- Spurgeon on 2 Timothy - Part 1
- Spurgeon on 2 Timothy - Part 2
- 2 Timothy 2:19 Study of A Firm Foundation
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Study of the Authority of God's Word
- 2 Timothy Overview Guard the Treasure
- 2 Timothy Handle Accurately the Word of Truth
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. — 2 Timothy 1:12
PAUL, much buffeted and persecuted, is sustained by faith and by a sense of personal security in Christ Jesus.
The meaning, which may be in the text: The gospel deposited with Paul the Lord Jesus was able to keep until the judgment. This is well worthy of being explained. The gospel is safe in the care of Jesus.
Paul felt great comfort as the result of committing his soul to Jesus.
Let us consider:
I. WHAT HE HAD DONE.
Feeling the value of his soul, knowing its danger, conscious of his own weakness, believing in the grace and power of the Lord Jesus, he had placed his soul in his hands.
1. His soul's case was there for Jesus to heal him as a Physician.
2. His soul's calls were there to be supplied by Jesus as a Shepherd.
3. His soul's course was there to be directed by Jesus as a Pilot.
4. His soul's cause was there to be pleaded by Jesus as an Advocate.
5. His soul's care was there to be guarded by Jesus as a Protector.
He had committed his soul to Jesus by an act of faith, which act he persevered in continually.
II. WHAT HE KNEW. "I know whom I have believed."
He speaks not of believing in him, but of believing him: a personal faith in a personal Savior. This trusted one he knew.
1. He knew the Lord Jesus by his personal meeting with him on the road to Damascus and at other times.
2. By what he had read and heard concerning him and made his own by meditation thereon.
3. By communion with him. This way is open to all the saints.
4. By experience, through which he had tried and proved his love and faithfulness. He had received a practical education, by which he was made to know his Lord by entering into the fellowship of his sufferings and death.
Have we this personal acquaintance with the Lord? If so, we shall gladly commit our all to him.
III. WHAT HE WAS SURE OF. "That he is able to keep."
His assurance was reasonable and deliberate; hence he says, "I am persuaded."
Our apostle was persuaded of:
1. The ability of Jesus to keep all souls committed to him.
He is divine and therefore omnipotent to save.
His work is finished, so that he meets all the demands of the law.
His wisdom is perfect, so that he will ward off all dangers.
His plea is constant and ever prevails to preserve his own.
2. The ability of Jesus to keep Paul's own soul.
3. The ability of Jesus to keep his soul under the heavy trials which were then pressing upon him. "I suffer… I am not ashamed, for I am persuaded that he is able to keep."
4. The ability of Jesus to keep his soul even to the close of all things: "against that day."
Of this Paul was persuaded. Be this our persuasion.
Many would persuade us to the contrary; but we know, and are not therefore to be persuaded into a doubt upon the matter.
IV. WHAT, THEREFORE, HE WAS.
1. Very cheerful. He had all the tone and air of a thoroughly happy man.
2. Very confident. Though a prisoner, he says, "I am not ashamed." Neither of his condition, nor of the cause of Christ, nor of the cross, was he ashamed.
3. Very thankful. He gladly praised the Lord in whom he trusted. The text is a confession of faith or a form of adoration.
Let us seek more knowledge of our Lord as the Keeper of our souls.
Let us be of that brave persuasion which trusts and is not afraid.
Instances and Illustrations
When Dr. James W. Alexander was dying, his wife sought to comfort him with precious words, as she quoted them to him: "I know in whom I have believed?" Dr. Alexander at once corrected her by saying, "Not in whom I have believed," but, "I know whom I have believed." He would not even suffer a little preposition to be between his soul and his Savior.
"I have lost that weary bondage of doubt, and almost despair, which chained me for so many years. I have the same sins and temptations as before, and I do not strive against them more than before, and it is often just as hard work. But whereas I could not before see why I should be saved, I cannot now see why I should not be saved if Christ died for sinners. On that word, I take my stand and rest there." — E R. Havergal
Justyn Martyr was asked ironically by the Roman prefect if he believed that after his decapitation he would ascend to heaven. He replied: "I am so sure of the grace which Jesus Christ hath obtained for me that not a shadow of doubt can enter my mind."
Donald Cargill, on the scaffold, July 27th, 1681, as he handed his well-used Bible to one of his friends that stood near, gave this testimony: "I bless the Lord that these thirty years and more I have been at peace with God and was never shaken loose of it. And now I am as sure of my interest in Christ and peace with God as all within this Bible and the Spirit of God can make me. And I am no more terrified at death or afraid of hell because of sin than if I had never had sin. For all my sins are freely pardoned and washed thoroughly away through the precious blood and intercession of Jesus Christ."
Faith, Hope, and Love were questioned what they thought
Of future glory, which religion taught:
Now Faith believed it firmly to be true,
And Hope expected so to find it, too:
Love answered, smiling, with a conscious glow,
"Believe? Expect? I know it to be so!"— John Byrom
A child that hath any precious thing given him cannot better secure it than by putting it into his father's hands to keep. So neither can we better provide for our souls' safety than by committing them to God. — John Trapp
The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day.— 2 Timothy 1:18
THE best method of showing our gratitude to some men for their kindness would be to pray for them. Even the best of men will be the better for our prayers.
Paul had already prayed for the household of Onesiphorus, and now he concludes by a specially hearty prayer for the good man himself. The repetition of the word "Lord" makes the prayer peculiarly solemn.
Onesiphorus had remembered Paul in his day of peril, and Paul begs the Lord to give him a gracious return in the day of judgment.
Yet the utmost he can ask even for so excellent a man is mercy. Even the merciful need mercy; and it is their benediction from the Lord himself that "they shall obtain mercy."
Let us consider this prayer under three heads—
I. "THAT DAY."
"That day": It is not specifically described, because well-known and much thought of among Christians. Do we sufficiently think of that day? If so, we shall feel our great need to find mercy of the Lord when it comes.
Its date is not given. It would but gratify curiosity.
Its length is not specified. Will it be a common day? It will be long enough for the deliberate judgment of all men.
Its coming will be solemnly proclaimed. We shall know it. Ushered in with pomp of angels and sound of trumpet, none will be ignorant of it.
Its glory: the revelation of Jesus from heaven upon the throne of judgment. This will make it most memorable.
Its event: the assembly of quick and dead and the last assize.
Its character: excitement of joy or terror. It will be the day of days, for which all other days were made.
Its personal interest to each one of us will be paramount.
Its revealings of secrets of thought, word, deed for good or for evil will be most astounding.
Its decisions will be strictly just, indisputable, unchangeable.
It will be the last day, and henceforth the state of men will be fixed for joy or woe.
How much we shall need mercy in the judgment! Every thought connected with it makes us feel this. Let us pray about it.
II. THE MERCY.
All will need it. Assuredly we shall need it ourselves.
To arouse us, let us think of those who will find no mercy of the Lord in that day—
Those who had no mercy on others.
Those who lived and died impenitent.
Those who neglected salvation. How shall they escape?
Those who said they needed no mercy: the self-righteous.
Those who sought no mercy: procrastinators and the indifferent.
Those who scoffed at Christ and refused the gospel.
Those who sold their Lord, and apostatized from him.
Those who made a false and hypocritical profession.
Our address at this moment is to those for whom we would specially breathe the prayer of the text.
The prospect of judgment for preacher and hearers leads us at once to pray for you and at the same time to urge you to seek the Lord while he may be found.
We would not have you despair as to the future but hope to find mercy in the present that you may find it in "that day."
Remember that now is the accepted time, for—
You are not yet standing at the judgment bar.
You are yet where prayer is heard.
You are where faith will save all who exercise it towards Christ.
You are where the Spirit strives.
You are where sin may be forgiven at once and forever.
You are where grace reigns, even though sin abounds.
Today is the day of grace; tomorrow may be a day of another sort, for you at least and possibly for all mankind. The Judge is at the door.
Seek mercy immediately, that mercy may be yours forever.
I would rather have the gift of a brother's faithful prayers than of his plentiful substance. And I feel that when I have given to a brother my faithful prayers, I have given him my best and greatest gift. — Edward Irving
There is a machine in the Bank of England, which receives sovereigns as a mill receives grain for the purpose of determining wholesale whether they are of full weight. As they pass through, the machinery, by unerring laws, throws all that are light to one side and all that are of full weight to another. That process is a silent but solemn parable for me. Founded as it is upon the laws of nature, it affords the most vivid similitude of the certainty, which characterizes the judgment of the great day. There are no mistakes or partialities to which the light may trust; the only hope lies in being of standard weight before they go in. — William Arnot
An infidel was introduced by a gentleman to a minister with a remark,"He never attends public worship." "Ah!" said the minister, "I hope you are mistaken.'' "By no means," said the stranger. "I always spend Sunday in settling my accounts." "Then, alas!" was the calm, but solemn reply, "you will find, sir, that the day of judgment will be spent in the same manner." — G. S. Bowes
When Thomas Hooker was dying, one said to him, "Brother, you are going to receive the reward of your labors." He humbly replied, "Brother, I am going to receive mercy."
By that tremendous phrase, "eternal judgment," consider your ways, and be wise! If its true meaning could lighten upon you at this moment, what consternation would strike upon each spirit! Every man, though serene as death before, would spring to his feet and cry, "Tell me, tell me this moment, what I must do!" — Charles Stanford, D. D.
It is a pathetic tale to tell, and I do not vouch for its absolute truth, that once a famous composer wrote a great anthem to be sung at a festival. He sought to picture the scenes of the final judgment and introduced a strain of music representing the solemn lamentations of the lost. But no singer was found willing to take such a part. So the wailings and woes were omitted; and when the passage was reached, the leader simply beat the time in silence till the awful chasm was passed, and the musicians took up gloriously the strains of celestial unison lying on the other side of it: "the shout of them that triumph and the song of them who feast." — Dr. C. S. Robinson
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil-doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. — 2 Timothy 2:9
THE resurrection of Christ was Paul's sheet-anchor. Enlarge upon verse 8, wherein he mentions it as the essence of the gospel.
He himself is suffering and bound, but he is not without comfort. His great joy is that the word of God is not bound.
I. IN WHAT SENSES THIS IS TRUE.
"The Word of God is not bound"—
1. So that it cannot be made known.
The ministers who preach it may be imprisoned, but not the word.
The book which contains it may be burned, but the truth abides.
The doctrine may become almost extinct as to open testimony, and yet it will revive.
2. So that it cannot reach the heart.
It will not be hindered of its divine purpose:
Through the obduracy of the sinner, for grace is omnipotent.
Through absence of the means. The Holy Spirit can reach the conscience without the hearing or reading of the word.
Through actual derision of it. Even the scoffer and skeptic can yet be convinced and converted.
3. So that it cannot comfort the soul.
Conviction of sin will not hinder consolation when faith is given.
Constitutional despondency will give way before the light of the word.
Confirmed despair shall be overcome, even as Samson snapped the cords wherewith he had been bound.
4. So that it cannot be fulfilled.
Providence will carry out the promise to the individual.
Providence will perform the threat to the rebellious.
Providence will achieve the prophecies of the millennial future.
5. So that it cannot prevail over error.
Infidelity, ritualism, popery, fanaticism shall not bind the gospel so as to retain their mischievous power over men. The gospel must and will accomplish the purposes of God.
II. FOR WHAT REASONS THIS IS TRUE.
The word of God cannot be bound since:
1. It is the voice of the Almighty.
2. It is attended by the energetic working of the Holy Ghost.
3. It is so needful to men. As men will have bread, and you cannot keep it from them, so must they have the truth. The gospel is in such demand that there must be free trade in it.
4. It is in itself a free and unbound thing, the very essence of liberty.
5. It creates such enthusiasm in the hearts wherein it dwells, that men must declare it abroad. It must be free.
III. WHAT OTHER FACTS ARE PARALLEL WITH THIS?
As the binding of Paul was not the binding of the word of God, so:
The death of ministers is not the death of the gospel.
The feebleness of workers is not its feebleness.
The bondage of the preacher's mind is not its bondage.
The coldness of men is not its coldness.
The falsehood of hypocrites does not falsify it.
The spiritual ruin of sinners is not the defeat of the gospel.
The rejection of it by unbelievers is not its overthrow.
Rejoice, that the word of the Lord has free course.
Arouse yourselves to work with it and by it.
Accept its free power, and be yourself free at once.
"But the Word of God is not bound." It runs and is glorified (2 Thess. 3:1), being free and not fettered." I preach, though a prisoner," saith Paul; so did Bradford and other martyrs. "Within a few days of Queen Mary's reign, almost all the prisons in England were become right Christian schools and churches," saith Mr. Fox, "so that there was no greater comfort for Christian hearts than to come to the prisons to behold their virtuous conversation and to hear their prayers, preachings, etc." The Earl of Derby's accusation in the Parliament House against Mr. Bradford was that he did more hurt (so he called good evil) by letters and conferences in prison than ever he did when he was abroad by preaching. — John Trapp
In a portrait of Tyndale still preserved in this country, beside the heroic man is a device: a burning book is tied to a stake, while a number of similar books are seen flying out of the fire. The meaning is an historic fact. Tonstal, the Bishop of London, had bought up some scores of Tyndale's Testaments and burned them. The money paid for them enabled Tyndale to bring out a new and more correct edition.
Towards the close of the last century, before the days of the great Bible societies, there was for a season a woeful want of Bibles in America, caused partly by the prevalence of French infidelity and partly by the general religious apathy which followed the Revolutionary War. In that period, a man went into a bookstore in Philadelphia and asked to buy a Bible. "I have none," said the bookseller. "There is not a copy for sale in the city; and I can tell you further," said he (for he was of the French way of thinking), "in fifty years there will not be a Bible in the world." The rough answer of the customer was, "There will be plenty of Bibles in the world a thousand years after you are dead and gone to hell."— The Christian Age
When the daughter of the Mayor of Baune had lost her canary bird, her wise parent gave strict orders that all the gates of the town should be shut that the creature might not escape. The bird was soon over the hills and far away, despite the locking of the gates. When a truth is once known, no human power can prevent its spreading. Attempts to hinder its progress will be as ineffectual as the mayor's proclamation. As a bird of the air, truth flies abroad on swift wings. As a ray of light, it enters palaces and cottages. As the unfettered wind, it laughs at laws and prohibitions. Walls cannot confine it nor iron bars imprison it. It is free, and maketh free. Let every freeman be upon its side, and being so, let him never allow a doubt of its ultimate success to darken his soul. — C. H. S.
The monument in Westminster Abbey to the memory of the two Wesleys bears the sentence, "God buries his workmen, but carries on his work."
Truth is more incompressible than water. If compressed in one way, it will exude through the compressing mass, the more visible through the attempts to compress it. — Dr. Pusey
2 Timothy 1:1, 2. 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:
There is the greatest possible affection between the preacher and his convert. This is a relationship which even death will not destroy. They neither marry nor are given in marriage in the Heavenly Kingdom, but this fatherhood and sonship shall endure for ever.
2 Timothy 1:2. Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is not a little remarkable that, when the apostle writes to churches, he usually wishes them “Grace and peace”; but when he writes to minister, he generally prays for “Grace, mercy, and peace”, as if we needed more mercy than other Christians. Having so great a work to do, and falling into such great sin if we are unfaithful in it, we may well ask that we may have special mercy showed unto us by the God of mercy.
I would again remind you, as I have often done before, that the apostle Paul, when he is writing to a minister, invariably begins his epistle with the triple greeting, “Grace, mercy, and peace,” but when he is writing to a church, he commences with the double benediction, “Grace and peace.” You will find that the is his wish for the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, “Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is also his form of greeting to Philemon, who was a private Christian, not a minister; but when the apostle is writing to Timothy and Titus, his own sons in the faith, and his fellow-ministers of the gospel, he says, “ Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” It seems as though, guided by the Holy Spirit, he thought that the office of the Christian ministry is of so weighty and responsible a character that the man who rightly fills that honorable position not only needs the grace and peace that are necessary for all believers, but that he must in addition have a special supply of mercy; and, truly, no one needs mercy more than the preacher of mercy.
Note, too, that the “ grace, mercy, and peace” are to come “from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” Father and Son are united in the gracious act of bestowing “grace, mercy, and peace.” The Father is the great eternal fountain of all these blessings, but the son is the divinely appointed channel through whom they flow down to us.
2 Timothy 1:3. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
At that time, Timothy was very specially laid upon the apostle’s heart and he did not seem to think of anything without young Timothy’s image rising up before him “night and day.”
Thank God that Paul had such a sympathetic spirit, and that Timothy’s needs so continually rose before his supplicating eye, and that Paul was able to pray for Timothy, not with anxiety, not in doubtfulness, but with thankfulness. Oh, that all young Christians might be such consistent Christians that those who have brought them to Christ might always be able to pray for them with thankfulness!
2 Timothy 1:4. Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
Paul had seen Timothy’s tears when he parted from him. He remembered, perhaps, his tears when under conviction of sin, his tears of joy when he found the Savior, and the tears he shed in his early preaching, when the gracious youth touched the hearts of others because he so evidently spoke out of his own heart.
I suppose that Timothy was very tender-hearted, and that he had been grieved because of Paul’s many afflictions; and, on his part, the apostle greatly missed his dearly-beloved son in the faith. In the latter part of this Epistle, Paul writes, “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world;” and again, “Do thy diligence to come before winter “ Looking forward to his impending martyrdom, Paul longed for the companionship of the one who was so specially dear to him.
2 Timothy 1:5. 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.
Grace does not run in the blood, but it often runs side by side with it. The “grandmother Lois” and the “mother Eunice “ had the true grace of saving faith dwelling in them, and Paul was persuaded that it dwelt in the son and grandson Timothy.
There is no transmigration of souls, but there is a kind of transmigration of faith, as if the very form and shape of faith, which was in Lois and Eunice, afterwards appeared in Timothy. Truly, there are certain idiosyncrasies which may pass from some Christian people to others; and when those idiosyncrasies are of a high and noble kind, it is a great mercy to see them reproduced in children and children’s children. “I thought I heard your mother speak,” said one, when she heard a Christian woman talking of the Savior, “you speak in just the way in which she used to tell out her experience, and describe the love of Christ.”
2 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.
Paul had been speaking of his own remembrance of Timothy, and of Timothy’s faith, and now he says, “ Wherefore I put thee in remembrance”-
The fire needs stirring every now and then; it is apt to die out if it is not stirred.
The best of fires need stirring sometimes; and the best gift of God, even the sacred fire of the Holy Spirit, may sometimes burn low in the heart; so that we have need to stir up the gift of God that is within us. There are some brethren, also, who have more God-given gifts within them than they know of. They have never searched for them, so they allow them to lie hidden away unobserved and useless. We have need to stir up our gifts well as our graces, end to use to God’s glory all the powers with which he has entrusted us.
2 Timothy 1:7. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and or love, and of a sound mind.
What a boon this is to all who can truly say, with Paul, “ God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind “!
2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the affliction of the Gospel according to the power of God;
Timothy, never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, and never be ashamed of Paul when he is put in prison for the sake of the gospel; but ask to partake, not only of the gospel, and of the power of it, but even of the afflictions which come for its sake, for this is one of the highest honors that can be put upon us, that we may suffer with God’s saints for the truth’s sake.
There is need to say this to-day, for many are becoming “ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,” that old-fashioned gospel which Paul received by direct revelation from his Lord, and for which he laid down his life. It is fashionable nowadays to put on the furbelows of modern philosophy rather than to be robed in the snow-white garment of truth. Paul says to Timothy, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,”-
2 Timothy 1:9. but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling.
Salvation comes first, and calling afterwards; at least, so it is in the great plan of redemption. We are saved by the death of Christ before we are effectually called by his grace. The great work of our salvation was wrought for us on Calvary, and now we are made to know and to partake of that salvation by the effectual galling of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the gospel.
It is a strange thing that men should be so angry against the purpose of God. We ourselves have a purpose. We permit our fellow creatures to have some will of their own, and especially in giving away their own goods. But my God is to be bound and fettered by men, and not permitted to do as he wills with his own.
2 Timothy 1:9. Not according to our work, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.-
What a blessed doctrine this is! Some people cannot endure even to hear or read of it, but it is full of comfort and joy for the Spirit-taught people of God. God’s grace was “ given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
2 Timothy 1:10, 11. But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
How Paul gloried in this triple divine appointment! He commenced this Epistle by writing, “ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God; “ and here he says of the gospel, “ whereunto I am appointed a preacher.” I see that some tradesmen put up a notice over their shops stating that they are so-and-so “ by appointment to Her Majesty, “ but Paul had the highest honor under heaven in being “ appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”
2 Timothy 1:12. For which cause I also suffer these things:
And I expect that his eyes glanced round on the walls of his dungeon, and that he rattled the chains that bound his hands to those of the soldiers who had him in their charge.
Paul does not say, "I know what I have believed," though that would have been true. He does not say, "I know when I have believed," though that would have been correct. Nor does he say, "I know how much I have believed," although he had well-weighed his faith. He does not even say, "I know in whom I have believed." He says expressly, "I know whom I have believed," as much as to say, "I know the person into whose hand I have committed my present condition and my eternal destiny. I know who he is, and I therefore, with-out any hesitation, leave myself in his hands."
2 Timothy 1:12-15. Nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. What good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
Probably these were leaders who ought to have acted differently, and to have stuck by the apostle; but when he was in priaon, and likely to be put to death by Nero, many, who had been his former companions, forsook him, and were ashamed to own him,-for which we also are ashamed of them. It is the same now, if the servant of God shall fall into the disfavor of the great ones of the earth, many will be ashamed of him.
Paul mentions these who turned away from him, for their unfaithfulness evidently grieved him sorely; but he also mentions another case of quite a different sort:-
2 Timothy 1:16, 17. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
He did not know exactly where the apostle was,-in which prison he was confined; but he went from place to place until at last he lighted upon him, and then he was not ashamed to be seen ministering to the poor chained prisoner. We read of various corporations spending a great deal of money in buying chains of office for their mayors; but this chain, worn by the apostle in his prison-cell at Rome, was far more valuable than any of them. What an eternal honor it will be to him, and how and it is that anyone should have been ashamed of his fetters when he was so bravely suffering for Christ’s sake! There was more value in those chains on Paul’s wrists than in all the chains that were ever worn on the necks of the great ones of this world.
2 Timothy 1:18. The Lord grant unto him, that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day:
He came to Paul, and talked with him and probably sang with him, and prayed with him, I have no doubt. He often refreshed the apostle in Rome; and then Paul added:-
2 Timothy 1:18. And in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.
This happy Onesiphorus, was a true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved to minister to the apostle when he was in suffering and sorrow.
2 Timothy 2:1. Thou therefore, my son be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus
Is an exhortation to every one of us, not only to have grace, but to be strong in it. There are many professors who, so long as they are just saved, are content. We .are not content with being barely alive spiritually; we do not wish to have our life shivering with cold, but we seek after comfort as well as existence, and we seek to be in health, as well as to be in life. SO should it be with the Christian. He should pray, “Lord, make me strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Oh! that these words might be, not merely an exhortation, but a divine fiat, that as God said, “Let there be light,” so he may say to his children, “Be ye strong,” and then oh! .how soon shall the weakest of us leap into immortal strength!
2 Timothy 2:12 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.
This is the true apostolical succession,-one minister brings another to Christ, and then charges that other to train other preachers and teachers to carry on the blessed work of evangelization.
So, then, there is to be a succession of teachers in the church, and these do ill who are always speaking against the ministry of God. Timothy receives his ministry of Paul; he is to commit it to faithful men, and these .are to hold it in custody to teach to others also. But there are some who say that all Christians should be teachers. To which we answer, if the whole body were a mouth, where were the ear. The mouth is, after all, but a vacuum; if the whole body be mouth, there will be no body. at all. If all are to be shepherds, where are to be the sheep If all are to sow, where are we to find the ground? Nay, brethren, we must be careful to pray God to continue the ministry in our midst, for without it we miss many blessings. “The same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
2 Timothy 2:3, 4. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
If thou desirest delicacy, join not the army. A soldier’s calling is not to be linked with softnesses, and if thou desirest ease and comfort, join not the army of Christ, for a Christian’s profession and these go not together.”
The man who has given himself wholly to the service of Christ must not undertake any other business that would prevent his giving his whole strength to his Master’s work.
So Timothy, as a Christian minister, is to act as the Roman soldier did. It was a law in Rome that no soldier was to plead in court for another as a lawyer, or to act in business for another as a bailiff!, or to have anything to do, while a soldier, with either ,husbandry or merchandise. And so should it be with the men of God who drove to break the Word, and every Christian indeed, though he meddleth with common things, is to take care that he be not entangled by them, not to be caught, as it were, as game is entangled in a net. There is a way, you know, of making the actions of common life subservient to the purposes of divine grace. This is the Christian’s business; let him take care that ’he be not entangled with the cares of this life.
2 Timothy 2:5. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
There were rules in the Grecian games. When they struck each other, the blow was not to be given except upon a certain part of the body, and if a man fought unlawfully, he could not get the prize. So there are laws, too, for the Christian ministry, and also .holy regulations for the ;great wrestling of Christians.
2 Timothy 2:6. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
This is a law. No man has any right to be a partaker at all till ’he has first tasted of the fruits of the field. Until we have first tasted that the ’Lord is gracious, we cannot effectively or properly minister the things of God.
2 Timothy 2:8, 9. Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to My gospel:
The resurrection of Christ is the corner-stone of the glorious temple of truth, the key-stone of the arch of revelation. Paul tells us, in that great chapter, 1 Corinthians 15., how hopeless our case would be if Christ was not “raised from the dead; “ but he also proves most conclusively that he was raised “ the third day, according to the Scriptures.”
2 Timothy 2:9. Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
See how the apostle comforts himself. Here he is in prison, but the truth is free. He sits with the chains about ,his wrists, but the Word of God travels from nation to nation, from continent to continent, like the free spirit that dwelleth in it.
Thank God that it is not yet bound though many have tried to fetter it. When they think that they have manacled it, it breaks loose again, and so it always will. However low this heavenly fire may burn, it soon blazes up again, and so it shall to the world’s end. Immortal as the Christ who is the sum and substance of it is the everlasting gospel of the blessed God.
2 Timothy 2:10. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Not that the sufferings of Paul .had anything meritoriously to do with the salvation of the elect, but that by his earnest, strivings and sufferings the word of the gospel was brought to their hearing; faith then came by hearing, and so they were saved.
2 Timothy 2:11-13. Therefore I endure all things from the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Blessed truth, God grant us the grace to mediate upon it until we also shall become faithful to him and to his truth!
Glory be to God, the unbelief of man cannot make God break his promises. Christian, all thine unbelief has not made God unfaithful to thee: and sinner, though thou cast out the promise of God as being good for nothing, yet he will not therefore raise the recompense of reward, for Jesus will save others if he save not thee. “He abideth faithful.”
2 Timothy 2:14. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them be. fore the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
There are some Christians who want to have this exhortation given to them in these days, for they are always striving about words to no profit. Beware of these men, if you would not have your faith staggered.
2 Timothy 2:15. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
This is a metaphor taken from the action of the priest at the sacrifice. The priest cut up the bullock, and then laid it in its different pieces according to order. Or, as some think it is taken from the part of the father at the table, when he carves the meat and gives to every child its portion. Old Master Trapp says that “there are some ministers who are only fit to be Gibeonites and certainly not to be Levites, for they hardly understand the cutting of wood, much less the art of cutting up the sacrifice of God.” Brethren, it is well so to handle the word as to be able to give rebuke when rebuke is wanted, exhortation when it is needed, and comfort when consolation is required, for otherwise we do mischief. As it is said in the old fable of the simpleton, that he gave to the ass a bone and to the dog hay, so there are some who give wrong exhortations, not because they are wrong in themselves, but because they are wrong in their application.
2 Timothy 2:16, 17. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker.
Now, there are some people who can never be content except they make their religion a sort of wrangling match. They get a-hold of a word in, Scripture, and away they go with it. Here shall be another opportunity for finding fault with all the church of God; here shall be another occasion for railing against all the preachers of the truth. How delighted they are when they can do this! Shun profane and vain babblings. Martin Luther said that there were some in his day so nice and precise about the letter of: Scripture that when one of them had delivered an exposition upon the Book of Job, Luther said that by the time the man had got to the tenth chapter Job had been a thousand times more plagued by the expositors than he had ever been by the losses which he suffered upon the dunghill, and doubtless there are many truths of Scripture which are turned to mischief because men will be for ever making them opportunities for strife, and not bonds of love. Brethren, hold the five points of the Calvinistic doctrine, but mind you do not hold them as babbling questions. What you have received of God do not learn in order to fight with it, and to make contention and strife, and to divide the church of God, and rail against the people of the Most high, as some do. But, on the contrary, love one another as brethren, and hold the truth in love, and seek after the unity of the Spirit and the perfect bond of charity. The word of those who raise these questions will eat as doth a cancer, which eats till it gets to the bones, and turns the sound flesh into rottenness. Oh! there are many contentions which have done this mischief in the church of Christ.
2 Timothy 2:17-19. Of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus. Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.
How careful the apostle is lest we should think that any have turned aside who were the Lord’s people. He says the faith of some was overthrown, but nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure. Oh brethren, whenever we see apparent apostasy, let us not therefore think that any of God’s people have perished. Oh, no; for the Lord knoweth them that are his.
2 Timothy 2:19-21. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a retreat house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
When Mr. Philpot the martyr, was addressing a young man about to die for Christ, he said to him, “Brother, thou art a vessel in the great house of thy Master, and this day he will scour thee, scour thee hard, but remember thou shalt soon stand upon the shelf, shining bright and glorious.” Well, sometimes pains, and troubles, and tribulations do have, this effect of scouring the vessels of God to make them bright for heaven. We must all be purged and scoured from sinful lusts, from all the contamination of the flesh and of the creature, and then we shall be fit for the Master’s use.
2 Timothy 2:22. Flee also youthful lusts.
Run away from them; it is no use contending with them. Fight with the devil. Resist the devil, and make him flee, but never fight with the flesh. Run away from that. The only way to avoid the lust of the flesh is to keep out of its way. If you subject yourself to carnal temptations and fleshly lusts, remember it is almost certain that you will be overcome by them. “Flee youthful lusts”, and as you must keep going and have something after which to follow.
What would you think of a man who went as near as he could to burning his house down, just to test how much fire it would stand? Or of one who cut himself with a knife to see how deep he could go without mortally wounding himself? Or of another who experimented as to how large a quantity of poison he could take? These are extreme follies, but not so great as that of a man who tries to see how much sin he may indulge in and yet be saved. I pray you, do not attempt such perilous experiments.
Sins of the flesh are never to be reasoned or parleyed with. There is no more reasoning with them than with the winds. Under-standing is nonplused, for lust, like a hurricane of sand, blinds the eyes. We must fly. It is true valor in such a case to turn the back.
2 Timothy 2:22, 23. But follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
It is generally a good thing to avoid all questions that gender strife, except they be upon vital and important matters. For, oh! brethren, it is so important to keep the unity of the Spirit, it is such a blessed thing to preserve love among Christian brethren, and there be some who in order to create disunion, go about the land, and tear, and rend the body of Christ as much as ever they can. Beware of such; seek not their company; come not nigh unto them, lest their canker pollute you also.
2 Timothy 2:24-26. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
We have here laid down, then, the duty of the Christian minister, and the duty of each Christian, too, and let us seek, in the Holy Spirit’s grace, to carry it out, being at once firm, and gentle, and loving of heart, and yet honest for the truth as it is in Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:1-7. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sin, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
This is the photograph of the present age, and I do not doubt that Paul spoke of it when thus the spirit of prophecy was upon him. This is the very motto of the present age, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” It glories in knowing nothing; and its great boast is in its continual progress, “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
2 Timothy 3:8, 9. 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 their’s also was.
For, when God was with Moses and Aaron, Jannes and Jambres were soon, by the power and wisdom of God, proved to be fools.
2 Timothy 3:10-12. 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 Lytra; what persecution I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
The world does not love Christ, or his gospel, an atom more to-day than it did in Paul’s day. “The carnal mind is” still “enmity against God.”
2 Timothy 3:13. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
We may look for even worse days and darker days than we have at present.
2 Timothy 4:1, 2. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word
We are not to use such strong language as this, unless there is some sufficient reason for it. We must not be too hot upon cold matters, but even this is better than to be cold upon matters that require heat. When John Calvin wished to leave Geneva to complete his studies elsewhere, that man of God, Farrell, knowing how necessary it was for the Church that Calvin should remain at Geneva, charged him before God that he dared not go, and hoped that a curse might light upon all his studies, if for the sake of them he should forsake what he held to be his duty. So sometimes, like the Apostle, we may before the Judge of quick and dead, charge men not to forsake their work and calling.
2 Timothy 4:2. Be instant in season, out of season;
The Greek word means, “Stand up to it;” as when a man id determined to finish his work, he stands right up to it. Stand over your work, putting your whole strength into it up-standing over it. “In season, out of season,” because the Gospel is a fruit which is in season all the year round. Sometimes these “out of season” sermons, preached at night or at some unusual time, have been of more service than the regular ordinances of God’s house. Mr. Grimshaw used to ride on horseback from village to village throughout the more desolate parts of Yorkshire, and wherever he met with ten or a dozen people, he would preach on horseback to them, preaching sometimes as many as four and twenty sermons in a week. That was being instant “out of season” as well as “in season.” So should God’s Timothys be, and, indeed, all of us.
2 Timothy 4:2. Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
That is, do not exhort with mere declamation, but put some argument into your exhortation. Some men think it quite enough to appear to be in earnest, though they have nothing to say. Let such exhorters remember that they are to exhort with doctrine, with solid teaching.
I am sometimes accused of saying sharp things. The charge does not come home to my con-science with very great power. If anybody said I spoke smooth things, I think it would oppress me a great deal more. As long as there are evils in this world, God's ministers are bound to protest against them.
Little is that ministry worth which never chides you. If God never used his minister as a rod, depend on it, he will never use him as a pot of manna, for the rod of Aaron and the pot of manna always go together (Heb. 9:4), and he who is God's true servant will be both to your soul.
2 Timothy 4:2. 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;
When men have not good preachers, they are sure to have a great many of them. Those nations which have the worst priests always have them in swarms. So let us be thankful if God sends us a glowing and zealous minister, for even those who count it an affliction to have a minister, would be more afflicted if they had not a good one. But how evil is it when men get itching ears, when they want some one to be perpetually tickling them, giving them some pretty things, come fine pretentious intellectualism. In all congregations there is good to be done, except in a congregation having itching ears. From this may God deliver us.
2 Timothy 4:4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
When a man will not believe the truth, he is sure ere long to be a greedy believer of lies. No persons are so credulous as sceptics. There is no absurdity so gross but what an unbeliever will very soon be brought to receive it, though he rejects the truth of God.
2 Timothy 4:5, 6. But watch thou in all things, endure affliction, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
How complacently he talks about it! It is only a departure, though Ceasar’s sword might smite his head from his body. And truly death to the believer is no frightful thing. “Go up,” said God to Moses, and the prophet went up, and God took away his soul to him, and he was blessed. And so, “Come up,” saith God to the Christian, and the Christian goeth up, first to his chamber, and then from his chamber to Paradise.
2 Timothy 4:7, 8. 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.
This seems, then, to be a distinguishing mark of a true child of God, he loves the appearing of Christ. Now there are some professors who never think of the Second Advent at all. It never gives them the slightest joy to believe that —
“Jesus the king will come,
To take his people up
To their eternal home.”
Truly they are mistaken and are surely wrong, for was not this the very comfort that Christ gave to his disciples: “If I go away, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” I trust, dear friends, we are among those “who love his appearing,” and if we are, it is a sure prophecy that we shall have a crown of righteousness.
2 Timothy 4:9, 10. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;
Demas was once almost a martyr, he was upon the very edge of suffering, but now you see he goeth back to the world again; he is not content to lie in the dungeon and rot with Paul, but will rather seek his own ease. Alas! Demas, how hast thou dishonoured thyself for ever, for every man who reads this passage as he passes by, flings another stone at the heap which is the memorial of one of cowardly spirit who fled from Paul in danger.
2 Timothy 4:10. Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
It is likely that Paul had sent Crescens and Titus away upon a mission but now, from certain intimations, the Apostle is sure that his time of death is coming on, and so indeed it was, for his head was struck off by Nero’s orders a few weeks after the writing of this Epistle, and now he somewhat laments that he had sent them away. And would not you and I want the consolation of kind faces round about us, and the sweet music of loving voices in our ears, if we were about to be offered up?
2 Timothy 4:11. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
That is one of the prettiest verses in the Bible, because you will remember that the Apostle Paul quarrelled with Barnabas about this very Mark, because John Mark would not go into Bythinia to preach the Word, but left Paul and Barnabas, therefore Paul would not have Mark with him any more, because he had turned in the day of trouble. But now Paul is about to die, and he wishes to be perfectly at peace with everyone. He has quite forgiven poor John Mark himself for his former weakness; he sees grace in him, and so he is afraid lest John Mark should be under some apprehensions of the Apostle’s anger, and so he puts in this very kind passage, without seeming to have any reference at all to the past, but he gives him this great praise — ”for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”