RETAIN THE STANDARD OF SOUND WORDS

2 Timothy 1:13 – Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard of me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

Words are about as important as anything can be. Words form the basis of communication, understanding, and being able to successfully move forward toward a goal. There are many kinds of words spoken among people. There are foolish words, silly words, and meaningless words. There are sound words, educated words, and eternal words. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). It is a worthwhile activity to go through the Book of Proverbs and study all that Solomon writes concerning words.

Paul encourages Timothy, a spokesperson for Paul and called of God, to “retain the standard of sound words” (emphasis mine). When under pressure, it is easy to speak from our emotions rather than sound, well-thought-through words. Timothy was under pressure as Paul’s deputy to the church at Ephesus. Timothy felt pressure because he was young and correcting older individuals (1 Timothy 4:12).  He felt pressure because many were “teaching strange doctrines, myths, and endless genealogies” (1Timothy 1:3-4).

There has never been a day like the one in which we live. It is a day of many words from so many people. There are words coming from books, magazines, cable TV, satellites, videos, and talk radio. Consider the diversity of the Internet, such as YouTube, Facebook, Tweeter and the like. As we read, watch, and listen, we must take Paul’s counsel to Timothy seriously, “retain the standard of sound words.” This standard, of which Paul speaks, is a standard that begins with the “Word of God.” All truth is eternal! Jesus declares, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). What Jesus spoke in Matthew 24 came to pass in 70 AD in the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. Throughout His ministry, He gave God’s people, Israel, “sound words.” Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostles gave to mankind the writings of the New Testament.

Western civilization has much of its foundation laid in the writings of the Scripture. The educational system of America was originally grounded in the words of the Bible. Noah Webster, the Father of American Christian education, wrote the first American dictionary and established a system of rules to govern spelling, grammar, and reading. This master linguist understood the power of words, their definitions, and the need for precise word usage in communication to maintain independence. Webster used the Bible as the foundation for his definitions.  

Father, I ask that You help me retain the standard of sound words. Give me an increased love for the Word of God. Holy Spirit, direct my thinking and my words to line up with the eternal truths revealed in Scripture. I ask to be used to help others in their thinking and their speaking as well.

RETAIN THE STANDARD OF SOUND WORDS

2 Timothy 1:13 – Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard of me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

Words are about as important as anything can be. Words form the basis of communication, understanding, and being able to successfully move forward toward a goal. There are many kinds of words spoken among people. There are foolish words, silly words, and meaningless words. There are sound words, educated words, and eternal words. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). It is a worthwhile activity to go through the Book of Proverbs and study all that Solomon writes concerning words.

Paul encourages Timothy, a spokesperson for Paul and called of God, to “retain the standard of sound words” (emphasis mine). When under pressure, it is easy to speak from our emotions rather than sound, well-thought-through words. Timothy was under pressure as Paul’s deputy to the church at Ephesus. Timothy felt pressure because he was young and correcting older individuals (1 Timothy 4:12).  He felt pressure because many were “teaching strange doctrines, myths, and endless genealogies” (1Timothy 1:3-4).

There has never been a day like the one in which we live. It is a day of many words from so many people. There are words coming from books, magazines, cable TV, satellites, videos, and talk radio. Consider the diversity of the Internet, such as YouTube, Facebook, Tweeter and the like. As we read, watch, and listen, we must take Paul’s counsel to Timothy seriously, “retain the standard of sound words.” This standard, of which Paul speaks, is a standard that begins with the “Word of God.” All truth is eternal! Jesus declares, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). What Jesus spoke in Matthew 24 came to pass in 70 AD in the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. Throughout His ministry, He gave God’s people, Israel, “sound words.” Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostles gave to mankind the writings of the New Testament.

Western civilization has much of its foundation laid in the writings of the Scripture. The educational system of America was originally grounded in the words of the Bible. Noah Webster, the Father of American Christian education, wrote the first American dictionary and established a system of rules to govern spelling, grammar, and reading. This master linguist understood the power of words, their definitions, and the need for precise word usage in communication to maintain independence. Webster used the Bible as the foundation for his definitions.  

Father, I ask that You help me retain the standard of sound words. Give me an increased love for the Word of God. Holy Spirit, direct my thinking and my words to line up with the eternal truths revealed in Scripture. I ask to be used to help others in their thinking and their speaking as well.

I AM NOT ASHAMED

2 Timothy 1:12 – For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

Paul, more than most, knew the sufferings of Christ. Jesus had brought Paul from being one of the chief persecutors of His church, to one of the most persecuted for the gospel’s sake. Paul, who had been known as Saul, encountered the “Living Christ” on his way to put the Disciples of Christ in jail at Damascus (Acts 9:1-9). On the Damascus road, his life was suddenly interrupted by the King of the entire creation. The Lord Jesus Christ had only one question for Saul, “Why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4).

Acts 9:15 tells us, Jesus sent Ananias to Saul to give him instructions saying, “He is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Saul, whose name was changed to Paul, was appointed by Jesus to suffer for His name’s sake. Suffering is part of the normal Christian experience. We are called to make up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ. “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Colossians 1:24). Paul identifies with the sufferings of Christ to the point that he sees his sufferings as part of being a member of Christ’s body.

When we suffer affliction for Christ’s sake, we are partakers with Him in suffering. In eternity, our suffering will become part of His glory that is to be revealed. Paul said, “I rejoice in my sufferings.” Do we have an attitude of “rejoicing” when we suffer for Jesus? It is hard to imagine the sufferings that some believers have experienced for Christ’s sake. In contemporary Christianity there is still a great deal of suffering. Those believers that live under communism have suffered a great deal. Those in Islamic lands have unimaginable hardships because they are identified with Christ. I think of committed Christians seeking a University Education who are persecuted by the proponents of Secular Humanism.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). “Just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5). When we go through sufferings, let us be reminded of all those who have suffered before us. I choose to trust in Christ when suffering, knowing it does not compare to the “glory” God has planned for us.

Thank You Father, for “abundant comfort” that You have promised through Christ, when we experience “abundant sufferings.” My hope is steadfast in You and all Your promises. I am not ashamed of all You have done on my behalf.

I WAS APPOINTED A PREACHER

2 Timothy 1:11-12 – I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.

Paul is instructing a young minister named Timothy. Previously Paul had taught Timothy to not be ashamed of his testimony of Christ or of Paul who was totally dedicated to Christ through his sufferings. Paul states, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:9).

We are included in the “us” to which Paul is referring. Jesus saved you and me. Jesus called you and me with a holy calling. That means we have been separated to God’s eternal purposes and His grace. Relax, for only in Christ Jesus can we accomplish what God wants done. Paul realizes he was “appointed.” Timothy was being reminded by Paul that he too had been appointed. The Scriptures remind us as well of our appointment. Paul and Timothy took responsibility for their appointment. We too must take responsibility for His assignment in our lives. This is done through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul further tells Timothy, “By the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). Every revelation we receive from God comes as a result of what Jesus did through His earthly ministry. Faith tells us that death has been abolished. Faith tells us that life and immortality have been granted. Faith operates because of the light which came through the gospel. Paul, in verse 11 says, “I have been made a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.” Paul is describing that he was called in three specific areas of the gospel. First, he was called to proclaim the good news (Romans 10:14). Secondly, as an apostle, Paul is a builder. “According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11).  Finally, Paul is called as a teacher. “For this I was appointed . . . as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth (1 Timothy 2:7).

We, as Paul, need to know what God has called us to in the body of Christ. We all have a responsibility to proclaim the good news. We are to be a consistent witness to others daily. We are all called to build our lives upon the Lord Jesus Christ. We are then to help others build strong Christian lives. Finally, we need to know God’s Word and be available to instruct others in the admonition of the Scriptures.

Father, I ask for divine appointments to share with others Your eternal truths.

HE WAS RECEIVED UP INTO HEAVEN

Mark 16:19 – When the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere.

Jesus prepared His disciples for three and a half years. He gave them some final instructions and then was “received up into heaven” to be seated next to His Father. Please notice that Jesus was “received.” As believers, we have been received as well. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).  Both Jesus and His Father had worked (John 5:17). Now it was time for the disciples to go to work. Our work must come out of what the Father and the Son have done. It comes from their resting position, seated in heaven.

The “Work” is finished, but as His disciples, we are cleaning up the mess in the lives of those for whom Jesus died and rose again. We are His “workers”! The starting point for our work is to be His witnesses. “You will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 15:27). It started with the apostles testifying of the Lord’s finished work for Israel. Paul took the message to the Gentiles as a result of the revelation that God had extended salvation to all peoples in the earth. We have received the “witness” of the apostles if we have put our faith in God’s finished work in Christ Jesus, the Lord. We not only have received salvation, but are on assignment to declare to others that, Christ is alive and He reigns over the nations.

Receiving the Lord implies a sense of responsibility. His salvation is free in the sense that God purchased us with the shed blood of His Son. Jesus freely gave His life for the sins of the world. In receiving God’s salvation, we are submitting ourselves to His authority over our lives. He is now our King! His mandate to the apostles now applies to us, “Go” into the entire world.  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). The Gospel of Mark says they “preached everywhere” (Mark 16:19).

Father, I thank You for my salvation in Christ Jesus. Help me to be faithful in my responsibility to share with others what You have accomplished through Your Son. Thank You for the authority I have received because of Your finished work. I commit myself to finish the work You have called me to accomplish. I rest in Your power and not my own strength!