V. 1-Timothy was weak physically and timid spiritually. He was anxious and extremely sensitive to the moral and spiritual condition around him. Paul’s imprisonment and impending death would throw greater responsibility upon him, so Paul exhorts him: “Be strong in the grace of Jesus Christ.”
This grace is only to be found in Christ, it is undiminished, accessible and free. Paul experienced the greatness of this grace twenty years before 2 Corinthians 12:9. The Lord’s power is made perfect in weakness. Describe the conditions.
V. 2-We are reminded in the verse of a very important truth, that of transmitting the truth. As Paul had taught Timothy the fundamentals of the faith, he in turn was to transmit these to the faithful men, who would become qualified and competent teachers. A faithful man is a believable, loyal, reliable man.
V. 3-4-The soldier. This is the first of three miniature parables. Paul appeals to Timothy to endure hardness as a first class soldier of Christ Jesus. Resist the devil—fight the good fight. Earnestly contend, etc. Put on the armor of God.
1. The soldier’s service must be a concentrated service. A soldier was a soldier and nothing else. The Christian believer must concentrate of his Christianity.
2. A soldier is conditioned to obedience. “Jesus’ feet.”-Mary-The training of a soldier is designed to make him obey questioningly the word of command. The secret of His presence. “The still, small voice.” In the future battle this instinctive obedience may save his own life and the life of others. No man is greater than his prayer life. The soldier may not “know the reason why” but he trusts his commander and advances on flinchingly. Success of pulpit depends on trials in the closet. The first Christian duty is obedience to the command of God.
3. The soldier is conditioned to sacrifice and loyalty. Describe the Roman soldiers “sacramentum.” Earnestly contend, etc. The soldier’s characteristics: Absolute separation, absolute surrender, absolute service.
V. 5-The athlete. Determination. The athlete in question here is a professional rather than an amateur. It was a whole time dedication of his life to excellence in the contest he has chosen. Paul says here that the believer should be full time in the Lord’s service.
There were two things that the athlete must be conversant with. “O foolish Galatians…”
1. Discipline and Self Control
Nothing must interfere with his schedule of training. He must refuse pleasures and indulgences.
There must also be discipline in the believer’s life. The Christian must train himself never to relax in the attempt to make his soul pure and strong.
2. The athlete must know and obey the rules. Knowledge of God’s Word and obedience to God’s Word is essential if we are to be crowned. 1 Corinthians 24:27.
V. 6-The Farmer: Patience and Hard Work
The farmer must be content to work and then wait for the harvest. As believers, we must know what it is to “cast our bread upon the waters, and it shall return after many days.” Work and then wait. SOW the seed. “Cast thy bread upon the waters, etc.” “Paul may plant, etc.” “They that go forth in weeping bearing precious seed, etc.” “Thy Word shall not return void, not by might, etc.”
The summation of these they paint pictures:
The soldier is upheld by the thought of a final victory.
The athlete is upheld by the vision of the Crown. (Incorruptible)
The farmer is upheld by the hope of the harvest.
The believer can be certain that after the struggle of the Christian life there is the joy of heaven. See Hebrews 11:24-26. Moses. The greater the struggle, the greater the joy.
V. 8-10-Paul has been reminding Timothy of his confidence in him, of his godly heritage. He has shown him the picture of the Christian soldier—the Christian athlete—the Christian farmer. Now he comes to the greatest appeal of all. “Remember Jesus Christ.” This is the heart of the Pauline Gospel.
If every other appeal should fail, surely the memory of Jesus Christ cannot.
Three things Timothy was to remember. They ceased not to preach and teach, etc.
1. That Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. Paul is combining two truths here:
A. The actual resurrection of Christ as a historical fact.
B. He reminds Timothy of the ever-living, ever-present, ever-loving, ever-sustaining Christ.
The One Who said, “All power is given unto Me on earth and in heaven.” When the task seems too big, when fears threaten, when doubts assail, when inadequacy depresses, remember the promise of the living Lord.
2. That Jesus Christ was born of the seed of David. This is the other side of this glorious truth. Paul urges Timothy to remember the “manhood of the Master.”
Not only should we remember our Lord as a spiritual presence, we should remember Him also as One Who lived this life—faced life’s struggle—therefore knows what we are going through.
What a comfort it must have been to Timothy to remember that he not only had the presence of the glorified Christ, but also of the Christ “Who can be touched with the feelings of our “infirmities,” because He was tempted in all points, like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 10:18
This should be a great comfort to us. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. “He sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
3. Thirdly, Paul calls on Timothy to remember the Gospel. Deuteronomy 6-The Word. Joshua 7. The Gospel which is the power of God. The Gospel is the good news from God. It is the message of liberation from sin and victory over all circumstances. So Paul invites Timothy to heroism for Christ by calling on him to remember Jesus Christ—the resurrected Christ. To remember His continual presence. To remember the sympathy that comes from the manhood of the Savior. To remember the glory of the Gospel for himself and for a waiting world.
Finally in this section we see the Criminal of Christ, on who was actually free, yet was bound in chains. (literally)
Even though Paul personally was bound, nothing could bind the Word of God. The Law. The Gospel. Paul.
From his inspired pen, during his first imprisonment, had flowed illimitable and incomprehensible truth from the heart of God. Prison epistles: Ephesians, Philemon, Colossians.
During his second imprisonment, there again flowed from his inspired pen authoritative teaching about faith and godly orders for the guidance of future churches. Pastoral epistles 1-2 Timothy-Titus.
Two thousand years later we are still practicing these divine truths. See chapter 3-“God breathed.”
The Word of God cannot be bound. Bunyan, Voltaire. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Word shall stand.”
V. 11-13-These verses contain a part of one of the first hymns of the Christian Church. It was also the song of the first Christian martyrs. Describe. It is a poem of joy and triumph. If we die with Him, we shall live with Him. Martyrs’ death. Share His triumph, glory. If we suffer, we shall reign with Him.
If we deny of disown Him, He will deny and disown us. Luke 12:8-9. If we are faithless, yet He remains true. He cannot deny Himself.
V. 14-19 depict what should be Timothy’s attitude and activity amid doctrinal error.
V. 20-26-Timothy is admonished to remind the believers of these salient facts revealed in the previous verses. Furthermore, he is instructed to avoid controversy over words.
Word fighting or word battles are of no profit. There is no edification in them, they confuse, and undermine the faith of those who listen.
The word “subverting” means to turn upside down. From it comes our English word, “catastrophe.” Experience reminds us that many a “word battle” has had a catastrophic effect upon local saints and assemblies.
Intellectual battles increase rather than remove doubts and stir up the bitter passions, and give opportunity for the display of vile and wicked tempers.
In contrast to this, all spiritual gifts are given for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Heresies, doctrinal error, moral or spiritual evil must be exposed by the true servant of God. In order to do this effectively, the servant of God must be well equipped, hence the exhortations. V.15
“Show thyself approved unto God.” V. 15
The word “study” has a much broader meaning than the study of Scripture or books. To study the Word is vital to the believer. It conveys the thought of exerting every effort to attain a spiritual condition which, though exposed to the white light of God’s inscrutable presence reveals no flaws. “That you may be sincere and without blame.” Phil. 7
The true servant of God drives a straight road through the Word of truth and refuses to be lured down pleasant but irrelevant paths. Hudson Taylor. The plowman…the mason. Rightly dividing the Word.
V. 16-The profane and vain babbling of “godless chatterings” of Hymenaeus and Chiletus were to be avoided like a plague.
They have missed the marl…they have swayed from the truth…they undermine the faith of some.
V. 19-In contrast to the wavering saints, we have the immovable foundation of God. “The Lord knoweth them that are His.”
Those believers still alive and those who sleep in Jesus.
V. 20-21: Verses of Honor and Dishonor
The connection between the passage and the preceding one is very practical. Paul has just given a simple but profound definition of the Church as consisting of those who belong to the Lord and are known of God.
Someone asks, how do we explain the existence of the chattering heretic and the existence of Hymenaeus and Phylitus in the church.
Paul’s reply is that in any great house there are all kinds of vessels. Gold, silver, wood, and earthenware. There are some vessels that bring honor and joy to the master, there are others that bring him dishonor and sadness.
The picture here is of the “professing church.” Explain. There is that which is seen of God. There is that which is seen by man. That which is seen by men include the chattering heretics, and the peddlers of false doctrine like Hymenaeus and Phylitus.
God sees them as vessels of dishonor, unregenerate, undisciplined, unrecognized as members of the body of Christ.
V. 21-From there, Timothy and all true believers are admonished to separate themselves. In separating themselves they will become vessels unto honor, set apart, useable for the Master’s glory. Vessels of God. “Separated before use.”
V. 22-Timothy is urged to “flee” from youthful lusts. 2 Corinthians 6:14-15. See 1 Timothy 6:11
He is then exhorted to follow. Righteousness: conformity to the will of God. Faith, love, and peace, in harmony, in fellowship with those who call on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart.
V. 23-26-The true, separated, consecrated servant of God is urged to:
1. Avoid controversies over ignorant questions, because they breed strife.
2. Avoid quarreling.
3. Be gentle to all men
4. He should be a skilled teacher of the Word.
5. He should be patient
6. He must correct his opponents with courtesy and gentleness that they may come to know the truth, escape out of the snare of the devil, and then to do God’s will.
These lusts are for more than the passions of the flesh. These include impatience—youth normally is impatient.
Self-assertion-intolerant to the opinions of others. Arrogant in expressing one’s own opinion.
Love of disputation-argue long and act little.
Love of novelty-condemning a thing merely because it is old. Underrating the value of experience.
The faults of youth are the faults of idealism. Such faults are matters not for austere condemnation but for sympathetic correction.
The man of God and his responsibilities 2 Timothy 2
God expects every believer to be a man or woman of God and to be a witness for Him especially in the day of apostasy. It is our duty and privilege to tell the world what we know of Christ. See witnessing for Christ. The last works which Jesus spoke to His fallible, fearful, faltering disciples was, “You shall be my witnesses.” Acts 1:8
This must have seemed incredible to them because while He was with them they had often been hesitant, confused and reticent in their witness.
How could they be witnesses when He was absent? Through the midst of uncertainty there came the words of the Savior, “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Martyrs. They became true witnesses after they received the Holy Spirit. Can we in the twentieth century witness a good confession of Christ? Yes we can, if we meet the conditions. A broken vessel.
The “power” exhibited at Pentecost was not in the time or the place, but in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Describe some of the events. Behold, He can fill us in the same way as He filled the apostles. Any believer who lives in daily communion with the Holy Spirit can be a bold witness for the Lord. Winning souls for Christ. Building, binding, beautifying.
Verse 1. The man of God must be strengthened in the grace of Christ Jesus. Put on like a garment the strength that comes from union with Christ Jesus. This denotes a continuing experience—being made strong by the strength which is made perfect in weakness. Service and growth.
The Lord will impart this strength to the believer who is living in union with Him, just as the vine imparts its strength, life and fruitfulness to the branches that are in abiding union with it. “Thy grace is sufficient for thee.” Ephesians 6:10-“To be strong in the Lord and in the power of His righteousness.”
In order to bear fruit for God, the man of God must have a continuous living union with Him. All the great men of God were men of prayer. The Word. Their lives were characterized by purity, abiding, obedience. John 15. See verse 7. “If ye abide in me…”
It is the man of God’s responsibility to transmit the truth. V. 2 Notice the links in the chain. The truth in totality was given to Paul, by God. He in turn passed in on to Timothy. Then through Timothy it was given to faithful men. Trustworthy men. Through these faithful men it was given to others also.
The torch of divine truth must be transmitted unquenched, unabridged and unadulterated from one generation to the next.
Where are the men of God who transmit the truth, and where are the faithful me to whom it can be given? “There was a man sent from God whose name was John.” “I have no man likeminded—for all seek their own way.”
Those faithful men are loyal—reliable; they never yield or compromise neither to opposition or error. Discipling. Demas—all forsook me. Ch. 16
The man of God as a soldier. Let us consider the training of a soldier. Let us now consider the training of the man of God as a soldier. He must now abide, like Mary, at Jesus’ feet. “He who dwelleth in the secret place, etc.” The secret place of His presence. The still small voice. Elijah. No man is greater than his prayer life…The success of the pulpit depends on the travail in the closet. “Go hide thyself,” “Go show thyself.”
The soldier in reference here is the soldier who is on active service, face to face with the enemy. He has cut himself loose from all entanglements—he allows no other interests to detract him from his immediate purpose.
He is surrendered, separated—he is involved in absolute service, that He might please him Commanding Officers. The Captain of our salvation.
v. 5 The athlete. The man of God as an athlete. The athlete must experience discipline and self control. Nothing must interfere with his schedule of training. He must refuse all pleasures and indulgences. Sacrifice.
The man of God must be disciplined, he must know the rules and obey them. He must never allow worldly pleasures to detract him from his goal. He must lay aside the sin that doth so easily ensnare. Hebrews 12:1 “Press toward the mark,” “Run with endurance.”
He must crucify the world and the flesh. He must keep himself from idols. Those that bear the vessels of the Lord must be clean. Isaiah 52:17. Paul mortified his body that he would run with certainty, gain the crown and not be a castaway. I Corinthians 9:24-27. Eric Liddel.
V. 6-The Farmer, the man of God as a farmer
We are now removed from the excitement of the battle and the applause of the crowd at the games, to the quietness and remoteness of the farm. Philp. Constant toil. Early and late hours. Frequent disappointments. Infinite patience. Unexciting routine. The farmer is hardworking. He fertilizes the ground, he ploughs, he harrows, he sows the seed, he keeps the enemies away—“then the harvest at last.”
There is no such thing as a quick result, despite his hard work. He must have patience and wait. The man of God must sow the good seed of the Word. Sow beside all waters. Isaiah 32:20. “He must cast his bread upon the waters, etc.” Eccl. 4:1, 2 Corinthians 9:6. Sow sparingly. They must go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, etc. Psalm 126.
My word shall not return unto me void, etc. Isaiah 55:11
Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit, etc. Zechariah 4:6
Paul says in verse 7 that these are very important lessons. “Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee understanding in all these things.”
Verses 14-15 A workman. The man of God as a workman.
In verse 14 the man of God is instructed to avoid controversy over words. Word fighting or word battles are of no profit—they confuse and undermine the faith of those who are listening. The word “subverting” means to turn upside down. From the original word comes the English word “catastrophe.” Experience reminds us that many a word battle has had a catastrophic effect upon many a local church. Intellectual battle increases rather than removed doubts. They stir up bitter passions and give opportunity for the display of vile and wicked tempers. The man of God must not strive about words to no profit.
In contrast to this, “the man of God must study to show himself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” V. 15
The word “study” has a much broader meaning than the study of scripture of books. It conveys the thought that the man of God should exert every effort to attain a spiritual condition, which when exposed to the white light of God’s inscrutable presence, reveals no flaw. “That you may be sincere and without offense. Without flaws.”
The man of God drives a straight road through the Word of truth. Turning neither to the right or to the left, racing not for the opinions of man, but wholly devoted to the truth of God. “Rightly dividing the Word of truth.” The ploughman—the mason—Hudson Taylor.
Verse 21-A vessel. The man of God as a vessel.
The view here is that of the apostate church in which there is a mixture of saved and unsaved. The context. The parable of the wheat and tares. Matthew 13.
In verse 19 it is the true church. “The Lord knoweth those that are His.”
The man of God must purge himself from all iniquity. Absolute purity. He must separate himself from false teachers—vessels of dishonor. He must separate himself from error—this separation is outward as well as inward. Absolute separation from all evil.
The vessels of God were separated from the other vessels before being used. Ezra 1:11
Barnabas and Paul were separated by God before being used. Acts 13:2
V. 24 A servant: The man of God as a servant
In verse 24 and 25 there are some things which should characterize the man of God. Firstly, the man of God should not strive, he must not allow himself to be dragged into worthless, negative controversy. V.23
On the contrary, he must be characterized by a few positive attributes.
1. He must be gentle to all, tolerant, kindly, tender, sympathetic and approachable, even to those who appose him.
2. He must be apt to teach—he must not only have the ability to teach, but must have the readiness to impart counsel and instruction as opportunity arises.
3. He must be forbearing, long suffering and patient even though misunderstood.
4. The final requirement is that he must correct his opponents in meekness in the hope that the errorist will be recovered from the snare of the devil.
Witnessing for Christ
J.G. Bellett, author of “The Moral Glory of the Lord Jesus,” said as he neared the end of his life, “If I had my life to live over again, I would spend it in Sychor ministry.”
C.H. Spurgeon, “the prince of preachers” said, “If I had the choice, I would choose to be a soul winner.”
Dr. R A. Torrey testified that he knew little of the joy of salvation until he had led his first soul to Christ.
There are thousands of souls who have been saved, not through hearing some greatly used evangelist, but through the efforts of some lovely, godly, and faithful soul winner, who sought unobtrusively, faithfully, and lovingly to lead them to Christ.
May our prayer be, “Lord lay some soul upon my heart and love that soul through me: and may I truly do my part to bring that soul to Thee.”
Of the 112 times in the N.T. that the word “preach” is mentioned, in only six instances does it mean a formal discourse. Personal Evangelism
The assembly that had evangelistic fervor and settles down in smug complacency as “headquarters for the truth” will fade and die. The church of Jerusalem was “shattered” that it might be “scattered,” and all its members became witnesses. Israel when persecuted became stronger.