Study Notes

2Timothy 2:1-10

2:1 Therefore

Any time that you see a "therefore" in the Bible, you should stop and see what it's there for. You see, "therefore" means "so then," "consequently," or "these things being so." In other words, "therefore" should mean to you, "because of everything that came before this."

What has come before this? Paul was telling Timothy in chapter one that even though he is a prisoner and suffering, he is not ashamed of this, because God is in control, and saved them by grace. So, because of that, he says, "be strong in that grace."

Be Strong In The Grace That Is In Christ Jesus

What is grace? Grace is a gift that we don't deserve. It is God's favor on us that we are completely unworthy of. The Bible has so much to say about grace, yet it is understood so little. And the reason we don't understand it is because we really can't accept it. We know that nothing is really free. When someone offers you a free gift, you look for the fine print that says shipping and handling will be $25. When it seems too good to be true, it always is. When someone is being nice to us, we get suspicious: "What do they want from me?"

So why should God be any different? And religious people affirm this, by telling us everything that we must do in order for God to like us. "God doesn't like people that dance and play cards. God doesn't like people who go to movies or have any kind of fun at all. God expects a lot from you, and if you let Him down, He'll drop you like a hot potato."

But in spite of our suspicions, and regardless of religious overlords who want us to be as miserable as they are, God loves us so completely that He offers us this free gift of grace.

The Bible says that we are saved by it.

Acts 15:11 ...we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus...

Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith...

You're saved by God's grace, not by anything that you've done. Do you know how freeing this is? You don't have to be bound by religious rules and regulations! God loves you already - it's nothing that you have to earn. Remember,

Rom. 5:8 ...God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

You were a sinner, and God reached out to you. You were unlovable, and God loved you anyway. That's what grace is all about. And that is so freeing! Suddenly you realize that it's not at all about religion, but about a loving relationship between you and your Creator. Paul told the Colossians that the gospel was constantly bearing fruit and increasing in them...

Col. 1:6 ...since the day you heard {of it} and understood the grace of God in truth;

The gospel will constantly bear fruit in your life when you finally understand the grace of God in truth.

Paul was telling Timothy, "be strong in grace." There are so many things that this insinuates. Don't put yourself or other people under the bondage of religious works. Don't be condemned by your sin, but be encouraged that God loves you no matter what. Hold onto the basic truth of the gospel - that God loved you so much that He sent His Son to die for you."

2:2 Entrust To Faithful Men

He also encourages Timothy to raise up other leaders, other Bible teachers. In the secular business world, I always made sure that I was indispensible. That I knew things in my job that no one else knew. That any company I worked for couldn't afford to do without me, that I would be the last to be laid off, because I was so vital, or had information that was necessary.

But the ministry is not to be like that. In the kingdom of God, the goal of the ministry should always be to multiply ourselves.

Eph. 4:11-12 And He gave some {as} apostles, and some {as} prophets, and some {as} evangelists, and some {as} pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ

Being a pastor includes training others, equipping them, raising them up and sending them out. The gospel truth is not for a select few in ivory towers - it is for the common man, the everyday woman. And the church's responsibility is to raise up people to bring the teaching to them. As the apostle John wrote,

Rom. 10:14-15 ...How shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?

We need to be in the business of entrusting the teaching of the Word to other men, faithful men.

Now, the word "faithful" here is not referring to their belief, their faith in God. Certainly, Bible teachers should be believers. But this word faithful is speaking of their trustworthiness. The guys that we send out should be faithful, dependable, trustworthy. People that we can trust to carry on the work of the ministry, and not give up or flake out.

One thing that bothers me more than almost anything else is flakiness: being undependable. When someone says they'll help and they don't. When someone says they'll be there are they aren't. That drives me crazy! I can only imagine how God must feel when a guy says, "Yes, I'll teach the Word! I'll minister to Your flock! I'll serve Your church with a whole heart!" But then they flake out, they give up, they get occupied with something else.

Jesus taught the parable,

Matt. 21:28-31 "...A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.' And he answered and said, ‘I will, sir'; and he did not go. And he came to the second and said the same thing. But he answered and said, ‘I will not'; {yet} he afterward regretted {it} and went. Which of the two did the will of his father?"

God is looking for a few faithful men to entrust the ministry to.

Then Paul uses three word pictures to illustrate service in the kingdom: that of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. The Roman soldiers would suffer hardship for their commanders. How much more should we be willing to go through difficulties for our Supreme Commander?

2:3-6 The Soldier

The soldier dedicates his life to the service - he is not entangled by the things of the world. When he is fighting a war, he doesn't go home to clean the gutters or play in the bowling tournament. He has a single purpose, not entangled with anything else but his duty.

When his commanding officer says, "You're going to Saudi Arabia for the next six months," there is no question about obedience. Of course he is going. It becomes the first priority, your own plans are postponed or cancelled.

One of the books that I've enjoyed recently is Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation." While I'm not a big fan of the author, I really appreciated his telling the stories of so many men and women that served our country during World War II. These young people from all walks of life, actors and athletes, workers and students, farmers and city dwellers, sacrificed their individual lives to serve the cause of freedom in America and the world.

Mr. Brokaw makes the point that he believes this was the "greatest generation" because of their sacrifice, dedication, and commitment. I wonder what would happen if a generation arose in the church which had the same view of sacrifice and commitment that they had? We would have a world that was radically transformed.

The Athlete

The illustration of an athlete is another powerful picture. Someone who trains diligently, striving for their personal best. Paul told the Corinthians,

1Cor. 9:23-25 And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but {only} one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then {do it} to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Look at the sacrifice and commitment that athletes make in order to qualify for the Olympics, or make the cut, or play professionally. And they're doing this for only a gold medal, a Super Bowl ring, or trophy. How much more should we as Christians be training, striving, sacrificing to win this race? No one ever got to the Olympics by sitting on the couch drinking beer. But how many of us are performing our spiritual training in like manner? Too tired to read, to busy to pray, too preoccupied to go to church, too poor to give, too shy to fellowship... You'll never find a professional athlete with this attitude toward their training. And if you don't compete according to the rules, you get disqualified. Thus Paul said,

1Cor. 9:26-27 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

We've been given the rules to this race. Let's run according to them.

The Farmer

Paul's third illustration is that of the farmer. He, like the soldier and athlete, works diligently and sacrificially over a long period of time. And the end result is reward. All of the plowing, planting, watering, and caring yield a crop that you benefit from. There is an eternal reward waiting for you when you invest your life in the work of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said,

Matt. 6:19-21 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Where are you investing today?

2:7 Understanding In Everything

Paul reassures Timothy that if he doesn't understand, that the Lord will give him understanding in everything as he considers it. This promise is to all who have become born again into this new life in Jesus Christ, for He promised,

John 14:26 "...the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

The Holy Spirit living inside of us can give us understanding in everything as we seek Him and consider the Word of God.

2:8-10 The Gospel

Salvation is found in Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. This is the pure message of the grace of God: that He loves you in spite of the fact that you have rebelled against Him in your sin. While you were a sinner, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die in your place, to be killed on the cross so that you could live.

Not everyone receives this grace. Many reject it.

John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, {even} to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Will you receive God's grace through Jesus Christ, risen from the dead?

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