1 Timothy is an epistle of RELATIONSHIP truth:
Christ is at the centre of the epistle – 1 Timothy 3:16; Christ is at the heart of the church, to be lifted up for the gaze of all (1 Timothy 3:15). Christ is at the centre of our faith personally and individually. I read an article recently regarding a prominent American Christian, a worship leader in one of the large megachurches, who had backslidden, and denied the faith. The reason he gave was that he couldn't answer one or two tuff questions and thus doubted the veracity of the Bible. If he had popped round for a coffee I could have given him another dozen questions he couldn't answer, and neither could I! The impenetrable nature of God is nothing new and difficult questions are nothing new, what is I suppose kind of new is the idea that God needs to justify himself to me, that I need to be in control of my understanding of God, that I have the right and ability to sit on a panel and judge God and unless I can dissect and comprehend the infinite then I won't believe. That's probably new and certainly reflects the pride and materialism of our day. That aside, an interesting observation is this, that despite thousands of years of hard questions, people still believe, missionaries still go out, men and women still give their lives to Christ and for Christ. That is interesting! Why?
Deceived, deluded or daft?
They found the answers? All of the answers?
Their faith did not rest on what they did not know, ie their faith was not primarily in a philosophy, in knowledge, they did not 'lean on their own understanding' because their faith, whilst intensely reasonable and I believe rational, was relationship based, it was in a person – Jesus Christ (1 Tim 3:16; 2 Tim 1:12). That was certainly how Christianity began in the gospels, consider the blind man of John chapter 9, did he have all the answers? Could he answer all / any of the questions of the Jews (John 9:25ff). This man knew that his eyes had been opened, he knew that 'whereas I was blind, now I see,' but he was not able to answer the question 'how opened he thine eyes?' (John 9:26) and to be honest he didn't need to be able to answer that question! He just knew what Christ had done, it was this encounter, this experience of Christ that was altogether compelling as a motive for faith, not wither or not the man could understand the mechanism of miracles! This was the same for everyone in the gospels. 'come see a man that told me all things that ever I did, is this not the Christ?' Can we say to the Samaritan woman at the well: 'listen you can't believe until you understand how He could tell you all things ever you did!' Do you think Lazarus was a believer? Do you think that Lazarus was a believer because he understood the mechanism by which Jesus raised him from the dead? Not really!
Was the woman with the issue of blood so impressed by her understanding of the way that Christ had effected haemostasis, normalised her Full Blood Count, stabilised her coagulation factors, restored her platelet count, shrunk her uterine fibroids that she became a Christian? I suspect not! We've all heard that sermon before? She did not have a clue HOW the Lord had cured her but she knew that He had cured her, she knew WHO and she knew WHAT had happened she did not know HOW, that didn't matter, her faith did not rest on her own understanding, it rested in Him.
2 Timothy – an Epistle of Results:
Contrast the central verses of 1 Timothy: 1 Timothy 3:16 and that of 2 Timothy: 2 Timothy 3:17
Paul is looking in 2 Timothy for the effect of that relationship with Jesus Christ on Timothy.
2 Timothy – an Epistle of Reflection
Chapter 1 – look back – GRACE for the fight, the bundle of Grace, the story so far:
Spiritual heritage (1:5)
Spiritual gift (1:6)
Spirit of God (1:7)
Chapter 2 – present, ground to be gained
Chapter 3 – GODLINESS for the challenge ahead – Future
Chapter 4 – GLORY eternally
2 Timothy – an Epistle of Reassurance
chapter 1 – 'I know WHOM I have believed' (1:12)
chapter 2 – Timothy knew WHAT he believed (2 Tim 2:15-16, 18, 25)
chapter 3 – Timothy knew HOW he believed, the reason behind him coming to faith (3:14) – the spiritual pedigree to the truth coming down through the apostles, and the Holy Scriptures (3:15-16).
chapter 4 – Timothy knew WHY he believed: future judgment (4:1), future reward (4:8); future kingdom (4:18).
This would surely encourage Timothy in his task, in the midst of much opposition and challenges.
Encouraging Timothy in the task:
The Spirit of God (1:7)
It is interesting the way in which the Spirit of God is spoken of here. This is spirituality without the fluff. This is an evident, an objective spirituality, this is a down to earth spirituality, a spirituality without the mysticism.
The working of the Spirit of God is marked by:
The power of perseverance through trials and difficulties (compare 1:8)
The power of swimming against the current
The power to live for God in a hostile environment
The power of a life not merely professed but energised
This is persevering power right till the end.
I would anticipate that what is true macroscopically is also true microscopically.
If I look and see a cancer macroscopically, I will likely find that it is a tumour microscopically.
What is true of DESTINY
Is true of DETAILS
That this would be a believer marked by perseverance through each individual experience of the Christian life.
Evidence of the same perseverance in the DETAILS as well as in the DESTINY.
Not one of those believers who flit from place to place nor from project to project, who start but who never see anything through. Don't tell me that you are a Spirit filled Christian if you can't even turn up to the church consistently! Maybe if I face up to the reality now, I will be ready by the time I reach my 2 Timothy chapter 4; 'I am now ready to be offered' (4:6)
Timothy is marked by Love:
Love for Gods servant (1:4)
Love for Gods people (2:25, Phil 2)
Love for Gods word (3:14ff)
Love for Gods work (4:2ff)
Particularly important for Timothy at Ephesus cf. 2:18, 25, 3:18
When did we last hear that Spirit filled Christianity meant a sensible, intelligent, diligent believer studying the Word of God?
When last did you hear it stated that the evidence of the Spirit filled life is a Christian with his head screwed on right, an eminently sensible believer?
A Spirit filed believer is not gullible.
The Spirit filled believer is eminently sensible with a rich and full appreciation of Christ.
In contrast to the Spirit filled man of God, consider the fake, the false, the reprobate of chapter 3:
Lack of power (3:5)
Lack of love (3:2-4)
Lack of sound mind (3:8)
So often the working of the Spirit of God is substantial, objective, meaty!
God's Holy Spirit is active in:
- Creation – Genesis 1:2 - The first work of the Spirit of God
- Inspiration of scripture – 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21
- Revelation of Christ – John 16:14-15
- Convicts of sin – John 16:8-11
- Comfort the believer – John 16:7
- Conversion and regeneration – John 3
- Teach truth – John 14:24; 16:13
- Sanctification – 2 Peter 2:13; 1 Co 6:11
- Conformation and metamorphosis into the character of Christ – 2 Co 3:18
- Intercession and relationship – Romans 8:26
- Spiritual gifts – 1 Co 12
- Spiritual fruit – Galatians 5:22
- Preaching of the Gospel – 1 Thessalonians 1:5
An appreciation that Gods Spirit is with us, inspires confidence
Doubts lead to fear and uncertainty
Now that's really Encouraging when Life is Tuff - Dr J Stewart Gillespie
Part of our systematic bible teaching series on 2 Timothy