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 2nd Timothy ... A Survey!

"DON'T QUIT!"

25 LESSONS ON FAITHFULNESS IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

(With Preachers especially in mind ... since 2nd Timothy is written particularly to them!)

 

 

The inspired Epistle of Second Timothy records for us Paul's last words.  In it he seems to be doing his best to encourage a young preacher ... exhorting him not to quit!  "Be faithful" Paul says again and again!  And indeed, Paul left us all a sterling example!  He was certainly steadfast, unmoveable and always abounding in the work of the Lord!

--- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

THIS STUDY IS OUR BIBLE FOCUS FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2005.  SISTER NORMA AND I ALWAYS TRY TO CONCENTRATE ON A PORTION OF GOD'S WORD EACH MONTH ... SOLELY FOR OUR SPIRITUAL GROWN!

 

HOW TO KEEP FROM "QUITTING" ...

 

LESSON 1 ... Friday, September 9, 2005:

It's an old Preacher writing his last words!

He addresses his young and dear preacher friend Timothy.

The first sentence from his pen reads:  "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dearly beloved son ...."   2nd Timothy 1:1-2

I have no doubt that part of the reason Paul wrote this last Epistle of his was "to encourage" Timothy to keep on preaching the dear Word of God!

To remain faithful!

To not quit!

Furthermore I sense that the opening verse here contains one secret to such determination.

Preachers, especially, see this with me!

Paul was absolutely SURE that He was doing his life work!  A ministry which God had given him!  Something that was in the perfect center of the Lord's Will for his life!

In other words, Paul knew beyond any doubt that he had been CALLED to preach the Word of God!

Again, our Text:  "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dearly beloved son ...."

Paul also relates the fact of his "call" in at least three other places:

Romans 1:1 --- "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God ...."

1st Corinthians 1:1 --- "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother ...."

And Galatians 1:15 --- "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen ...."

Paul was sure of His CALL to preach!

I will say this today.

If a man is not sure of that call ... he will not finish well!

He will probably "wash out" and be a quitter!

Preacher, you need to be as sure of your CALL to preach as you are of your very soul's salvation!

Without that foundation, not much in your ministry will stand the tests and trials of time!

I wish we had time today to somehow talk back and forth, preacher to preacher!

I'd love to hear about your "call!"

And I'd like to tell you about mine!

By the way, if you're not sure about that "call," I know One Who is!

Read here:  "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them."  Acts 13:1-2

The Holy Spirit knows!

And He can "bear witness" with your spirit!

Here's the rule:  no call ... no preach!

Respectfully I say this ... if you've never been called of God;  go get a job somewhere, attend Church faithfully, live for the Lord, and support and respect a real "called" Man of God!

And to those who are truly "called" ... Paul reminds us:  "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"  1st Corinthians 9:16

Yes, that "call" will help keep you faithful!

It did with Jeremiah!

He tried to quit one day ... but the "call" of God in his life, like a burning fire, would just not be extinguished!

"Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."  Jeremiah 20:9

I realize that it's all of Grace ... but I humbly thank God for the Call to Preach His Precious Word!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2 ... Monday, September 12, 2005:

Three times Paul uses the expression!

In Greek it is "su de."

It just means "but thou!"

Here's how Paul, under divine inspiration, handles the term.

He surveys the current spiritual conditions of Timothy's world, then commands ... BUT THOU ... young preacher Timothy, must be different!

Others are doing this, BUT THOU must abstain!

Watch: 

"Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me." 2nd Timothy 3:8-11 

Timothy, others have rebelled and hurt past Men of God ... BUT THOU must be different!  You have had companionship and fellowship with me (Paul), knowing my sincerity and godly manner of life, and therein you should find encouragement to stand faithfully with God's Men!

"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."   2nd Timothy 3:13-15

Timothy, others have fallen into sin ... BUT THOU ... ought to remember your background, your salvation experience, and the complete assurance God has given you ... and stay faithful, not falling into the filth of iniquity!

Then ... "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."  2nd Timothy 4:3-5

Timothy, others will compromise their message for ease of life ... BUT THOU must not do so!  Endure the hard times, staying faithful to the God Who called you, and your progress will be evident to everyone!

Three times Paul uses this precise literary device ... BUT THOU!

Preacher reading these words today, others may be compromising, but if you are Blood-washed, God-called and Spirit-filled you cannot!

BUT THOU must be different!

Live by God's "higher standard!"

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3 ... Tuesday, September 13, 2005:

Another trait Paul modeled was "sincerity" or just plain old "honesty!"

Read these words:  "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience!"  2nd Timothy 1:3

Listen to that!

Paul has a clear conscience!

No "guilt" weighs him down!

No unconfessed sin in this Man of God!

No one has been "wronged" by him ... at least not without an attempt on his part to make things right!

And young Timothy was also equipped with such integrity!

At least Paul says so:  "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also."  2nd Timothy 1:5

See that little word "unfeigned?"

In Greek it is spelled:  "anupokritos." It contains the word "hypocrite!"  Except for this ... the prefix "a" negates the meaning.  Timothy has non-hypocritical faith!

Timothy is NOT a fake!

What this young preacher has is REAL!

And, folks, today we have encountered another one of those things that will keep a man from quitting!

Just being real!

A person of integrity!

If a preacher is living a life that is not genuine ... he cannot possibly ... and successfully ... finish the course!

If, while you are preaching ... on the left sits a man to whom you've lied ... and in the middle is a couple whose private information you've scattered everywhere ... and on the right is a woman with whom you've been way too "loose" ... NO WONDER you can't hold your head up and preach boldly!

You need to be in the altar repenting!

And Paul knew this!

In 1st Timothy 1:19 Paul lets us in on a little secret.  He "holds on" to two things! Real faith ... and a good conscience!  Again, integrity, godliness, holiness!

Paul ... "holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck" ... did NOT shipwreck ... but faithfully finished "race" that was set before him!

It is like Jesus said:  "Blessed are the PURE IN HEART ... for they shall see God!" Matthew 5:8

Preachers, today we have been "challenged" from the Scriptures of Truth!

If we need to go "make something right" ... let's be men enough to do just that!

Now!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4 ... Thursday, September 15, 2005:

Paul, writing as an old (near death) Preacher ... to a younger man in the Ministry (Timothy) longs to instill in his understudy certain things that will aid FAITHFULNESS to the Lord!

He wants Timothy to NOT QUIT!

One of those things is housed in 2nd 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."

There obviously was, in Timothy, a certain "gift," the word used here being in Greek "charisma," closely akin to the word Grace!

God has put within Timothy, upon his "call" to preach, certain abilities and strengths and drives, which would often need a good "stirring up!"

It's in there ... just be sure it stays "revived," Timothy!

Look with me at the verb "stir up."

It is spelled "anazopureo," which word combines three other Greek expressions!

"Ana" means "again!"

The "zo" (really "zoe") part means "life!"

And the last section, "pur" means "fire!"

Put it all together:  Stir the fire that's within you!  Regularly stoke it!  Keep it flaming!  Don't let it die!

A Preacher who fails to care for that God-placed inner Fire ... will  not finish well!

And, gentlemen, if you are truly called to preach ... that Fire is in you!

Jeremiah had it!

One day, when he tried to quit, the LORD stirred up the old weeping prophet's fire!

Let's get it in the preacher's own words: "Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His Word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." Jeremiah 20:9

Jeremiah couldn't quit!

The Gift that was in him prevailed!

Enough has been said!

Preachers, find out what best "stirs" your inner fire ... and get with it!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5 ... Friday, September 16, 2005:

"Timothy, never quit!"

The young preacher had a weak constitution it seems.  Paul constantly was trying to encourage him and strengthen him for his life ministry.

Timothy, do not worry or fret!

After all ... "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  2nd Timothy 1:7

The verb "given" here (in Greek = "didomi") is in the aorist tense.  God's "giving" of the Spirit here is seen as a thing of the past, an action completed!  Therefore Paul has in mind one's day of salvation!  God has already given us of His Spirit!  Romans 8:9 says:  "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."

There exists in this world a "spirit of fear!"  It is not of God!

"Fear," the noun here is spelled "deilia" in Greek.   This word is only used once (right here) in the whole Bible!  How unique!  "Deos" in Greek means dread.  It is a word they often used for being timid!  Sounds to me like it covers the area of "worry" pretty well too!

Instead, the Holy Spirit gives boldness!  Proverbs 28:1 reminds us that:  "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion."

Next ...

The Holy Spirit does however impart "power!"  Our word "dunamis" here implies inherent power, in-built power, power that was "poured within" us by the Holy Spirit when we were saved ... and furthermore as we need it day by day!

This term gives us our English word "dynamite!"

Paul says it is the same Power that raised Jesus from the dead!  See his words in Ephesians 1:19-20.

Also Timothy (and us who are saved too for that matter), through the Holy Spirit, has a big dose of "agape" love!  In some way this kind of love must drive away the tendency to be timid or to quit on the Lord!  Paul said once that the Love of Christ kept him going!  See 2nd Corinthians 5:14!

This "agape" love was "shed abroad" in our hearts when we were saved!  "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:5

Then lastly, we are given the spirit of a "sound mind!"  The word "sophronismos" combines "sozo" (to save) and "phren" (one's feelings or one's mind)!  A spiritually healthy mind!  The formerly devil-possessed man in Mark 5:15 sat in "his right mind" before the Lord Jesus, a devil-free mind!  The King James Bible several times translates the word with the idea of being "sober" minded.  For some examples, see passages like 2nd Corinthians 5:13 and Titus 2:6 and 1st Peter 4:7 and Romans 12:3.

See what Paul is saying!

Timothy, you have no reason to be constantly scared or fretful or timid!

The Holy Spirit, Who indwells you and fills you is a Spirit of POWER and LOVE and A SOUND MIND!

Live, Timothy ... through the Person of that great Spirit of God!

Goodbye worry!

Goodbye fear!

Goodbye timidity!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6 ... Saturday, September 17, 2005:

Part of staying faithful to our Saviour involves a bit of sheer determination!

I realize that God the Holy Spirit, Who lives within us, can not and will not quit! But the Lord asks a bit of co-operation on our part as well!

Read with me 2nd Timothy 1:13-14. "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us."

I am interested in the two underlined verbs.

To "hold fast" (in Greek = "echo") means to deliberately stay attached! To "hold on" to something! To possess it!

Young Timothy, the good teaching youíve heard ... mixed with the love of God and true faith in His Son Jesus, must be possessed!  Tenaciously "hold on" to it!

Although it should not have to be stated, simply due to its obvious nature, if one obeys this command ... he will never quit!

Next, Paul says "keep" that good thing which was given you by the Holy Spirit ... either at salvation or when He called you to preach!

Now Iím not even going to try to define the terms here. Exactly what that "good thing" is being laid aside, the young preacher is to "keep" it! "Phulasso" means "to guard, to watch, to keep an eye upon" something!

Again, if one does such, he will not faint!

Do notice the "hint" Paul here gives about "keeping" or "guarding" those precious things!  "By the Holy Ghost!"  The preposition "by" translates a little Greek word, "dia."  It means (with the genitive case, as here) ... "through" ... or "with" ... or "by means of!"  We can't guard or protect anything without the Aid and Power of the dear Holy Spirit!

Two simple little "secrets!"

"Hold on!"  ("HOLD FAST!")

And ... "Guard carefully!"  ("KEEP!")

But they are secrets that translate into long-term faithful Christian living and steadfast ministry to the Glory of God!

Amen!

                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7 ... Sunday, September 18, 2005:

What if I told you that the "grace" of God could empower you to live more faithfully for our Lord?

It can ... and it does!

All that the Apostle Paul ever accomplished for Jesusí sake (quite a list) ... he achieved through the marvelous grace of God!

Listen to him put it in his own words: "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." 1st Corinthians 15:10

He just said that the grace of God which was with him laboured abundantly!

Grace can Biblically be viewed as a strengthening and fortifying source of energy in the Christianís life!

Therefore Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:1 says to the young preacher: "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

The verb "be strong," which is an imperative ... expressing a clear command, means "to increase in power!" In Greek it is spelled "endunamoo." That prefix "en" implies the energy has been placed within a person, by the Holy Spirit of God! This is not energy we "work up" on our own either! The verb is passive! This is strength we experience! It is given to us! It is done to us! It is passed upon us! Our job is just to cooperate with the Spirit as He endues us with that power!

But ... the power of what?

"Grace!"

"Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

Lean on the Grace of God!

Love the Grace of God!

Talk much of the Grace of God!

Itís mentioned 114 times in the New Testament alone!

Be strong in the empowering Grace of God ...and, Timothy, you will then NOT be a quitter!

Amen!

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8 ... Friday, September 23, 2005:

I think itís often called the principle of "accountability."

Others call it "discipleship."

Or just "mentoring."

But I want to see how the New Testament puts it. Paul is talking to his young "preacher-boy" Timothy. His advice is ... "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."  2nd Timothy 2:2

Son, what youíve heard and learned from me ... pass along to other faithful men ... who will in turn teach the younger preachers who follow them! This way the Faith will be handed down from generation to generation!

The verb "commit" is interesting. Itís in Greek "paratithemi" and means to place something right alongside another!

And when we view this verse in light of our overall theme ... promoting faithfulness and steadfastness in our lives ... the connection is obvious!

As the older preacher teaches the younger preacher, they "bond."

They become somewhat dependent upon each other!

They become ACCOUNTABLE to each other!

And therein they each constrain the other to be more faithful ... lest the "chain" of encouragement be broken!

You help keep me strong ... and Iíll do the same for you!

Folks, thatís a Bible plan ... and it works!

And that may be the reason Jesus always sent His Disciples out ... two by two!

It's the old principle taught way back in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.  "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

Amen!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9 ... Tuesday, September 20, 2005:

Today's lackadaisical attitudes have "infected" the Ministry I fear!  We Preachers expect things to be so "easy" anymore!

Yet Paul told young Timothy:  "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."  2nd Timothy 2:3

The verb "endure hardness" translates one Greek word, "kakopatheo."  Its "root," spelled "pascho," means to feel some sort of sensation, usually a painful one!  And the prefix here simply intensifies the word meaning.

The verb is also an imperative.  Paul is commanding Timothy to expect and bravely confront difficult and even painful times when they come!

The verb however is in "aorist" form!  These hardships therefore are not necessarily continuous! 

There are generally more good times in the Ministry ... than bad times!

Timothy, as a Preacher of the Word, you are NOT a king to be pampered!  Or a boss to be admired! 

You are a soldier at war!

The noun for "soldier" is "stratiotes" and means a person who lives in a military environment!

We are in a battle ... against the world and the flesh and the devil!

And, dear Men of God, knowing this ... and expecting hard times to come ... will further "arm" us NOT TO QUIT!

After all, soldiers expect such!

Particularly "good" soldiers!

And the adjective "good" here is captivating!

"Kalos" means precious, beautiful, excellent, genuine or choice!  But in this sense: a "goodness" that spreads and impacts and influences others!

A soldier who motivates other soldiers to fight the faith and stay the course and finish the battle ... with great victory!

What incentives we have here ... to be "stedfast, unmoveable and always abounding in the work of the Lord!"  1st Corinthians 15:58

Lord, help us so to be!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10 ... Wednesday, September 21, 2005:

In 2nd Timothy 2:5-6 Paul gives us several great "hints" about maintaining faithfulness in our work for Jesus!

"And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits."

Now, remember, Paul is here talking "to" and "about" preachers!

First, he calls the Gospel Ministry a work that will require one's "striving!"  Let me spell that Greek verb for you ... "athleo!"  It means "to engage in a contest!"  To contend for a reward or prize!  To endure or suffer!

A Preacher, a true one and a godly one, is a spiritual "athlete!"

That kind of Ministry sounds a little "tougher" than most Pastoral Theology Classes depict in our days!

If I am fore-warned that my work for Jesus will be hard ... will require the training and stamina of an Olympic runner or boxer, then I am more inclined to be faithful ... when the way becomes difficult!

Timothy, don't quit!

Next ... Paul adds that a preacher must strive "lawfully!"

The word "nomimos" is related to the Greek word for precept, statute or law.

There are guidelines that have to be followed!

Preachers, we often get discouraged or disheartened when we do not follow God's rules!  I wonder if such a "lowly" feeling is not perhaps sometimes even the result of our disobedience!

Do not violate Scripture!

To do so invites faintheartedness!

Do not cross the lines of separation the Holy Spirit has drawn in your life either!  Do not lose your convictions!  Live by God's standards!

Not to do so makes one's "disqualification" a very distinct possibility!  Paul's word for this was "castaway!"

Preach and live "lawfully!"

Then Paul compares the work of the Ministry to a "farmer," a "husbandman" ... as he labors in the fields!

"Georgos" is the Greek word for "husbandman" and means earth ("geo") worker ("ergon")!  One who plows ... and sows ... and weeds ... and fertilizes ... and guards ... and finally ... reaps ... a given crop!

The work ethic of a farmer ... his patience and perseverance and hope and faithfulness and determination ... is required of a Preacher too!

If I know this in advance ... I will not become as weak when another "plowing" or a second "planting" is required!  I will better understand that some crop yields are better than others!  I will comprehend that next season may be better than this season ever was!

These three word pictures alone ... can help me better be ... "stedfast, unmoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord."  That's using Paul's own words from 1st Corinthians 15:58.

Men, let's stay faithful ... to the Glory of God!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11 ...Thursday, September 22, 2005:

At first I was not sure, but now I know this verse must be included in the list!  I mean the list of safeguards Paul gives the young Preacher Timothy ... safeguards to keep a Preacher from ever quitting on God!

Here's our Scripture for today:  "Remember that Jesus Christ of the Seed of David was raised from the dead according to my Gospel."  2nd Timothy 2:8

In this short verse I see three "aids" to keep us faithful!

The verb "remember" means to keep something in mind!  Paul frames it here as an imperative too!  A command is being given!

Certain things about our Faith, if not forgotten, can and will keep us from quitting!

Preachers, discover what truths motivate and encourage you ... and concentrate on them often!  For example, if the Second Coming constrains you to work harder for Jesus ... study it monthly!

Then our verse looks at the fact of Jesus' Resurrection! 

It is an event of history!

Yet Paul here refuses to put the verb "raised" in the aorist tense!  He frames it as a "perfect" passive participle.  That means that although the "action" is complete ... in the past ... it yet still works and motivates and saves and empowers as long as one's life continues!

The Resurrection alone should keep us Preachers from quitting!  Jesus is alive ... to help us day by day and hour by hour!

Then Paul does something unusual. He calls the Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, his Gospel!  Paul's Gospel! 

He does not alter or change it one bit!

The great Apostle just claims it to be his own!

Now, that might be a good thing for us all to do!

As long as we preach a distant Gospel, a simply factual one, we can alienate ourselves from it more easily ... if we become slack in our Christian lives!

But if we appropriate it as our Gospel ... God's Message to me and through me to lost sinners ... what a difference is made!

It is our Gospel ... in the sense that it belonged first to the Lord ... who gave it to us when we believed!   And men, our great God further "entrusted" it into our hands when He called us to preach!

And if it is mine ... certainly I'll be careful to present it faithfully and accurately to those who have yet to hear!

This too will keep me from quitting easily!

Additionally, I just noticed that Paul calls it his Gospel three times in the New Testament!

Romans 2:16 --- "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel."  Here the Gospel deals with SIN!

2nd Timothy 2:8 --- "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my Gospel."  Here the Gospel deals with SALVATION!

And Romans 16:25 --- "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my Gospel ...."  Here is Gospel deals with STABILITY!  (That means not quitting!)

I rest my case!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 12 ... Saturday, September 24, 2005:

The thirteenth verse of 2nd Timothy chapter two is astounding!

"If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."

It is saying, in effect, that even if we are not steadfast, the Lord is!

Even if we are unstable, He isn't!

Even if we are faithless, He remains the Same!

Even if we doubt, He doesn't!

Here the possibility of extended seasons of weakness (and even doubt) by a struggling young preacher is acknowledged!

BUT, when he is in the "darkness" of discouragement and despair, His great God is watching over Him, loving Him and seeking to meet his every need!

God never forsook Job!

God never left a despondent Jeremiah ... or a weary Paul ... or a doubting John the Baptist either!

That verb "abideth" in spelled "meno" and means to continue or endure!  Jesus is ALWAYS faithful to His Word!  He WILL keep every promise!  He WILL never leave or forsake us!

Jesus abides so faithfully ... that His very Name is called FAITHFUL!  "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war."  Revelation 19:11

The verb "deny" means literally to "un-say!"  To contradict!  To disavow!

Glory to God!

Since Jesus is THAT Faithful ... how ought we, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, to live?

Now THAT ought to motivate us all!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 13 ... Sunday, September 25, 2005:

If there is any verse in 2nd Timothy that supremely motivates us to faithfulness, it would have to be that "classic" fifteenth verse of the second chapter!

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  2nd Timothy 2:15

The verb "study" (in Greek = "spoudazo") means "do your best!"  To be diligent!  To labor fervently!  (It has nothing to do with books or classes necessarily!)

A "workman" (Greek = "ergates") is one who is energized, empowered!

And "rightly dividing" means "to cut straight!"  It was used of a Daddy in an ancient home who served the bread at supper, slicing it so that everyone had an equal piece, being nourished thereby!

Preachers, we are to work ... and work hard ... at mastering the Word of God, learning how to serve it to our people, that they might grow in the Faith!

BUT ... the key words I think ... about faithfulness are these:  being "approved unto God!"

The adjective (participle) "approved" translates "dokimos" in Greek.  It means "having taken a test ... and passed!"

Men, we do not have to live and preach for the approval of man!  We are not in a popularity contest!  Or a political campaign!

We preach and serve and labor to please our Father in Heaven!

What a motive!

Many a time when the congregation was about half-dead, I just started preaching to Him Who is Above!

Trying to meet His approval!

He always responds warmly!

After all, it's the dear Lord Who will reward us anyway!

And ... I always find this to be true too ... if I really please the Lord ... what I do will also please His people!  At least those who are closest to Him!

Now that could keep me going for a while!

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, seek to be "approved unto God!"

HE is a fair and loving Lord!

Indeed!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 14:

The Bible expression we study today is "a vessel unto honour!"

Only Paul the Apostles uses the term.

And he employs it three times in the New Testament.

In Romans 9:21 a "vessel unto honour" is contrasted with a "vessel unto dishonour!" In other words ... a particularly godly and effective Believer (the "vessel unto honour") is compared to a particularly soiled and unprepared Believer, the "vessel unto dishonour!"

Then in 1st Thessalonians 4:4 Paul tells us that Christians who are true "vessels unto honour" will live sanctified lives, especially abstaining from fornication and its related sins!

But in 2nd Timothy 2:21, writing to a young Preacher, Paul most fully describes this "vessel unto honour!"  There he says:  "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." 

Using the term "vessel unto honour" as a synonym for one of God's most dedicated saints, a sincere follower of Jesus Christ, we immediately see a negative trait that this godly man possesses.

He has "purged himself" from some things!

In the Christian life ... no "separation" means no "honour!"

The verb "purge" means to cleanse thoroughly!  It's a "subjunctive" mood verb, indicating Paul's longing and desire for each of his converts to Christ!

But "purge himself" from what?  The pronoun "these" refers either to the "vain babblings" of verse 16 or the "iniquity" of verse 21.  Both are dangerous and defiling to an honourable vessel!

Then Paul lists three characteristics of a "vessel unto honour!"

They are "sanctified!"

The verb here is expressed as a participle, a perfect participle.  This means that the Christian in question lives a life that's "set apart" from the world, the flesh and the devil!  The "perfect" sense of the verb teaches us that this "separation" was effected by the Holy Spirit when the Believer was first saved ... and has had a life-long impact on his behavior!  (Completed action with on-going consequences!) 

Secondly, a "vessel unto honour" is "meet" for the Master's use!  This little adjective "euchrestos" means profitable or useful or beneficial!   Its background and history picture something that is "easy to be used, pliable in the Master's Hands!"

Thirdly, a "vessel unto honour" is "prepared" unto every good work!  This little verb "hetoimazo" means that which is adjusted, fixed, programmed, or made ready! 

What a motivation this 2nd Timothy verse in particular (and the whole concept of being a "vessel unto honour" in general) should be to a Preacher!

Or for that matter ... to any spiritually healthy and growing Christian!

Who does not want to do his best for Jesus?

Jesus Who died on the Cross of Calvary to save our sinful souls!

How can anyone quit ... or grow slack ... or stay discouraged when they face the potential of being, for Jesus' sake and the Father's Glory, a true "vessel unto honour?"

Folks, stay faithful!

Indeed, that is one of the very "traits" the indwelling Holy Spirit produces in the Believer's life ... "faith," or faithfulness!  It is part of the "fruit of the Spirit" of Galatians 5:22-23.

Preacher, Sunday School Teacher, Musician, Singer ... or any other dedicated Christian, do not quit!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 15 ... Monday, September 26, 2005:

The two key verbs are "flee" and follow!"

You may read about them in 2 Timothy 2:22.  "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

The Apostle Paul addresses these words to a young Preacher named Timothy.  I believe one of his major goals here is to encourage Timothy not to quit!

It surely helps one to stay faithful if he clearly knows what to follow and what to flee!

The verb "flee" (in Greek = "pheugo") means to escape!  To run as if from danger! And of course the verb is an imperative, expressing a command from God!

"Youthful" lusts are strong desires that especially attract new or fresh or young people!

Some temptations are just stronger in the earlier years of life! 

These Paul calls "lusts," meaning strong (very strong) desires!  Cravings even!

Young Preachers must diligently strive to be morally pure, both in practice and in thought!

But "fleeing" is not all that's involved in a successful and faithful Ministry for Jesus!

"Following" is necessary too!

Timothy, "follow" after these five things!

This verb, "dioko," means to chase after or to pursue with great vehemence!  It can even mean "persecute!" It is that dramatic!  In fact, it does mean "persecute" 28 times in the King James Bible!

What is the Preacher to so "stalk" in his life?

Here's the list:  righteousness (being "straight" in the eyes of God) and faith (which can also indicate steadiness or unmoveableness) and charity (God's love) and peace (the removal of any alienation) and a pure heart (a clean conscience)!

And then we may draw this Biblical conclusion:  if we flee the right things and follow the right things ... we shall invariably remain FAITHFUL!

We will not quit on our Lord!

The Holy Spirit will see to that!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 16:

You are reading today on a Website, that is given wholly to the study of God's Word!

Last night in the Revival Meeting (Morganton, North Carolina) several Preachers were present.  Some of them were younger and others were older.

Why would a man give decades of his life to the learning of One Book, the Bible?

Why do Schools exist, from loosely organized institutes to four-year colleges and even huge universities, solely for the purpose of teaching Scripture?

Why have countless men and women spend untold billions of hours through human history "pouring over" the Bible's 1,189 chapters, reading and memorizing and meditating and living its beautiful truths?

FOR ONE REASON ... they believe that ... "All scripture is given by inspiration of God."  (2nd Timothy 3:16)   I believe it too!

The noun here for "Scripture" is "graphe" and means the "writings" (from the Greek verb Grapho = to write) of the Holy Bible!

And since the New Testament was not yet fully complete when Paul penned these words, he certainly had the Old Testament in mind as well! 

Genesis, written of God!

And so is it with Leviticus and Judges and Ezra and Job and Lamentations and Nahum and all the other Books too!

The English clause "given by inspiration of God" is translated by one word the Holy Spirit selected from Paul's vocabulary.  It is spelled "theopneustos" and means "God" (Greek = "theos" as in theology) "breathed" (Greek = "pneo")!

God breathed His very heart, His very Essence ... into Holy Scripture!

And since the Holy Spirit particularly is symbolized in the Bible by the "blowing wind,"  He may be the Member of the Godhead Who is specifically in view here!

The Bible, God breathed!

The English equivalent of "theopneustos" is inspired!  (Latin, "spiro" = meaning "to breathe") The Bible is inspired of God!

One thing that keeps the children of God faithful is this very fact.  We study a God written Book!  It is a Living Book!  It has in it God's breath!  It also is a Blood filled Book!  And according to Paul it can even "run" well!  (In 2nd Thessalonians 3:1 ... "have free course" means to run without hindrance.)

I am just saying the Scriptures are alive!

Of course Hebrews 4:12 said that long before I did!   "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."  The verb "is quick" (in Greek = "zao") means "to live!"

I have been writing some Lessons lately about staying faithful!

Steadfast!

Unmoveable!

And one thing that should keep us steady is the deeply held conviction that we study and teach and preach a Bible that is without error!  That is God written! Yes, that is God breathed!

Preachers, here's just a note to you now.

This verse in 2nd Timothy is particularly written to the "Men of God!"

Watch.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."  2 Timothy 3:16-17

A whole Bible exists ... to make the Man of God "perfect" (in Greek = "artios" = prepared, completed, rightly fitted) for the work to which God has called him.

Oh, dear Christian, do remain faithful!

The Bible demands it!

And the Bible causes it too! 

Yes, the Book actually empowers us to be faithful!

At least it did Jeremiah! 

One day, in a time of discouragement, the Prophet tells us ... "Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His Name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."  Jeremiah 20:9

The Prophet could NOT quit!

The Word of God motivated him!

And it can do the same for us yet today!

Folks, don't quit!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 17 ... Tuesday, September 27, 2005:

The theme of these studies has been "faithfulness."

We've been looking at some Scriptural motivations to stay "on the job" for our dear Lord!

Today's verse constitutes a "warning" however.

Every Preacher must "beware" in this area of his ministry.

In 2nd Timothy 3:6 ... Paul, having described the wickedness of these last days, says that some wicked men will commonly ... "creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts." 

The verb "creep," which in English might mean "to sneak," translates the Greek verb "enduo."  It means "to put on" or "to clothe oneself" as with a garment!  These men just "move in" and "take over" the households of others!  (They are home-breakers, dividing families!  Another term ... wife stealers!  Or even wife-swappers!)

They captivate (have sexual affairs with) "silly women!"

Women who are "laden with sins." 

The verb "laden" means "piled up" or overwhelmed!  "Loaded" with sins!

This is identical to the word picture Isaiah uses of sin.   Look at this part of his great sermon on wickedness.  "Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope."  Isaiah 5:18  (So much weight in sin that one has to "pull" it with ropes!)

These "silly women" are like that!

They and their lovers are controlled by "divers lusts." 

The adjective here means multi-colored!  Many various shades of sin!

Preachers, in order to be faithful, you MUST AVOID such silly women!

"Silly women" as a term is expressed by one Greek noun, "gunaikarion."  It is a diminutive form of the word "woman," thus it means "little woman" or here "little women!"

Maybe Paul means they are "little" in wisdom or "little" in godliness! 

"BIG" when it comes to lusts ... "little" when it comes to holiness!

DANGER ... "SILLY WOMEN!"

Brethren, we have been warned!

Samson sure wishes he had taken heed!

One "silly woman" can ruin a lifetime of faithful ministry ... in just a few minutes!

By the way, Thank God, all women are not silly women!

Thank the Lord for godly, virtuous wives and mothers and daughters and sisters in Christ!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell 

 

 

LESSON 18 ... Wednesday, September 28, 2005:

Here's an old saying my parents used to quote:  "To be fore-warned is to be fore-armed!"

In other words, if you know what's coming, you will be better able to confront it successfully!

To Christians in general and Preachers in particular I say this.  In these last days, "trouble" is coming!  It's coming to every true Believer in Christ Jesus!

Don't be surprised by it!  Peter put it this way:  "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you."  1 Peter 4:12

Paul, in 2nd Timothy 3:12 says:  "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

Wow!

Paul suffered!  Look at the preceding verse:  "Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me."  2nd Timothy 3:11

Yet in the middle of such pressures and dangers, Paul could still say to Timothy:  "But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity (and) patience."  The old Apostle stayed "true" to His Lord!  He did not waver!  He remained faithful!

Friends, when trials come ... do not fear!  Do not get discouraged!  Do not be taken off-guard!

They are promised!

They will happen!

Again ... "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

That little word "all" (in Greek = "pas") leaves no one out of the picture!

If you're living godly, it will affect you!

The adverb "godly" means reverently, piously, with a proper attitude toward the Lord God Almighty!  This is the "fear of the Lord" kind of spirit!

Live right ... and the devil will fight you!

And the verb "shall suffer persecution" is a future passive form of "dioko," meaning to be chased, to be pursued, to be driven away, hence ... to be persecuted!

Men, don't get discouraged when these things come!

They are predicted!

I suspect they help us grow stronger in faith! ... if we respond to them properly!

They perhaps are some of our best witnessing tools!

And they can bring great Glory to God!

Don't be surprised by the next "uprising" you face, or the next "rebellion!"

They're coming!

Just trust the Lord for the strength to stay strong ... and faithful through it all!

And, by all means, don't quit!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 19:

The expression "out of season" occurs primarily in the King James Version of the Bible.  Few of the "newer" translations use the term at all.

It is in the Greek Text spelled "akairos."  That just means when things are "not" (the "a" prefix) "opportune" ("kairos")!

The noun "kairos" really does mean "time," but not time as expressed in hours or minutes ... but in windows of privilege or opportunity!

Now to our verse:  Young Timothy ... "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."  2nd Timothy 4:2

Paul is literally saying to this young Man of God ... Preach God's Word, especially when the door is open, when the opportunity of fruitfulness looks good!  When things are "right" and "ripe" for success!

But also preach God's Word when things are going badly!  When it looks like nothing good could possibly happen!  When conditions are not as promising!

Men of God, it is in these "out of season" times that we often tend to get discouraged!

When, as Isaiah says, we let our "hands hang down" and our knees become "feeble!"  Read with me Isaiah 35:3 --- "Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees."

I think these words are again quoted in Hebrews 12:12-13. "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;  and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."

If we could, instead of growing so weary and wanting to quit so easily ... we ought to just ask the dear Lord for strength, preaching strength ... strength to keep on proclaiming the Word ... no matter how things look!

That would be preaching "out of season!"

And that would be engendering real Bible FAITHFULNESS!

Men of God, don't quit!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 20, SEPTEMBER 29, 2005:

Paul, in an attempt to keep young Timothy strong and faithful, encouraged him to "make full proof of his ministry!"

Here's the whole verse:  "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."  2nd Timothy 4:5

I'm particularly interested in that last clause.

What does it means "to make full proof" of something?

The Greek verb is "plerophoreo." 

"Pleres" means that which is filled ... to the brim!  Nearly running over!

And "phero" means to bear (a load) or to carry something heavy!

When fused together the two words suggest "developing something to the fullest extent!" 

To entirely accomplish the goals set for one to achieve!

To finish the course!

To complete the race!

To fight until the last round!

In other words, to be faithful unto death!

Other lexicon definitions:  To carry through to the end!   To render one "assured of" ... a certain thing!

In can even mean (Thayers Greek Lexicon) "to be completely inclined toward something!"

Timothy, give all you've got to your calling, your ministry, the preaching of God's Word!

In another place Paul promised young preachers that if they would do this ("be wholly given to the Word of God") ... their profiting would appear to all!  Folks would see the progress being made!  And all the glory would go to God ... just as it should!  "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all."  1st Timothy 4:15

Preachers, if we will concentrate on our God-given work ... we will be much less likely to grow weak or discouraged along the way!

We all need to "make fuller proof of our ministries!

Amen!

I strongly suspect that the less lazy we are ... the less discouraged we will be too!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 21, SEPTEMBER 29, 2005:

Here's another thing that will keep us from quitting!

It's a simple truth from 2nd Timothy ... but a powerful one!

"Love His appearing!"

Love the very thought of the Second Coming of Jesus!

Not only will God reward such an attitude ... it will reinforce all you do in the work of the Lord!

These are nearly Paul's last words:  "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."  2nd Timothy 4:6-8

What is it to "love" Jesus appearing?

The verb "agapao" is employed here by the Holy Spirit.  It means a deep level of love, an unselfish love, God's love!  It is here a perfect participle too.  Once a person begins to love the very idea of Jesus' Second Coming ... that new love will not die!  It will go with you the rest of your life!  It will influence you and impact you and empower you from now through all eternity!

And even the noun "appearing" is worthy of our strictest attention. "Epiphaneia" is essentially the English word epiphany.   It suggests "a burst of bright light" in a previously dark place!  The "root" of the word really means "to shine upon."

This is likely a reference to the literal Second Coming of Jesus to earth, riding that great white horse of victory back to the very Mount of Olives, the place from which He ascended.

This is probably not a reference to the Rapture specifically ... although it would certainly be included.

Men of God, love Jesus' Appearing!

He is coming!

And it may be soon!

And it seems to be that Paul certainly is suggesting that a healthy expectancy and eagerness for the Return of our Lord ... just might impede unfaithfulness!

Who would even consider quitting, with the "Commander-in-Chief" on the way back to Earth?

Preacher Brethren, let's stay faithful!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 22, SEPTEMBER 30, 2005:

"The books!"

Paul, an old man by first century standards, wanted his "books!"

Read with me 2nd Timothy 4:13.  "The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments."

Winter was coming.

Paul was in jail.

His aged body got cold, especially at night.

He wanted his coat. 

Obviously Timothy was coming to see Paul there in Rome.

Paul is asking for some things to be brought to his jail cell.

The Man of God particularly wanted his "parchments."  These were very durable documents, very likely scrolls of Scripture, made of "animal's skin."  Paul loved the Bible!  Perhaps the Psalms were included!

But ... in addition to the Word of God ... he wanted his "books."

Preachers, I suggest to you this thought.  Your books can become your friends! Companions!  Through them you can walk with other Men of God who lived years ago!  You can glean their wisdom, hear their advice and listen to their sermons!

Books alone ... can be a source of encouragement to a disheartened soul!

Find some godly author whom the Holy Spirit uses to thrill your soul!

Then spend a little time with him regularly!

Proverbs 11:30 declares:  "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."

Walk with those old godly Preachers!

I'll guarantee you this.

None of them will make you want to quit!

They will inspire you and thrill you and motivate you to ... keep on service the Lord!

Bring the books!

Preacher, own a growing library of godly material!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 23, SEPTEMBER 30, 2005:

Paul was in prison ... and all alone!

What an opportunity for discouragement to "hit!"

His first "trial" or "hearing" was one in which he stood without a single companion!

"At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge."  2nd Timothy 4:16

Where had they all gone?

"Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia."  2nd Timothy 4:10

Some no doubt had traveled onward, preaching the Word of God.  And, as you can see, others got spiritually lazy and just "quit" serving the Lord altogether!

That's one reason Paul so badly needed Timothy to come!

He writes to the young Preacher:  "Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me."  2nd Timothy 4:9

BUT ... what kept Paul from falling into the pit of discouragement?

This:  "Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me."  2nd Timothy 4:17a

No human friend was with Paul!

But the Lord never left him!

Jesus is The Antidote to depression and loneliness and discouragement!

He is the One Who can keep us from quitting!

And just what did the Lord do for Paul during those dark days?

"Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me."  2nd Timothy 4:17

God strengthened his lowly servant Paul!

The verb used here for "strengthen" is "endunamoo" and means to empower! Literally, using the exact "shade" of meaning the root word conveys, God "stored up" some power deep within Paul's heart and soul!  The Lord re-charged Paul's spiritual "batteries!"  He even gave His Preacher "potential" power for future needs!

Preacher friend, when you are next on the verge of discouragement ... and no one is around to help ... remember the Lord!  He will be by your side!  He will strengthen you too!

Amen!

But ... why did the Lord so help Paul?

Did our great God yet have plans for this imprisoned Apostle?

Apparently so!

Back to 2nd Timothy 4:17 for the rest of the verse:  "Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion."

The Lord was not quite through with Paul yet!

Evidently there remained a few Gentiles that needed to hear the Gospel Story!

That must happen before Paul can be called Home to Heaven!

Of course some time thereafter Paul did suffer a martyr's death it is believed.

But I'll tell you this ... from all indications ... he did NOT die as a discouraged man!

He died having fought a good fight and having finished the course and having kept the Faith!

And having remained strong and encouraged in the Lord!

Friend, with an example like this ... how could we ever quit?

Let the old master himself speak one more time:  "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  Paul said that in Galatians 6:9.

And Romans 8:21 asks:  "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

Then John reminds us:  "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." 1st John 4:4

"Onward, Men of God!"

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 24, SEPTEMBER 30, 2005:

The "optimism" of Jesus!

I first heard that expression a number of years ago.

An old Preacher, now many years with the Lord, had preached a sermon on that subject, the optimism of our Lord!

Now generally speaking, truly optimistic folks do not get discouraged as easily as their pessimistic brethren.

But it can happen!

Paul the Apostle, in his last few days of life, continued to be cheerful and bright and joyously optimistic!

Listen to him.  He is in jail.  He has been tried and unjustly found guilty.  He faces execution any day.  He knows that the "time of his departure is at hand."

YET he refuses to be discouraged!

He, knowing there is no way out of the problem at hand, still says:  "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."  2nd Timothy 4:18

Did you read that?

At any moment the heavy footsteps of a Roman soldier might be heard ... and the "clanging" sound of an unsheathed sword too!

Yet Paul still looks on the "bright" side of life ... and death!

Yes, Nero the "unrighteous" judge, has condemned Paul to the chopping block.

(However the Lord, THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE, has ready a Crown of Righteousness for his faithful Preacher!   See 2nd Timothy 4:8.)

Nero means to hurt Paul!

To kill him!

To do him "evil" and harm!

Yet Paul still adamantly says:  "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."

Nero means it for evil ... God means it for good!

Remember Genesis 50:20?  Where Joseph said to his brothers just about the same thing?  "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good!"

And the verb for "deliver" is "ruomai" and means "to rescue!"

About the time that sharpened sword struck Paul's neck ... the angel of the Lord picked him up and swooped him to Glory!  Rescued him from this old hateful world and carried him to Heaven!

No more pain ... or crying or sorrow or loneliness or death!

And that verb "preserved" is a translation of "sozo" in Greek.  It means "to save!"  It's the same word used when a sinner gets born-again, saved by the Grace of God!

Paul knew that either way, by the Rapture (which he taught so clearly) or the grave (which he called a defeated foe) ... he was a SAVED man!

And all the way there. all the way to the third Heaven ... Paul would be saying ... "Glory for ever and ever" to the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!" 

That's how our verse ends!

Again ... "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."

If that's not looking on the optimistic side ... I'll never know what is!

And if the Holy Spirit can help Paul do that ... in his hour of death ... surely I can follow the very Same Holy Spirit ... out of the depths of discouragement to the mountains of gratefulness and praise!

Hey, Preacher, don't quit!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 25, SEPTEMBER 30, 2005:

"Grace!"

That's how the Book of 2nd Timothy ends!

"Grace be with you. Amen."  2nd Timothy 4:22

The Epistle started with Grace ... "To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."

And that's how it ends too!

The one thing that keeps us going ... is the sweet LORD with His precious GRACE!

Paul uses the word "grace" 98 times in his 14 New Testament Epistles!

I believe I will go so far as to say this.

Everything Paul accomplished ... everything he was as a Man of God ... was brought about by the ever present GRACE of God in his life!

He said:  "By the grace of God I am what I am!"  1st Corinthians 15:10a

He also said:  "I laboured ... abundantly: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."  1st Corinthians 15:10b

Christian Brother, do not be discouraged!

Don't even think about quitting!

After all, the same Grace that empowered Paul ... is available to you too!

And if you did not realize that ... remember Paul's last prayer.  It is likely not just for Timothy!

It's prayed for us all surely!

"GRACE be with thee!"

It surely is!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

TWENTY FIVE LESSONS ... ON NOT QUITTING!  ON BEING FAITHFUL!  THESE TEXTS COMPRISE A VIRTUAL SEMINAR ... BY PAUL THE APOSTLE!  A SEMINAR ON BEING STEADFAST AND IMMOVEABLE AND ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD!

 

Do remember that Philippians 1:6 tells us Paul was ... "confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you (The Holy Spirit) will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."  That being true, you just can't quit!

Amen!

 

 

 

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