by Pastor Ayo Sparks
There are lots of key verses to discuss, but I believe most of them can be easily understood so I’d just share basically on two points, one on true apostolic succession and the other on our Eternal life.
THE “TRUE” APOSTOLIC MANDATE:
2 Timothy 2:1-2 KJV Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
We know that Paul always started his letters in affirmation of his apostolic mandate and this is how he puts it … Here’s an example in his letter to Timothy, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus…”
He will always do that to show the authenticity of “his” Gospel. This tells us that the Gospel is a product of an apostolic mandate.
An apostle is defined by the Greek word “Apostolos” which means “Sent” and all through the scriptures even from the Old Testament we have examples of people who are sent and the core of being sent is in the message. An Apostle therefore is sent with a specific message. Therefore, in the New Testament, An Apostle is only recognized by the Sender and His Sermon.
We have many people who are impersonators, they claim to be sent by Christ the Sender but they are preaching a different sermon. A true apostle finds his strength and sermon from the Grace of Jesus Christ. Apostleship is recognized by His Message. Therefore, the true Apostolic Succession was not of office but of doctrine.
Jesus taught the twelve apostles, they taught the next generation of teachers, and that chain of doctrinal truth has continued down to today.
As Christians we are a part of a living chain of doctrinal truth that reaches back to Christ Himself. In Acts 1:1 Luke wrote that the first account he composed (the gospel of Luke) was “about all that Jesus began to do and teach” (emphasis added).
Though He finished the work of redemption, Jesus only began the work of teaching and preaching the truth of the gospel. That work must continue to go on as an indestructible chain.
We should be wary of people who stand on our pulpits in the name of being an apostle but are carrying a potential curse on their life. Remember Paul accursed anyone who preaches a message different from what he preached. Think about this! How can a cursed man pronounce a blessing?
JESUS PLEASE DON’T DENY ME:
2 Timothy 2:11-13 KJV It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Here’s one of the toughest verses in the New Testament ever. Scholars have not being able to agree on a singular interpretation. The challenge of this verse is based on the doctrine of eternal security. While it seems as though there are many of us who believe in eternal security, there are many more who don’t.
Hence, this verse has been used generally to refute the doctrine and the hit verse is “…if we deny him, he will also deny us…“
For foundational purposes, let’s reaffirm a Gospel truth… Eternal life is not given to us because we worked for it, it is not a prize we won or a reward for goodness. Eternal life is a gift. Romans 6:23 Here’s what it says… For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Alright then, let’s do justice to this difficult verse.We shouldn’t also forget the circumstances surrounding Paul’s writing to Timothy.Timothy in Ephesus was battling within several sets of false teachers who have crept into the congregation teaching a different pattern and content of the Gospel.
How do I know you may ask? It’s in succeeding verses… Immediately after he quoted the faithful saying, he continued to tell him how to deal with people Hymenaeus and Philetus regarding their infectious teaching spreading like gangrene (verse 16-18) So, with this in mind, we can go back and deal verse 11-13
It is a faithful saying…
Paul wasn’t the originator of these words, that is, verses 11-13 were words commonly used in the early Christian circle to energize them in their faith walk as they go through persecution. It was always sung as a hymn.
So, Timothy was conversant with it and Paul here is using it present something cogent… The hymn starts with…
For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him…
Didn’t we die with Him? Yes we did… I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, YET NOT I BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME… (Galatians 2:20)
This is the foundation for the rest of the hymn. It depicts our oneness with Christ our Lord. It depicts that we are inseparable and whatever happens to Christ happens to us. Hence the next sentence…
…If we suffer, we shall also reign with him… Aren’t we reigning with him? Yes we are for we who have received abundance of Grace and the Gift of righteousness reign in life… (Romans 5:17)
With this oneness… WE ARE ONE WITH HIM! Who then is going to deny Him? Who then is He going to deny?
1John 2:22-23 tells us “who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist that denieth the Father and the son. Whosoever denieth the son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the son hath the Father also.
Also, Jude 1:4, for there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the Grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Glory to God!
We who have acknowledged Christ before cannot unacknowledged him. We who have died with Christ cannot un-die. We who have been born again cannot be unborn.
Now supposing out of weakness in the face of persecution you denied Jesus, would Jesus deny you? Hmm! In one sentence…
Did Jesus deny Peter? Peter denied him three times in a row, yet, if before his death and resurrection, he prayed for Peter ahead of time, how much more now that all he does is pray for us.
Even at that point of weakness, when our faith is not full… He is Faithful, for he cannot deny himself. I love the next verse…
2Timothy 2:14 NET | Remind people of these things…
Give Him some praise!