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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?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Last Brick - Part 1 (Firewall cont.)

The third and last command Paul gives his protégé is in 2 Timothy 4:5.  There are four elements, four imperatives, four commands:
  • Be sober in all things
  • Endure Hardship
  • Do the work of an evangelist
  • Fulfill your ministry
The Last Brick - Part 1 (Firewall cont.)
The first, “be sober,” is strong.  The word appears only six times in the New Testament, of those six three are imperative: 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 4:7; and 1 Peter 5:8.  If we consider those passages in context, we see that the Spirit used the term in the imperative in the face of evil and false teachers (2 Timothy 4:5), the need to pray based on the reality of the ending of this world (1 Peter 4:7), and a solemn reminder that we are continually under attack by the enemy of our Lord (1 Peter 5:8).

In this passage, by starting with this imperative, Paul is adding enormous weight to his charge to Timothy.  This is not a casual assignment.  It is not optional.  It is deadly serious.  It is not one of several things in which we dabble; it is central to our life and calling in the Lord.

Many believers tend to delegate.  It is fine to delegate.  It is an essential business practice.  It is an incredibly important tool in the training of men and women in all walks of life.  However, there are some things that we cannot, or better, should not delegate.  Primary on that list is our walk with God.  We cannot live the Christian life by proxy.  We cannot know God through other’s study.  It is not OK to have several degrees of separation between us and our Savior.

Paul’s commands to Timothy are commands to us.  These are not marching orders for “professional Christians”.  We are called to be sober, serious, centered in our lives and relationship with Christ.  It is not ok for us to delegate that relationship to others.

The word accountability is much overused in the Body.  If you do a word search in your Bible app on your device or look in a concordance, you find that we are accountable to God, not each other.  In this matter, the word applies.  We are accountable to the Creator of the universe, the One who sent His Son to die in our place, the One who called us to Himself and gave us life and gifts for His purposes to be sober, serious about our relationship to Him and the work for which He designed us.