Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
Established November 2008 Published Weekly on Friday
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1Timothy 2:3-4)
Welcome to Home Bible Study.
“…That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (generation), among whom ye shine as lights in the world. Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ (the Rapture), that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (2:15-16).
Last week we learned Paul’s desire was not to be compared to an athlete who trained rigorously only to realize all that effort and energy amounted to nothing or was in vain. For him the greatest prize this life had to offer was to know unsaved people were hearing the word of life from the Philippians and because of this in the day of Christ he may rejoice because his labor had not been in vain.
The O.T. reveals the LORD God disciplined the nation of Israel time and time again because of their murmurings (complaining) against Moses’ leadership which demonstrated a lack of faith in the LORD (Jehovah) to keep His covenant promises. Their ungrateful attitudes combined with their lack of faith in what God had said prevented them from becoming a “nation of priests”(Exodus 19:5-6) for the purpose of drawing the Gentile nations to God’s Light (Isaiah 49:6).
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you (Zechariah 8:23).
The same murmurings, disputing, and self-centeredness in the church today are preventing the Body of Christ from realizing its full potential as lights in the world. I don’t know what you believe, but as for me, I believe the world’s a much darker place now then it was decades ago. This is largely due to the removal of God, the Bible, and prayer from public view by the Supreme Court (See “The Warren Court, 1953-1969). It’s been all down-hill from there (pun intended) because the word of life is rarely heard outside the church and some homes and this nation is paying a heavy price.
I mentioned last week a working lighthouse was instrumental in keeping our ship and its crew from running aground or something much worse. It was meant to help y’all understand what you do with the word of life matters to God and the world-at-large. The Philippian church had some “grumpy Gus’s” who were not on the same page with their brethren. Their behavior was not only a distraction to the world-at-large; their hypocrisy seriously marred the gospel of peace and their personal testimony.
Please open your Bible at Philippians 2:17-18.
Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
I find it odd that Paul used the terms offered and sacrifice here. It makes me think 1) he believed both Jews and Gentiles would read this letter or hear it read aloud; or 2) He assumed his audience had a working knowledge of the Old Testament, or 3) both. I’m going with #3, both.
Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith – according to the O.T., the terms offered and sacrifice is part and parcel of the Jewish sacrificial system. The first recorded occurrence of a drink offering was given by Jacob in Genesis 35:14, right after God changed his name to Israel (means: struggles with God) at the river Jabbok (Genesis 32:28).
The drink offering or libation is mentioned in only three places in the book of Leviticus. When the sheaf of the firstfruits was waved before the Lord, a grain offering was to be burned, along with "its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine (approximately one gallon)" (Leviticus 23:13). Similarly, libations were to be offered with the lambs, bull, and rams offered on the day of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:18). A general statement is made concerning libations in Leviticus 23:37: "These are the appointed times of the Lord which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire (or, food offerings) to the Lord — burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and libations, each day’s matter on its own day."
More elaborate instructions for the drink offering are found in Numbers 15. There, the Israelites were commanded to offer a libation of wine with all burnt offerings and "sacrifices," the latter being a common term for the peace offering (Numbers 15:8; 1 Samuel 9:12-13; 1 Kings 8:62-63).
There’s more information to be found in scripture re: the drink offering, but I think you’re starting to get the idea. Paul is likening the sacrifice of service to the Philippians to the burnt offering in time past, which was a sweet savor offering that was well pleasing to God. It’s worth mentioning this was a voluntary sacrifice done in the Lord’s service (Leviticus 1:3).
In Koine Greek, the word “offered” is Spendo (spen’-do), Verb, Strong’s Greek #4689, meaning: to pour out as a drink offering and by using this word Paul means to say this is “occurring to him right now.”
This word only appears twice in the N.T. here and in 2 Timothy 4:6:
For I am now ready to be offered (poured out), and the time of my departure is at hand.
When Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians and his second letter to Timothy, he was “a prisoner of Christ” (Ephesians 3:1). He wrote to the Philippians while under “house arrest” a.k.a. a rented house in Rome. His second letter to Timothy was written from Mamertine Prison a dank, dark dungeon in Rome. At this point in time he believed his departure was at hand. No reprieve would be received from Emperor Nero; he believed he would be executed and he was circa 67-68 AD; about two years before the destruction of Jerusalem and God’s Temple in 70 AD.
In verses 2:17-18, Paul’s actually saying, since his conversion, his life could be compared to a “drink offering.” After reviewing his written testimony to the Corinthians, I think y’all will have a better understanding of what is saying: Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).
Per Paul, if you’re a Believer, you can expect to encounter suffering in your life. I think I’m “preaching to the choir,” but I’ve included two Bible verses in support of this truth:
“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).
“Persecutions, afflictions (sufferings), 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” (2 Timothy 3:11-12).
These scripture passages inform us tribulations will occur in our lives. The Greek word for suffering is translated as tribulation, meaning: anything that causes distress (stress). This covers a broad spectrum from minor annoyances to major problems or ordeals such as losing your job, your marriage, your home to a fire or a hurricane; the death of a family member or a life-threatening disease such as cancer. Paul gave every true Believer a “heads-up” in saying distress will come your way, but he doesn’t leave us “hanging;” in Romans 5 he tells us how to respond to those tribulations in our lives:
“And not only so, but we glory (to exult with joy; to rejoice) in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
This is where many people throw up their hands and say “What in the world are you talking about? Do you mean to say God wants me to rejoice when I am hurting mentally or physically? That’s not normal.” Most people feel this way. Still, we are new creatures in Christ and “all things are brand new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This teaching may be “brand new” to some of you, but it is informative to understand the Scriptures declare all those in Christ Jesus will suffer afflictions (a state of pain, distress, or grief):
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all (Psalm 34:19).
And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:21-22).
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us ya far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (2 Corinthians 4:7-17).
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:12-13).
No one enjoys suffering, but suffering is a necessary, normal part, of the Believer’s life (walk). In fact, the Scripture says we can expect hardships and suffering to increase:
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).
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 (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13).
Many people balk when they hear this information and that’s because it makes no sense to them or they heard differently. So let’s be clear, if you’re one of those people who think after you became a Believer suffering is no longer connected to your life , or you don’t believe that’s what the Bible says, then you have either been misled or self-deceived. Paul said prepare for hardships.
How do I do that? I’m glad you asked. God gives us grace and the strength to overcome every trial in our lives and to fulfill His perfect will (good pleasure) in them. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he shares some important truths about how we can endure suffering.
1) Don’t forget why you are suffering. Remember your purpose and whom you serve. Paul said he was willing to suffer for the preaching of the gospel, for the sake of the elect, and for the glory of God. Our suffering, major or minor, can be used to bring about the same purposes (2 Timothy 2:8-9).
2) Remember you are a prisoner of Christ, not of your circumstances or other people. (2 Timothy 1:8).
3) Return to the things you know to be true from God’s Word. Don’t doubt in the dark what you have seen in the light. Remember what you received as a result of your salvation in Christ (2 Timothy 1:5). Remember your calling and the grace of God (2 Timothy 1:1, 9-13).
4) Keep doing whatever God has called you to do. Persevere, stay the course, and be faithful, regardless of opposition or hardship (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
5) Trust God to deal with those who oppose the truth. Don’t take matters into your own hands or become argumentative and vindictive (2 Timothy 2:23-26).
6) Remember times in the past when the Lord delivered or rescued you. Be quick to praise Him and be a witness to others (2 Timothy 3:11, 4:16-17).
7) Rely on and trust the resources God has given to all those in Christ:
The grace of God - (2 Timothy 1:2, 9, 2:1, 4:22).
The gift of God— your God-given ability to serve Him (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
The indwelling Holy Spirit - (2 Timothy 1:14).
The power of God - (2 Timothy 1:8; Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 6:10).
The Word of God, which keeps you grounded and gives you the proper perspective - (2 Timothy 2:7, 9, 3:12-17, 4:1-2).
8) Remember that you are not alone in your suffering. You already have:
The Lord Jesus Christ in you (Romans 8:10-20; Galatians 2:20).
The “fellowship of suffering,” that is, a community of like-minded Believers who are facing hardships similar to yours’ for the sake of the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8; Colossians 1:24).
And the prayers of the saints (2 Timothy 1:3).
Remember the pattern we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8). The Lord was “highly exalted and given a name which is above every name” by God the Father after He endured the sufferings of the cross. Jesus Christ understood the path which led to God’s glory was a path of sacrifice and suffering; a path of self-denial:
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done (Luke 22:42).
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: (John 17:1).
(To be continued)
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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