Give Me The Coffee!
Bible Study Lesson and Devotional #9- 2nd Timothy Chapter One
Please read through the first chapter.
2nd Timothy 1:8
Now when we come to the 8th verse of Paul’s letter to Timothy we see Paul continuing his assault on Timothy’s “timidity.” Paul, out of his own experience and out of the prompting of the Holy Spirit knows that trying times are coming for the Church. With that in mind Paul writes Timothy to:
1. Fan into flame the gift (Holy Spirit).
2. To walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
3. To abandon self and show unconditional love toward God and man.
4. To straighten himself out, aided by the Holy Spirit, by showing “self-discipline.”
Paul makes clear that to carry out this needed strengthening of character in Timothy’s life, Timothy will need the unction of the Holy Spirit, which Paul is “persuaded is alive” in Timothy.
Now as we see Paul shape the argument that Timothy must move from timidity to Power; Paul addresses a very specific idea or notion of Timothy being ashamed. In verse 8 Paul writes:
“So, do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me His prisoner” (2 Tim. 1:8 NIV).
Now this statement seems peculiar at first. What would make Paul believe that Timothy, a faithful believer in Christ (Paul acknowledges this in verse 5) to be ashamed of the Lord and ashamed of Paul himself. The answer to the question is “Fear.” Fear drives persons to do things they would never have imagined they would do. Paul must have some news that Timothy is shrinking from his duty as a minister and thus because of fear of persecution under Nero and because of fear from opposition within the congregation at Ephesus; Timothy is abandoning his post and possibly even denying Christ. FEAR GIVEN INTO WILL CAUSE MEN AND WOMEN TO DO THE UNTHINKABLE.
Thus, Paul writes, “do not be ashamed.” Shame here is driven by fear, a fear that is debilitating, a disease that holds a person back from fully being alive. Fear causes a person to avoid doing what they would otherwise be proud to have been seen doing. Fear drains a person’s humanity. Fear slowly and insidiously robs a person of who they are. To further the point, Paul not only challenges Timothy to not be ashamed, but he then implores him (in the second part of verses 8) to, “join with me in suffering for the gospel.” Here is where, so to speak, “the rubber meets the road.” Paul is calling Timothy out on the issue that is behind Timothy’s timidity and fear; namely Timothy’s fear of suffering and death.
WELL WAKE UP AND POUR ME A CUP OF COFFEE! Timothy, did you miss the memo? Were you out to lunch when they had that meeting? Were you sleeping in class when they taught that course? Timothy did you read the BOLD print, or did you just sign the contract without reading it at all?
“If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps” (1st Peter 2:20-21 NIV). Pretty clear, no ambiguity; do your duty, stop the whining!
Furthermore, not only is suffering one of the marks of authenticity, but a bold willingness to lay down one’s life for the King is and has been the distinguishing mark of every faithful saint throughout history.“By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1st John 3:16 NIV).
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18 NIV).
There is one certainty in life, that is death. We are all on a road that has but one destination. Apart from the Glorious appearing of our Savior on that great promised day, none of us will get out of this life alive. It is a simple and universal fact that all die, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 KJV 2000). Not only is there certainty in death for all, but there is also certainty that trials, tribulations, and even suffering will follow the one who is walking with Jesus. Life (like death) is filled with trouble for all who tread the earth; but a specific kind of suffering Is endured by the Christian. Believers are hated for what they have become and for Who they represent.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1st Peter 4:12-13 NIV).
1. We will suffer in this life because of the cursed nature of the world and yes that includes Covid-19.
2. We will suffer in this life because of the evil nature of man. Decisions will be made by those who are, “dead in transgressions and sins,” which will affect our lives. Irrational, illogical, self-destructive decisions are made every day by others that can disrupt and complicate our lives. Politicians shutting down essential businesses (all jobs are essential to the person who has the job) and restricting some jobs while allowing others to continue as normal seems unjust but is part of living in an unredeemed world.
3. People die from disease, war, murder, starvation, neglect, and old age. This is the natural order and we are not immune to this enemy (we all face) because we are all “in Adam.”
We will also suffer because we have a common enemy beyond death. This enemy works in the shadows working his mischief in homes, and offices, in businesses, and in every form of government on the planet. This enemy is a liar, a thief, and a murderer. He even worms his way into the doors of the church house to undermine the work of the Gospel. He does this by causing infighting or from some nefarious pressure from the outside. Like Nero, he hates the idea that Christians will not bow down to him. As a result, they are his primary target, aiming his arrows particularly at those in leadership. This enemy does not sleep, does not rest, is not seen, has endless resources, has innumerable allies and is tenacious in his zeal for the hearts and minds of God’s people. “We fight not against flesh and blood.”
IN MY OPINION: this enemy is behind what we are currently experiencing in this “so-called” pandemic. This enemy owns most of the instruments of media; who are tools of his to continuously bombard the nation and the church with propaganda designed to undermine God’s redemptive mission on earth. He wants a weak church, he wants a weak economy, he wants weak Christians; so that God’s people will be distracted from their mission. He wants God’s people to “shelter in place,” so that they will not be in God’s “house” giving God praise and honor and glory. This enemy uses politicians, doctors, scientist, and even preachers to achieve his will. This enemy is the craftiest of them all and his primary means of achieving his goals is FEAR! Fear of death, fear of suffering, fear of change, fear of loss of comfort, and fear of the unknown. Here is the admonition for those Timothy’s out there. Do not run away, but run to the fire, the storm, the danger. Be examples of courage and bravery, make your Savior and your heritage proud that you stood the test and were not, “found wanting!” “Fan into flame the gift of God.’ DO NOT BE ASHAMED!