Monday, July 23, 2012

2 Timothy 1 - Suffering and lonely, but not alone.

2 Timothy 1:1-2 (ESV)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

This letter is an encouragement for Timothy to remain strong in God’s grace.

Paul is coming to the end of his life and ministry, and is writing to a man he taught and mentored (2 Timothy 4:6-8). He’s passing the baton to the next generation of evangelist and pastor.

He also misses Timothy, his dear friend. Paul has been isolated from his friends by being a prisoner of Rome. Christians have community with Jesus in relationship with each other. We long for Christian fellowship.

2 Timothy 1:5-7 (ESV)
5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Paul is reminding Timothy that he has a heritage and a future. Paul also sees hope for his own continued ministry in ministers like Timothy who will outlive him. Our faith and practice is for the blessing and redemption of generations beyond our own. The Holy Spirit in us enables us to serve the world and our communities. We can bring our gifts to greater life through use. We should not be afraid to use our gifts boldly.

Not just our salvation, but our call to live a holy life is through grace (vv8-9). We come to the Kingdom with nothing, and then are filled to give. It is all through the Spirit, not our own strength. We give nothing of our own but our brokenness. We are rewarded with resurrection life (vv10-12). It's all grace, from beginning to end.

2 Timothy 1:14 (ESV)
By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Paul's loneliness is acutely felt in the last verses of the chapter. Just as he began by confessing how deeply he misses Timothy, he tells Timothy of those who have abandoned him and the faith in his need.

Paul's suffering is not only in his persecutions, but his separation from the body. Still, he believes that it is for Jesus' name he is suffering, and puts his hope in him.

2 Timothy 1:12 (ESV)
 ...which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

Loneliness is a hard burden to bear. Our hope and encouragement is that we are not alone when our hope is in Jesus. By faith, we receive the Holy Spirit, the presence of God dwelling within us. Jesus promised to never leave us. Even when alone, or at the end of our journey, God is with us and will continue to use us, and keep us in his loving will.

Read 2 Timothy 1

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