2 Timothy 3
2 Timothy 2:1-14
One with Christ:
- What is it that’s worth preserving, worth guarding? Remember Jesus! He is the Messiah, the Promised One, raised from the dead, that is the Gospel - Jesus, the Messiah, God’s Son died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and rose again from the dead
- He is the Messiah, descended from David, the promised King - people expected Him but not that He’d die, let alone rise again - this is the Gospel
- Paul called it "my Gospel," not because he conceived it, but because God entrusted it to him - gave him the message as a stewardship to invest it, deliver it, proclaim and plant it among the Gentiles and thus reap a harvest for his LORD. Paul had seen much falling away (1:15) and was concerned that Timothy’s faith remain true - this is ensured by remembering Jesus Christ - His death and resurrection - the Gospel.
- Don’t get caught up in esoteric doctrines (cf. 1 Tim 1:4-7; 6:2-5, 20) - there is only one message that matters - don’t get distracted from it. Keep the cross central (cf.1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.) The communion is an essential factor in preserving the faith because it is a continual reminder of the death and resurrection of Jesus (cf. Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24-26) - a remembrance and a proclamation of His death until He comes - an identification with Jesus in His death and resurrection - we are ONE with Him [OHP2]
In His suffering (v.9):
- This simple message is an offense to man, to the world who trust in themselves. Thus they will persecute you for it - and, if we stick to the simple pure Gospel, we will suffer. Timothy was to remember not just the mere fact of the resurrection, but was to keep Him in mind as a living, risen LORD who is able to give His life to the believer. Hallelujah! We are one with Him - His life is our’s
- This Gospel, holding to this belief caused Paul suffering - it still does. Why?
- imprisoned as a criminal - why such a reaction to a faith? - you can believe you come back as a butterfly, that a stone statue controls the weather, that the dead speak through mediums, but that Jesus rose from the dead - suddenly there is a reaction.
- the message goes on, it must be preserved at all costs because it is eternal
In the shame of His Gospel (8,9):
- Paul was not concerned with his chains but he was concerned about the chaining of the Gospel. He didn’t care about his own imprisonment so long as the Gospel still had free course. Satan can (does and will) persecute the believer, the one promulgating the message. He hates the message and does all he can to stop it - he can ensure those proclaiming it are captured, persecuted, imprisoned or killed; but he cannot imprison their message! - they can kill the messenger but not the message. Hallelujah! He has power over men’s bodies but not over their minds, thoughts, beliefs, over their souls or spirits. The record of history is a wonderful testimony - many were martyred for their faith in Jesus, but though many died the message never did! It spread more and more! The more satan persecuted the more the church grew! The Gospel is not imprisoned! Hallelujah! What a joy and encouragement this is to those who are suffering persecution for the Gospel - their temporal body may be suffering but satan is powerless to defeat the message for which they live and suffer. No chain can bind the truth! Praise God!
In His glory (v.10):
- So Paul endured whatever might come his way - he did it for the sake of the elect, those who would believe, receive the Gospel and obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus - believing, relying totally on who He is and in His death and resurrection. As an outcome of this obtaining LIFE! Eternal life! Life that carries through to eternity, to God’s presence, sharing His glory forever! Hallelujah!
- Paul was treated as a criminal but he gladly endured any temporal suffering for the sake of the precious, glorious, eternal Gospel. He would endure anything just so long as the message of salvation came to those who were chosen to receive it. He had eternal glory in view and when we have this perspective the suffering of this life fades, is bearable when the glorious end, that hope is in view. (cf. Romans 8:17-18; 8:23-25 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.)
Paul was expressing the Spirit of Jesus in his willingness to suffer all things for the sake of the elect - he was sharing in the sufferings of Jesus
- for this is precisely the attitude of Jesus - He was willing to suffer all things for the sake of the elect - those who were given Him - even to die for them, bear their sin and condemnation in order to save them from the coming wrath (cf. John 10:11-18; 6:37-40). - Paul’s great longing was for men to receive the salvation God freely offered - salvation that is in Christ Jesus alone (cf. Rom 9:1-3; 10:1). Paul was living and working not for a merely earthly objective but for eternity! - not for earthly riches but for eternal glory! A glory that will never fade away nor can be taken from you (1 Peter 1:4-7; 5:4). Suffering is an unavoidable prerequisite to obtaining glory (Rom 8:17). Paul’s desire was that these elect may also obtain that glory - share Christ’s glory (Col 3:1-4).
In His death (v.11):
- The principle, patience through suffering - discipline reaps a future reward: if we die - we live.
- We only live in union together with Christ if we have first died with Him - died to sin and self i.e. repentance (cf. Luke 9:23,24 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.).
- We must continually reckon ourselves "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus
- to have resurrection life we must first die!
In His resurrection (v.11):
- but if we die then we receive LIFE! The very resurrection life of Jesus Himself! Resurrection life only comes through death!
(Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Romans 6:3,4,11 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 2 Corinthians 4:11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. Colossians 2:12,13 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions).
- Suffering (death) is the prerequisite to glory (life with Christ) (Col 3:1-11).
In His patience (v.12):
We are united with Christ, positionally, in His death and resurrection - our oneness with Him in His death is the assurance of our being raised from death - sharing His resurrection, living eternally with Him. We experience this union in our daily life. We are in Christ Jesus. Note how all we do is together with Him: die with Him, live with Him, reign with Him. But we must undergo training and testing before we are given such responsibility - the number one requirement is patience and endurance
- that is why we suffer here on earth, in order that we might develop these qualities which are of inestimable value in God’s sight. We must endure, keep on with consistency, constancy and faithfulness - not giving up, as many had done (cf. 1:15).
- The LORD is looking for endurance (Matthew 24:13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. Hebrews 6:12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Heb 10:35-39 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. Heb 12:1-3 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Romans 5:3-5; 8:25 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. James 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance; James 5:10,11 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.).
In His rule (v.12):
- if we endure then we reign - Not only has Christ given us His life, eternal life, but He shares His throne with us - we rule in His Kingdom with Him! His intended destiny for us is positions of authority and administration in Him Messianic Kingdom! (Revelation 3:21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.)
- but on the other hand if we don’t submit to suffering and avoid it by disowning Him, not identifying with His shame then He will disown us. We must not deny Him - for if we do we will be denied this position of ruling with Christ. He will deny us this privilege, deny us - what terrible words to hear: "depart from Me! I never knew you!" (Mat 7:23)
He is faithful! (V.13):
- But the wonderful thing is that even when we are unfaithful God remains faithful because that is what He is - He cannot be any other, He would not be being true to His nature - He cannot cease to be. God is faithful! Hallelujah! That is who He is!
- If we deny Christ, He will deny us, but He will never deny Himself - He cannot, it is impossible!,We may not endure, we may not prove faithful but He endures
- He remains continually faithful! Hallelujah! Praise, glory, and honour be to His name which is faithful and true! (Rev 19:11). The word "faithless" here means to fail to exercise the proper faith, confidence, dependence, consistency or trustworthiness. When we do not exercise the proper faith in the LORD, He still remains faithful; He is trustworthy - completely dependable, reliable - unlike man. His trustworthiness does not depend on our trustworthiness.
- God is faithful - that is the guarantee that the faith we devote ourselves to will endure - that the reward will come for our patience and discipline.