Paul wrote this letter to Timothy about the fourth or fifth year of Nero's reign. It was written before Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. This letter was probably the last writing from Paul, about 68 AD. Paul had been placed in prison twice and released the first time in 63. In 64, there was the great fire in Rome. Nero blamed the Christians for the fire. Being a leader in the Christian community, Nero threw Paul in prison a second time.
The purpose of this chapter was to encourage Timothy to remain faithful to his Christian profession and to his calling as a Christian minister. Paul is encouraging him to stick to the truth of God's word in the midst of the surrounding temptations. Paul is urging Timothy to remain faithful to the truth even while many were turning away from the Christian faith.
In other words, within 30 years after Christ, the truth of God's word was being challenged despite the fact that most of the Apostles were still alive.
V. 1, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God --- typical of Paul's introduction, he points out:
A) that he is not where he is by any choice of his own (he did not seek out his place in God's plan; he speaks more of this in v. 9), and
B) that what he is about to say is by divine appointment. Thus his message was not his own. Rather the message was delivered to him by the Lord -- For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal. 1:12.)
THE MESSAGE for God's people from this passage is not from Bro Need. It is from the Lord. The message from the Bible is not from man; it is from God. This is God's word to man. This book explains God's character and thoughts in a way that man can understand God.
The promise of life which is in Christ Jesus --- Paul's call and commitment to the Gospel of Christ were based upon this promise.
OUR COMMITMENT to the Christian faith is also based upon the hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus. Our motivation and commitment to the Christian religion should be as strong as Paul's, for our promise is the same.
V. 2, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son --- Timothy was a young man saved and called to God's service through Paul's ministry. Paul spoke with great affection toward him.
Grace, mercy, and peace only come from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. We should desire these things, and we can ask for nothing better for our friends and loved ones. The best thing we can ask for anyone is that they also would God's peace through Jesus Christ our Lord.
V. 3 -- I thank God... that I remember you in my prayers -- Whatever good we do, we must remember to give God the glory. God even places upon our hearts to remember others in prayer.
WE MUST REMEMBER others in prayer. How many have fallen by the wayside for lack of praying friends?
whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience -- this statement links the Old Testament with the New Testament in no uncertain terms. The Old Testament saints (Israel of old) and the New Testament saints (the Gospel Church) worshiped/worship the same God, had/have the same religion. Both saints must have the same Saviour and worship the same God in the same way, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord. (See Rom. 3:30, 1 Cor. 8:6, Eph. 4:6, 1 Tim. 2:5.)
Paul clearly preached that it was the faith of the godly fathers before Christ --- this profession by faith of the coming future Messiah-King that made one a genuine Old Testament saint.
Thus the only difference between the Old Testament Covenant people and the New Testament Covenant people is the reality of Christ. They looked froward to the coming sacrifice for sin provided by God, and we look back upon the sacrifice that came for sin provided by God.
Paul did not have a different religion from the Old Testament Saints. The religion of the Old Testament and the New is essentially the same. Those who claim to be followers of Paul yet cut off the Old Testament or consider the "religion" of the Old Testament different than the Christian religion are not followers of Paul nor are they followers of the Lamb of God. They are anti Christian and anti Bible.
A pure conscience. Paul said in Acts 24:16 that he had to work at having a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men. By this he meant that he worked at living a life above reproach by the indwelling power of God.
We covered V. 6 a couple Sundays ago.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Through Timothy, Paul describes the spirit that has been given by God to all Believers. V. 9 tells us that the spirit is given according to his own good pleasure and purpose.
V. 7 is a result of v. 6 -- Timothy efforts to keep the "Christian fire and zeal burning" resulted in the several things mentioned in v. 7. V. 7 is a result of the Christian effort of stirring up the gift of God.
First, the spirit of God is not a spirit of fear -- timidity, cowardice. In Romans 8:15, fear is identified with bondage.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
In Matthew 25, fear caused the evil servant to bury his talent --- he was afraid to use the "talent" God gave to him. (V. 25.) Fear results from insecurity in our relationship with the Lord. Fear comes from doubting God's loving care and providence.
fear causes discouragement, according to the context here;
fear hinders Christians from following through on their Christian responsibilities in public;
fear hinders pastors from opposing the errors of false teachers;
fear keeps pastors from reproving men of their sins;
fear causes "ministers" to keep quiet because they do not want to offend people in the church or offend "big name" preachers, or other pastors;
fear keeps pastors from rebuking by name where needed;
fear causes pastors to compromise the truth of God's word so they can gain or keep a crowd. (1 Tim. 5:20, &c.)
Second, the spirit of God is a spirit of power -- energy, strength, courage and encouragement.
Paul's context uses the word power to mean power to "manfully bear up against trials and difficulties, to hold our ground when others are ready to yield and give way." (Fairbairn, 315.)
The picture used here by Paul is of a heated battle. All around us others flee from the fight because of the difficulties, but those with God's spirit of power hold the line.
In other words, it means power to keep on keeping on no matter what may come our way. Even if everyone else quits, God's power enables us to stand firm on his word, doing our duty as established by the Lord. (This was the purpose of Paul's instructions to Timothy, and Timothy was commanded to study God's word. Without study, we cannot stand in confidence of our stand.)
The spirit of power fearlessly stands against false doctrines and false teachers.
The spirit of power strengthens against Satan's temptations.
The spirit of power endures hardness, difficulties and discouragements as a good soldier (ch. 2).
The spirit of power provides power to do God's will.
Third, the spirit of God is a spirit of love -- the spirit of love seeks not its own
God's spirit of love it seeks the good of others and the glory of God. And it seeks that good and glory even at the expense of what is personally dear and pleasing to self.
God's spirit of love refers to love for God and love for the souls of men.
God's spirit of love does not seek its own ease, and it does not hold on to things because of pride. It easily yields to the will of others, as long as that will is not contrary to the word of God.
God's spirit of love quietly works behind the scenes to help and support others as they try to do what the Lord has given them to do. It does it seek credit for its actions in behalf of God and man.
Love for Rachel keep Jacob going for 14 years despite the evil actions of others. (Gen. 29.) Our love for Christ should motivate us even more than Jacob was motivated by his love for Rachel. Our love for Christ should see us through the darkest hours of life. Our love for souls should cause us to keep trying to reach others with the gospel, no matter how many setbacks we might have.
Fourth, the spirit of God is a spirit of a sound mind -- sober (serious), prudent (wise, sensible), pure, discreet (wise in avoiding errors or evil, cautious, not rash) and honest. A mind well balanced and under the right influence.
God's spirit of a sound mind does not easily give up nor back down from what pleases God.
God's spirit of a sound mind keeps one from irrational, foolish, unwise and ungodly actions.
God's spirit of a sound mind will think things through before acting or speaking.
God's spirit of a sound mind is a controlled mind. It is controlled in conformity with the word of God. It does not allow the imagination to control it.
2 Corinthians 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations (things hostile to the Christian faith), and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (See also Phil. 4:7, 8.)
Paul will tell Timothy that he must study the word of God. Only by studying God's word will the Child of God know what things are hostile to the Christian faith.
The sound mind will be stayed upon the Lord:
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Is. 26:3.)
God turns those he will destroy over to an unsound mind. He withholds his spirit of a sound mind from them, so they will make irrational and destructive decisions. When they reject the truth, they are given over to deception, and they destroy themselves.
The sound mind is a result of studying the word of God, meditating on the word of God, bringing the mind and actions into subjection to the word of God and of prayer. As we stir up the gift, v. 6, fear is overcome and God's spirit of a sound mind is developed in us.