2 TIMOTHY 1:13
By Pastor Marlon Almonte
“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.”
INTRODUCTION: Imagine that you have lost your memory. You woke up one morning and you have no idea why you’re sharing the room with somebody. You don’t recognize the place where you are, and you don’t even know who you are. Everything seems weird. Losing your memory is terrifying thing to happen that you could not live a normal life, you don’t know where you came from and you don’t know where you’re going, in other word you have lost your identity. But, then you’ve found a priceless treasure that gives information who you are; it was your personal JOURNALS. It testifies who you are and help you to bring back you memory and your normal life.
Is it possible for a Christian to forget also his/her identity? Do we experience a condition called spiritual amnesia? We forget the things we suppose to do to identify our life to Christ; in other words, we have lost our spiritual identity. But there is a precious thing that testifies our identity; our spiritual heritage, we all have a spiritual heritage, the faith, principles and culture that passed it on to us from past generation of Christians.
Paul mention this at the beginning of his letter V.5 “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” There are people used by God to bring the Gospel to us and become part of our lives, and in the case of timothy, it was his parental upbringing who has a major influence on his faith, and Paul convinced that timothy follow the same pattern of life that he shared to his relatives. Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy not because he forget his duty but rather Paul anticipated the possibility of forgetting his commitment to follow through the pattern of Paul’s life in relation to the Gospel. In other words, every Christian has an obligation to pass what they have learned from their spiritual ancestors.
Because of the problem of the counterfeit Gospel, which appear in 2 Timothy 2:17b, 18 “Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.” Spread out to deceive the believers, Paul urges timothy to do something so that the pure Gospel he preached will continue to exist and will not be forgotten. When Paul warned the Believers of the dangers of following another gospel (2 Corinthian 11:4), he was reminding them that any gospel different than the one he preached was no gospel at all. What is the genuine gospel Paul preached? I like the explanation of what gospel is by Nelson Bible dictionary that “the Gospel is the saving work of God in his son Jesus Christ and a call to faith in him (Romans 1:16-17). Jesus is more than a messenger of the Gospel; He is the gospel. The good news of God was present in his life, teaching and atoning death. Therefore, the gospel is both a historical event and personal relationship.”
Lets suppose you went away for a couple of years and for some reason you came back and decided to stay for goods. Then you visit the Church you’ve never seen for years, you know that somehow there will be some changes but you were surprised when you saw the Church changed the way you didn’t expect it. Would you not be concern when you know something isn’t right? Would you not make a way to redirect people to a right direction no matter it may cost?
The world changed so fast, the Technology, morality, philosophy and lifestyle of outside world influence the life of many believers (1 Timothy 3:1-5) that even Paul reminded Timothy to remember what he had received from his parental upbringing and he has a duty to perform for the sake of consistent existence of a genuine Gospel.
What is our obligation in relation to the Gospel Paul trying to emphasize to Timothy?
1. WE HAVE A DUTY TO SHARE THE GOSPEL. V.11 “And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.” Paul mentions here the three important offices for his divine appointment to communicate the Gospel to people. HE WAS APPOINTED HERALD- He has responsibility to carry out the official message of the gospel. HE WAS APPOINTED APOSTLE- He has responsibility to formulate the Gospel in gentile world. HE WAS APPOINTED TEACHER- He has responsibility to instruct people systematically in its doctrine and in its ethical implications. Although there are no apostles today, (thought some religion claim the title) and some are called in the ministry of preaching and teaching, every Christian believer is to be witness and testify to Jesus Christ out of his own personal experience.
JOHN STOTT has a good reason why do we need to carry out the Gospel? “If the life and immortality which Christ achieved are brought to light through the Gospel, then of course it is imperative that we should proclaim the Gospel.” it was Paul’s experienced of new life in Christ and hope for immortality that motivates him to proclaim the Gospel. The book of Romans 1:14 revealed his eagerness in proclaiming the Gospel, “14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non- Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 that is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.”
The same reason he wrote to remind Timothy his duty in relation to the gospel. In 1 Timothy 1:6-8 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self- discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” Here in this passage reveals the manner we should possess in responding to the commission of proclaiming the Gospel.
The Gospel should deliver in full force. V.6 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. “ It can be understood as the sense of kindle afresh (reviving) or to keep in full flame. In other words, the divine gift of God should not use it lightly but rather it should involve a full physical and mental effort in proclaiming the Gospel.
The Gospel should deliver without precaution. V.7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. If the spirit of God is within us, then there is no room for hesitation. Since he is the spirit of power we have a good reason to be confident, since he is the spirit of love we have the good reason to be more compassionate, and since he is the spirit of self-discipline we have the good reason to be prepared. (2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction.”) Sharing the gospel is a mandatory for every Christian and should make it relevant in every occasion.
The Gospel should deliver without fear of disgrace. V. 8 “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” There are reasons in which Christian people like Timothy are tempted to feel ashamed. Our flesh tell us to appear impressive because we are sensitive in public opinion and we don’t like to feel rejected, humiliated and lost our reputation. But Paul has a good reason why he was not ashamed to testify about our Lord. He mentioned in Romans 1: 16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
We cannot fulfill our duty to proclaim the Gospel if we do not understand the next important thing to remember in relation to the gospel.
2. WE HAVE A DUTY TO SUFFER FOR THE GOSPEL. V.12 “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” Why would someone enter into such commitment, which he understood the risk and the difficulties he is going to endure for the sake of the cause? And yet Paul chooses to suffer for the truth than to be rewarded for a big mistake and lie. What motivates Paul to make a decision to live for this cause? And why he was eager to encourage Timothy to follow his pattern of living? Because he knew whom he believed and he was fully convinced that the one he proclaim is his protector.
The verse indicates the pressures that the true followers of Christ will experience in proclaiming the gospel. The bible tells us numerous stories of Christians suffer for the sake of obeying the truth. Even the Lord Jesus spoke more of the difficulties and dangers they would meet and the sacrifices that would be involve by his true followers. Jesus demands a genuine commitment.
Paul gives us a challenging insight on what was involve in embracing the Gospel in 2 Timothy 1:8 “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” and in 2:3 “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” If suffering in proclaiming the gospel is imminent, then we need a perseverance to endure this hardship that can only achieve in deep commitment, which means…
o Our commitment to the gospel should not be casual were we can only involve occasionally.
o Our commitment to the Gospel should not be hindered by inconvenience were we can only involve if we feel comfortable.
o Our commitment to the gospel should not be cost free commitments were we could only involve if doesn’t cost us anything.
When Hugh Latimer (one of the powerful preacher during reformation period) was preaching one day in the presence of King Henry VIII, he reports that he said to himself, “Latimer! Latimer! Remember that the king is here; be careful what you say.” Then he said to himself, “Latimer! Latimer! Remember that the King of kings is here; be careful what you do not say.” For such unflinching faithfulness Latimer was eventually burned at the stake. But He feared failing God more than he feared offending men.
Would you be willing to give up your convenient life for the sake of the Gospel?
The last thing that we need to remember in relation to the gospel that makes our sacrifices worth in proclaiming it is…
3. WE HAVE A DUTY TO SHIELD THE GOSPEL. Vv. 13-14 “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” Shield is a type of personal armor meant to intercept the attack of the enemy. The ancient warriors protect themselves by shield so that the weapon of enemy would not penetrate to their body. When Paul mentioned, “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you.” He mean to say to protect the gospel he embraced that was passed it on to him so that it will not lost or damages or even contaminates by worldly ideas that distort its pureness. In other words, we have the duty to maintain the pureness of the Gospel.
We know nothing of Hymenaeous and philetus, (2 Timothy 2:17,18 “Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.”) But their mention suggests they were the leaders. In any case Paul saw the turning away of the Asian churches because somehow these people contributed the spreading of distorted Gospel. Paul even warned Timothy of the coming of false teachers in 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.” For this reason, every member of the Church should stand hand in hand in preserving a Gospel centered culture of our family/church. Why is it so important to protect the gospel?
o Because the gospel is the basis our Faith. 1 Timothy 2:5,6 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”
o Because the gospel is the basis of our Ethics. 1Timothy 4:8-10 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”
The Gospel is good news of salvation promised by God through the life, teaching and atoning sacrifice of his son Jesus. Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life that God offer to us. People who embraced God’s offer experienced wonders of this relationship, a loving environment in the family of God as we call it joy of salvation. But our commitment to this relationship does not stop in enjoying the privileges of being saved. We have a duty to perform in relation to the Gospel. Our obligation is make a way for the gospel to be known through out the whole world, And because this is not an easy road for us, we need to unload the things that hinder us to this journey, in this case we suffer but we need to endure the hardship included in our duty, above all, we are called to protect the Gospel, and keep it pure whatever it may cost, and preserve it against every distortion and corruption so that when our time of departure in this earth is coming, we will ensure the next generation of Disciples will follow the right direction of faith and ethics.