:) 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.”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

II Timothy Chapter 3

II Timothy Chapter 3

vs. 1-5

- The last days will be full of difficult times. People will become more and more selfish. They will love only themselves and their money. Their whole focus will be on their greed and fulfilling their fleshly desires. They will be boastful and prideful. They will see themselves as so great a people that they will flaunt even their failures as successes.

- Nothing will be held sacred. Everything will be fair game to indulge in. There will be no boundaries to their actions. They will scoff God. They will mock His very existence... not only by their words, but also by their actions. They will be disobedient to their parents. They will turn and despise the very ones who gave them life. They will be ungrateful to their parents. They will take all that their parents are willing to give them... and more... and still want and expect more from them.

- They will be unforgiving. They will hold grudges over every little thing. They will see themselves as deserving of homage from everyone else. They will turn and slander everyone. Friend or foe... No one will be deserving of praise in their eyes except themselves, so they will turn to constantly enumerate the faults and short comings of others.

- They will have no self-control. They will follow their every urge. They will give in to every passion, every emotion of the moment. They will be cruel. They will have no compassion in their hearts. They will use every opportunity to further their own purposes for their own gain, regardless of who they have to crush on the way.

- They will hate what is good. They will despise anything that goes against their own code of conduct. Which means that morals will be worthless and people who are upstanding or upright will be seen as weak and as living pointless lives with no fun in them. They will betray their friends the moment that it will serve a personal purpose.

- They will be reckless. They will have no fear of death because they are living for the moment. They will never ask for help or admit that they have a problem because of pride. They will cut everybody off from connection because their pride won't allow them to acknowledge that someone else could be their equal or their better.

- They will love pleasure rather than God or the things of God. They will act religiously to gain prestige or to make themselves look as though they can be trusted or looked up to. However, in truth, they will reject the power that could change them to make them godly people. They will refuse to allow God to change their hearts in any way. Their outward appearance may look appealing, but they will be wolves in sheep's clothing.

- STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE LIKE THAT! Beware of those who come in the Name of Jesus, but show no fruit as proof of a relationship with the same.

- Today as we look around, we can see these attributes in the people around us. The people we work with, the people we see on the street. These things are alive and well in our world. And sadly... they are becoming the norm.

- You know... it says that no man knows the day or the hour that Jesus will come back... but every year it seems like things just get a little bit worse. I don't know how soon God will decide that enough is enough... but I do think we are heading in that direction...

- I Timothy 4:1-5
- Jude 1:3-23
- Romans 1:18-32, 2:1-16

vs. 6-9

- These kind of people who become false teachers will work their way into your houses and homes with no problems.

- Paul starts talking about false teachers finding vulnerable women to prey on.

- Women during this time period had never been taught religious things. Men sat under teachers of the law and they were supposed to teach their wives what they themselves had been taught, at home. Women in Christianity were now allowed to sit in on the meetings and learn with everybody else... they were also in some cases allowed to teach.

- However, they were used to getting everything spoon fed to them. So when strange new ideas showed up on their doorstep, they just would automatically jump at them. They made sense...

- Like... “you're a sinner... you're not worthy... God doesn't see you as precious... God's just using you. God wouldn't give you desires if you weren't meant to fulfill them. Why would the God who created you, restrict you? If he's loving... he'll let you have fun.”

- heard any of that before?

- Most occults prey on women. Because we like to have someone take care of us and someone to lean on... Especially when you start looking at family dynamics and see that men are sometimes jerks and father's don't always connect with daughters...

- Enter charismatic man who starts telling you that he and he alone thinks you're precious and deserving of love... that he is directly linked to God... and that through him, God will see you as precious.

- He will fulfill every desire of your heart. He will make you feel as though you are justified for every wrong action... and he will give you every fleshly desire you have...

- These kind of women (or men really...) are especially susceptible to these false teachers. They are looking for something to fulfill them. Looking for something that justifies who they feel they are. And something that's easy. And something that makes them FEEL good.

- Every new teaching that comes down the road or knocks on the door, isn't necessarily something that is a good thing... or something that needs to be listened to.

- Just because it sounds good... doesn't mean it's good... Remember the serpent in the garden? He said some nice things... And the next thing you know, Eve's doing exactly what she wasn't supposed to... and feeling justified in it... feeling right enough in it... that she goes and drags her husband into it too! And he follows! Because she asked him to! Geesh...

- This is not to say that we should strive to learn new things... however... learning new things and chasing after new teachings are two entirely different things.
- Paul talks about “forever following new teachings, but... never able to understand the truth.”

- Learning, but never understanding... or never tearing things apart to really dig at the full truth rather than just accepting without question the half truth(s) that the false teacher presents in order to make his argument appear plausible.

- These teachers however, oppose the truth. They are enemies of the truth.

- Paul mentions the example of Jannes and Jambres.

- footnote- “According to tradition, Jannes and Jambres were two of the magicians who had counterfeited Moses' miracles before Pharaoh (Exodus 7:11-12). Paul explained that just as Moses had exposed and defeated them (Exodus 8:18-19), God would overthrow the false teachers who were plaguing the Ephesian church.”

- Satan can counterfeit a lot of things... He can take things that look like God, or look like God has something to do with it... and twist it to his own purposes.

- When my mom started to date my dad, this guy that she had always kind of liked started showing up to church. Hadn't ever before... but about that time, he started coming to church. And right after my parents got married, or maybe even a little before, he stopped coming. Mom has often said that, sometimes Satan brings things into our lives that look good, or that look like something we want... about the time that God brings what He truly wants and what is truly good into your life.

- The magicians copied Moses to the letter... for a while... but eventually, they were exposed as the fakes that they were.

- No matter what happens, eventually, truth does reign supreme. Eventually the truth will surface... And everyone will see the false teachers, just as people saw Jannes and Jambres after they failed... they will see them as the fools they are. As the liars they are.

- I Timothy 6:3-10

vs. 10-15

- We know truth. We have been taught the truth by our pastors, or our parents or grandparents, or the people we work with, someone at some point has taught you truth.

- You know, the last couple of weeks, my pastor's been talking about discipleship. About how, we can't just show up for church on Sunday morning and expect that to be enough to get us through the week. How we need someone to come along side of us and help us walk this walk. Someone to guide us, someone to lead when we're half blinded.

- Paul was leading Timothy. Paul was living a life worth following.

- “You... know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it.” (vs. 10-11)

- Genuine. We all want to have a friend who is genuine. Someone who is honest and open. If we are honest and open people, then what do we have to hide?

- You know, the one thing that kids today are looking for in people is whether or not they are genuine. They don't care so much anymore about a lot of other things... mostly, they just want someone who will be straight with them.

- Do people around you KNOW you? Do they know what you teach? How you live? What your life's purpose is? Do they know your faith? Does your life exude the fruit of the spirit?

- “They will know we are Christians by our love.” How do people KNOW you?

- This morning, Pastor Mike hit on the love chapter in I Corinthians... and he wanted us to put our name in the place of the word love. (which I thought was funny because my name is interchangeable... lol)

- but anyway, it said “CHARITY is patient and kind; CHARITY does not envy or boast; CHARITY is not arrogant or rude. CHARITY does not insist on HER own way; CHARITY is not irritable or resentful; CHARITY does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. CHARITY bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

- ouch... That's hard. I am not all those things... not by any stretch of imagination. And even if I am some of those things... there are still those people or situations that would challenge me to remain... patient... or kind... etc.

- How you respond to situations shows a lot about your character and your witness.

- Paul was willing enough to say, hey, I know what my life looks like... I know what kind of heart I have, what kind of witness I am leaving... yeah... you can follow my example. Look at my life and I will show you how to walk.

- Can you say that? Can you look at another follower, or even an unbeliever and say, yep... you can follow my example. Watch my life. I'll show you what it means to be a Christian.

- One thing that Paul really hit on was persecution. He was persecuted for his faith... and remained faithful through it all. If you were to be persecuted today, would your faith withstand it?

- I always hate looking at that question... I always automatically think, well... it would depend on the circumstance... But it shouldn't. There should be an automatic response of YES! I would remain faithful no matter what! But... we're all human... that's not necessarily going to be the case... and I hate that... I would love to be able to say that I am no Doubting Thomas... but... even Thomas... a disciple of Jesus, who walked beside him for 3 years... still had doubts...

- but Paul as our example says, I was persecuted. I have suffered for the name of Christ... and Christ rescued me from it.

- Now... Paul's sitting in prison awaiting probable execution... and yet he says that Christ has rescued him from it. What faith... what trust... How much do I trust that God has my life in His hands? Wow...

- Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Something in that life will be seen as threatening to the life or way of life of someone else.

- footnote- “In this charge, Paul told Timothy that people who obey God and live for Christ will be persecuted. Don't be surprised when people misunderstand, criticize, and even try to hurt you because of what you believe and how you live. Don't give up. Continue to live as you know you should. God is the only one you need to please.”

- We know the truth and must remain faithful to it. Paul is looking at his life and knowing that God has worked a mighty change in his life. That God has been very real and very present. Timothy has had a first hand experience with walking beside Paul. He's been the student. He knows all of Paul's life. Even if nothing in Timothy's own life was as drastic as some of the things Paul has went through, he has at least seen Paul's life. He knows that he has been taught the truth from a man who was sold out for the cause of Christ.

- “You know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.” (vs. 14-15)

- footnote- “Timothy was one of the first second-generation Christians: He became a Christian, not because an evangelist preached a powerful sermon, but because his mother and grandmother had taught him the holy scriptures when he was a small child. A parent's work is vitally important. At home and in church, we should realize that teaching small children is both an opportunity and a responsibility.”

- Our lives should preach even if we don't ever speak a word. Can you look at another Christian and say “follow me. My life is worth following”... ?

- John 15:1-27, 5:31-47

vs. 16-17

- All scripture is inspired by God. Granted, a lot of people were used to write this gospel down... but God inspired it all.

- I've heard so many arguments that this bible was thrown together by the catholic church to prove a point or as a tool to make the people obedient to them...

- Or that our religion is an impure one because it's gone through so many generations and so many time changes that something somewhere had to have gotten changed or altered...

- However, I would like to think that my God's bigger than that. I would like to think that when the men met to decide which writings would be included in the bible, that God moved on their hearts and minds to put in what He wanted in there. I would also like to think that God is powerful enough to protect that which is His...

- In Revelation 22:18-19 it says “And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person's share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.”

- I think the men who got together to canonize the book of Revelation had to have read that verse... And if they thought enough about the book as a whole to put it into the bible... I'm sure they took a look at that verse...

- And furthermore, our religion has lasted for centuries now... and the same words written by the hand of Moses, still apply today... only God could work something like that.

- Scripture is still useful to teach us what is true... It still makes us realize what is wrong in our lives. It still corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do right. God uses it to prepare and equip us to do every good work.

- God doesn't change. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. His Word isn't going to change either.

- Through His word, He will continue to teach us, to grow us, and to prepare and equip us to engage in every good work that He has in mind for us to do.

- Romans 15:1-6
- I Peter 1:12-21