Category Archives: 2 Timothy

The Anxiety of Missions

**An Audio recording of this message is available in the right sidebar of this page or at www.soundcloud.com

Title: The Anxiety of Missions

Text: 2 Timothy 4.9-22

Introduction: Winter is coming; Fall is here. How quickly it all comes upon us. I wish the colors of fall would linger, but alas, they don’t. The stormy weather hits in such a way as to cause the leaves to fall too quickly. Cold weather moves in and the oppressive heat of summer becomes a distant memory. Winters here aren’t too bad. They can be hard at times, but they usually aren’t too bad.

I saw some snow flurries this past Tuesday at Venture. Nothing stuck, of course, but snow flurries they were nonetheless. It was a reminder that soon the colors of fall will depart and the trees will be stripped bare. The grass will lose it green, as has already begun in parts of the yard. Yes, winter is still a little over a month away, but she is coming.

I like winter. I like snow. Yes, shoveling it can be burdensome, but that doesn’t happen much around here. I won’t say it has never happened, but I can say it hasn’t happened in the last 13 winters. After Christmas, our family will gather in Colorado for our family Christmas. There will be lots of snow and I plan to ski as much as I can. I also plan to hang out with some sweet little girls that I’ve been missing.

I like the spring. I love to see the buds on the trees and watch in anticipation as the buds spring forth and turn into leaves. The flowers in Tyler are incredibly beautiful and it is fun watching the different plants produce their blooms. Reds, pinks, purples, whites. My favorite: I love looking for the dogwoods to bloom. You can walk the bike trail at Faulkner and just be amazed by those trees.

Summer brings its own anticipation. I love camping – although Lisa’s organizational skill is what makes camping so much fun. I’ll trim off a few pounds to climb some more 14ers and get excited once again to spend alone time with Stephen. He really pushes me when it comes to climbing, but it is the time talking that means the most to me. I always look forward to summer.

But fall is my favorite time of the year. Lisa makes every season wonderful. But fall, she makes that the best season of all. Fall in Texas is Camping, Football, and new TV shows! It means pulling out the winter clothes and blankets. We start fires in the fireplace. Hot chocolate. Cheeseburger Soup, Chicken N’ Dumplings, Cornbread. Yes, I like Fall most of all. And the thought of winter coming means that fall will end all too soon.

 

Something I think most people miss is how God communicates to us through our everyday lives and the seasons are one way God does speak to us. The seasons are a reminder to us to ‘count our days’ and remember that our days here on earth are few and fleeting. That can be depressing, but it can also be a wonderful thing if we’ll listen.

This passage is beautifully poetic – it is beautiful in its imagery, but also in what it is communicating to you and me – that is, if we’ll listen.

We come to some deeply personal information about Paul at the end of his final letter, 2 Timothy. The timing of his letter appears to be in the fall of the year. And, if we look closer, we’ll see the parallel of his life – that Paul is also in the fall of his life. 4.21 tells us that winter is coming. It sounds like winter is bearing down upon them in such a way that Timothy must be expeditious in his travels. There is an ominous feeling about the closing of this letter – Paul is indeed in the fall of his life. He has told us that he expects to die soon. That’s where we pick up in the closing of this letter… rd 4.6-8; and now he begins his closing remarks…

Let’s stand and read these words together. Rd 4.9-22

Pray:

The title of my message is The Anxiety of Missions and in keeping with our theme on missions in the month of November. In the 1st week we looked at The Foundation of Missions: the Word of God (2 Tim 3.14-17) and then last week we looked at The Duty of Missions: Keeping our Focus (2 Tim 4.1-8). Next week we’ll close out the month with a look at George Mueller. 2 Timothy 4.9-22 brings to light some of the struggles Paul dealt with, and I’d like to simply highlight them for us this morning:

  1. The Certainty of Time Constraints
  2. The Struggle with Relationships
  3. The Importance of Supplies
  4. The Reality of Suffering

I.     The Certainty of Time Constraints (9)

exp.: consider v9; Do your best to come to me soon. This truth of time constraints was actually the final point of my sermon last week: Timothy, keep your eye on the moment. Time is fleeting; the opportunity for service is momentary. Winter is coming and winter means some work will have to stop; travel will be more difficult, if not impossible. Some materials are needed now. Encouragement is needed now. The lost people around you are not the same people who will be around you in the future. Carpe diem.

ill.:

app.: These time constraints bleed over into the other areas of focus for us this morning: Relationships, Materials and Supplies, and Suffering.

t.s.: So, with this thought of time constraints, and understanding that I spent so much time on it last week, let’s look at the other struggles facing Paul and Timothy – and also, contemplate them for our own lives.

II.    The Struggle with Relationships (9-12)

exp.: look through this list:

  • Those who are not there with Paul:
    • Timothy: v9, Phil 2.19-22: 19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.
    • Demas: v 10a; has abandoned him, abandoned the mission. A negative term. We’ll see others leave Paul to go and work – those are not negative per se.
    • Crescens, Titus, Tychicus: v 10b, v 12
  • There is someone there with Paul:
    • Luke: 11a – Luke: with him; Luke joins Paul in Acts 16.10; There is a short time in there where Paul is separated from his men, Luke, Tychicus, Timothy, but they join back up with him in 20.5; and, is with Paul from through to the end at Acts 28 (v16); Luke appears to be the one constant companion in Paul’s life. Here’s my guess: all of the boys who are discipled by Paul appear to be called into ministry and mission, too. That is, all of the boys except Luke. I don’t get that his calling is like theirs.
    • Mark: technically, Mark isn’t with Paul. We see this story come alive in Acts 13. In Acts 15, at the very end, we see such a sharp disagreement between Barnabas and Paul that they part company. It is at about this time that Paul meets Timothy and Luke. And yet, here we see the Mark has been restored to Paul, so much so, that Paul longs to see him again and to work with him.

ill.: Let’s stop in the midst of the relationship. This particular story gives us a perspective on all of these relationships. Everything here really hinges on relationships. I mean here in the text and I mean here in life. Everything. Relationships are hard. Relationships are messy. But don’t you just love this story? Two brothers estranged and now, in ministry together, again. I hope Demas was restored – although there is not any evidence to support that. These brothers are all working in ministry and mission – fulfilling their call. And something that helps them all is their relationship with and to each other. Demas is mentioned two other times before he quit. Crescens isn’t mentioned anywhere else. Tychicus is mentioned quite a bit, too. Of course, you know Titus, Timothy, and Mark.

app.: We’ll meet more brothers and sisters later in the letter, but for now – just note the importance of relationships in Mission and Ministry. Relationships are vital to our Mission and Ministry.

t.s.: the next struggle deals with Materials and Supplies.

III.   The Need for Materials, Valuables, and Supplies (13)

exp.: rd v 13a; now, I don’t know who Carpus is. I don’t think he moves in the same circle as those men mentioned above. I take it that Carpus is a man of faith in Troas who has kept some of Paul’s things. For sure, Carpus kept his Cloak. This action doesn’t seem to take place inside the book of Acts – so, I’m going to assume that after Paul’s imprisonment in Acts 28, he was released, he didn’t make his way to Spain, but rather was in Troas, or at least was with Carpus when he was arrested. So, Carpus kept it for him. If Paul was in Troas and had his cloak, his books, his parchments with him when he was arrested, then that would make even more sense here. The Truth is we don’t know for sure. I’m pretty sure that his work of Timothy’s would have been on his way.

Map: Ephesus to Troas – a circuitous route.

Map #2: Where he was going.

We have the shipwreck of Acts 27, which occurred because the Captain wanted to make it to Rome before Winter, but of course, that didn’t happen. I’m sure it is this personal experience that pushes Paul to challenge Timothy to get to Rome before winter (cf.: v21).

Now, these items are personal items. This something we don’t get to see too much of in Scripture. This is a deep, personal moment.

  • Cloak: a blanket-type of material that had a hole in the center for someone to slip their head through and have this covering for warmth and protection from the elements. It could be used as a blanket to cover up with at night.
  • Books: this is probably not the whole bible, per se. We don’t even know that it would be any books fo the bible – but it is definitely possible. It would be too overwhelming for Timothy to bring all of Scripture. That would be too big and bulky. But it is possible that Paul owned some of his own books.
  • Parchments: these would be animal skins that Paul probably wrote on, or kept notes on. The truth is there is no way of knowing what was written on these parchments or what was contained in the books. Sentiment leans many preachers to push for these being the Scriptures of both Old and New Testaments that we possess. But, there is no way of knowing. I guess, that some of it may be just that – but to have the whole of it would be practically impossible.

app.: Whatever they were, they were near and dear to Paul – and he desired to have them near him as the end of his life approached. I think we to easily forget the sacrifices made by those who surrender their lives to missions and ministry. Missionaries, by way of necessity, must leave some very personal and intimate belongings behind. Some things have to be left behind when missionaries travel overseas. Often times, missionaries will liquidate their materials and keep only the smallest, most personal items. Some of those things are left here with family and friends until they can return someday.

t.s.: Paul faces the struggle of relationships, he faces the struggle with items near and dear to his heart being elsewhere, and finally, Paul faces the struggle of suffering.

IV.    Suffering (14-22)

exp.: and this comes from people, as well as, circumstance and situation. Consider, the fact that he’s in prison;

  • People: rd v 14-15; Alexander; 1 Tim 1.20; Alexander and Hymenaeus; but more than that, many people flee at Paul’s persecution and leave him to go it alone! Rd v 16;
  • Persecution: 17; from the lion’s mouth! This has echoes of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Now, I don’t think this means he was thrown to the Lions and they left him alone. I don’t even think Paul means that he has had some preliminary trial and that he escaped being thrown to the lions. It could that, but I’m not thinking that here. But rather, that this is a reference to Satan; Satan would love to destroy Paul, but God has delivered him. Satan creeps around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. But God has rescued him. And, as it says in v 18, God will ultimately deliver him. rd v 18;

app.: Paul’s suffering is real. People have abandoned him. He is imprisoned. He lacks sufficient covering for the coming cold weather, not to mention other items that would be a source of encouragement to him. He has faced tremendous persecution: 2 Cor 11;

far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

That is the physical suffering by Paul. But this next verse is most near and dear to me. I’m not sure anyone of you here can begin to understand the anxiety of missions and ministry unless you have actually endured it.

28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

The Truth of the matter is that the internal anguish a minister or missionary feels is indescribable. Paul has faced many physical struggles, but he has also faced the internal anxiety of his concern for his churches.

t.s.: I understand why he put this here with all of the physical struggles. I hope you can see that, too.

Conclusion: The question begs to be asked by us: did Timothy actually go and make it before winter?

There is an old famous sermon by Clarence Mccartney, pastor of 1st Presbyterian Church of Pittsburg, entitled Come Before Winter. Mccartney is famous for his leadership, along with J Grisham Machen, in the push toward conservativism in the early 1900’s. In his sermon on this text, the Mccartney imagines Timothy wanting to finish up some work around Ephesus before heading off to Rome. But he takes too much time and then can’t get a boat to Rome until after winter. When he does finally get there, he can’t find Paul. He goes to the houses of those people listed at the end of the chapter – Pudens, Linus or Claudia. They tell him that Paul passed away last December. Paul had hoped you’d come – he prayed for it. He told us that every time he heard the keys to the prison door, his heart would leap with anticipation that you had finally come. But, alas he wanted you to know he loved you dearly. He was beheaded last December.

Well, I’d like to think that Timothy made it. That he got this letter, packed up his and Paul’s belongings and brought them to Rome.

But, in all of this, it does make me think that there is this anxiousness about missions. There is suffering that is endured when one surrenders to work in Missions. This time of year, our missionaries are missing their families.

Make note of this first application: These will have Thanksgiving Dinner alone, or possibly with other missionaries. They’ll spend Christmas alone with their families back on the mainland. For those serving in Churches as pastors, worship or youth pastors – they will be with their church families for the Christmas Eve service. It might be too far for them to travel to be with family on that evening. Or, if they do travel, most families will already be in bed. Maybe you know of a pastor or a missionary who will not be able to be with family. Pray for them. Encourage them. Acknowledge their obedience to the call of God and their love for you.

Here’s a 2nd application: Once again we’re reminded that our time is brief and fleeting fast away. Winter is coming. Paul desires to pass the torch to Timothy now because his time is all but over. He longs to see his son in the faith, dear Timothy. He longs for the sentimental possessions he has been missing. His life is in the final stages. You and I will be there one day.

 

Invitation: here’s a possible 3rd application: I think about us – Christians in the United States who worry about family and possessions and our comfortable lives. I wonder if God just might be saying to us – maybe specifically to one of you here today – Come before Winter. Give yourself for my cause: missions. The sacrifice is great – but well worth it.

We’re going to be dismissed in a moment. We’ll have a moment of silence and then someone will come and pray. If you’d like to talk about this, we’ll be at the back of the worship center, experiencing fellowship over coffee and cookies. Let’s talk…

During this moment of silence, consider what God is doing in your life.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Timothy, missions, Scripture, Sermon

The Duty of Missions

**An Audio recording of this message is available in the right sidebar of this page or at www.soundcloud.com

Veteran’s Day: 11/11/18

Title: The Call of Duty

Text: 2 Timothy 4.1-5

Introduction:

Without reviewing last week’s entire message, I’d like to just share that we’re in the climax of this letter (2 Timothy). Paul has circled around certain themes throughout his 2nd letter to Timothy. Themes like: Suffering, Service, Sound Doctrine, Faith, the Gospel, Preaching and Teaching, Life Experience and God’s Calling. Paul begins in 1.1 and climbs up through his life and Timothy’s life to finally issue the charge in 4.2 and the letter’s apex in 4.5. We’re just below the summit (so to speak) in 3.10. Paul starts his charge in 3.10 but then stops. In 3.10 we read But you… (Σὺ δὲ). He does so again in 3.14 (Σὺ δὲ). Now Paul is at the top.

Sometimes when you climb, you see what appears to be the summit. But, as you reach that area, you see another summit a little further up. This is what is called a false summit. I’ve had about 30 summits now, including 13ers. I’m thinking that every single mountain climbing experience with the exception of maybe one or two, had a false summit. Man, a false summit can be quite disheartening.

3.10 is like a false summit – Paul presses on and now, boom – in 3.14, we’re there. Paul reaches this summit when he says, “But as for you (Σὺ δὲ), continue…” Be remaining… continue on course with what you’ve learned and what you’ve come to believe. That is where Paul has been headed this whole letter.

Ill.: When you climb a mountain and when you reach the summit, you like to linger for as long as possible. You’ve worked hard to get there and you want to take it in. But the truth is, you can’t stay long. I’ve climbed for hours to reach a summit, only to stay for a minute or two. It’s dangerous up there. There is less air. The area is usually very small. The falls to each side can be steep and far. As the afternoon wears on, storms are likely to come – and they pop up quickly.

With that in mind, Paul is going to linger here for a moment, but not too long. He now issues his charge to Timothy and it is born out of his own experience. You see that charge in 4.1-2. He comes back to it again in 4.5, which I mentioned last week is the thesis statement for the letter (Σὺ δὲ). In 3.10 he said Σὺ δὲ. And in 3.14 he said, Σὺ δὲ. Now, he says it one more time. As for you, (Σὺ δὲ) always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. And then, in v 6-8, Paul will say something like: You, (Σὺ δὲ) fulfill your ministry just as I have fulfilled my ministry.

When I was a soldier, I learned so much about discipline and structure, order and strategy. I am grateful for my four years of service because the Army taught me more about being a man than probably any other single influence in my life. From the moment I got off the bus at basic training my life was changed. Now, I’m not a soldier anymore. I haven’t been a soldier for more than 30 years, but the lessons I learned have stuck with me.

Some folks asked me about climbing mountains alone: Was I ever afraid?

The answer: yes. A few times actually. Once, I was very afraid. But I learned some skills in the army that allowed me confidence in what I was doing. I know how to navigate a map – a skill I learned in the army. I have some survival skills – again, some basics I learned in the army. I don’t mean to sound overconfident. I am not that. But, with four years of ‘how to survive in the wilderness’ training, some of that teaching stayed with me.

I say that with the understanding that Paul is going to use some of this same philosophy with Timothy. He’s laid a great foundation in Timothy’s life through his teaching and his example. Sure, Timothy has been going-it-alone, so to speak, in that Paul hasn’t been there with this young man in Ephesus. But, Timothy is really getting ready to go-it-alone, because Paul senses his life is about to end. And he wants to make sure that Timothy will remember what he’s been taught as he navigates the ministry without Paul. Timothy is going to have to step up and take Paul’s place – entrusting other men with the faith, teaching them just as Paul taught him. He is going to have to endure suffering – just like Paul has; just like Jesus did.

Here is how I see this passage breaking down. Paul says for Timothy to keep his eye on:

  1. The Master: God, the Father.
  2. The Message: Make sure it is sound, coming from the Word of God.
  3. The Mission: It is so easy to chase after some things that seem beneficial, that seem profitable, but might not really be the mission. In fact, there are probably some really good ‘works’ or ministries out there you can be doing, but those ‘works’ or ministries might not be your mission.
  4. The Moment: remember this time is fleeting. This life is short, but the time you spend in this particular ministry and mission at this particular juncture in life is so brief…

So, let’s begin with the first part of Paul’s charge to Timothy; Paul says, Timothy, Keep your eye on:

I.     The Master (1)

exp.: rd 4.1; I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom… Man, that’s weighty. We say Jesus and we often don’t think of the word Judge. We think of words such as forgiving, kind, compassionate, loving, tender…but we don’t often think Judge! Paul is saying to Timothy: This is a mission in which you serve – don’t forget who you’re serving! I think of Hebrews 12.1-2, which reads in the NASB:

1            Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2            fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

fix your eyes upon Jesus… the Gk word here for fixing actually means to look away from everything else. It’s a negative with negative alpha used as a prefix. BTW: we do talk this way in English, but it isn’t proper.

ill.: let me give you an example: a teenage son is headed back to college. Mom says, “Call me when you get there.” Pretty clear, right? But what if Dad then says, “Do not not call us upon your arrival!” Is that not more emphatic?

exp.: that is the way it is worded here… Turn your eyes away from all and place them squarely upon Jesus!

ill.: Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.

app.: Timothy, with all I’m going to say in the next moment – don’t forget the most important thing:

t.s.: Keep your eyes on Jesus. 2ndly, keep your eyes on:

II.    The Message (2)

exp.: He says, (v 2) preach the Word! This word for “preach,” κηρύσσω means to herald – to proclaim. You can picture someone walking to a corner of a busy street, putting down a crate for a makeshift stage, and then stepping upon it. Then, opening the Bible, begin to proclaim God’s Word to the people passing by. That’s the charge to Timothy.

Now, Paul has already been very clear with Timothy about the importance a healthy doctrine and the source of the doctrine is God’s Word. He’s called it the Word of God and the Word of Truth – and here, he just calls it the Word.

t.s.: So Paul tells Timothy to keep his eye on the Master and on the Message, then he tells him how and why: First, he tells Timothy how and 2nd, he tells him why and that’s the mission:

III.   The Mission (3-5)

exp.: Timothy, keep your eye on the Mission and here’s why and how you do it.

  • 1st, (How): “be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” And then he tells him why…
  • 2nd, (Why): (v 3-4) For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” And we’ve seen that already happening in the previous chapters of this letter. I think we see that here in the US today.

ill.: I have to admit that it strikes me as odd that many pastors, preachers, missionaries, teachers today don’t use God’s Word in their preaching and teaching. They tell interesting, attention-grabbing stories that tug on the heart or provide a sense of patriotism, but for the most part, don’t Proclaim God’s Word of Truth. This morning, I wonder how many church services in America are patriotic? I mean, the music, the speaker – sharing stories that excite a sense of patriotism. And listen, there is absolutely nothing wrong with patriotism. I’m proud to be an American and proud of my military service. But America is not my home. I’m a foreigner here. I’m just passing through. But the truth is, Worship isn’t about being American or a Veteran. Go back to point #1: Keep your eyes on The Master!

Here’s what it all comes down to, Timothy: rd v 5: always be sober-minded (keep your head in all matters), endure suffering (because suffering will come), do the work of an evangelist (you know those gifts given to you when the men laid their hands on you and prayed?), fulfill your ministry (diakonos).

app.: Up to this point, you’ve probably been thinking: man, I hope Duffey is listening. I hope Shawn and Ivana are listening. I hope our missionaries overseas are listening in. Nope, this should smack you right in the heart! Fulfill your diakonos… Acts 6 – The ministry of prayer and the Word. I’m to be deaconing the Word and prayer. Elders: Prayer and Preach the Word! Deacons – in your service to the body; caring for widows and widowers, waiting tables, working in the kitchen, changing light bulbs, working in the fields, filling the baptistery. Serving at teaching, Venture, Bridgemark, CUB, Bible Study, getting the cookies and coffee ready for fellowship, worship team – whatever it is you do – fulfill your ministry.

t.s.: Keep your eyes on the Master, the Message, the Mission – and finally, Keep your eyes on the Moment.

IV.    Moment (6-8)

exp.: rd 6-8; Paul says, Timothy, fulfill your ministry as I have already fulfilled mine! My time is coming to an end! And it will be the same for you!

app.: Our time together is so brief. Let’s make this personal: Momentary in two ways: chronos and kairos;

  1. 1st, you have only but a season with these folks.
  2. 2nd, your life is indeed, but a vapor – which appears for a moment and then is gone.
  • The people around you are not always going to be there.
    • Your class
    • Your work
    • Your friends
  • We live in such a mobile society! But consider what’s more: time races on and the time we have to do what we do is limited. Your time to serve right where you are will come to an end.
    • Ann, remember Pauline Faulkenberry? She isn’t greeting anymore. But she did for years.
    • Fanny Dusek: She’s not teaching children’s ministry anymore.
    • But neither is KK? Your time with the children is done. It’s all marked up and boxed away. You had your chance to fulfill that ministry and the time for that is gone.
      • And, even if you came back, it would be different. Different kids, Different families, Different ministries.
      • Same for Doris and Darlene –
    • Jason and Kenny – the youth you have at this moment is not the same group you had three years ago. And trust me – three more years are going to pass so quickly. The influence you have at this moment… and I mean moment, will soon pass out of sight.

t.s.: What a great reminder for us to consider that brevity of what we’ve been called to do.

Conclusion: Paul has reached the summit of his letter to a dear friend. And, he wants to linger here for a while before heading back down the mountain. This is important stuff. We don’t have much time – so keep your eye on the moment. What we do in this moment is so important – so keep your eye on the message and the mission. And the accountability is so great – it is practically incomprehensible. Foundational to all of this, we’ve got to keep our eyes on Jesus – the master, the author and perfecter of our faith.

In a moment, we’ll be dismissed. Those who serve in the area of fellowship will have the coffee and cookies and doughnuts out. It’s a wonderful time to fellowship. But, it is more than that. We want to hear from you. Maybe God’s been dealing with you in some area. Church membership, Missions or Ministry. Maybe you’d like to talk about where you feel God might be leading you to serve. Let’s talk about that. Maybe, just maybe, you’ve never accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior. Come talk with me about that.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Timothy, Christian Living, missions, Scripture, Sermon

The Foundation of Missions

**An Audio recording of this message is available in the right sidebar of this page or at www.soundcloud.com

Title: The Foundation of Missions

Text: 2 Timothy 3.14-17

Introduction: We’re in 2 Timothy this morning.

While you’re turning to that passage, let me prepare you for our journey this morning. We’ll spend the first half of our time and maybe more time making our way through 2 Timothy to gain a better understanding of the context of this letter. I don’t want you to think that after 20 minutes of what feels like the introduction, that we’re finally getting started on the sermon and then somehow feel frustrated. This morning’s message is designed that way with the sole purpose of gaining perspective on the context of the entire body of the letter. So, in some respects, the body of the sermon is quite short. That should be encouraging. Here’s what I’m thinking: 2 Timothy 3.16 – one of the most popular and famous passages in all of Scripture has the ability to stand alone and still make sense. You can quote it (16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work), and pretty much anytime you do, it won’t be out of context. But, this passage within the context of mission and the missionary, within the context of the called and their service will do something wonderful in the mind and spirit of every believer.

With that in mind, let us establish the context by making our way through this letter with a cursory reading of many of the verses. I think I hope, we’ll feel better connected to the text when we get there. So, let’s begin in 1.1.

1.1: an apostle: sent, commission – God has commissioned him in some way.

1.3: whom I serve: here is his service; something that is in his blood, in his family history – except with him, he’s understood that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

1.3-7: Remembrance is repeated; rd v5-7: 5-7 is a possible thesis statement – a reminder of his faith and the need to ‘fan into flame’ this spiritual gift and use it. for this reason is different wording than we often find. Often the Gk is on account of this, sometimes translated therefore. But here there is this legal term – in a negative sense it would be an accusation – but here it is a positive thing.

1.8-11: this outline – this thesis continues in v8-9; He says the power of the Gospel saves us and calls us. He also says there is the downside to service – that is a downside to fulfilling our calling into service: suffering. Note: the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ who suffered in our place.

Now already we’re seeing a theme: we’ve been saved by faith – then, called and equipped to serve. And that service brings suffering – no different really than our Master.

1.12-18: Paul then tells us of this suffering in v 12; I think there is a break here, though not noticeable in the text. The break should probably be at the end of that sentence there in v 12a. Which is why I suffer as I do. which, by the way, has that legal term again. Break. But, and he continues; rd 12b; 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. Some clarification: we sing a hymn that has this verse in it.

But I know whom I have believed

and am persuaded that he is able

to keep that which I’ve committed

unto him against that day.

Well, the verse is most literally: and I am convinced that he is able to guard my deposit until that day. You might see that in a footnote or a reference note in your Bible. My deposit could be what I give to God, as the hymn implies or it could be the possession I now have that God has deposited into my life. And, that is what the ESV translates and I think is the correct meaning considering the context of what follows.

Then, Paul builds on that in v 13 and says here that he has set an example for Timothy to follow:

  • God has deposited this gospel in me and entrusted it to me.
    • Sound Words – namely – words that come from God. You could say – the Word of God.
    • Words you’ve heard from me:
    • Words that present the Gospel.
  • Guard the deposit entrusted to you
  • Summary: as I’ve been called, sent and entrusted with this service by these words – you do and be likewise.
  • Remember suffering comes with this: Phygelus and Hermogenes abandoned me. Onesiphorus blessed me.

2.1-7: Therefore, imitate me by entrusting faithful men to teach others. Share in the suffering. And then he gives illustrations of those who suffer in their labor: Soldier, Athlete, Farmer.

2.8-13: Suffering and the Gospel. Note: The Source of this Gospel is the Word of God (v 9).

2.14-19: Paul tells Timothy what he needs to be teaching these entrusted, faithful men: Sound Doctrine! Rd 14-15; here is another term for God’s Word: The Word of Truth.

  • Testimony about our Lord (1.8)
  • The Gospel (1.8, 10; 2.8)
  • Sound Words (1.13)
  • The Word of God (2.9)
  • And here, The Word of Truth (2.15)

And you’ll see when we get to our text today that Paul uses two more terms: Sacred writings (3.15) and Scripture (3.16)

But, avoid irreverent babble (16) that is, harmful words – like, and he mentions two more men who have swerved from the truth, Hymenaeus and Philetus. Look at v19, but God’s firm foundation stands. I believe that is God’s Word. Their words are babble, but God’s Word is foundational – it is the Truth.

2.20-26: Now Paul moves back to Timothy to encourage him in what he has already challenged him in: rightly handling the Word of Truth which leads people to a knowledge of the Truth. Paul wants Timmy to be ready for every good work (21). This good work leads people to repentance and salvation (22-26).

In 3.1-13: Paul wants Timothy to understand just how difficult this will be and that he should avoid such people; rd 3.1 & 5; His examples are Jannes and Jambres; these two are not mentioned in Scripture, but we know of them through Jewish writings and even pagan references. If you go to Exodus 7.11, you’ll see them there. They are the ones who did as Paul mentions here – opposed Moses.

In 3.10, Paul comes back to that command to be like him. 1.13; 2.2; and again now in 3.10; rd 3.10; Paul has been mentoring and discipling Timothy with his life. Paul has been an example of the Word, which he has been teaching. You might say that Paul is telling Timothy here, you know my talk matches my walk.

In 3.11-13, he goes back to his suffering and the opposition he often faced in his mission work; rd 3.11-13;

Now, we’ve reached the climax of this letter. I think it stays at its apex through 4.5 and then quickly recedes into the end of the letter. It would be so much fun to go through this letter verse by verse and spend some in-depth, quality time working through their relationship and the passion they both share for the work God has called them to do. Someday, I probably will.

For the next month, let’s just focus on the climactic part of this letter and it’s closing:

  1. The Foundation of Missions: God’s Word
  2. The Duty of Missions: The Work
  3. The Anxiety of Missions: Persecution and suffering
  4. An Example of Missions: George Müller

These four areas of focus will cover as we study the task of the missionary – which, by the way, you are. You are a missionary right here in Tyler. So, you can apply this to your own life. And just what does Paul say here to Timothy about this calling and commission?

  1. Continue…God’s been at work.

Rd v 14a; But as for you; standing in opposition to those who are (using the words in 11-13) ungodly, persecutors, and deceptive; rd 14b; continue. That word Continue is where we reach the climax. This is everything Paul has been working toward: Continue. The Gk is μένω; and it is most literally to remain. So, Paul is saying lit.: be remaining. We, of course, don’t talk that way in English. We say continue.

Continue in what? Rd 14c; continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed. This first word is a derivative of disciple (a disciple is a learner)(μαθητής). We get our word math from these words. The 2nd word is the verb form of our word faith. Being in verb form expresses to us that Paul is saying to Timothy that his life demonstrates what his heart believes.

But there is more! Now Paul identifies what elements in Timothy’s life have influenced this lifestyle; rd 14d; knowing from whom you learn it; which by the way, whom is plural in the Greek. Translation: Paul is identifying the influences on Timothy’s life and there is more than one person. He expounds on that in v 15; rd 15a; and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings.

If you make your way back to 1.5, you’ll see two of those influences: Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s grandmother and mother. Their faith is also Timothy’s faith. A third influence would be Paul, who mentions how Timothy has heard and seen Paul’s faith lived out.

App.: Man, there is so much application for us at this moment. Have you considered that every aspect of your life has been God working on you to bring you to this moment?

  • Every struggle and every success
  • Every victory and every failure
  • Every tear of happiness and every tear from pain
  • Your parents, your upbringing, your teachers, your work, your education, your music, your… everything.

Next, I want to look closer at this word acquainted. It means to know intimately. It isn’t just a basic rudimentary knowledge. It goes much deeper than that. And just what is this of which Timothy has such intimate knowledge? What is this that he’s been learning since he was a child? Rd 15; and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings… Here is another term that Paul uses for Scripture – the sacred writings. So, to review:

  • Godly influences (family and friends)
  • Discipleship: learning about this faith
  • Faith: expressed, it is lived out…
  • Sacred Writings: Scripture, God’s Word; the standard held up and which we live our lives by…

The rest of the verses in this chapter outline for us just what this Scripture is: namely, it’s power, its purpose, it’s source and it’s many uses:

1st, it’s power – It is able (δύναμαι) the verb form of the word from which we get our word: dynamite. It’s powerful. How powerful? 2nd, It can make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ. That’s the purpose.

How can it be so powerful? Because of its source! Rd v 16; Because All Scripture is breathed out by God. This word θεόπνευστος – Theos: God; And pnewō: breath. That is, every word in these sacred writings contains the breath of God. Remove your breath and you can’t speak. Ask Marilyn!

The idea that God breathed his breath into the Holy Scriptures isn’t an isolated thought by Paul. Peter, in his 2 letter, gives his testimony of when he and the two Sons of Thunder, the brothers James and John, were up on the mountain and saw Christ transfigured. At the end of that testimonial, he writes: …that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Some folks think that this refers only to the Old Testament. But I don’t think that’s the case. We don’t have time here to defend this, but let me say, the OT canon wasn’t even established until 90 AD at the Council of Jamnia. That’s 25-30 years down the road from this letter’s origin. So, Paul wouldn’t use words like we do to describe the writings in different Testaments. Let me show you how he referred to them: 4.9, 13; cloak (4.21) biblios and membranos; books and parchments; He doesn’t say, bring my Bible because they didn’t have a Bible like you do. BTW: both Peter and Paul referred to their letters as writings as taught to them by the Holy Spirit and to be read in other churches by other believers and shared for the benefit of discipleship, polity, and instruction. Like in Colossians he says: Hey, I wrote a letter to Laodicea. Give them your letter and read theirs to your people. And, just like in this letter, he calls them to obedience, etc.

For this same reason, you and I understand God’s Word to be holy, infallible, inerrant, fully trustworthy and reliable. Paul continues to teach us, as he’s teaching Timothy here of just how reliable it is: and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…

Lyle Skeels said one time in a Bible Study here that he learned it this way:

  1. What’s right
  2. What’s not right
  3. How to get right, and
  4. How to stay right.

I don’t know where he heard it, but he said he didn’t make it up. He got it from someone else.

  1. You teach What’s right
  2. You reprove What’s not right
  3. When you correct God’s people you show them How to get right, and finally,
  4. When you train them in righteousness, you show them How to stay right.

Ill.: when I was a college student I purchased a Korean/English Bible for my mom. If I recall, it has the Korean translation on one side and the English on the other side. Before giving it to her, I wrote in the front of her Bible of how the words contained in these Scriptures have the answers for life. I wish I’d have known this verse well enough to have referenced it.

Ill.: There is a popular preacher who every time he gets up to preach he asks his congregation to raise up their bibles. This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do. Today, I will be taught the Word of God. I’ll boldly confess. My mind is alert. My heart is receptive. I will never be the same. In Jesus name. I love that. That ain’t bad. The problem I have with this preacher is that he never then opens it up and teaches from it. Basically, he appears to me to be a motivational speaker.

App.: I’m not trying to dog on him. I’ve made it my practice not to be critical of pastors – that’s why I didn’t mention his name. But if you believe that This is my Bible and that it truly is breathed out by God, and, that it teaches you what is right, what is not right, how to get right and how to stay right, then, why wouldn’t you spend some time in it.

  1. Competent… God’s equipping you

Paul tells us these things as he writes to Timothy because he wants us to know…That God has been working on him, molding him and shaping him into the man he wants him to be because he’s equipping him for service; rd v 17; that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. This wording here is truly beautiful the way it is composed in the original language. The first word, competent, means to be fitted for something.

I’ve got my ’72 Chevy up and running and I’m having some problems. After not being used for the last few years, some of the rubber gaskets and seals have become dry and brittle. The master cylinder for the brakes is going to need replacing now. Here’s the thing: I can’t just buy any master cylinder. This is a Chevy. I can’t buy just any part. Even more so, it is 1972 Chevy – 46 years old. It has to be the right part – fitted just for my truck. I was actually shopping on one of the parts websites and it warned me of a part I was looking at: This part doesn’t fit your truck.

When you consider missions, you must consider that God has fitted you for that position. Moreover, he has equipped you for every good work. The word equipped here is a compound word that uses our word competent as a part of it. God has been molding and shaping Timothy and Paul and every minister and missionary he is sending out. That’s pretty cool when you think of it. And how has he been doing that? – with his Word.

Conclusion: God’s Word is the foundation for missions. It makes the missionary and minister into the tool God wants to use. It contains the Good News of Jesus to evangelize the lost making them wise for salvation. It contains the polity and practice of the church and its officers for organization and clarity. It teaches us:

  1. What’s right
  2. What’s not right
  3. How to get right, and
  4. How to stay right.

Application: So, what would I like for you to take with you today when you go home?

  1. You can trust God’s Word for every area of your life.
    1. Parenting
    2. Your marriage
    3. Business and money practices
    4. Salvation (present the gospel and offer an invitation)
  2. You can trust that God is molding you and shaping you for the work he has called you to.
    1. Teacher
    2. Preacher
    3. Missionary
    4. Volunteer
    5. Fill in the blank

Really, this passage outlines the work of God in your life:

  • He saves you through faith (15)
  • He then molds you and shapes you through teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness…
  • Then, he equips you for his service.
  1. Is it possible that God might be calling you today?
    1. Missions
    2. Ministry: pastor or teacher
    3. Service in the body: to step up and serve somewhere – where there is a need?

I don’t know what God has been up to in your life leading up to this moment, but I’d like to encourage you to be open to his leadership. Will you surrender your life to him completely? In a moment we’ll be dismissed. We’re going to have a moment of silence for us to reflect on the day’s activities – to reflect upon what God has been communicating to us as individuals – as families. After that time of silence, we’ll have a prayer and be dismissed. We’ll have some coffee and refreshments at the back of the worship center. Let’s spend some time talking. If you have questions, the elders and staff would love to try and answer those questions and offer some direction – maybe pray with you.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Timothy, Christian Living, Faith, missions, Scripture, Sermon

It’s a Wonderful Life

Title: It’s A Wonderful Life

Text: 2 Tim 4.6-11

Introduction:

It’s a Wonderful Life! I love the movie. If you haven’t watched it yet, I hope you’ll take some time this week watching it. It is safe for the whole family. The jest of the story is about a man named George Bailey who spends his entire life trying to get out of Bedford Falls. Along the way, he helps so many people. He cares, genuinely cares for people. George Bailey is a good man. Some things go wrong for him, really, no fault of his own, but rather that of his uncle. George is now in pickle. He figures he is better off dead than alive and wishes he’d never even been born. He attempts to kill himself by jumping into a river in a snowstorm. The rest of the story is about an angel named Clarence who helps George discover how differently life would be if he had never been born. The message: you can make a difference in the lives of other people.

Our passage today is found in 2 Timothy 4. We’ll basically be looking at the entire chapter, minus the last couple of verses.

Transition: Paul’s life touched so many other lives, and yet, we find him here at the end of his life serving time in a roman Prison and reflecting on the people he has encountered in ministry. He seems a bit melancholy even as he reflects. His reflection probably begins as he thinks about his own life in comparison to young Timothy. Let me begin with some Context for us.

Context: This is Paul’s last letter. Some people believe Paul never made it out of this last imprisonment, but was subsequently put to death for his faith. Others think he did get released for a short time before his martyrdom. Either way, we find Paul at this writing nearing the end of his life. It’s his 2nd letter to Timothy, who is the pastor at Ephesus. The one message that radiates from this entire letter is how much Paul longs to see his ‘son’ in the ministry again. Rd 2 Tim 1.3-4;

A great summary is found in 1.8-14; here is what I did, you’re doing it now, do it well. rd 2.1; he calls him his child and at other times, his son. Rd 2.2; take what I’ve done with you and now pass that faith on to others to be entrusted with this precious gift called the Gospel. And that is what this letter is about – encouragement and instruction as a young pastor. So we pick up in Ch. 4.

Paul moves through five stages as he gains a perspective of his life:

Paul offers Direction for Timothy – his charge

Then he offers an evaluation on his current situation in life.

Paul then reflects briefly on his ministry – in an almost melancholy way.

Then, he petitions Timothy to come see him. We’ll see that Paul needs the encouragement.

Finally, he offers his conclusions concerning God’s faithfulness in his life.

Transition: Let’s begin with the stage…

1.     His Direction for Timothy (1-5)

exp.: Rd v 1; His Charge – A Pastor:

  1. Preaches (2a)
  2. Prepares (2b)
  3. Persists (3-5); rd v 1-5;

Transition: this has been his life, his experience, it appears to make him consider for a moment

2.     His Evaluation of his Life (6-8)

exp.: that’s stage 2 – Where he’s been, what he’s done, where he is now and what the future holds; simply put

  1. The Present (6)
  2. The Past (7)
  3. The Future (8); rd v 6-8;

Transition: Now, he returns to the statement he made at the beginning of his letter and he offers some final instruction for young Timothy, but it appears Paul is feeling a bit sorry for himself as he moves to stage 3 here, an reflects on his life.

3.     His Reflection on Ministry (9-16)

exp.: rd v 9; Simply put: He’s lonely and hurting; being incarcerated over time has maybe taken its toll on his psyche; He needs encouragement; he longs to see the young man who will carry the torch in to the future. Why is he lonely and hurting?

  1. From Abandonment; rd v 10a

i.     Demas; Col 4.14; Phm 24 as being a partner in ministry; but he found ministry too hard and not as rewarding as he had hoped. Maybe he thought his ministry would be in one of the larger cities in one of the larger churches; maybe even on radio and TV where the big money is. Maybe he’d write some books and make the circuit. No, instead he found himself sitting in jail or waiting in some dump for His mentor to get out of jail. People didn’t take kindly to his message and he was rejected one too many times. So down is Paul from Demas’ abandonment, he considers everyone to have abandoned him; rd v 16;

ii.     All – v 16; he sounds like Elijah in 1 Kings 19.10 – He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And yet, if you read on, you see that God had hidden and protected 7000 who had not bowed their souls to Baal.

Transition: So, he felt loneliness and pain from abandonment. It looks like he felt it from…

1. From the faithful – they’ve gone to serve as God has led them. Rd v 10b-12

i.     Crescens – to Galatia

ii.     Titus – to Dalmatia

iii.     Mark – he’s just not here! Get him and bring him here;

iv.     Tychicus – is on his way to your church!

Transition: So, he felt loneliness and pain from the unfaithful who abandoned him, and from the faithful who were doing just what Paul would want them to do: they were serving; note: he says I sent them! But that doesn’t remove the loneliness or hurt. He also was lonely and hurting from…

2. From Attacks; rd v14-15;

i.     Alexander, the coppersmith – Alexander is the “Mr. Potter” in our story! Paul warns Timothy about him;

app.: I have to admit that this section gets me down, too. If you think about it, you’d really have it no other way. Don’t you want your children to grow up and begin a life of their own? So, it is in the ministry. You want your children Timothy, Titus, Crescens, Mark, Tychicus, to grow up and begin doing ministry on their own, with the men they’ve entrusted the Gospel to…

Transition: But there is another part of where he is mentally, emotionally, that I want you to see; we saw it in v9; rd v 9; we see it again in v 13 and 21. I’ve labeled this stage…

4.     His Petition to a friend (9, 13, 21)

exp.: 1st, I want to look at v 21;

  1. Be Zealous (literally) to come before winter – this places great emphasis on his loneliness and need for companionship, encouragement and the like. Be diligent to get this done! Look at some of the items he’s requested; rd v 13;

i.     Bring my cloak – Cover, like a winter coat; something you might consider a blanket or Giant Shawl; a covering while traveling in the winter or a blanket to cover up with when catching some sleep.

exp.: this word cloak takes on different meanings in different translations.

There are 3 different words for cloak. It means coat, outer garment, shawl; travel coat; blanket. To further complicate our understanding of this word ‘cloak’ – the word in Eng. cloak appears some 60x’s in 58 verses of the Bible in the NIV; but only 49 x’s in 47 verses of the ESV. The NASB and HCSB both use it on 25x’s; however, this particular word cloak; φαιλόνην in v 13, it appears only this one time in the NT and not at all in the LXX.

So, we have to go to extra Biblical literature to find how it is used. When we do, we see this word used to describe a box, sometimes meaning a chest, like a treasure chest; a smaller box to hold precious items; in particular, it’s a box used to keep as a cover for books and parchments; well, look at the next two items he mentions;

ii.     Bring my books – probably the books of the Bible; Lk 4.17; your probably thinking and wondering why he doesn’t already have them. Answer: dunno! However, remember where he is. If he was arrested and carried away, then he wouldn’t have been able to gather such items. John 20.30 – Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

iii.     Bring my parchments – above all; probably the ‘paper’ on which he wrote letters.

app.: I think, because he says in v 21; Do your best to come before winter many put the context of the word cloak into a coat or traveling coat; I wonder if what he really is wanting is his Bible and letter writing materials kept safe in their container.

Transition: to this point, I’ve gotten pretty melancholy. I’m sad for Paul and his situation. I’m thinking that he’s very much like George Bailey. A man who has lived a wonderful life, but now finds his current situation dictating how he feels: melancholy, lonely and hurting for encouragement. Longing to hear some news about his work, the churches he has established; longing to hear from the men he’s trained and equipped to carry on his ministry – to know that they’re fighting the good fight, running a strong race, and keeping the faith.

But don’t miss what he says, and we see this in his final remarks of this passage: stage 5.

5.     His Conclusion on matters: But God is Faithful (17-18)

exp.: rd v 17-18; He acknowledges that God provides, protects and pilots us into his kingdom.

  1. God Provides

i.     Stands by

ii.     Strengthens – But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.

     2.  God Protects

i.     From the Lion

ii.     From every evil deed – So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed

     3.  God Guides – He Pilots; and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom

Transition: I wonder if the apostle George Bailey…um, the apostle Paul had an angel to show him at this sad moment in his life the impact he had had on so many people? Timothy, Titus, Crescens, Tychicus, Epahros, Luke, Mark, Barnabas, Apollos and the list goes on; look in v 19: Pricilla and Acquilla, Onesiphorus; Erastus, Trophimus, Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia!

I wonder if he saw the churches affected by his ministry – Rome, Corinth, Galatia, the Lycos Valley with Colossae, Laodicea, Heiropolis, Antioch and Antioch, Lydia, Ephesus, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Philippi, etc. etc. etc.!

I wonder if he was able to see the affect his imprisonment would have on the me…and you. That when he had his parchments and his scrolls, he composed for us most of the NT. His imprisonment, His loneliness meant God’s word for our salvation!

God had indeed provided and protected and piloted Paul into his will to touch millions, no probably billions of people.

Transition: So, what does this mean for us today? A couple of observations…

Observations & Implications:

  1. Don’t let your circumstance dictate your mental state!
    1. You may not see it, but God is providing you the strength you need to do his work.
    2. He’s protecting you to the point you need for your service to him. It doesn’t mean that you won’t suffer, but rather that you’ll be put in a position for his work and his glory.
    3. He is piloting you through tough storms, guiding you… what does Paul say? … safely into his heavenly kingdom.
    4. Don’t think because you see so little, that you haven’t accomplished so much. There are little treasures you’ve deposited into people’s lives.
      1. You’ve planted seeds that will become plants and fruit that you may never see. Even in the most trying and difficult relationships! Remember Mark? (John Mark); Paul and Mark parted company in Acts 13 and yet, here we find at the end of Paul’s life, this one who he couldn’t tolerate to do ministry with him was indeed doing just that! And not only for Paul, but we learn even later on, that Mark was instrumental in Peter getting his story of Jesus out – it’s recorded in the Gospel of Mark.
      2. In the movie with George Bailey, he saves his brother’s life, who in turn saves hundreds, if not a thousand lives on a military transport ship. You just might lead one to salvation who will preach to thousands and see them come to salvation. Or they’ll serve as a missionary and plant hundreds of churches and see thousands saved.
      3. Never think your little ministry is too small to have an impact. That little thing you do, that you consider your little treasure chest might just be a light that shines to the world. It might look like a cover, a book or a letter to someone else, but to God – it is a tool that He can use mightily.

Let me close with 1 Cor 1.21 and following: 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption…

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Timothy, Scripture, W.E.B.S.