“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
After Jesus ascended to Heaven the Holy Spirit was sent by The Father to abide in the lives of every person who by faith believed in Jesus, who He is and what His word was. In John 14:26 Jesus promised that the “Helper (Holy Spirit) would teach you…and bring to your remembrance all that I have said.” God has given us His Word, and we recognize its value.. In the second letter the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, he underscored this fact. God’s purpose in inspiring the writers of our Bible was to give us His will in His word. By preserving these writings so that we have them available to us today, many centuries later God has helped His people to understand His words so that we may know His plan and purpose for our lives. And what has been God’s purpose? It has been to equip each of us to carry on His work of reaching others with His message and offer of salvation. So, as we read God’s Word, as we study the Bible, as we listen to others teach us from it, God is making us complete by equipping for every good work.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)
Our promise today is that by studying, reading and learning what God’s word teaches, our shame is removed. Most people in the world think their life after death would be better with God. They also think the way to qualify for that is by being “good enough,” coupled with being “not that bad.” Scripture clearly teaches we are naturally kept out of God’s presence because the sin nature we are born with. Our good deeds never secure a spot in God’s Kingdom. The Bible calls that “heaven.” It is a real place. Another real place is “hell” where those who reject God’s will spend eternity. The only way to eternal life in heaven is by believing in Jesus and receiving His gift of salvation. This is done by grace through faith in God; a faith gifted to us by God so that we can believe and receive what we don’t deserve by deeds. All who receive Jesus are granted the right to become children of God. Each person born with a sin nature rejects God naturally. To never believe and to always reject God’s offer of eternal life eventually results in being ashamed.
“…who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,” – 2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV)
The very first words in the Bible are; “In the beginning God created…” An important truth from these words is that there was ‘a beginning’ of time. Before God created all the rest he created time. It was before the ages began. “Time, ‘like an ever-rolling stream,’ flows on and on and on. But before it even began we were already included in the gracious purpose of God.”* God purposed to give us grace ‘before times of the ages’ as the words are literally translated. That grace of God was hidden, and it is part of the “mystery” given to the Apostle Paul for him to reveal to the world. In Colossians 1:26 Paul also wrote, “the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations,” Grace from God for us, hidden from before the foundation of the world was in the Old Testament only dimly discerned by those who believed. But it in the New Testament it “has now been revealed or manifested.” When we think of grace, we think of Jesus our Savior, anointed by God for the purpose of saving his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
* William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 4:232–233.
“[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” – 2 Timothy 1:9 – (ESV)
Six Promises for those saved and In Christ Jesus. Pause for a moment and think how incredible it is to be united to Christ. Bound to Christ. If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:
- In Christ Jesus you were given grace before the world was created. (2 Timothy 1:9)
- In Christ Jesus you were chosen by God before creation. (Ephesians 1:4)
- In Christ Jesus you are loved by God with an inseparable love. (Romans 8:38–39)
- In Christ Jesus you were redeemed and forgiven for all your sins. (Ephesians 1:7)
- In Christ Jesus you are justified before God and the righteousness of God in Christ is imputed to you. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- In Christ Jesus you have become a new creation and a son of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The unbeliever is not in Christ Jesus but an enemy of God’s truth as revealed in the Bible. Declaring that one believes in Jesus is real does not save. True belief is saving faith, a gift of God. In the next few days we will look a little closer at each of these six promises in God’s Word.
“Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” 2 Timothy 2:17-19 (NASB)
Don’t be like Hymenaeus and Philetus, who Paul called out. Our passage today is from three verses of 2 Timothy chapter 2 bringing us a truth and promise from God. Every person putting his or her faith in Jesus Christ as Savior has this assurance⸺that God knows about it. He is aware of our faith. God welcomes each of us into His family. He knows us personally and we can know that we belong to him because of that knowledge. Hymenaeus, named in 1 Timothy 1:20 and again here had first with Alexander and then with Philetus later spread false teaching about the resurrection and created a crisis among believers in Ephesus. Paul calls them out and reassures Timothy, and us, that God is intimately acquainted with each of us. That is what our verse means when it says, “The Lord knows those who are His.” Our heavenly Father has a personal connection with each of us who by faith believe. This gives us a special assurance, doesn’t it? We have a special confidence and encouragement today that God knows each of us and He knows just were we are and what we need. A cause to rejoice.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
We’re thinking of the campfire or a wood fire burning in a fireplace. These fires provide heat and perhaps light but wood fires dwindle to coals as the wood is burned into ashes. To keep it going we add new wood and then we blow or fan the burning embers into a flame. Paul instruction to Timothy is to do the same to his spiritual gift. It’s God who gives us spiritual gifts to serve Him and others in His name and for His sake. Persecution was increasing in the first century when Paul wrote his last letter to Timothy, shortly before his execution by Nero. There was much then and much today that might cause us to react with a cowardly fear, that springs from timidity. The Spirit of God and the spiritual gifts He has promised and given to us are powerful and can overcome such fears. Exercising our faith through obedience using these gifts result in love and discipline. Self-control is essential and God promises to supply it to all who by faith believe. This is why we need to stoke our God given gifts and keep them alive and burning bright.
“The [this] saying is trustworthy, for if we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” – 2 Timothy 2:13 (ESV)
We have heard quotations repeated and often we hear “That’s true.” tagged on for emphasis. The Apostle Paul used the ‘trustworthy-sayings’ formula in his letters to individuals to introduce a familiar saying. It was Paul’s way of confirming the truth in a common saying. In our verse today four comparisons or couplets are set forth. The first two are positive; those who have identified with Christ’s death as a sacrifice accomplished for them, are assured that they will enjoy eternal life with Him. “If we endure” is our identification with Christ through until the end. Our present suffering is related to our and glorification later. Then two negative couplets. Those pretending to believe but are found to be faithless deniers of Jesus will indeed be denied by God. There is no way we can by being good enough to save ourselves. We must believe and trust Jesus Christ and what He did and said for us. The players, the deniers, and the faithless can’t affect any change to Christ’s offer of new life. God’s promises remain true. He cannot deny the truth for He is the Truth and the only Way to eternal Life. God: forever faithful to His word.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (ESV)
The “Crown of righteousness” can mean either that righteousness itself is the crown or reward, or that this crown is the reward for righteousness. We can read how the Bible speaks of the death of a believer, especially in the New Testament, we notice how the word “departure” is used rather than death. Jesus, Paul, and Peter all spoke of their physical death as a “departure.” Apostle Paul lived for about 60 years. When writing his second letter to Timothy, he knows then, for certain, his death is very near. But it was not the end of living, it was his time of departure from this world to live with God’s in heaven. Paul was one of untold number of Christians who Emperor Nero’s aggressive persecution killed, blaming them for the burning of Rome – which Nero had done himself. Paul speaks of it in this passage in very positive words. He does not fear his departure and he knows that His Lord has prepared a reward. Paul was not the only one to receive this Crown of Righteousness but all who love Christ’s appearing are promised the same reward on ‘that day’ which is the day of Christ’s return.