Embracing God’s Zeal for His Truth

2 Timothy 1

I.                     Paul reminds Timothy of relationships 1-7

A.      Paul’s relations that inform his ministry

1.         To God as an apostle  1

a)       His apostleship particularly concerns Christ Jesus

b)       It is not a chosen profession, but God’s decree cf. Gal 1:15, 16

c)        “according” or “with a view to” the promise of life; See Titus 1:1 for an expansion of this same idea.  This fulfilled the hope believed by the Pharisees see Acts 26:5-8.

2.        To Timothy as a Father in the ministry 2 –4

a)       Paul had no natural son, but in Christ, he served as father to Timothy; “Beloved”

b)       Timothy is the consistent object of his prayers, night and day

c)       They shared a deep affection, “Longing . . . your tears . . . filled with joy.” 4

3.        To His forefathers as a true worshipper of God  3

a)       not  pharisee, which he repudiates in Phil 3 concerning  the Law, but that he affirmed concerning the resurrection Acts 23:6-9; 26:5-8

b)       At least he has in mind Abraham [Romans 4:9ff; Gal 3:6, 7] and David [Rom 4:6-8]

B.       Timothy’s relations that should encourage his faithfulness

1.        To Paul as a Son and the object of his love and prayers 2-4

2.        To his Christian heritage and influences, a sincere faith that he himself shares 5 – see references also 3:14, 15

3.        To the ministerial task to which he was set aside 6, 7

a)       The gift of God – an internal spiritual qualification for the external call of ministry

b)       “My hands” in conjunction with others 1 Tim 4:14 – A serious matter

c)        Spirit empowers for open declaration, not reticence- cf. 4:17; Col 4:3, 4; Eph 6:18ff

II.                   Our stewardship is an extension of God’s faithfulness 8-14

A.      Suffering is intrinsic to God’s plan of redemption by the Gospel 8

1.        the Lord suffered as one rejected by the world

2.        Paul suffers as one rejected by the world

3.        As this is the normal course the world takes to the gospel, God empowers his saints in it.

B.       Salvation is of God’s initiative in time and in eternity 9

1.        God has set us aside to salvation by holy and effectual operations of the Spirit:  Not a mere invitation but a consecration

2.        This call came in accordance with an eternal purpose [Rom 9:11; Eph 1:11 prothesin]

3.        Christ, i.e. contemplating his work, is the sphere within this purpose of grace takes place

C.       The purpose revealed and accomplished in the person and work of Christ 10

D.      Proclamation and teaching, a subservient, but nonetheless necessary, means; 11

E.       The certainty of its success, in spite of opposition, is God’s ownership of the whole 12; it involves God’s deposit to Paul, not Paul’s to Him

F.       Consequently our stewardship must mirror God’s Purpose  13, 14

III.                 Faithless and faithful Men 15-18

A.      Phygelus and Hermogenes are joined later by Hymenaeus, Philetus, and Demas as names whose connections with the world would not permit them to embrace and suffer for the gospel

B.       Onesiphorus, on the other hand, aggressively sought to be connected with Paul and his suffering.  Notice the unrelenting energy he gave to finding Paul and give service to him.

IV.                 How should we then Live?

A.      Instruction and faithfulness in family might be used for the salvation of children

B.       Opposition is not necessarily a sign that God is not blessing, but is inherent in the Gospel

C.       No amount of opposition will succeed against God’s decreed purpose, no amount of hatred will rob Christ of his glory, or the Word of its eventual rule cf. Psalms 2 & 24.

D.      The very words of Scripture as well as all its closely connected doctrines are granted by God for our edification and protected by him

E.       Those who value them and their messengers will receive mercy.

 

Embracing God’s Zeal for His Truth

2 Timothy 1  [Teaching outline]

I.          Paul Reminds Timothy of Relationships

A.      Relations that inform his [Paul’s] ministry

1.         To God as an apostle  1

a)       His apostleship particularly concerns Christ Jesus -  Throughout Paul’s ministry the whole movement of biblical theology comes to bear in his deep awareness that his task of proclamation has not object other than a display of the full riches that are in Christ.  God’s message is a message about his Son.  God’s redemption  finds manifestation in his Son.  The future Kingdom is brought to fulfillment in its specific character as a kingdom of the redeemed by  his Son.  The work of angels is marked out by god’s redemption of fallen humanity.  The work of apostles continually unfolds layers of richness in Christ.

b)       It is not a chosen profession, but God’s decree cf. Gal 1:15, 16  In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul also explores the implications of this call to apostleship.  God designed him for no other purpose than to proclaim the gospel.  God set him apart to this purpose even from his mother’s womb, meaning that he was born to no other purpose.

c)        “according” or “with a view to” the promise of life; See Titus 1:1 for an expansion of this same idea.  Paul sees this promise particularly as the “faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth according to godliness.”  This is based on the “hope of eternal life which God who cannot lie promised before the ages of time began.   This fulfilled the hope believed by the Pharisees see Acts 26:5-8.  The promise of eternal life, therefore, involves the eternal covenant immutably established in which God sets aside an elect people that he determines that he will bring to repentance and faith (“knowledge of the truth according to godliness”)

2.        To Timothy as a Father in the ministry 2 –4

a)       Paul had no natural son, but in Christ, he served as father to Timothy; “Beloved:”  Paul alternates between very stern admonition and  melting tenderness.  True love does not omit the tough issues if true discipleship.  A love for the brethren does not necessarily mean that we desire to shield them from hardship.  When this hardship is for Christ and the Gospel, Paul invites Timothy to partake of it.  He sees it as for his good and the gory of God in the calling and sanctification of the people that are his own.

b)       Timothy is the consistent object of his prayers, night and day.  This could be stated times of prayer but probably indicates that Paul never is far from prayer throughout the day and in this context of prayer has Timothy and his ministry as a consistent item for intercession.

c)       They shared a deep affection, “Longing . . . your tears . . . filled with joy.” (4) Timothy loved Paul for his unvarnished devotion to the gospel and consequently of him as a recipient of that gospel and one who shared Paul’s concern for the glory of Christ.  See Philippians 2:119ff, for Paul’s evaluation of Timothy’s heart for Christ and his people.

3.        To His forefathers as a true worshipper of God  3

a)       He probably is not speaking of his position as a pharisee, which he repudiates in Phil 3 concerning  the Law, but that he affirmed concerning the resurrection Acts 23:6-9; 26:5-8.  Paul knew that the Pharisee’s doctrine of resurrection was true, but they did not see it as connected with the redemption Christ effected through his death.  Resurrection unto life comes only from Christ having paid the wages of sin.  Their hope of resurrection, therefore, was right, but their view of the necessity of the gospel made them deficient.  They did not grasp the nature of regeneration, [John3, Romans 2], the necessity of atonement for forgiveness [Galatians 3], or of the need for an external righteousness imputed to them [Romans 4, 5, Philippians 3:9]

b)       At least he has in mind Abraham [Romans 4:9ff; Gal 3:6, 7] and David [Rom 4:6-8]  In the general sense of having received the oracles of god and the covenants, Paul considered all the forefathers as in the truth.  As Jesus told the woman at the well, “Salvation is of the Jews.”  Particularly though, he refers to the remnant that were the true circumcision, the elect of God that trusted in God’s provision for forgiveness of sin and righteousness.[Romans 9:6-9].

B.       Timothy’s relations that should encourage his faithfulness

1.   To Paul as a Son and the object of his love and prayers 2-4

2.        To his Christian heritage and influences, a sincere faith that he himself shares 5 – see references also 3:14, 15.  Calvin sees this as a pre-Christian faith in the promise; if so it is similar to what Paul says about himself in verse 3.  The language, however, does not seem to permit this, but is designed to speak of the Christian faith and how he was reared in its truth.  Paul is convinced that Timothy is now in this faith.

3.        To the ministerial task to which he was set aside 6, 7

a)       The gift of God – an internal spiritual qualification for the external call of ministry.  This could be the gifting that comes to every member of the body of Christ or an extraordinary gift such as Paul said not to quench in 1 Thess. 5:19.  Since Paul links it particularly to the laying on of his hands, it probably is the extraordinary gift of prophesying.  In the passage following Paul is particularly interested in preserving a deposit that has been granted.  The necessity of the preservation of special revelation for a truthful grasp of the gospel is on his mind and he wants Timothy to be fully aware of his own responsibility to receive and pass on this revelation.  In addition he needs to be able to discern when false teachers have entered and have begun to distort the truth revealed to Paul.  Along with the gift of prophecy comes the necessity to test everything in order to reject the false.  See this operative in Paul in 2 Thess 2:1-5.

b)       “My hands”  His being granted the charge of pastoral ministry came through the laying on of the hands of the presbytery in which Paul probably was involved with others 1 Tim 4:14.  Paul probably refers to another occasion here when an extraordinary charisma was given Timothy – These passages together indicate the seriousness with which the church should approach setting aside men to ministry.  We affirm and enter in to God’s call and gifting.

c)        Spirit empowers for open declaration, not reticence- cf. 4:17; Paul knew what it meant to have life threatened and to be strengthened by God’s Spirit on such occasions.    He found himself to be “burdened excessively, beyond our strength,” with the sentence of death within him.  In that condition, he could not trust in himself “but in God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-10.  Paul prayed for clarity and boldness in his gospel proclamation even in chains. Col 4:3, 4; Eph 6:18ff.  God does not cause us to shrink from danger, but to be bold for the cause of Christ in it.

II.                   Our stewardship is an extension of God’s faithfulness 8-14

A.      Suffering is intrinsic to God’s plan of redemption by the Gospel (8)-  Timothy needed the reminder that God did not give the spirit of fear, because Paul intended immediately to invite him to join in suffering.

1.        The Lord suffered as one rejected by the world.  A part of early apostolic preaching was this element of rejection overcome by God’s acceptance; Acts 2:23; 3:13-18; 4:8-12; 7:51, 52; 13:26-30, 46;  “The testimony of our Lord,” can be either the testimony Jesus gave before Pilate as mentioned in 1 Tim. 6:13. Or the testimony about Jesus given by Paul and the apostles.  On this occasion, Paul probably has in mind the testimony about Jesus that he received by special revelation and that he is responsible for proclaiming.

2.        Paul suffers as one rejected by the world -  Paul often was in chains and often wrote from prison.  He had a high view of God’s providence and knew that God used even imprisonment to his glory.  See Phil. 1:12-20.  One could not love worldly approval and court Paul at the same time.

3.        “According to the power of God” - As this is the normal course the world takes to the gospel, God empowers his saints in it.  An extended expression of this confidence animates Paul’s great passage on the inseparability of the elect from the love of God in Romans 8:35-39.  The thought there informs Paul’s discussion here.  Since God already has removed us from the greatest danger, that is his wrath and just condemnation, how can it be that any earthly power will overwhelm the saint.  If the creator will not accuse or condemn us, how can it be possible that a creature will succeed in removing us from God’s fatherly purpose as determined in Christ.  We may thus be assured of divine power and purpose in situations that otherwise would strike fear into the most dauntless heart.

B.       Salvation is of God’s initiative in time and in eternity (9) – Our ministry for the gospel comes with the assurance that God has enveloped it within an eternal operation of gracious purpose.

1.        God has set us aside to salvation by holy and effectual operations of the Spirit:  “saved us and called us with a holy calling” Not a mere invitation but a consecration -  NIV says “to a holy life” and while true in itself considered, and at least one of the results of this calling,  is not Paul’s point here.  ESV says “to a holy calling” also not quite to the point.  Paul is saying that God’s salvation is initiated experientially by a calling from him that operates effectually for all his holy purposes of joining us to Christ by repentance and faith.

2.        This call came in accordance with an eternal purpose [Rom 9:11; Eph 1:11 prothesin]  God pursues his own purpose in this salvation he has granted and does not operate in accordance with work [presumably “works of righteousness” as in Titus 3:5] either observed or foreknown in the creature.  Paul removes the eternal operations of God so far from human endeavor in this text that it is impossible to say that he has made his actions of “grace” depend on anything foreseen in the creature, only that his decree of salvation is in light of a redemptive work to be performed by his Son. Paul emphasizes “His own purpose and grace” in direct contrast to “our works.”

3.        Christ, i.e. contemplating his work, is the sphere within this purpose of grace takes place.  Salvation can not be achieved apart from an adequate savior.  Salvation is not given us therefore, even in eternity as a mere abstraction, but always in the sphere of a just and holy means of fully honoring the character and Law of God.  When he views salvation, therefore, in eternity, he does so in wholeness—the nature of the offense of those to be saved, the demands of the standards that they violated, and a just means of granting them the grace of forgiveness, righteousness, adoption,, and eternal glory.  Such blessing can only be grated  us in Christ Jesus.  Cf. Ephesians 1:3; Rev. 5:1-5

4.        It was granted to the ones he chose prior to the beginning of ordered time; NASB “from all eternity,”  ESV “before the ages began”  None of this plan did God have to execute as a reaction to human activity, but rested within the decree, orderly and purposeful with all that he intended to accomplish resident within it from before the beginning of chronological time.

C.       The purpose revealed and accomplished in the person and work of Christ 10  -

1.        Incarnation - Because as contemplated and purposed in accord with God’s character and established as possible only through the incarnation of the eternal Son, the decree makes necessary the means of its accomplishment.  Some believe that a theology of decrees renders superfluous all the historic means of salvation.  Just the opposite is true.  The decree is that which renders necessary the means.  This eternal purpose, therefore, is “revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus.”  The “appearing” refers to the incarnation, his being revealed in the flesh.  Only the eternal Son, taking to himself our nature in humiliation as one despised and rejected and finally crucified, could bring to pass this infinitely glorious eternal decree.

2.        The work commensurate with the incarnation – The sentence of death was on all those he purposed to save, so Jesus abolished death by his death.  His abolition of death through the acceptable sacrifice opened the promise of eternal life.  The resurrection shows the acceptability of his sacrifice, and raises un in Christ into heavenly places where his elect are seated with him.  While we remain here, therefore, before “the day” we are to set our affections on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1-3

D.      Proclamation and teaching, a subservient, but nonetheless necessary, means; (11)  In the same way that the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ were necessary, so in the preaching of the gospel.  The fitting of the heart and mind to receive the verdict against us and to approve the glory of God’s plan of saving sinners, comes through preaching as the Spirit gives the “holy calling.”  Paul could not find words adequate to express the both the joy and humility of being set by God’s decree as part of the grand and God-revealing purpose in the apostolic ministry.

E.       The certainty of its success, in spite of opposition, is God’s ownership of the whole 12; it involves God’s deposit to Paul, not Paul’s to Him.  The ESV translates the phrase properly as that that God entrusted to him.  Literally, it says, “my deposit.”  Most translations give the idea that Paul made a deposit of his life to God, which is in itself true.  But the context calls for understanding this as God’s deposit of truth with Paul, even as he calls the gospel “my gospel” in 2:8.  Divine revelation in the apostolic ministry came through the confluence of several factors, all of which one sees operative in the multifaceted teaching of Paul, Peter, John and others.  One is contemplation on the meaning of the Old Testament text interpreted in the light of Christ’s appearance and his own words about his relation to the entire text [Luke 24:25-27].  Second teaching from other inspired persona gave added truth as the picture began to fill out during the apostolic age.  Third, was special revelation to the Apostles and prophets [Ephesians 3:1-5; Galatians 1:6-12].  IN this manner a fully truthful completed corpus of revelation was deposited during the apostolic era to regulate the faith and practice of the church until the day of Christ.

F.       Consequently our stewardship must mirror God’s Purpose  13, 14 -  This places a stewardship of the deposit on its servants.  Truly to realize that we deal with God’s deposit, not the mere opinions of pious men, means that we have liberty neither to subtract from nor add to what is said.  The task of proper interpretation in light of the variety of literature still is legitimate as in any document of human language, but the credibility of the proposition once discerned cannot be questioned.  Many perplexities about worship “style” and evangelism and discipleship could be answered if closer attention were paid to the truly regulative nature of the deposit.

III.                 Faithless and faithful Men 15-18

A.      Phygelus and Hermogenes are joined later by Hymenaeus, Philetus, and Demas as names whose connections with the world would not permit them to embrace and suffer for the gospel

B.       Onesiphorus, on the other hand, aggressively sought to be connected with Paul and his suffering.  Notice the unrelenting energy he gave to finding Paul and give service to him.

IV.                 How should we then Live?

A.      Instruction and faithfulness in family might be used for the salvation of children

B.       Opposition is not necessarily a sign that God is not blessing, but is inherent in the Gospel

C.       No amount of opposition will succeed against God’s decreed purpose, no amount of hatred will rob Christ of his glory, or the Word of its eventual rule cf. Psalms 2 & 24.

D.      The very words of Scripture as well as all its closely connected doctrines are granted by God for our edification and protected by him

E.       Those who value them and their messengers will receive mercy.