II Timothy 1. The Sacred Trusts.
Key Notes: Paul's clear conscience. Ashamed of the Gospel? Our heroes. Not 'it" but "He".
Second Timothy is Paul's last will and testament. Paul is probably in a dungeon, having been recaptured after previous release from house-arrest. He expects that he will be executed soon by that insane emperor, Nero. These words are to his young associate in the ministry, whom he must leave behind with major responsibilities. There are sad words in this chapter:
timidity / fear 1:7,
turned away 1:15.
Paul appeals to Timothy on several grounds:
*Their deep friendship
* Timothy's spiritual heritage
* Timothy's special gift
* The endowment common to all God's servants
* Paul's personal testimony
* The loyalty of Onesiphorus, in spite of a mass defection in Asia.
1:1 Paul begins with his customary formal address:
"Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."
We would not expect him to address himself to his discple Timothy in this way. He undoubtedly has his larger audience in mind--one which has continued through the ages.
A. 1:3 Their deep spiritual friendship.
I thank God when I remember you in my prayers. I remember your tears. I long to see you day and night.
Paul's last visit with the Ephesian elders finished with tears and sorrow because they realized that they would never see him again. (Acts 20:36–38). Timothy may have been there, but in any case the grieving was intense. Timothy's tears were not due to fear.
Paul serves God with a clear conscience, as did his fathers.
Paul had stated his clear conscience before the Sanhedrin. The high priest had him slapped on the mouth (Acts 23:1). He made the same confession before Felix. Acts 24:14–16
A clear conscience does not imply a sinless life, but a purified life.
It was required of elders that they "hold the mystery of the Faith with a clear conscience." (ITim.3:9).
"...how much more shall the blood of Christ...purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." (Heb.9:14)
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith , with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water...." (Heb.10:22)
B. 1:5 Timothy's inheritance.
He had a godly mother and grandmother and was well taught in the Scriptures. Many of us are first-generation Christians. We must work to leave a legacy of godly living and Scriptural instruction to our children and grandchildren.
C. 1:6 Timothy's personal gift.
Did Paul's laying-on of hands confer a special gift, or kindle a gift already given by the Holy Spirit? The council of elders also laid hands on Timothy. (ITim.4:14). But that it needed rekindling is clear. The rekindling probably occurs in the group.
How does one rekindle a fire? Three simple moves will do it.
a. Push the pieces of burning wood together to make a critical mass.
b. Knock off the ashes. Old burnings smother hot coals.
c. Blow on it--increase the oxygen. The Holy Spirit catalyzes the rekindling.
D. 1:7 The endowment of every good servant is not a spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind (Gr."sophronismos"). Sound mind is a Greek composite that means sensible, rational, restrained, virtuous and sober. It is a gift from God.
E. 1:8 Paul is Timothy's model to follow.
Timothy is not to be ashamed of this prisoner. He is not a criminal, or a convict. Paul is the Lord's prisoner (1:8), and Timothy must share in suffering for the Gospel in the power of God.
1:9 The Gospel is the dynamic.
God saved us and called us in His own purpose.
He gave grace to us in Christ aeons ago-- before we were born. Eph.1:4
God's Grace is now manifested in the Epiphany, Christ's first advent. Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. In OT, eternal life was visible but the outlines were murky. In Christ's resurrection, life and immortality were brought to light, placed on center stage. We are not immortal; God alone has immortality. (ITim.6:16). But we will be given immortality: "...this mortal nature must put on immortality." (ICor.15:53)
For this Gospel Paul was appointed
*a preacher (Gr. "keryx" a herald who shouts the arrival of the King),
*an apostle (an ambassador who represents the King) and
*a teacher (one who explains truth about the King and His Kingdom).
1:12 That is why Paul suffers unashamed, for he knows Christ and has committed his soul into His keeping.
1:13 Timothy is to imitate Paul's sound words and guard the truth entrusted to him by the Holy Spirit
F. 1:15–17 Apparently there was a defection in Asia, perhaps people moving away from Paul because of his status as a criminal. We recall that the Seven Churches of Asia are the subject of Revelation 2–3 and wonder if the churches deserted Paul, or Paul and Christ. Phygelus and Hermogenes are otherwise unknown.
Blessings on the house of Onesiphorus : "May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day". Onesiphorus went to some lengths to search through Rome until he found Paul and brought him refreshment.
Paul is undergirding his young associate with resources that will enable him to survive the execution of the finest and best voice that Christianity ever would have. He must carry on in the strength that God supplies, with the example of Paul, and the mandate Paul imposes on him.
Three times in his life Paul said "I am not ashamed".
"I am not ashamed of the Gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith...." (Rom.1:16)
"...that I shall not be at all ashamed but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body whether by life or by death. " (Phil.1:20)
"But I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed...." (IITim.1:12)
Why are Christian people ashamed of the Gospel?
•The bad record of the Christian church: Crusades, Inquisition, 30 Years War in Europe, discrimination by race and culture.
•False teachers (Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons) confusing the issues and making our work more difficult.
•Personal doubts and disillusionment.
•Fear of disapproval and rejection.
While we apologize for our sins, we tend to neglect our heroes. We forget the martyrs of the first three centuries, the 16th century, and the 20th century. We forget the self-sacrificing work of missionaries, building schools, orphanages, hospitals, agricultural programs, literacy, and Bible translation. A Eurasian traveler said "I have been all around the world, and there are Christians everywhere, and whereever I go, they are doing good."
We tend to forget Augustine who wrote "The City of God." and J.S. Bach, who wrote the greatest music the world has ever known. And Frank Laubach who pioneered literacy around the world. And Wilberforce who got slavery repealed in England and Bonhoefer who fought Hitler, and Sister Theresa, who cared for the the outcasts and dying of Calcutta.
Why are non-Christians ashamed of the Gospel? Why do they resist it?
Because it's not me.
It's not my thing.
I have nothing to do with it.
It's a God-thing and I don't even know He exists.
Besides, I would have to quit having fun
and be holy holy
and sit in a church
with a bunch of old hypocrites.
What does He expect me to do, grovel?
I would rather be a Buddhist;
they put things into your hands
and you don't have to feel bad.
Christianity is opposed because it is subversive to the power structures: drug lords, Communists, Islamists, Hindus, and, notably, to the family. If you become a Believer, you may be cast out of the house.
Paul really has only one thing to hang onto, Jesus Christ Himself. He knows Him. He heard Him speak on the way to Damascus. If Paul had said "I know what I have believed"--the doctrine, the faith, the truth--our faith would be different. If you hear people say "I used to be a Christian but I decided it was not true / not important / not relevant / not for me," if they speak of Christianity as an "it", you understand they never knew Jesus and He never knew them.
Timothy is to guard the truth to which he has been entrusted. Paul's trust is ultimately in Jesus, Who is the guardian of everything he is and has, and to whom Paul has committed the rest of his short life and his hope of eternal life.
“I know not why God's wondrous grace
To me He hath made known
Or why unworthy, Christ in love,
Redeemed me for His own.
But I know whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day.”