Evening Bible Study
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
These are Paul’s final written words, instructions to Timothy, his “next
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
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.
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
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
The “seal” is the mark of authenticity.
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.”
depart – aphistemi – 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
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”
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
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 …
It is “inconceivable” that a person who claims to know Jesus would not be
turning from sin. And I know what that
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
Yet if He is truly at work in us, He will be nudging us further and further
: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.
: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
In a wealthy person’s house, there will be all sorts of containers and
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
:21 if anyone cleanses himself from the latter
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.
:21 a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful
useful – euchrestos (“good” + “useful”) – easy to make use
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.
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
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
-- 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
When Paul says “also”, I think he’s tying this to the previous verse of
learning to cleanse ourselves from things of “dishonor”.
flee – pheugo (“fugitive”) – to flee away, seek
safety by flight; metaph. to flee (to shun or avoid by flight) something
This isn’t fleeing out of cowardice, but fleeing
It’s used by Jesus to in regards to what to do
when the antichrist shows up:
NKJV) “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
It’s a healthy “running” from danger.
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
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.
Paul tells Timothy to flee “youthful lusts”.
How do I “flee” youthful lusts?
Recognize the evil thought and ask God for help.
Take every thought captive.
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.
Turn your eyes to look somewhere else
31:1 NKJV) “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young
Sometimes the temptation comes by way of something you see
– like the billboards on the freeways of life.
Learn to look somewhere else.
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.
Paul wrote to the 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
pursue – dioko – to make to run or flee; to run
swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run
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”.
But here Paul isn’t describing someone pursuing you to harm you, but we are
the “bear”, and should be pursuing these good things.
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.
righteousness – dikaiosune –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.
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
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
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
This is the love Paul defined as:
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
Do those things sound like you? Is this the kind of thing that defines your
This is the thing that Jesus said would show the world that we belong to
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
The words “pursue” and “peace” are used in other places to
describe our relationships.
14:19 NKJV) Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and
the things by which one may edify another.
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?
When we “flee” lust and “pursue” these good things, we are not to do them
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.
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 …”
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”.
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.
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.
NKJV) As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of
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)
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.
12:25 NKJV) that there should be no schism in the body, but that the
members should have the same care for one another.
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.
NKJV) Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
NKJV) with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with
one another in love,
NKJV) submitting to one another in the fear of God.
NKJV) Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with
(Hebrews 3:13 NKJV)
exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be
hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
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.