Today’s selected reading is found in the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy who was a spiritual son in the faith to him. More specifically today’s passage begins with the first verse of the first chapter and continues through to the fourteenth verse of the second chapter. “Pau. And apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus. To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (2 Timothy 1:1-2).
“I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; 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 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. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel; whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles” (2 Timothy 1:3-11).
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: neverhtless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou. Hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligtently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day; and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well” (2 Timothy 1:12-18).
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangelth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound” (2 Timothy 2:1-9).
“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a fearful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers” (2 Timothy 2:10-14).
When you come to this particular epistle—not only will you find the second epistle written unto Timothy who was a spiritual son in the faith to the apostle Paul but you will also come to the final epistle written by the apostle Paul. Although there would be still two other epistles in the New Testament following this epistle—the epistle written unto Titus and the epistle written unto Philemon—this second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy would be the final epistle he would write unto his dearly beloved son. In fact Timothy is the only individual to have received two separate epistles from the apostle Paul—at least according to the words and language which are found in the New Testament. There were certain churches such as the church at Corinth and the church at Thessalonica that received two letters written unto them, however, Timothy was the only individual to receive two distinct and separate epistles written unto him by the apostle Paul. In order to truly understand the context and language found within this epistle it is absolutely necessary to turn your attention to the final verse or segment of this epistle. It is in these final words we not only understand the location of the apostle Paul when he wrote this epistle but also the context and narrative of Timothy. There is not a doubt in my mind that if you want to truly understand the words and language found in this passage of Scripture you must needs recognize the position the apostle Paul was in as well as the position Timothy was in for they would be separated by countless miles as the apostle Paul would be in what is today modern Italy and Timothy would be in what is today modern day Turkey. With this in mind I invite you to consider the final words and segment of this particular epistle written unto Timothy:
“The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.”
It is absolutely necessary we pay attention to the words which are found in this particular segment of the epistle for it not only describes where Timothy was and what the Lord had called him to do but also where the apostle Paul was. Upon reading the words found in this particular section you will find Timothy having been ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians—something which the apostle Paul alluded to in the opening chapter of the first epistle written unto this dearly beloved son in the faith. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the first chapter of the first epistle written unto Timothy you will find the apostle Paul writing the following words unto him: “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (1 Timothy 1:3-7).
It is perfectly clear when reading these words that the apostle Paul not only charged but also commissioned Timothy to abide and remain in the city of Ephesus as he departed and went into Macedonia. What we must needs recognize and understand was that there was a specific purpose and reason for young Timothy to abide and remain at Ephesus for the apostle Paul goes on to reveal how he was to charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies which minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith. If you want to truly understand the reason and purpose behind the apostle Paul charging and commissioning young Timothy to abide in the city of Ephesus you must needs recognize that he was charged to be a guardian of truth and a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ who would combat false doctrine, false teaching, and false gospels. This is something which we must needs recognize and understand for if you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the twentieth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find the apostle Paul gathering together the elders of the Ephesian church unto himself to deliver a farewell speech unto them. The apostle Paul knew that he was going up unto Jerusalem being bound by the Spirit not knowing what would await him there in the midst of the city. The apostle Paul that the Spirit bore witness unto him that bonds and afflictions abode him in every city he entered and that there might be some affliction, opposition, persecution and suffering that awaited him in the city of Jerusalem. What’s more is the apostle Paul also knew something concerning the Ephesian congregation and saints—something that would assuredly take place after his departure from their presence. It is having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the twentieth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts:
“And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go on foot .And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene. And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus. For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and how I kept back nothing that was not profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:13-35).
We must needs recognize and understand the significance of what is found in the apostle Paul’s farewell speech unto the elders of the Ephesian congregation for not only did he speak of his own afflictions which abode him in every city he journeyed but he also warned them of that which would come after his departure. The apostle Paul did not know what awaited him upon his departure from Jerusalem save that the Spirit testified and bore witness that bonds and afflictions abode him in every city he entered. With this being said it’s important to recognize the apostle Paul also knew that after his departure from the elders of the Ephesian church grievous and savage wolves would enter in among them not sparing the flock. Moreover the apostle Paul also knew that there would be some from among their own number who would rise up among them seeking to draw away disciples after and unto themselves. This is something we have a great need to recognize and pay close attention to for when we consider the epistle written unto Timothy there is a strong undercurrent and tone contained therein concerning false doctrine, false teaching, error, seducing spirits and the like which Timothy was charged to take a stand against. In all reality the epistles written unto Timothy were essentially epistles of freedom and epistles of truth for this young disciple and minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed charged by the apostle Paul to be a guardian of truth who would stand for righteousness, who would stand for truth and who would bring correction, exhortation and rebuke when such realities were necessary among the saints which were at Ephesus.
As you come to the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy you will find it written how Timothy was ordained and appointed the first bishop of the church of the saints of God which was at Ephesus. By this time a church had indeed been established among the Ephesians as the brethren undoubtedly met and gathered house to house according to the pattern and model we found in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. When speaking unto the elders of the Ephesian church you will find the apostle Paul speaking unto them concerning how he taught them publicly and from house to house testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. What we find in the twentieth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is the apostle Paul speaking unto the Ephesian elders concerning his time and ministry unto and among them and how he labored among them for three years teaching them publicly and from house to house concerning repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the time we come to the first epistle written unto young Timothy we find the apostle Paul charging him to remain and abide at Ephesus that he might charge men and women against error in their thinking and against false doctrine, false teaching, false gospels and the like. Young Timothy who was a spiritual son in the faith to the apostle Paul was given a charge that he remain and abide in the midst of Ephesus that he might be a champion and guardian of truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and the word of His Gospel which was preached unto both Jews and Gentiles.
Upon coming to the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy you will find Timothy no longer abiding and remaining at Ephesus according to the charge of the apostle Paul but you will now find him being ordained and appointed the first bishop of the Ephesian church. What a truly remarkable journey this young disciple whom the apostle Paul encountered upon coming to Lystra and Derbe would experience for from the time the apostle Paul sought to have him accompany them Timothy would witness and behold a great deal of what the Christian life looked like. From the time Timothy chose to accompany the apostle Paul, Silas and perhaps others he would witness affliction, opposition, resistance, suffering and persecution for the sake of the word and name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Timothy would witness and behold Paul and Silas being beaten in the city of Philippi before they were imprisoned, secured in the innermost part of the prison and their feet fastened with stocks. Of course Luke writes and records how at midnight Paul and Silas sang praises in the midnight hour unto the Lord and how the other prisoners heard them. In response to their singing praises while bound and while imprisoned the living God would send supernatural and divine intervention on their behalf. As a direct result of their singing praises unto the living God the living God would send an earthquake which would both shake the earth as well as the prison where they were being held. Not only would the living God send an earthquake that would shake the prison but every man’s prison doors would be opened and each mans’ chains, shackles and fetters would be loosed from them.
While in Philippi Timothy would witness the apostle Paul and Silas being beaten and imprisoned, however, he would also hear of the supernatural and divine intervention of the living God on their behalf. Scripture is unclear what Paul and Silas sang while they were present in the midst of the prison there in the city of Philippi, however, we can be absolutely certain the living God heard their worship and praises and was pleased with it. Oh I can’t help but wonder what the other prisoners thought when they not only heard the apostle Paul and Silas sing praises unto the living God but also witnessed and experienced the earthquake. Imagine being the other prisoners and hearing these praises being sang by Paul and Silas and then witnessing all the doors of the prison being opened and each man’s chains and shackles being loosed from them. What’s more is that as a direct result of these events the jailor of the prison would come before Paul and Silas asking what he must do to be saved. Not only this but both the jailor and his entire household believed and were baptized by the apostle Paul and perhaps even Silas, Timothy and those who were with him. Not only this but it might also be possible that this jailor and his entire household were the first believers in Philippi and part of the church that was established there.
If you continue reading the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts you will find young Timothy continuing to witness and behold affliction, opposition, suffering and persecution in the lives of the apostle Paul and those who were with him. Upon entering and coming into Thessalonica Timothy would witness the unbelieving Jews opposing and blaspheming themselves before the apostle Paul and against the word, name and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only this but they would gather unto themselves lewd men who were of the baser sort that they might incite the people of the city against them and cause it to rise up in an uproar against them. As a direct result of this the disciples and brethren would send the apostle Paul and Silas forth from their midst unto Berea where they would enter into the synagogues and there teach and preach the word, name and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Eventually, however, those unbelieving Jews which were present in Thessalonica would get wind of the apostle Paul teaching and preaching the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in Berea and would bring their persecution, their opposition and their resistance unto Berea against the apostle Paul and Silas. Eventually the disciples and brethren there would send the apostle Paul as it were unto the sea although he would ultimately enter and abide in Athens. It would be in Athens where he would not only once more teach and preach the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus but would also write each of the epistles which were unto the saints of Thessalonica. Once the apostle Paul had departed from the city of Athens he would ultimately come unto the city of Corinth which is also in modern day Greece. It would be there in the city of Corinth the apostle Paul would once more experience the resistance, opposition and persecution of the unbelieving Jews toward the word, gospel and name of the Lord Jesus.
What I so absolutely love about young Timothy walking with and accompanying the apostle Paul and those who were with him is that while it is indeed true he would witness affliction, persecution, suffering and opposition for the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ he would also witness three distinct realities concerning them. In the city of Philippi Timothy would hear of and witness the supernatural and divine intervention of the living God on behalf of the apostle Paul and Silas who were beaten before being imprisoned. Timothy would hear of how the apostle Paul and Silas sang praises in the midnight hour and how the living God would send an earthquake that would shake the prison where they were being held, would cause ever man’s prison doors to be opened and would cause each man’s chains, shackles and fetters to be loosed. In Thessalonica and Berea there would be no divine intervention on behalf of the apostle Paul for the Lord would not send an earthquake, nor would He intervene in a miraculous way. Instead the Lord would work through His vessels as in both Thessalonica and Berea it would be human intervention that would essentially deliver the apostle Paul from the opposition, the blasphemy and the resistance of the Jews—much like human intervention delivered the apostle Paul in Damascus from those who sought to kill him and delivered him in the city of Jerusalem from those who sought to kill him there In the city of Philippi there were would be supernatural and divine intervention, in Thessalonica and Berea there would be human intervention as the Lord would work through His saints and servants and in Corinth there would be no intervention at all—only the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ encouraging, admonishing and instructing the apostle Paul concerning his time and ministry there.
Having written all of this it’s important for us to recognize that by the time the second epistle was written unto Timothy he was and had been ordained the first bishop of the Ephesian church. We know that he was well spoken by the disciples and brethren which were at Lystra and Derbe and yet now we witness and behold that witness and testimony taking on an entirely different level. Consider what the witness and testimony of young Timothy must have been like for him to be appointed as the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation of saints and believers. What adds even more weight to this is when you consider the following words which the apostle Paul wrote in the third chapter of the first epistle written unto Timothy. In the first verse of the third chapter the apostle Paul declared that if a man desired the office of a bishop he desired a good work. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that in the third chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy he declares how those who desire the office of a bishop desiring a good work and then when writing the second epistle unto Timothy we find it written concerning him that he was ordained the first bishop of the Ephesian church. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear whether or not the apostle Paul wrote these words in the third chapter in light of Timothy’s spiration of becoming a bishop within the church or perhaps because those in the Ephesian congregation desired to ordain him as the bishop among them. Regardless of the events and circumstances surrounding the words in the third chapter we know and understand that by the time we come to the second epistle written unto Timothy he had been ordained as bishop of the Ephesian congregation. With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the third chapter beginning with the first verse:
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 3:1-13).
Please pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for the words we find here bring us face to face with the requirements for one who desired to be a bishop. The fact that young Timothy was ordained and appointed the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation not only highlights and underscores the witness and testimony he had among the disciples and brethren who were in Lystra and Derbe when the apostle Paul found him but it also highlights and underscores that which was seen in him by those who would ordain and appoint him as the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation. Pause for a moment and consider what it would be like to not only be bishop among the brethren within the church but also to be the first bishop of a particular church and congregation. It’s one thing for Timothy to be bishop among the saints and brethren, however, it was something else entirely and altogether to be the first bishop among certain of the saints and brethren. We can undoubtedly deduce from the third chapter of the first epistle written unto Timothy from the apostle Paul that he was not only judged but also found faithful in the sight of both God and men. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that Timothy was both a man who was well report and well spoken of among the brethren when the apostle Paul found him in Lystra and Derbe as well as being well spoken of by the brethren which were in Ephesus. It was this very truth which helps us recognize and understand that when the apostle Paul wrote this second epistle unto Timothy he was writing unto a faithful minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and one who was ordained as the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation.
If you begin reading with and from the third verse of the first chapter of this second epistle you will find the apostle Paul thanking God whom he served from his forefathers with a pure conscience that without ceasing he had remembrance of him in his prayers night and day. The apostle Paul continually upheld Timothy in his prayers and made mention of him within his prayers both night and day without ceasing. What’s more is the apostle Paul also had a great desire to see him being mindful of his tears that he might be filled with joy. With this being said it’s necessary to consider the words which are found in this first chapter for the apostle Paul called into remembrance the unfeigned faith that was found in Timothy—and not only that which was found in Timothy but also that which was first present within his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. The apostle Paul was persuaded that what was present within his grandmother and his mother was also found within him as well. Oh this is something which must needs be recognized and understood when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for even as I sit here today I can’t help but see myself in Timothy—and not only in Timothy but also in my father and my grandfather. The apostle Paul mentions three generations here in this particular section of Scripture for he mentioned the first generation of faith which was in his grandmother Lois, he mentioned a second generation of faith which was in his mother Eunice, and the third generation of faith which was present within him. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this for in addition to Timothy being well spoken of by the brethren in Lystra and Derbe he was also part of a lineage of faith which was passed down through the generations.
I sit here today writing and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but see the lineage of faith that was passed down within my own family. As I look upon the history and lineage of my own family I am reminded of the faith that was found in my grandfather and how he was both a man of prayer and a man of worship. What’s more is that I am also reminded of the faith that was found in my own father as for a vast majority of my life he served in the ministry appointed unto him as youth pastor, associate pastor and senior pastor. For more than two decades my father served in the ministry in various churches before stepping away from the ministry around fourteen years ago. Over the past fourteen years—despite the fact my father was not actively in ministry in terms of being in the four walls of the church—he engaged himself in ministry outside the four walls of the church and where the people were. Oh my father never truly knew the witness and testimony he had and the countless lives he touched at the various jobs he worked at—jobs such as Sprint and even the Kia dealership he worked at. What’s more is that when I think about both my grandfather and father I see two men who served the Lord within their lives and who have since passed away from this world and entered into the realm of eternity. More than two decades ago my grandfather passed away from cancer when I was just a young boy and almost three weeks ago my father passed away from COVID pneumonia.
The more I think about and consider this particular truth the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous legacy and lineage of faith these two men left behind them. I can’t help but see a legacy of faith beginning with my grandfather and being passed down to my father in a certain degree and measure while he was still alive but passed down in an even greater measure when he passed away more than two decades ago. This same reality directly applies to my father who left a legacy of faith for my brother and I while he was still alive—both serving within the church as well as serving outside the four walls of the church. With this being said I am absolutely convinced that with his passing he has left a legacy, a witness and testimony of faith unto my brother and I. Even at the memorial service for my father one of our close family friends and someone who served alongside him at the church he pastored here in Massachusetts—in speaking about the legacy of my father—issued a charge unto my brother and I. This charge was essentially centered around the legacy of faith and a mantle being passed down and passed on to us—much like Elisha picking up the mantle of Elijah which fell to the earth as he was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind of fire among horses and a chariot. What’s more is that I am absolutely convinced that at the very heart of this legacy of faith are the words which we find in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. It is in the eleventh chapter we find a powerful witness, testimony, demonstration, manifestation and legacy of faith while in the twelfth chapter we read of a great cloud of witnesses which have faithfully served the Lord during their generation and are now part of a great cloud of witnesses in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and all His holy angels. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the world were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:1-3).
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Hebrews 11:13-16).
“And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:32-40).
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
It is absolutely impossible to read the words which are found in these passages of Scripture and not be brought face to face with the tremendous legacy, witness and testimony of faith. As you read the words which are found here in these passages of Scripture you can and will be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth concerning those who served the Lord faithfully and with faith in their generation as they looked for a better country considering themselves strangers and pilgrims upon the earth. That which we find in these passages of Scripture bring us to the place where we encounter a legacy of faith that was passed down through the generations from those who not only received the promise and blessings of the living God but also who were able to endure the afflictions, suffering and persecutions they experienced. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that faith is not only necessary to obtain the promises and blessings of the living God but also to with patience endure suffering, afflictions, persecutions, trials, troubles, and even death. Oh there would be those among us who seem to think that the substance of things hoped for is solely linked and connected to the blessings and promises of God and yet the truth of the matter is that faith is also needed to patiently endure hardship, trials, suffering, troubles, affliction, opposition, persecution and the like.
If you consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the first chapter of this epistle you will find him going on to instruct Timothy to stir up the gift of God which was in him by the putting on of his hands. Moreover the apostle Paul would also go on to declare unto Timothy how God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for even when the apostle John wrote unto the saints here in Ephesus in his first epistle he emphatically declared how there was no fear in love but how perfect love casts out all fear. How incredibly interesting and unique it is to think about and consider the words which are found in these passages of Scripture and how the apostle John declared how perfect love casts out all fear and the apostle Paul declared how the living God has not given us a spirit of fear but rather of power, of love and of a sound mind. It is quite clear and obvious when reading these words that fear and the tears which were present in Timothy might have been intrinsically linked together. What we must needs recognize and understand is that it is okay to be a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet struggle. It is okay to be a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ and experience weakness, conflicts, struggles and even fears within our hearts and souls. The apostle Paul clearly set forth concerning Timothy that he had cried many tears and how God had not given us a spirit of fear but of power, of love and of a sound mind. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this for if there is one thing we must needs recognize it’s that any fear within our hearts and lives must needs be subdued by power, with love and with a sound mind.
The more you delve into this epistle the more you will find additional instruction and encouragement given unto this young disciple for the apostle Paul would go on to instruct Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of him who was His prisoner but to be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God. This is incredibly important for us to recognize and understand for as has already been mentioned Timothy witnessed the apostle Paul suffering and experiencing afflictions, trials, troubles, conflicts, and tribulations in Philippi, in Thessalonica, in Berea, in Corinth and even in Ephesus. Now the apostle Paul is writing his second epistle to Timothy and his final epistle in life unto a bishop among the saints of the living God concerning trials, afflictions, suffering, persecution, conflicts, troubles and the like. It is quite obvious that Timothy might have been walking through and experiencing some intense struggles and conflicts within his life while serving as bishop of the Ephesian church. There is every indication within this epistle that Timothy was such who was finding himself experiencing and encountering some of the same afflictions, trials, troubles, sufferings and conflicts he had witnessed in the life of the apostle Paul. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words which are found in this epistle that Timothy—while serving as the first bishop of the Ephesian congregation—was experiencing tremendous suffering, affliction, trials and troubles. What’s more is this might very well have been the source of his tears and fears. WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF YOUR TEARS AND FEARS? MINISTERS OF FEARS AND TEARS!
If we want to truly understand the words which are found in this particular epistle it’s that the apostle Paul sought to appeal to the legacy of faith within the life of Timothy and demonstrating and showing how that faith was present and manifested within him. It was this unfeigned faith that would allow Timothy to stand and faithfully serve as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. This faith which the apostle Paul was persuaded was present within Timothy was such that would enable him to endure hardship as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was this faith that would enable Timothy to patiently endure and bear up under the weight and pressure of the sufferings and afflictions of the Lord Jesus Christ. The words which we find here in this epistle bring us face to face with the fact that Timothy was indeed serving the Lord faithfully and with faith as a minister of the word, name and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ but was experiencing tears and fears. The apostle Paul sought to encourage Timothy by declaring how God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, of love and of a sound mind. Not only this but the apostle Paul admonished and encouraged Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ nor of him who was his prisoner. Instead the apostle Paul admonished and encouraged Timothy to be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God—God who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling not according to our works but according to his own purpose, and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. Moreover this reality would be manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
Continuing on in the first chapter you will find the apostle Paul empahtically declaring and proclaiming unto Timothy that he was not ashamed for he knew whom he believed and was persuaded that He was able to keep that which he had committed unto him against that day. In direct response to this the apostle Paul would go on to further instruct and admonish Timothy to hold fast the form of sound words which he heard of him in faith and love which was in Christ Jesus. Furthermore the apostle Paul would instruct Timothy to keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelt in him that good thing which was committed unto him. Oh it is quite clear and obvious when reading the words found in this second epistle the apostle Paul sought to encourage, exhort, admonish and instruct Timothy in the place of serving as bishop of the Ephesian saints and congregation. There is not a doubt in my mind that Timothy was a man who struggled with fears and tears and who was perhaps beginning to experience similar afflictions to that which he had witnessed within the life of the apostle Paul. With this being said we must needs recognize and understand that the substance of faith is more than simply laying hold of the promises, blessings and provisions of the living God. The substance of faith is also about patiently enduring and bearing up under the weight of suffering, affliction, persecutions, trials, troubles, conflicts and struggles. This is something which must needs be understood when reading this second epistle written unto Timothy for it is quite clear that he was beginning to step into and experience the afflictions of the Lord Jesus Christ as he was serving as a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. With this being said it is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand that serving as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ does not exempt nor does it make us immune from afflictions, from sufferings, from persecutions, from trials and troubles.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle. It is in the opening verse of the second chapter the apostle Paul instructs Timothy to be strong in the grace that was in Christ Jesus. In addition to this the apostle Paul instructed him to commit those things which he had heard of him among many witnesses unto faithful men who would be able to teach others. What’s more is that as you continue reading the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul instructing Timothy to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss and lose sight this instruction for it is something that is absolutely and without a doubt needed among the saints of God within this generation. I firmly believe that the saints of God in this generation need to be such who are able to endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Not only this but in this generation the saints of God are indeed being called and instructed to be partakers of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God who has saved us, and called us with a. holy calling not according to works but according to his own purpose and grace. With this in. mind it’s important to realize and understand the words the apostle Paul spoke unto Timothy for the apostle Paul would go on to declare how no man wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life that he may please him who has chosen them as a good soldier. Moreover the apostle Paul goes on to declare that if a man strive for masteries he is not crowned unless he strives lawfully. This truth would be followed up a few verses later by the apostle Paul declaring unto Timothy that he endured all things for the elect’s sakes that they might also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Having said all of this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the legacy and substance of faith and such as being needed within our hearts and souls that we might be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. There is a great need for the substance and demonstration of faith within our hearts and spirits to be those who are able to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ and not be entangle ourselves with the affairs of this life. If there is one thing we find in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews it’s that those who died in faith deliberately and intentionally chose to distance and separate themselves from the affairs of this life that they may be counted faithful in the sight and presence of the living God. Such individuals viewed themselves as being strangers and pilgrims in the earth and were such who lived for a heavenly country and city whose foundation and maker was and is the living God. It is no coincidence the author of this epistle would go on to speak of the great cloud of witnesses and to then admonish and charge them to run with endurance the race that was set before them as they looked unto Jesus who was the author and finisher of their faith. Oh there is a great need for us to recognize and understand that we as the saints of God have indeed been called to walk in faith that has substance and faith which hopes, however, we must needs recognize and understand that faith is about so much more than what we use to obtain the promises, blessings and provision of the living God. Faith is undoubtedly needed within the hearts and souls of the saints of God to patiently endure hardship, trials, troubles, tribulations, suffering, affliction and persecutions. We as the saints of God must needs be those who recognize and understand that we have indeed been called to walk in this legacy and testimony of faith that we might endure hardness as good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is with this in mind I leave you with the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the third chapter of the epistle written unto the Philippian saints beginning with the seventh verse:
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubltess, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing” (Philippians 3:7-16).