2 Timothy (Part 14)

8. The ministry is likened to an athletic contest. v.5. A. Mastery: “The state or condition of being master, controller or ruler; authority, sway, dominion; an instance of this. 2. Superiority or ascendancy in competition or strife; 'upper-hand'; victory...” B. God has ordained the minister as the ruler (under Christ) of the church. HEB 13:7, 17; 1TH 5:12-13. (1) This is a crown which must be achieved lawfully. (2) Achieving such preeminence by carnal means invites judgment. ACT 8:18-20. (3) Grasping for offices unlawfully is the gainsaying of Korah. NUM 16:1-3. (4) Having the high podium also means one is the easiest target. JAM 3:1. C. The minister strives to win souls. 1CO 9:19-27 c/w PRO 11:30. (1) Converted souls are a crown to be achieved. 1TH 2:19; PHIL 4:1. (2) This demands that the minister gain the mastery of himself. 1CO 9:25. a. Temperate: “Of persons, their conduct, practices, etc.: Keeping due measure, self-restrained, moderate....” b. “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself...” (ROM 2:21)? (3) For a minister to truly achieve the objective he MUST strive according to the rules, i.e., lawfully. 1TH 2:3-4. (4) Souls are not to be gained by compromising the law of God! (5) Such instruction may also apply to any Christian who is striving to be an effective witness for Christ. PHIL 2:15-16; 1PE 3:15-16. 9. The ministry is likened to husbandry. v.6. A. He who LABOURS has the first right to the fruit of such labours. HEB 6:7. B. A minister should not expect fruit without labour. PRO 13:4. C. A minister must labour patiently for the fruit; he should not count on instant results. JAM 5:7; MAR 4:26-29. D. This instruction applies generally to Christians who must also labour patiently in sowing righteousness. HEB 6:10-12; GAL 6:7-9; HEB 12:1. vs.7-10. 1. “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (v.7). A. Consider: “To view or contemplate attentively, to survey, examine, inspect, scrutinize.” (1) Paul obviously did not intend that Timothy take his words lightly. a. He used similar wording when he instructed believers to “...consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (HEB 3:1). b. Ministers-in-training or inexperienced ministers ought to give due consideration to what their ministerial fathers have said. 2TI 3:14; TIT 1:9. (2) Paul was actually encouraging Timothy to scrutinize his words. a. There is a certain nobility in scrutinizing what one hears. ACT 17:11; 1TH 5:21. b. The truth and honest people can withstand scrutiny and therefore need neither secrecy nor a smokescreen of ambiguities. i. Christ spoke openly. JOH 18:20. ii. Paul renounced (gave up, resigned, surrendered) crafty and deceptive teaching in favor of openness, plainness and clarity. 2CO 4:2 c/w 2CO 1:13; 3:12. iii. It is deceptions and deceivers that avoid light. JOH 3:20-21; EPH 5:11-13. iv. “Corruption in doctrine works best when it is unfettered by any explicit statement of that doctrine. Error loves ambiguities. It does not desire to state its position clearly, either because it has no distinct position to state, or if stated, it would stand convicted of iniquities in the eyes of all honest and God fearing men.” (Martin L. Wagner; Freemasonry, An Interpretation) c. There is scrutiny, and then there is scrutiny. LUK 20:20. B. “...and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” (1) This is a prayer for another's understanding. c/w EPH 1:16-18. (2) The Lord gives understanding. Apart from this, one may continually learn and yet not achieve understanding. 2TI 3:7. a. Understanding (of spiritual things) depends on one being “of God,” i.e., born again with a new heart and nature capable of understanding. JOH 8:42-47; 1CO 1:18; 2:14. b. Being born again enables one to understand. But the regenerate man must be illuminated by God for that ability to be fruitful. LUK 24:45; EPH 1:17-18. c. God provides light to the upright. PSA 97:11; JAM 1:5-6. d. God withholds light from the disobedient. JER 13:16. (3) Mind that Paul says, “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding...” Due consideration of Paul's words especially promotes understanding. EPH 3:1-4. C. It is the believer's part to consider God's word (PSA 119:95) and it is God's part to give the understanding.
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