God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24 - 2 Timothy: The Prisoner Prepares His Son to Pass on the Message

Today’s Reading: 2 Timothy

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

This may have been Paul's last letter. He writes as a person who is resigned to his fate and making sure his work continues through his spiritual descendants.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Paul to Timothy, my son:
I miss you. God has worked in us through Jesus. This is the Message. Guard it well. Pass it to people who will pass it on. It always stays the same. Warn against nitpicking and promote walking the talk.
Run to maturity, patient with the immature.
Soon people will be outwardly religious but not set things right but they will not last long. Scripture is God-breathed and fully prepares us for God's Tasks.
Never give up teaching the Message.
I'm ready to die as an offering to God.
Come soon.
God's Grace be with you.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

The Message of Jesus is that He is working in us all the time.

God doesn't work only in people who are Christians. He works continuously in everyone in the world. He worked in Saul before he changed to become Paul, the Ambassador to the Gentiles. God worked in Timothy through his mother and grandmother. God wants to set all things right and is working now. Our job is to help people acknowledge God's Work in them and live accordingly.

Paul encouraged Timothy to pass on the Message to people willing and able to pass the Message on.

In church-planting movements the goal of a church planter is not to plant many churches. The goal of a church planter is to find people willing to pass on the Message and to teach them. They are the ones who plant churches. If they are unwilling to share the Message with others the church planter moves on to someone else. The reason is because people unwilling to pass on the Message will not keep God's Message alive. It dies with them. God's Message reproduces when people are willing to teach others willing to teach others.
One of the biggest issues churches have today is the fact that most members, though they think passing along the Message is important, keep the Word inside. This leads to a dilemma for preachers—do we continue teaching people who are sponges or do we leave them alone and find people willing to share? I would love churches to hold people accountable for passing on what they learn from the Bible. It is a great help for both the teacher and the learner.

God's Chosen People do not get caught up in worldly affairs or nitpick on doctrine.

We concentrate on setting things right for God the best we can. If we walk in that way, we will be truly religious.

Many people will never mature in God.

Paul's final warnings to Timothy are for him to watch out for people not content with the Message. It sounds too simple for many. They want a conspiracy, rules, a fun story, or an excuse to do whatever they want. Paul wants Timothy to watch out for these people and hold firm to the simple Message. He is to be mature, even when other people are not.

2 Timothy is a very humanizing book.

Earlier I wrote how these epistles are letters, not doctrinal statements. Nowhere in the New Testament is this truer than 2 Timothy. Paul is alone and knows his execution is coming. He wants to give Timothy one final encouragement before it comes. He doesn't know if they will ever see each other again. This is why he is steadfast about Timothy holding strong to the Message in the face of opposition. He knows that Timothy will soon be without his spiritual father. These words are meant to motivate Timothy to defend the Message for the rest of his life.

John Mark redeemed his work.

The first time we meet John Mark he was picked up by Paul and Barnabas but abandoned them on their first trip. Paul was so against working with him later that Barnabas and Paul split up on their next trip. Yet in Paul's last letter he tells Timothy to bring John Mark because he will become Paul's assistant. If this John Mark is the same as Mark found in 1 Peter, Peter considered him a son. He may have been the one to write the Gospel of Mark. When we trust God, God can mature us to great works even if we have a bad start. What a great redemption story!

How is God working through you?

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