2 Timothy 1:1-6
This letter has been called "Paul's Last Will and Testament." At the time of the writing of this letter Paul didn't have much longer to live. He offers Timothy some final instructions for serving in the ministry. In his opening verses Paul confirms that Timothy is the man to carry on his work. Paul also speaks candidly and courageously about what it takes to be a soldier in the army of Jesus Christ.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:1) The word apostle means "sent one." In the New Testament the word primarily refers to one who had a direct commission from Christ. Paul's apostleship came directly from Christ (Acts 26:16-18). In stressing his apostleship, Paul was affirming his call and claiming the Lord's authority for his message.
As Paul wrote this letter he was locked away in a cold, dark dungeon in Rome. He had already been sentenced to death and was awaiting his execution. As Paul faced death he focused on the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:1) What a sad thing it would be to face death without such a promise from God! Paul had a life that no other man could have taken. He had eternal life! He knew that physical death for the believer was only an exit into the eternal presence of God. This was the day for which Paul had longed. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. (Philippians 1:23) Soon Paul's soul would be where his heart had already been for sometime. He would soon be with his Saviour.
To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:2) Paul speaks from the very depth of his heart. Here his affection for Timothy stands out. Paul addresses Timothy as his dearly beloved son. (1 Timothy 1:2) In his first letter to Timothy, Paul spoke of him as my own son in the faith: (1 Timothy 1:2) By calling Timothy his son Paul is emphasizing his part in the spiritual birth and training of this young preacher. Paul had led Timothy to the Lord and had discipled him.
Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (1 Timothy 1:2b) Paul was an old soldier. He had fought many battles and endured many hardships. He was well aware of the fact that Timothy would need mercy, grace and peace for the battle. Here are three of the most beautiful and meaningful words in the human language.
Grace is God giving us what we don't deserve. For by grace are ye saved... (Ephesians 2:8) Grace is God's loving favor to the undeserving. Grace is God doing for the sinner and the saint what no one, or nothing else, can do. The Bible calls God, the God of all grace. (1 Corinthians 15:10, 1 Peter 5:10) He is not simply the God of grace, but the God of all grace. There are absolutely no limitations on God's grace. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. (Romans 5:20)
Mercy is God withholding what we do deserve. Praise God for the countless times that He has withheld His judgment! Judgment is what we deserve. The Psalmist said, When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. (Psalms 94:18) When our foot slips and we fail God, it is His mercy that hangs onto us and supports us. No wonder Micah wrote:
Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
Peace is the result of knowing the grace and mercy of God. There can be no real or lasting peace without God's grace and mercy. There is a false peace that this world seeks, but to no avail. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3) Where God has not worked, and divine grace has transformed the heart, there is no real peace. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
Paul had the peace of God that only a believer can experience. No matter what came his way, Paul just continued to rejoice and serve others. The world knows nothing of this kind of peace and joy. There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked. (Isaiah 48:22) To the believer Jesus said, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) Paul's peace came from an unwavering trust in the Saviour that overcame the world.
Paul knew the grace, mercy, and peace of Christ in his own life, and desired that Timothy enjoy it as well. But while Paul desired these graces for Timothy, he could not give them to him. He made it clear that these things must come from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:2)
Paul had an unwavering confidence and assurance in Christ. All that Paul did was for Christ's glory and by His power. Paul approached this matter with great caution, yet with great expectation.
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience... (2 Timothy 1:3) This is important! A leader must be able to assure his followers that he himself is right and walking with God. Preachers, teachers, Moms and Dads can speak great swelling words and admonish others to walk with God, but unless their life agrees with their lips nothing of any lasting value will come of it. Paul's instruction to Timothy was backed up by a life that was sold out to God.
As the aging apostle approached his martyrdom, he could testify that he had a pure conscience. His life matched up to his preaching. He was being condemned to die on the false charge of insurrection, but he had a clear conscience before God. You will remember that Job was accused of sin by his so called friends. They accused him of wrong doing and of reaping God's judgment because of it. Job answered them But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10) In Job's life the whole matter centered on his conscience before God. Job was saying to his friends, You don't trust me, but God knows my heart. A little later Job said, Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity. (Job 31:6) Sometimes it gets down to just the believer and God. Earlier Paul said, And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. (Acts 24:16) Paul's sin was forgiven, his guilt was gone, and he had maintained a right relation with God.
Paul assured Timothy that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day. (2 Timothy 1:3) Paul prayed without ceasing... night and day for Timothy. Here is one of the most important, yet the most neglected duties of the believer; intercessory prayer. In his first letter to Timothy Paul exhorted him that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. (1 Timothy 2:1) Intercessory prayer is the act of praying on behalf of others. In his book, Prayer Power Unlimited, J. Oswald Sanders said:
"In petitions and prayers, we are concerned for ourselves and our own needs. In intercession, we are concerned for the needs and interests of others. Intercession is the unselfish and altruistic aspect of prayer... In intercession, the believer is acting as an intermediary between God and man. He forgets himself and his own needs in his identification with the needs of the one for whom he prays."
It could be for a lost person to be saved, for a backslider to repent, or for a brother or sister to have a greater walk and relationship with God. It should also be noted that when we fail to pray for others, we are sinning against God. Samuel said, Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you... (1 Samuel 12:23) I can think of no greater need among believers today than that of praying for one another. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. (Ezekiel 22:30) It is obvious that God is looking for intercessory prayer warriors. Intercessory prayer is a constant, compassionate and continual pleading with God for the welfare of others.
Paul's Compassion for his Protégé
Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy. (2 Timothy 1:4) You can almost hear Paul's heart beat as he speaks here. The words greatly desiring speak of an "intense desire or yearning." Later in this same letter Paul echoes the same intense desire as he instructs Timothy to, Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me. (2 Timothy 4:9)
Paul said, being mindful of thy tears. (2 Timothy 1:4b) Sitting in a cold Roman prison Paul remembered Timothy's tearful goodbye. This is probably referring to their last parting at Ephesus. Paul had a similar relationship with the leaders in Ephesus. And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship. (Acts 20:36-38)
Paul said, that I may be filled with joy. (2 Timothy 1:4) With his impending death Paul knew that he might never see Timothy again, but even the slightest possibility of such a reunion filled Paul with joy. As we learned earlier, Paul knew that even death would not prevent them from such a reunion. Even if sentence were carried out before Timothy could visit him, he would see his friend in Heaven.
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. (2 Timothy 1:5) Paul acknowledges Timothy and his faith as the real thing. There are three powerful thoughts here.
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, (2 Timothy 1:5) Timothy's faith was described as unfeigned. The word unfeigned means "without hypocrisy or pretense." Timothy was genuine and real. He wasn't a hypocrite. The word hypocrite was originally a theatrical term. It was used in the Greek and Roman theaters to describe an actor. Noah Webster defines a hypocrite as "One who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion." Unfortunately, we do see hypocrites in churches, but praise God, we see many "Timothy's" also.
Paul speaks of Timothy's faith which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice. (2 Timothy 1:5)Timothy's faith was passed down to him. Earlier Paul said of Timothy, For I have no man likeminded... (Philippians 2:20) Paul was saying "I don't know of anyone else like him!" Timothy was an exceptional young man. Paul speaks of his unfeigned faith and then immediately testifies that this same faith dwelt first in Timothy's grandmother Lois, and then in his mother Eunice. Here you see the faith of three generations Lois, Eunice and Timothy. Lois had believed and handed her faith down to her daughter Eunice. Eunice had believed and handed the same faith down to her son Timothy.
These godly women had done a wonderful job of training their children. Later Paul said to Timothy, And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15) From a little child Timothy had had been saturated in the Word of God. Timothy's mother had a solid grasp on the Scriptures. She had learned to, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) This verse contains at least three thoughts:
First, there is a Priority. Solomon said, Train up a child... (Proverbs 22:6) This is to be a priority for every parent. One of the reasons that we are seeing so many young folks depart from the faith is that parents have other priorities. Sadly, everything from careers to sports has crowded children out of their parents' lives.
Timothy's mother wasn't out chasing a career instead of raising her children. I know that there are dear mothers who must work to pay their bills and support their children. Please understand that I am not against you. However your main priority is still your family.
Lois and Eunice were two women who built up their homes. Solomon said, Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. (Proverbs 14:1) Every mother is either building up or tearing down. Unfortunately many are tearing down. H. A. Ironside said:
"The wise woman will lead her household in the right way by counsel and example. She directs their steps in accordance with the Word of the Lord. Consequently her house is established on an immovable foundation of righteousness. The foolish woman through her evil behavior and unworthy instruction, lays up sorrow for herself and grief for her children."
Mother's, remember that you will spend far more time with your children than their father will. You have a great opportunity. What will you make of it? Will you build up or will you tear down? The Bible tells us that children are an heritage of the Lord (Psalm 127:3) We parents inherit our children from God and we can be sure that we will answer to Him for how they turn out. What an awesome responsibility!
Second, there is a Principle. The child is to be trained up in the way he should go. (Proverbs 22:6) There is one standard for raising godly children. It is the Word of God. Who are you allowing to train your kids, and just what kind of training are they getting? The Bible is clear as to where they should get it. In Deuteronomy 6:1-7, Parent are told concerning God's commandments, the statutes, and the judgments...
... keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee (Deuteronomy 6:2)
... observe to do it; that it may be well with thee. (Deuteronomy 6:3)
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. (Deuteronomy 6:6)
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
The greater responsibility falls on the parents and the main subject is the Word of God. Noah Webster defines education as:
"The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties."
Dr. Henry Morris wrote:
"... education of the younger generation is the responsibility of the home and church, not the government. There is no dichotomy between secular truth and spiritual truth, since all truth is the product of the creative and redemptive works of God, through Jesus Christ. Indoctrination in that truth is the primary function of education, in God's economy, and this requires a curriculum and faculty firmly committed to Biblical authority in all fields. Such a commitment as this could never be achieved by any system of public education, at least not in the present order of things."
We cannot abandon the principles of God's word without producing a generation that is void of morals and character. While our children need a good academic training to make a living, they must have a solid biblical education to make their life what God intends it to be.
Third, there is a Product. If a child is raised correctly, when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) Here is a promise that we can count on. There is a great reward for investing in our children and training them right.
I am persuaded that in thee also. (2 Timothy 1:5) Timothy was persevering. Paul didn't have to guess at Timothy's faith. His faith was practical, and a part of his life. He was living up to his training. He didn't abandon what he had been taught. His wasn't a dry, dreary and dead orthodoxy, but rather a cheerful, consistent and courageous Christianity. Timothy's was a faith to be lived. We need to make this kind of child rearing a priority once again in this nation. When God spoke of Abraham's future as the father of a great and mighty nation, the thing that influenced and impressed God the most was knowing that Abraham would raise his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. (Genesis 18:19) What would God's testimony be about our child rearing?
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6) The words stir up come from the Greek "anazopyreo", and it means "to rekindle, to keep ablaze." It carries the idea of stirring a fire to keep it burning and hot. Paul is admonishing Timothy to fan the flame and keep the fires burning in his heart. Paul warned earlier, Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (1 Timothy 4:14) Many fail to stir up the gift of God. And so they let the fire of their zeal burn out. As a result there are many Christians wasting away on Church pews who accomplish little, if anything for cause of Christ.