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2 2 Timothy last Timothy son
The end is near, and Paul knows it. So he writes this, his _________ and most moving letter. He addresses it to ___________, a young friend he thinks of as a ______. Paul is not writing from the comfort of the _________ __________ described at the end of Acts. Though he’s in Rome – as he was before – he now languishes in a cold ____________, chained like a dangerous criminal. last Timothy son house arrest By the time Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, the young pastor had been ministering to the church at Ephesus for four years, and it had been almost that long since he had received his first letter from Paul. Timothy had been a faithful servant to Paul since he had left home with the apostle more than a decade earlier. Since then, Timothy had ministered alongside Paul for the duration of both the second and third missionary journeys, in places such as Troas, Philippi, and Corinth. Timothy was not unfamiliar to the Ephesians when he settled in Ephesus to minister, having served there alongside Paul for a period of close to three years on Paul’s third missionary journey. Paul wrote again to this young leader in the church at Ephesus to provide him encouragement and fortitude in the face of difficulties and trials. dungeon

3 Paul is lonely, having been abandoned by colleagues who apparently realized the hopelessness of his situation. He asks Timothy to come and be with him before his ______________. He also warns his devoted friend that sufferings are bound to come his way, too. Paul is writing around A.D. 67, when Emperor ________ is having Christians __________ throughout the empire – many in arenas, as blood-spectacle ___________________. But Paul urges Timothy to be brave and to cling to the _________ of spending eternity with Jesus. execution Nero killed When we know we’re about to die, the last words we speak and the last actions we perform show what is most important to us. The last we hear of Paul he’s chained inside a Roman dungeon, awaiting execution. The imperial trial may still be underway, and if so, it’s not going well. Paul unrolls a strip of parchment, perhaps given to him by Luke, the only colleague in the area who hasn’t abandoned him. Then Paul writes a letter to the man who is likely his best friend on earth – Timothy. A preacher to the end, Paul repeats some of what he has said before: Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel. Don’t be fooled by false teachings. Live like children of a holy and loving God. Timothy, who traveled with Paul for many years, must have heard this a hundred times. But the words are important enough to Paul that he says them again. Paul’s final action – his last known request – is one that any hospice nurse would understand: “Come to me as soon as you can” (4:9). Paul wants to die in the company of those he loves. In words and actions, Paul shows what is most important to him: the Gospel he has preached, and the people he has loved. entertainment hope

4 About 1,000 miles

5 Historical Background
Nero was born in 37 A.D. After his father’s death, his mother married his uncle and persuaded him to name Nero his successor. Nero took the throne at 17, rebuffed his mother’s attempts to control him, and had her killed.

6 The Roman emperor Nero had been slowly descending into madness since his ascent to the throne in AD 54, a process exacerbated by the great fire of Rome in AD 64 that burned half the city. The fire ravaged Rome for 10 days, decimating 75 percent of the city. Although accidental fires were common at the time, many Romans believed Nero started the fire to make room for his planned villa.

7 In AD 68, Nero committed suicide when the empire revolted.
Whether or not Nero started the fire, he determined that a guilty party must be found, and he pointed the finger at the Christians, still a new and underground religion. With this accusation, persecution and torture of the Christians began in Rome. Paul was one of those caught up in this persecution and was beheaded by Roman officials soon after writing this letter. In AD 68, Nero committed suicide when the empire revolted.

8 The Mamertine Prison in Rome, with an altar commemorating the legendary tradition that Saints Peter and Paul were imprisoned there. Paul wrote 2 Timothy from a dark and damp Roman prison cell. In 2 Timothy 1:17, we read that Onesiphorus had to search diligently in the dungeon to find Paul. Because Paul was being treated like a common criminal, many were ashamed of him and of his chains [v. 15], and no longer wished to be associated with him; “lest it soil their good names in society.” Indeed, it would be as if today someone were in jail for treason against the United States for plotting rebellion.  At my first defense no one took my part; all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! (2 Timothy 4:16; see also vs. 9-13). The charges against the Christians, of whom Paul was one, included sedition, and being a superstitious cult. Since rumor and gossip stirred the majority of the people, and since there was nothing like objective reporting or newspapers to tell the other side, popular perception carried the day. And if Christians were slandered, the majority of the people believed the gossip. We can see why people were afraid to be associated with Paul and his ministry. The Roman government had called this new sect occultic and "new age“ and that Christians were trying to overthrow the government. People were actually ashamed of Christ and of the Gospel because of Paul's imprisonment, and they no longer wanted to be known as Christians for fear they might suffer the same treatment. So many deserted him. Before you enter the prison, there is a long list of Christian martyrs who died in the prison. When we walked down into the dungeon, the rats scurried. Although it was mid-summer, it was dark and damp. In addition to Paul asking Timothy to come quickly, he request that he bring the cloak he left with Carpus in Troas, and his books and parchments: Do your best to come to me soon... When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. (2 Timothy 4:9-13, RSV). Paul asked for the cloak because he was always cold, and he was old. He could never get warm - not because it was so cold, but because he could never dry out. 2 Timothy 1:15-18 (Living Bible) 15 As you know, all the Christians who came here from Asia have deserted me; even Phygellus and Hermogenes are gone. 16 May the Lord bless Onesiphorus and all his family because he visited me and encouraged me often. His visits revived me like a breath of fresh air, and he was never ashamed of my being in jail. 17 In fact, when he came to Rome, he searched everywhere trying to find me, and finally did.18 May the Lord give him a special blessing at the day of Christ’s return. And you know better than I can tell you how much he helped me at Ephesus.

9 Paul’s First Imprisonment (Acts 28) Paul’s Second Imprisonment
Accused of heresy Accused of a crime Held in a hired house Held in prison Expected acquittal Expected death Several friends Few friends left

10 The Book of 1 Timothy ends with Paul writing:
20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, his “beloved son” (1:2), because of false teaching in the church. In 1st and 2nd Timothy, along with the Book of Titus, Paul is concerned about the effect of false teaching in the church. You can see the urgency in Paul’s language here as he tells Timothy to guard the precious treasure and truth of God’s Word. If the false teaching isn’t addressed, and if the truth isn’t known and taught, the erroneous teaching could spread and lead to many abandoning the faith. Now, with Paul being confined as a prisoner and about to face execution the situation was even more urgent. He wrote this 2nd letter to give pressing, critical instructions to Timothy.

11 Several purposes for writing 2 Timothy stand out:
Paul desired to express his concern that Timothy preserve sound doctrine as he faced false teachers (1:13-14). He wished to emphasize the importance of the Word of God in the ministry of Christ. Paul needed his cloak for the cold prison and his books and parchments for study and writing (4:13). He expressed his desire for fellowship in his lonesome condition (vv ).

12 Outline of 2 Timothy Affliction in Ministry: Hold Fast to Sound Words (chapter 1) Tears in the ministry (vv. 3-7) Testimony in the ministry (vv. 8-14) Traitors to the ministry (vv ) Activity in the Ministry: Be Diligent in the True Word (chapter 2) Training – son (vv. 1-2) Triumph – soldier (vv. 3-4) Testing – athlete (v. 5) Toil – farmer (v. 6) Traits – servant (vv ) Apostasy in Ministry: Continue in the Holy Word (chapter 3) “Times” of apostasy (vv. 1-9) Trials and apostasy (vv ) Triumph over apostasy (vv ) Allegiance in Ministry: Preach the Only Word (chapter 4) The task of ministry (vv. 1-4) The true Judge of ministry (vv. 5-8) The tragedy of ministry (vv. 9-18) The Command to Guard the Gospel The Command to Suffer for the Gospel Outline from A Popular Survey of the New Testament, by Norman Geisler. “Commands” noted in text boxes from Benware’s outline on page 258. The Command to Endure for the Gospel The Command to Preach the Gospel

13 Suffering for the truth
2 Timothy Guard the Treasure! - Paul’s greeting - Timothy’s life - God’s Treasure Our Responsibility Chapter 1 Suffer Hardship! - Passing on the truth - Illustrations of the truth (soldier, athlete, farmer, workman, vessel, servant) Suffering for the truth Chapter 2 Continue! - Last days - Evil days - Standing firm - Biblical basis Spiritual examples Chapter 3 Preach the Word! - Solemn charge - Reason for the charge Personal conclusion Chapter 4 Perspective The past The present The future Tone Gratitude Compassion Warning Command Theme(s) Guard the treasure of the Gospel; remain steadfast in Christ; carry on the ministry that has been passed on. Key Verses 1:14 2:3 3:14 4:2 Christ in 2 Timothy Jesus is the Judge of the living and the dead, who strengthens us in times of weakness and rescues us in times of danger (3:11; 4:1; 1:7). In chapter 2, Paul uses 7 figures of speech to describe the duty and activity of a believer. We will discuss these later. Chart from the teachings of Charles R. Swindoll. EACH CHAPTER HAS AN EMPHASIS ON THE WORD OF GOD!

14 2 Timothy 1:2-7 2 To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Notice how personal the letter is. Paul writes, “You are like a dear (beloved) child to me,” in chapter 1, verse 2. In verses 5 and 6, he recalls Timothy’s spiritual heritage and encourages him to serve the Lord in light of that heritage. In verses 7-8, Timothy is charged to continue ministering the Gospel with zeal and to witness and preach without fear of persecution, ridicule, difficulties, or trials. Though Paul intends for the entire church of Ephesus to read it, and he refers briefly to false teachings, end times, and the traits of godly people, the aging apostle is talking especially to Timothy. Paul also charges Timothy to keep his spiritual gifts blazing and burning to the hottest point possible. The believer is to keep on stirring up his gift, never letting the flame of the gospel lose any of its intensity. He is to use his gift to minister and minister, never slacking up or loosing his zeal. Verse 7: God equips us with power (the Holy Spirit infuses power into the believer’s spirit: power to face the strain of difficulties and trials, power to stand tall in living for and witnessing for Christ, and power to take on the job and to do it well – to the very best of our ability, and to the glory of God), love (agape love – the kind of love that loves people even if they are sinners and enemies; it arises within the mind and will, not in the emotions), and a sound mind (self control – the ability to control our emotions, feelings, and thoughts in the midst of trials and circumstances) to minister without fear.

15 He has delivered us from sin and the bondages of the flesh.
2 Timothy 1:8-10 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,9 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, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,  Verse 8 charges Timothy to not shrink from identifying with the Gospel and the Lord of the Gospel, and from identifying with strong believers who are living for and sharing Christ. Verses 8-10 charge Timothy to share in the sufferings of the Gospel. Three strong reasons why we are to stand up for Christ and the Gospel: He has delivered us from sin and the bondages of the flesh. He has delivered us from death. He has saved us from judgment, condemnation, and hell. The ungodly of the world will persecute believers, but we are not to fear or shrink from our duty.

16 Paul was not ashamed to suffer for the Gospel.
2 Timothy 1:11-12 11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Paul endured abuse for the Gospel. He says two significant things about himself: He has been appointed and called to serve the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Three appointments are mentioned: appointed to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Lord Jesus Christ.) Paul was not ashamed to suffer for the Gospel. Paul was sure that judgment was coming. Paul knew Christ personally and intimately. He knew his faith was sure. He walked with Christ day by day, was in fellowship and communion with Him. He knew that his belief in Christ was true. This is the reason he was willing to suffer the Gospel; the Gospel was true. Paul was sure of God’s keeping power. He has committed his life and work to Christ. Paul had deposited his life and his work; he turned everything he was and had over to Christ. Because he was sure judgment was coming, he committed his life and work to Christ in order to receive the reward of God and not the judgment of God. Paul knew beyond question who it was that he was following: he was following the Lord Jesus Christ, the very Son of God Himself.

17 Paul’s charge here is to HOLD FAST!
2 Timothy 1:13-18 13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. 15 This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; 17 but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. 18 The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day—and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus. Paul’s charge here is to HOLD FAST! Hold fast to the “sound” words of the Gospel (v. 13) Hold fast to one’s trust – by the power of the Holy Spirit (v.14) Hold fast without turning away, for many turn away (v. 15) Hold fast following the example of those who have proven faithful: Onesiphorous (v ) When Onesiphorus heard that Paul had been arrested and imprisoned in Rome, he apparently struck out for Rome to see what he could do to help. Note the word “sought” (v. 17). This indicates that he had some difficulty finding the prison where Paul was chained. Onesiphorus did not give up his search. He “sought” Paul out very diligently. The point is that he sought and sought against great difficulty until he found Paul. Note his ministry to Paul: He refreshed Paul “often.” This would include visits and encouragement and comfort of sharing Scripture and prayer. And, if allowed, it would include food and clothing and the provision of medical or financial needs Paul might have had. He was not ashamed of Paul’s imprisonment – not ashamed to be identified with Paul as a friend and fellow believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He stood by his side as a follower of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The majority of friends will forsake us in our darkest hour of need, but the friend who is to be treasured is to be treasured as a jewel is the man who stands with us when we need encouragement, when all others are against us and seemingly we have lost the battle.

18 Follow the example: receive the truth and teach the truth to others.
Chapter 2:1-7 The Charge: Be Strong in the Lord as A Son, Soldier, Athlete, Farmer, Student, Vessel, and a Servant A Son: 1 ”You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Follow the example: receive the truth and teach the truth to others. The source of strength is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must be strong – not in our own strength, but strong in the grace (favor) of Christ. We must trust the sufficiency of Christ, not our own strength. Remember, Paul was facing death; he was to be executed by the Romans on the false charge that he was a revolutionary against the state. Timothy was to be his successor; he would soon have to take over the main responsibility for the churches scattered all over the world. Could he stand up to the pressure? Could he handle all the problems and circumstances that would arise? Would he work enough, study enough, learn enough, pray enough, witness enough, preach enough, teach enough, endure enough, strive enough, and war enough in the spirit? There was only one hope for Timothy, just as there is only one hope for any of us. Timothy needed unlimited strength, a strength that could drive him to conquer any circumstance and to work at any task until it was accomplished. That strength could come from only one source, and Paul knew that fact. That strength was the strength of God.

19 A Soldier: 3 ”You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” Stand with other believers; be willing to suffer hardships of the struggle with other believers; sacrifice all for and His cause and desire to please your Commander – Jesus Christ.

20 Toil and work hard before partaking of the fruit (the harvest).
An Athlete: 5 ”And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules,” Discipline yourself; contend for the reward (prize) and abide by the rules. A Farmer: 6 ”The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.” Toil and work hard before partaking of the fruit (the harvest).

21 A Student: 15 ”Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Diligently study, correctly analyze, rightly handle, and without embarrassment skillfully teach the truth – the Word of God.

22 A Vessel: 20 “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” A vessel must be clean (honorable) to be usable: believers must be uncontaminated by false teaching, pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace.

23 A Servant: 24 ”And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,” A believer is a servant, gentle, apt to teach, patient, and not argumentative.

24 2 Timothy 2:8-13 8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. Paul’s charge here is to remember Jesus Christ is the Resurrected Lord! Verse 8: The Gospel proclaims the humanity and deity of Christ Verse 9: The Gospel carries one through suffering and assures the victory of one’s purpose: the spread of God’s Word. Verse 10: The Gospel stirs endurance Verses 11-13: The Gospel assures eternal glory and eternal judgment

25 The Charges (Reminders):
Chapter 2:22-26 The Charges (Reminders): Flee youthful lusts (verse 22) The desires of the eye (can lead to the lust for possessions and people) The desires of the flesh (can lead to illicit and immoral behaviors) The desire of acceptance (may lead to rebellion against authority) The desire to achieve (may lead to seeking authority and power over people and to the manipulation and using of people for one’s own ends) The desire for recognition (can lead to either pride and arrogance or to a sense of inferiority and low self-image) The desire to act and to act now (can lead to impatience and the mistreatment of others) God made us to desire and crave. It’s when we use our passions to hurt and damage that they become evil. What are some lusts of youth?

26 Chapter 2:22-26 (continued)
The Charges (Reminders): Follow after the Lord (v. 22) Avoid foolish discussions (v. 23) Ignoring the Word of God for the speculations of theology Neglecting the study of God’s Word for a discussion of theory Rejection of God’s Word for the ideas of man Taking the easier road of theological discussion over the more difficult road of studying God’s Word Do not argue or fight with others (vv )

27 The Predictions of the Last Days
Chapter 3:1-9 The Predictions of the Last Days Godless Marks of the Last Days Perilous times will come (v. 1) A godless world; people will be… (vv. 2-4) lovers of their own selves covetous boasters Proud Blasphemers Disobedient to parents Unthankful Unholy Without natural affection Trucebreakers False accusers Incontinent (undisciplined; uncontrolled) A powerless religion (v. 5) A corrupt ministry (vv. 6-9)

28 Chapter 3:1-9 (continued)
A godless world; people will be… (vv. 2-4) Fierce Despisers of those who are good Traitors Heady Highminded Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God A powerless religion; they will deny the power of God BUT they will… (v. 5) Profess God and Christ Be baptized in the Christian faith Attend worship services Participate in the rituals and ceremonies Recite the creeds Sometimes talk to God A corrupt ministry (vv. 6-9) Leads gullible followers astray Resists the truth Will be exposed

29 The Predictions of the Last Days
Chapter 3:10-13 The Predictions of the Last Days The Contrasting Marks of Godly Believers Follow a Godly example (v. 10) There is doctrine or teaching There is Godly behavior and conduct There is purpose There is faith There is longsuffering There is love There is patience Endure persecution (vv ) Guard against evil men (v. 13)

30 The Predictions of the Last Days
Chapter 3:14-17 The Predictions of the Last Days The Godly Mark of Living in the Scripture A believer must live in the Scripture (v. 14) Scripture makes a person wise unto salvation (v. 15) Scripture is inspired by God (v. 16) Scripture is profitable to man (v. 16) Scripture perfects a man and equips him for every good work (v. 17)

31 The Triumph of Preaching
Chapter 4:1-5 The Triumph of Preaching The Awesome Charge to Preach the Word and to Minister Preach the Word, for the eye of the God and of Christ watch you (v. 1) Christ will judge Christ will appear Christ will set up His kingdom Preach the Word, the Word of God is to preached (v. 2) Preach the Word, for the great apostasy is coming (v. 3-4) People will reject People will turn away Preach the Word, for you must completely fulfill your ministry (v. 16) Watch and endure Work and prove

32 The Triumph of Preaching
Chapter 4:6-8 The Triumph of Preaching The Triumphal Testimony of Paul His death (v. 6) Is being offered and sacrificed to God in one last act - death The time for his departure from this world is at hand His testimony (v. 7) He has lived life like a faithful soldier He has run and finished the course of his life He has kept the faith His reward: a crown of righteousness (v. 8) Will be given by the Lord, the righteous Judge Will be given to all who love and look for the Lord’s appearing

33 The Final Farewell of Paul to the World
Chapter 4:9-22 The Final Farewell of Paul to the World A personal message – needing help (vv. 9-18) There are special times when believers need help There is the experience of God helping the believer There is the assurance of God’s eternal deliverance A personal greeting – showing personal interest (vv ) Paul greeted other believers Prisca and Aquila Onesiphorous) Paul supplied information about others (Erastus and Trophimus) Paul passed on the greetings about others (Eubulus, Pudens, Claudia, and Linus) Paul gave the benediction of Christ and of grace That the Lord Jesus Christ might be with their spirit That the grace of God be with all

34 After traveling 15,000 miles (8700 by land), enduring four shipwrecks, starting churches in seven or eight people groups (perhaps as many as ten), writing 15 letters that we know of (13 of which are in the New Testament), enduring multiple imprisonments and uncounted beatings, he ended his life almost alone. According to 2 Timothy, his last days were spent short on time (4:9), cold (4:13), lonely (4:11), rejected by his own spiritual children (1:15), abandoned by his sons in the faith (4:10) and betrayed by someone he trusted (4:14). Nevertheless, in spite of so few that stood with him in the end, he was a success (4:6-8). 

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36 The Books of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus
Focus 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus Topics Faithful Leaders Faithful Service Faithful Conduct “Be On Guard!” “Be Diligent!” “Be Careful!” Place Written in Macedonia Written in Rome Written in Corinth Time About A.D About A.D. 67 About A.D. 63 Author Apostle Paul Christian Fellowship Prophetic Warnings Christian Leadership Divisions Public Worship Protect the Word Proclaim the Word chart

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41 How to Respond to Critics
2 Timothy 1:10 (NKJV) – “but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” If Jesus abolished death, why do we still die? Problem: Paul affirms in this text that Christ “has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” But death is not abolished, since “death spread to all men” (Romans 5:12), and “it is appointed for men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). Solution: First of all, Christ did not abolish physical death immediately, but by His death and resurrection, it will be abolished eventually. Christ is the first one to experience resurrection in an immortal body (1 Cor. 15:20) – the rest of the human race will experience this later, at His 2nd coming (vv ). Second, Christ abolished death officially when He personally defeated it by His resurrection. However, physical death will not be completely destroyed actually until he returns again and “death is swallowed up in victory” (v. 54). For Paul tells us: “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (v. 26).

42 How to Respond to Critics
2 Timothy 2:14, 23 (NKJV) – “14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers;” 23 ”But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife” Is it wrong for Christians to argue about theological matters? Problem: Paul seemed to forbid theological arguments when he instructed Timothy “not to strive about words to no profit” and to “avoid foolish and ignorant disputes.” On the other hand, Paul himself argued with the Jews in their synagogues (Acts 17:2, 17) and disputed with the philosophers on Mars Hill (vv ). And, Jude exhorts us “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Solution: A distinction must be made between the two senses of what it means to argue or to contend. Arguing is not necessarily wrong, but being “argumentative” is. We should “contend” for the faith, but we should not be “contentious” in so doing. Marking an earnest effort to defend the faith is good (Philippians 1:16-17; 1 Peter 3:15), but engaging in fruitless quarrels is not.

43 How to Respond to Critics
2 Timothy 2:24-25 (NKJV) – “24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” Is repentance a gift of God or an act of man? Problem: Paul writes here: “If God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,” but in other places, repentance is considered a person’s own act. In Mark 1:15, Jesus calls on people to “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” Paul tells us that God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). But repentance cannot be both an act of God and an act of the individual believer, can it? Solution: There are 2 possible answers here, neither of which negates a person’s God-given responsibility to exercise fee choice. First, repentance could be an actual gift of God, but like other gifts, we must receive it to enjoy it. On this view, God offers the gift of repentance to eternal life to all who are willing. Those who are not willing do not get repentance. In this way, God is impartial in His offer, but man is still responsible to accept or reject the gift of repentance necessary for salvation.

44 Two Different Senses of Repentance
Solution (continued): This fits with God’s call on all men to repent (Acts 17:30; 20:20-21; 2 Peter 3:9). A second view simply notes the two different senses in which repentance is used in these seemingly opposed verses. One set of verses is speaking of repentance as an “opportunity” and the other as an “act.” The former is simply a “disposition” given by God, leaving the actual “action” of repenting to human beings. The former is a God-given “provision,” while the latter is a manmade “decision.” This view can be summarized in the following chart: There is no contradiction in the diverse texts on repentance. Whichever interpretation is taken, one this is certain: there is no verse saying God repents for us. Each free moral creature is responsible to repent for himself or herself. God gives the power (GRACE) to repent, but each creature must decide to do it (see Romans 2;4). The same can be said about whether faith is a gift of God or not. Slide notes from A Popular Survey of the New Testament, by Norman Geisler, pages Two Different Senses of Repentance As God-given opportunity As a free human act As a disposition from God As an action of man As a provision of God As a decision of man


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