because they were afraid. They were afraid they couldn't do it or couldn't make it.
During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. Once, as he censured Stalin in a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience. "You were one of Stalin's colleagues. Why didn't you stop him?" "Who said that?" roared Khrushchev. An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a muscle. Then Khrushchev replied quietly, "Now you know why."
D.L. Moody's favorite verse was Isaiah 12:2, "I will trust, and not be afraid." He used to say, "You can travel first class or second class to heaven. Second class is; What time I am afraid, I will trust.' First class is; I will trust and not be afraid.'"
5. Remember Who Is In You
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
He reminds him of the qualities which should characterize the Christian teacher. These, as Paul at that moment saw them, were four.
There was courage. It was not craven fear but courage that Christian service should bring to a man. It always takes courage to be a Christian, and that courage comes from the continual consciousness of the presence of Christ.
There was power. In the true Christian there is the power to cope, the power to shoulder the back-breaking task, the power to stand erect in face of the shattering situation, the power to retain faith in face of the soul-searing sorrow and the wounding disappointment. The Christian is characteristically the man who could pass the breaking-point and not break.
There was love. In Timothy's case this was love for the brethren, for the congregation of the people of Christ over whom he was set. It is precisely that love which gives the Christian pastor his other qualities. He must love his people so much that he will never find any toil too great to undertake for them or any situation threatening enough to daunt him. No man should ever enter the ministry of the Church unless there is love for Christ's people within his heart.
There was self-discipline. sophronismos is one of these Greek untranslatable words. Falconer defines it as "control of oneself in face of panic or of passion." It is Christ alone who can give us that self-mastery which will keep us alike from being swept away and from running away. No man can ever rule others unless he has first mastered himself. Sophronismos is that divinely given self-control which makes a man a great ruler of others because he is first of all the servant of Christ and the master of himself.