Experience Pastor Barrett Berry and the Empowered Living Church anywhere
Welcome to the Empowered Living Church (The ELC). Today, we are celebrating our first church anniversary! Thank you for being a part of God's victory. We are in a three week series on Service is Building God's Kingdom. We have spent the next last weeks examining what it means to serve, lead, and build. Our objective is to save souls, make disciples, and build God's kingdom.
“Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Paul writes his final letter to his faithful companion Timothy. He ends by saying that his death is at hand, that he fought the good fight, that he finished the course, that he has kept the faith, and there is awaiting for him a crown of righteousness. 2 Timothy was the last of Paul's recorded writings and according tradition he was soon beheaded.
Who was Timothy?
Timothy was quite young when he first met the apostle Paul. His father was Greek, a gentile. His mother was Jewish, a Israelite. He encountered persecution, faced it and weathered it well. Timothy kept company behind bars with Paul. More than once he nearly died. He was a faithful courier for Paul. He served the church at Ephesus, in Asia Minor, where members were predominantly gentile. We can learn much from the young evangelist Timothy, a Greek to gentiles, a Jew to Jews.
Paul's second letter to Timothy was written while Paul was in prison. This is his second imprisonment in Rome, and he is under strict custody. There appears to be no hope of release, and it seems that his death is imminent. Paul in his old age longs for his young companion and coworker in the ministry of Christ, his friend Timothy.
Paul second imprisonment in Rome came during the persecution of the Emperor Nero, and this would place the date of the epistle to 2 Timothy to be around the beginning of 68 AD.
Who was Emperor Nero?
Nero was the fifth Emperor of Rome and lived about two decades after the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. According to historian Tacitus he was said to have seized Christians as scapegoats for the Great Fire of Rome and burned them alive, seemingly motivated not by public justice but by personal cruelty.
The historian Tacitus wrote: “Covered with the skins of beasts, [Christians] were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as nightly illumination when daylight had expired.”
Nero’s use of Christians as human torches to light his evening garden parties is well documented.
Paul ends his letter to Timothy with a statement that would powerfully speak to anyone suffering for the Lord,
"6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8 ).
Paul uses this occasion to write concerning those things that are most heavy on his heart related to Timothy's work. Paul writes to encourage Timothy:
1. To stand strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1)
2. To commit to others what Paul had taught him (2 Timothy 2:2, 14)
3. To preach the Word! (2 Timothy 4:1)
4. To endure hardship and afflictions (2 Timothy 2:3; 4:5)
5. To fulfill his ministry as an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5)
Lesson 1: Stay Ready
2 Timothy 4:1-2 ~ 1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
1 Peter 3:13-17 ~ 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats ; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Lesson 2: Stay Connected to the Truth
2 Timothy 4:3-4 ~ 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Truth is an universal topic that we all seek to know and understand. Throughout the Bible, the importance of speaking the truth is routinely emphasized in keeping a pristine relationship with God.
1 John 4:4-6 ~ 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
We are from God. We are more powerful than anything, anyone, or any enemy (either earthly or spiritual) because of the Spirit of God (His Holy Spirit) that thrives, abides, and empowers us. Sometimes I hear fellow Christians talking as though our enemy, the devil and his demons, have some kind of power over us. That is a lie! They get worried over who is praying over them, who they invite into their homes, and who they let in their sphere of influence. In the name of Jesus, I proclaim, as God’s word states, we have overcome the world, “because the one who is in (us) is greater than the one who is in the world.” Recognize whose you are . . . recognize the Spirit of Truth that hears and answers your prayers.
Romans 3:4 ~ 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”
God is a God of truth. Scripture says it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore when He speaks to humanity, such as in the promise recorded in the Bible, we can trust what He says. There is much comfort in the fact that His promises can always be relied upon. He will never let us down.
STAY CONNECTED TO THE TRUTH!
Lesson 3: Do the Work
2 Timothy 4:5 ~ 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
William Carey is known as the "father of modern missions and founder of the Serampore College and the Serampore University, the first degree-awarding university in India. Carey was a shoe cobbler by trade before he went to India. He kept a map of India in his shop, stopping every so often to study and pray over it. Sometimes, because of his preaching ministry, his shoe business suffered. One day a friend admonished him for neglecting his business. “Neglecting my business?” said Carey, looking at him intently. “My business is to extend the kingdom of God. I only cobble shoes to pay expenses.”
No matter what your occupation, every Christian should have Carey’s mentality: “My real business is to extend God’s kingdom; I just work to pay expenses.” In other words, every Christian is in the ministry. Ephesians 4:11-13 states,
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
My job is to equip you to do the work of the ministry. If you are a saint (a Believer . . . a Christian) then you’re in the ministry! Some may be supported so that they work full-time in their ministry. But every Christian, like William Carey, should see their main business as serving God.
Steven J. Cole, pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship writes, “Some of you are not involved in any kind of ministry for the Lord. Maybe you burned out, bombed out, or just faded out. Frankly, ministry is battle, and who likes war? The tendency of the flesh is to let someone else do it, especially if it’s a hassle. Maybe you justify your lack of involvement by thinking, ‘“I’m not all that gifted anyway.”’ But remember, in the parable of the talents, it was the guy with only one who buried it and was rebuked by his master because he didn’t use it to further the master’s interests. If you know Christ as Savior, you’re called to serve Him in some capacity.”
Because God is a God of truth, there will be no errors in His written Word - the Sacred Text - the Bible says in
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ~ 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.