:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

II Timothy Chapter 4

II Timothy Chapter 4

vs. 1-2

- As I read this, I can't help but think about the relationship between Paul and Timothy. Paul knows he's probably going to die soon. He knows that eventually the Romans are going to kill him. This is a letter of final urgings. A letter as a last will and testament.

- I live in a state where there's a lot of coal mines... and subsequently a lot of cave ins and stuck miners. Every time there's a cave in or a collapse or trapped miners, you always end up with news broadcasts of the families waiting on word from their husbands, brothers, fathers, etc.

- Sometimes while the miners are trapped, they write letters to their families... And it's been in front of me a lot... if I knew I was going to die or at least that there was an almost certainty about it... what kind of things would I want to leave behind me for my family and friends?

- What would I write as my last words? Would I just pour out my love for them on a page? Would I want to leave advice? Would I want to encourage them?

- A few years ago, my room mate's mom died. It was a long drawn out disease... and she planned her funeral to be a praise service. She wrote out everything she wanted said. The pastor even laughed because she was a secretary or something at the church and he said she was still telling him what to do... lol cause she wrote out what he was to say too...

- Paul is trying to make sure he tells Timothy all that he needs to before he can't anymore.

- “I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, Who will someday judge the living and the dead when He appears to set up His kingdom...”

- What follows is not to be taken lightly. This is not just Paul worrying over things. This is Paul saying, “hey... this is a serious thing... make sure you pay attention.”

- So what's so important?

- “Preach the word of God.” okay yeah... that's pretty important. Make sure you spread the gospel. (Now granted, Paul is speaking to Timothy as a pastor... but it's not JUST the pastor's responsibility to preach. And rather than preach... sometimes we rather, need to TEACH. So when I say preach, I mean preaching and teaching... we had a lesson a few weeks ago that was about preaching and teaching being inseparable concepts.)

- But then Paul makes it harder... “Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.”

- Ouch... preach whether people want to hear it or not... The gospel still has to be spread.

- footnote- “We should always be ready to serve God in any situation, whether or not it is convenient. Be sensitive to the opportunities God gives you.”

- The Word can't spread effectively if there's no legs to the body. Even if it's at home... we still have the responsibility to preach when we have an open door.

- Paul goes on with some other responsibilities.

- “Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.”

- Key word: patiently.

- Matthew 18:15-20 talks about how to go about approaching a fellow believer who has sinned.

- First Jesus says to go privately to them to point out the sin. If they see what they have done and confess it and repent... then it's fine. No more problems. If they refuse to see their sin however, and choose instead to turn away... then you are to take 2 or 3 others with you to help you. Now this doesn't mean you go get a group together to go beat them over the head with a bible... It means you find 2 or 3 people who you can trust, who are also close with this person, and you all pray before you go, and pray when you get there... and then if they can see that it's not just you... and you're not just trying to pick on them... then they're okay. If they still refuse correction... then the situation is to go before the church. If the church then says that, yes, this is a sin issue and needs to be dealt with... and the person still won't repent of it or turn from it... then they are to be treated as outcasts or pagans.

- Here Jesus makes an interesting comment. “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

- the footnote here says that “This FORBIDDING and PERMITTING refers to the decisions of the church in conflicts. Among believers, there should need to be no court of appeals beyond the church. Ideally, the church's decisions should be God-guided and based on discernment of His Word. Believers have the responsibility, therefore, to bring their problems to the church, and the church has the responsibility to use God's guidance in seeking to resolve conflicts. Handling problems God's way will have an impact now and for eternity.”

- In Matthew 7:1-6, it talks about not judging others. Get rid of the log in your own eye before you start trying to get the speck out of your brother's...

- Sometimes we see things in other people that are also in us. God starts putting His finger on things in OUR lives that we need to change, and instead of seeing it in us and trying to work through it with God... we lash out at other people with the same issues in their lives... that may not even be there to the same extent.

- I was talking to a friend of mine the other night and there were a lot of times my third year in college with him that we got in massive fights... over little nothings... but it was all because God was pointing out things in my heart that needed fixed... and instead of seeing that... and accepting it for what it was... I just started picking him apart... and vice versa sometimes...

- We are to be patient in our correction...

- James 5:19-20
- I Peter 4:8
- Proverbs 10:12

- The last thing that Paul tells Timothy here is to encourage the people with good teaching. The more we learn and the more we understand, the better equipped we are to encourage one another in the faith. Encouragement is a huge part of this faith. It's easy to look around and see the world as it is and wonder why we're not there too. Sometimes it seems like all the evil people are prospering... or the non-Christians are just having so much more fun... or we're just not making the mark, so why try anymore?

- We need an encouraging word every so often. Especially when the need for correction or rebuke comes up... Yeah we might have messed up... but it's okay because God still loves us and He's still willing to take us right back into His arms...

- Proverbs 3:11-12
- John 6:35-40

vs. 3-5

- All of this is important because there will be a time “when people will no longer want to listen to sound and wholesome teaching.” Instead, they will follow after their own desires. They will seek out teachers who tickle their ears... who tell them everything they want to hear... they will chase after myths and reject the truth.

- John 12:37-50
- Matthew 24:4-51, 25:1-46 (Mark 13:1-37)
- II Corinthians 11:12-15
- Titus 1:10-16
- II Peter 2:1-22, 3:1-14
- I John 4:1-6

- Does that not describe our world today? People chasing personal pleasure... no matter how, no matter where... Chasing after teachings and ideas that make them feel good about themselves. Only agreeing with teachings that correspond with what they want to believe. Finding teachings that justify their actions. Seeking out the supernatural world... but not submitting to the authority of a supernatural God.

- These people refuse to listen to reason. They don't want to hear about morals or about being selfless. Morals are “old” or “out-dated” or “useless”. Serving others is “a sign you don't love yourself enough” or a “sign you don't think enough of yourself” or “means you see everybody as better than you.”

- footnote- “Many speakers, teachers, and writers talk about the pursuit of knowledge. But often they don't want knowledge; they want power. Such people won't listen to “sound and wholesome teaching.” Instead, they “reject the truth and chase after myths.” You can see this everywhere—from liberal churches to university campuses. People claiming to have a bit more enlightenment than what the dusty Bible has to say; people claiming to improve on God's words. Such people have several things in common;
1. They do not tolerate the truth. They have no interest or respect for absolute truth or any standard for judgment.
2. They reject truth for sensationalism. They want truth that fits their situation and makes sense for them. What they feel, what works for them, what seems compelling—that is their truth and they claim an absolute right to it. No one should even attempt to tell them differently.
3. They gather viewpoints to suit their selfish desires. Although they profess objectivity, their only defense for their viewpoints is that those viewpoints suit their desires.

Such teachers have a following because they are telling people “whatever their itching ears want to hear.” These people are following myths. Be careful. False teaching can be found in many places—even inside the doors of some churches. Like Timothy, you must “keep a clear mind in every situation” and seek God's Word for the truth.”

- Jeremiah 23:9-40
- Matthew 4:4
- Hebrews 4:12-13
- Psalm 11:89-112, 129-152

- All this is not to say that we should become paranoid listeners. Just that we should become involved and informed ones.

- It's like politics. So for a minute, you are going to be the most well-informed voter there has ever been... You hear a hundred things during the debates leading up to elections. Everybody promising the same things, trying to gain a particular people's approval. Politicians are not known for their trustworthiness... So leading up to elections, you not only listen to debates, but you get campaign materials, you research the candidate and his campaign managers. You watch every move he makes... eventually... you're going to find him in a contradiction of himself. He's going to claim to focus on family values... but be on the verge of divorce... or he's going to claim a heart for tax relief... but last year he voted to raise taxes.

- Something won't add up.

- We have to do the same with the word. We have to study it, know it, and be intimately involved with it's Author. So when somebody comes telling us something about the Love of our lives that we KNOW to be false... we can pick up on it.

- If a politician and his wife have a great relationship and they KNOW each other... no matter how the media smears him... she at least will know the truth and stand behind him.

- When something really sticks out or doesn't add up, our spirit should respond with a red flag. Just like the politician's wife, if we hear a lie, we should KNOW it... and respond accordingly.

- If we don't, we'll be the people who are rejecting the truth to chase after myths that tickle our ears. We'll be the people looking for that next personal gain, or personal pleasure to be justified through a new belief or new teaching.

- I Timothy 5:6-7
- James 4:1-10
- Matthew 15:3-9

- Paul tells Timothy in verse 5 to “keep a clear mind in every situation. Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”

- What good is head knowledge if you don't use it? If the politician's wife knows the media is lying about her husband... but never speaks up or defends him... it makes it look like she's ashamed of him... or that she knows they've caught him in something.

- If we don't stand up for God... it's the same for us. We can't be afraid of suffering persecution. Jesus said “since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you.” (John 15:18-25) We can't expect to have smooth sailing.

- Hebrews 11:24-26

- But no matter what, we have a mission to complete. My pastor sent us an email with this quote from Charles Spurgeon attached the other day. “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.” We don't really have a choice. We either fulfill the mission and let God lead us into His plan and His purpose... regardless of what that may be or what it may entail... or we claim the Name of Christ and run when trials strike.

- Luke 8:4-18
- Titus 2:11-15

- We have an obligation to Truth. Will you fulfill your obligation?

vs. 6-8

- “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God.”

- When I think about pouring something out... I think of pouring it out fully. Not just splashing some out... but pouring the whole thing out.

- God wants our best. Our most. Our all. He doesn't want a few drops every now and again.

- Paul said, you know what, I gave it all. I didn't hold anything back. I poured out my life to God as an offering.

- In Romans 12:1 Paul pleads with the readers to give themselves as “a living and holy sacrifice.”

- To sacrifice our hopes, our dreams, our desires, our wants, everything we think we need or think we want to be... all to the glory of God so that He can do a work in our lives to make us what He needs and wants us to be.

- It's often been said that “the problem with a living sacrifice... is that it can crawl off the altar.” Been there? Lol

- Remember Abraham and Isaac? Abraham took Isaac up on the mountain to sacrifice him. Abraham... was an old man. He's over a hundred years old... Isaac is just a young kid... probably well able to get away from the old man if he wanted to... Instead, Isaac carried the wood up on the mountain and let his dad get the altar ready and tie him up and place him on the altar... watched his dad raise his knife ready to kill him... and never once did he complain or ask why.

- Are you willing to let your Father do what He wants with your life no matter how bad the situation looks or how bad it makes your Father look in your eyes for a minute or two?

- Paul was able to look back at his life and say, “yep... I have poured out my life. And as I face my imminent death, I can say that I have finished the race. I have remained faithful. I know that because I have done all this, I know that I have a prize awaiting me. A crown of righteousness. And this isn't just for me! This crown awaits all who look eagerly toward Christ's return.”

- Wow... what confidence! Can we too say that about our lives?

- This morning, I was talking to mom about one of my kids. They had been talking about their dad getting home a little early the other night because the mine they were supposed to be working in had collapsed. And I was thinking about those families... I would hate to be worried all the time that my family members weren't going to come home from work...

- But then as we were talking, you know... any career you pick has the same possibility. Mines collapse, Construction falls, students come to school armed... I mean good grief... the towers were hit with a couple of planes. Who looked forward and saw that coming?

- Our mortality is certain. Our death's are approaching. Every day they get a little closer. Who knows if the next breath we take will be succeeded by another?

- Can we look at our lives at any given moment and say, “I have run the race.” Or “I have poured out my life as a living sacrifice.” Or “I have remained faithful in all things and I am ready to meet my God face to face.”

- I know there's a lot of times I get caught up in life. I get busy, or I get side-tracked... and the next thing you know, I'm not exactly where I need to be with God. There's a lot of times that I end up praying that God would help me stay focused. When I feel life closing in and I know I'm going to be really busy... praying that God would help me through the business, to not lose sight of what's really important. And it's a battle to do so... and sometimes, I still fail at the task...

- But I want overall, to be able to say with Paul, that yes, I have poured out my life and I have run my race and I have finished it.

- And what is our reward for all of this? Certainly not an earthly reward... for our reward for standing up for Christ often comes in the form of persecution....

- Revelation 2:8-11

- But a crown of righteousness. Just as athletes in the Olympics receive a medal or a wreath for their feats in the games... so we receive a crown upon our finishing our race. But it is a crown of righteousness. It is a crown given once we have completed our life's mission. We have gained our inheritance. We have finally become incorruptible. We can now, upon our death and subsequent entrance into heaven, be as we were made to be. Become all that Christ has always wanted us to be.

- I Corinthians 9:24-27
- Philippians 3:12-14
- I Timothy 6:11-21
- Colossians 1:3-23

vs. 9-18

- This last half of the chapter focuses on Paul asking some things of Timothy and setting some things in order.

- First Paul asks Timothy to come to him as soon as he can. As we read on, we see that Paul is almost entirely alone. He's looking at death and wishing for friends to be around him... who better to call on than his son in the faith?

- Paul has been deserted by a man named Demas. Demas had apparently left the faith. Paul says that he loved the things of this life and had gone on to Thessalonica. Whoever this man was, he had once walked beside Paul in this faith... but whether because of Paul's persecution or his own, he had decided that it wasn't worth walking with Christ if he couldn't have the earthly things he desired.

- Crescens,Titus, and Tychicus have gone to different cities. Since Paul didn't say anything about their faith, I assume that they were going out as pastors, or to spread the gospel, or to check on the churches. Perhaps in mentioning the fall of Demas, Paul was reminded of others who remained faithful...

- Luke, the physician, is the only one who stayed with Paul. He was still beside Paul, supporting him, bearing him up... encouraging him in this time of trial.

- Paul asks Timothy to bring Mark with him when he comes. Now this is interesting because if you remember, Paul and Barnabas split over Mark at one point. They were on a missionary journey and Mark left them to return to Jerusalem. (Acts 13:13-14) Later, as Paul and Barnabas were getting ready to go back to check on some of the churches, Barnabas wanted to take Mark along with them. But Paul was still upset because Mark had deserted them... that Paul and Barnabas had a falling out and split up. Barnabas took Mark with him, and Paul took Silas.

- Somewhere between there and here, Paul had finally given Mark a second chance. He even makes the comment that he will be helpful to Paul in his ministry here. So apparently, not only had Mark gotten a second chance, he had also proved himself to be helpful and worthy of responsibility.

- Paul has some personal items that he wants Timothy to pick up for him. He's in prison, so he wants some comforts. A coat that he left with Carpus in Troas. It's getting close to winter. Prison is probably not the warmest place to be.

- Paul also wants his books and papers. These were probably not only his own letters and writings, but books could also refer to copies of the Old Testament scriptures and writings. Things for further study.

- Then Paul mentions Alexander the coppersmith. Apparently this man witnessed against Paul. Paul warns Timothy to be careful of him. “[He] did me much harm... he fought against everything we said...” But the Lord will judge him for his actions.

- “The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them.”

- Paul has been betrayed or condemned to the Romans. He has been deserted by the people. Everyone abandoned Paul to his fate. No one wanted to be counted with him. He asks that their actions not be counted against them.

- Remember when Jesus was on the cross? He said “forgive them for they know not what they do.” Sometimes people act without really knowing what they're doing or what the full consequences will be.

- Christians at the time that Paul was arrested, were probably just scared of being arrested with him... or afraid for their families... Paul didn't want their fear to be held against them... they were just being human.

- The Lord stood with Paul though. When everyone else fled, God stood still. Just as He does with us. He'll never leave us, nor forsake us. He will stand with us regardless.

- Paul was strengthened in his faith so that he could continue to preach the gospel fully for all the Gentiles to hear.

- Paul was saved by God from certain death. The Greek here says “from the mouth of a lion”. I think this is referring to a spiritual death. Christ saved Paul from Satan's clutches. He saved him from the roaring, roaming lion. Yes, Paul was still physically alive... but that ends soon... however, his SPIRITUAL life... is an everlasting one.

- Acts 9:15-16
- Psalm 121

- “The Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into His heavenly Kingdom.” God is still on the throne! God is in control... and God will rescue us from Satan's attacks and we will someday enter into glory with Him. He is the protector of our souls. (granted, we have to ask for help sometimes and it's still a relationship thing...)

- Romans 11:25-36

- “All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.”

vs. 19-22

- Paul asks Timothy to give his greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus.

- He says that Erastus stayed in Corinth, and Trophimus is sick in Miletus...

- Still other faithful people on Paul's heart and mind... he is praying for them, and they for him.

- Paul asks Timothy to do his best to get to him before winter.

- Others send their greetings to Timothy...

- “May the Lord be with your spirit. And may His grace be with all of you.”

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