Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 45
II Timothy – Titus
We are in II Timothy, as we introduced it in our last lesson, and we find Paul is back in prison now for the last time and he is looking at his martyr’s death. But, he writes this last letter to his son in the faith, some twenty years younger than he is, who is going to now pick up the mantle of the apostleship. You want to remember, the Apostolic Church probably disappeared in its original form by the end of the first century. This was Christianity in the cradle and for the most part, met in homes and it had not yet generated up to the great hierarchy that came within the next century or so.
As Paul addresses Timothy then, it is in view of the fact that these early Apostolic Churches were now under Timothy and Titus to keep them going. I have stressed so often in my teaching, when you look at the circumstances in which these early Christians found themselves, it is just nothing but a miracle of God that it ever survived. We will see that especially now as we get on down a little further in this chapter. Now, if we can just pick up where we left off in the last lesson.
II Timothy 1:10
“But is now made manifest (that is, the working of God’s grace through His eternal purposes) by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”
The appearing, that Paul is referring to, is Christ’s first advent when He came to the Nation of Israel and presented himself in those three years of earthly ministry. And then ending up with the work of the cross, His death, burial and resurrection. Whereupon, then, He brought eternal life to those of the human race who become believers.
You see salvation, as I have always said, is not just a fire escape. Salvation is the whole body of truth that has been imputed to you and I who believe and part of that is eternal life. We have the very life of God now within us, but when we die that does not stop! We are a part of eternity that was precipitated by His resurrection.
Let’s go back for bit to I Corinthians 15, that great resurrection chapter. These are verses that we usually associate with funerals because it IS the blessed hope of the believer that we are not in the grave. That’s only that part of us that was the “tent.” And, at that the REAL believer is already in the Lord’s presence waiting for the great resurrection day. In I Corinthians 15 verse 54, this is what Paul is referring to now in II Timothy chapter 10. And he says:
I Corinthians 15:54
“So when this corruptible (this which is prone to death) shall have put on incorruption, (it becomes eternal. It has eternal life.) and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in (what?) victory.”
Death is overcome. Never again to be faced by the believer! So then he comes with a question in verse 55.
I Corinthians 15:55
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
Well the sting of death is sin, because what does Paul tell us in Romans 5? As by one man sin entered the world and what came with sin? Death. So, sin and death have almost become synonymous. The sinner is going to die because he is STILL spiritually dead. But by virtue of the resurrection power, death has been swallowed up in victory, which we find then in verse 57.
I Corinthians 15:57
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Well, the victory over what? Sin and death! That no longer has a hold on us as believers! Sin and death are something that have been done away with! Oh, we will die physically, if the Lord doesn’t come first, but that’s not the death that we are talking about. We are talking about that spiritual death which separates man from his Creator, God. Now back to II Timothy chapter 1. We have a lot to cover in the next two lessons. I am hoping to finish Timothy, in this last part of book 45, and be able to start Hebrews in book 46, if I can possibly make it work.
II Timothy 1:11
“Whereunto (that is, this power of resurrection, how that it is able to transform sinners to saints!) I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of (what people?) the Gentiles.”
See how Paul is constantly reminding us that he was God’s vessel to reach out to the non-Jewish world; the Gentile. Now verse 12.
II Timothy 1:12a
“For the which cause I also suffer these things:…”
What things? He’s in prison! His life is about to be put to a horrible end. We are quite sure from all of the secular information, from the early church writers, that Paul was beheaded. Not with the executioners axe but with a military sword. We may touch on that a little later in our study. So here he is facing that martyr’s death, but he now comes with his great profession of security and of faith, so he says continuing on in verse 12:
II Timothy 1:12b
“…nevertheless I am not ashamed: (He has no second thoughts about all that he has suffered for the sake of the Gospel so he says) for I know whom I have (what?) believed,…”
Believed!! See? Nothing else! He doesn’t mention anything else that he has done to give him this assurance other than BELIEVING. You have to go back to his experience on the road to Damascus. Just as soon as it was evident where the light came from; where the voice came from, what was Saul of Tarsus’ response? What would you have me to do, Lord? He knew who he was dealing with, so immediately he believed and it carried with him throughout his whole ministry. And he still knows whom he has believed:
II Timothy 1:12c
“…and am persuaded that he (the Christ whom he believed in) is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Now you see, Paul isn’t taking any credit. He’s not saying, I’m convinced I have DONE enough. That isn’t what he’s committing his security in. It’s in what Christ has done for him. So now his admonition to Timothy is:
II Timothy 1:13a
“Hold fast the form of sound words, (In chapter 2 and 3 Paul warns of all the false teaching that will be coming upon the world, so here he says) Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou has heard of me,…”
Do you see how he is putting himself in that place of “go-between”? He’s not saying, what you have heard from God, or what you have heard from Jesus Christ. It’s, hang on to those things which you have heard from me.
II Timothy 1:13b-14
“…in faith and love which (is all centered in the object of our faith – not Paul but) is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” Now verse 15 is a very interesting verse!
II Timothy 1:15a
“This thou knowest, (in other words, it was no secret) that all they which are in Asia…”
When the Bible speaks of Asia, it speaks of Asia Minor, which today we call Turkey. We are not talking about China and India, but that part of Turkey that was referred to as Asia Minor where a good number of Paul’s churches were established. Do you remember Antioch of Pisidia and Pergamos and Thyatira, Ephesus? All of those cities there in central Turkey, as we know it, were what then were called Asia. Now look what he says. All those believers that he had founded in little churches in those little cities of Asia Minor, all they who are in Asia:
II Timothy 1:15b
“…be turned away from me;…”
That is sad isn’t it? Instead of being able to say, “How I glory that all those congregations are still behind me. They are praying for me. They are supporting me.” No, they had all turned against him. Now, I know there is a possibility that he was referring to some of those people who had come to Rome and had probably visited him in prison and then saw the horrors of Nero and the persecution. So they fled back home. But, I don’t think so. I think what Paul is saying is that all those congregations that he had established in Central Turkey like Galatia and Asia Minor had turned against him.
Why do I think so? Because the whole little letter of Galatians was written to those people to warn them against what? Going back under the Law! Legalism! And, evidently, they did. They were not content to rest in Grace alone but they had to go back into the teachings of the Judaizers, back there at Jerusalem. I am convinced that it had to be. Sounds like many congregations today doesn’t it?
Now, what happened? As a result that these churches failed to stay with Paul’s doctrines of grace, how much is left of them? Nothing! A lot of those cities, the archaeologists and everything else can’t even really determine where they are. They just totally went into the dust bin of history. Whereas, had they remained true to Paul’s Gospel, there would probably be something there even to this day. But, they didn’t, they turned against this apostle. They turned against his doctrine of grace.
And I think and I have to say that it’s my own idea because I can’t prove it from Scripture, but comparing the problems of the Galatian churches that Paul wrote to in the letter of Galatians and their being bombarded by Judaism, to go back under circumcision and law keeping, that I think is what happened. So, consequently they had all turned against the apostle. Then the leaders, see there are always false teachers and ungodly men, who lead the way, and Paul names them here as Phygellus and Hermogenes:
II Timothy 1:15c
“…of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” Come all the way down, now to chapter 2 and let’s start at verse 1.
II Timothy 2:1-2
“Thou therefore, my son, (in the faith) be strong in the (what, again? See how Paul is always using the word grace. Over and over and over, it’s the grace of God. Nothing to do with legalism. Nothing to do with formality. It’s grace. Grace! So be strong in the) grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2. And the things that thou hast heard of me…”
He doesn’t tell them to go back and remember what Jesus said. Paul never says that. In fact, turn with me to I Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 16. We did this when we were in the Corinthian letters. I know a lot of people rebel at this. They say, I’m not going to follow that guy! I’m going to follow Jesus. Well, that sounds honorable, doesn’t it? But, it’s not Scriptural because Jesus ministered to the Circumcision. (Romans 15:8) Jesus ministered under the Law and He passed all of the Apostolic authority to this man and now the admonition is, just like I said in a previous lesson, you have Moses! Today, He would tell us, you have Paul! Consequently, Paul writes:
I Corinthians 4:16
“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”
See? That’s what the Scripture says! Now turn over to another one. Still in I Corinthians, chapter 11 verse 1. This is exactly what he is telling Timothy, as well. Timothy, follow in my footsteps. Be the same kind of an emissary of Christ that I have been.
I Corinthians 11:1
“Be he followers of me, even as I also am of (who?) Christ.”
See the procession? Christ is the head of the Body. No doubt about that, but Paul is the spokesman now. He is the Apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11:13) and then as he made it so clear in I Timothy 1:15-16, that in him first were all the succeeding believers to fall in place. So we follow the Apostle Paul, and that is why I teach so extensively his Epistles. Alright, come back to II Timothy chapter 2, verse 2 again.
II Timothy 2:2
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
I was reading a commentary a long time ago and this just hit me right between the eyes. He made the point, isn’t it amazing that in I Timothy and in Titus all the instructions were for the hierarchy, or the leadership or the organization of the local churches. But by the time he comes to II Timothy which is a few years later, there is not a word about elders and deacons and pastors and bishops. Not a word about organization. But, now God is going to use what? Faithful men!
The gentlemen made the point, there is probably more there than meets the eye, because remember the Scripture sees the big, long picture, and we know as we get to chapter 3, knowing that this is out there in the future, maybe this is why God is now instructing Paul to instruct Timothy to prepare gifted men for the day when the church in general will totally apostatize. Oh, it is coming so fast, where churches are departing from the truth of God’s Word and God will just simply have to fall back on gifted men. Look at II Timothy chapter 3 and verse 1. We are seeing it! We are in it! I think I put it in one of my newsletters that what Paul wrote here as something in the future, we are in it! We are here.
II Timothy 3:1
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come,” Then he goes on to say all these things which I will be coming back to a little later, but look at verse 5. Isn’t this exactly where the vast majority; not all, don’t misunderstand me, not all, but the vast majority of Christendom has now come to verse 5.
II Timothy 3:5
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” You can put your own commentary on that, can’t you? I don’t have to. Now let’s come back to II Timothy chapter 2 finishing verse 2.
II Timothy 2:2b
“…commit (these things) thou to faithful men, (who will be faithful not just to some organization, but would be faithful to the Word of God and the God of the Word of God.) who shall be able to teach others, also.”
Nothing thrills me more than when people call and say that they have been listening to my teaching for a couple or three years and now they are branching out on their own. They are starting classes maybe in their church. They have taken a Sunday School class. And, I just had a lady call again this morning ordering tape number 1. She wants to start a home Bible class, starting in Genesis! What more could I hope for? Because, this is the whole admonition of Scripture, to prepare hearts that they will pick up the mantel and begin to teach others also. In fact, go to Hebrews chapter 5 verse 11. I am sure Paul wrote this letter to the Hebrews.
“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12. For when for the time ye ought to be (what?) teachers,…” This is the whole idea that we are to prepare other hearts to be teachers, but he says that when the time came for you should be teachers:
“…ye have need that one teach you again (in other words, they still hadn’t learned it. What were they to be taught?) which be the first principles of the oracles (or the Word) of God;(but, instead of being teachers you) and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13. For everyone that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
What is the complaint? These believers were not able to teach others. They were still babes in Christ. They were still on the baby bottle. Well, it’s a sad commentary, but I am afraid that’s the way it is even today. Back to II Timothy chapter 2 verse 3.
II Timothy 2:3
“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
Then he begins to explain. Someone who is in the military has to cut all his ties to his civilian background. Otherwise, he is worthless to the military. If he is going to be a soldier who is ready to go on campaigns into a foreign country, he cannot be tied down with other responsibilities. It is the same way with the cross of Christ. If we are going to be a servant of Christ then we have to cut off all the dross of materialism and secularism and we have to become a soldier of Jesus Christ. Alright, then come down to verse 11. This is just what he has been talking about, that Christ overcame death by virtue of His death, His resurrection, now verse 11:
II Timothy 2:11
“It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:”
Always remember, what did Jesus use as an example of our identifying with His death, burial and resurrection? Planting wheat in the ground. Remember? And he said unless that kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it just stays alone in the sack. But if it is put into the ground and it goes through the death process, then you have new life and you have the hundred fold. All through Scripture this is the concept, that through resurrection we have new life! Now verse 12:
II Timothy 2:12-13
“If we suffer, we shall also reign (or live) with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” God is still faithful. Isn’t that amazing? Mankind can be unbelieving, but God never changes. He is still there as the Rock of our salvation in whom we can put our trust.
II Timothy 2:14
“Of these things…” In other words, the very truth of who God is. The very power of His death, burial and resurrection, of these things, Paul tells Timothy:
II Timothy 2:14
“Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them (or challenging them) before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”
It doesn’t do any good to argue about insignificant things. In fact, I put it this way a lot of times to people who call or write. Listen major on majors! Don’t major on minors. That’s what more people do. They make a great big deal over something that is so minor that it is insignificant. That’s not where it is at. Major on the majors. The fundamentals. The basic things in which there is no room to argue.