[ 529 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] The Mediator Between God and Man |a
[ 530 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] The Mediator Between God and Man |b
[ 531 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] I Timothy 2:3-7 |a
[ 532 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] I Timothy 2:3-7 |b
[ 533 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Order in the Local Church |a
[ 534 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Order in the Local Church |b
[ 535 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] I Timothy 2:8-6:20 |a
[ 536 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] I Timothy 2:8-6:20 |b
[ 537 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] The Faithful Servant of Christ Says Goodbye |a
[ 538 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] The Faithful Servant of Christ Says Goodbye |b
[ 539 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] II Timothy-Titus |a
[ 540 ] Les Feldick [ Book 45 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] II Timothy-Titus |b
The Mediator Between God and Man
I Timothy 2:3-7
Iris and I get so thrilled as we travel and we go to these seminars and ten or twelve-year-old kids will come up and give either her or I a hug! Then their parents get a little embarrassed and they say well “They watch you every morning. They feel like they know you!” So we do realize that even though our audience here at the taping is on a weekday afternoon and we have to depend mostly on people who are retired, yet rest assured that we do have a lot of younger people that are learning and studying the Word with us.
As we begin our taping today, let’s jump right in now where we left off in the last lesson and that would be I Timothy 2:3. In the previous verse he had admonished us to pray for kings and those in authority and then in verse 3 he emphasizes that this is perfectly proper. That it is not a selfish intent, or anything like that, when we pray for our own good, our own pursuit of happiness, which is, after all, the reason for government. Government is there for the purpose of protecting its citizens. And it’s our privilege then to pray for our men in high places that they might continue to give us freedom, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Then he says:
I Timothy 2:3
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;” So never neglect to pray daily for our men in high places, that indeed we might continue to enjoy liberty like no other nation on earth has ever before enjoyed. I’m afraid that too often we take it for granted, even as believers, that this is just common place. No, it is not! We are so blessed! The Grace of God has been showered on this nation like no other people on earth, and we should never take it for granted.
Let’s go to verse 4. The same God who is pleased when we pray for men in high places and for our government, the same God:
I Timothy 2:4
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Now that’s quite a statement! Isn’t it? Because those of us who are realists, know that only a small percentage of the world’s population has ever come to know salvation. All the way from Adam on up, it’s always been just a small remnant that have maintained a faith fit for salvation. Israel, even in spite of the fact that they had so much going for them, as Paul says in Romans chapter 3:
“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is thereof circumcision? 2. Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles (Word) of God.”
So it is the same way with us. See, we’ve been so blessed and we have so many things going for us as a nation of people, and yet I’m afraid that it is only a small percentage that have any true saving faith. The vast majority of our people, as I have said over and over, never even think about eternity, and that’s not what God wants.
A lot of people think that God has only chosen just a few and those are the only one’s that He’s concerned about, but don’t you believe it! The Scripture is full of it, that God died for ALL. We are going to just start looking at the Scripture in regard to that. Remember the verse that we are “kicking off from” – for it is the very will of God that all men should be saved. That’s what He had on His mind when he provided the plan of salvation not just for the few, but it’s for all.
We realize, of course, that there are theological concepts out there that say if God has chosen you to go to heaven, that you are going to go to heaven; come what may – somehow or other you are going to make it. But on the other hand, if you have been chosen to go to eternal doom, then there is nothing you can do about it. Well, I beg to differ! I just cannot go along with that line of thinking because of too many verses like we are going be looking at right now. This does not give any indication that you’re headed for Hell and there is nothing you can do about it, or you are headed for Heaven and you are going to get there regardless of what you do. It just doesn’t fit! But, look what it says:
“For whosoever (how many? Anybody! No limit!) shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That’s a promise!
Now it doesn’t say how many are going to be in the “whosoever,” but nevertheless the potential is that anyone who will call on God for salvation, his opportunity is as good as anybody else’s. Now turn to II Corinthians 5, verses 14-15. Don’t forget what we read in Timothy, for God would like to have ALL men to be saved. Remember the word ALL. Now watch the language.
II Corinthians 5:14a
“For the love of Christ (of course, love is synonymous with His Mercy and Grace) constraineth us; (or drives us) because we thus judge, (or we thus conclude) that if one died for (how many?) all,…..” See, He didn’t die for just a few, but rather He died for the whole human race. Not just Israel, but for everyone. Not just the Gentile, but for everyone. He died for ALL.
II Corinthians 5:15
“And that he died for all, (See? Repeated, twice in two verses.) that they which live (those who call upon Him now for salvation, according to Romans) should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
The point I want to make is that He died for ALL. Not just for the few. Alright, now let’s go all the way to the other side of I Timothy and move into Hebrews chapter 2. Here we have this same concept and we’re are going to show it just as clearly as we know how. I have to force myself to slow down on the program. I had a gentleman call the other night and he said “Les, slow down! I can’t find the verses as fast as you do!” And, we do appreciate the fact that our television audience sits there with their Bible in their hand and with a pen and notepad. So, we do take that into consideration on the program. We are not here just to preach at you. We are here to help you find these Scriptures and to rest on what they say and hopefully, by faith, just take it as the Word of God.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels (that is when He took on flesh,) for the suffering of death, crowned with glory, and honour; that he by the grace of God (not because anybody deserved it. But by the Grace of God, He) should taste death for (How many?) every man.” His death was sufficient for every human being that has ever lived from Adam until the end of time! It was sufficient. He tasted death for “every man.” Not just for those who believe but for everyone. Let’s move on a little further back to II Peter chapter 3 verse 9.
II Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering (that’s another word for Grace and Mercy) to us-ward, (Why?) not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (a change of direction.) When you see those terms that no one should perish, that should remind you of that well-known verse that everybody learns as soon as they start going to Sunday School.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (See, not just a few!) believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” So, God is not willing that any should perish. Come back now to I Timothy chapter 2. God is not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL would be saved and come to “the knowledge of the truth.”
Now, the reason I teach is so that people can share these things with others who probably never look at the Word of God. That is why I take it slowly and verse by verse, as we pick every word out and examine it.
The next one I want to look at in this same verse is that, not only does God expect everyone to come to a knowledge of salvation, or to be saved, but also to come to a knowledge of the Truth! There’s not much of truth around anymore is there? You just don’t hear a lot of truth anymore. You hear a lot of “flim-flam” – stuff that does not line up with Scripture, but we have to take the time to dig out what in the world is “truth.”
Alright, let’s go to the first one I think of when I think of truth and that is Ephesians chapter 1 verse 13. This is a verse that we use periodically on the program because it is so explicit in what it says. Now remember, Paul always writes primarily to the believer. But, as he writes to the believer it also speaks, of course, to the unbeliever as well. So to us believers, he said:
“In whom ye also trusted, (placed your faith) after (watch the language here – after) that ye heard the word of (what?) truth,..”
We became believers after we heard the word of truth. Now in this particular instance, what is truth? The Gospel! A lot of times I will say “truth” and the name of Jesus Christ are synonymous, because Christ is Truth and Truth is Christ. But here we are going to define it a little closer – that truth is the Gospel. Of course, Who is at the heart of the Gospel? Jesus Christ! Look at it again.
“In whom you also trusted, (or placed your faith) after you heard the word of truth. (and the Word of truth is the Gospel) the gospel of your salvation: in whom (the Christ of truth) also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise.”
Now then, when Paul identifies “truth” as the Gospel, then we will go back once again, as we have done probably a hundred times on this program, to I Corinthians chapter 15 verses 1-4. I’m so thrilled that I am beginning to see more people use this instead of John 3:16. Now don’t get me wrong, John 3:16 is good and I don’t take anything away from it but, it’s not the Gospel for us today. John 3:16 was spoken primarily to the Jewish people, because Jesus spoke it in His earthly ministry. John wrote it with regard to His earthly ministry, but, here Paul now, after the fact of his death, burial and resurrection, tells us what Gospel it is to be saved! This is the Gospel of truth that he identified in Ephesians chapter 1.
I Corinthians 15:1
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (not just a gospel, it’s “The” gospel. “Exclusive” is the word I like to use. There are not a half a dozen Gospels out there, this is the only one. Regardless of who we are, or where we come from, there is only one valid Gospel, and it is the Gospel that Paul says:) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;” Now, he is writing to believers there at Corinth, it’s a Gentile congregation. Then verse two makes it so plain.
I Corinthians 15:2
“By which (by this Gospel that Paul has now shared with these Gentiles) also ye are (what?) saved, (A lot of people don’t like that word, but it is a Scriptural word. And it denotes a salvation, a saving from doom.) if ye keep in memory (I always put it, that you know what you believe.) what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” Now here comes THE Gospel. The Truth as Paul defines it.
I Corinthians 15:3a
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,…”
Now again, I am going to stop and define that. Why does Paul always refer to this as “his” Gospel? Well, because it was to the Apostle Paul that the ascended Lord (not Jesus in His earthly ministry, but it’s the ascended Lord Who has now finished the work of redemption with His death, His shed blood, His burial and His resurrection that after He had ascended, then He) revealed to this Apostle, that now, this Gospel is the means of salvation. Not the miracles of His earthly ministry. But, the miracle and the power of His death, burial and resurrection. So that’s why he uses the words “that which he also received.”
Paul is the first one to whom God revealed that he would now save the multitudes not through the Law of Israel, not by virtue of Judaism, not by virtue of Christ’s earthly ministry and His miracles, but by believing that finished work of the cross. Continuing on with verse 3, and here is what we must believe.
I Corinthians 15:3b
“… how that Christ died for our sins (we have already seen in II Timothy chapter 5, who is included in the “our?” Everybody! He died for the sins of the whole world, and so, He died for our sins.) according to the scriptures;”
I Corinthians 15:4
“And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” Now THAT is what we call, and the Bible calls, THE GOSPEL or the TRUTH OF GOD, and what Paul calls “his Gospel.” It’s the Gospel that we must believe in this Age of Grace. Now come on back to our text in I Timothy chapter 2 verse 4. Now it will make even more sense. The God, our Savior, of verse 3:
I Timothy 2:4
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” And that truth is that Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead. Now verse 5 – this will just hammer home the whole fact of Who the Christ of the cross really is.
I Timothy 2:5
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
Quite a verse, isn’t it? Think of all the religions of the world, the Orientals and so forth with their various priests and priestesses. My, this verse just screams. No! That’s not what it is. There is only ONE mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Now let’s go back to the first part of verse 5.
I Timothy 2:5a
“For there is one God…”
Go back to Deuteronomy chapter 6. All the way back to the Old Testament. That’s what we like to do, if at all possible, just tie all of the Scripture together. Even though the Apostle Paul is the one who writes to us Gentiles, yet we know that all Scripture is inspired and is profitable.
“Here, O Israel: (remember, this is Moses) The LORD our God is one LORD:”
Now you see, that’s why the Jewish people accuse us in this Age of Grace and as New Testament believers as having more than one God which flies in the face of their Old Testament belief. This is the verse that they will use. “Here, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD:.”
Well, yes He’s one God. Of course He is! But from our New Testament perspective now we reckon that He is a God in three Persons, and in order to pick up what Paul is talking about, that the One God is also the Man Christ Jesus. This is what we have to understand that the Triune God, the One Moses is speaking of, the One LORD, was the invisible Godhead. A lot of folks, seemingly, cannot understand it.
And I don’t “understand it” but I can take it by faith that the Triune God as we come up through the Old Testament economy was for the most part invisible. Now at times He would become human, a theophany, as the theologians call it. And He would appear to man in human form.
Now, we know that he appeared to Adam and Eve in the Garden. He walked with them, He wasn’t an invisible Spirit. He walked with them in human form. And we know that Abraham, a perfect example, saw the Lord, saw God in human form. Remember when the three men came down the trail and Abraham invited them under the shade tree and fixed for them the fatted calf? What did the three men do? They sat down and they ate.
As you go further in that chapter, you realize that one of those three men was the Lord Himself in human form. Then a little later, we find Moses at the burning bush – same thing. God spoke out of the burning bush, but as you come down to the place where Moses now says “What’s your name? When I go back to Egypt and tell the Israelites that God has sent me. They are going to ask, What’s your name?” And what did the God of the burning bush answer? Go tell Israel “I AM hath sent you. I AM THAT I AM.”
Then you go all the way to John’s Gospel chapter 8 and they were accusing Jesus of having a demon and he goes through that conversation. Then they finally say, you mean to tell us, you are not even 50 years old and you have seen Abraham?! Who do you think you are? What was Jesus’ answer? “Before Abraham was, I AM.” So He was the same One that spoke to Moses out of the burning bush.
We have all this building of proof that the invisible God was in three Persons and at times, One of the Persons of the Godhead took on human form throughout the Old Testament. And then in the New Testament, He came by way of Bethlehem in the flesh.
Now let’s look at one them from the New Testament, from John’s Gospel chapter 1. We are trying to exhaust it as much as we can in the time we have, why Paul emphasized that the mediator between God and man was the Man Christ Jesus and yet he never stopped being God!
John’s Gospel chapter 1. These are verses we use a lot of times when we teach Genesis 1, that Christ was the Creator.
“In the beginning was the Word, (that is capitalized. It’s a term of Deity.) and the Word was with God, (but more than that) and the Word was God.” See there was no separating it. Then verse 3.
“All things were made by him; (that is, the Word) and without him was not any thing made that was made.” By the Word! Now when you drop down to verse 14, you see that the Scripture always interprets itself. So in verse 14, we see Who the Word was.
“And the Word was made (what?) flesh, (He took on humanity.) and dwelt among us…..”
Yes, He was born in Bethlehem. Grew up in Nazareth and for three years went up and down the dusty roads of the land of Israel from village to village. Spent time in Jerusalem at the Temple, and indeed, He did dwell among the nation of Israel, because John is writing as a Jew.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
So here we have ample proof from the pen of the Apostle John that the Creator Person of the Trinity, took on flesh and the twelve experienced all those days of that three years in miracles and wonders and signs, knowing that He was the God of Glory, the God of Abraham, the God of Creation, Who had taken on human flesh. This is what we have to understand, that even though God is Spirit, yet God the Son took on human flesh.
Lesson One • Part II
The Mediator Between God and Man
I Timothy 2:3-7
In this lesson we will begin again with I Timothy chapter 2 verse 5, because I didn’t finish it in the last lesson. So now let’s continue on with our study in verse 5 where we left off in the last lesson.
I Timothy 2:5
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus:”
Alright, so that’s what we started in our last lesson and we looked in John’s Gospel, how that the Word became flesh. Now we are going to look at Paul’s letter to the Colossians. These verses will show so explicitly that Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, ministered three years up and down the land of Israel, was indeed the visible manifestation of the invisible God. So let’s begin with Colossians chapter 1 verse 14 so that we know for certain Who we are talking about.
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, (now I think anybody knows that that is a reference to the cross of Christ) even the forgiveness of sins:”
“Who (the One Who shed His blood) is the image (an image is something you can see and touch- so Christ is the image) of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:”
“For by him were all things created,…” I am going to keep repeating this as long we are on television because a tremendous number of church people, who have been in Church all their lives, do not know that Jesus of Nazareth was the Creator of Genesis 1:1. But He was! He was very, very God! And as God, He was the Creator. He is the Sustainer of the universe, but He’s also the One Who lived and died and rose again from the dead. Alright, going on in verse 16.
“…that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” So He IS the Creator! Now, lest you say that is just one verse, turn back to Ephesians chapter 3 verse 9.
To illustrate the Godhead. Think of a circle which has inside God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Comprising what the Scripture refers to over and over as the Godhead, the invisible God. Now, the Scripture that we are looking at shows that God the Son stepped out of the invisible Godhead and became the visible manifestation, or the visible image of that invisible God. You will see this throughout Scripture.
“And to make all men see (there’s that ALL again. This isn’t just for the privileged few. This isn’t just for the chosen few. This is for the whole human race.) what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world (or the ages, is a better word) hath been hid in God, (the invisible Godhead) who (the invisible God) created all things by (Whom? What does your Bible say?) Jesus Christ”
He became the visible manifestation of the invisible God. Now come all the way back to Acts chapter 2. In this passage Peter is preaching this on the day of Pentecost and he is approaching the nation of Israel concerning the One Whom they have crucified. So he says in verse 22:
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man (underline that, in view of I Timothy chapter 2. The Man Christ Jesus. See? The Mediator.) approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, (which, of course was a reference to His three years of earthly ministry.) which God (the whole Godhead. Again, the invisible God performed all these signs and wonders and miracles through that visible image of God the Son.) did by him in the midst of you, (speaking of His three years) as ye yourselves also know;” Now, how did all this come about? Next verse!
“Him, (Jesus of Nazareth) being delivered by the determinate counsel…”
In order to have a counsel, you have to have more than what? More than one! There has to be a meeting of the minds. Now, whenever our President has a Cabinet Meeting, what is basically the purpose? Well for a meeting of all the minds on some momentous decision.
I always get a kick out of Israel. They are in the news every day and they are under tremendous international pressure as well as from their Arab world neighbors. But, whenever Israel decides to do something, whether it was to react one way or another, where does it always come from first before the Prime Minister makes any kind of a statement? Well from his Security Counsel, from his Cabinet. Not necessarily the whole Knesset but from his group of advisors. When they come to a consensus, when they come to a meeting of the minds, then the Prime Minister steps out and puts out the command or the order or whatever the case may be. That’s a consensus. Now look at this verse again. Verse 23.
“Him, (Jesus of Nazareth) being delivered (up to the cross) by the determinate counsel(by that meeting of the minds) and foreknowledge of (who?) God, (not just one Person, but a meeting of the minds of all Three, still in the invisible pre-eternal state. The invisible Godhead came together and they providentially laid out the blue print for all of earth’s history. And look what it says) ye (the Nation of Israel) have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
Now what does that mean? Way back in eternity past when the invisible Godhead came to a counsel and a meeting of the Triune mind, they delegated that One of the Three, in this case God the Son, would be the One that would step out, if I may use that expression, He would step out of that invisible Godhead and become the visible image of the invisible God. Does that help? I hope so.
So, then come back to Colossians again – to chapter 2, and in order to pick up the full meaning, I have to let you look at verse 8 as well as 9. Nine is the verse I really want you to see.
Colossians 2: 8-9
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9. For in him (in who? In Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead (but how?) bodily.”
So you see, when Christ stepped out of the invisible Godhead and became the visible manifestation, He never lost his make up with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Now, we could go all afternoon on this alone! Come back to John chapter 14, because if you are confused, you are not alone. The Twelve that had been with Him for three years couldn’t figure it out. John chapter 14 verse 7, 8 and 9. In our human frailty there is no way that we can just understand all of this. We must take it by faith! And it does take a lot of faith. That is what God expects. He said it and we believe it. Just because you can’t explain it, doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Here we are with Christ and the Twelve and they are in the Passover chamber. You know the account. Drop in at chapter 14 and come to verse 7. And Jesus says to the Twelve:
John 14: 7
“If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” Quite a statement, isn’t it? Now look at the next verse.
John 14: 8
“Philip (one of the Twelve who had been with Him for three years) saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Let us see that other part of the Godhead. Look what Jesus said in verse 9.
“Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen (who?) the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” You are looking at Him!!
Unbelievable, isn’t it. But yet we believe it by faith. So this is the best way I can put it. You have the invisible Godhead from eternity past and according to that determining counsel of this three Persons of the Godhead, they delegated the Son (we don’t call him Jesus Christ back in Genesis, but we call Him, the LORD, Jehovah. Capital letters.) So God the Son stepped out of the Triune Godhead and created man, walked with him in the Garden in human form. And would come back up into the Godhead and become invisible.
When He appeared to Abraham, He again would step out and take on visible manifestation in a humanlike form and He would come back. But once He was born at Bethlehem, He never again stepped back up into the invisible. He is now the visible manifestation of the Triune God, but they are still a three person Godhead. So, these are things we just have to take by faith. Let me take you all the way back to Psalms chapter 110 verse 1. This is way back in David’s day.
“The LORD (now you have to be careful. What’s different about the word LORD and the next word Lord? Well capitalization, that’s all.) said unto my Lord, (you have two different personalities) Sit thou at my right hand, until (time word) I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
Now stop and think a minute. Who would have said “Come and sit at my right hand until your enemies become your footstool”? Well, God the Father speaking to God the Son. It’s that simple. When Christ was here on the earth, rejected of men, and they refused to have Him as their King, what did God the Father say? Come back up and He went back from the Mount of Olives. He ascended back into Glory but He’s not sitting on the throne of the Godhead tonight. He’s sitting, where? At the Father’s right hand.
Now I always tell people. Don’t be foolish in your thinking. Don’t picture God the Father sitting on some great big chair up here and God the Son on a kitchen chair down here. This isn’t what you are supposed to think. The thing that you are supposed to realize is the positional difference. God the Son has not yet usurped the throne of God the Father, He’s at the right hand of God the Father. This falls right into what we are talking about in Timothy “and He became the mediator.”
John puts it in a little different language in his letter back there. We will look at it later. But John puts it in 1 John chapter 2 verse 1 that “if we sin we have an advocate!” The Greek word is “paraclete” which is another term for the Holy Spirit.
Here in Psalms what I want you to see is that the capitalized LORD is God the Father and He says to God the Son, come and sit at my right hand.
I read one time that Martin Luther struggled with this verse for years and he just couldn’t comprehend what this was saying. And then one morning he came out of his study and exclaimed to his wife “Now I see it!” Supposedly, like a good wife, she said “What?” He said “It was God crying out to God!”
Well, you have the same thing on the cross, when Christ said “God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Who was He talking to? It was God in the person of the Son, crying out to God the Father Who was in Glory. Then after He was rejected and from the Mount of Olives, God the Father said “Come, sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Paul says the same thing. Now let’s go back to Hebrews. We are going to wear out our Bibles today! That’s the way I like it. Hebrews chapter 1 and verse 1. Now this is what I call Bible study! I hope everyone can agree with me, THIS is Bible study, you just pick it apart and build on it.
In Hebrews 1, we have the same connotation. Starting at verse 1. What’s the first word? God! What God? The whole Godhead.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past (that is, back in the Old Testament economy) unto the fathers (the fathers of Israel. The forefathers of the Apostle Paul and those who were living in his day) by the prophets.” Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea and all the rest of them. But, verse 2. This same God:
“Hath in these last days (which refer to Christ’s first advent) spoken unto us (not by the prophets but how?) by his Son,(the One who stepped out of that invisible Trinity and became the visible image of Jesus of Nazareth and went to the cross. Then) whom he hath appointed heir of all things, (that is in the future. But going into the past) by whom also he made (past tense verb) the worlds;”
What? The worlds, the universe and everything in it. We covered that once before so let’s move on into verse 3 because I came from Psalms 110, I don’t want to lose you now, where God the Father said, “come sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool” Which, of course, will trigger the Second Coming.
“Who (God the Son) being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, (that is with His death, burial and resurrection. Now comes the ascension and He sat down where?) sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”
Perfect fitting with Psalms 110! Only in Psalms 110 it says that God the Father said to God the Son, come sit at my right hand. In Hebrews, it doesn’t give that invitation of the word “come,” it just simply states the fact that when Christ ascended back to Glory, he didn’t assume the throne. He is positioned at the right hand of the throne, until He will return and then He will sit upon His throne over the nations of Israel and the world, when He assumes David’s throne there in Mount Zion.
So, we are still trying to establish Christ’s role as the Man Who became then our mediator. Well, do you get the picture now? Where is the mediator? Seated at the right hand of the Father. And, He is the only connection that we have between us and the Godhead.
Lesson One • Part III
The Mediator Between God and Man
I Timothy 2:3-7
You’ll notice that I do not promote any one group as I teach, but rather we just simply want to teach the Word and we let the Lord be our supplier. He’s the One that we have to be beholden to and so all we trust is that we can avoid error. But as far as humanly possible, we are going to search the Scriptures and bring out the truth. As we begin this lesson, turn to I Timothy chapter 2 verse 5. This is the verse that we were working on in the last lesson.
I Timothy 2:5
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
We were showing in the last lesson, how God the Son became flesh, became the visible image of the invisible God. And as such, went the way of the cross, purchased our redemption, rose from the dead, and ascended back to the Father’s right hand. In order to give another perspective, we were just ready to look at I John chapter 2 verses 1 and 2 in the last lesson when time ran out. The terminology is slightly different but it’s still the same setting. John writes:
I John 2:1
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if (it’s conditional) any man sin, (we know we will) we have an advocate (like I said that’s a different term than mediator but nevertheless it fulfills the same role.) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
Where is He? At the Father’s right hand interceding for us. Now come back with me to Galatians chapter 3 verse 19, which is the only other place that Paul uses the word mediator other than in I Timothy. He does use it in the Book of Hebrews, but that’s a little bit different setting than what Paul writes to us in the Church Age.
“Wherefore then serveth the law?…”
The Law was added because of transgressions, and you have to know your Bible. All the way from Adam at about 4000 BC, up until Moses, there was no written Word of God, there was no Law. At that time right and wrong was based on men’s conscience. So with the Law at 1500 BC and Adam at 4000 BC that tells us that there was 2,500 years that the human race did not have any written Word of God.
That is why Paul uses the term then that the Law was added 2,500 years later. It was added because of the transgressions. In other words, mankind was just going deeper and deeper into sin, and that’s why God had to destroy them at the Flood. But, even after the Flood it came out the same way. They just went deeper and deeper – so that’s when He called out the little nation of Israel through the man Abraham. To the nation of Israel He gave the Law, so there was no doubt about what was right and wrong.
“It (the Law) was added (because of their sinful lifestyle and it was going to be enforced) because of transgressions, till the seed (speaking of Christ) should come to whom the promise was made; and was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”
Now, who was the mediator at that time? Moses was! Moses was the one who stood between Israel and God. So, he was the mediator between those two parties. The picture is that now it isn’t Moses who is our mediator, it’s Christ Himself! The One who satisfied all the demands of the Law, the One Who finished the work of redemption and so now He is fully capable to sit at the Father’s right hand as our mediator.
Isn’t that a comfort? We know that even as John places it in his little letter, if we sin, we have Jesus Christ the Righteous One as our advocate. Or today we would say, He’s our attorney. He’s pleading our case constantly. He is also the mediator between God and man when it comes to this whole idea of prayer. Here again, in Hebrews it tells us:
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,…”
This is all on this same scenario of Jesus Christ the Righteous One, Who is our advocate, Who is our mediator and as such then, we can go right into the presence of God! Day or night! Doesn’t matter when or where we are. We don’t have to be in our prayer closet. You can be driving down the road and you can lift your heart in prayer. You can wake up in the middle of the night and flat on your back, you can pray. You don’t have to be in a particular position or anything like that. And, here it is verse 14 of Hebrews 4.
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, (see how plain this is? Since that is the case) let us hold fast our profession. (our faith.) 15. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted (or tested) like as we are yet (whereas we fail, He did not. He was) without sin. 16. Let us therefore come (what’s the word? Boldly! We don’t have to shrink. We don’t have to think, Oh, I am coming into the presence of a Holy God. No, we are now on that plane as a redeemed, blood bought individual that we can come) boldly unto the throne of grace, (into Heaven itself) that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
My what a promise!! We don’t have to be worthy. We don’t have to find someone who can plead our case. We have Him! He’s our mediator. He’s our advocate, and He’s ready and He is willing because of His mercy! When it comes to His mercy, we have to go back to Exodus chapter 33. It has been a long time since we have used these verses. I don’t think I have used them since we taught Romans chapter 11.
This is just shortly after Israel had made the golden calf. And, if ever there was a reason for God to destroy the nation of Israel it was then and there. God could have destroyed the Nation in an instant. Why didn’t He? Here’s the reason.
And he (Moses) said, I beseech thee, shew me they glory. 19. And he (the Lord) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and (now here it comes) will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.”
How could God say something like that? Because He is sovereign! He doesn’t have to make an excuse for doing anything. He can do whatever He wants. If He determines He wants to pour out Mercy and Grace He can do it! And that’s where we are. It’s because of His sovereign Grace that we can come into the throne room boldly in any time of need.
We don’t have to go through anybody else, because He is there constantly. Another verse I have to use that shows His worthiness is Revelation 5 verse 9, which is a whole different setting. Here we have the Lord, ready to take the scroll, in this case which is the mortgage on the planet. He is ready to pour out the Tribulation wrath of God and all I want you to see is what makes Christ worthy of everything that He does.
“And they sung a new song, (Look what they sang in their singing.) saying, Thou (speaking of Christ) art (what’s the next word? Worthy!) worthy to take the book, and to open the seals (that is to pour out the judgements of the Tribulation that would be coming from it) thereof: (Now here’s why He was worthy) for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation:”
See, it wasn’t that He did it for any one group of people. This is no longer just for Israel. But He went to the cross and shed His blood and rose from the dead to redeem the whole human race! That’s what we have been seeing for the last two or three lessons now, that when He finished the work of the cross, the price of redemption was paid for every human being. None excluded! They can all come in the same way, by faith plus nothing! Yet the vast majority of the world walks it under foot.
Come back to I Timothy chapter 2 and the very next verse is just about as loaded as the last, it’s the same concept. What did Christ accomplish with His death, burial and resurrection? Here verse 6 tells us.. Not only is He the mediator between us and God, not only is He the One Who advocates on our behalf, but now there is another idea. He gave Himself a ransom.
I Timothy 2:6
“Who gave himself a ransom for all, (not for a few, but for all) to be testified in due time.” Think about that for a minute. It has been a long time since we have had a famous kidnapping episode like the Lindbergh’s, which I remember from when I was a little kid. But you all remember the Lindbergh experience and how that a kidnapper will hold a child for ransom. Pay the money and you can have the child.
Well, the Word means the same thing here. Christ paid the ransom! Not just for one child but for every human being that has ever lived. And what was the price? It’s beyond human comprehension. The ransom that Christ paid with His death, burial and resurrection is beyond human understanding. But He paid it with His shed blood. Come on over to the right again to I Peter’s little epistle, chapter 1 and verse 18-19, and here we find the price that He paid.
I Peter 1: 18
“Forasmuch (Peter writes) as ye know that ye were not redeemed (by a ransomed price) with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;” Now Peter is writing primarily to Jewish people. So, he is referring to their heritage as the nation of Israel under the law. Now verse 19. This was the ransomed price.
I Peter 1:19-20a
” But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20. Who verily was foreordained (that should take you back to that verse in Acts chapter 2. That it was foreordained before anything was ever created, that Christ would go to the Cross.) before the foundation of the world.”
So now come back to I Timothy again. Maybe we can make another verse or two before this lesson is over. Christ paid the ransom, not just for the few but for the whole human race. And, if I don’t get anything more across this lesson than that, I will have accomplished something. That He didn’t just pay redemption for a few, but rather He paid it for the whole human race. When you see the mass of humanity walking it under foot, chasing other gods and other religions with no concern whatsoever, what a travesty to think that He has paid for every one of us, and yet they pay no mind.
I Timothy 2:7
“Whereunto (In other words, the fact that Christ had paid the ransom. The fact that Christ is our mediator between God and men.) I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith (truth) and verity.”
I have mentioned this on the program more than once that a lot of people don’t even give Paul the time of day. They will not even look at his letters. They will quote everything from the Old Testament sometimes it’s just sheets of paper with references trying to disagree with me. And all they quote is the Old Testament and the Gospels and the early Acts and Revelation. They absolutely will not touch the letters of Paul. When I see that, if they hear this on the program, I don’t care. They go in the waste basket. Because if they are not going to pay heed to what Paul has written, they are out in left field anyway. Why should I waste my time.
But see, Paul is the Apostle of the Gentiles. (Romans 11:13) He is the vehicle through which you and I have received these doctrines of Grace! (Ephesians 3:2). Just to make it real plain and simple again, we are going back to the Book of Acts. Chapter 9 verse 15. You want to remember that for the first eight chapters it is all Israel. Peter and the eleven and then finally Stephen appealing to the nation of Israel to repent of the fact that they had crucified their promised Messiah. But, they would not.
I always call the stoning of Stephen in Acts chapter 7 as the epitome or the crescendo of Israel’s rejection. They literally screamed at Stephen as they were stoning him. We will NOT have Jesus of Nazareth over us. Well, then in chapter 8 you find that Peter again is still in the limelight and then when you get to chapter 9, we are introduced to the next character on the stage of history, biblically speaking, Saul of Tarsus.
Saul, as you well remember, was on his way to Damascus to arrest Jewish believers who accepted that Jesus was the Christ. And the Lord struck him down outside the city and while he is picking up the pieces and fumbling in his blindness and coming back into the city of Damascus, God leaps ahead into the city and approaches another Jew by the name of Ananias. The Lord is now speaking to Ananias in the city of Damascus concerning this Saul of Tarsus. Ananias had more or less been arguing with the Lord saying, “Now wait a minute! I don’t want anything to do with this Saul of Tarsus. I’ve heard of all that he has been doing to the believers and that’s why he’s here.” But, now look what the Lord says in verse 15.
“But the Lord said unto him (Ananias), Go thy way; for he (Saul of Tarsus) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the (what?) Gentiles,…” This has never been whispered before that God was going to save Gentiles. Never!
Remember the Lord in His earthly ministry in Matthew 10:5, told the twelve, go NOT into the way of the Gentiles or into the house of Samaritans. But, go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And God could not go to the Gentiles until Israel had full opportunity of bringing Him in as their King. But they would not. So after almost seven years of appealing to the nation of Israel to repent of having crucified their Messiah, and they will not, God now does something totally different. He reaches down outside a Gentile city, not inside the land of Israel but on Gentile ground and he saves this renegade, this religious zealot who was trying to stamp out the name of Jesus from the Jewish nation. To that man now, the Lord is going to turn and He has promised him that he’s going to suffer for His Name’s sake.
Paul makes such a clear definition of all of this in the little Book of Galatians – how that he is to become the apostle and the teacher of the Gentiles, and that’s what we’re trying to show that it wasn’t just a statement of braggadocio. He’s not claiming something that wasn’t true, but indeed, he IS the chosen vessel by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to now go to those hated, wicked, pagan Gentiles. Here Paul lays it out so clearly what took place.
“But I certify (guarantee) you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but (where did he get it?) by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
I am always pointing out when I teach Paul’s apostleship, remember that everything in the four gospel accounts was Christ before the Cross. Except, of course, for the account of the crucifixion. But, the whole three years of His earthly ministry are only to the nation of Israel under the Law before His death, burial and resurrection. It’s at least seven years after the cross that this man gets all of his revelations from the ascended Lord, Who is now up there at the right hand of the Father. And so, this is what he says. I got it by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Then in verse 15:
“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, (unmerited favor) 16. To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him (where? Among the heathen. Among the Gentiles.) among the heathen; (So he said) immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:” What does that tell you? He didn’t run back down to Jerusalem and ask the twelve to fill him in. But, instead he went the other direction into Arabia whereupon we feel he received a goodly portion of these new revelations, that nothing else in Scripture had ever revealed. And, what was it? That when Christ died, shed His blood and rose from the dead, He now could pour out saving Grace. Not just to Israel, but to the whole human race!
When Christ died, He died for ALL. When He rose in resurrection power, He defeated everything that was against us, and He became our mediator. He became our advocate. He became our Lord, our Master. As we have seen just a moment ago, it was all because of what He accomplished in that death, burial and resurrection.
Lesson One • Part IV
The Mediator Between God and Man
I Timothy 2:3-7
I always like to let it be known that we are just an informal Bible Study. I am not a preacher, I just feel the Lord has given me the ability to teach the Word in a way that even young people can understand. That reminds me that at today’s taping we have a young family that has come all the way from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to be with us and I think they are going to come down and spend the night with us at the ranch. They have three small children and when they walked in today, they knew “Les” because they watch him on television!
As we begin this lesson we’ll still be back in I Timothy chapter 2 for a little bit. I am always running out of time, it seems, so we are going to go right back to verse 7, because I didn’t get quite finished with that verse in the last lesson.
I Timothy 2:7
“Whereunto (Paul says) 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.”
In other words, there was no mincing words with the Apostle Paul and he was not a imposter. He was not a purveyor of half truth or untruth. He was strictly God’s vessel in order to take the Word of God to the non-Jewish world.
Now I trust you all realize, that all the way up through the Old Testament beginning with the appearance of Israel in Genesis chapter 12 and the Abrahamic Covenant, God dealt only with the nation of Israel, with an occasional exception. It was Jew only all the way through the 2,000 years after Abraham, and even in Christ’s earthly ministry, it was Jew only with only two exceptions.
In fact, I made reference to a couple of Scriptures in the last lesson and I guess it has been a long time since I pointed this out on the program. Let’s go back to Matthew chapter 10, because I am just amazed at how many people who have been in Church all their life don’t know that some of these verses are in their Bible. Some of them will look at it and say, “Well I’ll be!” Others will look at it and say, “But I don’t believe it!” Well, when they look at the Word of God and say they don’t believe it, do you know my answer? “Then you’ve got a problem. If you can’t believe what the Bible says there’s not much anybody can do for you.”
But, now look at Matthew chapter 10 verse 5, at the very onset of Christ’s earthly ministry, in the first four verses He chooses the twelve disciples then in verse 5 He gives them these instructions:
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded (no ifs, ands or buts about it. He commanded) them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and unto any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
You can’t make it any plainer than that. The twelve were to have nothing to do with anyone who was not a Jew. Now, it is magnified, I think even more when you come still in Matthew, over to chapter 15. This is a perfect example of how Jesus and the twelve had nothing to do with Gentiles or non-Jews. For three years He ministered only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel with a couple of exceptions. This is going to be one of those exceptions. It’s the story of the Canaanite woman, and we find that He finally condescends to her constant begging.
“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. (Cities on the Mediterranean Sea coast.) 22. And behold, a woman of Canaan (a non-Jew) came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” A valid request? Well, I guess! But what’s her problem? She’s not a Jew. She’s a Canaanite. Now look what the twelve said.
“But he answered her not a word. And his disciples (The twelve) came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.”
Why didn’t they say, “Lord grant her her request?” They knew better! Because of what He had told them earlier, “Have nothing to do with anybody who is not a Jew.” So they were valid in their request to send her away. She’s a nuisance. She’s a pest. And don’t worry, this is no reflection on the Lord Himself or shows His lack of compassion or any thing like that, because He knew His role. And His role was to present Himself in fulfillment of the Old Testament covenant promises that He would be their King and Messiah and Redeemer of Israel. Then if Israel would have fallen in line, He could have sent the Jews out into the Gentile world, but not until Israel came in first. So now verse 24, and the Lord himself in response to the twelve:
Matthew 15: 24.
“But he answered and said, I am not sent (that is, based on the Old Testament covenants) but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
You know what people will do? They will just say, “I don’t believe that! That’s not the way it was.” But that’s what the Book says! And that’s what we are going to have to line up with. I don’t care what people say. The Lord said, I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel because of those Covenant promises. Alright, verse 25. Remember I said, this lady kept on insisting! She didn’t give up.
“Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26. But he answered (again in a negative, and what is His answer?) and said, It is not meet (it is not right) to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”
Who were the “dogs” in Jesus’ day? Gentiles! Who were the “children”? Israel! So what is He saying in plain English? I can’t take that which belongs to Israel and give it to Gentiles. It would be flying in the face of the eternal God. He could not. Because, all of the things coming out of the Old Testament had promised Israel a Messiah and Redeemer and Gentiles were left out in the dark, until after His death, burial and resurrection and that is where Paul’s ministry comes in.
Now reading on here in Matthew chapter 15. My it has been a long time since we have taught this. I guess maybe we are supposed to do this in today’s taping. I hadn’t planned on it, believe me. This is strictly off the cuff, but I can’t help that. Remember Jesus had just told the Canaanite woman, “But, it’s not right to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.” Now verse 27.
“And she said, Truth, Lord: ( I agree) yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
What’s she saying? Can’t I have just a little of the overflow from Israel? And then, of course, it got to Him, didn’t it?
“Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
So He condescended to her. And the only other one he did was the Roman Centurion, who had a like request. His son was sick unto death and He said, “he’s healed as of this moment.” But, other than that, He had nothing to do with Gentiles. I don’t care what people say about Galilee being Gentile, there is not one word in the Scriptural record that Jesus ever ministered to Gentiles other than to these two.
The other one I like to use as a total backup, which shows so clearly that He could not do anything for the Gentiles until He had finished the work of the cross, is in John’s Gospel chapter 12 verse 20. Now don’t lose sight all of this is coming from what we read back to I Timothy chapter 2 verse 6 where Paul says, I am the teacher of the Gentiles. Jesus, in His earthly ministry, and His disciples ministered only to Israel. But, Paul is immediately told to now go to the Gentile world.
Here we are still in Christ’s earthly ministry. It is the last days before the Passover and the crowds of Jews are gathering in the Temple area. In the midst of those crowds of Jews, we find some Gentiles:
“And there were certain Greeks (non-Jews. Gentiles.) among them that came up to worship at the feast:” It doesn’t say they were worshippers. They were just onlookers. They were just aghast at all that was going on. And so, they came “among” them that came up to worship.
“The same (these Greeks) came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, (one of the twelve) and desired (or asked) him , saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.”
Now again, use some common sense. Everybody knew, even when you get to Acts chapter 10 and you have Cornelius the Roman Centurion, who was pulling his duty in the little land of Israel and remember, when Peter got to his doorstep? What did Peter tell him? “Cornelius you know that it is an unlawful thing for a Jew to come unto one of another nation.” Why did Cornelius know this? Well, he had been living amongst the Jews. There was nothing hid in a corner.
And it was the same way with these Greeks. They had probably seen some of His miracles and at least they had heard about them. They wanted to see this man! Somebody probably pointed out Philip and said, Hey, there is someone who has been with Him all the time. Go ask him. So these Greeks go and corner Philip and they said, we would see Jesus.
Now, verse 22. Philip was no dummy. What could he remember? What Jesus told them back in Matthew 10, have nothing to do with Gentiles. And so, Philip knew that it was not his place to take these Gentiles to speak with Jesus. Philip knew that Jesus had nothing to do with Gentiles. But rather than just take the thing in his own hands and say, No I’m not going to do that, or I will take you. No, he shares the responsibility with Andrew, another one of the twelve.
See how logical this is if you just put it together! So Philip goes over and finds Andrew and says, “Andrew there’s Gentiles out here that want to see Jesus. What are we going to do?” Well now, the text is plain. Andrew evidently says to Philip, “Let’s go ask the Lord.” Now verse 22.
“Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.”
What do they tell Him? “There’s Greeks out here that want to see you! Gentiles.” Now read the next verse. And Jesus said, “Bring them to me!” No, it doesn’t say that! Your Bible doesn’t say that He went out to them. But your Bible does tell you what Jesus’ answer was.
“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come (remember, we are only a few hours before the crucifixion and His resurrection) that the Son of man should be glorified. (speaking of His resurrection. That’s when He assumed His full glorification.) 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground an die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
What’s the lesson? Every time you plant something and you see it come up and see it reproduce, whether it’s grain or garden products or a flower, the picture is the same. That seed until it goes into the ground can do nothing. But once it is put into the ground and everything takes place, and it reproduces and the new blade comes up, then it can produce.
Alright, Jesus is giving them a lesson. Not until He had been, and I will use the word that Paul uses in Romans chapter 6, He had to be planted. Buried. And as a result of that death and burial, like a new blade of wheat coming up out of the ground, now, He was in a position to reproduce the Gentile world with salvation!
That’s the whole picture. And he said I cannot minister to those Gentiles until I have finished the work of the Cross. Because of that finished work of the cross, now then God can take the Apostle Paul and send him out into the Gentile world.
Consequently, now let’s start looking at what Paul says of his own apostleship. Let’s turn to Romans chapter 11 verse 13. I am so thrilled that we are getting people by the hundreds to realize that Paul is the Apostle for us today!
All of Scripture is for us. He says it himself, in Romans chapter 11, that everything that was written aforetime, which meant the Old Testament, the four gospels, they were written for our learning. Absolutely, we study the Old Testament! Absolutely, we teach it, because it is just the background for everything in which we place our faith.
But our marching orders, if you want to call it that, the instructions for us in the Body of Christ have come from this apostle, and we must receive those orders or we’re going to end up out in left field, it’s just that simple. Now looking at verse 13, and this is just plain English!
“For I speak to you (whom?) Gentiles, (why?) inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,…”
Paul is saying, he’s not one of the twelve, but rather, I am the only one, “I am the apostle of the Gentiles.” The Apostle Paul becomes the only writer of Scripture that pertains to the Church Age. I have stressed it so often. Jesus and the twelve are constantly preaching the “Kingdom of Heaven,” the “Gospel of the Kingdom,” to Israel.
Paul never used the term! But, Paul instead uses the “Body of Christ” and the “Gospel of the Grace of God.” See what a difference that makes? So Paul says, I am the Apostle of the Gentiles.
“…I magnify mine office:” In other words, he was never going to back down from it.
Now, let’s go on over to II Corinthians for a moment. The Corinthian Church was probably a little bit more cantankerous than any other of Paul’s congregations. They would once in a while, let him know that they didn’t think he had the authority that he claimed.
So, when we were teaching Corinthians, I said it over and over, what did Paul have to do? Defend his apostleship. Defend it! Defend it! Defend it! Because, they were always trying to say, Paul you are not it! Some said, we listen to Peter. Some said, we listen to Apollos. Some said, we are going to follow Jesus. And Paul had to come back and say, No, I am your Apostle.
Turn to II Corinthians chapter 2 verse 17, in defense of his apostleship and you can just read between the lines what they were accusing him of.
II Corinthian 2:17
“For we (speaking of himself. He would often do that. I read sometime ago, that this was typical of the writers in antiquity to take away any semblance of egotism. So instead of saying “I” he would use the plural pronoun “we”) are not as many, which corrupt the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
The Greek implies, and we taught this when we were back in Corinthians, that he was not like a huckster selling half grade materials. Or he was not someone who was peddling wine that had been watered down with water.
He said, “I am not that way. I do not corrupt what I speak. It’s all true.” Now, I think we can go on back to Galatians again, where we were in our last lesson. And so after chapter 1 where he explains how he was separated from his mother’s womb for this role of being the Apostle of the Gentiles, now we can come into chapter 2 verse 7.
This is at the counsel at Jerusalem, where he has to convince the leadership of the Jewish economy, that God had indeed ordained him to go to the Gentiles with the Gospel of Grace. The twelve, up until now, just couldn’t quite comprehend it.
Like I said before, I don’t think Peter ever did fully comprehend it. But, nevertheless, they agreed here that, indeed Paul is the Apostle of the Gentiles. Now Galatians chapter 2 verse 7.
“But contrariwise, when they (that is the twelve, as well as some of the other elders at Jerusalem) saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (or lets just put it like it is. The gospel of the Gentiles) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (the Jew) was unto Peter;”
Now isn’t that plain? Ah, I have been teaching this for over twenty years. Isn’t it plain! Here we have it laid out so clearly, inspired by the Holy Spirit that the Gospel of the Gentile was committed unto the Apostle Paul. And, the Gospel for the Jew was committed unto Peter.
I have already delineated the two. To Israel it was the “Gospel of the Kingdom.” That Jesus was the Christ and ready to set the Kingdom. But they wouldn’t believe. So God sent Israel into the dispersion that has lasted unto our very day.
And He sent the Apostle Paul out to the Gentile world with the “Gospel of the Grace of God” (I Corinthians 15:1-4) which he calls here the Gospel of the Gentiles. Next verse.
“(For he that wrought effectually in Peter (the same Jesus, who, of course, worked through Peter and the eleven, tremendously) to the apostleship of the circumcision (Jews), the same (Christ) was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)”
See that constant separation? Back in chapter 1 which we looked at earlier, he didn’t go back to Jerusalem to pick up from the twelve everything that they knew. God sent him east instead of west! And as he went east, I think out to Mt. Sinai, there God revealed to this Apostle this whole body of truth, which he calls the revelation of the mysteries. Now verse 9.
“And when James, Cephas, (Peter) and John, who seemed to be pillars,…”
I am always stopping at that word. What does that indicate? They weren’t anymore! Israel was falling through the cracks. Israel was rejecting His Messiahship. Israel was rejecting the Gospel of the Kingdom. And Paul is ascending as Israel goes down, Paul and his Gentile congregations are rising. So going on.
“And when James, Cephas, (Peter) perceived (or understood) the grace that was given unto me, (they come to a full gentlemen’s agreement) they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship;…” Isn’t that plain? They shook hands. They said, no more argument. They agreed:
“… that we (Paul and Barnabas) should go unto the heathen (the Gentile world), and they (Peter and the eleven would go, where?) unto the circumcision. (to Israel)”
That’s where they remained until they all suffered their martyr’s death. If fact, let me take you back to Acts chapter 10, where Peter has to have his eyes opened in order to bring Paul out into a little bit of freedom there in Jerusalem.
In Acts 10, God sends Peter up to that Gentile house or Cornelius. You all know the story. And after Peter has ministered in the house of Cornelius, and he has seen the manifestation that they had become believers, then you drop down into verse 1 of chapter 11. Remember this is eight years after Pentecost.
“And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. (by virtue of Peter) 2. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, (after his experience with Cornelius) they that were of the circumcision (that is the Jewish Church at Jerusalem) contended with him,”
They didn’t pat him on the back and say, “Hey, Peter, great!! My, must have been a great thing to go up there to the house of Gentiles!” No, they contended with him:
“Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, (and you didn’t just go in, you ate with them. Peter, how could you? See?) and didst eat with them.”
I have always put it this way. If Peter suddenly understood that God was going to save Gentiles, why bother to go back to Jerusalem? Why didn’t he head out into northern Galilee where there were Gentiles by the thousands? But he doesn’t.. He goes back to Jerusalem and that’s the way it stayed. Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles, and Peter and the eleven remained as the Apostles of Israel, and I have always said that according to this Book, Peter and the eleven never had a ministry to the Gentiles.
Lesson Two • Part I
Order in the Local Church
I Timothy 2:8 – 6:20
Let’s start where we left off in the last lesson and that would be I Timothy chapter 2 and verse 8. And in order to pick up the “therefore” in verse 8 I’m going to read verse 7 as an introduction to it.
I Timothy 3:7
“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.”
I want you to remember that all the Old Testament was written primarily to the nation of Israel, and Israel was under the Law. Even when you come into Christ’s earthly ministry, it’s really just an extension of the Old Testament program, as Christ came to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant, the promises He had made to Abraham.
So when Jesus came on the scene in the New Testament, Israel was still under the Law, and the temple was still in operation, so everything that Jesus said in His earthly ministry was under the Law of Moses. There was not one word uttered to give us any idea that the Age of Grace would be coming to the Gentiles. (non-Jews)
But when Israel continued to reject everything back there in the first 7 chapters of Acts, God finally made a fork in the road, and Israel went into a dispersion that has lasted even to this very day, although she has been coming back to the land for several years now. And then in chapter 9 the Apostle Paul was saved on the road to Damascus, and he was immediately told “that he would be sent far hence to the Gentiles.”
So ever since we began our study in Romans, we have come all the way through most of these epistles of Paul, and this is really where we have to be as Gentile believers in this Age of Grace to understand what God is saying to us.
Now all the rest of Scripture is profitable because it’s all the Word of God. But when you go back into some of the things in the Book of Leviticus for example, that has no bearing on us in this Age of Grace, and I always like to use for an example in Leviticus chapter 5 and the first 5 verses, where if someone touches a dead animal or someone hears someone cursing and if they do not bring the prescribed sacrifice as they are required to do, they’re in trouble. Well we don’t take that for us because we’re not under any form of bringing any sacrifices for something. Even though it’s still the Word of God, it’s was not written for us today in this Age of Grace. Our Lord gave that responsibility to the Apostle Paul. So we always have to keep that in perspective, “To whom is the Scripture written, and what are the circumstances?” If you can recognize that, then the Scriptures will just open up to you.
So again even these little letters of First and Second Timothy and Titus, I almost have to stop periodically and explain that even these, as we call pastoral epistles, are under a whole different circumstances than Paul’s doctrinal Books of Galatians, Romans, I and II Corinthians, and the Thessalonians. And those we just mentioned are in turn different than his prison epistles which are really deeper Church doctrine.
So all these things are categorized, and have their own particular role, And so these pastoral epistles to Timothy and Titus, who will more or less pick up the mantle when Paul prepares now to leave this earth, and so nothing here in I Timothy and Titus has doctrine as we normally think of it, pertaining to our salvation or to the hope of the end, because Paul doesn’t address that here. All Paul really addresses in these pastoral epistles are probably best put in I Timothy 3:15. And this is really the purpose of these pastoral letters. They’re not written for basic fundamental doctrine of salvation, our hope, and glory, and so forth, but rather here’s what they’re written for.
I Timothy 3:15
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God,…” What’s Paul saying? These letters are written to show people how to function in the local church – how they are to be organized, because remember, God is a God of order, and not a God of confusion. Also he gives a warning of what to be aware of, and what to look out for in these short little epistles. Now we’re ready to come back to chapter 2 and verse 7 again.
I Timothy 2:7-8a
“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. 8. I will therefore that men pray every where,…”
Now, up until the Age of Grace, and the writings of the Apostle Paul, how was prayer for the most part practiced? Now that may seem like an ambiguous question, but let’s come back to the Book of Acts, chapter 3 and let the Scripture answer for us.
“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”
So under the Law of Moses there was designated time to pray. Now we noticed that as we travel to Israel especially if we go on the EL AL, the Israeli airlines at about 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, all of a sudden some of the orthodox Jewish men will begin getting up in the aisle, and getting everything all ready for their hour of prayer. The Jews were instructed that there was a designated time and place for prayer, and since Peter and the disciples were representatives of Israel they too were under the Law. But you see Paul doesn’t tell the believer in the Church Age, be sure to keep your hour of prayer, be sure to pray three times a day, in such and such a place. But rather the language for us says what?
I Timothy 2:8a
I will therefore that men pray every where…”
What does that mean? Now we can approach the throne of Grace anytime, wherever we are, even while driving down the road you have every option to pray. If you’re at the work place, and come up against something that is mind boggling, you can pray. That’s our privilege under Grace. The throne room is always open, and we’re not under a designated hour of pray like the twelve disciples were.
I Timothy 2:8
I will therefore that men pray every where lifting up holy hands, (which of course goes back to the Jewish tradition, there’s not doubt about that) without wrath and doubting.”
What does that tell you? Do you ever get bitter with God? No. I’ve given the account on the program before about a young man who thought that God had given him a raw deal. He developed a real serious health problem, that caused a lot of hospitalization, and as a result of that, I guess his wife got fed up and she left him and filed for divorce, and he got bitter. He said, “I got so bitter that I hated God and cursed Him.” He was one of those who professed salvation as a kid – you know, had walked the isle, and all that, but had never really had any inkling to live a Christian life.
Anyway at the peak of his bitterness and anger with God, he had torn up his Bible page by page and threw them in the fire place. He then said, “I went and turned on my television, and I just happened to catch Through the Bible with Les Feldick, and the first thing I heard you say was, the Grace of God.” He said “I just sat there glued till the program was finished, and when the program was over I dropped down on my knees and I asked God to save me.” He said my whole life has been changed.” Now that’s a young man that’s just 40 years old, but you see that’s what Paul is telling us, “Don’t get to the place that you get bitter or angry with God.”
And the next word in the text is just as pertinent. “doubting.” What good does it do for you to pray if you don’t think God can do it? Now I didn’t say will do, but rather that He can do it. There is a difference. When it comes to prayer I always like to use Philippians chapter 4:6-7, and a lot of our television viewers know that, because that’s the first verse that I refer them to.
Look at verses 6 and 7 for a moment – this is exactly what he’s referring to, where we says, don’t get to the place of wrath and doubting when we pray, but on the other hand appreciate God’s love, appreciate His Grace, and with thanksgiving, knowing that He can do it. That’s why I say, not that He would do it, He’s not duty bound just because we ask, but nevertheless we have that privilege of asking.
“Be careful for nothing; (or be worried about nothing) but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…”
Now what are you to be thanking Him for? For what He’s going to do with your request, whether it be yes, no, or maybe later, you still thank Him. You don’t get bitter, you don’t get angry, and say, “Now God why haven’t you answered my prayers?” No, we make our petitions with thanksgiving.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God.”
Now you see what a free open door that is? He doesn’t limit us to Spiritual things, but I think he does limit us to common sense. I don’t think this verse gives me the right to ask for two Cadillacs in my garage. I don’t think this verse gives me the right to ask to be a millionaire. But when it comes to things that are common sense, and things that are necessary and close to our heart, then yes, we have total freedom to ask for what we will. And then verse 7 is the immediate answer to all prayers, and what is it?
“And the peace of God,…” Regardless of what may come, or what happens, we have that peace of God, and that transcends anything this world can give.
“…which passeth all understanding (now here comes the promise) shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Now come back to I Timothy again, and I’m sure that was on the apostle’s mind as he wrote. That as we pray, we approach the Lord in Grace and mercy, and with thanksgiving, but knowing that when we leave it in the throne room, it’s in good hands.
Now then we come into verse 9 and as I told Iris driving up here that these are going to be some tough verses for me to address, because we know there’s a lot of controversy lately about the role of women in the church. So I’m just going to teach it for the most part as the Word lays it out, but on the other hand, I’m going to leave a few loopholes. I’m not going to get too hard on the women, but nevertheless, I’m hopefully going to show you that the Apostle Paul was not simply being anti-feminine.
Paul is not a hater of women as he is so often described, but rather he is in total accord with the overall Sovereign working of God, and never forget that. Paul does not write what Paul thinks, but rather Paul writes what God has inspired him to write, and never lose sight of that regardless of how you may feel or how this affects you one way or the other. So in verse 8, men were to pray, and in verse 9:
I Timothy 2:9a
“In like manner also,…”
Now stop and think a minute, what did he just tell the men up there in verse 8 to do? Pray without doubting, and without any anger or wrath, and the women should do the same thing. Women have just as much access to the throne room as men do today. And it’s simple because that in the Body of Christ there is no difference. Now I’ve got to take you back to Galatians chapter 3 to finish that thought. I wasn’t going to use this verse but the Spirit is causing me to do it. Of course this is one of Paul’s basic elementary, fundamental, letters to the Churches.
“For ye are all (not just the men) the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27. For as many of you as hast been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Now most of you know how I approach that word baptized, as it’s simply the work of the Holy Spirit who baptizes every believer into that invisible Body of Christ, by an invisible act of the Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:13) And Paul tells us that there is only one baptism in the Book of Ephesians. But here’s the verse I want you to see, and I want you to keep this in mind as we deal with Paul’s writing to Timothy.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Now can you make it any plainer than that? I can’t! So as members of the Body of Christ, women you see are basically on the same level playing field as the men, but on the other hand we have the overall Sovereignty of God that we also have to recognize, and we’ll look at that in just a moment. Now coming back to I Timothy chapter 2, verse 9:
I Timothy 2:9a
“In like manner also, (with that attitude of believing prayer and peace of God) that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety;…”
I had to go to the Greek and pick that word up, and I think there’s a better word than “shamefacedness,” because we really don’t understand what that is. But when I went into the Greek with my dictionary, and Strong’s, the truer and probably a better translation for that word was a two fold meaning “toward other men the woman want to be shy and reserve, but in her attitude toward God it was to be an attitude of Ah.”
And I like that and thought, my isn’t it funny how sometimes just one word can miss so much. But as the women now come into the workers experience in the local Church they are not to be aggressive, and flamboyant in the presence of the men, but rather they are to be a little more on the shy and reserve side, but their attitude to God is to be just in Ah in all that he is. Now reading on:
I Timothy 2:9b
“…not with braided hair, or gold or pearls, or costly array:”
Now to show that this isn’t just Paul’s idea, we’re going to go to I Peter chapter 3, for a moment. A lot of you already know those verses. Here the Holy Spirit has caused Peter to write almost the same kind of language. So putting these two portions together and you realize that this is God speaking. First through the Apostle Paul who is writing to Timothy, but also through the Apostle Peter in his little epistles.
I Peter 3:1-2
“Likewise, ye wives, be subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, (in other words the husband is an unbeliever) they also may without the word be won by the conversation (or the manner of living) of the wives: 2. (so that this unbelieving husband) while they behold your chaste conversation (in other words your pure manner of living) coupled with fear. (or respect). In verse 3 this is telling how the wife or the women of the Church in Timothy are to dress.
I Peter 3:3
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;”
Now Peter doesn’t forbid it. He doesn’t say, “Now ladies don’t fix your hair, or ladies don’t look half way decent,” not at all, but he is saying, “Don’t let that be your primary way of attracting that unsaved husband.”
And Paul is going to use the same type of language, but a lot of people have abused it, and tell their women “That they can’t fix their hair, they can’t wear jewelry, and can’t look nice,” but that’s not what the Book says. It merely says, “Don’t let your primary way of speaking out to people, your testimony be these physical outward appearance.” Then verse four says it all.
I Peter 3:4
“But let it be the hidden man of the heart,…”
Even though it says, man, it’s still a generic term here, but let it be that inward personality that has been transformed by the Grace of God that is without price.
Now I was reading an article the other day about one of our more famous basketball coaches in the college ranks, who used to coach up at Iowa University, and the last few years has coached Arizona University. Just recently he lost his lovely wife to cancer, and there’s been several articles in the paper about what a tremendous lady that coach’s wife was to those basketball players. She was just like a second mother, and even guys who were under her husband’s coaching years back were still relating how they could remember when they were kids fresh out of high school and in a strange place, and she just mothered them like their own mother. Well what a great testimony she had. And I’m sure that Lute Olson and his wife, Bobbi were true Christians because I’ve read accounts of their life before her death.
But you see this is what we’re talking about. It’s not just the physical outward appearance, all though that certainly is appropriate. In fact as I was mulling this over, I couldn’t help but think, you’re all aware of Sara, what kind of lady was she? Was she something that just turned people off? Hardly. Let’s go back and look at that account in Genesis chapter 12. And this is where you use all of Scripture to put your thoughts together, and I think that’s the only way you can understand some of these things. Look at the whole picture. Yes Paul and Peter says: “don’t let it be the fixing of the hair, don’t let it be the wearing of your jewelry, or some pretty dress, but instead let it be the inward man of the heart.” But that still don’t mean that you have to make less your outward appearance.
“And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. (of Israel) 11. And it came pass when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:”
What was Abraham expecting? That Pharaoh’s guards would come out and take Sarai into the Pharaoh’s harem. Abraham knew that was a good possibility. So what kind of woman was Sarai? She was beautiful, but Sarai wasn’t just beautiful on the out side, but she was also beautiful woman of faith.
Now in the moments we have left come back with me to I Timothy. So the point I’m trying to make ladies, is that there is nothing wrong with fixing your hair, nor wearing jewelry, or being attractive, but that’s not the number one priority. The number one priority is, the “hidden women of the heart.” So coming back to I Timothy chapter 2, in verse 9 Paul is using the same language that Peter used, and then in verse 10 he also uses the same language.
I Timothy 2:10
“But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
So just like Bobbi Olson had a tremendous testimony helping her husband in his coaching profession, so it is that all women of faith also have a good testimony of good works.
Lesson Two • Part II
Order in the Local Church
I Timothy 2:8 – 6:20
We started in Genesis ten years ago on the television program and we are not anywhere near finished. I always like to remind folks that we are just an informal Bible Study. We are taking it verse by verse. I don’t expect you to always agree with me. There is a lot of room for disagreement without missing eternity. All I try to do is to get folks to see what the Bible says. Not what I say.
Alright now, we are walking into some pretty touchy territory. I have been meditating on this next series of verses for a long time and we want to stay true to the Word, and yet we don’t want to be so dogmatic that people feel that they do not have a role to play.
Paul was never against women, just for the sake of being against women – and anybody that thinks that, I send them into Romans chapter 16. In that chapter he commends more women than men who had helped him in the ministry. So there is a place for women in the Body of Christ. But, there are some stipulations, so it behooves us to look at what the Word of God says. Let’s get right back to where we left off, I Timothy chapter 2 verse 11.
I Timothy 2:11
“Let the women learn in silence with all subjection.” Now don’t take that to the extreme. That doesn’t mean that women are to be walked on and are to be treated as second class citizens, but it all goes back to Eve. In fact let’s chase it back right now before we go any further. Let’s go to Genesis chapter 3. God in His mercy did not lay the blame of the curse upon Eve. You all know that. That was placed on Adam, but you also know who ate first! Eve did. She didn’t come through that scot-free just because Adam was given the fault for the fall and all of that.
Eve also came under one of the judgements of God because of what she had done. Never forget, even though women are on the same level ground with men in the Body of Christ, yet in the overall umbrella of God’s Sovereignty we have to always remember what took place in the beginning. Verse 16 of chapter 3 of Genesis.
“Unto the woman (Eve) he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and they conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; (all the pain and so forth of children and birthing is because of this right here) and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
That is the order of the sexes as God laid it down at the very beginning. Man was to be the head of the woman. Not that she was his slave or somebody to be walked on, as most cultures have made it. I have always said as long as I have been teaching, that if there was anything that set the women free it was Christianity. Until the advent of Paul’s Gospel of Grace, the women of the world had no rights. They were never educated. They couldn’t read. They were just chattel for the men. And, Christianity has never permitted that.
So, as women live in this Age of Grace, count your blessings that you are in a period of God’s timing that, under Grace, you do have these privileges. But God’s Sovereignty has demanded women play the role of being subjected to the men in that order of the sexes.
Come back to I Timothy chapter 2 then, with that in mind. Keep that in mind that this isn’t just Paul. It isn’t just Les Feldick. This is the Sovereign working of God. So now, He causes Paul to write:
I Timothy 2:12
“But I suffer (permit) not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man but to be in silence.” That is the secret in that verse. That they were not to be in a place of putting the men under their authority. The man was to maintain the place of authority but that didn’t mean that women couldn’t function in other roles in the Body of Christ. Now in verse 13 Paul comes up with a reason, which I have just shown you in Genesis, why it is this way.
I Timothy 2:13
“For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”
Adam was on the scene a good while before He took Eve out of Adam. Because remember, Adam even named all the creatures of creation before Eve appeared. So, I don’t know how long it was, but Adam was alone for a certain period of time. And Paul is using this as one of the Sovereign reasons for men to be in the place of authority. Because man was made first and then Eve and then the next one is in verse 14. Adam was not deceived! Eve was. Which points up again, I think, an inherent weakness in the feminine makeup that they probably don’t have the aggressive stability of the man and all of these enter in to God’s instructions to the Christian Church, the Body of Christ and the function of the man and the women in that environment.
I Timothy 2:14
“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” In other words, she ate without realizing what she was doing. We have covered all that in previous lessons. Then verse 15.
I Timothy 2:15a
“Notwithstanding…” Just because Eve was in the transgression, she certainly didn’t lose the opportunity for salvation and as we well know, women are saved just as well as men. I think I can clarify verse 15 just a little bit.
I Timothy 2:15b
“…she shall be saved in childbearing,…”
Not by having children. That was never the idea, even in the Greek, but rather she too, like man, is saved by that tremendous act of Grace and that was what? THE childbearing! The coming of Christ in the flesh. So it is by that act of God whereby God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ became flesh so that He could go the way of the cross. That becomes the way of salvation for women as well as for the men. Then:
I Timothy 2:15c
“…if they continue in faith and charity (love) and holiness with (an attitude of sobriety) sobriety.” Sobriety, which is not as good a word as I think self restraint. A shyness of sorts, that they are not abrasive.
Again, I always like to come back to the historical setting of these letters of Paul, way back in probably 63-64 AD. All these believers, with the exception of the Jewish element, had come from what kind of a background? Pagan mythological idolatry. That was the influence that had to be subjected.
Now in that pagan culture, never forget that immorality ran rampant. A good portion of the young women actually plied the trade of prostitution. If fact, I have read, and you all know I love history, when the Roman armies marched as they went on their campaigns all through the then known world, there were just about as many prostitutes following the army as there were soldiers.
You have to realize this was an impact that Paul had to confront. This is why he is constantly warning these women who had come out of that culture and were now in the Body of Christ that they should totally separate themselves from that kind of an impression.
I think that would help us. Because you see, the prostitutes were brazen. They had no shyness. They had no self restraint. They were only concerned as to what they could do to manage their own welfare. So keep all of these things in mind when you look at some of the things that Paul wrote.
Same thing when you go into chapter 3, this was still a paramount reason for Paul writing by the unction of the Holy Spirit, what he writes. Verse 1:
I Timothy 3:1a
“This is a true saying,…” Remember, the whole idea here is how to have that local Church function in the midst of all this pagan idolatry, on the one hand and Judaism on the other. So:
I Timothy 3:1b
“… If a man desire the office of a bishop, (or a Pastor is the word we would use today) he desireth a good work.”
I guess the first thing that I should do is to qualify the three words that Paul uses in Ephesians and here in Timothy and again in Titus, and that is the word “bishop” and “elder” and “deacon.”
Now, an elder and a bishop were basically the same thing, but the bishop was the “office” – the position. The “elder” was the “man.” Then the deacon was the other segment of church officers who were to be just like they were back in Act chapter 6. The deacons in the early church were servants. They were more or less the men in the church who would take care of the needs of the people. Not so much the spiritual as the physical and the material.
So you have two offices, even though we are using three terms. Don’t confuse that. A bishop and an elder were basically the same thing and then you have the deacon. Now, let’s move on. We are going to deal first with the office of the bishop or the elders.
It is interesting to note that they are never used in a singular term. There was never a single elder or pastor in the early Apostolic church. That’s why some denominations even today will not have just a single pastor. They use their elders which are men in the congregation. They are not that far afield because they have broken with tradition.
I Timothy 3:2
“A bishop (or a pastor) then must be blameless, (that is understandable. This is all just plain common sense. It certainly wouldn’t do to have a pastor who had a shady reputation. Why the world would just scoff at that and to often does.) the husband of one wife,…”
Now, I have to stop, don’t I? If I were kind to myself, I would keep going because there is a lot of controversy on this statement right here. What does this mean, the husband of one wife? Some denominations take the strict interpretation that a man who has been married and divorced and remarried has now been “two” wives and consequently he is no longer a valid candidate for the pastorate.
On the other hand, like I have already said, in Paul’s time the people around the Church were in abject paganism and their marriage vows meant almost nothing. So, a lot of these people at the time of Paul may have had four or five or six or seven different wives. Divorce and take another one – divorce, etc. Others may have had three or four at once. They practiced polygamy. We have talked to missionary friends who have gone under those same circumstances in some of the more primitive tribes.
Well, here you have a gentleman who has four or five wives and he gets saved. He comes in and wants to be a part of the local Church. What is he going to do with all the extra wives when we realize now, according to the Christian premises, he should only have one? I’ll tell you what, it is not an easy thing to settle.
In those kind of cultures, if all of a sudden this man just simply drops three of those four wives and keeps the one, what are those three going to do to make a living? There is nothing out there for them. They are uneducated. There is no job market. Well, again, where do they end up? Prostitution.
So there is always this thing to be dealt with that you have to use a lot of common sense. Now, we have come almost full circle. Our society is rapidly becoming just as immoral and just as prone to marry and divorce and remarry and divorce as the pagans were.
But you take all these things into perspective and when I look at it, I just say this. A husband of one wife, yes, that means he cannot be a polygamist. He cannot be a man, I do not think, who has divorced and remarried four or five times. I think that would just automatically put a man out of the capability of being a pastor. Because if he can’t get along with four or five different women, he won’t be able to get along with a congregation. That’s understandable.
On the other hand, I have seen, and I will agree that if a man has been divorced and he has been saved and then he and his wife as believers get married, I have seen them, they become choice servants for the Lord and I see nothing wrong with that. I am just simply going to leave it at this, that every situation has to be judged on it’s own merit. I am in no position to say “This is this and this is that!” But, always remember the circumstances that Paul wrote on the one hand are beset with paganism and immorality and on the other hand realizing that the Church is just getting its start. It is in the embryonic stage. So all these things were set in place predominately for those early days.
The other thing I like to point out when I read what we call the Pastoral Letters; there is nothing, not one word in any of Paul’s instructions that permitted the hierarchies that we see today. You don’t find fifteen, twenty or a hundred denominations in Paul’s writing. Do you? You don’t find a great Church hierarchy in Paul’s instructions. So all of this has come by virtue of men’s idea and not from the instruction of Scripture.
But, as I was getting ready for all of this during the last month, I ran across a verse that I had never really noticed before. That is in II Timothy 2, verse 1. We will be hitting this again when we get to II Timothy, but this is something that just all of a sudden struck me. All through I Timothy and Titus and those are the two that were written pretty much synonymously or contemporaneously. They were written about the same time. Then II Timothy is written a year or two later when Paul is back in prison and will then be martyred.
But here in I Timothy and Titus he is writing all these instructions about how to behave in the local church. How to set up pastors and deacons and so forth, but now in this last pastoral letter, he makes a shocking statement. Maybe it isn’t as shocking to you as it was to me. In chapter 2 verse 2 but I am going to read verse 1 as well.
II Timothy 2:1-2
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2. And the things that thou hast heard of me (that is, Paul’s doctrines of Grace) among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, (not a word about pastors and deacons here. This is to be committed to faithful men. Regardless of their station in the local church, evidently, and these men) who shall be able to teach others also.”
Kind of shocking isn’t it? There is not a word in II Timothy about pastors and deacons and such an organization, but now the truth of Paul is to be committed to faithful “men.” Well, that is just something for you to chew on and to think about. We will come to it again when we get to II Timothy.
Now come back to I Timothy again in chapter 3 dealing with the men who are to head up these little congregations of believers fresh out of paganism. Never lose sight of that. I know I have repeated it and repeated it since we have been in Paul’s letters that all of these believers were idolaters. They were immoral practitioners of the temples of the gods and goddesses. So they had to make a stark distinction between now living under the Christian environment as over what they came out of, and consequently then, it stands to reason, verse 2 again:
I Timothy 3:2
“A bishop then must be blameless, (so these pagans couldn’t say they are no different than we are. They had to show that they were now different. So, consequently he was to be) the husband of one wife, (he was not to be a polygamist nor someone who had married and divorced umpteen times. He was a man who was) vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;” Able to teach the Word. Of course, that was his role. In his every day life he was:
I Timothy 3:3
“Not given to wine, (not a wine bibber) no striker, (someone who would involve himself in a physical brawl) not greedy of filthy lucre; (the term here is filthy lucre. I’m not sure that all of the manuscripts have that term but nevertheless he was not to be greedy for money or material things. But, on the other side of the coin he was to be) but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;”
He was not to be wrapped up in the things of this world wanting first this and then that. Quite a condemnation, isn’t it? Then verse 4, right along with what I have always taught as the Jewish prerequisite for being a member of the Sanhedrin, how can you have any control or how can you give good advice to those around you that have family and kids and wives, if you have never been there yourself?
How many times don’t we hear of someone who has lost a child or a spouse and we are so prone to say, “Oh, I know how you feel.” Well unless you have been there, you don’t. And I prefer to use the word, I have empathy for those people but I can’t have true sympathy because I haven’t been there.
We just heard of the loss of the husband of one of the families in one of my classes. Well, I can’t call that wife and say I know how it must feel. No, I can’t! I haven’t been there. I still have my spouse. It is the same way with losing a child, so often we glibly say that we can image what it is like. No, you can’t. You can’t image what it is like until you have actually been there yourself.
So, this is what Paul is a saying here. How can you be a pastor if you have never had the anxiety of raising teenagers or in the husband and wife relationship which is different for someone who has never entered in. This is why he is laying down these prerequisites for a leader in the local church.
I Timothy 3:4
“One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection (obedient children. Getting along well with his wife.) with all gravity;” Then the reason is in verse 5.
I Timothy 3:5
“(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”
Which is the same kind of thing. You have families. You have children. You have teenagers. You have young married couples. How can you deal with all those problems if you have never been there yourself. So it is logical. It is just plain common sense. Alright, verse 6, another good one!
I Timothy 3:6a
“Not a novice,…”
I had a young lad that called from Georgia and he thought he had been called to preach. I said “Forget it. God doesn’t use ten year olds to preach and to be a pastor. Because that is being a novice.” You have to have the experience You have to have the knowledge before God will use someone like that. So here it is again in verse 6 that even the bishop or pastor was not to be a novice. Not a beginner.
I Timothy 3:6b
“…lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” In other words, to be a pastor took maturity. Then verse 7.
I Timothy 3:7
“Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without;…”
That’s common sense, isn’t it? How far can a pastor get in his community if he doesn’t have character. How much good can he do in a community if no one speaks well of him. It’s just plain common sense. Now verse 8,
I Timothy 3:8
Even though they are in a little different role than the pastor, the deacons are in that same place of responsibility and they are to be that same kind of a testimony as the bishops were. Because the outside world is looking in and if the world looks and sees these church officers living no different than the world, then there is no testimony. They might as well put a lock on the church door. They are using it absolutely for no good whatsoever. Then verse 9.
I Timothy 3:9a
“Holding the mystery of the faith…”
That’s the word that Paul likes to use with that whole body of revealed truth. The revelation of the mysteries and they were to be held:
I Timothy 3:9b-10
“…in a pure conscience. 10. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of deacon, being found blameless.”
In other words, without reproach. And then here again is where the wife comes into the picture. She is just as important in God’s sight as the deacon himself, because she is his helpmeet.
So wives of deacons and pastors are to be the same type of a person. Above reproach. And they are to show that love and that faith that comes with the true child of God. Verse 11 describes the role of the woman who is the wife of a deacon.
I Timothy 3:11a
“Even so must their wives be grave,…” That doesn’t mean that they can’t ever smile or to laugh at a good joke, but they are not to be flippant. They are not to be that which does not demand respect. They are:
I Timothy 3:11b
“…not slanderers, (not gossipers) sober, faithful in all things.”
So all these are just simply common sense requirements for Church leadership. Again remember, that this was back in the midst of a pagan idolatrous culture. And those pagans were watching every move they made.
Lesson Two • Part III
Order in the Local Church
I Timothy 2:8 – 6:20
Now these are the Pastoral Epistles. In other words, Paul is writing to these two men who will more or less pick up the mantle of keeping the churches in control. The whole purpose here is the function of the local body of believers. You don’t find salvation explicitly explained in these epistles, nor will you find a lot of the other things that you will find in Romans for example – these are merely instructions to keep the local group of believers moving ahead.
As I said in the last lesson, there is nothing in here to indicate the huge denominations that we have seen, and all of their differences or the hierarchy. The Apostolic church was relatively simple. They were under the control of a group of men who were called elders. Then another group of men who, more or less did the servitude work of the church, which were at that time called deacons.
Now in chapter 4, Paul is going to do to Timothy as he did to us as ordinary believers throughout his other epistles, and that is warn against the false teaching that would be coming in. You know, as you look back to the situation in Paul’s day, how much false teaching was always attacking the church. It is a wonder that Christianity survived. It’s a wonder that we have been able to keep the Word of God! But, of course, God is in control and He has kept it. Here we are almost two thousand years later and we are still privileged to partake of this marvelous Grace of God. But, it has been under attack constantly. I don’t believe there was ever a period in the last 2000 years that the Church wasn’t under the attack of false teachings of one sort or another. It is no different today.
I Timothy 4:1a
“Now the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) speaketh expressly, (no doubt about it) that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,…”
We call this apostasy. If ever there has been a time in Church history when we have seen rampant apostasy, it’s today. Where huge blocks of people, denominations and so forth, are rejecting the basic fundamentals, that’s apostasy. So Paul was already warning of it even before he left the scene. So the Spirit expressly says:
I Timothy 4:1b
“…in the latter times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (demons)”
That is quite a statement isn’t it? Now, I’m going to take you back to II Corinthians chapter 11 verse 13. Remember that the Corinthian letters were written a few years previous to the letters to Timothy and Titus. But, he says much the same thing, only here he is writing to the individual believer, not just to the Church leadership.
II Corinthians 11:13
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” Men who would usurp even Apostolic authority – they were harbingers of evil. They were false.
II Corinthians 11:14
“And no marvel; (don’t be surprised) for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Quite a shocking statement isn’t it? In other words, Satan can make his appearance and folk will think that this is God Himself. And, that is what he loves to do. We have to be aware of it especially in this day of such mass confusion. I have never looked in on the internet, even though we have a web page, but from what I hear you must be able to find anything up there that you can think of. The devil is using these final days to literally pull the plug and bring in mass confusion. Well, Paul was already confronted, certainly on a much smaller scale. Now verse 15.
II Corinthians 11:15a
“Therefore (since Satan can transform himself into an angel of light) it is no great thing if his ministers (preachers, denominational leaders, evangelists, etc. who are under Satan’s control, they can) also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness;…”
But they are not. They are ministers of evil. But they make the world think that they are it. Oh, they will use Scripture. You know, I am always telling people, especially if they call on the phone and I can be explicit. I say, “Now listen, I have never known a false teacher yet that didn’t use probably 75 or 80% of truth!” That’s what makes it so deceptive. Eighty percent of what they will say, that percentage is just a term, but I won’t disagree with what they are saying, but then comes in 20% – 25% of absolute garbage that destroys the Truth of the Word of God.
This is what we have to discern. This is why we have to know what the Book says. Because they sound so good. Why are some of the cults growing so fast today? They sound good! They are moral and good people but listen, their doctrine is nothing but a can of worms. And oh, they use enough Scripture to make it sound good. So Paul is warning even the Corinthians that it’s no great thing that Satan’s ministers also be transformed as the minister of righteousness. The gullible public swallows it. But:
II Corinthians 11:15b
“…whose end shall be according to their works.” One day they will stand before the Great White Throne and be pronounced their doom. Alright, back to I Timothy chapter 4. So these false teachers will be coming in and they are seducing spirits. They hook people, and they have nothing more than the doctrines of demons. Verse 2:
II Timothy 4:2a
“Speaking lies in hypocrisy;…
Whenever I see the word hypocrisy when it comes to Biblical things, one man in Scripture always comes to my mind. Who was it? Who was the biggest hypocrite that Scripture could ever tell us about? Judas! Judas! What a hypocrite. And he played it to the hilt. For three years he went along with Christ in His earthly ministry. He even carried the money bag, and it came all the way down to the night of the Last Supper and the Lord says that one of you is going to betray me. Did any of those fellows have an idea who it was? Not a one. Why not? He was the perfect hypocrite. He went along with everything but in his heart, he had no time for it. The Lord only knows how much he embezzled out of the bag. The Bible doesn’t tell us but I have my right to ask. I’ll bet he got a bunch of it because he was NOT part and parcel of the Lord’s work. He was a total hypocrite.
Listen the world is full of them tonight. Oh, they look so good on the outside. They sound so good. They can somehow just cause the masses to come under their control. But, it is not the power of the Holy Spirit, it is the power of the evil spirit. It’s Satan’s domain. The more they can bring in under their control, the more I am reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus Himself. Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many thereby that go in thereat. But, narrow is the way and few there be that find it. Never forget that!
Only the small percentage will be in Glory. Not the masses. Now, I just read a poll again that said 75% of the people polled, here in America, thought they were going to go to heaven when they die. Bless their hearts, I hope some of them are right. But, I know from Scripture that most of them aren’t, because it’s not going to be that kind of a percentage that is going to have eternal life. It’s the small remnant that God has always had to keep for Himself.
So, here’s the warning, just as plain as Scripture can make it. They’re speaking lies in hypocrisy. This is the first thing that people will ask me if they call, and I say, “Listen, run from that kind of stuff.” “But, Les, they are using the Bible. They are using the Word of God.” But you see it doesn’t bother them, because their own spiritual conscience has been seared to where all they are concerned about is their own welfare. They are not concerned about the multitudes that they are leading to a devil’s hell. Their conscience has been seared with a hot iron.
“…having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”
In verse 3 we come to a part that on the surface isn’t shown but you get into some Biblical history, and what you are finding in this next verse came out of the Gnostics. Gnosticism. They were a group of people in Paul’s day who were operating in the local churches and the word Gnosticism comes from the Greek word for knowledge. And, those men thought that they had more knowledge. They felt superior to the main run of the believers in the church. So, they came up with the idea that they could dip back into ancient Hebrew practices, mix it with some of Paul and then they could come up with their own concoctions for spirituality. Well, that’s exactly what Paul is referring to. So they came up with idea of forbidding to marry. Commanding to abstain from meats or various foods.
I Timothy 4:3
“Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God (Paul said) hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
Now, they were going back into the Jewish law forbidding to eat the unclean foods and they were mixing it with some of the other things that they had pulled from Paul. They often mixed some of the philosophies from the Greek philosophers. They thought that they had a pretty nice package that they could present to the people. And it was. It just hooked them. Come down to verse 6.
I Timothy 4:6
“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, (in other words, how the false teachers are coming in and they are deceptive. They are hypocritical. But, they don’t really care about the end result for their listeners. They are just concerned about their own welfare. So he says, put the fellow believers, and he is talking to Timothy as a Pastor or an Overseer, in remembrance of these things and) thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of (what kind of doctrine?) good doctrine, (that which Timothy had received from the Apostle Paul) whereunto thou hast attained.”
Remember, how long has Paul known young Timothy? Well you see Timothy was one of the first converts that he had in Asia Minor when he first started his missionary work among the Gentiles. Timothy came from the area of central Asia Minor, and was about a man about 17 or 18 years old when he was first saved probably through Paul’s ministry. If Paul was around 40 when he began his ministry and won young Timothy at the age of 18, so in round figures, Timothy is about 20 or 22 years younger than Paul. For ease of remembering, I like to think of Paul as being born probably about the same time as Christ, which was around 4 BC.
By the time we get up here to Timothy in about 60-64 AD, that’s the age of the Apostle Paul. He is in his 60’s – looking at 70. Then here is young Timothy now around 38-40 years of age. So when he speaks of having trained and taught Timothy, indeed he has, for twenty years. He has been his right hand man. So, Timothy became then the logical one to pass these things over to. So that is what he is making reference to in verse 6, that he has been nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. Coming down to verse 7, he is going to again warn young Timothy so that Timothy can warn the people out there in the churches.
I Timothy 4:7
“But refuse profane and old wives fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” Then verse 8, here comes the Gnostics again.
I Timothy 4:8a
“For bodily exercise profiteth little:…”
Well those who were teaching Gnosticism were more or less trying to build an elite group of people that were probably excelled in physical things. They were excelled in the philosophies and so forth and consequently those were the sorts of people who thought that they really had it made. But Paul tells Timothy, bodily exercise profiteth, now the King James says profiteth “little,” but when you look at the Greek what it really means is that bodily exercise only profits for a little while. Now that makes a lot more sense. We know that good bodily exercise profits. It helps us. But, it’s not going to help for eternity. It only helps for a little while in this life. So, that is what he is telling Timothy, don’t follow this Gnosticism bit that exercise is more important than the things that are spiritual. Verse 8 again:
I Timothy 4:8a
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but (flip side) godliness is profitable unto all things,…” Godliness is just going to permeate your lifestyle. Godliness is going to enhance the local community, and it’s going to enhance the nation. As Proverbs says righteousness exalteth a nation. Of course it does. So it comes all the way down to the individual believer. So godliness is profitable:
I Timothy 4:8b
“…having promise of the life that now is, (We are not just living a “pie in the sky,” are we? We are living a life that is profitable in the here and now but it is also profitable) and of that which is to come.”
Which is Eternity! You have to realize the masses of people out here are living only for the three score and ten. Then it’s all over for them, and they have nothing more to look forward to than eternal doom. But for the believer, we have the abundant life here and now, as we have been seeing for the last several programs, we have this approach of prayer. We have the knowledge that God is with us every minute of our life. And the best part is still to come!! My goodness, take the best pleasure that you can think of, and when you get to eternity it is going to multiplied a million times! Maybe more than that! It’s beyond what we can comprehend, what God is preparing for us who believe. But it also enhances our here and now. We get the best of both.
I Timothy 4:9-10
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, (or receive reproach and receive all the fiery darts of the ungodly community around us, simply because we trust in the living God!) because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, (that means everybody is going to go to heaven? No. The next statement qualifies it. Who will?) specially of those that believe.”
Now, do you know what that verse is saying? When Christ died he paid the price of redemption for how many? Everybody! When Christ forgave the sins of the world, how many people did he forgive? Everybody! I really shook somebody up, they called here a while back and said I never thought of it before that even Adolph Hitler could have received eternal life, if he had believed. Adolph Hitler was already forgiven. Adolph Hitler was already reconciled in God’s eyes. But what did he have to do to appropriate it? Believe! And as far as we know he never did.
This is graphic! We can’t comprehend it, that when Christ died He paid the sin debt for every human being who has ever lived or ever will. He forgave that sin that He died for. He has made it possible for reconciliation to every human being. But, what do they have to do to cash in on it? Believe it!
That is not easy believe-ism. That is simply genuine heartfelt, faith prompted, belief, that yes, Christ died for me and rose from the dead! And, I believe it with all my heart (I Corinthians 15:1-4). Of course, then, God moves in and we move on from there. We begin a life of service, we begin a life of good works, if you want to call it that. Paul makes it so plain that Christ is the Savior. He has already done everything that needs to be done, not just for you and I who believe, but for the whole human race. It’s all done! But it isn’t appropriated until man believes it. Isn’t it amazing that they can walk it under foot? How can people just spurn such a prospect? It is just beyond human comprehension. Yet, that is how its always been.
Listen, the way is narrow and few there be that find it, there were probably four or five billion people on the earth at the time of the Flood. How many were saved? Eight! That’s getting awfully narrow. Just eight! Then you go on a little further in Biblical history and you have Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal. And you know that Elijah thought he was the only one but God said, no, you are not the only one. I still have seven thousand and what percentage was 7,000 in Israel? One tenth of one percent! That’s all! One tenth of one percent! The rest had followed Baal. It’s no different today. I will stick my neck out and say that I think it is closer to one tenth of one percent than it is to ten percent. Because the vast majority of humankind has no time for Paul’s Gospel. And of even those who are involved in some kind of Christian activity, how much truth are they getting? I don’t know. But I am just saying God has always had that small percentage who truly believe. Now verse 11:
I Timothy 4:11-12a
“These things command and teach. 12. Let no man despise thy youth;…”
Reminds me that Iris and I got on a plane here in Tulsa one day here awhile back and she couldn’t find her seat number and as we were going down the aisle, I finally saw it. There were two young guys each sitting on the aisle seat. They looked to me about 25 or 30 years old. And, I said, “Honey, there it is right there by those two kids!” The guy smiled and said THANKS! That is the best compliment we have heard in a long time. They were brothers and he said they were 40 years old! Well, you see when you get as old as we are 40 is pretty much like a youth. I imagine that is how Paul felt about Timothy. Boy, at 40, Timothy was still in the prime of life. He was a youth! But, remember when he first met him, he was 18 or 20. But, he said, let no man despise thy youth.
I Timothy 4:12b
“…but be thou an example of the believers, (even Timothy was to be a constant encouragement to those fellow pagans who has come out of it and had now become believers.) in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
Again, remember I told you several times. Once when we were back in I Corinthians 13 and again when we started I Timothy, I said, how many times Paul refers to the last three things in I Corinthians 13, now abideth these three: faith, hope and love. Well, now you have two of them again for the second time in the last couple of chapters. So he says, keep it up in love, in spirit and in faith and in purity. He doesn’t mention hope here, but he does in other places.
I Timothy 4:13a
“Till I come,…” Paul has come out of his first prison experience and he is probably going to meet Timothy at Ephesus, I’m thinking. And, as he goes from Rome across the Adriatic Sea and probably across Northern Greece, I think maybe he stopped at Philippi. Then dropped down to Ephesus where he hoped to meet Timothy. From Ephesus he’s going to go on down to the island of Crete, where he will meet up with Titus. Then from Crete he comes on back and finally ends up in Rome and arrested for the second time. So, he says to Timothy, until I come:
I Timothy 4:13b
“…give attendance to reading, (to study) to exhortation,(and to what?) to doctrine.” Don’t ever, ever put down the need for doctrine. In other words, what do you really believe? What does the Word of God teach you? This you are supposed to KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Lesson Two • Part IV
Order in the Local Church
I Timothy 2:8 – 6:20
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all your kind letters and it just thrills our heart when we can read how the Lord is touching lives. Because we realize that we are just common ordinary cattle ranchers and yet the Lord has seen fit to use us.
We are starting this lesson with I Timothy chapter 6 verse 1 and a lot of you are going to say, “Why did you skip chapter 5?” Well, chapter 5 deals with a lot of things that were paramount in Paul’s day but are not that pertinent for us today, because it deals primarily with widows. I guess Iris and I got a glimpse of what this chapter is talking about when we were in Haiti. You have to realize that in these cultures where there is no welfare program, and no social security program, then the family is totally responsible for taking care of those who are unable to work. Those who can’t work or don’t have jobs or widows.
So the gentleman we went to minister with for that week or ten days had what he called, a Widow’s House. To be honest with you, most of you wouldn’t let your dog stay where those widows lived. It was pitiful and yet they were thrilled to death to at least have a roof over their heads, because they had no family. They had no one to take care of them and rather than just be out on the street, this pastor and his group brought them in and gave them just enough food, you might say, to exist.
It was pitiful and heartbreaking. Well, you see, that was the situation in Paul’s day. They had no safety net and when these people would end up with no family, they would be destitute. So, the Church had the responsibility to take care of these women who were left as legitimate widows. But, human nature being what it is, what was the danger? Somebody was going to milk the system. So there had to be some guidelines to prevent that and to make sure that widows who were genuinely, as he says, widows indeed, would be taken care of.
You can read this chapter, all of you, at your leisure, where again Paul just simply lays down some guidelines for Timothy as to how to handle these women who would need the help of the local Church. Now today, it’s not that paramount, because we have all these other safety nets, as we call them. Now, let’s just go in to I Timothy chapter 6 and I am also looking at trying to finish the pastoral letters in this book number 45, so that when we start with book 46 soon, I’ll be ready for the Book of Hebrews. A lot of folks are looking forward to that and I am as well.
I Timothy 6:1a
“Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour,…”
Here again, this is something that we have nothing to do with because slavery was part and parcel of the ancient world. As hard as it is to believe, Christianity did not abolish it as quickly as we think they should have. So, slavery was still part and parcel of their economy. But, again Paul admonishes masters as well as the servants to adhere to their Christian principles. So, he wrote, servants if you are under the yoke count your masters worthy of all honour:
I Timothy 6:1b-6:2a
“…that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are (what?) brethren;…”
Now, the perfect example is, of course, the little letter to Philemon. Because Philemon was a slave master and Onesimus was one of the slaves that had run away. We will probably touch on that in our next few lessons, but all of these various levels of society were still one in Christ. Now reading on in verse 2.
I Timothy 6:2b
“…but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.”
I have made comment about this before. Why did God sanction slavery in the first place? You want to remember, we are so programmed to our Western culture, that unless you are a student of history you are prone to not realize that all the way up through antiquity, the masses had no education. They had no technical prowess, or anything like that. So the only place they could function would be under the control of peers that were craftsmen and so forth. They couldn’t handle it on their own.
But, in everything that God ever introduced even though it was good, as He intended it, what did sinful men do with it? Well, they adulterated it. And, instead of masters being benevolent and taking care of their servants, what did they do? They took advantage of them and they abused them and they tortured them, and all these things. That is not God’s fault. That’s sinful men.
Had it worked as God intended it, you see, those uneducated masses would have had it far better under the control of those who had the where with all to read and write and transact business. So, always take those things into consideration and don’t just give it a blanket condemnation by thinking, why in the world did God every permit slavery? Had it been done the way God would have done it and had been done benevolently, it would have been not so bad. We are, of course, not used to it whatsoever, so we don’t see anything good in it. Now verse 3.
I Timothy 6:3
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;”
I imagine when it comes to our relationship with our fellow human beings, if you were to go back to the words of the Lord Jesus, and in a nutshell, what one statement did Jesus give that would have taken care of all these abuses of mankind? Yes! The Golden Rule. Jesus spoke it. He said “the greatest of the commandments was love your neighbor as your self.” That’s what we call the Golden Rule. Do unto your neighbor as you would have him do unto us!
You see, if that were done, everything would go along fairly smooth. But, mankind doesn’t do it so Paul is thinking here that if they would listen to the words of the Lord Jesus and to the doctrine which was His according to godliness, then the human race wouldn’t have all of these problems.
He’s talking about someone who would teach otherwise. False teachers again. So, now he describes the false teachers, here in verse 4, and it’s quite a description. Do you realize how much of the New Testament denounces false teaching? The whole letter of Jude. The whole chapter of II Peter chapter 3, II Timothy chapter 3 all denounce false teaching. On top of that, it is sprinkled throughout all of Paul’s letters; Romans, Corinthians and all the rest of them. So a good portion of our New Testament is a denunciation of false teachings. We are supposed to be aware of it. Alright, here is another one, these false teachers are proud, as we see in verse 4.
I Timothy 6:4-5a
“He is proud, knowing nothing, (ring a bell?) but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, evil surmisings, 5. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds,…”
I don’t get involved in politics and I don’t use this as a bully pulpit for politics, but my goodness can’t you see it in here? How they can twist and attack the truth and make it sound as though this is what’s good for the country? Well, it’s the way the human race has always been and Paul is warning us to not be taken in by these kinds of men.
I Timothy 6:5b
“… and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness;…” Boy, does that ring a bell? A sign of your spirituality is your checking account? That’s not God’s way, but it’s the way of the false teachers. Then:
I Timothy 6:5c
“…from such withdraw thyself.”
When people call and tell me about some of these things or what they may be hearing from their pulpit, I will be honest with you. Do you know what I tell them? I said, “Run! Run from it. Don’t even sit there and contemplate it when it is so far afield from the Word of God. Don’t try to rationalize that maybe it’s alright if you go back there. No, you run from it because that is what Paul tells us! He says, don’t be taken in by these false teachers.” Reading on, verse 6.
I Timothy 6:6
“But godliness (that which pertains to a true Christian experience) with contentment is great gain.”
Do you know what is part and parcel of our whole Western culture today? That you are never to be satisfied unless you can get more and more and more. The whole idea of Madison Avenue advertising, is to make us think that we just have to have “that.” I can’t live until I get “that.” But see, Paul teaches us the opposite. We are to be content with such as we have because that, if it is with godliness, is of great gain. Now, verse 7.
I Timothy 6:7
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
That’s true isn’t it? We brought nothing into this world, not even a suit of clothes. And it is a settled fact that we are going to take nothing out. Let’s remember that. All that we accumulate is going to be left behind.
I am always reminded of a gentleman when we were still farming in Iowa. He had an abstract office in the same office where my insurance man was located. I was in one day dealing with some insurance and we got to talking about some of the wealthy families in the community. This old fellow in the abstract office said, “You know, I have been in this business now for sixty some years. And, I know just about everybody for miles around. Do you know that I cannot name one family that settled their estate without a knock down, drag out fight?”
Quite a statement. And, you know, it’s so true. Very seldom can a family settle a large estate and have everybody on speaking terms when it is all done. Just think about it. This is what Paul is dealing with. Don’t get so hung up with wealth. There is nothing wrong with wealth. We know a lot of wealthy people. Iris and I stay with people, all the way from the top of the heap to the mundane. There is nothing wrong with wealth. But, it’s our attitude toward it. See? That’s what we are going to see a few verses later. Now verse 9.
I Timothy 6:9
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, (or desire) which drown men in destruction and perdition.
We know some wealthy people that have beautiful families. They haven’t been usurped with what wealth can do. In fact, one family closer than you like to think, we have admonished their kids that we are so proud of them, that their Dad’s wealth hasn’t affected them. But you know, many times it does affect them.
Iris and I can just rehearse family after family who came into all kinds of wealth and their kids end up in the drug culture. They end up marrying the most ungodly people. And we often think, if they wouldn’t have had all that wealth, it probably wouldn’t have happened.
But, there is nothing wrong with wealth in itself. It’s how we handle it. Alright, then come on down to verse 10, the verse that everybody misquotes. “For money is the root of all evil.” No, that is not what it says. What does it say? The LOVE of money. There is a big difference. When money takes us over and it becomes our first love, yes, it is going to be the root of a lot of evil. Money in itself can be used to glorify God and to enhance God’s kingdom. But, it can so easily take someone the other direction.
I Timothy 6:10a
“For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted….”
Now why do you suppose the Spirit prompted Paul to use the word covet? Let’s go back to see what the Scripture says. Let’s go all the way back to Romans chapter 7 verse 7.
“What shall we say then? Is the law (the Ten Commandments) sin? (Is it wrong? Is it evil?) God forbid. Nay, I have not known sin, (in other words, that was the purpose of the Law, to define sin for what it really is.) but by the law: for I had not known lust, (here it is, what he is dealing with in Timothy – desire for earthly things) except the law had said, Thou shalt not (what?) covet.”
When we were teaching this chapter verse by verse, if you have a real good sharp memory, do you remember the statement that I made? Do you know that you cannot break a single commandment, unless you do what first? Lust. Now I won’t explain it in this lesson, but you think about it for the next 24 hours. What law of God can you break without lusting first? And, that is why I think he uses it back here in Timothy, this whole idea of coveting just opens up a can of worms.
When you begin to covet this, you covet that and covet, covet, covet! And, it just overwhelms people. They can’t control it. We are living in that kind of society today so, it is a constant admonition from Scriptures to look out, be careful. Now back to I Timothy chapter 6 verse 10.
I Timothy 6:10
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Not because of the wealth itself, but it was because of the love of it and they are coveting things whereby they could use their wealth. Now verse 11.
I Timothy 6:11
“But thou, O man of God, (what’s the admonition? Run! Run from these things) flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, (there’s those two out of the three again. Faith, hope and charity. See here’s two of them again.) patience, meekness”
Now verse 12. I don’t know if people even know what I’m talking about any more, but I will use the term “milk toast.” We are not be a “milk toast.” Well, what is milk toast.? It’s something that is just squishy. It just doesn’t have any substance. We are not to be that! We are not to just be milk toast! We are to have stamina.
And, the very first word of the next verse is what? Fight! You don’t fight if you are letting everybody walk on you. So we stand up and let the world know where we are. So, we are to:
I Timothy 6:12a
“Fight the good fight of faith,…”
That takes some doing! That is not something that comes to you sitting in your easy chair. To fight means that you are out there expending some energy and all that is within you. We are to do all of this for the sake of the Gospel.
I Timothy 6:12b
“… lay hold on eternal life, (not the things of this world, but the things that are eternal) whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
In other words, Timothy having now known Paul for 20 or 22 years, had evidently never failed the apostle. There had been all kinds of opportunity. You want to remember that everywhere Paul went, he was a marked man. And if Paul was a marked man, who also was? The men with him! That is why he says in II Timothy that all have forsaken him, except Luke. Why? Because they feared for their life.
Paul was a marked man everywhere he went. It was not a bed of roses. So Timothy evidently held true, in spite of all of the pressures to have said that he didn’t want to be seen with this guy because I don’t want to end up in prison because I was with Paul. But, Paul never gives a word of condemnation about this young man Timothy. Now verse 13.
I Timothy 6:13a
“I give thee charge…”
That word “charge” again, is loaded. Do you know what that really means? Timothy, I am passing over all the responsibility that has been on my shoulders and I am giving it to you. Young man Timothy, that is how much I respect your faith. I give thee charge :
I Timothy 6;13b
“…in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;”
It is interesting, isn’t it, that very seldom does Paul repeat things that part and parcel are in the four gospels. Paul never alludes to Bethlehem as such. He never alludes to Christ’s time before Pilate and all of these things, but here is one where he does. Here is where he makes it known that he knew all about that which was written back there in the four gospels. And, so this Christ Jesus who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession:
I Timothy 6:14
“That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until (when) the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
Which again indicates, when did Paul think the Lord would come for the Church? For a long time he thought it was in his lifetime. Now, I think he is beginning to see that it may go a little beyond that but he certainly thought it would be in Timothy’s lifetime. Isn’t that something? He honestly thought that the Lord would be coming back in Timothy’s lifetime, if not in his own. Remember, that would have been very plausible. He is only 40 and in the next 30 years, Paul honestly thought that the Lord would return.
Alright, so he says maintain all of this until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now verse 15. Here we see Paul use some Sovereign titles for the Lord Jesus that he does not teach throughout all of his writings. But, nevertheless they are so appropriate in showing again who Christ really is.
I Timothy 6:15
“Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, (the Supreme supreme) the King of kings, (which you only see in one other place that I am aware of – Revelation 19) and Lord of lords:”
Paul puts that same title on Him. But, other than that, he never uses it. He is not the King of kings to the Church per se. He is the King of kings to the world in general and the end time setting up of the Kingdom. And, as Revelation puts it, he is Lord of lords. So he is in full accord with what John writes in the Book of Revelation. Now verse 16, again, a further description of who Christ really is!
I Timothy 6:16
“Who only (as the eternal Creator God) hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, (I will cover this in detail when we get to Hebrews chapter 1, this God that no man has seen. Then we say that I thought Christ was God and people saw Him. Well, we are going to explain that when we get to Hebrews.) nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”
Oh, the pre-eternal, the future-eternal God of Glory epitomized in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. Now verse 17, again he comes back and says:
I Timothy 6:17a
“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches,…”
Now we all know that from the Depression of 29 and the 30’s that a lot of wealthy people lost it all. They jumped out of the 10th and 12th floor windows. But we can never trust the things of this world. We can trust:
I Timothy 6:17b
“…but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”
Now, that doesn’t mean that we are going to have everything we would like to have, does it? But listen, we are going to have all we need. See that is why I maintain that God isn’t duty bound to give us everything we ask for. Don’t ever send me $100.00 with the idea you will get $1,000.00 back. I will never tell you that. Never. Because that is putting God in debt. That is putting God in a box, and I will never be a part of that. But I can tell you the promises that God will give unto you richly everything that you need for your daily life. Then he says:
I Timothy 6:18-20
“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19. Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 20. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust,…”
Do you see the admonition, and the pleading?
Lesson Three • Part I
The Faithful Servant of Christ Says Goodbye
II Timothy – Titus
In the last lesson we finished I Timothy, but we’re going to be turning to the Book of Titus, rather than II Timothy in this lesson. The reason I am skipping over II Timothy until the next lesson is that I Timothy was written just shortly after Paul received his acquittal after his first arrest. During his first imprisonment he wrote what we call the Prison Epistles, which are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and the little letter of Philemon. Then First and Second Timothy and Titus are set apart. First Timothy is written shortly after he is out of prison, after his acquittal, and Titus is much the same instructions. only now the two men are serving in two different areas of the Roman Empire.
Timothy is holding the fort in the area of Ephesus and Asia Minor and probably over into Greece. Whereas, Titus has been left in control of things down on the Island of Crete. So when he wrote I Timothy it was much the same as he writes to Titus on how to behave in the house of God, and how to establish the shepherding aspect of the bishops and the elders and so forth. Whereas, II Timothy is going to be written during his second arrest and while he is in prison awaiting his martyrdom. So I am going to leave II Timothy until after we have spent at least one program in the little letter to Titus. The reason I am spending only a little time in Titus is so much of the language is almost identical to I Timothy. Now Titus, verse 1.
“Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth…”
Remember, I mentioned in a previous program that is one of Paul’s favorite words – truth! It is kicked around a lot lately, isn’t it? Doesn’t mean much for most people today. But, for those of us who are adherents to the Word of God, truth is everything. This is what the Apostle Paul is constantly emphasizing. Then the truth:
“…which is after godliness;”
You have heard me over the years as I teach Grace, say that we are not under Law and that Grace is total freedom. But, I am always qualifying that it is not license. We are not just free to live like the devil because we are under Grace. Now, some people have tried to teach that and even some accuse Paul of teaching that, of which he says, we have been erroneously accused.
So, now I am going to take you to the part of Titus that I think we can almost take as the heart of this little letter. I will probably fill this lesson with this series of verses. It is in Chapter 2. We are going to skip all these requirements for the deacons and so forth and come into chapter 2, and dropping down to verse 11. If anybody thinks that Grace is license then these verses and this lesson will put that to rest.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”
Now that is in accordance with several other verses of Scripture, that no one will ever come before the Great White Throne and say “But, I never had a chance.” Yes, they have. How? I can’t tell you, but they have been given enough understanding that they will have no excuse as Paul says in Romans chapter one.
So this grace of God, this outpouring of an opportunity of salvation has appeared to all men. It’s not exclusive. It’s for Jew and Gentile. Black and white. Rich and poor. East and West, there are none excluded. Now then, the grace of God, contrary to what a lot of people try to make it, is not license, but it teaches us. See this? This is what the grace of God teaches us:
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,…”
Here again is where the freedom aspect comes in. It’s not a command that IF you do any of this you are “lost.” Not the IF you do any of this you are “doomed.” But, the admonition is that the grace of God is going to teach us to deny those things that are inappropriate now for the believer. I think it is obvious especially in our culture, that probably the number one sin of the flesh is the sin of the sexual nature. We are being bombarded. I feel so sorry for our kids, I don’t see how they stand a chance. The way they are bombarded from Hollywood and from television and from their literature and from now, the internet. But yet, we have to be aware that this is the number one thing that Scripture is constantly warning us to be against.
Come back with me now, if you will, in that light, to Galatians chapter 5 verse 17. Remember what he is just telling us, that the Grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, or appetites. Worldly appetites, or the appetites of the flesh. Alright, Galatians chapter 5, drop in at verse 17.
“For the flesh (see there it is – the flesh) lusteth (or exercises it’s appetites) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: (the two are not compatible) and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
In other words, you can’t just drift with the stream and be spiritual. It’s contrary to human nature, because, human nature is going to take us into the flesh. Now, verse 19, and this gets down to the nitty-gritty. What is Paul, by the inspiration of the Spirit, talking about when he says that the flesh wareth or lusteth against the Spirit?
“Now the works (the activity) of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,”
Every one of those words is connected to what kind of sins? Sexual sins. So that is the first paragraph of the lusts of the flesh. We are being bombarded with it, and don’t ever think for a minute that it hasn’t always been that way, and it was the same way back in Old Testament times. But, now by virtue of our technology and our communications and everything, it is snowballing and most of us are more aware of it than ever before in history. Here is what the Bible says, these are the things that pertain to ungodliness and worldly appetites or lusts or desire, and it doesn’t stop there. The next category of the things of the flesh are:
“Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,”
That is another category of the sins of the flesh. Then the next step down, even to those that are far more damaging to our fellow human beings are:
“Envyings, (what does that lead to?) murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:…”
These are all the things that Paul calls, here in Titus, that we are to deny. We are to have nothing to do with those things.
As I was mulling this over last night, a saying came to mind that we hear from the scoffers. “Well, if I can’t do any of these things, I might as well be dead.” But you see that is foolishness, that is idiocy. Because the whole idea is that for you and I as believers, we are turning our back on that, because we have a whole eternity coming!
It is going to be SO fabulous, that these sins of the flesh are nothing but pigpen material by comparison. Yet the world can’t comprehend that. Listen, you and I have no idea of the glory and the joy and the happiness that we are going to have, not for twenty or thirty years, but forever! We have such a future ahead of us and that is why the early believers were perfectly willing to be martyred. They understood that this life had nothing compared to eternity, which is out in front of us.
Now back to Titus chapter 2 again. So, as believers we are set free by the grace of God, with no “thou shalt and thou shalt not.” None of that is upon us. We are free. But, the admonition is, deny these things that are contrary to the will of God. As we deny ungodliness and these worldly, fleshly appetites, the other side of the coin is:
“…we should live soberly,…”
Soberly doesn’t mean that you have to go through life with a long face and can’t smile and have a good laugh. I do! There’s nothing I like better than a good laugh, Iris can tell you that. I just revel in a good laugh, and there is nothing wrong with it.
But, on the other hand, we have to understand that when it comes to the things of the Spirit, these are not frivolous. In fact, I read an article one time where someone questioned, “Why didn’t Jesus ever smile? Why didn’t He ever laugh? Why didn’t He ever say something funny? Well, it is easy. He had the burden of the sins of the world upon Him from day one. How could He make light of any of that? Well, He couldn’t. So consequently, no, we have nothing in Scripture to indicate that He told jokes, or that He laughed or anything like that. It just wouldn’t have fit.
But, for us today, that does not mean that we have to walk a life like we are tired of living. If anything, we as believers, have more to be happy about that anybody on earth. So the word soberly simply means that we are not frivolous. That we understand that life is serious business but on the other hand that we can certainly enjoy a good laugh. Alright the next one is:
I think a lot of people are afraid of that word. I have my own pet definition. It is simply “a right standing with God that we receive when we believe Paul’s Gospel for salvation.” When we are made righteous, we are made “right with God.” To live righteously then, is to live in consort with God’s desires on our behalf. That is a simple word. Righteously.
Now that is a small “g.” We will never become God. Never! But, we can become godlike. See? In fact when the term Christian first came up, it was a derogatory term, it was a slur, because these people were living so Christlike in the midst of their pagan communities. Well, so be it! That’s what we are to be. We are to be godly, we are to be godlike.
In fact, I was just visiting with a law officer the other night. I asked him how often do you arrest good, true, practicing Christians in your line of work? How often do you have to make a call to a violent situation that is involving Christians? The answer? Never! I asked him how often do you have to pursue Christians who are setting up an amphetamine lab? Well, never. So this is the whole difference. Christians, as I have always maintained, are good citizens. Christians are not the people that are on the police blotter every day of the week. And then the world in general thinks that we’re a detriment to society? Well, they do. And, it is going to get worse. They are going to think that we are against everything and that we’re not for anything. But, listen, this is all part and parcel of our living, soberly, righteously and godlike. Where? Now what are the next three words?
“…in this present world.”
Not in some pie in the sky existence but right here and now, in the workplace, in our relationships with family members. We are to be living according to the grace of God with these as the hallmark of our character.
At the same time, that we are to be living godly, righteously and that which is pleasing in God’s sight, we are also to be having one eye on which direction? Upward!
“Looking (I think that verb in the Greek is an active word. We are to be just constantly aware and looking) for the blessed hope,…”
A lot of people don’t know what that blessed hope is. But, they are going to know after they study this lesson. The blessed hope is what we call the Rapture! That one day soon, in spite of all the turmoil and all the suffering and all the hurting, we are going to out of here! Instantly!
As I explained to someone early this morning who still wanted to know some ramifications of the differences between the Second Coming and the Rapture. I told them that the Second Coming is going to follow seven years of Tribulation. The earth is going to be totally pummeled with the wrath of God. Six billion people or more are going to lose their life, in a short period of the last three and one half years. It’s going to be a world of nuclear holocaust. Volcanoes. Earthquakes. We’ve seen nothing. We are seeing the beginnings of it. But that is all leading up to the Second Coming.
Paul never says a word about that leading up to the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture is not attended with a bunch of violent upheavals. The Rapture is not introduced by great cataclysmic events but rather; what does Paul say? In the twinkling of an eye! We are suddenly gone. There will be no fanfare, no trumpets blasting, just all of a sudden the true believer will be gone, and Paul calls it “the blessed hope.”
And as you see the world falling apart in front of our eyes and we see the hopelessness and despair of so many. My you ought to hear our phone calls. Now I’m not a counselor and I tell people that constantly but, oh you ought to hear the lament of people and what they are going through. All I can say when I hang up is “Lord, come quickly!” I see more and more, people are coming under these horrible circumstances of life. But, for us, we are to be:
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (this is not the Second Coming. This is the Rapture, when Christ comes to the air and we will meet Him in the air. So, the glorious appearing) of the great God (who is the great God?) and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
I have told a lot of people that ask how to deal with some of the people that come to your door and they refuse to admit that Jesus Christ is God. You probably know the people that I am referring to. They will not even for a second admit that Jesus Christ is God. They say, “Oh He’s a prophet of some sort, but He’s not God. Well, show them this verse. This is the only verse that I have found that they cannot walk around or turn upside down. They just look at it with a blank stare and they leave. But, look what it says. That the appearing of the great God, the God of the universe, the God of Creation, the God of eternity future, and who is it? Jesus Christ! He’s one and the same.
People have a problem with that. But, oh He IS coming! And, it is not going to be with earthquakes and warfare and all the great catastrophic events of the tribulation. No, we are going to be here one moment and gone the next! The world will hardly even blink an eye that we are gone. They are not even going to miss us. Do you know that? They are not going to miss us except maybe to say “good riddance. So, this is our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Now verse 14. Paul can’t go very far without bringing in the what? The gospel of salvation! He just can’t help it. Of course, the Holy Spirit is inspiring him, I know. But, here it comes again. This One that is our blessed hope is the One who:
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us (or buy us back) from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people,…”
Now, the world probably thinks that word peculiar means what it says in our language, and that is somebody that is odd and out of step. But that is not what the word means in Scripture. Let’s go all the way back to Exodus chapter 19. I know the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and I know that the New Testament was written in Greek, but we still come back to the English translation which means the same connotation. It’s the same definition.
Alright, Exodus chapter 19 verse 5. Remember the setting. Israel has just recently come out of Egypt. They are gathered around Mt. Sinai and Moses has gone up into the mount to converse with the Lord. And, the Lord is speaking.
“Now therefore, (God is speaking to Moses.) if ye will obey my voice indeed, (He is speaking through Moses to the nation.) and keep my covenant, (The one He is going to give in chapter 20, the Covenant of Law.) then ye (the nation, the covenant people of Israel.) shall be a peculiar treasure…”
The word peculiar as well as how Paul uses it in Titus, is something if intrinsic value. Something that you couldn’t even put a price number on. It is just beyond imagination. And that is what Israel was to have been IF they had remained obedient to God’s commandments. All the promises of God were laid out in front of them. But in their unbelief they dropped it. Now come back to Titus and we have the same word that speaks of us as believers. This is something that you can just lock in and say that’s me! That’s us!
“Who gave himself for us, (He died on that cross. Arose from the dead.) that he might redeem us (Buy us back from that slave market of sin. To redeem us) from all iniquity, (The same things that Paul refers to back there in verse 12. That we have been bought back from all of that stuff. We have been rescued from it.) and purify unto himself a peculiar people…”
A called out people, just like Israel was called out of Egypt. Set aside as God’s covenant people, in a particular role above all the rest of the nations of the world. That’s where you and I are to be as believers! The Body of Christ is a called out people! We are a peculiar people. Not that we are odd but that we are of intrinsic value. We’ve been bought with the greatest price in all of eternity, the blood of Christ! So read on. That He might purify unto himself a peculiar people and as such we are to be:
“…zealous of (what?) good works.” Not that works are going to save us, but because we have been saved, NOW we are to have energy and ambition to perform good works in response to what God has accomplished on our behalf. Now verse 15.
“These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all (what?) authority….” Where did he get that authority? Come back to Romans chapter 11 verse 13 and this is the basis for his authority. I never thought much of it, but years ago Jerry Pool said “I’ve never seen that verse before. Repeat it and repeat it and repeat it!” So here it is!
“For I speak to you Gentiles, in as much as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,…”
Lesson Three • Part II
The Faithful Servant of Christ Says Goodbye
II Timothy – Titus
Once again we are going to turn right to the Scriptures, so come back with me to II Timothy chapter 1 verse 1. I like to clarify as we open another one of Paul’s letters, the circumstances surrounding it. If you understand the historical part then the content means so much more. I alluded to it a little bit in the last lesson before we started the letter of Titus that evidently Paul was arrested and taken to Rome the first time from the trip across the Mediterranean and as a result of that arrest, pleading his own defense and with a decent and fair Roman court, he was evidently acquitted and released.
In those prison years while he was chained to a Roman soldier, he wrote what we call the Prison Epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. But, after his acquittal, he evidently was free for a couple or three years and then during that time of freedom he wrote I Timothy, who was now holding forth over on the Asia Minor part of the Roman Empire. He was headquartered, I think, out of Ephesus. Then he wrote the little letter of Titus, to that young man, probably about the same age as Timothy, who was heading up the churches and the work on the island of Crete. So Paul now in this time of freedom had realized that time was running out for him and that’s why he is getting ready to pass these responsibilities on to these two young men, Timothy and Titus.
Now, evidently during that interval, for whatever reason, the emperors had changed in Rome and no doubt, however it was precipitated, Rome had been burned with fire, and about half the city was destroyed. Emperor Nero, himself, was the one that instigated it, because he was so wicked. We know Nero was just beyond human comprehension. He was probably worse than a Hitler. But Nero turned that into a reason to fault the Christians for having been the incendiary people to burn Rome. No doubt, as a result of all of that, since Paul had been so closely associated with the Christian community, he was also intimated that he had part in the fire of the city of Rome.
So, as he goes into prison now, this second time, he is under terrible suspicion. He is not treated as humanely as he was in his first session. And, I had an interesting question the other day, that I had never thought of, and the person put it this way. “Was Paul chained to a Roman soldier or was a Roman soldier chained to Paul?” You know, I thought about it for about 15 seconds and I just grabbed a piece of paper and I wrote back and said “That Roman soldier was chained to the Apostle Paul!” Because we know that in at least that first time in prison, he won, no doubt, many Roman soldiers to the Lord. So, he wasn’t chained to them. They were chained to him!
Now, in this second imprisonment, he is under more severe circumstances. I don’t think he’s down in the dungeon, but rather I think he is up in military control. He is still chained to Roman soldiers for a constant guard, but, now with Nero as the Emperor and him being almost insane. And as a result of his hatred of Christians, Nero would actually wrap these Christians in animal skins and then turn the dogs and wild animals after them. He would sit and just gleefully watch everything that was taking place.
Nero’s next favorite ploy was to take these Christians and wrap them in incendiary material, hang them upside down, set them on fire and then he would sit and watch them burn. That was Nero! Well, that was the man then that Paul was going to have to be judged by. So Paul makes his own defense again and now with the fear that has been instilled in everybody because of Nero, he says all but Luke have left me. So good old physician Luke must have stayed with him to the end.
Now in this second letter to Timothy, he is approaching martyrdom. This is his last time that he will be imprisoned. And he realizes that the Lord has not come and that it is going to be delayed at least to the lifetime of Timothy and Titus. He still has no idea that the Church is going to go on for two thousand years. Even the Apostle Paul, realizing that the Church Age was something totally insulated from God’s program with Israel. Paul still was of the impression that the Lord would be coming for the Church in short order, at least during the lifetime of Timothy and Titus.
When Paul refers to them as “young,” I think we covered this when we started I Timothy in one of our previous lessons. Early in Paul’s ministry he was probably around 40 years of age and Timothy was about 18 or 20. So, there is about a twenty year age difference. If I put Titus at about the same age as Timothy, Paul is now in his middle or late sixties, whereas these young men are in their early forties. For someone who is in their late sixties, forty is still a “kid”! Consequently he refers to them, as don’t let anybody despise your youth. Even though they were probably forty or so.
So with that as a back drop let’s go into this heart rending II Timothy with Paul knowing now that this is the beginning of the end. Verse 1.
II Timothy 1:1a
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,…”
Here we almost have to go back and compare Scripture with Scripture, and that’s the way I teach, so you’ll just have to bear with me. Come back to Galatians chapter 1 because I have to constantly realize that we have new listeners every day and these listeners have not heard what we taught several months back. So, we repeat some of these things for their benefit as well as for our own. Here in Galatians he gives us a good, Holy Spirit inspired description of how he became this Apostle of grace.
“But I certify you, brethren, (again, he is writing to believers) that the gospel which was preached of me (see how he qualifies it again. His Gospel of I Corinthians 15:1-4?) is not after man. 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
I am always emphasizing as I teach, when Paul had this revelation from Jesus Christ, where is Jesus? Well, He is in Heaven! He has finished the work of redemption, He has been raised from the dead, and has spent that forty days on earth with the disciples and has ascended back to Glory.
Then, several years later, when it is obvious that Israel is not going to succumb to the Kingship of Jesus the Messiah, God did something totally different. I like to refer to it as that “fork in the road.” Where now Israel is going to go into the dispersion of the nations and the Gentiles are going to be called out into this peculiar group of people that we talked about in our last lesson, the Body of Christ, the Church Age, the Grace Age believers. Alright, so that was not revealed until Christ had been in glory for quite some time. He then reveals a whole new program that was unknown to all the Old Testament writers. It was unknown to the twelve as he reveals it to this one man. Now I know that is hard for people to understand but it is the truth of Scripture. So this is what he was talking about. Here in Galatians 1 verse 12 again.
“For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, (that is, by other men) but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For ye have heard of my conversation (or my manner of life) in time past in the Jews’ religion, (he was one of the “top dogs” in the religious hierarchy of Israel.) how that beyond measure I persecuted the church (assemblies) of God, and wasted it:” That is referring back to those Jewish believers in Jerusalem, who were still followers of the Messiahship of Christ Jesus of Nazareth. Now verse 14.
“And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, (why?) being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
In other words, I am always picturing Saul of Tarsus as a religious nut! He just couldn’t do enough for his religion, he was driven. And, consequently, when he thought that Jesus of Nazareth was a blasphemer and was an imposter, he worked more than anybody in Israel to stamp out anyone who had embraced Jesus as the Messiah. It just became his obsession. Alright, that’s what he is referring to. That he was more exceedingly zealous of the traditions. Now verse 15.
“But (Flipside! Something totally different happens to the man) when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, (that’s where God began if not even in eternity past, but right from his birth he was a marked man for God’s service.) and called my by his grace,”
Nobody understood grace like Saul of Tarsus! Because here he is having already put to death Jewish believers for having embraced Jesus. He’s on his way to Damascus to get some more and take them back to Jerusalem. And, out of nowhere, without any previous preaching at him or explaining what was going to happen, God struck him down and saved him, by what? By grace!! He didn’t deserve it! So, this is what the man never got over, that in spite of all of his past and his hatred for the name of Jesus of Nazareth, God saved him anyway.
That’s the way it is today. The vilest sinner, the worst, God just saves them on the spot! They don’t have to clean up their act first. God’s saves them first and THEN He will begin to make changes. So, by God’s grace he was called. Now, verse 16.
Now, I always like to tie words together. Reveal is another root word from revelation. And Paul is constantly referring to the revelation or the revealing of mysteries. Things that had been kept secret all the way up through human history. None of the Prophets knew it, the twelve didn’t know it, and Jesus never betrayed it. And, now to this man, God is going to reveal these things that had been kept secret. Alright, verse 16 again.
“To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; (or the Gentiles. The non-Jewish world.) immediately (after his experience at Damascus) I conferred not with flesh and blood:” He didn’t say, well I have to go see what Peter says about all of this. No. He said I conferred not with flesh and blood.
“Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia,…”
He went the opposite direction. Now, all of this is to show us that by the Holy Spirit’s work, this man was kept from any contact with the twelve at Jerusalem. God’s not going to scramble his brains with what Peter and the eleven had been preaching. He’s going to give him a whole new revelation.
This again is what folks cannot comprehend, that all of our Church doctrine coming from the pen of this Apostle is a revelation of things that God had kept secret. Deuteronomy 29:29, I have used it over and over. The secret things belong to the Lord our God. He can keep things secret as long as He wants, and He kept the mysteries that Paul shares with us until He reveals these secrets to this man. Now let’s read on.
“…and returned again unto Damascus.”
Then, after those three years, which I feel was mostly spent in Arabia. He’s now had these revelations of these mysteries which are what we call the doctrines of the grace of God. Then he went up to Jerusalem and saw Peter. He was there only two weeks and a day. For fifteen days, he visits with Peter.
Then in verse 21, he went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia and thus began his ministry out among the Gentile world. Now come back to II Timothy again. This is what he is always talking about.
II Timothy 1:3a
“I thank God,…”
He doesn’t take any credit for himself. He could have. He was a highly educated Jew. He had been educated or taught by one of the chief Rabbi’s in Israel, Gamaliel, but he never refers to that. He refers to himself as nothing but something that God has seen fit to use, by His grace.
II Timothy 1:3b
“… whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;” Remember he is writing to the young man Timothy, and here in verse 4 we see the heart of the Apostle.
II Timothy 1:4-5a
“Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; 5. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith…”
Remember what I said in the last lesson? That the number one thing that God looks for in a person is his faith. His ability to believe what God has said. Well, Paul shows it even toward this young man Timothy, that it was his unfeigned faith, his ability to trust what God had said. And, that unfeigned faith, reading on in verse 5:
II Timothy 1:5b
“… that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” Now you have to go back to the book of Acts and realize that it was up in Central Asia Minor that the Apostle Paul first ran into this little Jewish family, made up of the grandmother, Lois and Timothy’s mother Eunice and probably from Paul’s preaching they were all three made believers. Now verse 6.
II Timothy 1:6
“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” In other words, Paul is transferring the mantel of his Apostleship to this young man, Timothy in particular and secondly, I think he went to young Titus. So he is just sort of passing on the Apostolic authority. Now verse 7.
II Timothy 1:7
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Now, like I have already explained, what’s going on in the city of Rome while Paul is sitting in prison waiting for his sentence? The horrible persecution of the Christians. Beyond what the human mind can think and Nero was just gloating in all of it. If ever there was a reason to fear, it was Nero. Yet, Paul has such confidence in his Lord that he can even write to this young man Timothy that we have nothing to fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Now verse 8.
II Timothy 1:8a
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner:…”
In other words, I think he is going to hopefully, bring Timothy from wherever he was in Asia Minor back to Rome before his life would end. We will point out in another time, if not in Timothy then when we get to Hebrews, that evidently Timothy made it. And as a rule, as expected, he too was arrested. Because the Book of Hebrews points it out that Timothy also was released from prison and no doubt it was as a result of having gotten to Paul before his death and then being promptly arrested.
But, it is interesting that in a matter of days or weeks after Paul and Peter were martyred, do you know what happened to Nero? Nero’s life came to an end! I haven’t been able to find how or what happened, but Nero’s life was ended just shortly after Paul and Peter were martyred. So Timothy might have been able to respond to that by being released now, with Nero off the scene. Alright, reading on.
II Timothy 1:8b
“…but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”
A lot of people have the wrong impression. They think that Christians are going to be treated well. That just because of our faith and hopefully, our good character and good lifestyle, that everything is going to go our way. But you see it doesn’t work that way. I have pointed it out before. In fact, come back with me to II Corinthians chapter 11 and look what it cost this man who was one of the religious leaders in Israel. Probably had one of the most beautiful, expensive homes in Jerusalem.
And, the other night I finally read someone who agrees with me that Paul no doubt had a wife and children. I know a lot of people have a hard time swallowing that, but this individual used the same approach that I do, that he must have been a member of the Sanhedrin and as a member of the Sanhedrin, he had to be a husband and a father. But, he chucked all of that for the sake of the Gospel. Instead of having the highest lifestyle in Jerusalem, now look what he goes through. Now, none of us would want to associate this with our lifestyle as a Christian. We cringe at this. I know we do because we are spoiled. We have had it so good.
II Corinthians 11:24
“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.”
That’s the thirty-nine stripes. Now, if you understand the forty stripes, it took a good, strong, healthy man to survive ONE, but he took five of them over his lifetime. Without benefit of antibiotics. Without any benefit of sterile technique. But for the miracle power of God he would have never survived. Now, verse 25.
II Corinthians 11:25a
“Thrice was I beaten with rods,…”
You all know the furor that the world made when that kid were beaten with rods in Singapore a few years ago. Sure you all remember. The world thought that was barbarian. Listen, Paul went through it three times. And, not just a few swats like that kid got, he got the whole nine yards.
II Corinthians 11:25b
“…once was I stoned,…”
Not by drugs, by literal rocks. They dragged him out like a dead horse. In fact that’s what the Scripture implies, that they dragged him out just like we would drag out a dead animal. Dragged outside the city and left him for dead. But, miraculously, God raised him up.
II Corinthians 11:25c
“…thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;”
Now, the Mediterranean gets pretty rough in the winter time. Even, for regular shipping today, they can hit some pretty tough weather. In fact, we experienced it when we were on the Mediterranean in March, I mean it was no fun! Well, how would you like to be on their little tug with sails? And he got dumped, three times.
All because of the Gospel. He didn’t have to be out there doing that. He could have kept it easy in Jerusalem. He could have enjoyed his high lifestyle in Judaism. But, for the sake of the Gospel, he suffered all of these things. Then, verse 26.
II Corinthians 11:26-27
“In journeyings often, (lived out of a suitcase constantly) in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, (that is, the barbarians) in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” And for what? The Gospel! For the Gospel! Unbelievable? Almost. Back to II Timothy for just a moment. Verse 9. The same God of verse 8:
II Timothy 1:9
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, (Just like we showed in Titus chapter 2 in our last lesson. God has declared us a peculiar people of intrinsic value and has called us with a separate calling.) not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and (what again? Grace, see?!) grace, (All of grace. Not that we deserve a penny worth and all of this) which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world (ages) began,”
God in His foreknowledge knew everyone of us and what we would do with Paul’s Gospel of salvation. As a rule, I like to go back to Ephesians chapter 3 verse 11. This ties in so beautifully with what Paul is writing to Timothy. We are not just saved by accident. We are in His divine purposes.
“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”
All these things working together to fulfill God’s purposes.
Lesson Three • Part III
The Faithful Servant of Christ Says Goodbye
II Timothy – Titus
We are in II Timothy, as we introduced it in our last lesson, and we find Paul is back in prison now for the last time and he is looking at his martyr’s death. But, he writes this last letter to his son in the faith, some twenty years younger than he is, who is going to now pick up the mantle of the apostleship. You want to remember, the Apostolic Church probably disappeared in its original form by the end of the first century. This was Christianity in the cradle and for the most part, met in homes and it had not yet generated up to the great hierarchy that came within the next century or so.
As Paul addresses Timothy then, it is in view of the fact that these early Apostolic Churches were now under Timothy and Titus to keep them going. I have stressed so often in my teaching, when you look at the circumstances in which these early Christians found themselves, it is just nothing but a miracle of God that it ever survived. We will see that especially now as we get on down a little further in this chapter. Now, if we can just pick up where we left off in the last lesson.
II Timothy 1:10
“But is now made manifest (that is, the working of God’s grace through His eternal purposes) by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”
The appearing, that Paul is referring to, is Christ’s first advent when He came to the Nation of Israel and presented himself in those three years of earthly ministry. And then ending up with the work of the cross, His death, burial and resurrection. Whereupon, then, He brought eternal life to those of the human race who become believers.
You see salvation, as I have always said, is not just a fire escape. Salvation is the whole body of truth that has been imputed to you and I who believe and part of that is eternal life. We have the very life of God now within us, but when we die that does not stop! We are a part of eternity that was precipitated by His resurrection.
Let’s go back for bit to I Corinthians 15, that great resurrection chapter. These are verses that we usually associate with funerals because it IS the blessed hope of the believer that we are not in the grave. That’s only that part of us that was the “tent.” And, at that the REAL believer is already in the Lord’s presence waiting for the great resurrection day. In I Corinthians 15 verse 54, this is what Paul is referring to now in II Timothy chapter 10. And he says:
I Corinthians 15:54
“So when this corruptible (this which is prone to death) shall have put on incorruption, (it becomes eternal. It has eternal life.) and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in (what?) victory.”
Death is overcome. Never again to be faced by the believer! So then he comes with a question in verse 55.
I Corinthians 15:55
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
Well the sting of death is sin, because what does Paul tell us in Romans 5? As by one man sin entered the world and what came with sin? Death. So, sin and death have almost become synonymous. The sinner is going to die because he is STILL spiritually dead. But by virtue of the resurrection power, death has been swallowed up in victory, which we find then in verse 57.
I Corinthians 15:57
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Well, the victory over what? Sin and death! That no longer has a hold on us as believers! Sin and death are something that have been done away with! Oh, we will die physically, if the Lord doesn’t come first, but that’s not the death that we are talking about. We are talking about that spiritual death which separates man from his Creator, God. Now back to II Timothy chapter 1. We have a lot to cover in the next two lessons. I am hoping to finish Timothy, in this last part of book 45, and be able to start Hebrews in book 46, if I can possibly make it work.
II Timothy 1:11
“Whereunto (that is, this power of resurrection, how that it is able to transform sinners to saints!) I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of (what people?) the Gentiles.”
See how Paul is constantly reminding us that he was God’s vessel to reach out to the non-Jewish world; the Gentile. Now verse 12.
II Timothy 1:12a
“For the which cause I also suffer these things:…”
What things? He’s in prison! His life is about to be put to a horrible end. We are quite sure from all of the secular information, from the early church writers, that Paul was beheaded. Not with the executioners axe but with a military sword. We may touch on that a little later in our study. So here he is facing that martyr’s death, but he now comes with his great profession of security and of faith, so he says continuing on in verse 12:
II Timothy 1:12b
“…nevertheless I am not ashamed: (He has no second thoughts about all that he has suffered for the sake of the Gospel so he says) for I know whom I have (what?) believed,…”
Believed!! See? Nothing else! He doesn’t mention anything else that he has done to give him this assurance other than BELIEVING. You have to go back to his experience on the road to Damascus. Just as soon as it was evident where the light came from; where the voice came from, what was Saul of Tarsus’ response? What would you have me to do, Lord? He knew who he was dealing with, so immediately he believed and it carried with him throughout his whole ministry. And he still knows whom he has believed:
II Timothy 1:12c
“…and am persuaded that he (the Christ whom he believed in) is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Now you see, Paul isn’t taking any credit. He’s not saying, I’m convinced I have DONE enough. That isn’t what he’s committing his security in. It’s in what Christ has done for him. So now his admonition to Timothy is:
II Timothy 1:13a
“Hold fast the form of sound words, (In chapter 2 and 3 Paul warns of all the false teaching that will be coming upon the world, so here he says) Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou has heard of me,…”
Do you see how he is putting himself in that place of “go-between”? He’s not saying, what you have heard from God, or what you have heard from Jesus Christ. It’s, hang on to those things which you have heard from me.
II Timothy 1:13b-14
“…in faith and love which (is all centered in the object of our faith – not Paul but) is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” Now verse 15 is a very interesting verse!
II Timothy 1:15a
“This thou knowest, (in other words, it was no secret) that all they which are in Asia…”
When the Bible speaks of Asia, it speaks of Asia Minor, which today we call Turkey. We are not talking about China and India, but that part of Turkey that was referred to as Asia Minor where a good number of Paul’s churches were established. Do you remember Antioch of Pisidia and Pergamos and Thyatira, Ephesus? All of those cities there in central Turkey, as we know it, were what then were called Asia. Now look what he says. All those believers that he had founded in little churches in those little cities of Asia Minor, all they who are in Asia:
II Timothy 1:15b
“…be turned away from me;…”
That is sad isn’t it? Instead of being able to say, “How I glory that all those congregations are still behind me. They are praying for me. They are supporting me.” No, they had all turned against him. Now, I know there is a possibility that he was referring to some of those people who had come to Rome and had probably visited him in prison and then saw the horrors of Nero and the persecution. So they fled back home. But, I don’t think so. I think what Paul is saying is that all those congregations that he had established in Central Turkey like Galatia and Asia Minor had turned against him.
Why do I think so? Because the whole little letter of Galatians was written to those people to warn them against what? Going back under the Law! Legalism! And, evidently, they did. They were not content to rest in Grace alone but they had to go back into the teachings of the Judaizers, back there at Jerusalem. I am convinced that it had to be. Sounds like many congregations today doesn’t it?
Now, what happened? As a result that these churches failed to stay with Paul’s doctrines of grace, how much is left of them? Nothing! A lot of those cities, the archaeologists and everything else can’t even really determine where they are. They just totally went into the dust bin of history. Whereas, had they remained true to Paul’s Gospel, there would probably be something there even to this day. But, they didn’t, they turned against this apostle. They turned against his doctrine of grace.
And I think and I have to say that it’s my own idea because I can’t prove it from Scripture, but comparing the problems of the Galatian churches that Paul wrote to in the letter of Galatians and their being bombarded by Judaism, to go back under circumcision and law keeping, that I think is what happened. So, consequently they had all turned against the apostle. Then the leaders, see there are always false teachers and ungodly men, who lead the way, and Paul names them here as Phygellus and Hermogenes:
II Timothy 1:15c
“…of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” Come all the way down, now to chapter 2 and let’s start at verse 1.
II Timothy 2:1-2
“Thou therefore, my son, (in the faith) be strong in the (what, again? See how Paul is always using the word grace. Over and over and over, it’s the grace of God. Nothing to do with legalism. Nothing to do with formality. It’s grace. Grace! So be strong in the) grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2. And the things that thou hast heard of me…”
He doesn’t tell them to go back and remember what Jesus said. Paul never says that. In fact, turn with me to I Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 16. We did this when we were in the Corinthian letters. I know a lot of people rebel at this. They say, I’m not going to follow that guy! I’m going to follow Jesus. Well, that sounds honorable, doesn’t it? But, it’s not Scriptural because Jesus ministered to the Circumcision. (Romans 15:8) Jesus ministered under the Law and He passed all of the Apostolic authority to this man and now the admonition is, just like I said in a previous lesson, you have Moses! Today, He would tell us, you have Paul! Consequently, Paul writes:
I Corinthians 4:16
“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”
See? That’s what the Scripture says! Now turn over to another one. Still in I Corinthians, chapter 11 verse 1. This is exactly what he is telling Timothy, as well. Timothy, follow in my footsteps. Be the same kind of an emissary of Christ that I have been.
I Corinthians 11:1
“Be he followers of me, even as I also am of (who?) Christ.”
See the procession? Christ is the head of the Body. No doubt about that, but Paul is the spokesman now. He is the Apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11:13) and then as he made it so clear in I Timothy 1:15-16, that in him first were all the succeeding believers to fall in place. So we follow the Apostle Paul, and that is why I teach so extensively his Epistles. Alright, come back to II Timothy chapter 2, verse 2 again.
II Timothy 2:2
“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.”
I was reading a commentary a long time ago and this just hit me right between the eyes. He made the point, isn’t it amazing that in I Timothy and in Titus all the instructions were for the hierarchy, or the leadership or the organization of the local churches. But by the time he comes to II Timothy which is a few years later, there is not a word about elders and deacons and pastors and bishops. Not a word about organization. But, now God is going to use what? Faithful men!
The gentlemen made the point, there is probably more there than meets the eye, because remember the Scripture sees the big, long picture, and we know as we get to chapter 3, knowing that this is out there in the future, maybe this is why God is now instructing Paul to instruct Timothy to prepare gifted men for the day when the church in general will totally apostatize. Oh, it is coming so fast, where churches are departing from the truth of God’s Word and God will just simply have to fall back on gifted men. Look at II Timothy chapter 3 and verse 1. We are seeing it! We are in it! I think I put it in one of my newsletters that what Paul wrote here as something in the future, we are in it! We are here.
II Timothy 3:1
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come,” Then he goes on to say all these things which I will be coming back to a little later, but look at verse 5. Isn’t this exactly where the vast majority; not all, don’t misunderstand me, not all, but the vast majority of Christendom has now come to verse 5.
II Timothy 3:5
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” You can put your own commentary on that, can’t you? I don’t have to. Now let’s come back to II Timothy chapter 2 finishing verse 2.
II Timothy 2:2b
“…commit (these things) thou to faithful men, (who will be faithful not just to some organization, but would be faithful to the Word of God and the God of the Word of God.) who shall be able to teach others, also.”
Nothing thrills me more than when people call and say that they have been listening to my teaching for a couple or three years and now they are branching out on their own. They are starting classes maybe in their church. They have taken a Sunday School class. And, I just had a lady call again this morning ordering tape number 1. She wants to start a home Bible class, starting in Genesis! What more could I hope for? Because, this is the whole admonition of Scripture, to prepare hearts that they will pick up the mantel and begin to teach others also. In fact, go to Hebrews chapter 5 verse 11. I am sure Paul wrote this letter to the Hebrews.
“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12. For when for the time ye ought to be (what?) teachers,…” This is the whole idea that we are to prepare other hearts to be teachers, but he says that when the time came for you should be teachers:
“…ye have need that one teach you again (in other words, they still hadn’t learned it. What were they to be taught?) which be the first principles of the oracles (or the Word) of God; (but, instead of being teachers you) and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13. For everyone that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
What is the complaint? These believers were not able to teach others. They were still babes in Christ. They were still on the baby bottle. Well, it’s a sad commentary, but I am afraid that’s the way it is even today. Back to II Timothy chapter 2 verse 3.
II Timothy 2:3
“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
Then he begins to explain. Someone who is in the military has to cut all his ties to his civilian background. Otherwise, he is worthless to the military. If he is going to be a soldier who is ready to go on campaigns into a foreign country, he cannot be tied down with other responsibilities. It is the same way with the cross of Christ. If we are going to be a servant of Christ then we have to cut off all the dross of materialism and secularism and we have to become a soldier of Jesus Christ. Alright, then come down to verse 11. This is just what he has been talking about, that Christ overcame death by virtue of His death, His resurrection, now verse 11:
II Timothy 2:11
“It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:”
Always remember, what did Jesus use as an example of our identifying with His death, burial and resurrection? Planting wheat in the ground. Remember? And he said unless that kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it just stays alone in the sack. But if it is put into the ground and it goes through the death process, then you have new life and you have the hundred fold. All through Scripture this is the concept, that through resurrection we have new life! Now verse 12:
II Timothy 2:12-13
“If we suffer, we shall also reign (or live) with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” God is still faithful. Isn’t that amazing? Mankind can be unbelieving, but God never changes. He is still there as the Rock of our salvation in whom we can put our trust.
II Timothy 2:14
“Of these things…” In other words, the very truth of who God is. The very power of His death, burial and resurrection, of these things, Paul tells Timothy:
II Timothy 2:14
“Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them (or challenging them) before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”
It doesn’t do any good to argue about insignificant things. In fact, I put it this way a lot of times to people who call or write. Listen major on majors! Don’t major on minors. That’s what more people do. They make a great big deal over something that is so minor that it is insignificant. That’s not where it is at. Major on the majors. The fundamentals. The basic things in which there is no room to argue.
Lesson Three • Part IV
The Faithful Servant of Christ Says Goodbye
II Timothy – Titus
Now, let’s wind up II Timothy.
II Timothy 2:15a
“Study …” Not just a verse or two. It means you sit down, and take a good cross reference, either a study Bible or a concordance, and you make work of it. You study! Compare Scripture with Scripture.
II Timothy 2:15a
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, (Not for salvation, but rather for reward. You can literally earn reward by becoming a Bible student.) a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,…”
The thing that keeps most Christians from sharing their faith is that they are not sure what to say, and what Scripture to use. Well, they don’t study. The more you study, the more skilled you become as Paul pointed out in our last lesson – then we can become teachers of the Word. That takes study. So, then you become a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. You don’t have to be afraid to share your faith, because you KNOW what you’re talking about.
If you were to ask a really good auto mechanic something about your car, does he put his head down and avoid you? No. He is tickled to tell you what’s wrong and how to fix it because he knows his business! Well, that is the way we should do with the Scriptures. We should KNOW them and be able to open them up and say, this is what the Bible says. Then if they don’t want to believe it, like I always tell them, then it’s your problem, I’ve done my part.
II Timothy 2:15c
“…rightly dividing the word of truth.” Now that is a hang up for a lot of people. But, the words “rightly dividing” in the Greek are really a carpenter’s term. It meant to cut straight. You wouldn’t have much of a building if you didn’t cut your angles straight. So the idea is to keep everything straight, so that when you build something, it fits! Now that’s the beauty of Scripture. If you rightly divide it, there is no problem. It’s so easy to understand. But, if you are going to try to mix the Old Testament Law and Christ’s earthly ministry and some of Peter’s statements with Paul and then jump on into the Revelation, no wonder we have confusion! But you separate it all out and you cut them straight!
In other words, you take the Old Testament from Genesis up until Abraham. That’s a separate period of time that has nothing to do with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You can’t mix them up. You separate it. Then you come from Abraham on up through the Nation of Israel and the giving of the Law and temple worship and all of that, it just sits by itself. You can’t go back and say, well, I have to bring a ram for an offering because that’s what the Bible says. That doesn’t work. So all that is just segmented and when one series of God’s dealing is finished, you don’t just mix them together.
You cut them straight and you keep them separated! Then when you come to the Apostle Paul and his revelation of the mysteries, again it is something you cannot mix with Christ’s earthly ministry. You would get nothing but confusion. So, this is all the Word says. Study, but learn how to segment the Scriptures so that they will not be confusing but that they will all make sense. It all fits!
Then verse 16. Do you realize how much time Paul spends in his letters to warn us against false teachers? Over and over he says, “Don’t be deceived. Don’t follow this or that.” He tells us that all the way through. And here is another one. What does it mean to shun something? Hey, run from it!
II Timothy 2:16a
“But, shun profane and vain babblings:…” There is a lot of it out there. You are supposed to just turn away from it. Don’t try to argue with them. Don’t try to do anything, just simply get away from it.
II Timothy 2:16b
“…for they will increase unto more ungodliness:” That is the final result of false teaching. It takes people into Satan’s domain rather than into the Lord’s. Then verse 17:
II Timothy 2:17
“And their word will eat as doth a canker: (today, we would say a cancer and then Paul names two of them) of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;” They were two who were scoffing at Paul’s teaching concerning the resurrection.
II Timothy 2:18
“Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” So they said that the resurrection is something in the past and consequently they overthrow the faith of some. They were false teachers. And, they were successful in their trade. Then, verse 19.
II Timothy 2:19
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his,(consequently, if we are the Lord’s and we claim to know God’s saving grace,) And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ (do what?) depart from iniquity.” The Lord used the exact example. You cannot serve two masters. Either you serve the one and cut away from the other. Or visa versa. You can’t be constantly on the fence. If you are a believer, then you have to cut the stuff that pertains to the ungodly world and turn your back on it. Reading on in verse 20. Here I am going to be careful:
II Timothy 2:20
“But in a great house (we will use a millionaire’s mansion, as the example) there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.”
Now, can you picture what he is talking about? You have this beautiful millionaire’s home. And, among all the other rooms I like to hone in on the dining room. This lady of the house, with all of her wealth, probably has a gorgeous table setting. Sterling silver. Cut glass goblets. Beautiful plates and flatware. But even in the home of a multi-millionaire, what has to be somewhere out back? A garbage can. You can’t run a household without a garbage can! So this is what Paul is saying. Even in a great house you also have the things that most people don’t want to have anything to do with. That is exactly the way a lot of Christians are.
I remember years ago when I had a high school class, do you know what I used to tell the kids? Don’t be a garbage can Christian. Get what I am driving at? They were not vessels of honor. They may have been believers, and we have them in every church in town. They are believers but they are not reflecting the gold and the precious things on that wealthy person’s table. They are reflecting the trash can and all the stuff in the back. That is exactly what even the Lord used as example that in a field of wheat you also have a field of tares. What were tares? Weeds! So, I think what Paul is saying is that it is up to the believer. Are you going to be a garbage can Christian or are you going to be one that brings honor and glory to the Lord? It is up to you what you want to be. Now, verse 21.
II Timothy 2:21a
“If (here’s the condition you are left with. You are a free moral agent as a believer) a man (a believer) therefore purge himself from these,…”
In other words, from being a garbage can Christian, and not bringing honor and glory to the Lord. Oh, he still belongs to the household of God, he’s still there, but, he’s not bringing any honor and glory, so Paul says, “If you don’t want to be that – purge yourself!” You’ve already been forgiven! Don’t ask God to do that. Come back to Romans 6. We have this same connotation in verse 11. Now, he is talking to believers, because Paul doesn’t talk to the unsaved world.
“Likewise reckon (that’s something you do in your own mind) ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, (that’s what you are supposed to be) but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” If you are dead to sin, you are not going to be satisfied with a garbage can level of Christianity! Now, verse 12, in order to bring yourself up to that place of being “gold and silver” in that household:
“Let not sin therefore reign (as a king) in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Is it possible? Of course it is, but here is where the self-will comes in with God’s help, of course, but still it is up to the individual believer to attain the level of spirituality that would be pleasing to God. God doesn’t take us by the nape of the neck and push us in someplace. Here’s where the freedom in Christ comes into play. Alright, now verse 13, still in Romans 6.
“Neither (what’s the next word? What does yield imply? Your will, your free will. It is up to you. But he says DON’T) yield ye your (physical) members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but (on the other hand) yield yourselves unto God,…” Do you see the choice there? We are not talking about unbelievers, we are talking about believers. Made my point? Okay, back to II Timothy.
II Timothy 2:21b
“…he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” Now verse 22, and if you don’t want to be a garbage can Christian then it stands to reason you are going to have to get some prerogatives.
II Timothy 2:22-23a
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (See the choices?) But foolish and unlearned questions avoid,…” Don’t get involved in minors when majors are SO much more important.
II Timothy 2:23b-24
“…knowing that they do gender strifes. 24. And the servant of the Lord (that person who reflects the gold and silver in verse 20, won’t be constantly striving) must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, (again see what the Lord is looking for?) apt to (what?) teach,…”
Get out there and get busy. Start a home Bible class. Ask a few people. When Iris and I first started this way back, we had four people. I didn’t say, “Well, I’m not going to go in there and spend all evening with just four people!” Heavens no! We were tickled to do it. But, God in His grace brought eight the next week and sixteen the next and after that it just started rolling.
Numbers don’t mean anything, because if God is in it, He will permeate and He will send them out. So here is where we are be apt to teach, be ready to start sharing some of these things with those that are around you. Now to chapter 3:
II Timothy 3:1
“This know also, that in the last days (as we come to the end of the Church Age and God is getting the stage set to pick up where He left off with the Nation of Israel and those final seven years) perilous times shall come,” I think we can all see the handwriting on the wall. We can see the upheaval in weather and earthquakes. Well, they are multiplying just like the Bible tells us that they would. Alright, verse 2. Here is the world in which we live.
II Timothy 3:2
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,…” We wonder why our kids are the way they are. It’s all part and parcel of the end time scenario.
II Timothy 3:2b-3a
“…unthankful, unholy, 3. Without natural affection,…” When we read of a young lady throwing her baby in a trash can and going back out on the dance floor, it is unbelievable! But, that’s part of the end time scenario. Get ready for it, because it’s going to get worse, and not better. So they have lost that love for natural affection.
II Timothy 3:7
“Ever learning, (we have a tremendous explosion of secular learning. The Internet is packed with it.) and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” They will see everything and anything, but you remember what I am always telling you. What is the Truth according to the Word of God? The Gospel of our salvation! They will see anything and everything but that! Ever learning and not able to come to the Truth.
II Timothy 3:8b-9
“…men of corrupt minds, (Does that ring a bell? Oh, we are living in a corrupt time) reprobate concerning the faith. (But, verse 9, Paul says) But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” Then he comes down and describes all the things that were part and parcel of Paul’s as well as Timothy’s lifestyle. Now, in to chapter 4 so that we are sure that we can get this in before this lesson is over. Paul says:
II Timothy 4:1a
I charge thee…” He is putting Timothy in the spotlight. He’s handing the whole mantle of his Apostleship over to this young man.
II Timothy 4:1b
“…therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;” In other words, when we come to the end of the Age. Now verse 2, Timothy:
II Timothy 4:2
“Preach (or proclaim) the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering (or patience) and (what?) doctrine.”
I’ll never forget a young man who was on the plane with us over in Israel and he was with one of the big groups. When we got to Israel and we arrived at the hotel, the very first evening after dinner, I approached him about something. The first thing he told me was, “Hey, we don’t get involved in doctrine! All we are concerned about is doing good.” Well, that just told me everything. When people aren’t concerned about what they believe, they are not in the Lord’s camp. They are the devil’s tool. Doctrine is at the heart of our belief system. That’s why we have to know what we believe.
II Timothy 4:3-5a
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; (They don’t want to hear the Truth.) but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5.(They just want to hear that which sounds good.) But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions,…” In other words, Timothy, hopefully, you won’t have to go through what I went through, but it is going to be tough. You are going to suffer persecution, it’s coming Timothy.
II Timothy 4:5b
“…do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” Now here it comes! Here comes the heart of the Apostle as he is facing the martyr’s death. He says:
II Timothy 4:6
“For I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand.” Can’t you just hear the heart of the old Apostle?
II Timothy 4:7a
“I have fought a good fight,…”
In the Olympic term that Paul was probably thinking of – I have run a good race! And I have to think of the Marathon. Not the hundred yard dash, but the Marathon, where it takes a body of steel to run that 26 miles. It takes determination. It takes everything that that physical body can put in to go 26 miles and win the race. But you see, he also says in another place to do it lawfully. The Marathon runner would never be a true winner if somewhere along the line he took a short cut. See? He has to stay on the prescribed race course. Then if he can run that full 26 mile marathon, he can truly be exemplified for winning the race. And, that is what Paul says, I have fought a good fight: I have never taken short cuts. I have never done anything that would escape the persecution. I have fought a good fight, I have run a good race.
II Timothy 4:7b-8
“…I have finished my course, (that’s why I think a race sounds better than the fight) I have kept the faith:” (He never wavered. The Lord had him do everything that he did.) 8. Henceforth (because he has run the race. He has been faithful to the end.) there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:…” Do you see what Paul is also advocating? Rewards. Rewards! Remember that is what he tells us constantly. You are not just saved to sit, you are saved to serve for rewards!
If you are a sports fan and if you have any energy level whatsoever, where would you rather be? Down on the field, or way up there in the onlooker seats? Well, I think most of us would rather be down in the action. Wouldn’t we? That’s where the fun is! Every time they have one of these big games (my oldest son is a sports nut, worse than I am), and when we see these young men coming out of the tunnel, do you know what we always have to say? Can you imagine what that must feel like for those young men? To hear that crowd of people acclaiming them! And, to be ready to go into the game, whether it’s basketball or football or whatever. My what a thrill that must be!
Listen, we are coming to the end, we are getting there! One day, you and I are going to come down the tunnel and we are going to hear the, Well done! I hope! I hope you can all say that I want the Lord to one day say, “well done!”
II Timothy 4:8b
“… and not to me only but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
So this reward is for everyone that loved His appearing. The easiest reward that you can win is this one! Be anxious for the Lord’s coming. And in the state that the world is in tonight, how can you help but be anxious for His coming? But, there will be a reward if you are truly looking for the Lord to come quickly and you pray to that end. “Lord come soon!” There is a reward, a crown of righteousness waiting for you because you loved His appearing. Now verse 9 Here’s the heart cry of the Apostle. He his hoping that Timothy will still make it from wherever he is in the Roman Empire and that he will get to Rome before Paul is put to death. So he says:
II Timothy 4:9
“Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: 10. For Demas (probably one of his other fellow workers) hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica: Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. 11. Only Luke (Good old Luke, the physician is still with him even in spite of the horrors of Nero.) is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” Then he begins to wind it all up with verse 18 where he says:
II Timothy 4:18
“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
So the Apostle comes to the end of tremendous service and sacrifice so that you and I can sit here today, reveling in the Grace of God. Because of this Apostle we have the biggest part of our New Testament in our hands. We have all these revelations that only Paul received for you and I.