2 Timothy

2 Timothy 4

Encou

  • 2 Timothy 4:9-16, 21 (NIV) 9  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. 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...21  Do your best to get here before winter.

Paul has spent the entire letter encouraging Timothy, who seemed to be discouraged.  Ministry can do that to people - you work hard to help people to become what God would desire for them and along the way they leave, they complain, they criticize, abandon the faith and then tell you it is your fault it happened.  Every now and then they need some encouragement and Paul was giving Timothy a shot in the arm of encouragement in this letter.  But here is what I find pretty amazing, Paul encouraged Timothy even though he was in need of encouragement too.  You can hear it in this last chapter.  He is not ready to give up but he realizes that he needs someone he can lean on for a while so he asks Timothy to come and help.

Come quickly Timothy I am saddened by all those who have deserted me.  I feel alone.  I need my coat because winter is coming and do you best to get here before winter.  And can you bring my scrolls?  

As we walk this life of serving God in ministry we must realize that we need one another.  There is no such thing as lone ranger Christians.  we need each other to work together and to be there to rely on each other.  Don't isolate, don't stay away from fellowship and ministering together because we need each other.  I need encouragement and so do you!


2 Timothy 3

Follow-me

  • 2 Timothy 3:10-14 (NIV) 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. 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 evil men 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,


A disciple of Christ is a disciplined follower of Christ.  Jesus called 12 men to Him and demonstrated what it meant to "disciple them."  They ate together, travelled together,  laughed together, ministered together...they did life together!  When He was ascending back into heaven, after His resurrection He commissioned the disciples (and by the nature of discipleship, all disciples where were to follow) to go and make disciples of all nations.  That is where we find ourselves today - still commissioned to make disciples (disciplined followers of Christ) of all nations.  

As we read Paul's letter to Timothy we continue to catch a glimpse into a journeyman's approach.  Every journeyman takes on apprentices and Timothy was on of Paul's apprentices.  And so the journeyman Paul is instructing Timothy in the ways of being a disciple and making other disciples.

In today's reading we see Paul telling Timothy that there will be lots of people who will say let me disciple you in the ways of Christ, but beware they are false teachers and leaders, and we can be led astray.  If you are going to be discipled then it is important to follow the right leaders and Paul says that the best way is to look at their lives and see if what they are saying are matching up with what they are doing.  A lot of people talk a good talk but what are their responses like in hard times and when things are not going their way.  Just as important is how do they respond to God in good times?  

Paul reminds Timothy that his life is where the proof of authenticity lies.  Timothy had done life together with Paul and had seen firsthand the apostle's response to life and it's hardships.  Paul taught Timothy in the "classroom" style of passing on information but there was also the teaching that was imitation - follow me as I follow Christ.

So the question to us is double-edged:
Who are we allowing to infuence our lives?  Have we looked at their lives and seen positive proof that they are truly disciplined followers of Christ?  Or are we caught up in the celebrity mindset of the world?
How do we decide who influences how we live?

The other side would be, am I living a life worthy of imitation?  Can I say to those I am influencing, "Follow me as I follow Christ!"
Am I making myself available to do life together with those I am discipling?  Or are we "discipling from a distance"  (BTW there is no such thing.)


2 Timothy 2

-baton

  • 2 Timothy 2:1-2 So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. 2  For you must teach others those things you and many others have heard me speak about. Teach these great truths to trustworthy men who will, in turn, pass them on to others.

Paul continues to exhort Timothy about discipleship.  This work of Christ is the work of making disciples, so it is important that we make it a priority.  We cannot say that we are about the work of making disciples and then we do nothing to make that a reality - that would be the picture of confused.  

Paul tells Timothy to throw himself into this work for Christ.  Be committed to the calling.  
Be devoted to making disciples.  We must have a single minded purpose about it.  Don't get distracted, after all we are soldiers in a war and no good soldier gets caught up making deals in the marketplace when he should be out fighting on the front lines.  Too many of us today are distracted from the work for Christ of making disciples, we are busy in the marketplace making deals and have neglected our post on the front lines.  Our priorities are mixed up.

Paul then goes on to tell Timothy the circle of life of discipleship.  He tells Timothy to teach others the things that he (Paul) had taught Timothy, so that those people could pass it on to others.  There are some key components in this bit of advice...

First Paul had done the work of learning and being discipled himself so that he could teach Timothy.  In order for us to teach others we must first be taught.  We must always adopt a posture of learning so that we are continually growing in our walk with God.  What we learn we pass on to others.  We must also live a life worthy of imitation because one of the best ways we teach others to follow Christ is by how we live out what we say we believe.

Then Paul tells Timothy that he must pass on what he has learned from Paul.  Timothy is exhorted to disciple others, passing on what he learned from Paul.  Every disciple must be discipling others - it is expected.  We grow and we help others to grow.  We are never too young to start being discipled and discipling others.  
And notice that we must be careful in choosing people who will continue the process.  Look for people who are willing and desiring to be discipled and who will carry the torch of discipleship forward.

Speaking from experience, this is not a easy process in any way.  We make mistakes, the people we are discipling disappoint us and we feel like we are not being effective; which is why all discipleship must come from the place of love.  We must love those who we are discipling.  We must want the best for them.  We must be willing to stay involved in their lives in the moments of bad decisions and keep working on helping them turn their hearts to God as they develop spiritual maturity in their lives.

As Stevie Wonder would sing to you...
"People, keep on discipling!"


2 Timothy 1

Sheep1

Lately at church we have been talking about discipling others.  The church exists to make disciples and every one of us should be engaged somewhere in the process of being discipled and discipling others.  Now in reading 1st and 2nd Timothy we catch a glimpse of a master discipler at work.  Timothy was a disciple of Paul and in the opening remarks of his second recorded letter to Timothy we see some ways that we too can go about discipling others as well as what we should expect from those who disciple us.

The first thing that is evident is Paul's love for Timothy. 
He sincerely loves Timothy and wants God's best for him.  He calls him his dearly beloved son.  For the discipleship process to be truly successful it must start with a genuine love for the people we are discipling.

The second thing I notice is that Paul prays for Timothy.  vs 3-4
Paul had spent time with Timothy and knew some of his areas of struggles and so he prays with a real burden for him and with a sense of what to pray. He prays for Timothy's success and for encouragement for him to stay the course in the difficult task of shepherding God's people.  One of the best ways we can care for people is to pray for them.

The third thing I notice is that Paul encourages Timothy to continue in the faith. vs 5
It is a picture of an older believer putting their arms around a younger believer and saying, I just want you to know that I love your passion for Christ.  I don't know about you but that kind of encouragement goes a long way in me wanting to continue serving God.  I don't serve God for the applause of people but when people who matter encourage me it keeps me going.

Finally I see that Paul reminds Timothy of God's gifts in him. 
There have been so many times that I get discouraged as a Pastor and I want to give up so I call one of my disciplers and share my discouragement with them and they start reminding me of the day God called me, and they start pointing out the gifts that are evident in my life, and that people laid their hands on me and sent me out to accomplish God's call on my life.  

Above the abilities we have Paul reminds Timothy that it is the Holy Spirit in us that gives us the power to do what God has called us to do.

That is the kind of discipler that we need still. 
Spiritually mature men and women who would be willing to love people, pray diligently for them, encourage them in the faith and to keep serving God and to pick them up when they are down by reminding them of the gifts that God has given them to accomplish the task He has called them to. 
We need disciplers who will remind us that the Holy Spirit lives in us and seeks to work through us in powerful ways if we do not get discouraged and give up. 
Look for disciplers like that to disciple you and be that kind of discipler in the lives of others.  We need it!


2 Timothy 3

Beware of those who come professing Christ and professing to be teachers yet their lives tell a different story.  Don't be impressed by their knowledge and be led astray by them.  Every teacher should be vetted before we start hanging on their every word.  How are they vetted?  Paul says that we are to examine their lives.  How are they living?  Are are boastful, proud, drawing attention to themselves even when they are talking about God, ungrateful, not demonstrating a God kind of love, unforgiving, slandering others and lacking self-control.  We could go on but you get the picture.  These things are indicators that the teacher is not to be trusted no matter how good ther message sounds.  They look like they are godly but they deny the changing power of the gospel - their lives show no evidence of the transforming power of God.

Don't be impressed with words, as many people are prone to be - watch their lives and actions carefully first.

2 Timothy 2

The work of God in our lives is verified by our actions.

“Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 2 Timothy 2:19

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

"Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior" (1 Peter 1:15).

 


2 Timothy 1

2 Timothy 1:7 (ETRV) The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control.

It seems that Timothy has a little issue with being timid.  Not just shy but a tendency to not stand up and defend the truth of the gospel.  He was easily embarassed about speaking up about God. Sounds a lot like many of us today, myself included.  Paul encourages Timothy to not be ashamed to tell people about Jesus even though at times it will lead to suffering - God will give us strength to handle it.  Instead rely on your resources God has given us to be bold and vocal about the gospel.

First here is what God has not given us...a spirit of fear. 
In other words it is not God who makes us shy, embarassed or ashamed. So if God is not the One who gives us that then we need to realize that we must overcome it - whether it is generated from Satan or our own pride, we must overcome this timidity.

God has, through the Holy Spirit, given us a spirit of power. 
It is the kind of power that allows us to be effective for His service. The truth is this power is already in us because we have the Holy Spirit, (the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead) so we need not be afraid to stand up for Christ because the Holy Spirit empowers us with courage.

God's Spirit is also the source of love. 
The love here is the selfless love of God.  It is the kind of love that propels us to give our lives away for the cause of Christ.  As we we grow in our maturity we should be finding that we care more and more about others and their standing with God and we will do whatever is necessary to help them know Christ and grow in His knowledge and grace.  As God love grows in us we give ourselves more and more to Him and to fulfilling His mission.  We embark on a suicide mission (dying to ourselves) in order to live for Him.

God's Spirit is the source of self-control.
A disciple of Christ grows in self-control, finding that we are increasingly able to discipline ourselves by prioritizing our lives so that the things of God take precedence and not our selfish desires.

Power to be effective ministers, love that allows us to maintain the right motive and attitude towards God and others and discipline to focus and apply every part of our lives to accomplish His will.  No need to be afraid, we have what we need to live godly lives of worship.


2 Timothy 4

Vs 1-5

This passage is especially meaningful to me because when I became a pastor my father sat me down and read this passage to me.  As I read it today I was transported back to that time when my dad read and charged me with the responsibility of being a minister and leader in the church.  It was with great solemnity and seriousness - as it probably was with Paul as he was writing his last words to his son of the faith.

Paul did not focus on the visible success of Timothy’s ministry but on the excellence of his service.
He focused on his commitment not on Timothy’s opportunities,
not on his personal prominence but on his character.
He expressed no concern for the young pastor’s acceptance or reputation but great concern for his faithfulness and godliness.
He did not emphasize the size, wealth, or influence of the church at Ephesus but rather its spiritual life and health under Timothy’s care.
He did not concentrate even on Timothy’s spiritual gifts, important as those were, but on his spiritual life and his spiritual service. His advice to Timothy could be summarized in his charge to believers in Corinth: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).  (John Macarthur)

Regardless of how things may appear to the world, to the rest of the church, or even to ourselves, God’s Word reminds us that the best of life belongs to those who know Christ as Savior and Lord and who give themselves up for His service and His glory. Unfortunately, many Christians, including some pastors and other leaders, seek for success rather than excellence. But success focuses on the external rather than the internal, on the temporary rather than the eternal, and is measured by human standards rather than by God's standards. Desire for success comes from pride, whereas genuine desire for excellence comes from humility.

Paul's words to Timothy are just as relevant today to those who desire and who are leaders in the church...a church cannot grow beyond the level of it's leaders so for all who are elders, trustees, pastors, teachers, GROW group leaders, or in any area of influence in the church, let us be reminded of our charge...
"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,  Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."


2 Timothy 2

Every one of us, as Christ-followers, should have that compelling desire to be used of God in whatever way He chooses.   Paul goes from exhorting Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus to becoming a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.  All of this goes towards being useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 

We are called to join God in His great work and in order for us to be effective workmen who are not embarrassed, we must be trained to handle truth properly.  We must prepare ourselves for every good work. 

How do we do that? 
Well it takes dedication and commitment to training and study.  We must put aside time to be taught the foundations of the faith and how to read and study the word of God.  We must be willing to memorize learn what we believe and how to defend it so that we are useful to God's work.  We must be willing to place ourselves in nurturing and discipling relationships with those who are spiritually ahead of us.  This is serious business and we need to get serious about it.  Too many Christians today are not Christ-followers, instead they want Christ to follow after them and pick up their messes.  That is not what we were called to - we should desire to be soldiers in His army, workmen in His work crew.  And we should want that so much that we would go into strict training in order to be a part of Jesus' work crew.  Study so that you can get approved to be on the crew.  And always remember that the study and knowledge is not the end but the means to the end.  Every bit of knowledge needs to be utilized towards the end of furthering the kingdom of heaven.

 


2 Timothy 1

If you knew that your time on earth was drawing to an end, what would you say to those you love deeply?  What words of advice, encouragement, appreciation and affirmation would you want to give?  This letter to Timothy is Paul's last words to the "spiritual son" that he loved deeply, and while it was beneficial and encouraging to Timothy, it provides us with much direction and guidance as we go about parenting, discipling others, leading and counseling. 

In verses 1-5 Paul mentions 5 different motivations and motivators present in discipleship. 

The first is authorityPaul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God - he establishes his authority in the relationship, but the understanding is that he (Paul) was also a man under authority.

The second motivation/motivator is appreciation
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.
 
Not only was Paul a blessing to Timothy but Paul says that Timothy was a blessing to him.  To be appreciated, encouraged and told that God wants to work powerfully through them is a great motivator to those we mentor and disciple.  As a parent I find that this particular approach works well with both of my kids.  When I point out that I am thankful for them I notice they work harder to be a blessing to my wife and I.

The third motivation/motivator is constant prayer.  There is no better way to motivate others to be faithful and to serve God with passion and energy, than to continually hold them up before the Lord in prayer—and to tell let them know that you are praying and what you are praying for them.

Fourth is a demonstrating a genuine love for them
I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 
One of the greatest motivators for me is when someone truly cares for me, I don't want to let them down, I want to do what pleases them.  If they care deeply for me then I feel safe letting them speak into my life.  I discovered that in youth ministry I didn't have to be cool or hip to minister to kids - I simply had to care deeply for them and show it.  That simple thing provided me the ability to speak into their lives and built the trust necessary to teach them.

Finally Paul demonstrates the powerful act of encouragement and believing the best of someone
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.  
For the most part I have found that people will live up to your beliefs in them.  If you believe that they will do well and you affirm them often, they will live up to it.  Paul was never afraid to bring correction and discipline, but he was also quite quick to give affirmation and encouragement. 

As leaders (and that means husbands, wives, parents, bosses, people who wield influence, you get the picture) we can learn a lot from how Paul went about discipling those under his care.  Try it and see what happens.