Make Sure Your Feet Are Grounded: Flee, Follow, Fight:

Today’s selected reading continues in the second New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy his beloved son in the faith. More specifically today’s passage begins with the fifteenth verse of the second chapter and continues through to the seventeenth verse of the third chapter. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymeneaus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may receive themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:15-26).

 

            “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away. For of this sort are thy which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 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. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:1-17).

            When you come to this particular portion of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy you will continue to find an incredible amount of language intended on instructing him. Upon coming to the final segment of this epistle you will learn of Timothy having been ordained and appointed the first bishop of the church in Ephesus. What would begin with the apostle Paul beseeching him to abide still in Ephesus while he journeyed unto Macedonia would eventually culminate in Timothy’s being appointed as the first bishop of this church. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear as to how long Timothy abode in Ephesus before he was ordained the first bishop of this church, however, we do know for certain that the disciples and brethren which were present among this congregation would ordain and appoint him to such a role and office. We know that when the apostle Paul found Timothy in Lystra and Derbe he found a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ who was well spoken of by the brethren. The apostle Paul greatly desired to have Timothy accompany him on his apostolic journey and to walk with him in fellowship, companionship and ministry. What must be wonderfully and powerfully understood about this particular reality of Timothy being ordained as the first bishop of the Ephesian church is that which he witnessed and walked through almost immediately after he began walking with the apostle Paul. I continue to be absolutely and utterly fascinated with the narratives which are found in chapters sixteen through nineteen of the New Testament book of Acts for the language contained there brings us face to face with that which Timothy was indeed exposed to while walking with the apostle Paul on his apostolic and missionary journeys.

 

            Having said this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in these particular chapters within the New Testament book of Acts as they help bring us face to face with the awesome and incredible reality—not only of this young disciple beginning to walk with and accompany the apostle Paul but also being witnessed and exposed to a version of Christianity and walking with Christ that was perhaps entirely different from what he had experienced during his life. There is not a doubt in my mind that if you want to understand this minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ who was ordained the first bishop of the Ephesian church it is absolutely necessary to understand the time he spent with the apostle Paul leading up to arriving in Ephesus—and not only leading up to his arrival in Ephesus but also his abiding in Ephesus. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts beginning in the sixteenth chapter:

 

            “Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily” (Acts 16:1-5).

 

 

            The words and language we find in this particular portion of Scripture brings us face to face with the first time the apostle Paul met this young disciple from Lystra and Derbe and how his mother believed but his father was a Greek. This young disciple from Lystra and Derbe was well spoken of by the brethren which were at Lystra and Iconium and as a direct result of this the apostle Paul would have him go forth with him. The apostle Paul would take Timothy and have him circumcised because of the Jews which were in those quarters for they all knew that his father was a Greek. After having this young disciple circumcised the apostle Paul would take Timothy with him as they went through the cities delivering the decrees to keep which were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to consider it is when you read how the churches were established in the faith and increased in number daily. After Timothy began walking with the apostle Paul he would journey together with him and his companions throughout the cities delivering the decrees to keep which were ordained by the apostle and elders which were at Jerusalem. It is truly something awesome and unique to read the words found in this opening passage of Scripture for it would have been easy to think about and consider young Timothy simply witnessing and beholding the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, teaching the decrees ordained by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem and that the churches were established in the faith and increased in number daily.

 

            Upon initial review of the narrative of Timothy walking together with the apostle Paul everything seems to be as you would expect it—teaching and preaching the words of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in those cities whereunto they traveled. Scripture makes it very clear that the churches were established in the faith and increased in number daily as the apostle Paul, Timothy, Silas and others journeyed unto and among them. On the surface it looks and appears like walking with and journeying together with the apostle Paul would indeed be this incredible period of time teaching and preaching the words of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the churches being established in the faith, and their numbers increasing daily. That which Timothy would begin to experience almost immediately, however, is the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the journey of the apostle Paul and his companions. If you continue reading in the sixteenth chapter of this New Testament book of Acts you will find additional language present within the book concerning the journey of the apostle through the regions of Macedonia after a vision he had received. Upon reading the words which are found in these passages of Scripture you will discover that as they journeyed through those regions they would go through Asia to teach and preach the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. What they would experience, however, would be the forbidding of the Holy Spirit to enter into Asia. Regardless of how much they desired to enter into Asia and teach and preach the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit would forbid them from doing so. Eventually the apostle Paul would have a vision which would appear to him at night—a vision of a man from Macedonia praying the apostle Paul come unto them and help them.

 

            What makes the words which are found in this particular segment of the sixteenth chapter so incredibly unique and interesting is when you consider the fact that the apostle Paul would determined that this vision was from the Lord and would indeed make his way unto Macedonia. It would be there in Macedonia where the apostle Paul would almost immediately begin to experience a tremendous amount of resistance and opposition from the Jews. Scripture reveals how the apostle Paul would indeed determine that this vision from the Lord and would indeed make his way unto Macedonia according to the forbidding of the Spirit to enter into Asia and the vision of the man from Macedonia bidding him to come unto them and help in their present place of need. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament beginning to read with and from the sixth verse. The words which we find here not only bring us face to face with the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the apostle Paul, Silas, Timothy and others but also those who journeyed with them. It is in this passage of Scripture we are brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth of the involvement of the Holy Spirit to prevent the apostle Paul from going into Asia and the operation of the Lord through a vision given unto the apostle Paul of this man from Macedonia who prayed for help unto and among them. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in this particular section of Scripture beginning with the sixth verse:

 

            “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them. Not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. Therefore loosing from Toras we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolos; and from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days” (Acts 16:6-12).

 

            It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand the words and language found in this passage of Scripture for not only do we see the activity of the Holy Spirit in preventing and forbidding the apostle Paul and those with him from journeying into Asia but we also find the Lord working through a vision which would be given unto the apostle Paul to provide instruction for him concerning their apostolic journey throughout the region. That which you find in the sixteenth chapter describes how the apostle Paul and those with him immediately journeyed into Macedonia perceiving that this vision and thing was of the Lord and that they needed to walk in obedience and faith to that which was before them. The beloved physician Luke writes and records how they loosed from Troas and came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis. What we find after this, however, is the apostle Paul coming unto Philippi which was the chief city of that part of Macedonia and a colony. The apostle Paul and those who were with him would abide together with and among them certain days teaching and preaching the words of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, we find the apostle Paul on the sabbath day going out of the city by a river side where prayer was made and sat down and spoke with the women which came unto that place. It was here where a certain woman named Lydia who was a seller of purple which worshipped God heard them and whose heart the Lord opened and who attended those things of the apostle Paul. This woman was together with her household baptized and abode there and constrained the apostle Paul and his companions to abide with them. The apostle Paul would indeed agree to abiding with this woman and her household and this is where things begin to take a dramatic turn within the life and ministry of the apostle Paul and those who were with him.

 

            If you begin reading with and from the sixteenth verse of the sixteenth chapter you will find that there was a certain damsel who was possessed with a spirit of divination who met them which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying. This damsel would follow Paul and those who were with him and would cry out, saying, “These men are the servants of the most High God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.” Luke writes and records how this damsel did this many days but Paul being grieved turned and said to the spirit, “I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Immediately after the apostle Paul spoke these words the spirit came out of her and she was entirely whole and delivered. What happened next would set the course for the apostle Paul and Silas experiencing affliction, persecution and suffering there in the midst of Philippi. As you continue reading the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find that when the masters of this damsel saw that the hope of their gains were gone they caught Paul and Silas and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers. It was there before the magistrates that they accused Paul and Silas who were Jews of exceedingly troubling their city, and taught customs which were not lawful for them to receive nor to observe being Romans. The words which these masters spoke unto the magistrates would result in the multitude rising up together against them and the magistrates rending off their clothes and commanding them to be beaten. After many stripes had been laid upon Paul and Silas they were cast into prison and the jailor was charged to keep them safely. Ultimately the jailor would thrust them into the inner prison and made their feet fast in the stocks.

 

            That which we find in these passages of Scripture mark the beginning of continued affliction and persecution which the apostle Paul would indeed experience within his life. We know the apostle Paul would need to be let out of the city of Damascus in a basket outside one of the windows in the walls because of the Jews which sought to kill him. We know that there were those in Jerusalem who sought to kill him after the apostles and elders had embraced and welcomed him as a brother and how he would journey unto Tarsus. You cannot read the words and language surrounding the narrative of the apostle Paul and the apostolic journey he would set forth on without witnessing and beholding various times when he would experience affliction, suffering, persecution, resistance and opposition. In previous instances we find much of the persecution and opposition the apostle Paul would face coming from unbelieving Jews, however, what we find here in Philippi was opposition and resistance coming not from unbelieving Jews but from Gentiles who rose up against him because in their minds he had cost them their means for making great financial gains through this damsel who was possessed with an unclean spirit of divination. The apostle Paul and Silas would be dragged before the magistrates and would be beaten before them in response to the accusations of these masters before being thrown into prison. Not only would they be thrown into prison but they would be cast into the inner prison and their feet would be made fast in the stocks.

 

 

            I am absolutely convinced that in order for us to understand the words which are found in the first and second epistles written unto Timothy we must needs recognize and understand that which he experienced walking with and accompanying the apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. We know that Timothy would witness the teaching and preaching of the words of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and we know that he would witness and experience the churches being strengthened and increased in their faith and their numbers growing daily as the Lord would add such as should be saved. With this in mind we must needs recognize that as Timothy would continue walking with and accompanying the apostle Paul he would witness and behold more than simply comfort and ease while walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ and even teaching and preaching the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. From the time they would arrive in Philippi Timothy would begin to understand and witness how walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ would and even could mean suffering, affliction and persecution. It is absolutely undeniable when reading the words which are found in these passages of Scripture that Timothy would begin to witness something he had perhaps not experienced before in his time walking with and following the Lord Jesus. From the time they arrived in Philippi Timothy would begin witnessing how walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ would and could indeed mean affliction, opposition, suffering and persecution. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it helps us to truly understand the context and nature of the first and second epistles written unto Timothy.

 

            The more I think about the words and language written and contained within the first and second epistles written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful reality of a young disciple and minister of the Lord Jesus Christ who would witness and experience a tremendous amount of affliction and opposition for the sake of the word and name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for when reading the words found in the first and second epistles written unto Timothy you will find them containing a tremendous amount of personal instruction for this disciple and minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact you cannot read these epistles without encountering and coming face to face with the awesome and powerful exhortation and instruction giving unto Timothy. It is quite clear and obvious when reading the epistles written unto Timothy the apostle Paul sought to strengthen and encourage him in his faith that he would be a wise and faithful steward for the sake of the word and name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul sought to write these epistles unto Timothy that he might provide him with powerful words of instruction—not only to prepare and make him ready to serve as bishop and overseer of the Ephesian congregation but also that he would be a faithful steward and servant of the Lord. It is quite obvious when reading the words which are found in the first epistle the apostle Paul sought to prepare and make Timothy ready to step into that which the Lord Jesus Christ had called him to. I cannot help but get the strong sense when reading the first epistle that the apostle Paul sought to make Timothy ready for that which he would step and walk into as a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in the first and second epistles written by the apostle Paul unto young Timothy and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the fact that while teaching, instruction and exhortation are in and of themselves valuable assets in preparing and making us ready to step into that for which the Lord Jesus has called us I am also convinced that there is something else that must needs be part of our preparation. There would be those who would think that teaching, exhortation and instruction alone are enough to prepare and make us ready for that for which we have been called to. Even for someone like me who attended and graduated from a small Christian college back in 2005 I have come to realize that there is something else that must needs be included in this training and instruction to be a faithful steward and servant of the Lord. While I do indeed believe that teaching and instruction are in fact necessary I am also convinced that there is something to be said about life experiences—and not merely life experiences but also walking through affliction, suffering, persecution, trials, troubles, conflict, struggle and the like. Almost from the time Timothy began walking with and accompanying the apostle Paul he would witness and experience suffering, affliction, persecution and opposition for the sake of the word and name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Timothy would indeed accompany the apostle Paul, Silas and others as they journeyed throughout the region, however, his accompanying them would not come without being exposed to affliction and persecution for the sake of the word and name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            It is with all of this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in chapters seventeen through nineteen of the New Testament book of Acts. The words which we find here bring us face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding Timothy’s exposure to affliction, to trials, to troubles, to suffering, to tribulations and the like for the sake of walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that what helped prepare and make young Timothy ready and prepared to step into that for which the Lord Jesus had called him unto. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in these chapters within the New Testament book of Acts beginning to read with and from the first verse of the seventeenth chapter:

 

            “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the hosue of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go” (Acts 17:1-9).

 

 

            “And the brethren. Immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whther those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Bearea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed” (Acts 17:10-15).

 

            “After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; and found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with. His wife Priscilla; (Because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he sthook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all hise house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:1-11).

 

            “And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law. And when Paul was not about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should b ear with you: But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. And he drave them from the judgment seat. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things” (Acts 18:12-17).

 

            “After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season. And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Dinana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that noe alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying, that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought: but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. Some therefore cried on thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. But if ye inquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly” (Acts 19:21-41).

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for part of Timothy’s preparation to become the minister of the Lord Jesus Christ he was called to was walking through the affliction, the suffering, the opposition, the trials and troubles the apostle Paul walked through. Although there appears to be no mention of Timothy himself being caught up in the affliction and suffering the apostle Paul would experience we nonetheless are brought face to face with the tremendous truth that he would be a witness to what had taken place. Timothy would be in Philippi when Paul and Silas would be brought before the magistrates, beaten and then imprisoned and secured in the innermost prison. Timothy would be in Thessalonica when the unbelieving Jews would raise themselves up against the apostle Paul and not only oppose him but also raise up a number of men and women from the city against them. Timothy would be in Corinth when the unbelieving Jews in that city rose up against the apostle Paul and not only opposed themselves but also blasphemed. Not only this but Timothy would be in the city of Ephesus when the great riot and uproar would take place and where the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ had to entreat the apostle Paul to not enter in among them for fear of his own safety and well-being. OH it is absolutely unmistakable when reading the New Testament book of Acts that Timothy would witness firsthand the afflictions, the trials, the troubles, the tribulations and the suffering for the sake of the word, the name and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the second chapter of the second epistle written by Paul unto Timothy you will find him instructing him to study to show himself approved unto God as a workman who needs not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. What’s more is that if you continue reading the words which are found in this passage you will find the apostle Paul going on to declare unto Timothy that if a man purges himself from the things of this world he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use and prepared unto every good work. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the instruction given unto Timothy. The apostle Paul was not only concerned with Timothy’s personal witness and testimony but the apostle Paul was also concerned about his being a faithful steward and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they bring us face to face with the apostle Paul seeking to instruct, guide and lead Timothy as a faithful minister and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. In all reality we must needs read the words which were written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy in the same context as the Old Testament  book of Proverbs was written by Solomon unto his son(s).

 

            The more I read the words which are found in the epistles written unto Timothy you will find the apostle Paul writing and speaking unto him as a father would unto his own son. We know from Scripture that Timothy did in fact have an earthly and biological father who was a Greek, however, Scripture doesn’t reveal much about him. In all reality it is truly remarkable to read the words which are found in these two epistles for the apostle Paul tenderly and affectionately wrote unto Timothy as a father would speak unto his own son. If you want to truly understand the words which are found in these epistles you must needs recognize and understand them in terms of the apostle Paul writing and speaking unto Timothy as a father would his son that he might provide him with instruction concerning his walk and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul sought to bring Timothy into the place where he would be considered a faithful steward and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as prepared for every good work. There is something truly awesome and powerful about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for the apostle Paul not only speaks of Timothy being approved unto God but the apostle Paul also speaks of Timothy as being prepared unto every good work. Moreover the apostle Paul was concerned about the condition of Timothy’s heart and mind for he would instruct him to flee youthful lusts and to instead follow righteousness, faith, charity and peace with them who call on the name of the Lord. This is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for the apostle Paul sought to instruct Timothy in the ways of righteousness that he would not allow himself to become ensnared with those things which would seek to captivate, distract and destroy him.

 

            This reality of fleeing youthful lusts is something I feel is incredibly important to recognize and understand for when you come to the second chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ you will find the Lord Jesus speaking directly unto the church which was at Ephesus. When speaking unto this church the Lord Jesus Christ would speak unto them concerning knowing their works, however, the Lord Jesus would declare unto them how He had something against them—namely, that they had left their first love. The Lord would go on to instruct them to remember the height from which they had fallen, to repent and to do the works which they had done at first. The reason I mention this is because when I consider the words the apostle Paul wrote unto Timothy in these epistles I can’t help but view them through the lens of the apostle Paul writing unto him as a father would a son. Not only this but I am also brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the instruction the apostle Paul would give unto Timothy concerning righteousness and to keep himself from the youthful lusts of the flesh. Without a doubt the apostle Paul was genuinely concerned for Timothy being counted as a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ—one who was approved unto God and one who was prepared unto every good work. IN order for this to be a reality within the life of Timothy there would be the need for Timothy to flee from youthful lusts and to keep himself pure and unspotted from the world.

 

            With this being said I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in this Old Testament book you will find Solomon writing and speaking unto his sons imploring them to keep themselves from the wayward and crooked path of the perverse woman. Solomon would write and speak unto his son(s) when writing these proverbs that they might be instructed in righteousness that their feet might not be drawn away and enticed unto the house of the wayward woman who seeks to seduce unsuspecting men and those who were wayward of heart. What we must needs recognize and understand when reading the epistles written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy is that he was instructing him concerning the condition and nature of his own heart that he guard himself from allowing his heart to become wayward and froward from righteousness, from faith and from obedience in the sight of the living God. What’s more is that within these epistles the apostle Paul recognized and understood that Timothy must needs be an example of firm devotion and firm commitment unto the Lord Jesus Christ and that he guard his heart from departing from the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ we find many among the church in Ephesus having left their first love and being instructed by the Lord Jesus to repent and return unto the works which they did at first. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for with Timothy being ordained and appointed as the first bishop of this same congregation which would depart from their first love would himself need to guard his heart and his feet from drifting and departing from the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            It is with all of this mind and being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs concerning the words which Solomon wrote unto his son concerning them guarding their feet and their way from departing from the path of righteousness and going unto the house of the wayward woman. In all reality the epistles written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy were not only designed to instruct Timothy to keep and guard himself from turning aside and going astray but also those present in the midst of the church and congregation of the Lord Jesus there in Ephesus. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs concerning the wayward and froward woman:

 

            “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the forwardness of the wicked; whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: to deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous” (Proverbs 2:10-20).

 

            “My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: that thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sord. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger; and thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, and say, how have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly” (Proverbs 5:1-14).

 

            “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray” (Proverbs 5:15-23).

 

            “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakes, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: to keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever touchet her shall not be innocent. Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry: but if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts” (Proverbs 6:20-35).

 

            “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman; that they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words. For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, and beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: and, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: he hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life” (Proverbs 7:1-23).

 

            It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs for although they speak largely in part to allowing oneself to go a whoring after a strange woman we must needs recognize that this reality is just as much true in the physical and natural sense as it is in the spiritual sense. If you read the words which are found in the first and second epistles written unto Timothy you will discover the apostle Paul instructing him concerning righteousness and that he guard his heart, his soul and his spirit in the ways of righteousness that he might not be seduced, enticed and drawn away by physical and natural lusts and by earthly and natural desires. What’s more is that when you come to the third chapter of the second epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing unto Timothy concerning the last days and the tremendous wickedness and evil that can and will take place during those days. The apostle Paul already wrote in the first epistle concerning the seduction of the last days and how men and women would depart from the faith and now here we find the apostle Paul seemingly building upon this and describing the tremendous apostasy, wickedness, unrighteousness and unfaithfulness that will characterize the last days. In all reality there is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found in the third chapter for not only do they present us with the wickedness that can and will characterize the last days but they also bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth concerning the call for purity, for righteousness, for faithfulness, for obedience and for holiness in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the third chapter beginning with the first verse:

 

            “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power therefor: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was” (2 Timothy 3:1-9).

 

            As I bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary we call and draw our attention to the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the final words of the third chapter. If you begin reading with and from the tenth verse you will find the apostle Paul writing unto Timothy how he had fully known his doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions and afflictions. The apostle Paul goes on to write unto Timothy how the Lord Jesus delivered him out of all the persecutions he endured but would also declare that all who would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. With this being said the apostle Paul contrasts those who are godly in Christ and endure sufferings and persecutions and evil men and seducers who shall wax worse and worse as they deceive and are deceived. In light of this the apostle Paul instructs Timothy to continue in the things which he learned and been assured of knowing who he had learned. Moreover the apostle goes on to declare that from a child he had known the holy scriptures which were able to make him wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul would then go on to declare how all scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. It is this reality of the man of God being made perfect and throughly furnished unto all good works we must needs recognize for it is directly linked to the words which are found in the second chapter—namely, that one might be approved unto God as a workman who needs not be ashamed and one who is prepared unto every good work.

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