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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, April 30, 2021

1 Timothy 1:19-20 - 2:1-7 (L 09)

 

Home Bible Study©

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

WWW. 2Tim215.Net 

Established November 2008                                             Published: April 30, 2021 

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

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Welcome Back to HBS.

You know it’s a good day, indeed, when you wake up and God our Savior’s grace and mercy abides, meaning, there’s still time to choose God (over this world) and His free offer of salvation, by grace, through faith (2 Corinthians 6:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Faith in what?  The answer: the Apostle Paul’s gospel.

(Romans 16:25, 2:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) 

Please open your Bible at 1 Timothy 1:19-20 – 2:1-7.

Holding (what?) faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1:19-20).

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.  Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity  (2:1-7).

When you read Paul’s epistles you’re going to find words such as, “fight,” “war,” “conflict,” “armor,” “weapons” and so forth, especially in his pastoral epistles.  This ought to give even the casual Bible reader cause for pause for it indicates the true Believer’s life (walk) and ministry (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) are more than just a social adventure; it is a “spiritual battle.”  And yet there are those who think the Christians’ life is meant to be a stroll through the proverbial rose garden, i.e., a pleasure to be enjoyed, no ripples on my pond, kind of thing.  These folks, plainly said, have been led into error by false teachers.  Thus, they fail to realize that wherever “the truth” of God’s Word is proclaimed you can be assured Satan stands ready to oppose those who communicate His good news and the gospel itself.  The record shows that these same Christians are also unaware or uncaring, whatever the case might be, of the fact that they are called to stand and defend the Word of God as “good soldiers of Christ,” so that it might be said of them they “war a good warfare,” and at the close of their life will be able to say with confidence, “I have fought the good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) just as Paul (our example) assuredly stated at the close of his life.  

It should go without saying, then, Christians are not to wage warfare over personal matters, which is often the case based on my experience.  Instead of getting upset because of the way someone dressed for Sunday worship, or because someone near you is singing off-key, Paul said we’re to reserve our disapproval for all those who are not preaching the truth of God.  Where do I get this info?  We pick up on this Bible truth as Paul continues with these words, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; This is a warning from the apostle to pastor Timothy to do the very thing we’re talking about.

Why was the warning necessary?  Paul knew some men, in Ephesus, “concerning (the) faith have made (their ministry a) shipwreck (1:19).  In other words, these men were not

Holding (the) faith,” “the whole counsel of God;”(Acts 20:27) in high regard and Paul proceeded to name two of the heretics in verse 1:20: “Of whom, Hymenaeus and Alexander,” who had repudiated God’s message for this present dispensation and in so doing, “made shipwreck,” of God’s Word and their individual ministries.  This was no small thing for Paul goes on to say, “… I have delivered unto Satan, that they (the heretics) may learn not to blaspheme” (1:20; 1 Corinthians 5:5).  Here Paul’s not condemning their souls to hell, he had given them up to Satan, and now they would have to learn (the hard way) the truth of God is “not” to be derided or treated disrespectfully, i.e., “blasphemed.”    

Now let’s turn our attention (study) to 1 Timothy 2:1-7.

A Ransom For All

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.  Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

Verse 2:1-2.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

This passage reminds me of an opening comment or ice-breaker a pastor made and it goes like this, “Did you hear the one about a woman who on New Year’s Eve bowed to pray saying, Lord, for the coming year, I pray for a fat bank account and a thin body… and please, whatever you do, don’t mix them up again as you did last year...” 

Whether or not that bit of humor was funny to you please know there’s nothing humorous about the modern Christian’s prayer life.  While these folks will likely offer up prayers to God when difficulties cross their path, the truth of the matter is they often forget to pray for others.  Of course, you wouldn’t think a pastor or a spiritual leader would forget to pray for others, but as I’ve been trying to show y’all they are human too.  Knowing this Paul wrote these words to Timothy, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men…”

When Paul only “exhorts Timothy to pray after “charging him to “teach no other doctrine” (1:3, 18), it’s easy to conclude from this that praying is not as important as teaching God’s Word.  But any “exhortation” from God to man is a serious matter.  After the Lord told the Jews that “the blood of all the prophets” would be “required of this generation” (Luke 11:50-51), Peter chose to “exhort” them with these words, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40).  That certainly sounds serious to me, so when Paul “exhorted” Timothy to pray, we know that God considers his prayer life and every Believer’s prayer life to be a serious matter.

As we look back to the previous chapter to see why Paul would “exhort” Timothy to “pray,” we see that Paul had just “charged” him to “war a good warfare” (1:18).  Well, take the time to think this through.  What does every soldier do before going into battle?  The answer: he or she prays.  It really doesn’t matter if they are a Believer, for as the old saying goes, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”

Yet, for some it is so easy to forget or ignore the fact that God has called them (and us) to “wrestle… against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).  After Paul went on in that scripture passage to describe the armor God gave us to conduct that “spiritual warfare” (verses 13-17), he exhorted the Ephesians to pray saying, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (6:18).  

Thus, the subject matter we are studying is of paramount importance, not only scripturally, but also dispensationally for it concerns the particular message which the risen and glorified Lord committed to our Apostle Paul, and to us, for the present dispensation of the grace of God, namely, prayer for those who are not yet saved.  Here I point out the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ “died for all” not just some, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Romans 6:10; Hebrews 9:27).

Therefore, one of the Church’s most significant shortcomings is our failure to pray, in general, and especially for all those who remain outside of Christ, i.e., “the lost “ (See 2 Corinthians 4:1-6).  I’m not wagging the finger of shame at anyone please note that I’ve included myself in this for I too am human and my prayer life is not all that healthy.  A jolt of truth, like this, is just what it needs.  It should come as no surprise, then, to learn more than a few churched people object to this tenet saying, “God does not intend to save all, and since we do not know whom He has elected to be saved, it would be inappropriate of us to pray for the unsaved.”  Yet, if you check verse 2:1 one more time you’ll see Paul urged (exhorted) Timothy, the pastor in Ephesus, to offer prayer, in its various forms, for not just some but for “all men.” 

Interpretations of this exhortation aside, is it not a fact that most Christians fail to pray for the salvation of the lost, not because of their religious convictions, but through sheer indifference.  The simple truth, then, is that with most of those who refer to themselves as followers of Christ, i.e., Christians, the “principles” of heaven and hell, salvation and perdition, and the spiritual condition of other people all around them relative to the aforementioned truth, are simply not realized or keenly felt.    

My friends, Paul expresses the need for a healthy prayer life in his communications.  One of the things we’re to consistently pray for is the salvation of “the lost” with whom we share the good news of Christ crucified for the sins of “all men” (Romans 6:10; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Hebrews 10:10).  What’s more, we must pray for “all the saints” with whom we share “the revelation of the mystery,” if we expect to “war a good warfare” against the “wicked spirits” that are keeping them in darkness or leading them away from “the faith” with their “doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6).  Paul often notes that any doctrines which contradict his gospel are inherently evil (Galatians 1:8–9).  Saying that these are the teachings of "demons" is an effective way of declaring that their claims run contrary to the "sound doctrine" which Paul had received by revelation from the “Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.”

Clearly, since “God our Savior” cares for the unsaved, we’re to follow suit, as they say, by praying for the lost.  If you are praying to bring lost souls to Christ and then laboring to build them up in the faith, you might then be compared to Paul’s co-laborer in “the faith” Epaphras for he was “always laboring fervently… in prayers” that people might “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12).

Verses 2:2-4.

Prayer For Authorities

For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

In times of revolution (change) and outright war history has shown that the cause of Christ suffers.  Why?  The minds of men and women are preoccupied and they have little time or inclination to listen to God’s saving message.  Thus the reason for praying for all those “in authority” no matter how wicked or godless they might be.  I remind the group that back in Paul’s day almost all of those in authority were pagans (Nero for one) and thus enemies of God and His unique revelation to Paul re: the gospel.  Thus the “exhortation” to pray “for all that are in authority” applies equally to us today. 

To be clear verse 2:1 does not specifically state that we are to pray for the salvation of lost rulers, but this is certainly implied, for the basic purpose of our prayers for them in authority is that we might live in a peaceful and quiet environment “in all godliness and honesty…” “…For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

The civil authorities wield great power for good or for evil.  They are prone to temptation, just as we are, but they can also do much to promote general godliness.  Thus, if even one of them is genuinely saved, or even begins to realize why they ought to fear God, think how much good will have been accomplished.  But even should they remain anti-God, He can cause them, providentially, to favor such legislation or to take such executive action as will advance the cause of Christ for the Scriptures say,

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: And the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

“…the king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Proverbs 21:1).

The other thing verse 2:1 implies is the true Church of God is not an agitator.  She may stand her ground on moral and spiritual issues, and speak out against sin, but she does not demand her rights.  The true Church, then, understands she is in the world, but she is not of the world (John 15:19, John 17:14-16; 1 Corinthians 5:9-10; Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15).

Many of us, including yours truly, forget to pray for those in authority, as we have been “charged.”  But then there are those folks who complain and even rebel, whether passively or impassively, against the authorities and wouldn’t pray for them if they were paid to do so.  I ask can this attitude please God.  Not so much; for if we fail to include those in authority over us in our prayers, specifically asking that God would help them “come unto the knowledge of the truth, are we not partly to blame when ill-advised or unjust laws are enacted and enforced more often than not with the Church and the things of God in mind?  (See the intentional Christian- liberty restrictive Do No Harm Act H.R.1450 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Did The Lord Jesus Christ Die For All?

If you read 1 Timothy 2:1-7 in its entirety, and just as it reads, it’s a wonder how anyone could come to any other conclusion than that God desires the salvation of all and that the Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself up as “a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6), because that’s what it says.  This particular proposition proves all the more correct as we consider that the word rendered “will” in 2:4 doesn’t  refer to God’s determinate purpose, but to His desire.  We find the same thought expressed, albeit negatively, in 2 Peter 3:9, where we are told that God is “not willing that any perish,” and in Ezekiel 33:11 the LORD God affirms this truth: “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11)

But the verses we’re studying, and many others that fall into the same category, in truth, raise all sorts of questions and attempts are sometimes made to interpret and/or “twist” the plainest scripture passages to mean what they “do not say” (2 Peter 3:16).  If you’ve participated in this Bible study for a length of time, then you already know that I’m a stickler for “the truth” of God’s Word and stand ready to defend it using my open Bible and that’s because I’ve been misled and outright lied to by many church officials over the years, so “been there; done that.”  In fact, it’s the very reason HBS exists for “the truth” lives here!  Case in point, the Universalist faith would argue, “If it is God’s “desire” that all should be saved, can He not accomplish this?”  The answer: God can most certainly do whatever He wishes, but He’s not going to do anything that violates His Holy standards.  It’s true He has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” but as the righteous Judge He must do what is “right” all the time; that’s His nature.     

For all those out there who believe and preach “limited atonement,” on the other hand, interpret this scripture passage in a different way that, to this Bible guide, surely seems like an attempt to explain what God clearly said away.  These folks contend that the term “all men,” (2:4), refers only to “the elect of God,” or those lucky few, as it were, that God chose to save.  But how can this be true in light of what Paul wrote in verses 2:1-2? 

But there’s more for those who believe in “limited atonement,” argue that “all men” in 2:4 and the “all” in 2:6 really mean “all without distinction.”  Please know this claim is also incorrect.  Neither the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary nor the Oxford University Dictionary show this definition.  There is an obsolete word “alkin,” that was used many years ago, which is an obvious contraction of “all kinds,” but the word “all” in and of itself cannot and does not mean “all kinds.”  It refers to “all kinds” only when qualified by words such as kind or manner.  If God meant to say in verse 2:4 and 2:6 that He desires the salvation of “all kinds” of men, and that Christ died for “all kinds” of men, could He not have said this?  Is God the author of confusion and misunderstanding or is He the epitome of “the truth?”  

Before I let this subject go permit me to point out to y’all, if the words “all” and “all men” in 1 Timothy 2:1-7 really mean “all kinds” of men, would not God have said we should “give thanks… for all kinds of men?  Furthermore, if verse 2:1 instructs us to pray for “all kinds” of men, would not this have been followed with words such as, “for kings and slaves, for sinners and saints, for the educated and the illiterate, for the rich and the poor” etc.?  We note, however, that Paul did not say this.  He said, “Pray for kings, and for all that are in authority; Obviously, then, this passage cannot refer to “all men without distinction,” or “all kinds” of men.  I have already explained above why God singles out this one category and that’s because “God our Savior” would have the gospel for this dispensation go out in peace since He desires, or “will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

To all those who hold that God does not love all and that Christ did not die for all, I strongly suggest you read this Bible passage again, prayerfully, and accept what it says in faith.  As for us Believers, this passage of scripture is one of those on the basis of which we offer salvation to everyone, and warn Christ-rejectors: God has offered you salvation by grace through faith in what He has done and said, and has assured you your salvation is His “will.”  Therefore, if you reject Christ and choose to remain unsaved it is your fault, and God must justly condemn you for your sin of unbelief, i.e., your lack of faith:

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

We didn’t look at all the material I intended to study in this lesson largely because I chose to follow a different route, often referred to as a rabbit trail, in describing some of the heresies derived from 1 Timothy 2:1-4.  This information is valuable so I brought it to your attention so that your “knowledge” would be complete or at least refreshed:

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” (Colossians 1:9-11; Proverbs 18:2, 15).

We’ll pick up this lesson from where we left off when next we meet.  Stay safe and in the Word of God and make sure you share His “good news” for this dispensation with someone who needs to hear it.   

© Copyright 2011/GJ Heitzman’s Ministry/All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, April 23, 2021

1 Timothy 1:18-20 (L 08)

 

Home Bible Study©

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

WWW. 2Tim215.Net 

Established November 2008                                             Published: April 23, 2021 

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

***********************************************************************************************

Greetings and welcome to HBS: “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:b).

Please open your Bible and meet me at 1 Timothy 1:18-20.

This charge (command, direct, or exhort) I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some have made a shipwreck; Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, (1:18a) -  the word “This” refers to the command to forbid the teaching of false doctrine, i.e., any doctrine that contradicts Pauline doctrine (1:3).  By the by, I point out this command came from Headquarters, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, for He is the Head of the Church, i.e., the Body of Christ (Colossians 1:18), and Paul is His spokesperson or representative on earth just as Moses was the LORD God’s (Jehovah’s) spokesperson in the O.T.  (Exodus 4:14-16). 

It is essentially with regard to soundness of faith and conscience that Paul “charged” Timothy to hold fast the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:14-18), and he explained why.  A troubled conscience will at the very least short-circuit one’s good intentions and “quenching” the Holy Spirit deprives them of His power (1 Thessalonians 5:19) which is something we are commanded not to do.  Furthermore, disregard of the conscience is apt to lead to shipwreck regarding the faith and their ministry, figuratively meaning, God’s Truths and their ministry will most likely wind up ruined on the rocks.   

Paul’s emphasizing the importance of keeping a clear conscience before God and this is evidenced by the fact that Paul, in his writings, refers to the conscience twenty-six times and at times discusses it at length.  For God will certainly hold people accountable for what they have taught their listeners (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Timothy 2:15).

Verses 1:18b–19.

“…according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some have made a shipwreck;”

“…according to the prophecies which went before on thee” – this comment deserves our careful attention.  Many commentaries have substituted the word “concerning” for the word “on” here, but I think it should be left alone.  Timothy was expected to be true, “faithful,” to his “charge” since many of the elders in the Church, in their prophecies, had sent him forth with their sincere hopes and prayers.  In short, they had placed much reliance on him, or said differently, they had much “riding on him.”  So the word “on” here is appropriate. 

“…that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some have made a shipwreck;”

I remind the group that Paul and his co-laborers were charged with a sacred trust in preaching the Word of God as they had received it , meaning, nothing added or taken away from it (1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 2 Corinthians 4:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4).  Thus, they warred against Satan (prominently) and their “adversaries” or those folks who opposed their message re: “the revelation of the mystery” (Acts 14:19, 26:15-21; Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 5-9, 13-14; 2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 Peter 5:8-9).

My friends, if you’re trying to live a godly life (2 Timothy 3:12), then you too are engaged in this great “struggle” just as Paul, Timothy, and those of like-minded faith. The “war” is between good and evil, between righteousness and unrighteousness. 

Paul often described these conflicts with Satan as struggles, employing terms from military battles and struggles in the athletic arena:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of  our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

"Fight the good fight" (1 Timothy 1:18b).

"Fight the good fight of the faith" (1 Timothy 6:12a).

"I have fought the good fight" (2 Timothy 4:7).

The heavenly ground Paul charged Timothy to “hold” and defend is the very Word of God for this hallowed (sacred) ground was purchased by the shed blood of His beloved Son.  Therefore no soldier of Christ should shirk or disregard their duty even though the battle grows intense.  I personally believe this was the purpose of Paul’s words to Timothy, “Holding faith, and a good conscience.”  In other words, stand fast, don’t be discouraged, never give up, and “fight the good fight of faith.”

I know I’ve discussed this before, but for all those who are visiting today, the use of the word “son” in 1:18 by Paul does not mean he’s Timothy’s biological father.  It is a clear indication of his affection for Timothy.  Although Timothy’s heart and mind had been cultivated by both his mother and grandmother, it was Paul who led him to faith in Christ Jesus and then nurtured him in “the faith.”  Thus we learn we might have many instructors, Bible guides, or whatever but we normally only have one spiritual father who will naturally care for our spiritual welfare.  This was the case with Paul and Timothy the Apostle Paul had become his spiritual father in “the faith.” 

1 Timothy is a personal communication from Paul to Timothy sometime after his release from his first imprisonment in Rome, as described by Luke in Acts 28:16-31 and

was written from Macedonia (1 Timothy 1:3).  After Paul gained his freedom (hoped for in Philemon 1:22 and Philippians 1:25-26, 2:24), he returned to Ephesus.  Once there he discovered that during his absence the city was rife with false teaching. This was the sad fulfillment of his prediction he made to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29-30.  Paul most likely dealt with the false teachers personally, but soon he found it necessary to leave for Macedonia.  He then left Timothy in the “hot-seat,” as it were, fully in charge of the affairs and concerns at Ephesus as his own personal representative.  Paul was aware of the fact that Timothy had a difficult task to carry out, so he hoped this letter would both equip and encourage him in that undertaking.

The “spiritual battle” was so intense at Ephesus that Timothy had apparently become discouraged (Acts 18:23 – 19:41) circa 52-55 AD.  This is not unusual in and of itself.  At one time or another every child of God has suffered from discouragement, even depression.  This is another one of those things that fall under the category of it’s not a matter of “if,” but “when.”  You can be certain that any time we’re discouraged we’ve taken our eyes off of the Lord and His Word.  We begin to dwell on the circumstances confronting us and we forget who we are in Christ and what we’re to be about.  This is where Timothy was; he was ready to throw in the towel, as it were.  While the counsel of many today would be “see a therapist,” Paul always sought a biblical solution when dealing with the Church.  He encouraged his “son” in the faith by reminding him of his spiritual roots.  Timothy had been called of God.  Evidently he had lost sight of that fact, so Paul effectively draws his attention back to his spiritual roots and the things of the Lord.

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee” (1:18). 

Notice, again, the phrase “on thee,” that is, Timothy.  Clearly the church elders had confirmed Timothy’s calling of God.  They “prophesied” (predicted) great things would be accomplished through his labors all to the glory of God.  So, in layman’s terms, Paul is saying, “Timothy, my son, don’t lose your way by dwelling on your circumstances; evil and upsetting as they may be.  Get your attention back on the goal, the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Why are you so astonished that ungodly men are opposing and threatening you, for it goes with the territory.  Never forget that you are called of Him and entrusted with that precious deposit (2 Timothy 1:14).  

On this side of the record we know Timothy recovered from his temporary lack of reasoning (setback) because a year later we find him still faithfully serving the Lord when Paul writes to him a second time from his prison cell in Rome (2 Timothy 1:1-2).

Fighting the Good Fight of The Faith

With our Apostle Paul well along in years and facing a possible death sentence at Rome, during his second imprisonment, Satan turned up the heat on Paul’s co-laborers in the ministry.  The devil knew Paul would pass the torch or baton of faith to them upon his death.  Sadly, one by one they departed from Paul and his paradosis (traditions) leaving the Church without spiritual leadership, which eventually contributed to the religious confusion of the Dark Ages (2 Timothy 1:15, 4:10, 16).

But Timothy stood fast in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  It could well be that the elders predicted he would be the lone voice after Paul’s death to proclaim the message of God’s grace in its purity.  Church history bears this truth out for after Timothy’s martyrdom, Paul’s gospel was compromised by the “traditions” and commandments of men.  Sadly, it was diminished or made of no account until the Protestant Reformation a.k.a. the religious revolution that took place in the western church in the 16th century.

Please note Timothy’s death is not recorded in the Holy Bible.  But according to Church tradition, he remained in Ephesus for the rest of his life, until he was martyred for his faith in Ephesus circa 95-97 AD.  Some of this does seem to correlate with a detail found in Paul’s final letters to Timothy.  In 1 Timothy, Paul urged his young protégé to stay in Ephesus and battle the false teaching that was occurring there (1 Timothy 1:3).  Again, there’s no reliable record of any of this.  Also, some people think Timothy wrote the Book of Hebrews before he died because there are more than a few “Pauline phrases” in this writing.  For instance the letter closes with the words “Grace be with you all” (Hebrews 13:25), which is the same closing found in each of Paul’s known letters (See Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 16:23; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 6:24; Philippians 4:23; Colossians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:22; Titus 3:15; and Philemon 25).  But, since Hebrews was not signed (authenticated) by its author this too is mere speculation, gives one something to think about though. 

For years Paul had dealt with bitter persecution and suffering and he realized that eventually he would be imprisoned and there would be no escaping the inevitable.  Thus, Paul prepared Timothy for his departure to be with the Lord in glory.  So when Timothy received word that Paul would be executed in Rome it came as no surprise. 

But before the apostle’s death he penned these words to Timothy:  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (2 Timothy 4:6-7).

Paul was a “ready” servant of the Lord.  He was “ready” to visit Rome to minister the Word there.  Here, speaking of his impending death, he was “ready to be offered,”

which is a subtle reference to the O.T. libation.  The libation, or drink offering, was poured over the sacrifice as an additional act of worship (Numbers 28:10-14).  Paul  wanted the end of his life to be looked upon as a testimony, one final act of worship, something over and above that which is normally done.  

For “the time of my departure is at hand.”  The word “departure” is a nautical term that has the idea to loose the ship from its moorings and set sail.  So, Paul is saying he was “ready” to set sail to be with Christ, which is “far better” for him (Philippians 1:23).  Paul, in all honesty, could say, “I have fought a good fightI have kept the faith.  In addition to summarizing his lifelong ministry for the Lord, a notable ministry indeed, Paul meant to encourage Timothy to follow suit or follow after his “pattern,” that is, his example (1 Corinthians 11:1).  It was his prayer that Timothy would be able to confidently say the same thing at the end of his life to the glory of God.

That thou by them mightest war a good warfare” (1:18b) - there are many good and noble spiritual battles being fought today; the battles over abortion and religious liberty immediately come to mind.  But even though true Believers stand up for these truths and others, the Church will never turn the tide of this world-system.  In fact, opposition against these biblical values or the Truth of God’s Word will worsen as we approach the Rapture.  The answer, therefore, is not reformation for the Church will never conform the world to God’s way of thinking.  Rather those who oppose the truth need to be transformed by Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  So then, the only “fight” that produces lasting results is “the good fight of the faith.”  You see, until the lost are saved and come “unto the knowledge of the truth,” there is no hope for change.  The good fight of the faith” today, then, is to stand in defense of the gospel of the grace of God.  This is the basis for the fulfillment of the commission of reconciliation all Believers in Christ have been charged with (2 Corinthians 5:17-21, 6:1-2).  

Thus, our marching orders from Headquarters are clear.  At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Commander in Chief won’t hand out rewards to those who were defending the wrong commission (i.e. Matthew 28:16-20) or trying to make this world a better place to live.  God will not hold people blameless if they choose to disobey the commands of Christ set forth in “the gospel of the grace of God” which Paul refers to over and over again in his epistles (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 14:37).

Ministering The Gospel Of Grace With A Clear Conscience

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some have made a shipwreck;” (1:19)

Since Paul felt the need to reaffirm this truth, it clearly indicates “some” people back in Paul’s day were careless in this regard, and this greatly hindered their ministry.  The word “Conscience” means with knowledge.  For example, when the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden ate of the forbidden fruit, “they knew that they were naked” and had sinned against the LORD God.  The moment they partook of the forbidden fruit their “consciences” were activated, for we are told that they “knew” the difference between good and evil (Genesis 3:5-7).

Those folks who lived under the Dispensation of Conscience were to do all that was known to be good and abstain from all that is known to be evil.  While we are no longer living under the regulations of that dispensation, God has never rescinded man’s “conscience.”  It’s still alive and well in each one of us.  My mother more than once told us “Let your conscience be your guide,” so along that line we have Martin Luther’s good advice in saying, “It’s a dangerous thing to disobey your conscience.”

Our “conscience” serves as an early warning system; it warns us against wrongdoing. This might be likened to a railroad crossing.  When danger is approaching, in the form of an oncoming train, red lights begin flashing as the gates come down blocking access.  But the railroad warning system is powerless to stop us from driving around the gates and putting ourselves in harm’s way.  This truth reminds me of the time when I was home on leave from the Navy.  I picked up my mother and my older sister one evening in my car and we headed out to eat supper at a local restaurant.  Along the way I encountered a railroad crossing with red lights flashing and the gates already down.  Buildings on both sides of me blocked my vision so I couldn’t see where the oncoming train was or even if there was a train.  Against my mother’s strong wishes, I drove around the gate and lo and behold, there was the train, a mere 60 yards or less from us and only one escape route – dead ahead, no pun intended.  I floored it and made it to the other side narrowly missing a disaster, i.e., my careless error in judgment. 

In like manner, the “conscience” has the ability to warn us of danger, but it, too, is powerless to keep us from sinning.  If we fail to heed the warning and sin, we do so of our own volition.  There are several consequences for disobeying the “conscience,” the primary one being guilt.  The message Paul was sending to Timothy was this, always do that which is right in the Lord’s work (Colossians 3:23-24).  Timothy was to abstain even from the appearance of evil for the sake of the gospel and his conscience (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

In closing, I offer this bit of news.  Recently a news magazine did an undercover camera investigation of a well-known national ministry.  Apparently the tele-evangelist pledged he would pray over each and every letter he received from those who had sick loved ones saying, “God was waiting to heal them!”  He encouraged the Lord’s people to send their requests and handkerchiefs, along with a generous gift.  The following week what the undercover investigation recorded was the preacher’s staff removing the checks from the envelopes and discarding the letters without even reading them.  No one prayed for each request.  Therefore, the right answer to the “name it and claim it” or the prosperity gospel of our day is that truth our Apostle Paul received by revelation from the risen Lord clearly revealed in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 which you’ll find below:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

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