There are so many lessons we can learn from this passage, 2 Timothy 1:8-18. Let’s go!
2 Timothy 1:8 (NIV) 8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
Verse 8: In Paul’s time it was politically incorrect to be a Christian, so much so that identifying yourself as a Christian was to invite serious persecution, even execution. Under these circumstances, a much more worldly father would tell his son, “Take the easy way out. Don’t identify yourself as a Christian if it will risk your security and safety.” But Paul does not do that. Rather, Paul tells Timothy, his dear son in the faith, not to be ashamed of his faith in Jesus, to live for Jesus whatever the cost.
What can we learn from this?
1. Live for Jesus whatever the cost, even if it’s not politically correct, even if it means you’ll be persecuted. Better to have Jesus than to gain the world and lose your soul.
2. If you’re leading people younger than you (that includes parents, church leaders, teachers, among others), ask yourself: what kind of values are you teaching the kids you’re leading? Are you teaching them that Jesus is most important above all things, or are you teaching them that something other than Jesus is more important? Take care to teach those younger than you right values consistent with the Bible, the biggest one being that Jesus is more important than anything or anyone else in life.
2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV) 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
On verse 9: Even before the beginning of time, it was always God’s plan to save us. In particular, we learn from this verse that God saves us:
– through Jesus Christ‘s death and resurrection.
– by His grace — that is, it’s not something we could earn or work for.
– not so that we could go on our merry way and live whatever way we want, but so that we could live a holy life, a life that is pleasing to God.
2 Timothy 1:10 (NIV) 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
On verses 10: Like Paul, when you know that Jesus Christ has destroyed death (v10) and has made life and immortality possible for us, there is no more need to fear death. Like Paul, we can face death with confidence, knowing that death is just a doorway to the rest of our lives and the best of our lives, a life in heaven with Christ.
2 Timothy 1:11 (NIV) 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.
On verse 11: Paul did not choose to be a herald (i.e. a messenger), an apostle (a planter of churches), and a teacher of the Gospel. He was chosen.
Similarly, while the world will tell you that you can be whatever you choose to be, the fact is that God has a calling on your life. You’ve been chosen for His purposes. God’s call on your life is that you would live to worship Jesus, to grow more like Him, to serve Him with your talents, to lead others to Him, and to love His family (in other words, as we say at THRIVE, you’ve been called to live AEIOU). That’s why God made you and chose you.
2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV) 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
On verse 12: Christianity is not mainly about what you believe, but whom you believe. Christianity is not mainly about intellectually agreeing with certain abstract ideas. It’s about a relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s more about “Who” then “what”.
2 Timothy 1:13 (NIV) 13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
On verse 13: Just as Paul told Timothy in verse 13, let’s imitate the good things — the sound teaching, the faith, the love — that our pastors and other godly leaders have shown us. God places pastors and other godly leaders in your life not so that you can be entertained, or informed, but so that you would have someone tangible to follow and imitate as you follow Christ together.
2 Timothy 1:14 (NIV) 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
On verse 14: What “good deposit” is Paul referring to? Paul is referring to the sound teaching, faith and love that God gave Timothy through Paul. Similarly, we are to guard the good deposit of sound teaching, faith and love we have received from our pastors and other God-given leaders. Elsewhere Paul describes the Holy Spirit also as a deposit that God places in and entrusts to us. But here the Holy Spirit is described more like a holy security guard, living in you, guiding you to guard the teaching, faith and love God has given to you. Work with the Holy Spirit to guard this good deposit that is in you.
2 Timothy 1:15-18 (NIV) 15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.
On verses 15-18: Some of Paul’s teammates, like Phygelus and Hermogenes, deserted him. Others, like Onesiphorus, went out of their way to stay loyal and close to Paul. Paul was obviously hurt by those who deserted him, but he chose to focus more on the ones who stayed by his side. In fact, while one verse talks about those who deserted Paul (v15), the next three verses talk about the one who never left him (v16-18). (Let that be a hint that your thankfulness should be at least 3 times more than your complaining!)
What can we learn from this?
1. Focus more on the things that encourage you and comfort you than the things that frustrate you and hurt you. As Paul talks about elsewhere (like Philippians 4:8), focus on the good. You’ll be much happier, wiser, and more of a blessing to others that way.
2. Sometimes people whom we thought would never leave will end up leaving us, but praise God that He will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus is our faithful friend forever.
(By the way, don’t Phygelus, Hermogenes and Onesiphorus sound like dinosaur names? “Look at the size of that Onesiphorus! Watch it eat that stegosaurus!”)
Lord Jesus, thank You for being our faithful friend who never leaves us or forsakes us, the One who is loyal to the end. Even more that, thank You for defeating death for us and for saving us by Your undeserved grace. Holy Spirit, please fill me and help me to guard the good deposit You have placed in me — the sound teaching, the faith and love that I’ve received from You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!