“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come…”
– 2 Timothy 3:1
Perilous times—that’s an appropriate description for 2020 (and it’s only June)!
Along with Timothy, we are warned that perilous times are coming. The word ‘perilous’ in the original language can be defined many different ways—difficult, dangerous, furious, hard to take, hard to bear, troublesome, harsh, fierce.
Yep, that sums up most of 2020 so far!
And yet…there is something comforting in this verse that can give us peace in dark times. Against the bleak backdrop of current events, there is a glimmer of hope we find here in this Scripture.
You see, in the midst of our mess, in the midst of our “mean time,” God is already speaking to us. God knew, and God knows…and God is able to strengthen our hands so that we can serve Him and represent Him faithfully and courageously here and now.
Watch our live stream replay and hear of the hope and peace that only God can provide in perilous times. Then, read ahead in 2 Timothy 4 in preparation for our time this coming Sunday. We’ll open up the live stream at 9:45am (CDT) for a brief time of fellowship before starting our study at 10am. If you'd like to participate in the chat feature, you'll need to view the live stream in YouTube and be logged in to your YouTube account so we can see who you are.
What an exciting time to be alive! How good has God been to us? He’s given us life and breath a heartbeat the hope of heaven…AND He’s given us the opportunity to serve and represent Him in the meantime.
Or is it the mean time?
It seems like the meantime has taken on a new meaning as insecurities are rising to the surface during this season of difficulty. People are scared and angry—fearful of losing everything. We see this anger and insecurity manifest in unnecessary meanness, unkindness, and roughness.
And yet…as a follower of Jesus (who endured such hostility and brutality from truly wicked men and yet responded in love) what are we to do? How then shall we live in this mean time?
As Jesus did—with love. Love that comes from eternal security. Love that is first patient, and then kind, and not arrogant…and not rude…and not easily angered. Love that suffers long. Love that goes the extra mile.
God’s word that says, “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all.” This is what Paul tells Timothy in the section of Scripture we looked at this past Sunday. Watch the replay of our live stream from Sunday. Then read ahead in 2 Timothy 3 for this Sunday! We’ll open up the live stream at 9:45am (CDT) for a brief time of fellowship before starting our study at 10am. If you'd like to participate in the chat feature, you'll need to view the live stream in YouTube and be logged in to your YouTube account so we can see who you are.
Remember Jesus. Consider Jesus. This will allow you to endure hardship honorably and represent Jesus well.
When times get tough and division is all around you, “consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:3). Remember Jesus and how He is kind to the unthankful and the evil. Remember that we are His followers and His representatives. Remember that we are His distributors of grace, mercy, and peace—especially to those who don’t deserve them. Remember to not become weary in doing good.
When we remember Jesus, we naturally stop doing and saying things that might undermine the faith of those who witness them. We stop striving. We stop fighting over words. Such arguments don’t do anybody any good and they only ruin those who hear—or read—them (2 Timothy 2:14). Remember Jesus, who endured such hostility from sinful men; who is kind to the unthankful and the evil; who daily pours out His grace, mercy, and peace upon us (who definitely don’t deserve it).
Please, dear friends—please be careful about quarreling over words.
Instead, let’s remember and return to the only words worth our time, energy, attention, and devotion—God’s Words. God’s Word, which is unshackled (according to the extremely shackled Apostle Paul). Think that through. Paul in a prison. Paul in isolation. Paul in chains says:
“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.” (2 Timothy 2:8-9)
The Word of God cannot be chained, shackled, bound, or imprisoned, no matter what happens.
Lift your eyes from the word of man and remember and return to The Word of God.
In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, the Apostle Paul writes, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
This past Sunday, we remembered Jesus, as Paul instructs us in 2 Timothy 2:8. We considered the work that God is doing right now in the unseen during this time of light affliction.
Paul was very familiar with suffering—yet he held on to the hope of heaven. How did he learn to have such grit and such grace in the face of such adverse circumstances? He remembered Jesus. It’s what enabled him to persevere and endure. It’s what he encouraged both Timothy and us to do in the midst of our light and momentary afflictions. It’s the memory of Jesus in our minds and the hope of Heaven in our hearts that gives us the strength to endure suffering while pointing others to Him.
Consider Him with us and watch the replay of our live stream from this past Sunday. Then read ahead for this Sunday! We’ll pick up starting in 2 Timothy 2:15 during our live stream this coming Sunday at 10am (CDT). If you'd like to participate in the chat feature, you'll need to view the live stream in YouTube and be logged in to your YouTube account so we can see who you are.
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
–2 Timothy 2:1
Without the first verse of the second chapter of 2 Timothy, we might read the following six verses as an exhortation aimed at Timothy. We might think that Paul points to three examples of how Timothy should be working harder, smarter, and better than he already is.
But that’s not what Paul is saying. Paul started with something altogether different. He started with an encouragement that would give Timothy so much more than an exhortation to work harder, smarter, better.
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Did you catch it? Grace. Paul starts with grace.
But what is “grace”? Grace has been defined as “God’s Righteousness At Christ’s Expense” (G.R.A.C.E.). It’s unmerited favor from God—but so much more! Grace is also God’s enabling agent to do what He calls us to do.
To quote the modern-day sage, Rocky Balboa: “It’s not about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward.”
This is why we need grace—we need God’s gift and ability to get back up again, and again, and again, and again. Because His grace is sufficient for any and every season—whether that be a season of suffering, a season of blessing, or anything in between.
Last week, we considered Paul’s exhortation to Timothy—and to us. Hold fast! Hold fast to faith, to love, to Jesus. Hold fast to what you know about God—especially in uncertain times. You’ll need to hold fast to endure this hardship—and the hardships that are coming.
As we begin 2 Timothy 2, Paul points to three different metaphors to encourage us as we hold fast and endure hardship: a good soldier of Jesus Christ, an athlete, and a hardworking farmer. Through these metaphors, Paul paints the picture of what it looks like to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
But what does it mean to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus? Watch the replay of our live stream from Sunday as we began our study of 2 Timothy chapter 2.
Read ahead for this Sunday! Read through, think through, and pray through 2 Timothy 2 in preparation for our live stream this coming Sunday at 10am (CDT) on our YouTube channel. If you'd like to participate in the chat feature, you'll need to view the live stream in YouTube and be logged in to your YouTube account so we can see who you are.
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
–2 Timothy 1:13-14
What are the wind and the waves in your life right now? What is tossing you around? What has been trying to knock the knowledge of the goodness of God out of your grasp?
Whatever it is, hold fast, dear friend! Hold fast to what you know about God. Hold fast to faith. Hold fast to love.
The wind and the waves of trials, difficulties, and discouragements are trying to knock faith and love out of your grip. These days of uncertainty are tempting you to let go of and walk away from what was committed and entrusted to you.
But you have Jesus—and Jesus has you! Hold fast to Him! He is the faithful Shepherd and He will lead us through this valley and the many valleys that are to come. What difficulties are you going through right now? God is training you, teaching you how to hold fast now and for the next difficulty ahead of you. Training for something much worse? No! For something so much more glorious—an opportunity to glorify God! When we hold fast to faith, when we hold fast to love, when we supernaturally keep our composure in the midst of difficult days, God is glorified! And that is what you were made for—to glorify God.
In the strength of the Spirit, hold fast to faith. Hold fast to love. Hold fast to Jesus!
Life is messy. But Jesus is real. These are truths we’ve been discussing during our study of 2 Timothy. Life this side of eternity is full of curve balls, blindsides, twists, and turns. These circumstances can loosen our grip, mess with our grit, and weaken our resolve. What are we to do?
Follow Paul’s advice to Timothy.
You see, life was messy for Timothy, too. There was the ever-present threat of persecution. One more Sunday for Pastor Timothy was one more reason for the Romans to come for him, his family, and his friends.
Paul knew the circumstances Timothy was facing. He also knew Timothy. So in this second letter, Paul reminded Timothy that he was no longer an immature believer. He encouraged Timothy to hold fast (2 Timothy 1:13).
Hold fast is such a strong, active phrase! It paints the picture of what to do when something or someone is trying to take away something of value from us.
The wind and the waves will try to pry what’s precious from us, but we can choose to hold fast.
But hold fast to what? That’s what we considered in our time together studying 1 Timothy 1:13-14.
Watch the replay of our live stream and be encouraged by the strength that Jesus gives us to hold fast.
Read ahead for this Sunday! Read through, think through, and pray through 2 Timothy 2:1-7 in preparation for our live stream this coming Sunday. If you'd like to participate in the chat feature, you'll need to view the live stream in YouTube and be logged in to your YouTube account so we can see who you are.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends