Thursday, August 8, 2013

2 Timothy 2:1-13 -- Called to Reproduce

LINK: 2 Timothy 2:1-13

BACKGROUND


Paul gives more instructions in this chapter:

2:2 Entrust these things (gospel) to faithful men 
2:3 Suffer hardship with me 
2:8 Remember Jesus Christ . . . according to my gospel 
2:9 Suffer hardship (for the gospel) even to imprisonment 
2:10 Paul is an example who endures all things (for the sake of those chosen) 
2:14 Remind them of these things (gospel) 
2:15 Be diligent to accurately handle the Word of truth 
2:17,18 H & P went astray from the truth 
2:25 Gently correct those in opposition . . . leading them to knowledge of the truth
Timothy was to entrust ("to put beside, set before one in teaching, commit to one's charge, deposit") to faithful ("can be relied upon") people ("human beings whether male or female") able ("competent with adequate ability or qualities") to pass it on to the next spiritual generation and on and on and on. 


If you struggle with competence and inadequacy, remember that we are “able” because of the promises in 2 Corinthians 2:14 and 3:5!

In addition, Paul was to be a good steward of that truth and execute his responsibility like a Roman soldier, athlete, and farmer.

The Roman soldier sacrificed his whole life for the good of his country. He was wholehearted and single-minded, pleasing his commanding officer. We are in a war, and there is no place for deserters in God's army.


The Olympic and Isthmian games were very important events among the Greeks and Romans. The athletes were to obey all the rules, practicing strict discipline in training. They ran to win a wreath or garland that withers away, but we run for a crown that never withers and is for the glory of God.


The patient farmer works hard and shares in the fruit of the harvest. The joy of the harvest of transformed lives is worth all the effort and hard work! Many commentators believe that Paul is also referring to the support of the faithful pastor by the church (1 Corinthians 9:7; 1 Timothy 5:18) even though Paul did not live on the support of the churches himself (1 Corinthians 9:11ff).


REFLECTION 


Last time I led a study in 2 Timothy, the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City were going on. This is what I wrote:

What an appropriate time to meditate on the athlete metaphor during these two and one half weeks. I see the "Parade of Nations" coming through and try to envision what heaven will be like, with spiritual "athletes" from every tribe and tongue and people and nation worshiping our King. We have made our pledge to our God to play by the rules, and He is a consuming fire -- like the eternally burning Olympic flame.
Zeus was honored in the Greek games. He was chief god of the Greek gods and goddesses. The athletes had to swear to him that they had trained for 10 months. And they promised to obey the rules of the game. All fighting and war ceased so people could travel safely to and from the Olympics. Having physically fit bodies was a way to honor God. 
As the Olympic athletes of old, we are running this race to win right to the end. We pledge our allegiance to Yahweh. We commit ourselves to training. This game is played for God's honor. We must be spiritually fit, and we must be dedicated to our God. We must pledge ourselves wholeheartedly to spiritual training and to obeying the rules. We must run the race with endurance and fix our eyes on Jesus, knowing that we will receive an imperishable crown.
APPLICATION 

Are you wholeheartedly committed to your spiritual training like a soldier and athlete? Are you working hard and waiting patiently for God to work in and through you like the farmer? 

We are to know the truth (2:15; 3:15), guard it (1:13; 2:14, 16, 23; 3:5), suffer for it (1:8, 12; 2:3, 9-10; 24; 3:11-12), preach it (1:6-8; 2:1-2, 24, 25; 4:2), live it (2:10; 4:6, 7), and PASS IT ON to faithful men and women who will repeat that cycle! If you just keep the truth for yourself, you are not really living in the truth. 



"A bell is no bell 'til you ring it,
A song is no song 'til you sing it,
And love in your heart
Wasn’t put there to stay -
Love isn’t love
'Til you give it away."
Oscar Hammerstein (1895-1960) 
"Sixteen Going on Seventeen"
The Sound of Music (theatre version)

What is your goal and training plan? What faithful person are you going to invest in so you can pass on what you learn?

PRAYER

Lord, where is the faithful person we can invest in. Would you lead every Bible Book Club reader to him or her? Amen. 
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