Sunday, July 14, 2013
BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday July 14, 2013
BE PERSISTENT TO THE END
(Finishing well as a Christian)
2 Timothy 4
In 2 Timothy 4:2, as it is expressed in the original Greek, the word Paul uses for “longsuffering” (KJV) is “makrothumia” (mak-roth-oo-mee-ah). It describes a spirit that never grows irritated, never despairs, and never regards anyone as being beyond salvation. Here, in this passage (2 Timothy 4:1-8), Paul is seeking to encourage young Timothy to keep himself equipped to live out his faith, in a world where he will be perpetually surrounded by faithless people. Such people will have no intentions of seeking GOD, and, are much less intent on following GOD’s prescription on how to live this human life here on earth.
In this passage, Paul also gives Timothy further charge that he preach the word of GOD, and be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not. A good teacher cannot afford to be afraid or timid in his speaking to others about the Word of GOD. He urges him to “rebuke”, as well as, “encourage” people with good teaching. And, even though he will be faced with increasing hostility to “sound doctrine”, and the time may often seem inopportune, he must still continue to do the work of a GODly evangelist by holding fast to the doctrine of CHRIST.
Paul says that a good teacher must have a sense of urgency about them, and be able to convict and make a person aware of where they are going wrong in their lives, according to the Word of GOD. The time is coming, and indeed is already here, when people will no longer listen to “right teaching”, but rather, will follow their own wishes and desires. They will even seek out teachers who will tell them what they want to hear, and they will reject the truth of the Holy Bible, and instead, follow strange myths and doctrines that agree more readily with their chosen lifestyles (Vs.3-4). But still, the good teacher must stick to his guns, keep a clear mind, and not be afraid of suffering for righteousness sake. Our mission, as workers in the body of CHRIST, is to help bring others to CHRIST, and to complete the work that GOD has given us to do (v.5).
In verse 7 we find Paul’s, now famous, “declaration of self-satisfaction”, where he states, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (KJV). The “true Christian” should rightly have only one “true ambition”, and that ambition is to be useful to the Christian Church, and thereby, be useful to the society in which he or she lives. The only way that one can carry out, and satisfy that ambition is by equipping themselves with the Word, and the ways, of the ONLY WISE GOD. We, as Christians, should always aspire to stay within the service of GOD, while leading our fellowman also, into the service of GOD.
Paul knew that there awaited him from GOD, a crown, that would never fade away. He knew that in a very short while he would have to stand before the judgment seat of the Emperor Nero, and, he had a pretty good idea of what Nero’s verdict would likely be. However, on the other hand, because he had done “GOD’s work” according to “GOD’s rules”, he also knew just what “GOD’s verdict” would surely be. He knew that, more importantly, in the end, GOD’s verdict would be the only verdict that really mattered.
According to Jewish tradition, Paul was sentenced to death, and was beheaded, by order of the Emperor Nero near the end of his reign in Rome. He was condemned by the emperor simply because of the Christian work that he had done within the Roman Empire. Ironically, after all was said and done, Paul was eternally crowned by GOD, for precisely the same reason.
When we choose the “Christian Walk”, we automatically have to become strangers to “Worldly Behavior”. We are no longer considered by GOD to be just “residents of this earth”, but rather, we become “citizens of Heaven, and therefore, the Laws of GOD must become paramount to us. An experiential relationship with GOD is a Christian’s greatest asset, and the person who loses his or her heart to the things of this world is the person most vulnerable to satan.
The end of all things is near, for each of us, personally. For, that is the warning in the messages that the Old Testament prophets, and New Testament writers and thinkers, all leave us with. And those warnings are just as valid today as they ever were. If we really long for JESUS’ return, we can’t afford to become too concerned about the temporal things of this world. We must keep our focus on CHRIST, the LIVING SAVIOR of those who choose to come out of the world, and be governed by GOD in earnest. This focus will help us to fulfill our promise to JESUS, and, HIS charge to us, that we live for HIM, because HE died for us. And no matter what happens to us in this world, as we perform the “Great Commission of CHRIST”, it will not threaten, affect, nor change, our ultimate security in Heaven.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website