When we are called to the Lord’s service, he does not simply toss us into battle and tell us to hope for the best. Instead, he prepares us for the journey ahead, and he arms us with the tools we need to be victorious. Timothy was still a young pastor of a Gentile Church. That had to seem a bit daunting for the young shepherd. But, Paul reminded him and us he was not going in alone.
He first reminded Timothy that he was raised in the faith and taught by the best. Timothy had a Godly Mom and Grandmother. He grew up seeing what faith looked like and seeing God preparing and protecting the folks he most loved and admired. Second, he reminded Timothy he was equipped with the Holy Spirit of God–God in us. He guides, comforts and empowers us to be that for which we were created.
We have nothing to fear–we are prepared and equipped to do that for which we were raised and called–Let’s Go do what we were put here for!
God Bless You
I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
It is easy to forget that all we do in life, as a believer, we do to honor God. Paul as he was ending his letter to Timothy and one last principal that he saw as a priority for the Pastor–the teaching of proper priority and respect. In the church, we cannot allow our faith to be used as an excuse for how we behave. Paul reminded Timothy that as slaves, the believers needed to be the best and most respectful slaves in the country. Masters needed to treat their slaves with benevolence and respect. The priority lies in honoring God–not in the position of employment.
The same holds true in position in life–rich or poor, leader or follower, pastor or new believer–the key is to live a life that honors God first and foremost. Paul wanted Timothy to see that the prestige the world offers; is simply a distraction to what is really important–following the Lord.
In our lives, we face the same struggle in where we work, in what we own and with whom we do life. Our duty and desire is to follow God. We recognize that God leads and orchestrates our journey and we are content to follow–wherever it leads. As we do, he will bless us, provide for our needs and prepare us for the real life of eternity with him. We have to learn to be content in whatever our circumstance, and allow him to create the life we are to lead.
God Bless You
All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare[a] of their slaves.These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
6-10 You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.
The world has a way of infiltrating the Church. Certainly, it is because the body of Christ is made up of people. No matter the time or place, the more people get involved in the faith, the more they want to help God out by incorporating their personal beliefs and traditions into our worship of him. So many churches have split or died over the silliest issues–carpet color, music, placement of furniture–and a host of trivial matters that do not impact the faith in any way.
Paul tells Timothy–keep it simple. Worship God, and him only. Don’t allow the church to define itself by dietary principles, or other man-made traditions. Allow Christ to be what defines the church. Make him the object of worship. As we do this, the faith will grow and sustain those who believe.
In our lives, we too must focus on the truth and the Savior. We cannot let tradition and man-made rules to drive people from Christ and into the hands of the enemy. We need to follow him closely and teach the truth to those whom will listen. All the while, remaining on guard for the attacks of the enemy. God always wants to make it simple–trust him and allow him to lead. He will make you exactly what you need to be!
God Bless You
The Spirit clearly says, in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,[a] you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
It is difficult to live a life of faith. As one draws closer to God–the enemy attempts to derail and nullify them in their faith. So, when Paul coached Timothy on picking his leadership team, he laid out some petty difficult restrictions. Paul was no snob. He did not set out requirements simply to exclude folks he would not like. He set out criteria that set men apart from the crowd. He encouraged Timothy to surround himself with men of faith that demonstrated in their daily lives a humble submission to God’s leadership. As they walk in faith, Paul lists qualities that would become apparent.
In our walks, God does not call each of us to be leaders in our church. many would argue, however, that he calls each of us to be qualified to be leaders. As we look at Paul’s list, he enumerates qualities that come from humbly following God–great reputation, great family and a focused spirit that honors God–in good times and difficult ones. We understand that our control is limited, but, that if we do follow him, we are more likely to see these qualities than if we do not. In first Peter 5, Peter warns us, “Be on guard and alert–our enemy roams around like a roaring lion–seeking whom he may devour!” When we are preparing to lead, we can be assured that that warning is in large print and embossed upon each day. It is an honor to lead–but it is a responsibility and task whose accolades are in no way equal to the responsibilities and the costs.
God Bless You
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
8 In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
As Paul instructed Timothy in how to lead a church, it is highly important to understand that as Paul set priorities, the first item on the list was prayer. We can never grasp the rare gift and honor we have of being able to approach the throne of God and simply speak our hearts, minds, hurts and dreams openly without fear of judgement or rejection.
Prayer is talking to God as we talk to each other. Sometimes, our prayers need to recognize the character of God and simply adore Him for who he is. Sometimes, our prayer needs to be transparent and confess the things that are standing between us and God–our thoughts, lack of faith or actions; that dishonor him and us. In all our prayer, we need to thank God for all He has done and provided in our lives–recognizing, that without him, we would be nothing, we could do nothing and we would have nothing.
Finally, we need to trust that He cares about our needs and the needs of others; and, He never minds for us to intercede on others behalf, or even, for us to openly ask for what we need. We need embrace this personal relationship with God–and treat it as personally as any other relationship we hold dear. We can never be afraid, we can never doubt–that God loves us and wants for us to have a rich and meaningful life.
God Bless You
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
Each of us, as God’s chosen, are given a mission and journey to follow the Lord with humility and a grateful heart. Paul was coming to the end of his days, and his most dear disciple,Timothy, was now leading the church at Ephesus. Paul had built that church and stayed their for nearly 2 years. Then, as he returned to Jerusalem, he was arrested and ultimately found himself in Rome. The letters to Timothy were written as encouragement and coaching on how to lead his church, and how to trust God.
Paul was called by God to be the apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). As the Jew of Jews, it was an amazing transformation–that lead him all over Asia and Europe preaching the news of Christ’s life and salvation. As he began caching Timothy, two principles emerged–stay where you are and teach the truth.
Many in the area were trying to subvert the Gospel and make salvation about what you know or where you are from. Paul, and now Timothy, were teaching the truth–Salvation was, is and always will be about Christ and what he has done. Amidst all the opposition, Timothy was doubting how useful his ministry was. Paul was reminding him–stick with it, God has got this!
In our lives, we see the open and apparent evil in our culture. We see the church literally being forced to remove the welcome sign in our town. The Gospel is under fire from all sides–schools, entertainment, the courts, government. Still, in the midst of the battle, God says to us–“Stay where you are and teach the truth. I have got this!!!” We can never consider the notion that no one is listening. The truth is that the enemy is listening, and it is driving him nuts. It reminds him that we win in the end. Stand firm and speak the truth!
God Bless You
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.