2 Timothy 1-7 ESV
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my beloved child:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 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. 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, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Fan Into Flame
Although this is a letter from Paul to Timothy, it is also a letter from our Lord to us, his followers, for all scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man (or woman) of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (See 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Our Lord sees our tears, and he remembers them, and he cares about us and what hurts us. Although he certainly allows evil to exist in this world of ours, and for us to experience pain, sorrow, sickness, rejection and mistreatment, etc., because of the sinfulness of humans, including because of our own sins, he is loving and compassionate towards us.
Our Lord is also always interceding for us to the Father, if we are his by faith. He longs to be in fellowship with us, too, that he may encourage our hearts, comfort us with his love, and instruct us in the way that we should go. And, one of the things that he does is to urge us not only to walk by faith and not by sight, but to be bold in our testimonies for him, and to use the gifts he has given to us for his purposes and for his glory.
For, he made each and every one of us for a specific purpose, and he called each of us who are his followers to not only be a holy people unto him, but to very specific assignments he has for each one of us. So, this is an encouragement, as well, to do what we have been called to do, and to not fear humans or what they may do to us or say about us. We must walk in the fear of the Lord and not in the fear of human beings.
2 Timothy 8-12a ESV
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do.
The Gospel Message
The gospel of our salvation is not just a doctrine or a theology. It is also not just a bunch of verses we memorize or that are included in a gospel tract that we hand to people or say to people as our witness to them. We don’t just speak the gospel, in other words, but we live it. For, it is not a set of instructions on how to get saved so that heaven is our eternal destiny. Its message is a radical change of lifestyle in heart, thought, word and deed.
So, if we are suffering for the sake of the gospel, it is not just because we are ones who expound the truths of the gospel day in and day out, but it is because its message is a reality in our lives, and others will be offended by our walks of faith, and our commitments to purity and holiness. As well, they may become defensive when we have to back away from certain things or not have particular inputs into our lives, because they may feel it a personal affront to their own way of doing things and their own comfort level.
But, faith in Jesus Christ is a call to holiness, to being separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin because we are becoming like Jesus. It is a call to righteousness, faithfulness, purity, integrity, and honesty, and when you make this your commitment, not just in words, but in practice, you will most likely face opposition and rejection even within the church.
Yet, we are not to be ashamed of our walks of faith or our commitments to our Lord or of the message of his gospel, but we are to be willing to suffer mistreatment for the sake of walking with our Lord in holiness in order to honor him with our lives.
2 Timothy 12b-14 ESV
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. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
Unashamed of Christ
We are able to live lives, unashamed of what we believe and how we live, because we are divinely persuaded (convinced) as to the power of the cross of Christ in our lives, and of its power to save others from destruction and to bring them into God’s wonderful light.
We are able to be unashamed, because our faith in Jesus Christ is not just a religion or a set of rules we follow, but it is a relationship. When we believe in Jesus, we are in relationship with him and him with us, and he lives within us in the person of his Spirit who indwells the hearts of all Christ’s followers. He speaks to us and we talk with him, and we get to know him intimately. So, we can be confident in what we believe because we truly know the one in whom we profess to believe.
Thus, we will follow God’s Word and we will guard our hearts and minds and lives from what is evil and preserve ourselves for what is holy and pure. We will hold to the truths of the gospel of our salvation, and we won’t compromise truth in order to be liked and accepted by other humans. It isn’t that we go around trying to offend people, but that we are not afraid of offending people if it means their salvation. We have to be more concerned about saving people’s souls than we are about hurting their feelings.
The truth of the gospel is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. Faith in Jesus Christ means we die with him to sin and we are resurrected with him to newness of life in Him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And, God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin, but it instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.
2 Timothy 15-18 ESV
You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me — may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day! — and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.
Deserters to the Faith
Yet, when we choose to follow Jesus Christ with our lives, and make the commitment to follow him in all ways – in purity, holiness, honesty, integrity, faithfulness and in his righteousness – we should expect that some of our friends and even family members and fellow church goers may separate themselves from us.
But, chances are pretty good that if they do that, and it truly is because of our walks of faith, and not because of something we have done wrong, that it is because there is some part of their walks of faith which is broken. Or, it is possible that they don’t really know Jesus Christ intimately at all, for they are still walking in the flesh, and not in the Spirit. For, their confessions of Christ as Savior may be superficial, for they never surrendered to Christ.
But, we need to be prepared for the eventuality, if we commit our lives to Christ and to walking in purity and holiness, that our friends, family members and fellow professing Christians will desert us and may even speak evil against us or turn others against us, too. But, we have to do what is right no matter what happens.
And, to those who are professing faith in Jesus Christ, but it is not genuine faith, because there was no death to sin or living to righteousness, but you are still letting your flesh control your life, I pray that today you will truly give your hearts over to Jesus Christ and that you will surrender your all to him, and leave your lives of sin behind you to walk in his holiness.
An Original Work / August 29, 2018
Your bond is broken
With your Lord and Savior
And, your testimony is
Separate from Him.
Your words not matching
Your actions today.
Repent of your sin and
Bow down and pray.
Live what you testify
In truth always.
Purity’s lacking in
Your life and witness,
For you profess one thing,
But other you do.
Not moral, spiritual.
Still of the flesh.
Not living in truth to
What you confess.
Lying about it
Puts you in a mess.
Living a lie is your practice,
‘tis true of you.
Masquerade righteousness –
None of it true.
Your heart is not given
To your Lord God.
Because of how you live,
You are a fraud.
Turn from your sin and
Give your life to God.
Tuesday, September 4, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for this reminder that our faith in You is a walk of holiness and purity, and that we are to forsake the flesh to follow after You and Your ways, and to even suffer for Your Name.