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Friday, July 14, 2017

The Last Brick – Part 4 (Firewall cont.)

The last imperative in 2 Timothy 4:5 is “fulfill.”  Paul commands his apprentice to “fulfill your ministry.”  Like many of Paul’s sentences, the word order in the original is emphatic placing the imperative at the end and the object first.  So literally, “the service (ministry) of you fulfill.”
The Last Brick – Part 4 (Firewall cont.)

Why would Paul stress this to his protégé?

If you read ahead in 2 Timothy 4:6 – 18, you will note that people left the ministry and deserted Paul in his time of need.  The implications are that though Paul finishes well, 2 Timothy 4:7, there are many who do not.  One of my friends points out that we find many in their 20’s and 30’s on fire for the Lord, but, he observes, there are few in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s that do more than slide for home.

Paul wants Timothy to complete (the root of the word here translated fulfill) fully the assignment that the Lord has given him.

This last imperative is particularly important for all of us.  2 Peter 5:8 reminds us that we have a faithful, intentional, murderous enemy.  Success, completion, fulfillment in and of our Christian life and ministry to others is under constant attack.  This stark reminder by the apostle coupled with the similar warning by Peter in 2 Peter 3:17, should serve to keep us diligent to continually rely and depend on the Lord to finish this race.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Last Brick – Part 3 (Firewall cont.)

The third command for Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5 is “do the work of an evangelist.”
The Last Brick – Part 3 (Firewall cont.)

Consider that for a moment.  I have heard many times that some people have the gift of evangelism.  I have heard some pastors tell their congregations that evangelism is getting people to come listen to the pastor share the gospel.

I cannot find evangelism on any of the lists of spiritual gifts.  That is on any of the lists in the Bible.  I am sure I have seen it on lists that man has produced.  Paul does not mention it as a gift in any of his lists, Romans 12:3 – 8, 1 Corinthians 12:4 – 11, or Ephesians 4:11 – 16.

He just tells his key man to do the work.  Share the gospel.  It is not a gift.  It is a command.

Making disciples is not a gift either.  In Matthew 28:18 – 20, make disciples is the main verb and it is imperative.  Christ commanded us to make disciples.  Part of that process is to share the gospel.

It is not a gift.

It is a command.  A command that has been given to all of us who have trusted in Him.

You may say that you don’t know how.  You may say that you don’t know what to say.  May I suggest you read John 9 and Acts 26.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Last Brick – Part 2 (Firewall cont.)

The second command that Paul gives his protégé in 2 Timothy 4:5 is “endure hardship”.  This specific word, κακοπαθέω (kakopatheō) shows up only 3 times in the New Testament, and once in the Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint:
The Last Brick – Part 2 (Firewall cont.)

Verse Translation
2 Timothy 2:9 suffer hardship
2 Timothy 4:5 endure hardship
James 5:13 is suffering
Jonah 4:10 you did work (negated by the Greek word for “not” so it reads “you did not work”)

However, there are other instances of a compound word συγκακοπαθέω (synkakopatheō) that appears twice more in 2 Timothy, the only occurrences of the word in the New Testament:

Verse Translation
2 Timothy 1:8 join with me in suffering
2 Timothy 2:3 suffer hardship with

2 Timothy 1:8; 2:3; and 4:5 are all commands, imperatives.

So what?

There is a thread here throughout Paul’s letter to his disciple.  Paul is calling Timothy to work hard at the task of entrusting the truth of the gospel to those to whom he has been sent to serve.  This command is repeated three times in 83 verses.  One could get the impression that Paul is serious.

But doesn’t this only apply to Timothy?  Or shouldn’t it only apply to those who are in leadership in our communities of faith?  Is it not our pastor’s job to work that hard in and for the gospel?

Perhaps.  But, consider:
  • Matthew 6:33
  • Matthew 28:18 – 20
  • John 13:15
  • Philippians 3:17
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:7
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 9
  • 1 Timothy 1:16; 4:12
  • Titus 2:7
  • James 5:10
  • 1 Peter 2:6
It seems like the expectation of the New Testament is that all believers are subject to that imperative, does it not.

Why then, do you think, many do not seem to do so?