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2Timothy 2:19-22

Thursday Evening Bible Study

May 10, 2018


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words   Video = 75 wpm

The history recorded in the book of Acts ends around AD 60, with Paul being confined under house arrest in his own apartment in Rome.

We believe that Paul was released after a couple of years, and would travel to Ephesus, Macedonia, Crete, Nicopolis, and then be rearrested in Troas and taken back to Rome.

In AD 64 Nero burned Rome, blamed it on the Christians, and kicked off a period of persecution.

This time, Paul would be confined in the Mamertine Prison.

Everyone has abandoned Paul except for his friend Luke the physician.
(2 Timothy 4:11 NKJV) Only Luke is with me.
It’s from here that Paul writes this letter, his final letter somewhere around AD 66-67, just prior to his death.
Paul is hoping that Timothy would come to him, but that isn’t going to happen.
Paul will shortly be taken outside the city of Rome where he will be beheaded.

Paul’s second letter to Timothy was written around AD 66-67 while Paul was in prison in Rome, being held in chains in the Mamertine prison.

Paul is just days away from being led out of the city where he will be beheaded.

These are Paul’s final written words, instructions to Timothy, his “next generation” leader.

Paul had been warning Timothy about getting off track by arguing over words, but to be sure that he “rightly divided” the Scriptures, the “word of truth”.  Some, like Hymenaeus and Philetus, had already begun to wander away from the truth, saying that the resurrection had already taken place.

2:19-22 Growing Useful

:19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

:19 the solid foundation of God stands

solidstereos – strong, firm, immovable, solid, hard, rigid

foundation themelios – laid down as a foundation, the foundation (of a building, wall, city); metaph. the foundations, beginnings, first principals; of institution or system of truth

standshistemi – to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set

The verb is a perfect tense.  It has been “set” in the past, and continues to “stand”.

The foundation is the first thing you must lay down if you are going to build anything significant.

Here are some pics I took a few years ago on my morning walk of a house that was being built up on Skyline.  Even before they poured the foundation, they drilled a number of holes deep into the ground to pour pylons on which the foundation would stand.
That’s a solid foundation.

In our lives, the “foundation” is what the work of God is built upon.

(1 Corinthians 3:10–11 NKJV) —10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

If you want God to be at work in your life, you need to start with the foundation.

There are many spiritual movements in this world that talk about God and developing you as a spiritual person.
Yet it cannot be done apart from Jesus Christ.
(John 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

When a person enters into a relationship with Jesus Christ, then a solid foundation is laid, and God has something to build on.

Are there people you’re trying to help?  Taking them to AA or getting them into counseling is good. 

Getting them to Jesus should be our real goal.

:19 having this seal

seal sphragis – a seal; the seal placed upon books; a signet ring; the inscription or impression made by a seal; that by which anything is confirmed, proved, authenticated, as by a seal (a token or proof)

The “seal” is the mark of authenticity.

(1 Corinthians 9:2 NKJV) If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

(Romans 4:11 NKJV) And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,

The other day while standing in line at Panda Express, the fellow in front of me was paying for his order.  He handed the cashier a $100 bill.  She look a little rattled at the bill, but knew she needed to do something to authenticate that it was genuine.  She held it up to the light, though I’m not sure she knew why.  Then she turned around and found a supervisor and held it up to the light for her.  There’s several things built into the new $100 bill that show up when you hold it up, including a 3D strip that changes, colors that change, and a faint watermark image of Ben Franklin. These things “authenticate” the bill is genuine.  Of course the fellow paying for his dinner quipped, “Don’t worry, it’s genuine, I just printed it yesterday…”

There is a “seal” that shows that God is actually the one at work in your life.  Actually, Paul lists two things…

:19 “The Lord knows those who are His”

This “seal” doesn’t help those of us on this side of heaven to authenticate the work of God because we can’t be truly sure a person who claims to know God really does.  There are going to be all sorts of people who will make goofy claims and then say that they know God.

But the truth is that ultimately a person who claims to be a part of God’s work will know God, and He will know them.

:19 “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

iniquityadikia – injustice, of a judge; unrighteousness of heart and life; a deed violating law and justice, act of unrighteousness

namesonomazo – to name; to name, to utter, to make mention of the name; be named; to bear the name of a person or thing

departaphistemi – to make stand off, cause to withdraw, to remove

The word “apostate” comes from this word.  An “apostate” is one who “withdraws” or “stands away” from the truth.
Paul is talking here of “withdrawing” or “standing away” from sin.
The word is similar to the word “stand” (“the solid foundation of God stands”), except it is standing “from”.
The foundation of God’s work is “standing”, but while it stands, it stands apart from sin.  The one who claims to be a part of God’s work will also be standing apart from sin, or “departing” from iniquity.

For those of us on this side of heaven, this “seal” is a little easier to see than the previous one.

A person who claims to have a connection to Jesus but who has shows no inclination to turn from their sin has a problem.

Look how Jesus incorporates both of these “seals” here:

(Matthew 7:21–23 NKJV) —21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

The proof of the pudding is not in how well you can quote Bible verses, how many Greek words you know, or your ability to argue theological truth.

If a person truly knows Jesus, they will be departing from sin.

To think that a person actually knows Jesus, and doesn’t turn from sin is …

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It is “inconceivable” that a person who claims to know Jesus would not be turning from sin.  And I know what that means.
It’s not that God expects us to be perfect.
We will continue to struggle with sin until the day we meet Jesus face to face.
Yet if He is truly at work in us, He will be nudging us further and further from sin.

: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.

great house – probably talking about the church.

greatmegas – great

vesselsskeuos – a vessel; an implement; household utensils, domestic gear. I think Paul is talking about individual people as “vessels”.

woodxulinos – wooden, made of wood

clayostrakinos – earthen, clay

honortime – a valuing by which the price is fixed; honor which belongs or is shown to one

dishonoratimia – dishonor, ignominy, disgrace

:20 in a great house … vessels… honor … dishonor

Paul is painting a picture of a wealthy person’s house, perhaps even a palace.

He might be hinting at the church, but the picture is that of a wealthy house.

In a wealthy person’s house, there will be all sorts of containers and “vessels”.

Some are going to be the best china or the finest silverware. 
Others are going to be things like trashcans or diaper pails.
In Paul’s picture, we are going to be the “vessels”.
The question we might ask is, “How can I be something worth serving tea to the King, instead of something that only holds garbage?”

: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.

Masterdespotes – a master, Lord

prepared hetoimazo – to make ready, prepare; to make the necessary preparations, get everything ready

:21 if anyone cleanses himself from the latter

cleansesekkathairo – to cleanse out, clean thoroughly, to cleanse

the lattertouton – of these

I think the “latter” refers to: profane and vain babblings (vs.16); ungodliness (vs.16); iniquity (vs.19); dishonor (vs.20)

What does Paul mean by “the latter”?

Paul is probably referring to a person cleansing themselves from the “dishonor” in vs. 20.

He’s already talked about how a person needs to “depart from iniquity” (vs. 19)

:21 a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful

vesselskeuos – a vessel; an implement; metaph. a man

“Vessel” was a common Greek metaphor for “body” since Greeks thought of souls living temporarily in bodies.

honortime – a valuing by which the price is fixed; honour which belongs or is shown to one

sanctifiedhagiazo – to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow; to separate from profane things and dedicate to God; to purify

useful euchrestos (“good” + “useful”) – easy to make use of, useful


Clean and Useful

When we learn to “cleanse” the vessel, we make it more useful.
Think about a typical coffee pot.
It can be used for all sorts of things.

If your toilet backed up, and you want to use a plunger to fix the problem, you might want to bail some of the dirty water out of the toilet bowl before you do.

And yes, you could use a coffee pot to do that.

But would you immediately use that coffee pot to make a pot of coffee?

Not without cleaning it you wouldn’t.

Think about tools.
The craftsmen that I’ve known take time to clean their tools after using them.

Clean, sharp tools are more “useful” when you need to use them.

A painter won’t use a dirty brush.  You don’t paint a black wrought iron gate, and then use the same paintbrush to paint a white picket fence … without cleaning it.

God can use anybody. 

He used a donkey to talk to Balaam.
Don’t go away tonight thinking that God can’t use you.

But the idea here is that we are more useful to the Lord as we learn to “cleanse” ourselves from things of “dishonor”.

An important step is learning to confess your sins and receive forgiveness.
Yet I think it goes farther than that.
It’s also learning to “depart” from iniquity (vs. 19), putting it far from us.

Christians who follow a more liturgical traditional will observe “Lent”, in which they do “give up” certain things during that time period leading up to Easter.

It’s a good thing to learn to “give up” certain things.
Some things make us vessels of “dishonor”.
The problem with the “Lent” rituals is that most people just go right back to their old ways after Lent is over.


Those inventive people, the Italians, have a custom.  As midnight on New Year's Eve approaches, the streets are clear. There is no traffic; there are no pedestrians; even the policemen take cover. Then, at the stroke of 12, the windows of the houses fly open.  To the sound of laughter, music and fireworks, each member of the family pitches out old crockery, detested ornaments, hated furniture and a whole catalogue of personal possessions which remind them of something in the past year they are determined to wipe out of their minds.
-- House & Garden

Are there things in your life that are hindering you from being as useful as you could be?

A person who struggles with pride is going to have a hard time helping anybody when all they can think about is themselves.
A person who is addicted to porn is going to have a very difficult time talking to others without their mind being flooded with unhealthy thoughts.
A person who has been caught lying is going to have a difficult time getting anyone to believe anything they say.

:22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

:22 Flee also youthful lusts

youthfulneoterikos – peculiar to an age, of youth, youthful, younger

lustsepithumia – desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust

When Paul says “also”, I think he’s tying this to the previous verse of learning to cleanse ourselves from things of “dishonor”.

fleepheugo (“fugitive”) – to flee away, seek safety by flight; metaph. to flee (to shun or avoid by flight) something abhorrent

This isn’t fleeing out of cowardice, but fleeing for safety.
It’s used by Jesus to in regards to what to do when the antichrist shows up:
(Matthew 24:16 NKJV) “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
It’s a healthy “running” from danger.


Run Away

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Did you ever think Indiana was a coward for running from the bolder?
I’m not sure I’m totally persuaded that temptation is such a dangerous thing.
I think I must kind of like to be tempted because sometimes I linger just a bit too much at the temptation.
And yet behind the temptation is a vast chasm of darkness leading to death.
There are times when the Bible commands us to “stand firm”, but when facing temptation the command seems to be universally “flee”.
In talking about the temptations connected to money and greed, Paul told Timothy,
(1 Timothy 6:11 NKJV) But you, O man of God, flee these things …
Paul told the Corinthians:
(1 Corinthians 6:18 NKJV) Flee sexual immorality.
(1 Corinthians 10:14 NKJV) Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Paul tells Timothy to flee “youthful lusts”.
How do I “flee” youthful lusts?
The mind

Recognize the evil thought and ask God for help.

Take every thought captive.

(2 Corinthians 10:4–5 NKJV) —4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Sometimes, when I’m a little more aware of what’s happening, and the temptation is coming at me by way of a thought, I will take it to the Lord and ask Him to take this thought captive, and then to move my thoughts to something else.

The eyes

Turn your eyes to look somewhere else

Job said,

(Job 31:1 NKJV) “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?

Sometimes the temptation comes by way of something you see – like the billboards on the freeways of life.

Learn to look somewhere else.

The feet

Get up and leave

Sometimes the best thing you can to is to physically remove yourself, even if you might be misunderstood.

Paul told Timothy to “flee”

Did Paul ever struggle with “lust”, or was he somebody who seems to be above those kinds of things, and no longer struggles?

I think he had his struggles.
When Paul was writing his letter to the Romans, he was living in Corinth – kind of like the Las Vegas of the ancient world.

Every night in Corinth 1,000 prostitutes would descend from the temple of Aphrodite and invite the men of the city to “worship” Aphrodite through immoral sex.

Paul wrote to the Romans,

(Romans 7:18–19 NLT) —18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

I am NOT implying that Paul committed any kind of immorality, not at all. 

I AM saying that Paul lets us know that he struggled with temptation like you and I do.

And he learned to “flee”.

:22 pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace

pursuedioko – to make to run or flee; to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after

This is a word that often is used negatively, as in the idea that someone is pursuing you to harm you – and hence it is often translated “persecute”.

Video:  Man gets chased by bear

But here Paul isn’t describing someone pursuing you to harm you, but we are the “bear”, and should be pursuing these good things.


Run Towards

It’s important to learn to “flee” youthful lusts, but Paul wants to encourage Timothy to not just run away from wrong things, but to run “towards” the right things.
righteousnessdikaiosune –integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting

It has to do with being right with God through faith in Jesus, but it’s more than that.

It’s the kind of right living we ought to be pursuing.

How do we pursue righteousness???
Faith is trusting in God.  It’s counting on Him whether we see or understand what is happening.
Faith is what pleases God.

(Hebrews 11:6 NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

There are some things in life we will not be able to accomplish without growing in faith.

When a group of disciples could not cast a demon out of a boy,

(Matthew 17:19–20 NKJV) —19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

We need to be pursuing a deeper, stronger faith.

How does that happen?

This is agape love, a love that isn’t based upon an emotional feeling, but a commitment of the will to value another person.
This is the love Paul defined as:

(1 Corinthians 13:4–7 NLT) —4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Do those things sound like you?  Is this the kind of thing that defines your relationships?

This is the thing that Jesus said would show the world that we belong to Him.

(John 13:35 NKJV) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

How do we do this?

Paul might be talking about peace with God, or the kind of inner peace passes all understanding.
I think he’s probably talking about the peace we need to have with other people.

The words “pursue” and “peace” are used in other places to describe our relationships.

(Romans 14:19 NKJV) Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

(Hebrews 12:14 NKJV) Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

It’s not always easy to live in “peace” with other people.

How do we do this?

:22 with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart

How can we pursue those things mentioned above?


Not alone

When we “flee” lust and “pursue” these good things, we are not to do them alone.
In the early centuries of the Christian church there sprung up several movements where “holy men”, hermits, went out to the desert to live, trying to get away from the world in order to please God.

Oscar Wilde told this story:

The devil was once crossing the Libyan desert, and he came upon a spot where a number of small fiends were tormenting a holy hermit. The sainted man easily shook off their evil suggestions. The devil watched their failure, and then he stepped forward to give them a lesson. “What you do is too crude,” he said. “Permit me for one moment.” With that he whispered to the holy man, “Your brother has just been made bishop of Alexandria.” A scowl of malignant jealousy at once clouded the serene face of the hermit. “That,” said the devil to his imps, “is the way to bring a man down …”

- Gordon MacDonald, The Life That God Blesses, Nelson, 1994, p. 143.

You can’t get away from temptation by being alone.

In the early centuries another movement rose up where those wanting to live for God didn’t live alone, but in groups, away from the temptations of the world.  They developed “monasteries”.


Three-Year Argument

The monks at a remote monastery deep in the woods followed a rigid vow of silence. Their vow could only be broken once a year—on Christmas—by one monk. That monk could speak only one sentence. One Christmas, Brother Thomas had his turn to speak and said, “I love the delightful mashed potatoes we have every year with the Christmas roast!” Then he sat down. Silence ensued for 365 days. The next Christmas, Brother Michael got his turn and said, “I think the mashed potatoes are lumpy, and I truly despise them!” Once again, silence ensued for 365 days. The following Christmas, Brother Paul rose and said, “I am fed up with this constant bickering!”

God desires that we live in community with one another, but in sight of the world, even with it’s temptations.

(Matthew 5:16 NKJV) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

We need relationships with other brothers and sisters who will help us wrestle with the struggles of life.
To support us, comfort us, guide us, and even rebuke us when necessary.
(Proverbs 27:17 NKJV) As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

God wants us to help each other grow, to sharpen each other, to help each other become more effective.

In the New Testament, the phrase “one another” is a common one, describing how we are to act with each other.  I think these are some of the ways that we “sharpen” each other.
(Romans 12:10 NKJV) Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
(Romans 15:14 NKJV) Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
(1 Corinthians 12:25 NKJV) that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
(Galatians 5:13 NKJV) For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
(Galatians 6:2 NKJV) Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:2 NKJV) with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
(Ephesians 5:21 NKJV) submitting to one another in the fear of God.
(Colossians 3:9 NKJV) Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
(Hebrews 3:13 NKJV) but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
(Hebrews 10:24–25 NKJV) —24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
(James 5:16 NKJV) Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.