“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.