Sunday, March 4, 2018

Paul's Epistles – II Timothy – Part 8: Love that Waxes Cold

Paul's Epistles – II Timothy – Part 8:
Love that Waxes Cold
Pastor Bruce A. Shields

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This second letter from Paul to Timothy will be the next “epistle” we examine.

After writing his first Epistle to Timothy, Paul left Corinth, and set sail with Titus for Crete, where he left him to set the Church in order (Titus 1:5).

The key-word in II Timothy is “Ashamed.”

“I must not be ashamed of my Lord, His Gospel, or His suffering saints (II Timothy 1); How can I become a workman that “needs not be ashamed” (II Timothy 2 & 3.), and then the Lord will not be ashamed to own and stand by me (II Timothy 4).

Introduction to II Timothy
Appeal for Loyalty
Remaining Loyal to Christ and Paul’s Teaching
Warning Against Quarreling About Words
Terrible Times in the Last Days
A Final Charge to Timothy

Love that Waxes Cold

II Timothy 4:9-22 (66 AD, approximately one year after the first Epistle to Timothy)
Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
19 Greet Priscilla[a] and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.[b]
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
Loyalty to the Lord and Truth in the view of persecution and apostasy

a. Love that waxes cold
                                                              i. Jesus speaking of end times, which we have read by Paul’s description in earlier versus, is NOW... Matthew 24:8-13At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

                                                           ii. Another end time scripture states in Mark 13:12And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death.”
                                                        iii. Matthew 24:10 “And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.”

                                                         iv. “So come to me quickly, Demas, because he loved the world, deserted me”
1. Demas had at one time been one of Paul’s “fellow workers” Philemon 1:24

2. During Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, Demas was also in Rome Colossians 4:14

3.  There is also biblical evidence that Demas was with Paul during Paul’s second imprisonment in Rome, at least for a while. Then something happened. Demas forsook Paul, abandoned the ministry, and left town.

4.  The Greek verb used in the original implies that Demas had not merely left Paul but had left him “in the lurch”; that is, Demas had abandoned Paul in a time of need.

5.  Demas left Rome because he fell in love with the world. In other words, Demas chose the corrupt value system of the unsaved world over what heaven values.

6.  The tragedy of Demas is still being lived out today by those who choose the temporary benefits of this world over the eternal riches of heaven. Today there are still those who seem to receive the Word but then “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22). Past service is no guarantee of future faithfulness; we must depend on the Lord, our Strength (Psalm 28:8). We must be born again (John 3:3); otherwise, we have no foundation of faith. “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (1 John 2:19;  Matthew 7:22–23).

b. Others left me as well
                                                              i. Only Luke is with me now

c. Bring Mark with you
                                                              i. He is helpful to me in the ministry
                                                           ii. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.”

a. Alexander the metalworker
                                                              i.  Some scholars believe this Alexander the coppersmith to be the same Alexander mentioned in two other places in Scripture (Acts 19:33 and 1 Timothy 1:20), although we cannot be sure, since Alexander was a common name.

                                                           ii.  The first possible mention of Alexander the coppersmith occurs in the book of Acts. During his travels through Asia, Paul encountered some Greeks who were opposed to his preaching because it was damaging their business.

                                                        iii.  Paul writes to Timothy in Ephesus. Paul says that Alexander rejected his faith and conscience (verse 19) and that Alexander and another man named Hymenaeus had been “handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme” (verse 20). Alexander, who had obviously professed faith in Christ at one point, had “shipwrecked” his faith; that is, he veered off course, away from good teaching, and drifted into the dangerous rocks of false teaching. He had refused to follow the dictates of his conscience; he was walking according to the flesh and not the Spirit (see Romans 8:5–9), claiming the name of Christ while behaving like an unbeliever. As a result, Paul had pronounced an apostolic curse upon Alexander, allowing Satan to destroy or harm the man so that his soul might still be saved (see 1 Corinthians 5:5).

b. The Lord will repay him for what he has done
                                                           i. As Paul taught in Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord”

                                                        ii. 1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
                                                     iii. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 “Make sure nobody pays back wrong to wrong, but always strive to do WHAT IS GOOD FOR EACH OTHER AND EVERYONE ELSE”

                                                      iv. Mark 11:25 “...and when you stand praying, if YOU hold anything against anyone, FORGIVE them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

                                                         v. Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.”

                                                      vi. Matthew 5:38-39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I {Jesus speaking} tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

1. Do NOT take this out of context!

2. Jesus is speaking of those who are offending you, not beating you

3. Do not resist them meaning, if they offend you, argue with you, speak against you, spread lies about you, gossip about you, do not do this back!

4. The slap is symbolic of offense that is insulting and hurts...

5. EVEN WHEN the offense IS insulting and hurtful, you do NOT retaliate!

6. Retaliation (revenge, repayment, etc) belongs to the Lord alone!

c. Be on your guard against him because he strongly opposed our message
                                                           i. Whether he truly believed at first or not, does not make a difference.

                                                        ii. Whether he opposed because it hurt his idol making business or not, doesn’t matter either.

                                                     iii. Point is, he STRONGLY opposed the gospel, and maybe spoke against Paul in a way that lead to his arrest, this opposition is different than others.
1. When one of the flock (believers) stray, we are instructed to try and bring them back, James 5:20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

2. When someone sins against you, we are to forgive them

3. When someone does you “wrong”, we see again and again prayers for them to be forgiven by God for their actions. Paul in this chapter, Jesus at the crucifixion.
a. Jesus said, “Forgive them {those crucifying Him} Father, for they know not what they do.”

b. They {the Roman soldiers} did NOT know Jesus was Lord, they were NOT purposefully attacking the Gospel or Christ Jesus.  They were ignorant of their actions, and thus, though the “offense” hurt, figuratively and literally, Jesus did not retaliate, did not ask the Father for “justice”, “punishment”, or to “get them back” for what they had done, but Forgiveness.

4. However, in this case, as well as some others where people were “handed over to Satan”, these acts were deliberately done against a believer to cause harm.

5. In these cases, they are either handed over to Satan (meaning, set free from the gospel to receive the full actions from their decision to abandon Christ in hopes of them hitting rock bottom and returning to Him), or, the worse of the two, the one attacked “makes room for God’s wrath”, meaning, if they do not repent and accept Christ, they will pay the ultimate penalty for their purposeful opposition and “works” against the Gospel on Judgment Day.

a. At the trial no one came to Paul’s defense or to support him, everyone deserted him
                                                           i. “...may it not be held against them.”

                                                        ii. An example of an offense that was not meant to harm another, though it did.

b. But the Lord stood by his side and gave him strength
                                                           i. The Lord stood by Paul for a reason, so that through Paul the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it

c. Paul states he was delivered from the lions mouth
                                                           i. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack

CONCLUSION –  Lord will rescue me from every evil attack

If the attack was verbal, gossip, slander, offensive, hurtful, etc.
1.      You forgive so that your Father in heaven can forgive your sin
2.      Pray that the Father in heaven forgives them for they know not what they do

If the attack was specifically meant to defame the Gospel or Christ Jesus, your belief, the Bible, its teachings, etc.
3.      Hand them over to Satan, release them from any obligation or relation with the New Testament covenant and return them to the Old Testament covenant in hopes that they will hit rock bottom when they are unable to fulfill the commands and will seek out the Lord once again
4.      And revenge, vengeance, pay back, justice, the Lord’s alone! If they refuse to repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and take part in the New Covenant, then they will be judged by the Old on Judgment Day, which is the eternal wrath of God revealed.

 Next week we will look at the last book in the “Paul’s Epistles Series”, Titus.

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