Study Notes

2Timothy 1:1-12


Paul is writing again to young Pastor Timothy. This time, however, he is not covering how to do the job of a pastor, how to administrate church funds, or how to deal with people in the church. He is encouraging Timothy to keep going, to press on, to continue in the faith, as he himself had done for so many years. This will be Paul's last letter before his death.

1:1-2 The Will Of God

The word "will" in Greek is THEL-ay-mah. It speaks of God's will, His emotional desire, His pleasure for our lives. Paul knew that he was an apostle by the will of God. And many Christians today are seeking God's will for their lives. But it seems like the tricky thing is how to find out what God's will is for our lives. Should I live here or move there? Should I go to school or work? Should I marry or remain single? How can you know what God's will for your life is?

Well, as we study the word THEL-ay-mah in the New Testament, we discover exactly how to know what God's will is.

First of all, living a worldly life will prevent us from knowing God's will for us. Paul wrote,

Rom. 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is...

If you are walking in the ways of the world, looking at things the way the world does, seeking after worldly things, you will never know what the will of God is for your life.

The book of Ephesians reiterates this, saying that sin will keep you from understanding what the will of God is.

Eph. 5:15-20 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things...

Now, here's the secret: If you live in such a way that you can know the will of God, you are living in the will of God! Over and over, the Bible tells us what His will for us is:

1Ths. 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; {that is,} that you abstain from sexual immorality;

1Ths. 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1Pet. 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

Now here's the great part: if you are living this way, you are in the will of God. And then when times of decision come, your heart is in line with God's heart, thus knowing the will of God for you. As Psalm 37 says,

Ps. 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

I'll give you a practical example. You've got a job offer, and you don't know if you should take it. If you've been living in rebellion or apathy, being distant from God, it won't matter which decision you make, because you're out of the will of God already. If you keep your existing job, you're out of God's will. If you take the new job, you're still

out of God's will.

Now the flip side of the coin: if you've been living close to the Lord, delighting in Him, not being conformed to this world, but abstaining from sexual immorality, doing good, giving thanks, your desires are aligned with God's desires. You're living in God's will. Therefore, if you keep your old job, you're in God's will. If you take the new job, you're in God's will.

To put it even more simply, if you want to be in God's will, walk close to the Lord, and do what you want!

1:3-5 Serving With A Clear Conscience

Your conscience is that internal sense, that voice, which tells you what is right and what is wrong. Paul says that he is serving God with a clear conscience. Having a clear conscience doesn't mean that you are sinless. It means that you are responding rightly to your sense of right and wrong.

The writer of Hebrews said,

Hebr. 13:18 ...we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.

And Paul told Timothy,

1Tim. 1:5 ...the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

If you listen to and act on the Word of God, if you conduct yourself honorably, you will have a clear conscience. If your actions are not in accordance with your beliefs, your conscience gets corrupted.

1Tim. 4:2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

Your conscience can be cauterized by hypocrisy, squelching out your sense of right and wrong. It can be defiled (Titus 1:15).

Maybe you've seared your conscience by hardening your heart to sin. It's not too late to have it restored. The Bible says,

Hebr. 9:14 ...the blood of Christ (will)... cleanse your conscience from dead works...

Hebr. 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled {clean} from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

It's time that we all maintain a good conscience before God.

1:6-7 Kindle Afresh The Gift Of God

When Paul had laid hands on Timothy, a spiritual gift was imparted to the young man.

It is thought that this gift was the gift of teaching. This is inferred from 1Timothy 4, when Paul wrote,

1Tim. 4:13-14 Until I come, give attention to the {public} reading {of Scripture,} to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.

But remember that Timothy's personality was shy and non-confrontational. It was against his natural leanings to teach the Word in a powerful, loving, and disciplinary way - the way that God desires it to be.

Paul tells him to kindle afresh this gift of the Spirit. That means literally, "keep blazing, keep the fire burning." He didn't want Timothy to go back to his own ways, his own tendencies.

Saints, it is so important that we continue to do things in the power of God's Spirit, rather than in the power of our flesh. Sometimes, we step out in faith, with God's empowering to do something wonderful in the kingdom of God. But then after a time, we fall back on what we know how to do. Our own skills, our own ideas. Paul asked the Galatians,

Gal. 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

So many successful things started by God's Spirit are destroyed by man's flesh. How important it is for us to keep the fire burning, to kindle afresh the gifts of God which are in us, that we not fall back into the strengths of our flesh.

A Spirit Of Timidity

I should point something else out here as well. Over the years, I have heard a lot of Christians quote verse seven terribly out of context. The King James Version of the Bible renders this verse,

2Tim. 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear...

This is taken wrongly in regard to spiritual warfare. It is thought by many that "a spirit of fear" must mean an evil spirit. But the word "spirit" can refer to three different things: the Holy Spirit, evil spirits, and OUR spirit. And we need to be careful that when the Bible says, "a spirit of..." this or that, we don't just assume that it is talking about unclean, or demonic, spirits.

It very often is talking about our spirits, the spirit of man. In Numbers 5, a man is overtaken by the spirit of jealousy. Not a demonic spirit - he simply becomes jealous in his heart.

When we're told to restore sinners, it says,

Gal. 6:1 Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness...

This obviously doesn't mean that we are demonized by a supernatural spirit of gentleness. That means simply that we are to be gentle in our spirit in our hearts towards the sinner. So verse seven is not talking about a demonic spirit of fear, but of Timothy's timid, shy, fearful spirit. Paul is saying, "Look, Timothy, if you do this in your own power, you'll have a spirit of timidity - your natural tendency. But if you do it in God's power, you'll have a spirit of power and love and discipline."

1:8-12 Saved Us According To Grace

God has called each of us to become his children.

2Tim. 1:9 ...not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace...

We've talked quite a bit today about the need to live rightly. But living a good life is not how you get to heaven. God's call for each one of us to be saved is not according to our works. There's no way you can ever live a good enough life to get to heaven. The Bible says,

Rom. 3:23 ...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Our sin has separated us from God.

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus Christ died to pay your death penalty. He offers to you a free gift - eternal life with Him. That's grace - getting what you don't deserve. It only comes through Jesus Christ. He said,

John 14:6 ..."I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

Acts 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."

Today, right now, Jesus Christ is calling you to be saved from the death penalty of your sin. Will you accept His free gift by surrendering your life to Him, and asking Him into your heart?

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