Study Notes

2Timothy 1:13-18


Paul has written this letter to Timothy, encouraging him to keep going, to keep pressing on. Both in his walk with God and his pastoral ministry, Timothy is to continue to move forward.

1:13 Retain The Standard Of Sound Words

Paul says, "Timothy, retain the standard of sound words." We remember from our study of 1Timothy 6 that sound words are those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine of godliness. But the word "standard" is a new study. That word is rendered "pattern" in the NIV and "form" in King James. In Greek, the word is both interesting and revealing. It refers to a repeatable pattern, something that can be stamped in over and over, like a printing press making money repeatedly, or a rubber stamp creating the same design continually. It was used in ancient Greece to speak of the blow of a horse's hoof on the ground, creating the same image in the dirt over and over.

So Paul is saying that the teaching Timothy, or any minister, should be presenting is to be the same as that which was originally given. It should be the same gospel, the same message, the same thing that was taught originally. Rubber stamp it. Sure, each guy will have a different way of presenting it, a different way that it will come across. But it should always be the same hoofprint, the same pattern, the same stamp, as was originally presented in the Scripture.

As a pastor, it's not my job to come up with new truths, but simply to explain the old ones, to make them understandable to each new generation. The prophet Jeremiah said,

Jer. 6:16 Thus says the LORD, stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; And you shall find rest for your souls.

The greatest teachers in each generation are not the ones that come up with a new revelation, a new message, or a new teaching. They are the ones that direct us along the ancient paths, showing and reminding us what the good way is, and encouraging us to walk in it.

Faith And Love In Christ Jesus

The teacher of the sound words must retain them in the faith and love of Christ. You can tell when someone doesn't believe what they are saying. You can tell when someone doesn't care about you. And that makes it difficult to receive what they're saying when it's evident that they don't believe it themselves, and don't care if you do, either.

Doctors who smoke tell their patients not to. Doctors who are grossly overweight will offer to help their patients to formulate a healthy diet. We have trouble receiving such advice from people who obviously don't believe what they are encouraging, aren't practicing what they are preaching. And love is the same. You know the difference between a doctor that cares about you and one that's just making his rounds because that's his or her job.

In the ministry, it is even more vital to have faith in what you are teaching and love for the people you're teaching. It is essential that you are convinced of the truths of the Word of God, and that you love people, desiring them to be saved and grow in the knowledge of God.

One Old Testament preacher believed what he was saying, but didn't love the people he was saying it to. The man's name was Jonah. God chose Jonah to bring His message to the people of Nineveh.

Jonah 1:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."

But Jonah hated the Ninevites. They were brutal and wicked to their enemies during war, and their society abounded in immorality, prostitution, and witchcraft. Thus, he headed in the other direction. After a whale of a trip, he did end up at Nineveh. But he made no impassioned plea for them to repent. He didn't reach out to them and say, "Please, God wants you to turn from your sin. Repent before it's too late." He didn't do any of that.

Jonah 3:3-4 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days' walk. Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

Even though Jonah did the bare minimum, the great thing about the Word of God is that it is living and powerful. It has its effect on people.

Jonah 3:5 Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.

Even the king repented, saying

Jonah 3:9-4:1 "Who knows, God may turn and relent, and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish?" When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do {it}. But it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry.

Why was Jonah angry? He said,

Jonah 4:2 "...I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity."

Jonah was upset because he wanted Nineveh to be judged! So this was a man who had great faith, but no love. The Apostle Paul said,

1Cor. 13:2 ...if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

The Word of God still had effect, but Jonah received no blessing, for he had faith, but no love.

1:14 The Holy Spirit Dwells In Us

When a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord comes to live inside of their hearts. As the Bible says,

1Cor. 3:16 are a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you

The Holy Spirit living in us is God's promise of eternal life.

Eph. 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance...

If you have been born again into a new life in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in you.

What does the Holy Spirit do there? He helps us, teaches us, and brings to our remembrance what Jesus said (John 14:26), He empowers us to be witnesses of Jesus (Acts 1:8), He comforts us (Acts 9:31), He speaks to us (Acts 20:23) and through us (2Pet. 1:21; Acts 13:2).

Guard The Treasure

So, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, and through the Holy Spirit, we're to guard the treasure that has been entrusted to us. What is this treasure, this valuable charge given to us? The word translated from Greek means something that is beautiful, excellent, precious, and admirable. What is that treasure? It is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why is the gospel a treasure? Why is it considered valuable? There is actually nothing that is more costly, rare, or precious. You see, mankind is in a terrible mess. God is holy and righteous and hates sin. But we have all sinned.

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

Our sin has separated us from God, robbing us of the right and the ability to have a relationship with Him. If we die in this state of separation, the only place we can go is outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is where the treasure comes in:

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

Our sin brings an eternal death, but God has made a way for us to have eternal life. Jesus Christ allowed Himself to be killed, to be nailed onto a cross, so that He could pay for your sin.

You don't have to pay the debt of death if you allow Jesus to do it for you! This is a priceless treasure, but it has been offered to you as a free gift! And like all true treasures, it is rare and unique. You see, this is the only way that a person can be saved from their sin and given eternal life. Jesus said,

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

An Simon Peter proclaimed that,

Acts 4:12 "...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."

Unique and priceless, this treasure is precious beyond measure.

But some people don't want to accept this treasure. They use excuses like, "Well, I knew a Christian who was a total hypocrite." Or, "Look at all those TV evangelists. They're scam artists!" The fact is, there will always be people naming the name of Jesus that will let you down, people who are insincere, and others who are scamming. But their despicable behavior does not nullify the truth of the gospel. Look what Paul went through...

1:15 Those Who Turned Away From Paul

Paul had been let down by a bunch of people. Folks bailed out on him, treated him like he had the plague. FOOG-el-los and Her-mog-EN-ace were guys that had essentially skipped town on Paul. But he didn't let these pitfalls ruin his faith in Jesus.

And when each of us stands before the Lord on judgment day, we will not be able to blame anyone but ourselves. It's all going to boil down to one issue:

Rev. 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

The Lord will say, "I'm sorry, but your name is not written here."

You'd have your defense all prepared: "Look, Lord. This guy at work was a total hypocrite." But God's response would be, "I was never a hypocrite. I asked you to believe in Me, not them. And your name is not written in the book of life."

"But Lord, those guys on TV were always begging for money and ripping people off." Again, "But I didn't ask you to believe in them. I told you to believe in Me. And I never scammed anyone for their money. You're name's not here."

There will always be a FOOG-el-los and Her-mog-EN-ace to look at as a bad example. But you won't be able to blame anyone but yourself for rejecting the free gift, the gospel, the treasure, of salvation.

1:16-18 Onesiphorus

And when you stick it out, you'll come across someone like On-ay-SIF-or-os. A real Christian who loves with action. But again, it's not about the people, it's about the gospel. It's not about others' behavior - its about being forgiven for your sin. Are you ready to receive the treasure that's being offered to you for free?

Hebr. 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation...?

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