1 Timothy 1-6; 2 Timothy 1-4 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight TIM01
The Bible from 30,000 Feet, Soaring Through the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
It's feeling better and better every week. And for me, Wednesday night, doing this again, being able to do this again feels really good. I'm so glad you're here. I'm so glad we're here. I know that we have people inside. We have some people outside scattered around the campus. It just gets better every week.
Now we also understand that there are people who are still at home and not feeling good enough to go out or feeling a little bit scared or apprehensive. And that's why we are still committed to not only bringing you this live. But on the weekends, we're continuing with a special online service. So I've added that.
Usually, I begin a service at 6:30 Saturday night. I'm doing one at 4 o'clock Saturday afternoon to capture it just for the online folks. And then we have a team of people that get online in chat rooms on a ministry platform to be able to pray for you, to be able to counsel you, et cetera, et cetera. So we understand there's a huge cyber community out there. And we want to be devoted to those who are joining us that way at this time. So we're going to continue that for a while. And we just figure, let's just work a little harder and serve the body of Christ any way we can.
But I'm really glad we are gathered here in this place tonight for the Bible from 30,000 Feet. Yeah, it's been so long, I've forgotten how to do this. But would you turn in your Bibles please to 1 Timothy chapter 1 as we look in an overview fashion at 1 and 2 Timothy.
A couple months ago, just as this whole COVID thing started to get underway, maybe a few days before that, I was taking my car in to get worked on. And this guy turned around and looked at me, and then he looked at me again. Then he said, Skip, is that you? And I said, yes.
And he said, I thought you were familiar. And I was wondering if that wasn't you. But he said this, but you look older. Well, it's true. And I thought, well, you're probably looking older too. I didn't say that. But that's a process of life.
But I started thinking about Paul the apostle. And it dawned on me, I am the age when Paul the apostle died. And I remember thinking that when I was 33. And I'm thinking, I'm the same age as Jesus when he died. Now I'm thinking, I'm the same age as Paul the apostle. One of these days, I'll be saying, I'm as old as John the apostle when he died, Lord willing.
But we have before us a letters of Paul the aged, he is called, Paul the aged. And 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy and Titus, though we're not going to cover that tonight. But we come in the order of scripture to what are called three pastoral epistles. And the pastoral epistles are written from Paul to leaders of congregations, Timothy and Titus.
Both of them, Paul calls, my son in the faith or my true son in the faith. They were the offspring of Paul the apostle in a spiritual dimension. They were the legacy of his ministry.
Both Timothy and Titus were given ministry exposure, ministry experience, and ministry responsibility by Paul the apostle. So he writes to them as leaders of congregations. Respectively, Timothy was in Ephesus. Titus was on the island of Crete. And so he writes these personal letters to these young leaders and tells them pastoral things. They're pastoral epistles because he's speaking about pastoral things, how to lead congregations, how to deal with problem issues, different kinds of people in the congregation, the call to the ministry, the qualifications for ministry, how to care for those that you minister to.
Now we know that Paul the apostle traveled the world extensively. From the year 48 AD to about 56 AD, Paul traveled the world preaching the gospel. Three missionary journeys in which Paul traveled mostly by foot. We figure about, well, over 10,000 miles. Between 48 and 56 AD, he traveled about 10,000 miles.
Between the year 56 AD and 60 AD are years of conflict for Paul. It's where Paul worked his way through the Roman judicial system. He is arrested in Jerusalem. He is taken to Caesarea. He stays there for a few years. He then gets on a boat and goes to Rome.
During that period of time, he is working his way through the court system. And by 60, not age 60, but 60 AD, he will make it to Rome, where he will spend two years. Let's say 61 and 62 AD, he is in Rome in prison once again under house arrest, his own hired house, under house arrest.
Then he gets released. And when he gets released from about AD 62 to about AD 67, so about five years, he has relative freedom to go where he wants to go. Caesar Nero has released him after a trial. He reunites with Timothy, reunites with Titus, probably goes to Colossae, where he meets up with Philemon about his slave Onesimus, which we'll get to next time, Lord willing. And then he writes subsequent letters, one to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, all in the holy scriptures.
But then he gets arrested again. This time, he is taken not to normal prison like he was before in Rome under house arrest. He is put under heavy security in what is called the Mamertine Prison. I'll speak a little bit about that as we close 2 Timothy tonight.
At the Mamertine Prison is where he spends his final days. At which point, he writes his final letter ever written. And that is 2 Timothy. So we get a letter to Timothy earlier on and then a second letter to Timothy later on just before Paul's death at around AD 68.
Now it says, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, to Timothy. Timothy is a great name. It means one who honors God. And it was something that his mother and perhaps grandmother gave him, both of which are mentioned in the second letter that Paul writes to Timothy.
But Timothy becomes Paul's protege. He's the true son in the faith. He is from a town called Lystra. And Paul met him on the first missionary journey as he was going through Lystra and Derbe and Icomium, that area of Galatia. He meets up with Timothy. And at which time, Timothy is converted because mom and grandma probably during that time were converted and young Timothy as well.
When Paul makes his second missionary journey through that area of Lystra, he asked Timothy to join the Paul the apostle Evangelistic Association. He becomes a team member, which is interesting because Timothy, at the time he joins Paul's team, was probably about 15 years old, maybe 16. But he was quite young when he begins to learn the ministry ropes from no greater discipler than Paul the apostle.
He becomes very dear to Paul through the years. He is mentioned a number of times in the epistles. 22 times, I think, in all, Paul mentions Timothy. And Paul gives Timothy a description that he gives no one else. When he writes to the Philippians, he says concerning Timothy, for I have no one like-minded, who will naturally care for your state.
It's a great word, like-minded. The Greek word isopsuchos means literally one soul or equal soul. My soul is equal to his soul. We track. We think alike. We value the same things. He places an emphasis on the same things I do. If I want a replacement of somebody who is most like me, it is young Timothy. He is isopsuchos. He is equal soul. He is like-minded.
And now he writes him a personal letter. 1 Timothy, if you're looking for one verse that sums it all up, the key verse to this book is found in chapter 3 Even though we haven't really made much progress, turn over to chapter 3 verse 15 where he says, but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. That one verse encapsulates the entire message of this book. It is the church of the living God. It is the house of God.
I know that it's fashionable to go church shopping. We have our list of ingredients of what we are looking for in a church, one that caters to my needs, my family's, things like this. And there are many to shop from.
There are young ones. There are old ones. There are loud ones. There are quiet ones. There are ones that have very, very long sermons. There are some that have very, very short messages. Some people prefer that.
One person I know calls them sermonettes. Somebody said sermonettes are really for Christianettes. In fact, another person added to that and said sermonettes are for Christianettes who can't wait to get outside and smoke their cigarettes. So I guess you could keep going with that.
But though there are many churches in the ecclesiastical landscape from which to choose to meet your requirements and your needs, too often, the one that is left out is the founder of the church. And that is God. It is the house of God. It is the church of the living God. And the question we ought to ask is, is this a church of God where God is honored, where Jesus is preached?
If Jesus said, I'm going to build my church, we should find a church that Jesus is behind, that honors him, first and foremost, that preaches his truth, his word. And so that's the summary verse. I'll take you back to chapter 1. Now let me give you a division of the book.
Since the book is about the church, it is the first pastoral epistle. Chapter 1 is the message of the church. Chapter 2 is the members of the Church. Chapters 3 and 4, the ministers of the church. And chapter 5 and 6, the ministry of the church. That's how I've divided it. You could have lengthier divisions. But I find that helpful.
The message of the church is chapter 1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ our hope, to Timothy, a true son in the faith. You're going to see that little construction throughout the New Testament, the faith. And when you see that, the faith, it means the embodiment of Christian truth summed up by that little phrase the faith, the embodiment of Christian truth.
It's same thing in Jude verse 3. I wanted to write to you concerning the faith, the common faith. But I thought that I needed to write to you and tell you that you need to contend earnestly for the faith. So the faith is the body of Christian truth. The faith relates to the truth relates to the word of God. So it's the scriptures. It's the truth. It's what we hold to. It is the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
As I urged you, and I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine. Now that's an important word in these two epistles, doctrine. No other doctrine. Three words in English. One word in Greek, heterodidaskalos.
Heteros means another. In the Greek language, there are two words for other, heteros and allos. Allos means another of the same kind. Heteros means another of a different kind. When he uses this term, heterodidaskalia, it is a doctrine of another kind. It is not true doctrine. It is false doctrine.
And the fact that Paul would warn Timothy of this just 30 years after the gospel penetrated the world shows that it is always an issue. It's always an issue. The propensity of mankind is toward apostasy, toward turning away from the truth. The gospel is just barely penetrated the known world. And he is already warning them. And he will really warn them in the next book.
Nor give heed, verse 4, to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification, which is in the faith. Now I don't have time to unravel all that was going on. I'll do so more in the book of 1 John and 2 John when we go through that. But there was teaching at the time known as gnosticism, where they were adding all sorts of mythological stories.
They say they believed in Jesus. They loved Jesus. That's always fashionable to say. Oh, I love Jesus. I follow Jesus. But get them to define Jesus. You might find a different Jesus. Paul talked about a different Jesus in Galatians.
And the gnostics had a different Jesus. They were adding mythological stories saying, for instance, that Jesus never had a physical body. He was a phantom. He didn't die on a cross. They even said God didn't create the Earth because the world is material. God, they believed in a philosophical dualism like the Greeks. God was pure and is pure, and God would never create something so inherently evil.
So emanations went out from God, spirit emanations, hundreds of them, thousands of them. Eventually, an emanation went out from God so far removed from God it didn't even know God. That was the God that created the Earth. Paul says, don't even talk to these people or even engage in this nonsense.
Now I just want, in passing, to go stop by verse 8. He's talking about the message of the church. And he's speaking about those false teachers who are using the law unlawfully. We know that the law is good, verse 8, if one uses it lawfully. Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous person but for the lawless, the insubordinate, the ungodly, and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers, murderers of mothers, man slayers, fornicaters, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, if there is any other thing contrary to sound doctrine.
Now he's speaking of the law of Moses primarily. But there is a point that I just could not escape given the highlighted news of this week. The law, any law of any culture, whether it's the law of Moses and the ancient Israeli culture or the law in Rome or the law in the United States, laws are in place to keep lawbreakers in check. OK?
So when I hear people say, defund the police, it's the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life. You can defund the police when you're in heaven, and we live in a perfect society. But until then, last time I checked, there be criminals out there. And we don't need less police. In my view, we need a whole lot more police, and we need to highly fund.
So my motto is not defund the police. It's defend the police. Thank you if you're in the police department, by the way. We honor you. And we pray for you. And we ask God for wisdom for you. Thanks for keeping us safe. Couldn't resist.
Verse 18, this charge, I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you that, by them, you may wage good warfare. So chapter 1 is the message of the church. He's writing to Timothy personally.
Chapter 2, the members of the church. He's going to talk about men, women. He's going to go into different age groups as we work our way through the book. Therefore, verse 1, chapter 2, I exhort, first of all, that supplications, that strong crying, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings, and all who are in authority. I hope you pray for your leaders, your president, vice president, governors, mayors, people in authority. That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all goodness and reverence, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
We belong to two kingdoms as believers. We belong to the kingdom of heaven. Once you said yes to Jesus, your name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life. You are going to live forever in his kingdom in heaven but not right away.
You have dual citizenship. Yes, our citizenship is in heaven, Philippians 3:20, tells us, from which we look for that appearing of our glorious Savior Jesus Christ. But we also are citizens of the Earth. And we have a responsibility to the Earth.
Now we live in our culture. But then there is the kingdom. And listen, Jesus didn't come to build a culture. And we like to talk about our culture, the white culture, the black culture, the Hispanic culture, the American culture. Jesus didn't come to build a culture.
He came to build a kingdom. And the kingdom transcends all cultures. That's why we can be one. That's why we can look at anyone of any race, of any age, of any ilk, and say, if you know Christ, you are my brother and my sister because we're part of the kingdom. And yet, we find ourselves citizens of the kingdom and citizens of the kingdoms of this Earth that we have a responsibility. And one of the responsibilities is to pray for those in leadership, as this says.
Jesus, when he prayed for his followers, said, father, I don't pray that you take them out of the world. I just pray that you keep them from the evil one. He wants us in the world. He wants us to make an impact in the world, but he does not want us to become of the world, tainted by the world, influenced by the world. He wants us to influence the world. We're the salt of the Earth, the light of the world.
So we have a responsibility. Keep in mind, when Paul says we had to pray for kings, Caesar Nero was on the throne in Rome, the very man who would take his head off his body, behead him in 68 AD. Paul says, pray for him. Pray for these kings. Pray for their salvation. Pray that the Lord might turn them around.
Verse 8, speaking of prayer, I desire, therefore, that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting. I remember the first time I saw somebody lift their hands in worship, the very first time I saw it. I'll be honest with you. I thought it was goofy.
I was a young California surfer. I walked into a big tent that was called Calvary Chapel at the time. It was a church. And I thought, OK, this is cool. And there wasn't really-- it was just kind of dirt and then rug put on the dirt and chairs on it. I thought, this place is for me. I like this. It's real cas.
But then somebody next to me, this young girl and this young guy had their hands raised during worship. And I just thought, are they like little antennas going up? What is it? In my background, it was just unfamiliar to me. Now I lift my hands with abandon now. I love it.
Do it without wrath or doubting. Do it because when you lift your hands, it's a sign of surrender. When your hands are up, you can't do anything. You can't defend yourself. You can't go after somebody. You're vulnerable. You're surrendered. That's the idea of you're surrendered to God.
Now I do want you to get this nuance because the verse says, I desire, therefore, that the men. You see the definite article before men? That is because he is not speaking of humankind generically. He is speaking specifically of the male gender.
And that is because he is addressing men that they should be leaders in the church. They should certainly be leaders in their home. But they are the ones that should be leading, when the congregation gets together, the worship, the praying. They should be ones who step forward and are willing to lead in the community. So I wish that men lift holy hands without wrath and doubting.
In like manner, also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel-- that's now in the church-- with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing. The practice back then was to weave gold strands and pearls into the hair to show off many times in certain social events to show off their own status and wealth. Paul says, this is the church. You don't need to show off.
So don't do that, but which is proper for women professing godliness with good works. Simply put, the church is for worship. The church is not to be a fashion show. Don't get dressed with the idea of, what will they think when they see me?
Will they like what they see? So should I wear a plunging neckline, so that the men will see how shapely I am? So don't do anything to draw attention to yourself. Because, women, you already know that men have a problem in this issue, in this arena.
Jesus addressed it. The Bible addressed it. Everybody's aware of that. And so don't add to the problem by doing something that would take their attention off of the Lord and put it on to you.
Arthur W. Pink wrote something that I always liked. He said, if lustful looking is so grievous a sin, then those who dress and expose themselves with a desire to be looked at and lusted after are not less but perhaps more guilty. In this matter, it is not only too often the case that men sin but women tempt them to do so. How great then must be the guilt of the great majority of modern misses who deliberately seek to arouse the sexual passions of young men.
Listen, we know what David did with Bathsheba. But it would have been helpful if Bathsheba would not have bathed on her rooftop. I'm not saying that he's not culpable. He is. But both of us, all of us have responsibilities for propriety, as the scripture says, within the church. So that's the members of the church.
When we get to chapter 3, we get to the ministers of the church. Notice how it begins. This is a faithful saying. If a man desires the position of a bishop, episkopos is the word, it means that an overseer, an elder, a pastor, he desires a good work. And then Paul begins in verse 2 all the way down to verse 7 a list of qualifications, 16 of them to be exact for those who are qualified for pastoral ministry, for being an elder, for being an overseer.
When we get to verse 8, likewise, deacons must be reverent, holy. It doesn't mean they should be a reverend but reverent. By the way, I never liked the word reverend. Reverend, I don't like to be called reverend because reverend is a word with a D only applied in the scriptures to God. Holy and reverend is his name.
I can have an reverent disposition. You can have a reverent disposition. But don't call me reverend. You can call me Skip. You can call me friend. You can even say, hey you. But first of all, you don't have to give me any special accolades. And certainly, don't give me a name that was designed only for God the father to take.
But deacons should also be holy, be reverent, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money. Now there is an interesting comparison between the qualifications for deacons and the qualifications for elders. In some cases, they're similar. In some cases, they differ. The idea is they should be exemplary both.
What's interesting is when he says that deacons shouldn't be given to much wine, it says of pastors, they shouldn't be given to wine. Now it's like, well, you're a deacon, so don't overdo it. Don't be given to much wine. Not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
A deacon is a servant. Where does it come from? Well, in Acts, chapter 6, there was an argument in the church in Jerusalem. And it was an argument between widows. Some Greek widows, they were Jewish, but they were Greek widows, were complaining about the Jerusalem Hebrew widows because they thought favoritism was given to the Hebrew widows of Jerusalem in the daily administration of giving them what they needed for their sustenance. So an argument broke out.
The apostles stepped forward to solve the argument. And they said, look, we are not going to leave the word of God and serve tables. So choose seven men full of the Holy Spirit with a good reputation that we can appoint over this. And we'll let them do it.
Those were called-- those servants, the Greek word is diakonos, deacons, servants. Sometimes the word refers to an official position within the church. Sometimes it just refers to anybody who wants to serve. We'll just practically serve and help out. So the qualifications are given.
Chapter 4 continues and gives warnings to those who would fall away. Verse 1 of chapter 4, the spirit expressly says in the latter times, some will depart from the faith. That means the body of Christian teaching. Some will depart from the faith giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, that is, doctrines taught by demons speaking lies and hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron. I'm not going to make much comment on that because some of this forms the base of what I'm going to be talking about Sunday morning.
So go down to verse 6. If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of good doctrine, which you have carefully followed. Paul always was telling Timothy, watch your doctrine. Teaching, the words of instruction that you dole out, it was an important word to him, didaskalia, not heterodidaskalia, just didaskalia, good, wholesome teaching. Again, I'll drill more down on that this weekend.
Paul wanted to make sure that Timothy, being this young man in the ministry, wasn't just given over to enthusiasm but that his enthusiasm was rooted in doctrinal truth. Because some people make it all about the show, all about the enthusiasm, all about the excitement. But there's no substance behind it.
Paul knew if I can get this man grounded in good, doctrinal, foundational, substantive truth, he'll have something to get excited about. That's good to get excited about, truth. So give yourself to that, he instructs him.
When we look at the last two chapters, chapter 5 and chapter 6, now he is dealing with the ministry of the church, not just the ministers of the church. And he deals with, again, different age groups, different types of needs within those age groups, how to handle different people, older people, younger people, truth seekers, false teachers, et cetera. Chapter 5, verse 1, do not rebuke an older man. Now mark this. I was Paul the apostle's age when he died. Don't rebuke an older man. I'm not going to drill on that one.
But exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers-- I love this-- younger women as sisters with all purity. Honor widows who are really widows. Then in the next verse, verse 4, down to verse 16, he gives qualifications of widows because widows who are really widows and met the qualifications would be, in those days, handled, taken care of by the church. They didn't have any outward sustenance. They didn't have any support network. So the church became that for them.
In verse 14, he says, I therefore desire the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary, to speak reproachfully, for some have already turned aside after Satan. If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them and do not let the church be burdened that it may relieve those who are really widows. Let the elders who rule be countered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the scripture says, you shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain. And the laborer is worthy of his wages, speaking of monetary remuneration. Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. And those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.
Go down to chapter 6. Same theme, the ministry of the church. Let as many bond servants under the yoke-- that is, they're owned by a master, they're under the yoke of servitude-- count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God in his doctrine may not be blasphemed. And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren but rather serve them because those who were benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things.
In this chapter, at the beginning, Paul deals head-on with the master-servant or the master-slave relationship. And he does so, the New Testament does so in about six different places, not just here, but also in the books of 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, Titus, and Philemon. What you need to understand is, at the time, Rome ruled the world. Rome ruled with an iron fist.
There was no democracy. If you didn't like Caesar Nero, you could not vote him out of office. He could just kill you. So it was under the powerful iron fist of Rome. And Rome had 60, not six, not 16, 60 million slaves. Up to about half of the Roman Empire's population, at some points in their history, about half were slaves.
Now the slavery in the Roman Empire wasn't like some of the slavery that happened in England on slave ships and in the Americas. There were many educated slaves. There were tutors, teachers, doctors. Luke was a slave. He was a physician, highly trained, highly educated, highly respected, but under the servitude of a master. So those relationships, interestingly, were dealt with.
Now I say interestingly because once you get a master and a slave in church, Paul's contention is you are on equal ground. Because now you're not in the culture. You're in the kingdom. And in the kingdom, you are brothers. And you treat each other as brothers.
This is why a runaway slave by the name of Onesimus, whom Paul talked to in Rome, Paul brings Onesimus back to his owner named Philemon. And he says, look, I'm beseeching you. I'm imploring you. Receive Onesimus, your runaway slave. Now Philemon could have killed him, could have branded him with an F, fugitive. For life, he would be banished.
Or he could have received him. Paul says, receive him this time not as a slave but as a brother. Let there be a reconciliation. And then he said, if he's wronged you anything or if he owes you anything, I'll pay for it. I'm getting ahead of myself because that's Philemon. I want to get to that next week. But that's how he dealt with it. But listen to the bottom line statement on this issue. Galatians chapter 3, verse 28, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, but we are all one in Christ. That's the kingdom that transcends the culture.
Now I'm going to take you all the way now to the end of the book, verse 20. Oh, Timothy, guard which was committed to your trust. What was committed to his trust? The faith, the truth, the word. Guard what was committed to your trust.
Avoid profane and idle, and I love what he calls them, babblings. There's people who just babble. They do? Where? Well, Twitter is a repository of the most ridiculous babble you could ever read honestly, in my view. There's really not much edifying in any of that platform. Anyway. I better just keep going. So avoid profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by professing it. Some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.
Now he's writing to Timothy. Notice, oh, Timothy. But see in verse 21, it says, grace be with you. He's not writing to Timothy. He's writing to a group because it's in the original language. You is the plural you. We might say y'all.
We might say, oh, Timothy, guard what is committed to your trust but grace be with y'all. So who's y'all? Well, Timothy is the pastor of Ephesus. The y'all would be the church at Ephesus. So what this tells me, and this is why I'm halting here just for a moment, is not only was this a letter for Timothy to read. It was no doubt a letter that Paul intended Timothy to read to y'all, to the whole church at Ephesus. He would stand up and read. A lot of the letters in antiquity were read to the whole church. This one as well.
So Paul was released from prison, as I mentioned. He was there two years under house arrest. He is released. He goes to Colossae, during which time he meets with Philemon about his runaway slave Onesimus. We'll cover that next time.
He's reunited with Timothy, reunited with Titus. He tells Timothy, Timothy, you go to Ephesus. I started the church there. But you go there. And you're the second guy, senior pastor. You, Titus, you go to Crete, the island of Crete. And you handle the issues that are springing up there.
Then, at some point in the future, Paul gets, as I mentioned, rearrested. He is in the Mamertine Prison in Rome. Now if you ever go to Rome, and some of you have been with us to Rome, we take you to the Mamertine Prison. They have discovered it.
And they have discovered the actual holding cell where Paul the apostle spent his final days. It is essentially a hole in the ground. It was fed by a pipe and a hole, an opening in the top. It had no ventilation but the opening on top. It was open to the elements.
Food would be lowered down. He would be living with whatever food he didn't eat. He would be living with his own excrement. He would be living in that hollow pit, that mire. It was solitary confinement. And he was there until the time of his death.
But in the Mamertine Prison, he writes another letter to Timothy. And that is 2 Timothy. So we will review that. 2 Timothy, his final words, not his words, but his final recorded words, is really Paul's swan song. You know? A pastor never knows when he's going to preach his last sermon. But Paul came to a place where he realized, this is it. I'm not going to make it out of this alive. This is the end of my life. And he records that in this book.
Now I know some pastors who say, the last sound I ever want to hear is the sound of my chin hitting the pulpit. I get that. I understand the sentiment behind that. You want to minister to the end. But that would not be good for your congregation to see that, to have you them see you die on the spot, cracking your skull open on the pulpit. Just saying.
But this is Paul's last sermon. And these were dark days when Paul penned these words. And so keep that in mind. Paul is writing this in the Mamertine Prison. He sees no hope for his future in terms of his life on this Earth. He sees great hope in the future kingdom, but he knows he's going to die.
So what he does in this book, though, is he details, in these dark days, dark days ahead for the church, dangerous days ahead for the church, especially in the last days. The last days which is a technical phrase. I don't have time to uncover all that that means now.
But there are four chapters in this book. And each chapter has, I'll give it, a heading. I'll give it an outline. Chapter 1 is about the present calling. Chapter 2 is about pastoral character or any character of any leader. So present calling, chapter 1. Pastoral character, chapter 2.
Chapter 3 is practical concern. This is where Paul says, there's bad people out there. And people are going to turn away from the faith. And then finally, chapter 4, a personal charge.
We begin in chapter 1. We're just going to overview it. The present calling, and the present calling is, basically, look, stay loyal even while you're suffering, Timothy. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, according to the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus to Timothy, a beloved son. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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, greatly desiring to see you being mindful of your tears that I may be filled with joy. 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 in you also. Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God. That is, keep the fire alive, Timothy. Stir up the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands for God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind.
I am guessing that Timothy was discouraged. He was discouraged because of the state of the church in Ephesus. He thought he wasn't up to the task. He thought that he was too young perhaps for the task. He couldn't handle it. After all, who can follow Paul the apostle? So Paul writes to encourage him.
I love that Paul talks about Timothy's upbringing with his grandma and mom. I love that. I love that he mentions the faith that they had that they passed on to him. I love that.
And this is something we consider. We dedicate children at this church. And we love to do it. Love to hold a baby. I don't know when they'll let us do that again, hold babies. But when they do, we love it. Maybe we'll have to wear a hazmat suit. We'll do it. But love to dedicate babies.
But also, we meet with the parents beforehand because we're dedicating the babies, but we want to make sure mom and dad are dedicated. It does no good to dedicate your baby and say a little prayer with everybody if you're not committed to raising the child in the faith. You got to be dedicated. You're going to dedicate them. Got to dedicate you. You need to be dedicated to Christ.
Abraham Lincoln had a great-- he had a lot of great sayings. One of his great sayings was, if you want your child to walk in the way that he should go when he gets older, you need to walk in that way yourself. There was a couple of seminary grads that were talking about Bible translations. And these Bible nerds were talking about which one they preferred.
One of them said, well, I've always liked the Old King James version because of the majesty of language. And another piped in and said, oh, that's just so hard to understand. I prefer the New American Standard version because it's the most accurate to the Greek language. And someone else said, I prefer a more fluid translation like the NIV. And a fourth guy who was in on the conversation said, I like my parents' translation the best.
And they laughed. They said, what do you mean your parents' translated it? He said, yes. They translated the truth of the Bible into their everyday lives. And it's been the most convincing translation I've ever read. When you see it in a life lived out, it's convincing.
Timothy had that background of Jewish grandmother, Jewish mother who became believers and passed it on. Verse 8, therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord nor of me his prisoner but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God. Go down to verse 15. This, you know-- and this is sad to me-- that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.
Boy, I wouldn't-- we don't really know who they are. Probably they were aspiring leaders. They had a lot of giftedness. But they deserted either the faith, or they deserted the calling. And they were too scared of the persecution. But they turned away.
And to me, it's interesting that Paul was OK with naming them. Sometimes we, as Christian leaders, are really, really careful about naming names of famous people who are false prophets and heretics. I think we do a service to people when we name them.
Paul did this not once but a few times. He'll do it again with Alexander the coppersmith has done me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his deeds. How would you like to be that guy named in the Bible by Paul? Ouch. Well, he did it.
Chapter 2, verse 1, you, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. This is now pastoral character. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be also able to teach others also. Beautiful, beautiful verse.
You, therefore, must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Now just notice in the next few verses all of the mixture of metaphors that Paul uses for this young man in ministry. You have to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Verse 3, no one entangled in warfare entangles himself in the affairs of this life that he may please him who is enlisted as a soldier.
And also, if anyone competes in athletics-- now he's an athlete-- he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. Verse 6, the hardworking farmer-- so it's the third metaphor-- must be the first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say. And may the Lord give you understanding in these things.
I think the bottom line, without trying to unravel all the metaphors in the six minutes I have left, is to say Paul is getting to this issue. If you're going to be in ministry, Timothy, it's going to be hard. You've got to be persistent. You've got to stick with it. You got to stay at it. Whether you're a hardworking farmer or an athlete who trains every day or a soldier who says, yes, sir, to the commanding officer but is in a very difficult post, stay at it.
Determination, verse 15, verse 14, remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. Notice the wording, be diligent, that hard work again.
Ever heard of J. Vernon McGee? So I had the privilege of meeting him. I had the privilege of having him speak at our church here. And I interviewed him the day that he spoke at our church, maybe the day after actually.
And I asked him, I said, Dr. McGee, there's very few people like yourself who are committed to teaching the whole Bible. I mean, every pastor teaches from the Bible, a Bible verse here, a Bible verse there. But you are committed to teaching from Genesis to Revelation. You're a true expositor. Why is it that so many pastors, in your view, do not teach the whole counsel of God? And he said, the classic Jay Vernon McGee Texas drawl, he said, because they're all lazy.
Well, Paul is saying, young Timothy, don't be lazy. Be diligent. Teach it all. Teach them the truth. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. Rightly dividing means to cut a straight line or to plow a straight furrow or to build a straight road. That's the idea.
Paul was a tent maker. He had to cut very straight lines in the skins to make tents. Very precise in what he did. And I think the idea here is build a straight road and don't get sidetracked into the vain babblings and the arguments and the issues that everybody wants you to get involved in. Just preach the word. Stay at it. I think that's really the idea here.
Now when we-- I have to hold my page because this air conditioning is blowing like it's Alaska. But anyway. Chapter 3, we get to the practical concern. Once again, Paul is thinking about this in 1 Timothy but really a lot in this book.
He says, verse 1, chapter 3, but know this, that in the last days, perilous times will come. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away. Again, can I remind you? The gospel has barely penetrated the known world at the time. It's just over 30 years that the gospel has gone out from Jerusalem and now by the hands of Paul and the mouth of Paul the apostle.
There's a haunting question Jesus asked while he was on the Earth. He said, when the son of man returns, will he find faith on the Earth? He's not going to find much. If I go by what I see today, he's not going to find much. When the son of man returns, will he find faith on the Earth? Paul said this is an ever-present problem. Again, I'll deal more with that during the weekend.
But go to chapter 4, the last chapter. 2 Timothy, chapter 4, it's now a personal charge. I charge you, therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom, preach the word. These are Paul's final words recorded. Preach the word.
Don't preach your opinions. Don't preach just what you think are the issues. Preach the word. Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exort with all long-suffering and teaching, for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but according to their own desires. Because they have itching ears, they will heat up for themselves teachers. You can always find somebody who will tell you what you want to hear.
And they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. But you, talking to you, Timothy, be watchful in all things. Endure afflictions. Do the work of an evangelist. Fulfill your ministry. Fulfill your ministry.
Then he uses himself as an example. He's saying, Timothy, you started well. Finish well. End well. It's one thing to start really well. I know a lot of Christians that start with a bang but end with a whimper. Such promise and then veeew. Timothy, don't give up now. It's too soon to quit. Keep going, buddy. Finish well.
I love evangelism. I love seeing people come to Christ. We applaud when somebody does. But do you realize that's just the beginning? The applause goes to the one who crosses the finish line.
Christianity is not just obstetrics. It's all the way to geriatrics. And when somebody walks faithfully with the Lord, then dies in that glorious estate, that's the hallelujah.
And he gives his own example. Verse 6, for I am already being poured out as a drink offering. The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not to me only but also to all those who have loved his appearing.
I can't help but just look at verse 13. Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come and the books, especially the what? Parchments. If you're wondering, where did you get the name for your bookstore? This verse. I lifted it right out of here. Parchments.
Alexander the coppersmith has done me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. That's the verse I was telling you about. Go all the way to the end, if you don't mind, because we're out of time.
Verse 22, the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen or Amen, depending on where you're from. Either way. OK. I closed the book.
Then as Paul put down his pen, sometime after that, he was taken from the Mamertine Prison. He was walked a few yards away to the Basilica Julia, the court built by Julius Caesar himself. He stood final trial before Caesar Nero. A death sentence was given to Paul but a noble death sentence according to the Romans.
Now this isn't going to make sense to us. But if you're a Roman citizen, and Paul was, you couldn't be crucified. That was an ignominious death. You couldn't be stoned to death. Same.
So you were granted a noble death of beheading. Paul was taken outside of town on the Appian Road. His head was placed on a block. A man with an ax, a soldier came by. And with one final swipe, Paul the apostle, my age, went instantly from the imperial city to the eternal city.
And that was his hope. And that is our hope. Don't know how we're going to die. We're all going to die. I hope you're not afraid. Because no matter how you die, whether it's COVID or a car accident or airplane accident or old age, what awaits you is the eternal city.
And I can't wait to see Paul in glory. Say, dude, I read your books. Great to meet you. Father, more than that, we get to see you face-to-face. Heaven will not be about Paul. It will be about Jesus. Just like the church now is about Jesus, and we glorify you in this place. And we thank you that we're gathering again to study the word of God. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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