2 Timothy 2:14-19 Show Yourself as a Tried and Tested Worker

2 Timothy 2:14-19

To Guard the Gospel: Show Yourselves to God as a Tried and Tested Worker

In this last will and testament of Paul’s to Timothy and the church at Ephesus he is instructing them to guard the gospel. He has given some clear instruction on what to teach in order to guard the message.

Now he is going to shift from content to actually being a tried and true worker in rightly handling the word as opposed to those who poorly handle the word and those who flat out teach false doctrine.

To guard the gospel we must:

Handle The Word Well v. 15

“Do your best (imperative) to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker (laborer who works hard in farming / an artisan) who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

  1. An approved worker handles the word right

“Orthotomeo” means to handle skillfully or to handle right. Ortho, from where we get our words “orthopedic” or “orthodontist” meaning “strait” or “right” joint movement or teeth.

5.1 Exegeted because it’s God’s word not ours

4.1.1 What does it say? What does that mean? How does that

apply?

Often this is where the evil one will attack the one who stands for truth with whispers that sound like: “That was so foolish.” “Do you really believe that mess?”

  1. One who handles the word right has no need for shame

The audience is God.

Handlers of the word are handling God’s word not their own and must never play cavalierly with it.

It is a fearful and wonderful thing to teach God’s word.

James 3:1 reminds us that one should not presume to be a teacher because they incur a stricter judgment. Why, because we are to handle God’s truth not our version. It’s not our message we are tinkering with. This is why we must guard the gospel.

  1. One has to be a worker to handle the word right and not be ashamed

3.1 It is hard work to handle the word correctly.

  1. Hard working, unashamed handlers of the truth are approved (approved

            after being tried and tested)

2.1 The person who keeps doing this is approved through the

continual rigors of handling rightly before God without shame,

working hard at it, the word.

2.1.1 This approval comes from God as he bears witness to his word

through those who teach it well.

  1. We are commanded to do our best to present ourselves to God this way!

The proclaimer/teacher of the gospel of the kingdom must give account to the Lord himself and he is the one that we must seek to please.

1.1 The right handler of truth who works and is approved does not

look to hearers for approval but to Father who will tell them “well

done.”

What are tried and tested workers commanded to do?

To guard the gospel we must:

Remind Folks Before God To Not Fight Over Words v. 14

“Remind them of these things, and charge them before God (literally “the Lord”) not to quarrel about words (“war over words), which does no good (oudeis epi chresimos – brings no good upon), but only ruins (epi katastrophe – brings ruin upon) the hearers.”

  1. Bring to remembrance what is true.

This is a lifetime worth of work!

  1. Reminding about truth is done with the Lord as witness

When we teach we do so in the presence of the Lord and the Lord is witness to what is taught.

Every time one teaches the Word the witness to the event is the Lord himself. The audience is God’s people.

The Lord knows what is taught, and as a result he holds his people to hearing and obeying.

Quite literally we could say “The Lord is witness between us that his word has been taught and I am innocent because I have delivered your word.”

  1. Do not let people war over words.

We guard the gospel by charging God’s people to not war over words.

The idea here is fighting over nuanced subtleties and creating division.

This is speculative theology based on such nuanced wondering.

This may be fine for the classroom but not for life in the body and it’s not intellectual. It’s ego puffing in public to make one appear more than what they are.

3.1 1 Timothy 6:3-5

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth…”

3.2 Titus 3:9-11

“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”

  1. Warring over words brings no good.

Warring over words literally brings zero good upon those who hear or receive the residual effects of such warring.

  1. Warring over words brings catastrophe on the hearers.

Not only is there no good that comes, but warring over words brings ruin, literally catastrophe, on those who hear.

To guard the gospel we must:

Avoid Godless Chatter v. 16-18

“But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead (impel forward: this is a biting bit of sarcasm) people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread (nome – pasture/feed and exo – to have hold) like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened.”

  1. Avoid irreverent babble
  1. Irreverent babble leads to ungodliness

Paul uses a bit of biting sarcasm here to get the point across. The sarcasm is lost in English translations. The word “lead” is literally to impel forward.

Of course ungodliness is not forward but backward. And that is the point. You have to say it with a sarcastic tone to feel it. Paul is taking a Spirit inspired swipe at Hymenaeus, who he excommunicated from Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:20) along with his first little cohort, Alexander.

The sarcasm has to be playing on the apparent message of the one’s not rightly handling the word. They apparently were teaching that the resurrection has taken place, spiritually, and the eternal state has come upon those who have this kind of knowledge. Some scholars suppose this to be a very early brand of Gnosticism that would later grip the young church and which early church fathers would spend much time fighting off.

  1. Irreverent babble spreads like gangrene

Paul’s sarcasm is then followed by this ugly and gross metaphor of dead tissue poisoning the good tissue.

“Spread” is the translation of two words Paul uses “nome” meaning “pasture/feed” and “exo” meaning to “have hold”.

This bad teaching, called irreverent babble, will pasture up and feed on the host and take hold of it and poison it and kill it.

That’s what bad teaching does.

So, how will things turn out for those who mishandle the word?

How are things going to come about for those who word fight and for those propagating godless chatter?

Judgment Awaits Those Who Oppose the Truth v. 19

“But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his”, and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

  1. The Lord knows his people. v. 19a

In this seemingly out of place verse, Paul references an event that happens in Numbers 16. We know this by the phrase “The Lord knows those who are his.” This exact phrase shows up in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in Numbers 16:5, of which Paul would be exceptionally familiar.

Side Note: When you are reading the NT and notice quotes from the OT that don’t quite sound like the text when you look it up it is due to a couple of factors: 1. They are quoting the interpretation of the text 2. They are applying the text 3. They are quoting from the Greek Translation of the OT)

This situation that Paul is referencing is the one where Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Levites) along with 250 others, challenge Moses as the Lord’s appointed one to lead them.

Moses issues a challenge for them all them to present themselves to the Lord the next day and the Lord would “show who is his” because the Lord knows who is his.

Long story short, the Lord causes the earth to open up and swallow them all, families, tents, animals and the 250 that follow them.

Here is the encouragement and the warning:

1.1 The Lord knows who his faithful are in spite of the fools who keep

showing up to cause problems.

1.2 John 10:14-15

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

  1. The Lord’s people depart from iniquity v. 19b

“Those who would take comfort in the first inscription must take responsibility for the second…There is no election (cf. v.10) apart from sanctification. It is written on our souls.”[1]

Implications:

  1. We must constantly be reminded of the truth
  2. We will not quarrel about petty and side issues
  3. We will rightly handle the word or we will correct
  4. We will persevere in rightly handling the word
  5. We will not be ashamed of the truth
  6. We will work diligently and tirelessly to be excellent teachers of the word
  7. We will avoid godless untruth that leads to the destruction of God’s people
  8. We will take comfort in knowing that the Lord knows his and his know his voice and follow him
  9. We will constantly seek to be a repentant people seeking to hear the Lord and obey him. “He who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock.”
  10. we will be a worshiping people

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

[1] Kent Hughes, 1&2 Timothy and Titus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000), p. 213.

2 Timothy 2:8-13 Remember Jesus!

2 Timothy 2:8-13

Remember Jesus!

If one is to guard the gospel they are going to have to be strengthened by the grace found only in Jesus.

They are going to have to entrust the gospel to the faithful in the church.

They are going to have to share in suffering with Jesus.

They are going to have to be like a good soldier who is single-minded in their devotion.

They are going to have to be like an athlete who puts in the hard work to win.

They are going to put in the hard work of mundane and repetitive labor in order to receive the fruits of their labor.

Now, Paul reminds Timothy and Ephesus that if they are to guard the gospel then they are going to have to remember some things.

REMEMBER the Gospel v. 8

God is into remembering because we fallen creatures have a tendency to forget.

  1. The Passover – Exodus 12:26, 27

“And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service? ’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses. ’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.”

  1. The Law – Deuteronomy 6:7ff, 20-23

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise…When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you? ’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.”

  1. Crossing the Jordan – Joshua 4:5-7

“And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you? ’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

So far 2 Timothy has been filled with exhortations to “remember”.

  1. Remember the faith of their forefathers 1:3
  2. Remember their mutual deep friendship and fellowship 1:4
  3. Remember his deep spiritual heritage 1:5
  4. Remember his gifting 1:6, 7
  5. Remember the pattern of sound words 1:13

Now Paul insists that Timothy and the church at Ephesus guard the gospel by remembering! What do they remember?

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David…”

For the rest of the book Paul will refer to Jesus as “Christ Jesus”. Here he calls him “Jesus Christ” on purpose and that is to correspond to two major components he wants Timothy to remember about Jesus: Resurrection and King. Paul uses this device to help them remember what he’s asking them to remember!

“Jesus” corresponds to “risen from the dead”.

“Christ” corresponds to “offspring of David”.

  1. Remember: Jesus has been raised! (perfect tense – Jesus has been raised and still is raised)

Jesus the God/Man was killed in our place to pay for our inherited sin from the fall, he was buried and he has been raised and is alive now!

  1. Remember: Jesus is Christ THE King

Jesus fulfilled the Davidic Covenant, the promise made to King David in 2 Samuel 7:12ff as the promise that is reiterated throughout the Old Testament…Significantly it was after the resurrection, on the road to Emmaus, that Jesus explained, “‘Did not the Christ (the King from David’s line) have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself’” (Luke 24:26-27). Memory of Jesus’ Messiahship invites the believer to see Jesus as the culmination of God’s plan of salvation and to bow before him as king.[1]

Jesus is the King who rules over all things and especially his people!

  1. These two components made up the core of Paul’s preaching from which

Paul’s entire worldview on redemption was based. (See Romans 1:1-4; 1 Cor. 15:1-4)

Certainly, the gospel is multifaceted (Creation/Fall/Redemption/Restoration), but the core of the work of redemption is Jesus resurrection and his kingship over his kingdom.

Implications?

  1. We are prone to forget the kingdom and go with what appeals to the eye wrong desires and self-promotion.
  1. We are not to forget or give in on the facts of the gospel.
  2. We are to remember Jesus lives!
  3. We are to remember Jesus is THE King that rules well and make things

right and we can enter that kingdom and that rulership when we obey him.

Remember the Gospel’s Power v. 9

“…But the word of God is not bound!”

Not bound: The transformation of the Roman Empire in spite of the Church’s severe persecution

Not bound: The transformation of the Barbarians and Germanic tribes in their domination of the old Roman Empire

Not bound: The transformation of the Vikings in their domination of Ireland

Not bound: The mass export of the gospel through Scripture being loosed during the reformation and put in the hands of the people

Not bound: The Moravian’s work in the new world to reach the tribes of the Americas (including my people)

  1. Bearers of the gospel may be shut down but the message will never be.
  1. The gospel of the kingdom is subversive like yeast in dough.
  1. As the Father, Son and Spirit sent Joseph to Egypt to rescue his people in years to come and make his name known in Egypt, so our God sends his word even through the bound and unbound alike and spreads the aroma of Christ to his appointed places.

4. Take heart!

Remember to Love The Church v. 10

“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

The elect here is a reference to the elect of God, which is his church that has been given to the Son by the Father and whom Jesus secures through his life, death and resurrection in order to receive them and keep them and rule them well forever.

“Paul states that the reason for his endurance is for the sake of the elect, he sees his own sufferings against the background of those who would come to faith in Christ as a result of the preaching of the gospel. Perhaps his reference to the salvation that is in Christ Jesus is intended to distinguish it from the kind of salvation offered by the false teachers. The words in Christ Jesus not only define the salvation as Christian, but also show it to be the possession of all those who are in Christ. Note that elsewhere Paul links salvation with glory (cf. 2 Thes. 2:13–14).”[2]

  1. Christian perseverance is a gift of the gospel and has gospel effect in that it becomes a visual illustration of the message of the cross to those who didn’t get to witness it first hand and it sees the elect rescued from darkness to light.

“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect…”

1a. Paul has already stated that he views his imprisonment as Jesus’ work.

1b. Paul endures then by Jesus for his church.

1c. Jesus is how Paul got into suffering and the salvation of his church is the purpose of his suffering.

1d. By saving his church through putting his people in tough spots

glorifies Jesus because they imitate Jesus and make Jesus’ work known in those tough spots.

You have to love the church to persevere through difficulty. Jesus loves his church and he suffered to rescue it and he calls us to the same as his ambassadors.

1e. Don’t despise the day of suffering because there are good and divine effects Jesus’ can bring about through it. (See Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28)

  1. Rescue of the church comes only in Christ and not through any other means.

“…,that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus…”

2a. Jesus uses the suffering of his church to draw the elect to himself                  so that they may find entrance into his kingdom through himself.

  1. Jesus bestows the glory of image bearers in part now through the supernatural work of the kingdom that is a promise of full bestowal of that glory at the resurrection.

“…with eternal glory.”

3a. Eternal life is a present reality not a future hope (resurrection is    the future hope; See John 17:1-3)

  1. Remember the church. Don’t neglect her and don’t hate on her.

4a. The church is Jesus’ chosen bride and a kingdom of priests

to Father.

4b. Invest your time in the church. Return on that investment is

glorious.

Remember a Trustworthy Statement v. 11-13

Paul’s final counsel to remember is either part of an early hymn or early poem that have 4 lines, 3 encouragements and 1 warning.

The Lord has used poetry, narrative and song to instruct his people from Genesis. Adam breaks out in poetic song when Eve is created; David writes songs; Solomon pens wise counsel.

The Spirit-filled church produces fantastic means to cause us to remember the truths of the kingdom. Paul gives us one here.

  1. Encouragement 1: Remember your transformation: Died (Aorist) / Live (F)

“If we have died (A) with him, we will also live (F) with him;…”

The first encouragement uses Romans 6 imagery of baptism picturing death, burial and resurrection to new and transformed life.

  1. Encouragement 2: Remember to persevere: Endure (Present) / Reign (F)

“…if we endure (P), we will also reign (F) with him;…”

  1. Warning: Remember, do not deny the Lord (F) / Deny (F);

“…if we deny (F) him, he also will deny (F) us;…”

See Matthew 10:32-33:

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

  1. Encouragement 3: Remember Jesus is faithful because we are his: Faithless

(P) / Faithful (P)

“…if we are faithless (P), he remains (P) faithful…”

The difference between 3 and 4 is that the warning is for those who would walk away from Jesus to save themselves and being cool with having rescued themselves (he who looses his life finds it) versus wrestling to hold up and failing and seeking repentance.

Remember to worship King Jesus

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

[1] Kent Hughes, 1&2 Timothy and Titus, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000) p. 202.

[2] D. A. Carson et al., eds., New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1307.

Monday Morning Musing on Tuesday, since yesterday was a holiday and all…

Observation: Those who have sinned greatly and publicly been beat down by the spiritual elite, tasted grace, repented and walk humbly with the Lord have been the one’s to most encourage and lift me up personally into Christ. Those who seem righteous and most spiritual are the one’s who have most wounded and marginalized or overtly sought to exclude me. That is hard to process. I mean, who likes to be wounded and marginalized?

I’m processing some past and present experiences this morning as I read the Word and am recalling experiences with people and I’m just observing that what the “Christian” subculture seems to value in the post-Christian south is the very thing that actually hurts and wounds other Jesus followers and repels sinners.

I don’t play the “Christian elite” thing and I’m not a cookie cutter preacher boy. I’m educated. Well educated. I’m a grammar nerd although I’m dyslexic (only Jesus can pull that off, hip hip hooray for the work of the Spirit!). I’m rough around the edges. I didn’t attend cotillion, so I’ll probably use the wrong fork but I’ve been in some really cool places with some really cool people globally and I didn’t screw it up (maybe a Spirit thing again). I’m salty with language although the Lord has curbed some of that and some of it he has not (I have read Ezekiel and he was salty too, so I feel like I’m in good company). I don’t want my boys to have “clean mouths” and dirty hearts. A boy ought to know how to place a word just right, right? I don’t want to fit into the “Christian elite”. I actually disdain that culture. It smells like Matthew 23 to me. I’m growing more and more discontented with it and learning to hate it. It’s that culture that repels the Matthews (government tax guys) and the whores who wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and wipes them with her hair. That “Christian elite” culture are the one’s wondering in their hearts why Jesus lets the whore do that to him while refusing to wash his feet, greet him properly and anoint his head (see Luke 7:36-50).

I do believe the bible…all of it. I believe it is inerrant. I believe the crazy things in the bible that many either ignore, hate others for or push aside because it makes them uncomfortable or challenges the fact that they are practical atheists. I preach it as it’s written and, by the Spirit’s help, properly interpreted. I try to have no “golden cow” doctrines that I won’t let Scripture shape. I don’t fit nicely into any camp except that crazy crew of Northwood Church Planters that Bob Roberts has shaped. I love Jesus to the point I’ll go to places where I’m in danger and might not return home because I want those people to know the King and his rule in his Kingdom. I’ve got minor health issues resulting from places I’ve pooped and places I’ve been on this earth for the sake of the kingdom, and it’s so worth it because Jesus is alive and walking with me and showing me more of his rule as I submit to him and count my life as less that I may gain Christ. Don’t hear me tooting my horn. I’m a fool, great sinner, and idol factory. But I don’t like the “Christian elite” culture. I don’t think Jesus did/does either.

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t want my people or my family to take on any feel other than that of the Kingdom as articulated by my King, Jesus. I don’t want to be like what has repelled sinners for so long. I want to be liked by sinners. Sinners loved Jesus. Sinners were attracted to Jesus. Jesus never tolerated their sin, he called it what it was, but they loved him, and he sent them away transformed. He came to call the sick and sinner not the righteous. I want to be like that. Sinners don’t like the “Christian elite”.

TRCC, love the King and love sinners and love each other. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8), the bible tells us. So, don’t be elite. Love. Be the least. Be like Jesus.

“And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45

2 Timothy 2:1-7

2 Timothy 2:1-7

Guard the Gospel by Being Strengthened in Christ

2 Timothy is Paul’s last will and testament. From this final imprisonment at the hands of King Jesus through the means of Rome, Paul extols the necessity of real, intimate and palpable fellowship, exhorts to not be ashamed of the Lord’s servants or the good news of the kingdom and he illustrates with the example of Onesiphorus.

Now, in 2:1-7 Paul teaches on what Timothy and the Ephesians must do to guard the gospel.

Be strengthened by the grace that is found in Jesus v. 1

Verse 1 is a command, and the first command to guard the gospel is to be strong in grace that is found only in Jesus! It is also present tense and active voice.

It would be accurate to say “keep on being strengthened by the grace that you have in Christ Jesus.”

“In Christ” is a dominant theme in the first three chapters of Ephesians, as we remember.

  1. We are in Christ and to be strengthened by living in the grace we have been given

1a. John 1:16

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

  1. Grace is found only in humbly submitting to Jesus (submission to comes

before obeying)

2a. James 4:1-7

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

  1. We experience tangible grace as we obey Jesus (if we are submitted to we will obey)

3a. Matthew 7:24-27

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

  1. Our strength in grace is found in hearing and obeying

Entrust the gospel to faithful people who will then teach others v. 2

This is a command. This is not a suggestion!

The grammar here for “men” is masculine, but the masculine here is universal in the sense of “mankind” not merely “men” for the role of elder. He is not referencing elders in this passage at all.

The idea is all people in the body. Paul has given clear instruction about the elders in 1 Timothy. There is enough for that. This is the plea to teach and exhort those taught to pass it on to others who will be able to teach too.

The good news of the Kingdom will never go forward on the backs of the pastors alone.

The good news of the Kingdom goes forward through domains of society by citizens of the Kingdom bringing the Kingdom to bear in their domains of society.

Jesus never made the Great Commission to advance on the backs of the spiritual elite. The Great Commission is not a “calling”. It is a command given to the whole church.

The Great Commission’s completion is overwhelmingly impossible practically and financially with our current models built on sending spiritual Special Forces with the finances of the fearful. Too few Special Forces and too little money.

The Great Commission’s completion is not overwhelming or financially burdensome when we understand our DNA: KDSC

What if the Great Commission were completed with the local church being the sending agency and those sent were professionals who engaged their domains and got paid for doing so? Cost to a church budget: very little. Joy in seeing the supernatural work of the kingdom: flat out giddy.

For pastors:

  1. We don’t hoard the ministry as ours to execute. We equip the saint for

the ministry of building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16). Nor do we

            take on the ministry because the body won’t due to misplaced values and a

            lack of discipline and time management.

1a. Apostle / Prophet / Pastor / Teacher / Evangelist / are gifts to the      body for growing each other up into Christ as they are taught/equipped by the undersehpherds through teaching, practice and prayer.

  1. We teach and release priests of the faith to exercise the gifts in ministering to the body.
  1. We continually place the responsibility for ministry on the Spirit filled

priests to serve the body of Christ to build it up into Christ.

  1. We are to constantly be shepherding the advance of the kingdom into our local and global contexts and keeping those ends in view and guarding those ends from distractions.
  1. We are to train and mentor church planters and release them to go and multiply the kingdom.

For students:

  1. Discover your created purpose / skill set / desires / passions / giftings / vocation.
  1. Refine your skills etc. in the life of the church by serving the Kingdom. Let

grown men and women speak into your life and affirm / direct your work.

  1. Choose your education based on the most efficient and practical honing of your gifting / skill set / “vocation”.
  1. Engage your chosen domain of society glocally.

For all priests of the kingdom:

  1. Labor to narrow your life and focus down to 1 eternal kingdom end (through your domain) and arrange all of your life around that end and treat everything else as means if the means gets you to that end.
  1. Shed busyness in seeking after what the “gentiles” seek after and be willing to suffer for doing so. Seek first the rule of Jesus and his righteousness and trust him to make up any slack created by obeying him.
  1. Become aware of your functional saviors (idols) and cut them off.
  1. Take responsibility for the gospel of the kingdom that we have taught and

entrusted to you and go do something with it.

  1. Realize that the supernatural power of the kingdom is not hidden in a

meditative worship experience but in the everyday and mundane things that

are brought under the rule of Jesus through obedience to Jesus!

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus v. 3

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”

This is a command not a suggestion!

2 Timothy 3:12 “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Holy suffering is strange to many Christian’s ears and experience because they don’t live like there are two kingdoms in conflict and they are on a side and that demands engagement in the conflict and that inevitably brings suffering.

This is a distinction between the gospel of salvation and the gospel of the kingdom!

  1. The command to suffer is the command to engage in the work of the

kingdom!

1a. Hear Jesus and obey Jesus regardless!

  1. Suffering is the natural consequence of living according to the values of the kingdom rather than according to the values of the kingdom of the world.

1a. Suffering will come from either: Individuals; Institutions;

demonic forces.

1b. But, Jesus is in charge of our suffering (see chapter 1 and Job) in    order to accomplish his ends and our holiness.

1c. Therefore, suffering will result in Father’s will being done, his   kingdom coming and his name being made great on earth as it is in heaven.

  1. Suffering for being stupid (sinning) does not count
  1. Suffering brings a sharing with and in Christ

1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”

Philippians 3:8-11 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

How are Timothy and the Church at Ephesus to live out these commands?

Think over this instruction v. 7

Paul’s final command is found in verse 7 and applies to verses 4-6.

  1. Think over the illustrations and seek the Lord’s understanding!
  1. Be like a soldier; Give single-minded devotion to Jesus v. 4

1aa. Don’t get sidetracked in non-kingdom things

1ab. Seek to please Jesus and nobody else

1ac. Single-minded devotion to Jesus will make you a  machine

2. Be like an athlete; Go after the kingdom with disciplined effort v. 5

Olympic athletes in this time had to complete a ten-month training

period and then swear an oath that they had done it….It is likely Paul’s

language of “competes according to the rules” is referencing.[1]

2ba. Be disciplined in your pursuit of the kingdom

2bb. Give as much disciplined effort to obeying Jesus as you

give your diet and your exercise

3. Be like a hard working farmer; Put in the right labor v. 6

A farmer’s life, particularly in this day would include:

Early and long hours

Constant toil (plowing, sowing, tending, weeding, harvesting, storing)

Regular disappointments (frost, pests, disease, drought, etc.)

Patience (slow motion)

Boredom

  1. Put in the hard kingdom time. Serving in kingdom requires hard work
  1. Labor in the kingdom in the hopes of receiving a harvest of righteousness and all needs supplied (2 Timothy 4:6-8; Matthew 6:33)

Worship!

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

[1] J.N.D Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1963), pp. 175, 176.

Shifting Our Thinking on Education and Jesus’ Mission

What I’m about to say is not in any way hating on seminary education, college education or any education at all. I have an Mdiv and loved every second of it. I have the doctoral itch. However, if I were 26 again, I’d be thinking a bit differently.

When I was coming up in the ministry the understanding was that if you were going to do work in the church or the world as a “great commission specialist” you needed seminary.

Seminary is great, however, it also limit’s your job potential.

The world has changed. Nothing is closed off to the influence of Christian people. Economics, politics, law, education etc. have all become global affairs. Christians used to think in terms of the “called” going and the rest funding their going.

What if we are all called? What if calling looks less like signing up to go be funded to do great commission work because you saw the need, wanted to go and had enjoyed a holy encounter that affirmed your desire and rather looks like specializing in one’s skill set and taking that job skill global while being paid to do it because we are all to be doing just that?

This is the essence of Bob Robert’s book “Glocalization”. Bob is a spiritual father to me. Bob taught me and other dudes this stuff before if was en vogue, and believe me it’s on the horizon as the next wave of thinking regarding the Great Commission.

I tell students to 1) determine what their created gifting is 2) then determine how they need to refine that gifting whether college, tech school, working or apprenticing 3) then think about where they can apply that skill globally as an employee or employer 4) then take that domain back from the kingdom of darkness through the good news of the kingdom and pray for the kingdom to come and Father’s will to be done there as it is in heaven 5) and make disciples and plant churches.

This is the future of the church in doing great commission work. Christian schools (primary, secondary and colleges), churches, etc. better start figuring this out and making training affordable and not handicapping it’s students with frills on campus rather than actual training in engaging domains.

Parents and students better start asking the right questions. The question is not “where do I want to go to college?” The questions are “what is my gifting?”, “where can I fully and efficiently train my gifting?”, and “where can I begin to engage my domain for Jesus’ kingdom?”. Too many kids are getting strapped with debt with a worthless degree that over-educates them and under qualifies them. Too many kids are spending money simply because they have it rather than choosing the best fit to hone their gifting for kingdom purposes. More is not necessarily better or even right.

My wife, a guidance counselor, has been beating this drum for a couple of years and catches more crap from “Christians” for thinking efficiently and “Christianly” about engaging domains with the gospel than she ought to. It’s time for Christians to shift their thinking. Stop assuming (you know what happens when we assume).

Dear Christian, think about engaging domains not about sending the professionals. We may just multiply the Great Commission sending and do it more cost effectively.

Go read “Glocalization” by Bob Roberts, Jr. Bob said, as of Monday, there are not many left. It is published by Zondervan.