2 Timothy: Be Strong in God's Grace

2 Timothy  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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· Paul in ch1 encouraged Timothy to overcome his timidity/fears so that he could be faithful in teaching the truth and being faithful in the face of hardship and persecution. He also gave Timothy a few examples of those who have done just that – those people being Jesus, himself, and Onesiphorus. Paul begins chapter 2 giving Timothy some instructions based on the content of ch1. He continues to build on the same theme of faithfulness in the face of hardship in this section by giving Timothy three commands in verses 1-3 that he builds upon: Be strong, entrust Christ’s doctrines to faithful men, and endure hardship…
· 0201 Timothy is instructed by Paul to be strong… “[1] You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (NASB)” "Be strong." That's the focus of what Paul says to Timothy in this chapter. In fact, it's really the whole idea of this second letter.
· and Paul not only tells Timothy to be strong, he tells him where to find the strength he needs… not in himself, but in the grace of the Lord. We need God’s grace, not just to receive salvation, but also to be faithful as servants. Remembering that God has shown us such abundant grace in forgiving us, giving us His Spirit, and using us to spread the glorious gospel message should be something that strengthens us… God’s grace, which we receive by being in Christ, gives us reason to have hope and strength no matter what the circumstances may be.
· Paul then, beginning in verse 2, tells Timothy what he needs to be strengthened to do by God’s grace:
· “... [2] and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (ESV)
· 0202 Just as Paul had handed it down to Timothy through his teaching, he has to pass it to others who will do the same. Timothy was entrusted with a valuable treasure – the teachings of Jesus. He needed to make sure that the information he received would be given to those who could be trusted with it… He was entrusted with the Gospel and the teachings of Christ in order to entrust it to others. And those who receive Timothy’s teaching are to take it and share it with others…
· You see a great picture here of discipleship… Paul took Timothy under his tutelage and taught him what Christ expected of Him. Timothy then took what he received and taught it to other men… and so on… it is a continual process. Teaching and mentoring others to do the same.
· Timothy needed to teach the truth to those who saw it as valuable and could be trusted with accurately teaching it. They need to be faithful, and they need to be able to teach it. Those are the two qualifications Paul gives Timothy here… This would more than likely include the leaders of the churches in Asia and in Ephesus where Timothy was. He needed to equip them so that they would not be vulnerable when he left Ephesus.
· “[3] Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. [4] No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” (ESV)
· 0203 Paul returns to his talking about enduring hardship for Christ. He needed to endure and to share in the hardship that Paul has. Paul gives Timothy imagery to learn what this means; the illustration of a soldier in war. He needs to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
· 0204 A soldier that is engaged in warfare for his commander needs to continue to fight until the battle is over. If the soldiers in the middle of the battle would give up and go home because the fight is too hard, they will displease their commander and could lead their fellow soldiers to be discouraged.
· Paul encourages Timothy what the focus of his life should be; being engaged in war, and not in being tangled with the affairs of this life. There are too many soldiers that are not fighting because of their focus on the cares of the world. In the soldier should be the virtue of single-mindedness ̶ refusing to be sidetracked from our purpose of service.
· “[5] An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (ESV)
· 0205 Paul next gives Timothy an illustration of an athlete. Paul uses athlete illustrations elsewhere in his epistles and focuses on different aspects of being an athlete that can be applied to the life of a disciple… Here, Paul makes one point regarding the athlete… For the athlete, there is only one way of winning; by following the rules of the event that they are competing in. They cannot cheat or take any shortcuts! This is something that Timothy needed to see with his preaching of the gospel. If he would preach it as he should, there would be hardship that would come. He could not leave things out of his message or be silent. To be a faithful evangelist and to fulfill his ministry, he needed to speak boldly the full counsel of God. There is nothing that he could do to change this; no shortcuts he could take, if he wanted to receive the prize
· “[6] It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.” (ESV)
· 0206 The farmer is the third illustration that Paul uses. Not as glamorous as the soldier and the athlete… Here you see the idea of constant, hard work in doing what needs done no matter what. The work is put in and the reward comes in being able to partake of the crops… and to also be helpful to others with the crops…
· These 3 illustrations have in common the point that success is achieved through discipline, hard work, and single-mindedness. Beyond warfare is victory, beyond athletic effort a prize, and beyond agricultural labor a crop. Each links disciplined, diligent performance to obtaining a valuable goal.
· 0207 Paul wants Timothy to reflect on and to consider carefully his efforts in preaching the gospel based on these 3 illustrations. Would he be willing to have the single-mindedness, the discipline, and the willingness to endure hardship so that he can be given the prize? If he meditated on these things, Paul says that the Lord would be with Timothy in guiding him to understand and apply these principles
· Next, in verses 8-10, Paul gives two examples of these principles that has been talking about…
· “[8] Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, [9] for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! [10] Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (ESV)
· 0208 In vv8-10, Paul gives 2 more examples/illustrations to Timothy; the Lord and himself. Our Lord, who suffered by the will of God and was killed-was victorious! He was raised from his tomb!
· 0209 Paul endured hardship and was willing to suffer much for Christ. He was in prison at the time that he wrote this epistle, but that fact was not keeping the message from spreading! There was still victory though Paul was not in a good situation.
· 0210 What kept Paul going was the fact that no matter what the Lord allowed to come his way, he knew that he wanted to help others come to the Lord. That was a reward for Paul! (). Paul was willing to suffer even so others could be rewarded by God.
· “[11] The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; [12] if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; [13] if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” (ESV)
· 0211 Paul states in vs11-13 another statement of faith. Paul says that if we have died with Christ, we shall live with Him. The idea here may include what Paul shows in of dying with Christ in baptism, but even there, the main emphasis is how one lives for Christ after being raised out of the water. They have been united with Jesus in His death at baptism in order to live in newness of life… They have been crucified with Christ and Christ lives in them now through the Spirit.
· 0212 In lines 2 and 3 of this saying in v12, Paul gives a promise and warning to enduring hardship for Christ. If we endure (suffering), we shall reign with Him.
· 0213 Christ is faithful; He will act in accordance with His warnings and also in judgment against the faithless. God is faithful and cannot go against His nature. He will do what he promises in rewarding or judging those who are faithless. To do otherwise would be to deny Himself.
· Before bringing this lesson to a close, let’s think about some application of this passage to ourselves…
· First, are we following the three commands that Paul gives to Timothy in verses 1-3:
1. Be Strong – Are you strong in the grace of the Lord…
2. Teach – This command that Paul gives Timothy, I believe, has it’s most direct application to the role that I fulfill as an evangelist. One of my duties as an evangelist is to equip reliable and able men to teach the doctrines of Christ to others through my teaching. I believe my duty here is to make it so reliable men here can do what I am doing and to, in a sense, work myself out of a job… If whenever I leave here, whenever that may be, if your first reaction is, “we need to hurry up and find someone else to be our preacher because we don’t want to do many sermons on our own,” you may not be thinking rightly about the role of the evangelist.
3. And men, would you count yourself as one of the “reliable” men who are “able” to preach and teach the doctrines of Christ to others in our assemblies, come talk to me. You don’t have to be the best speaker, just able to clearly present what you study and learn from the Bible to others.
4. Endure Hardship – How are you doing as you go through hardship in this life… Does it turn you to the Lord for strength or does it lead you to shrink back in fear or to become self-focused?
· Second, we need to reflect on the three illustrations and examine ourselves. The illustrations show a link between disciplined performance and the goal of that performance.
1. The soldier – Do we have the single-minded focus of the soldier, desiring to please our commander in what we do without distractions?
2. The athlete – Are we like the athlete? Are we trying to do things Christ’s way, or are we taking shortcuts, expecting that we can make Christianity easier or more comfortable? .
3. The farmer – Are we like the farmer, Are we going to reap the benefits of working hard for the Lord?
· And finally, apply Paul’s “trustworthy statement” to your life. You will only live w/ Christ if you have died with Him in baptism and are living for Him. You will only reign with Christ now and in eternity if you endure hardship and work hard for Him. Jesus will be faithful – whether in blessing or in judgment based on whether we confess Him as Lord and live for Him or whether we deny Jesus in our words and our actions…
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