Thursday, April 26, 2012

2 Timothy 3:10-17

10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

“Doctrine” Paul begins with doctrine. For nothing but sound doctrine can bring both eternal salvation and build up a regenerated person into Christ likeness. The Apostle Paul fought this war on two primary fronts. First with those Jews, as he was Jewish, who though turning to God through Jesus Christ, wanted a return to the Law’s observance for a ongoing right standing before God. Acts chapter fifteen describes the first church council, which was born out of the Apostle Paul and Barnabas’ adamant opposition to all such notions (Acts 15:1-5). There all the Apostles, and church elders universally concluded that all such notions were now impossible. Faith in Jesus Christ alone is the sole means to having a right standing with God, for both Jews and Gentiles alike (Rom. 5:1). As the Apostle Peter declared in his siding with Paul's defense of the grace of God being extended to the Gentiles, just as for the Jews: "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they." Acts 15:11 Therefore having rendered a Spirit guided decision for the grace of God, given freely to all mankind, by faith in Jesus Christ. They commanded that Jesus Christ alone be preached, not Moses, not the Law, but the Lord Jesus Christ crucified and risen deom the dead and ones faith in Him as the sole means for anyone and everyone's redemption from sin and death (John 1:17; 3:16; Acts 15:21). And thus not the doctrines, commandments and traditions of men, who by keeping and commanding them only worship God in vain (Matt 15:1-9; Col 2:20-22; 1 Tim 4:1-3). As Jesus warns us about, both then and now (Matt 16:12).
So then having done so, they then charge the Apostle’s Paul and Barnabas with delivering their decree, the one and only church decree sanctioned by them in the Scriptures, (and thus the one and only church decree incumbent upon us all who believe), to all the churches everywhere. And by doing so effectively ending all justification for preaching a works based salvation; which only those who by crafty reasoning's were doing, compelling the Gentiles who were turning to God through faith in Jesus Christ, to be circumcised and put under the law (Acts 15:22-35; Eph 4:14). Later this crucial step for grace evolved into the Apostle Paul’s own Holy Spirit Inspired epistles which we now read and are to obey in the N.T. which wisely and skillfully reason about this, as well as instructing on the transforming Power and Nature of saving faith in Jesus Christ and the sound conduct born out of Holy Spirit regeneration and love, not the Law. Both Romans and Galatians are of this genius. While Ephesians which is equally impressive in its depth; also brings to light God’s Sovereign Purposes, Power and Work in salvation in uniting Jews and Gentiles, by faith in Jesus Christ, who is the Chief Cornerstone upon which we both are being built together into a Holy Temple (i.e. a universal church body) for a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:20-22). Therefore whenever someone compels you to do anything more than believe in the Lord Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead to have remission of all your sins and eternal life turn away from them, for they are not preaching God's gospel of grace given to all by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ but something else (Gal. 1:6-10; 2:16, 19-21 etc.).

The other major front that the Apostle Paul fought doctrinal war on would be against a pseudo “spirituality” which again was all too frequently forwarded by false teachers, false prophets, and or false apostle’s (2 Cor. 11:3-4 NKJ; Gal. 1:6-9). Now the Apostle Paul clearly warns that Satan's emissaries will, and do transform themselves into ministers of light (2 Cor 11:12-15), who as Jesus clearly warns will be known by their fruits (Matt 7:15-20, also consider Rom 16:17-18; Phil 3:18-19; 1 Tim 6:5; 2 Peter 2:1; Rev 2:2 etc.). Now the N.T. gives us extensive knowledge and insights into their manner of person and their ways, as well as some of he lying errors that they will or have expounded (everything from denying the Lord Jesus Christ's Person as being both Perfect God and Perfect Man (1 John ) who alone brings all the fullness of God in the Spirit into all those who believe in Him, the moment they believe, and thus we lack nothing Spiritually; neither gift, nor standing with God, nor anything else, the moment we believe in Jesus (consider Col 2:8-10). For when anyone comes to faith in Jesus Christ the Lord, He is all sufficient for every believer’s salvation, as well as our sanctification. Therefore when one believes in Jesus they are absolutely complete in Him, perfect in sight of God, lacking nothing to be forgiven or accepted by Him (Heb 10:14). That's one way by which you will know them. For they always tell you that you need to have some spiritual gift, or "spiritual" experiance, or to observe something other than faith alone in Jesus Christ to have the fullness of God in your life, or worse eternal life, which again is a gift, not reward. And thus they frequently impose all kinds of restrictions on would be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pursuing all kinds of false "spirituality" or heaping up all kinds of "religious" ordinances on themselves and others as if by keeping these one becomes, or is being sanctified. Now some of these are born out of doctrines of men, and continue to be so, what we often call legalism, but others are clearly stated as being demonic in origins (1 Gal 4:9-11; Col 2:20-22; 1 Tim 4:3). All of which is only to worship God in vain if one thinks that by keeping those things they will find acceptance from God through them (Isaiah 29:13; Matt 15:9; Titus 1:14). For to try to earn salvation, whether through God's Law, or man's self imposed "religious" ordinances is only to come under the curse of the Law, and ultimately the judgment of God (Lev 18:5; Gal 3:10-13; James 2:10). For again to not enter Jesus Christ' refreshing and rest by believing in Him, and thus not trusting God's Finished work done exclusively for us all through Jesus Christ's crucifixion, resurrection and ascension is only to come under the wrath and finial judgment of God for rejecting His salvation plan for us all, whether one is a Jew or Gentile (Rom 4:4-5; Heb. 4).
Another major front of this pseudo “spirituality” would be not discerning as to what was of the Spirit of God and what was not. Now in this there was then, as there is today, a pseudo tongues speaking; which some of the Corinthians apparently carried over from their pagan practices. Which was not Biblical tongues speaking, as is clear by it's manifestation through some amongst them who said that Jesus was accursed while under it's influence (1 Cor 12:1-2). Now this problem has not ceased with them, as down through the centuries, at various times, demonic spiritual manifestations through people have been wrongly attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit of God. The Lord Jesus also warned that as the end draws near there will be those who will falsely declare His manifestation, while others will show lying signs and wonders to deceive if possible even the elect (Matt 24:23-24). Now in regards to the Lord Jesus Christ's coming again it will not be to anyone one person, but to the unbelieving and unrepentant world after He has gathered the remaining elect from amongst them to Himself, before He makes war on the Satanic beast and those who received the Mark of the beast (Matt 23:30-31; Rev 1:7; 19:11-21, also consider 1 Thess 4:15-18; 1 Thess 5:1-3; Rev 16:15 etc.). Therefore beware of anyone who claims to have seen visions of Jesus; for Jesus will not come again, having manifested Himself after His ascension lastly to the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 15:3-8) until the Day of the Lord. Therefore these occurrences are not Theophanies as happened in the Old Testament era, but are manifestations of deceiving spirit's or Satan himself impersonating Christ (2 Cor. 11:13-15 NKJV).
And so in regards to tongues speaking how you can tell is quite simply as the Apostle Paul said; that no one speaking by the Holy Spirit will say that Jesus is accursed, and no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. Therefore when something is claimed to be of the Spirit of God if it violates the fruits of the Spirit (see Gal 5:22-23) then it is definitely not of the Spirit of God. So called being slain in "spirit" and falling down or exemplifying bizarre shakes; twitches; sounds or anything else that is not exemplifying self control over ones own faculties is not of Spirit of God. "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints."1 Cor 14.33
Now Biblical tongues speaking was important and was done and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God, which served as an initial witness for Jesus Christ. To first the Jews in their own languages, who had assembled at Pentecost in Jerusalem from all over the known world (Acts 2); as the Scriptures foretell of God speaking to all His people in other tongues (i.e. languages); yet for all that they would refuse His call to enter His rest in Christ (Isaiah 28:11-12; 1 Cor 14:21; Heb 4:9-10). Then as a viable means of communicating encouraging Words from God to believers that were to be interpreted by those then equipped with the Spirit gift of interpretation. As well there was never to be more than two or three exercising this tongues speaking gift, and only one at a time. Otherwise they were to be spoken silently between oneself and God (1 Cor 14:27-28). Now it is also important to note that Holy Spirit tongues speaking is listed as last of all the Spirit given gifts (1 Cor 12:28-30) and thus we are never Scripturally encouraged or commanded to pursue these, rather love, and only to desire the better Spirit gifts with an emphasis placed on prophecy, not tongues speaking, (the reasons being laid out in 1 Cor 14:2-25). Now these things occurred when the early church and gospel message was in its infancy and Scriptural Revelation was not yet complete, and the new born church being made up of Jews was still being enlightened about God's all encompassing redemption plans, which included both Samaritans (who also initially spoke in tongues languages when they believed; as did the Gentiles, which caused the early church to receive them as well). However when these things became clearly understood; though signs continued for a season, there importance dissipated as faith in the reality of the crucified and Resurrected Person of Jesus Christ became the all important reality, as the Apostle Paul makes clear (1 Cor 1:17-25). For that is the sole means by which one receives the Holy Spirit of God and thus becomes born-again, regenerated and indwelt with the Person of Jesus Christ (John 3:3-5; Gal. 2:20; 3:2-3; Eph 1:13-14; Titus 3:4-7). Therefore since Scriptural Revelation is now complete, needing neither witness, nor prophetic verification, it is the written word of God; the complete and finial Revelation of God that we as individual believers and church assemblies are charged with believing, obeying and proclaiming. Thus we are not charged with trying to manifest anything other than love of God as being truly Spiritual and mature for ever believer In Christ (John 13:35; 1 Cor 13).

One other point on this pseudo spirituality which came and still comes all kinds of different and strange teachings (Heb 12:14) some of which was carried over from Jewish genealogies and or non-Scriptural speculations on variety of matters (1 Tim 1:4). As well as various fables born out of the Gentile's previous religious and or cultural practices; including such things as worship of angels (Col 2:18).  Now Hebrews chapter one addresses the error of exalting of angels, or anything, or one else above the Exalted Lord Jesus Christ. Though today it's not just angels, but more often "saints" made and canonized by the traditions of men through Catholicism that many there look too and pray to rather than directly to God by Christ. Nonetheless in light of the Revelation now given the church throughout the N.T. Scriptures, all such practices are gravely inexcusable (consider Rev. 19:10). Another area of concern that comes to mind is what was born out of the reformation and since. Whose founders and or their early followers, often became the founders of several denominations who intentionally separated from the greater universal Christian community to form their own communities. Whose adherents  often act and hold to them, and belonging to them, and or their denominational distinctiveness and doctrinal decrees, as though these are valid reasons for separation, and on par with Jesus Christ's and the Biblical Apostles doctrines and commandments! Now the reformation was necessary to expose the institutional corruption, greed and sin that was enslaving much of Europe at that time. As well as bringing about Scriptural truth and light again to common people after almost a millennial of institutionalized darkness. However with the reformation came it's own evils and injustices which caused some reformers to separate from others during those redefining and turbulent times. Nonetheless the New Covenant church community is not to be built upon them, by adhering to them, or finding unity or community through them; but on the Lord Jesus Christ period. And thus keeping Jesus' at the forefront with no one else before Him, or even alongside of Him, by which one would also name themselves is what we are clearly commanded to do (1 Cor. 1:10-13). For it is the Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified for us all, and thus God commands us all to keep and teach His and the His Biblical Apostles commandments, decrees and doctrines, not theirs (Matt 17:5). For as we find salvation in Jesus Christ alone, so we are to find unity in Jesus Christ alone (Col 1:18). Therefore not denominations, not movements, not revivals, not ministers or ministries, not even Bible translations, but Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead.

“Manner of life”, Notice Paul does not say, "manner of worship", (eg. hands raised or kept by ones side) or "manner of dress" as if the clothes make the man or women Godly (they may reflect this, or they may as in case of Pharisees only conceal an inner wickedness and spiritual death, see Matt 23:25-28). No, the Apostle Paul is not saying that we emulate the superficial, as if by doing so we are emulating what is holy, just and right. The Apostle Paul is quite specific in saying for us all to emulate his manner of life. A life which was lived for, and modeled after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christs. In his epistle to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul twice exhorts all believers, everywhere to: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” 1 Cor 11:1 (Also see 4:15-17). Therefore whether in the home, or in the church, we are to strive to emulate Jesus Christ in our own lives. Now this is given for us to be observed through our own unique persons and personality's. For you and I are unique individuals; created so by God. And so God does not command that we forfeit our unique personality's, smiles, laughter, life's histories, and or various and diverse personal likes, dislikes and interests etc., when come to faith in Jesus Christ. Similarly there is nothing stated about ones "manner of salvation"; that is how Paul, or anyone else came to believe in Jesus Christ the Lord. Therefore don't let anyone dictate a "formula" to you, that you or others must emulate in order to be saved. For their are no formula's in the N.T. There is only examples of repentance and faith; of people who saw there need, turned to God and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus received life everlasting, simply by their faith in Him.
Again the issue is manner of life, Christ's life, whose Person and Life is within us all who believe. And so we are to emulate His life, as He lived it on earth, (or as Paul is saying here of himself to Timothy, anyone who is a Godly example of it). And thus how He dealt with people in their various life's circumstances, would be a good place to start. Though that is just one aspect (and an important one). There are many other aspects of living out the life of Christ: prayer and service, forgiveness and intercession; even rebuking in love when necessary; as we all need correction at various times in our lives; but ultimately all in the hope of living more like Christ or bringing Christ's Life, and thus the gospel to light, to those whom we come into contact with. Now this we do when we keep His commandments. Which if thought about is not so much restricting us, but is truly liberating our new nature, and thus His life within us, when we put the old nature and it's sinful attitudes and behaviors to rest. For it is incumbent upon us all to not only disciple others by sound doctrine, but also to exemplify it in our lives. For just as hearing and not doing is folly, so is teaching and not doing (James 1:22-27; 3:1). Therefore Godly leaders must seek to set a Christ like example for others to emulate as the word the Apostle Paul uses here implies, “follow my lead.” Suffice it to say that the Apostle Paul wrote to Titus the perfect summary of following Jesus Christ when he wrote: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.” Titus 2:11-15

Purpose: If the Christian life is anything it is purposeful. For it has its origins in God. The word the Apostle Paul uses here is the same word he used in 1:9 which states of God: "who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began" 2 Tim 1:9 There is then nothing accidental about God’s redemptive plans for each one of us. Yet each individual must make their own choice for Jesus Christ and His gospel, for that is the sole measure of the people of God, and how one enters into God’s purposes for them. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13 Now this words origin comes to us from the Old Covenant Show Bread. That is the twelve unleavened loaves of bread sprinkled with frankincense and placed in two rows; six loafs in a row every Sabbath on the golden table in the front portion of the Tabernacle’s entrance; and later the Temple’s Sanctuary (Lev. 24:5-9). These twelve loaves symbolized the twelve tribes of Israel and God’s perpetual covenant with them.

Faith: The word here encompasses what it means to believe or trust in God through Jesus Christ. Which is not a mental acknowledgement of God and His Person or Sovereignty etc., But a complete trust in Him by always looking to Jesus Christ as Lord, crucified and raised from the dead as the sole means of our being reconciled back to God. And thus in obedient faith we seek to do His will, since He is the Author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). Consider the Apostle Paul though having an incredible personal history, after coming to faith in Jesus Christ never looked back to his own pedigree, personal achievements, works or righteousness, for a just standing before God. Instead he counted all things that were credit to him as rubbish (the word he actually uses is far more graphic), that he might gain Christ (Phil. 3:4-9-10). For more often than not it is the pride of man, ones self-sufficiency, that keeps them alienated from God and His grace (consider Psalm 138:6; James 4:8-10).
Therefore if you’re walking in faith with the Lord Jesus Christ you’re not holding to your own works, righteousness, or anything else for your salvation. Rather Jesus Christ crucified and Risen from the dead; ascended back to the Father; seated on His heavenly Throne who justifies the ungodly; (of which we all were when we were dead in our sins and trespasses); who trust in Him (Luke 18:9-14; Rom. 3:19-28, 4:4-5, 5:1, 11:6; Gal. 2:16, 19-21).
Now faith here, as the Apostle Paul is using it in this context, specifically means trusting God in all of one’s life's circumstances (Gen. 15:6; Prov. 3:5-6; Heb 11). For it is by faith in God through Jesus Christ which not only unlocks the promises of God into one’s life, beginning with salvation. It is the sole means by which the Christian life is to be lived. For having been liberated from sin, death and Law we are to live lives of faith. “For we walk by faith and not by sight” 2 Cor 5:7 Therefore where faith is found, even mustard seed faith, there is unlimited potential for God to work (Mark 11:22-24). Faith then is what links us to the Person and Power of God (Heb 11:6). “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:4-5 And so it is through faith that God’s love enters into us, and is revealed through us. Therefore faith is not devoid of works, rather faith working through love is the sole means by which everlasting works are done (1 Cor. 13; Gal. 5:6).

Longsuffering: The word used here is the same word used in the Fruits of the Spirit given to everyone who believes, and is often translated patience there (Gal. 5:22-23).
Now in many other contexts longsuffering is the prolonged restraint of wrath, and or foregoing judgment, and or patiently enduring. The model of this is God Himself who is longsuffering towards all of humanity in the hope of people’s repentance (Rom. 2:4; 9:22; 2 Peter 3:9). Therefore the longsuffering of our Lord Jesus Christ is for salvation (2 Peter 3:15). So then this attitude of forbearance is to be a way of life for all of us who have come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 6:6). For it is a mark of genuine Christianity and a tangible expression of the grace of God when men and women forgo their wrath and instead reach for reconciliation and peace, rather then judgment (Matt. 18:21-35).
In this the Apostle Paul wrote in his first epistle to Timothy saying that it was for this reason that Jesus Christ came into world to save sinners of whom he described himself as being chief. Yet it was through Christ’s unending patience with Paul in showing Him mercy, even after all he had done, yet ignorantly in unbelief, that through him first, as Paul came to understand “…Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” 1 Tim 1:16 Therefore if we are going to emulate Jesus' manner of life, we are going to have to learn to exemplify this same spirit of longsuffering or patience, in all wisdom and prudence towards all. Which does not mean we forgo our responsibilities when necessary, to rebuke, convince, exhort etc. It simply governs them (2 Tim. 4:2). Since we have not only been shown all manner of longsuffering by God when we were separated from Him; but we are being shown it, as He continues to patiently endure with us in our circumstances, but also as He continually transforms our person and character. 

Therefore we are to be longsuffering towards all in our lives and churches (Eph. 4:1-2; Col. 3:12). And so in the context of bearing injustices and personal injuries we are commanded to be patient until the coming of the Lord. Four times in three verses the Apostle James uses this word to exhort us to be patient, saying: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” James 5:7-11 

Love: To follow Jesus Christ in discipleship, above all else, is to walk in love. 8 “…For he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Rom 13:8-10 Therefore walking in love is not only being true to whom God is (1 John 4:8), but also is true of all those who know Him (1 John 4:16). And thus love moves well beyond just keeping the moral constraints of the Law (which one can do and still hate or harm another. Indeed there are those who in having kept the moral restraints of the Law thinks this gives them a leg up on everyone else. Nonetheless Jesus' parable of the prodigal son exposes that error). Therefore love puts God's commands into a context of actively seeking anthers well being (Matt 5:43-48). For Jesus commands that we as His disciples not only love one another as He has loved us (John 13:35; 15:12). But also that we abide in His love; since He is the source of our love; and this we do by keeping His commandments (John 15:9). For to follow Jesus Christ in discipleship is not about exercising spiritual gifts and authority, (thus it is not about seeking an experience, or holding a church office). Nor is it an intellectual pursuit of acquiring knowledge and wisdom as one who would pursue a philosophy. Neither is it summed up by radical giving or sacrificial living (as if by one's own works and efforts they become accepted by God and thus a Christian). Christian discipleship is when these are rightly understood and done, to be either expressions of faith, and or moves of love. For love is the reason for, and finial destination of God’s salvation, and thus our discipleship with Him (John 3:16; 1 Cor. 13). Therefore the Apostle Paul’s first and foremost desire for us all is:  “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph 3:17-19 
For when that happens, when people begin to grasp the love God personally has for them; both individually and collectively, then they themselves are not only radically transformed by the Holy Spirit. But we become radical agents for His transforming power through the gospel. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16

Perseverance: The word-translated perseverance here shares qualities with the word translated longsuffering, with nuisances of both words crossing paths frequently. However the word used here differs in that it is not just patience exemplified, they’re often of wrath restrained, but here of an inner resolve, of bearing up long while under great pressure. Thus it carries with it the quality of enduring. This though is not a passive acquiesce to ones circumstances. Rather it is an active and dynamic steadfastness to carry on a set course of action in spirit of ones circumstances. For the Christian, a Godly way of living and witness for Jesus Christ; even in the face of crippling circumstances, or overwhelming opposition (2 Thess. 1:4). In Romans chapter two this word is used in the context of genuine faith that embraces God’s call to repentance and then seeks to live it out. Since God in His righteous judgment “…will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Rom 2:6-10 Now at the heart of this is knowing Jesus Christ personally then knowing ones secure place with Him. That is the unbreakable and unalterable covenant with God through Jesus Christ the Lord that each believer has. Knowing that because of Christ’s crucifixion all alienation for the believer has ended. The Holy Spirit has not only sealed us forever (Eph. 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5). But is also sustaining and changing us through whatever tribulations, (Rom. 12:12), persecutions (2 Tim. 2:10, 12), hostility (Matt. 10:22; Heb. 12:1-3), temptations (1 Cor. 10:13), trials (James 1:2-4), even God’s chastisement; as He corrects us and or removes sin from us (Heb. 12:7); that we must pass through in this life. All which is apart of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Therefore it is said in the context of being justified by faith in Jesus Christ, by which we enter into God’s grace, and by which we stand that we not only rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:1-2). But we also glory in our tribulations, “…knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Rom 5:4-5 Therefore this quality of perseverance is not only something we must exemplify in our lives (1 Thess. 1:3-4) and thus we are commanded to pursue it as a Godly virtue (1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Peter 1:6). But is something God Himself is working in us through the circumstances of our lives. For the Christian life is not a sprint of joy to a quick and immediate finish line; it is a marathon of hope with various ups and downs along the way. Therefore we who believe in Jesus must follow like those who came before us, who through faith and patience inherit God’s promises (Heb. 6:12). Just as Abraham who first believed, after he patiently endured, attained God’s promise (Heb. 6:15). So we are commended to this journey of patient faith as well. Since salvation of our souls comes in an instant (Eph 1:13-14). But the fulfillment of it all, will not be fully realized until we are home with Christ, or He returns and establishes His Kingdom.

Therefore in the gospels this word is first used by the Lord Jesus to convey the importance of persevering with Him. In essence of patiently enduring all things while serving Him and waiting for His finial redemption, which is a theme throughout the N.T. (Rom. 8:24; Rev. 2:3; 14:12 etc.). Therefore the Lord Jesus commands endurance of faith from all His follower’s, not just profession, both as a means to fruitfulness (Luke 8:15) but also as a measure of true discipleship (Matt. 24:13; Mark 13:13; Luke 21:19). In this the Apostle Paul encouraged the churches by saying: 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” 1 Thess. 1:3-4 These three attributes then: work of faith (James 2:14-26), labor of love (Heb. 6:10-12) and patience of hope (Rom. 5:4-5) encompass genuine faith and thus we find them exhorted by the Apostle Paul to us all.
Now the Lord Jesus Christ also exhorted patience to us when He initiated, then answered the disciples threefold question about when the Temple would be destroyed; what would be the sign of His coming; and when the end would be (Matt. 24:1-3). Without digressing into the many details of His message. Jesus said before His coming again there would be many signs that would precede Him, then He said: And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Matt 24:12-12  Now Jesus states endurance as something those who believe in Him and thus are saved by the grace of God (Luke 8:12) and hence are sealed with the Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39; Eph. 1:13-14) must do. Four times in (Rev. 2:2, 2:3, 2:19; 3:10) the Spirit in His address to the churches exhorts us to persevere, looking to finial consummation of all things, saying: 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ Rev 3:10-13 

Therefore perseverance of faith and love towards the Lord Jesus Christ and or the individual believer or collective assembly is essential (Heb. 10:32-39). As these will wane near the end, as lawlessness abounds, the love of many will grow cold. For it is when sin is permitted and or justified, and thus not repented of, which ruins ones love for Christ, and effectiveness for His Kingdom purposes. Not that believers never sin and stumble, (1 John 1:8-9). For nobody attains to sinlessness in this life (Phil. 3:12). But we must in accord with the sanctifying work of the Spirit confess and lay these aside. As the prophet Daniel says of believers: “And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.” Daniel 11:35 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Heb 12:1-3

Having concluded his list on things to follow with an exhortation to perseverance. The Apostle Paul now lists three places where he suffered severe persecutions and afflictions for Christ (vs.11). Now all these places the Apostle visited on his first missionary journey. Some of course he visited again. But it was while on his first missionary journey that Paul developed, and or got a taste of what it means to have perseverance for Christ. The first was at Antioch in Pisidia; to be distinguished from Antioch the capital of Syria, where believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). Antioch of Pisidia was where the Apostle Paul came to on his first missionary journey after setting sail from Pergma in Pamphylia with Barnabas. John Mark for an unstated reason having departed from them. And so Paul and Barnabas went on without him to Antioch of Pisidia where a large Jewish population dwelt and where there was a synagogue. And so it was that on the Sabbath, they were sitting there in the synagogue, and after the reading of the Law and Prophets that "...the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. 16 Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen..." (Acts 13:15-16)  And with that the Apostle Paul began by giving an historic recounting of Israel's past, leading up to John the baptist and then Jews and their elders rejecting and crucifying Jesus Christ at Jerusalem, and thus his preaching the gospel to them all. Now both Jews and proselyte Gentiles heard Paul preach that day and many believed. But it was the Gentiles who were particularly moved by the gospel of God, begging that the grace of God be preached to them on the next Sabbath. And with that many Jews there being envious of Paul; and opposing the things he preached and taught went and stirred up the chief men and leading women of the city, to have the Apostle Paul and Silas expelled from the city (Read Acts 13:13-52).
Now were not told how the Jews who opposed the Apostle Paul stirred up the cities leading citizens to expel Paul and Barnabas; but I'm sure they must have said some pretty slanderous and evil things about them to have them forced to leave. And so having departed Paul and Barnabas then traveling east came to Iconium, the capital of ancient Lycanoia. Again they follow the same pattern at Iconium, and this time both preach the gospel in the cities synagogue and having done so a great multitude of both Jews and Gentiles believed (Acts 14:1). However once again unbelieving Jews stir up the Gentiles and poison their minds against Paul and Barnabas and those who believed. Nonetheless they remained, continued to speak boldly in the Lord's Name who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands (Acts 14:2-4). Now  the Book of Acts goes on to say that part the city was divided over them: part sided with the Jews who opposed Paul and Barnabas and part sided with the Apostles. " And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. 7 And they were preaching the gospel there." Acts 14:5-7
Now Lystra is the last city the Apostle Paul mentions here in his Epistle to Timothy (See Acts 14:8-20). There was no large scale Jewish contingent there, and thus no synagogue. So the Apostle Paul is preaching the gospel wherever he can; in the markets and on the streets. Now it is while doing so that a man who was a cripple from his birth heard the Apostle Paul speaking. And Paul seeing he had faith to believe told him with a loud voice to get up on his feet and walk, and the man did. Now when the multitudes saw what Paul did they began to cry out in the Lycaonian language and say that the "gods" had come down to them. With that the local priest of Zeus and others try to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas, and they seeing what was unfolding tear their clothes and run into the multitude crying out and say: ..."Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them. Acts 14:15-18
Now it will be as the Apostles are conducting evangelistic and mercy outreach there, that Jews will come from Antioch and Iconium; the two previous cities where Paul and Barnabas preached, and will come there to Lystra to oppose the Apostle Paul. And having persuaded the multitudes they stone Paul dragging him out of the city, supposing him to be dead (Acts 14:19). Nonetheless when the disciples gather around him, Paul rises up and returns to the city and the next day he departs to Derbe (Acts 14:20). Now the Apostle Paul here says that it was the Lord who delivered him out of all the persecutions and the things he suffered. And so it is with us. For truly if you follow Jesus Christ faithfully declaring the Word of His grace and living a life of grace and truth and doing good, you will have opposition to your doing so. For the Apostle Paul it was always the Jews; that this those who rejected Jesus Christ the Messiah and instead cling to Moses and the Law, and or the traditions of their forefathers (consider John 1:17). For believers today it very well may be that the children of Hagar, as the Apostle Paul came to define them, will put forth the strongest opposition to you, and or persecute you (See Gal 4:21-31). The insidious thing about them is that they disguise themselves as people of faith. But their so called "faith" is not in the Lord Jesus Christ, with obedience to His gospel, but in the traditions, doctrines and commandments of men, as if by doing so remission of their sins and eternal life is found in those things. And thus they are those who cling to a works based salvation, and do not receive God's grace and salvation found exclusively by faith In the Lord Jesus Christ alone (John 1:17; Rom 11:6). And thus they are like those Jews who opposed, troubled and persecuted the Apostle Paul for preaching Jesus Christ crucified as the sole means for all of mankind's reconciliation back to God.

Vs. 12 Having then told of his own sufferings for the gospel the Apostle Paul now says: "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Vs. 12 The emphasis being suffering persecution because one desires to live godly in Christ Jesus (consider 1 Peter 4:1-6; 4:12-19). For you cannot divorce one from the other. For if you believe in Jesus, than of course your going to be seeking to live godly, seeking to purify your life, just as He is pure (1 John 3:1-3). For it is a God given impulse or desire that He places within everyone who truly believes. And thus it's not something you can manufacture, it is something that happens within us, even the worst of sinners of which some us once were; when one comes to a genuine faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Now as you strive to live godly, know this for certain that you will suffer persecution. For Satan has no other agenda after your soul is saved, and thus your spirit sealed with the Holy Spirit because you believe in Jesus (Eph 1:13-14), than to try to make you fall into sin, so that he might ruin your witness and effectiveness for the Lord (Rev. 12:17). That's self evident to all who discerning. The other is that in seeking to live a godly life in a world dominated by sin and living under Satan's influence, and thus essentially living by it's own values and morals (which it changes according to it's own times and seasons). By your standing up for, and living by, God's absolute and unchanging moral standards in a desire to obey Jesus, you will have opposition and persecution for your doing so, sometimes unwittingly, but often intentionally. As the Book of Proverbs says: "An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, And he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked." Prov 29:27 Nonetheless take hope for all things that each and every believer endures for righteousness sake will be fully rewarded when the Lord Jesus establishes His everlasting Kingdom (Matt 5:10-12). In a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness will truly dwell (consider Isaiah 65:13-25; 66:22-24; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Rev. 21:1-8). And so until that day, or we go to be with Jesus waiting for that Day, we have an Everlasting Sovereign King and High Priest who though not currently ruling over the world that was created through Him, and for Him, still "steps into it's affairs", as He pleases, to assure that His plans and purposes for His people who obey Him are brought forth until that Day.

Vs. 13 "But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived."
In contrast to the godly who suffer for righteousness sake in every generation and culture. The Bible warns that as the end draws near evil men and imposter's will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Though one does not have to look far to see that verses reality playing out in the world both then and now as Jesus' parables also foretell of these things (Matt 13:24-30; 31-32; 36-43; 47-50). Therefore no this for certain that no one who has genuine faith in Jesus Christ as Lord will live wickedly or justify living ungodly lives. Neither than should anyone who loves Jesus use their faith in Him as means for personal or financial gain (consider 2 Cor. 2:17; Jude 3-19; 2 Peter 2:1-22 etc.). Nonetheless don't ever be so naive as to think the a church assembly is a haven or refuge from Satan or his own; or even his influence through unregenerate people that will be there. A church body is only as safe and secure from Satan and his influencing them, and those amongst them, as they submit too and obey Jesus Christ's Lordship, both individually and collectively for them. Following Scriptural commandments, decrees and guidelines both for personal living, and cooperate governance (consider James 4:7; 1 John 5:18).
Which leads us into verses 14-17 and the Apostle Paul's commending Timothy to continue on in the things which he learned and been assured of, knowing from whom he learned them (vs. 14). For Scripture itself verifies itself, as the truth's within it are played out over and over again in the world.
And thus knowing the Word of God inevitably strengthens ones faith in them, if ones eyes are open to see them. Similarly Timothy could be assured of what the Apostle was instructing him to do because of His Apostolic authority which Timothy saw verified time and again, and thus he had no need to doubt either the Apostle Paul or his Word. Therefore Timothy was not to be swayed or influenced by evil and or unbelieving people and the various influences in the world that knowingly or unknowingly contravene it. Therefore the Apostle Paul reminds Timothy that from his childhood he has known the Holy Scriptures which as the Apostle says "are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (vs. 15). For the entirety of the Scriptures from Genesis 1:1 to now the end of the Book of Revelations contain the mind and purposes of God. And thus if one knows Him by faith in Jesus, and knows them, they will be truly wise and understanding for salvation. The Apostle Paul then concludes by strengthening his exhortation by saying that: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Tim. 3:16-17

Therefore not just the Apostle Paul's Words were coming by Inspiration of God through the Holy Spirit but the entire cannon or Bible as it is now received and assembled is for our ongoing instruction and guidance and encouragement and exhortation and everything else we need until Jesus returns for His Bride the church, or we go home to be with Him, amen.

Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

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