by Pastor Ayo Sparks
I’d start the way I usually love to start any book study…
Yes! It helps us have a central focus and proper understanding of book especially should in case there are difficult verses. So, I’m sure y’all are ready for another journey into the life of my Biblical Hero and Mentor… PAUL!
2 Timothy was written around A.D 66 by Paul from his prison cell four years after he wrote his first letter to Timothy and this time before he was executed by Emperor Nero. We can say that these are actually his last words and infect the last letter Paul ever wrote.
In his first letter, Paul warned against false teachers encouraging Timothy to remain strong in the Faith.
This second letter is an expression of his final thoughts, they are deeply seated in assurance about the quality of work he’s done and his afterlife. Despite his current situation, he still looked beyond himself and encouraged Timothy and the church at large to remain firm in the Gospel.
RIVERS OF MERCY
2 Timothy 1:2 RSV To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, MERCY, and Peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
In all of Paul’s letters, we see one common style in praying for the church and the exactness of his words. Except to Timothy, would we see an inclusion… Only the KJV included the phrase Grace, Mercy and Peace in Titus. However, I want to believe that it wasn’t just a random addition away from the usual Grace and Peace he wrote the churches.
Grace is the foundational core of God’s gift of salvation to those who trust Him (Ephesians 2:8). Paul would always say this to the churches as well as individuals as a reminder of the truth of what they believed. It enforces “his” Gospel that it is not about work, earning and achievement but by God’s benevolence.
He would add “Peace” which is the result of what we have received by Grace. Romans 5:1 tells that we have peace with God. The question then would be “why add Mercy to his personal letter to Timothy?”
The reason is embedded in the surrounding situations the “so called” message of Grace that brings peace isn’t providing the mercy needed to save the pastor in time of need. Let me explain that…
Paul had experienced a lot of what we’d call injustice simply because he’s preaching the Gospel of peace. As at his first letter to Timothy, he has just been released from prison. His captors have not been merciful to him, they have dealt him a big blow, in this second letter, he’s been captured again this time by the most cruel human ever lived before Adolf Hitler… Emperor Nero… He sure knows that if it’s mercy, he can’t get from human quarter…
But, when Man fails to give justice, God would always… Mercy isn’t understood through God’s forgiveness both in justice delayed and sentence nullified through Christ.
Timothy as a Pastor would go through “almost” half of what Paul was going through, should in case, he’s gets to that point where he’s seeking for mercy, Paul had prayed ahead for this young Pastor. As ministers of the Gospel, we should be ready to face the mercilessness of the society with the new mercy God gives everyone morning.
We can wake up each day to face every challenge because as we have been endowed with Grace which is ability by the Spirit, Peace that makes us live nothing missing, nothing broken, we also have a forever rain of mercy justifying us even when we feel judged and condemned by men especially those we seek to preach to.
Thank you Father for Mercy! It’s overflowing… Hallelujah!
2 Timothy 1:5 RSV I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you.
First off, we should know that SALVATION IS PERSONAL, that your mother is saved doesn’t guarantee your salvation. So don’t mind my caption, I just tried sounding like a newspaper heading… But here’s what I really mean…
Genesis 18:19 | For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Would you want to read an imaginary story about sincere Faith? It is actually a sincere Faith that is passed down. I hope in this story, you’d get what sincere Faith is and if not, I’d tell you afterwards.
At about thirty years earlier Granny Lois had heard the gospel and believed in Jesus Christ. Her daughter Eunice had just got married to a Greek. She might even have been pregnant in her early years of marriage, but Lois full of faith in God had helped her daughter also to believe. They went to church together and soon were joined by baby Timothy. It probably happened like that, first this faith was planted and grew in his grandmother, and the same faith in Mum and then it lived in his life too.
With these influences on Timothy we’re certain that by the time he was able to think and speak for himself he was being taught about Jesus Christ by the lives of his mother and grandmother and encouraged to love the Lord. On the first day of the week his friends would hang around together, but Timothy would accompany his mother and grandmother and go to church. He might have invited those boys to come with him and he would also talk to them about his faith. From a child he had known the Scriptures that make men savingly wise.
Sincere Faith is Faith that is too excited to be quiet. It is Faith that is in Jesus. IT IS FAITH ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL
It is such a Faith that is easily transferable. It is such Faith that is generational. How many of us got born again by our born again parents? I’d tell you why! Not that they are not born again but was their “born again” based on the truth of the Gospel or the fear of hell?
We saw Abraham who was able to transfer his faith, he was preached the Gospel to and he believed. Lois believed in the Gospel, she transferred it to Eunice, and Timothy caught it. Today, my less than 2 year old daughter is excited when we recite “we have received abundance to Grace and the gift of Righteousness, we reign in life in Christ Jesus.” I can imagine that Boaz Akinyera can preach Salvation by Grace…That’s sincere Faith, when you know that it isn’t of your works of righteousness but the gift bestowed upon you… There’s no way to boast…
Glory to God!
CHARGED FOR MURDER
2 Timothy 1:6 GNB For this reason I remind you to KEEP ALIVE THE GIFT that God gave you when I laid my hands on you.
Hmmm! Let me confess, not until I studied this recently that I realized that I have been “mispreaching” this verse… You know many of us have preached this verse looking at the word gift as “talent.”
Do you have the gift of singing? Fan it to flame… Do you have the gift of dancing? Fan it to flame… Do you have the gift of teaching? Fan it to flame…
Well, you may say P’Sparks, isn’t that true? Yeah, it is true, we should exercise those deposits but not according to this verse. Let me ask…
Was it when they laid hands on you that you received the gift of singing? Did Pastor lay hands on you so that you will know how twerk? Oh sorry pardon my carnality… “Dance”
If your answer is No then it suggests that Paul was referring to something or let me be straight – SOMEONE! I love the GNB translation, keep alive the gift… The gift we receive by laying on of hands is not a thing or abstract is a person… Ok! Enough of suspense…
2 Timothy 1:7 GNB FOR THE SPIRIT THAT GOD HAS GIVEN US…
…can you imagine, we’d have been accurate all along if we have read the scripture in context… The same way we saw in 1Timothy, if a man doesn’t provide for hosting household, he’s worse than an infidel was referring to widows… chai… Yet it is a bad thing still if a man doesn’t provide for his household, but not according to that verse.
Back to the matter…
So, the gift we are asked to fan to flame is the Spirit of God. It family to flame is to keep alive… Many believers should be charged for MURDER… We have refused to keep the Spirit alive in us. To keep the Spirit alive, to fan to flame is to align with the out workings, the effect of what he is doing and how he does it.
2 Timothy 1:7-8 GNB For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control. Do not be ashamed, then, of witnessing for our Lord; nor be ashamed of me, a prisoner for Christ’s sake. Instead, take your part in suffering for the Good News, as God gives you the strength to do it.
We kill the Spirit when we are ashamed of preaching the Gospel. We should exhibit the courage and strength given to us by the Spirit. The Spirit always accompanies the Gospel… How?
Power: The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation…
Love: The Gospel is based on the Love of God. For God so loved the world…
Self-Control: this Grace enables us to deny ungodliness and lust…
Since, whenever we refuse to testify about the Gospel which is of Power, Love and sound mind, we have just Murdered the SPIRIT. We should be charged? Yes! But thank God for God’s Grace! Oh! Amazing Grace.
ZEAL WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE
2Timothy 1:13-14 NLT Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.
This segment should be able to answer the question, WHAT IS SOUND TEACHING? Two string words Paul used in these two verses… Hold On
Carefully Guard…what he is asking them to hold on to and carefully Guard is wholesome teaching which is the precious truth that has been entrusted to him.It is the same thing repeated in Jude verse 3
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Did you see that? It suggests that there’s a pattern of sound teaching. Sound teaching is not charisma… That a church has good sound system does not mean the church has good sound teaching… Sound teaching is not about having good pastoral voice and modulation… Sound teaching is not about the ability to sound like your G.O There is pattern of sound teaching… Sound teaching has a content. Praise God.
If what you are hearing in your church is slightly different from what Timothy heard from Paul then you haven’t been soundly taught. If what you are earnestly contending for is not the same content that Paul asked Timothy and Jude asked the church to contend for then you are contending in ignorance… It’s a pure example o zeal without knowledge. I’m glad Paul gave the content and pattern of sound teaching. Are you ready to have it?
2 Timothy 1:9-10 NIV He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
Glory! This is sound teaching… IT IS THE GOSPEL OF GRACE… We have been saved and called holy not by our own deeds but by his grace and as a result we have been recurved into life, light and immortality. This is the precious truth we are to contend for… This is the truth we should hold on to… This is the truth of our common salvation we should carefully Guard…
It just pains my heart that we are not ready to suffer for it as Paul charged us to. We who have received this truth have only been circling the truth among ourselves. I for one, I haven’t been too loud about it because I don’t want to sound controversial… Those who are loud on the wrong teaching think they are defending the truth but they are not, yet they are able to reach more people than we who know the truth but not ready to defend it.
Would we allow those with zeal silence those of us with knowledge? Why don’t we push to decorum those with zeal yet without knowledge and emerge as the true crusaders of the Gospel… Sound Teaching. It begins with you deciding to only listen to sound teaching then you be able to share it with others. I am saying this because I know many people especially those of here don’t attend churches with this sort of teaching but we enjoy it here, it’s not good enough… Let’s be totally given to sound teaching only then can we raise its banner and defend it. Grace, Mercy and Peace of God our Father and of Jesus Christ our Brother be with you. Amen.