Posts Tagged ‘Apostle Paul’


As I look ahead to 2013, I was reminded of something I wrote in March of 2011:

Will You Go Outside the Camp?

My question is, if Christ delays his return another two hundred years – a mere fraction of a day in his reckoning – which of you will have suffered and died so that the triumphs of grace will be told about one or two of those 3,500 peoples who are in the same condition today that the Karen and Chin and Kachins and Burmese were in 1813? Who will labor so long and so hard and so perseveringly that in two hundred years there will be two million Christians in many of the 10/40-window peoples who can scarcely recall their Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist roots?

May God use his powerful word and the life of Adoniram Judson to stir many of you to give your lives to this great cause!

We must keep advancing to Him, to His altar which is outside the camp!

self interest christianity The entire essay is here

Too Much Self-Interest

It was that essay which worked in me a desire for real growth among the Christians I Pastor and minister to. I see too much self-interest among the Christians of America. Ministries are self-focused. Growth is selective and selfish. Even our attempts to “sacrifice for the sake of Christ” are mis-guided trips of self-piety. We have so much, that our ide of sacrifice means an entirely different thing than to Christian refugees in Africa (for example). Sacrifice to many in the world is not “sacrifice,” it is the way they live. Running water? Nice carpet in the house? No, they are used to getting their water from a well or a pump station. Their floors are compacted dirt. They aren’t sacrificing, they are living! This brings me to consider what true ministry should involve, what my ministry should be in 2013.

Paul’s Philosophy of Ministry

what-are-you-willing-to-sacrificeAs I look toward 2013, I am reminded of Paul’s philosophy of ministry. In 2 Corinthians 12:15 he states: “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” Paul never considered how His message was going to affect the big givers, the successful businessmen, or the rich widows. He never worried about tweaking his ministry to achieve maximum community impact. His ministry was all about wasting himself for the souls of others. Paul gave and gave and gave for the souls of those he ministered to. He did not consider his income requirements, mileage reimbursements or housing allowance. He did not worry about funding for his missionary trips. He was not on the look out for a larger church where he could have a more visible ministry.

The Budget of the Empty Pocket

spend and be spentPaul was always on the lookout for ways in which he could use his talents and resources to save and build up the souls of others. Cost was no object. Inconvenience, sickness, lack of sleep, imprisonment, whatever the cost, Paul could not wait to pay it! The only budget that Paul knew was that of his empty pocket. If he still had money in it, he had not done enough. When it came to Paul’s philosophy of ministry, it was nothing about his interests or comfort. He held on to nothing and held nothing back. He gave everything up! He continued to explain in 2 Corinthians 12:19: “it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking (ministering) in Christ, and all for your up-building, beloved.”

Ministry is Not a “Sacrifice…”

adoniram-judson-missionary-1-GoodSalt-prcas4999Men like Adoniram Judson and the Apostle Paul did not consider their ministry a “sacrifice.” They did not go on missionary trips so they could learn to appreciate what they had, or experience what the world was like. Their ministry simply reflected their love for Jesus and love for the souls of men.

If you think Ministry is a “Sacrifice”, you haven’t been ministering

The world looks at their lives and says “what a waste!” They looked back on their lives and thought, “I wish I could have given more!” When you get to the place where your life no longer matters, then and only then are you really able to minister to others in the Power of Jesus Christ. If you are still thinking “O what a sacrifice this is,” you haven’t really been ministering to others. You have simply been pleasing yourself. There is no sacrifice to the one who has experienced the crucifixion of the Cross. One who has been crucified for Christ is dead. This life and it’s comforts no longer matter. There is only the desire to reach the souls of people who are perishing or struggling with life. One who has been crucified keeps his eyes on the Savior, for nothing else matters. What worse can happen? Jesus spent everything, so why should we hold on to anything?

Hannah Discovered True Worship

Hannah-prayerHannah had prayed and stressed about having her own baby for years. God finally gave her a baby boy, Samuel. She could now hold in her arms her own baby boy. He was the realization of every longing of her heart and soul. How she held him tight to her breast. As he toddled about, what joy she felt as he grew and explored. When he first said “mommy!” her heart melted! Yet Hannah did the inconceivable. She gave her little boy Samuel to the Lord. No longer would she tuck him in at night. No longer would he call for her when a storm woke him up. She took him to the Temple to be raised by the High Priest. He was only 3 or 4, freshly weaned. I can see the tears pouring down her face as she walked away, hearing the cries of her baby boy, seeing his outstretched arms as he cried out “Mommy, Mommy!”

hannah-6hanna mother childWas this a sacrifice for Hannah? No! This was her simple worship to God. For 1 Samuel 1:28 says “and they worshiped the Lord there.” Instead of sorrowing over her brave “sacrifice,” Hannah worshiped God! Only when our dearest possession can be freely given to God without thought of the sacrifice or loss will we know True WORSHIP! Worship always follows in the shadow of the Cross! At the Cross God is All and in all! When we are crucified at the Cross of Christ, all that we hold dear falls from our hands, and our focus turns to God! That is true Worship! True Worship leads us to spend and be spent on behalf of the souls of others!

There is no more thought of sacrifice, for we have already given everything up to God at the Cross!spend and be spent selfless service

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2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

The Christian life centers around the Cross of Christ. The Cross is the wisdom and power of God. The Cross and what it provides for us is to be the center of our worship. The Cross accomplished the three delights of God, his Love, His Justice and His Righteousness. We have read in His Word and sang of the overwhelming Love that we have through the forgiveness granted at the Cross.

Now through the Word we apply the justice of God to our lives in the Truth of Jeus Christ. Through the Cross we have been given new natures, with soft hearts, receptive to the Word of God taking root and transforming us into the design and Justice that God desires.

This morning the Justice of the Cross takes us to 2 Timothy 3.

Chapter One-The Power of God in View

So far in our look at Biblical Discipleship, we have seen in chapter one that the Disciple must always have the power of God in view. This is a supernatural work, not a work of human design or wisdom. Only God’s Power is sufficient to transform a sinner into a saint!

Our salvation, our ministry, our service and our discipleship is all from a position of God’s Power at work in us!

In chapter two we saw that even though the power is of God, the responsibility lies with us. We are partners with God in the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ. We are partners with Him and that partnership requires a Holy view of His Word. His Word is nothing profane or common, but it is the power of God to salvation!

Chapter Two-The Responsibilities of a Disciple are in view.

Six Pictures of a Disciple in 2 Timothy Two

(1) A Soldier (vv.3-4)

(2) An Athlete (v.5)

(3) A Farmer (v.6)

(4) A Workman (v.15)

(5) A Vessel (v.21)

(6) A Servant (v.24).

In 2nd Timothy Three, we see the Burden of Paul that drove him to make disciples, and to grow disciple makers.

I. The Problem that drove Paul

Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (times of difficulty)

Chalepós was used in Matthew 8:28 to describe two demon-possessed men. They were so “fierce” or “difficult” that you could not pass them without an armed escort.

Matthew 8:28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.

These “Last Days” will be difficult times. You will need an armed escort to survive. That armed escort is the disciple who knows how to handle the Word of Truth!

Truly, we are experiencing difficult, stressful and grievous times. The world economy is perilous, crimes seem to be more and more horrible, nations fighting, families are threatened, our private lives are spied on, and there is an increase in stress that is unprecedented.

Despite all the material comforts, many have no true and lasting peace and joy in their hearts. They are filled with worry and uncertainty, not knowing what may happen to them and to their jobs tomorrow, not to mention the stress they suffer from work, the difficult and grievous times they encounter due to the broken relationship with their friends or their loved ones. Why?

Because the church has become man-centered. This is what Paul saw for the future…

People, pastors, church leaders would become “swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

Lovers of a comfortable gospel will never be true disciples.

The key reason is due to the self-centered heart and lifestyle of human beings.

Paul refers to “silly women” “burdened by sin” with “diverse lusts.” This happened because…

1. The man of the house has neglected his responsibility to protect his family.

2. The truth of God’s Word has no power to cleanse sin, because the man denies its power in his life.

3. Because the man has neglected his responsibilities, his household is immature and subject to immature and wrong passions.

When you become self-centered to the point that God’s Word has no power to cleanse and grow you into Christ, your household will suffer. The church will suffer. There are people whose intent is to destroy the Kingdom of God. This is from the very heart of Satan.

What makes these destroyers so dangerous, is that they make sense. They sound rational, they present such convincing knowledge, that they must be speaking the truth. But if you know the power of the Word, and the power of the Cross is at work in your life, you will know that their message is opposed to the Truth of Christ, and they are corrupted in their thinking (not yielded and transformed) and as a result they are disqualified from the faith. The word is “ADOKIMOS”

They devalued the word of God to a position below their own wisdom. As a result, the Life of Christ is devalued, and future families are destroyed.

II.  The Promise that consumed Paul

2 Timothy 3:10-15 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

A. Paul was consumed with the Word of God.

  • His teaching, conduct, aim in life was all centered upon Jesus Christ.
  • Even his sufferings were because he was consumed with Christ

B. Paul tells us there are two promises the consume Him

(1) Everyone who desires to live a godly life will be persecuted.

(2) These scriptures will make you wise for salvation-vs 15

Evil imposters will go on from bad to worse. They will deceive and be deceived

This is why we must continue in this Word! The Word of God coupled with a Living relationship with Jesus Christ is our salvation from this evil world, from these perilous times and from evil men.

The wisdom  of the Scriptures contrasts with the folly of man’s wisdom as seen in verse nine!

This is the Promise that must consume our lives!

III. The Power that propelled Paul

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Paul had a tremendous belief in the Word of God[1]. This was no mere book to be studied and admired. These words are God-breathed. They are the very breath of God for your life. When you pick this Bible up, open its pages and begin to read, the very breath of God is falling upon your neck, upon your heart, upon your life.

God breathed into a lifeless lump of clay and it became Adam. When you allow this Word to breath upon your heart and soul, it will impart the very Life of God to you. If it fails to bring Life to you, it is not God’s fault. He is Life! His Word will always be life! You simply fail to believe. You let your doubts possess you.

You need to let the Word of God possess you! Wake up and feel the breath of God upon your soul! Wake up and feel the Power of this Word for Life, for God’s presence!

This Word is profitable

This breath of God teaches (instructs) you how to live in this ungodly world. This breath of God teaches you how to have peace and strength in perilous times. This breath of God teaches you how to protect your family from evil men, from the philosophies of the world that destroy families. This breath of God is the Power to lve in triumph over circumstances!

This breath of God reproves. Not only does the breath of God convict our heart, but it shines His truth upon our spirit and soul, and paints a picture of the wrong path we are on. This is the image of Paul on the Damascus road, seeing Jesus, seeing how he was persecuting Him

This breath corrects. The picture is of setting us straight! It sets us on the right course, the course of His design! God breathes upon us when we are off course, when we are not following His design! This Word is powerful to establishing you firmly upon Christ, making you a rock that can never be moved! This is why I am convinced of the need of brokenness in our lives. When God has broken you because of your mistake, or your going along a wrong path, and you respond with repentance and humility to His correcting breath, from that time on, you will always be looking for His breath, submitting to His breath, yielding to the slightest whisper!

This breath trains (chastens). This is the same Greek word in Hebrews 12:5-9. The picture is one of a Father who trains his young son through exercises, discipline and even punishment. The goal of all that happens growth into God’s Righteousness. The truth is that our righteousness is already in Christ, and available for our lives. However, this world pulls at us and gets us out of Christ. We are pulled into self-reliance, self-centeredness, away from resting in Christ. This Word is designed to breath upon our heart and life and chasten us to center our lives upon Christ and His righteousness!

Hebrews 12:5-9 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

The Man of the Word is the Man of God

1. Competent – artios

Complete, sufficient, completely qualified. Pictures a man who is complete because all his being (body soul and spirit) are whole, in balance and are what they are supposed to be, so that man can serve God’s destined purpose[2]

2. Fully Equipped – exartizo

An intensive form of competent. The picture being that not only is the Man of the Word all together and complete and fully qualified to achieve God’s purpose for his life, but He complete to the extent he is thoroughly outfitted to do the job[3]!

to put in appropriate condition. To complete entirely, spoken of time (Acts 21:5); to furnish or fit completely (2 Tim. 3:17). In this last text, the use of exartízō and its root, ártios, appears redundant but actually conveys a subtle nuance. Paul states that inspired Scripture can make the man of God ártios, competent, proficient, adept or capable. This is followed by a subordinate clause containing the perf. pass. part. of exartízō which is not simply an intens. form of ártios, as though Paul were saying, “that the man of God may be competent having been made very competent” (a.t.). Rather, exartízō means to equip, outfit, furnish

The Word of God transforms you internally into the Justice (Design) of God and works that outwardly in the Righteousness of God, making you a mighty man of God (from the inside out)

Are you a man or woman of the Word? Are you competent and complete in your Christian walk? Are you fully equipped for victory in your Christian walk?

Perhaps you should make a decision before the Cross this morning, dedicating your life to God’s Justice, asking Him to freely work His justice in your life.

We come once again before our King, declaring our devotion to Him and to His Word. We believe the power of His Word to change our lives, to renew our spirit, to direct our soul and free our body from the law of sin!

Now let us see His proclamation for us to follow this week

IV.  The Proclamation for Each of us as we LIVE

2 Timothy 4:1-8 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

1. Proclaim the Word as a man of the Word.

As it breathes on you, breath it on others. Realize you don’t do it all the time, but like it says, be ready!

2. Make it fully known to all that you serve Jesus Christ.

If Christ is your life, He will be visible to everyone around you.

3. Be willing to be poured out.

Remember Mary, who poured out her inheritance, her hopes, her dreams, her future to anoint the head and feet of Jesus. Never fear the waste of sacrifice for Him. It may be a waste to the world, but to Him it will be remembered for all eternity

4. Live your life in full view of the Righteous Judge.

You will receive a reward. You will discover that it is worth it to diligently seek God. It is worth it to have your life consumed for the Word of God. Never become so involved with this life that you do not want Him to come! Be so in love with Christ that you are anticipating His return!


[1] “All Scripture is God-inspired,” not only the Old Testament, in which alone Timothy was taught when a child (2Ti 3:15), but the New Testament books according as they were recognized in the churches which had men gifted with “discerning of spirits,” and so able to distinguish really inspired utterances, persons, and so their writings from spurious. Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, (Toledo, OH: Jerome B. Names & Co., 1884), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2 TIMOTHY”.

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ἄρτιος”

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ἐξαρτίζω


1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

KJV “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy”

The Importance of the Charge

Paul has a charge (a set of commands) that he commits to his dear son Timothy. Picture the scene of a movie where the father is dying and his son is at his side, and the father looks into his eyes and says, son, this cross belonged to your grandfather, he wore it into battle at Normandy. He died there on the battlefield when I was a young man. When I received it, it made me so proud of my dad. I have carried it with me every day of my life. This cross has been my inspiration when things seemed impossible. I always remembered what this cross represents, and it has kept me going in difficult times. Now son, I give it to you. Wear it and remember those who have died that you might live.

Do you think that son will remember those words? Do you think he will wear that cross the rest of his life? Sure you do! He will wear it with honor and humility.

This is what Paul was saying to his son Timothy. or a command that he is to treat as the most valuable and precious thing in his life. It is to be always before him or at his side. It is never to be out of his sight. Son, I will be gone soon, but I want you to remember my words, and keep them ever before you, for they are more valuable than gold. Keep them beside you, in front of you, always in sight.

The word paratithemi is a word for a deposit you put in a bank, it’s a valued deposit. Paul gave to Timothy a valued deposit…a valuable deposit. [1]

This charge was a valuable deposit made in the life of Timothy.

It echoed a charge given to Joshua…

Nearly two thousand years earlier, a young man suddenly found himself leader of an unruly mob of people called Jews. His job was to lead them into a land called Cana, filled with the most vile and wicked people you can imagine. There were 31 separate Kingdoms, all armed, all hostile, all seemingly invincible. As he was contemplating how he was to lead them, God appeared and said

Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. (Joshua 1:6)

I can just imaging Joshua thinking, “that’s easy for you to say, because all you deal with are angels. But Lord, have you seen these people? How are they going to conquer anything?”

God knew what he was thinking, and he said to him:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

God made a deposit in the life of Joshua, a valuable deposit that Joshua was to keep ever before him, and that deposit would make his way prosperous.

What was this valuable charge that Paul gave to Timothy?

The Message of Reconciliation (Gospel):

  • 2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
It is a Deposit of Truth as opposed to ‘babble’ and false ‘knowledge’
  • 1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”
It is so important it is guarded by God & the Holy Spirit
  • 2 Timothy 1:12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
  • 2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
It is the Word which Paul taught and preached
  • 2 Timothy 2:2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
It is the means of fighting a good warfare (military campaign)
  • 1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
  • (there are good wars and there are bad wars. The difference is how they are fought. A bad warfare is bitter, emotional, heated, personal and destructive. A good warfare is not of the flesh, but is spiritual, fought with the Gospel, and brings men closer to Christ.

The Primary reason for the Charge is to Overcome!

So we come to 2 Timothy, and we know that Paul is going to reinforce the importance of this Charge committed to him. The reason this charge is so important, is that it must be taught to others so they can be Overcomers in Christ! So, how does Paul want Timothy to carry out this charge?

A. Disciple Makers are Children of Promise

2 Timothy 1: 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

Timothy, realize we are all children of God through the Promise of life in Christ Jesus. He is our focus, He is our life!

B.Disciple Makers Foster Children of Promise

  • 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Each one of us should have ‘foster’ children in the Lord, children we are praying for, caring for, just as if they are our children. You may be miles apart, but there is a bond in the promises of God. It is like that son, growing up and wearing that cross around his neck. He will be close to his Dad because of the reminder of the Cross.

How did Paul want Timothy to approach fostering children to growth in the Lord?

1.  Realize you are in Partnership with God

  • Grace
  • Mercy
  • Peace

All from God and Christ our Lord.

2. Exercise Constant Care as if their Life depended upon it.

Disciple Making is not a time to just throw them into the lake and hope they learn to at least dog-paddle to safety. Disciple Making in focused and intentional. You are handling a precious deposit off to someone in your care. The success of their life depends upon the exchange.

a.  Be in constant prayer

3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.

As you get to know them, you will groan and agonize in prayer over their struggles and heart aches. You will be the one coming along side in a visible role of the Holy Spirit. It is vital that He be with you!

b.   Be present in hurts

4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.

You must get to know them so well that they will reveal their hurts, their struggles, and you will long to see them grow and mature that you may be filled with joy.

c.  Be encouraging

5-7 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

    • Remind them of their heritage – from man and from God
    • God gave us the Spirit of Power, Love & Self-Control

3. Live in Power

6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

    • So Fan into flame the Gift
    • Don’t allow fear to put the flame out
    • Do not take this gift for granted, or it dies from lack of use.
    • Fear of using this gift is no excuse.

4. Be honest about the Christian life

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,

    • Expect suffering
    • Don’t sugar coat following Christ
    • We must learn to obey and walk in the Spirit.

5. Have Faith in the power of Grace

9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

6.  Always look to Jesus

10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

7.  Look for ways of ministry

11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,

8.  Know whom you have believed and know that the exchange of truth is important to Him.

12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

C. Disciple Makers Know the Value of Making Deposits

13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

You are teaching, praying and working to see your disciple grow in the faith and love in Jesus Christ. You must be growing into Jesus as well, and imparting those sound words to those you disciple.

D. Disciple Makers Guard the Deposit

14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

1.  We have received a valuable deposit

a.  Promise of Life in Jesus

      • 2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

b.  The Word of God is a valuable deposit

      • 13: Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me

2.   Guard this treasure through the Holy Spirit

      • 14: By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Paul trusted further:

  • 2 Timothy 1:12 …for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

c. We need to guard the Word of God and deposit it in the lives of others.

When we see the power of the Gospel in our own lives, we will see the value of it in the lives of those around us. When we value it, they will see how valuable it is. If we treat it as only a Sunday thing, they will regard it as nothing. Our children always tend to excess.

Guard the Word of God in your lives. Believe in the power of the Word for your life, and then entrust it to others.

3.  Expect Casualties

15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

4.  Celebrate Victories

16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

Jesus rebukes His disciples for their unbelief

Mark 16:14-18 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The disciples were reclining. They were at ease in their unbelief. They were more concerned about their bellies than they were their hard hearts. Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart. They had refused to believe the report that Jesus was risen and alive!

The disciples were allowing a fleshly thing to cloud a spiritual reality. Their focus on what was in the past hardened their heart to what was true in the now! This is true of Christians today. We feed our hearts on what God has not done or failed to do. Whenever we dwell on what has not happened, we foster the atmosphere for the spirit of offense and bitterness to arise and then thrive. When we dwell on what has not happened, we legitimize unbelief. We even excuse unbelief as normal. So we promote a sense of justification for not believing God.

Jesus rebuked that attitude in His disciples. He rebukes that attitude now! That attitude and thinking has to die! Christians are at ease in their unbelief. They are reclining at the table of fleshly attitudes and thinking. While we feed our bellies, the world is crying out for spiritual truth that will change their lives. While we are content in our unbelief our neighbors are crying out for something worth believing in.

Too often the Church focuses on keeping people from “sin” instead of taking people into their destiny with the power of the risen Christ. Churches that provide excuses for falling short of and not believing the power of Christ are merely promoters of “religion,” for God’s Word says religion is “form without power!” (2 Tim 3:5)

The area of our greatest unbelief is in our prayers. So much of the content of our praying is for things we already possess in Christ, but fail to believe. So we labor to ask God for things we already have. We expose our unbelief through our boring prayers. We fail to ask God for things we do not possess because we fail to believe what God has given us. No wonder prayer is laborious and cursory to most Christians. No wonder there is a prevailing attitude that their prayers never reach the ceiling! Our prayers are often exercises in unbelief!

Churches are to be houses of prayer. The God purpose of prayer is to produce JOY in the experience of the believer.

John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Prayer is not to twist God’s arm, or to make us seem more spiritual. Prayer is to encourage our belief in the reality of Jesus. Jesus wants prayer to take us into fullness of JOY! JOY is the currency of Heaven! God reserves JOY as the reward for the suffering. Christ endured the cross for the JOY that was set before Him. The reality of Christ will deposit the currency of heaven in our lives. JOY is the currency of Heaven! JOY is the result of prayer! Jesus says to all faithful servants who live with His power in their lives, “Well done…enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)

God wants us to feast on belief in the power of the Name of Jesus. Prayer is designed to be a breakthrough into His heavenly JOY! Prayer is the expenditure of belief in return for the heavenly currency. If we pray only for that which we already possess, we will never experience the breakthrough of JOY. We will never discover the riches of God’s heavenly currency!

Never allow our prayers to contradict what God has already promised. Our unbelief closes heaven’s resources to us. Closed heavens are between our ears. Failure to know JOY is between our ears! We limit our God because our unbelief does not want to take hold of His power and JOY, even when He is standing in front of us with outstretched arms!

This is why Paul prayed so fervently for us:

Ephesians 1:18-19 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…

Paul saw Jesus, saw His power, and saw that power in His life. Paul experienced JOY even in prison, even in the stockades, even holding flotsam in the middle of the ocean. Paul’s eyes were opened and his heart was on fire for the realities of Jesus Christ! He could see the greatness of the power within Him, the same power that raised Jesus from the grave.  Paul never reclined in unbelief after that vision.

Our Vision should FIRE our Heart!

Christians have no excuse for not seeing the same vision. The vision is there for all to see. If we fail to believe, the hardness of our heart is exposed.

When Jesus was baptized, Matthew writes, “immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him” (Matthew 3:16). The picture is of the heavens being divided, rolled back, suddenly exposing the power of the heavenlies, and allowing the Holy Spirit to descend upon Jesus. Stephen saw the heavens rolled back and gazed upon the Glory of God and His Son. The truth is that the heavens have been opened to all Christians! The Holy Spirit has been given to all Christians. The Glory of God is for all Christians. We have the Holy Spirit living within us, a gift from our Savior!

Our Father is jealous for us to know the power of the Holy Spirit within us. He earnestly desires us to belief and experience His JOY!

James 4:5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

We live under an open heaven. The heavens are rolled back revealing the Power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit lives in every believer, but his POWER is not upon every believer. Luke 4:1 says that Jesus left the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit. But he did not have the POWER of the Holy Spirit until He believed the Word of God in His confrontation with Satan in the wilderness.

Are You Aware of the Power within You?

The Holy Spirit is in us eternally, but His POWER is not opened to us unless we believe. When we allow the wilderness of this world to influence our believing, we fail to see the power of the Spirit. We fail to influence the wilderness around us. We fail to alter the environment around us. Men who believed in the POWER of Christ influenced the environment into which they were placed. Stephen had a profound effect upon those angry men. Paul had an astounding effect upon prisoners, towns people, and even hardened Roman Soldiers.

Christians must learn how to “host” the presence of God such that He is always before us, influencing the environment of every place we step into. What we are conscious of, we are positioned to manifest. What we are aware of, we are able to release. If we are not conscious and aware of the POWER of God within us, we will never be able to influence those around us. The Gospel is not a ministry of words. The Gospel is the ministry of Power because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The Gospel is the ministry of releasing the presence of the Holy Spirit in the whole earth. We will never release that which we are unaware of.

A woman who had struggled for years with an issue of blood made a “demand” upon Christ. In desperation she reached out among the throng to touch the “hem of His garment.” She made a demand for her life. In spite of all the people pressing around Him, Christ was so aware of the Spirit’s presence that He instantly knew when a demand was made to which the Spirit responded. If we are not intensely aware of the Holy Spirit within our lives, we will have nothing to offer those around us who are desperately seeking power for their lives. They are overwhelmed, they are needy, and we have no life-giving power to offer them.

A demand was made upon Peter. Peter confessed he had no silver or gold, but Peter was intensely aware of what he did possess. Peter had life in Christ, and He was willing to share that POWER with the beggar at the gate. Peter said “what I do have I will give you.”

Write a HUGE Check with Heavenly Currency!

Peter knew a heavenly currency that the world knows nothing about. Peter wrote a HUGE check because he knew what he possessed (Acts 3:6). Most Christians can only write tiny checks because our unbelief has obscured what we possess.

We live with such ignorance of what we possess. We possess the very “Kingdom of God.” The one who freed us from our sins, at the same time made us a Kingdom, Priests to His God and Father (Rev 1:6). Jesus said “the words that I speak to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63)

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Jesus, being the very logos (word), spoke the Spirit and Life where ever He journeyed. When Christ spoke, His words became the Spirit and brought LIFE to those who believed. When we believe in the Words of Christ, and speak them into the world, we impart the Spirit to our environment, and we impart LIFE to those who believe.

We are Kingdom builders through the POWER that is in us. This Kingdom is not in food or drink, but is righteousness, peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

When we are aware of the power that lies within us, and we exercise that power in faith, we are building the Kingdom by bringing people to the LIFE in Christ. We are dispensing the heavenly currency of JOY to those around us.

When you are handing out money, people stop and demand some. When you are handing out JOY, joy that this world is so hungry for, people will stop and demand it. The communities around the disciples took note of what they were handing out. They took note of where they went. They even brought the sick and lame into the streets to catch the shadow of Peter and be healed (Acts 5:15). Note: Your Shadow will always release what overshadows you! Peter was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit!

An unbelieving, defeated group of Christians will never see life brought to the dead in sin. They will never see miracles of God. Unbelief and defeat produces inward focused Christians, prone to depression and discouragement. When we turn inward we become a dead sea. An inward focused Christian is a dead Christian. An inward Christian is self-absorbed and self-centered. We need to be pre-occupied with who Christ is! With what Christ can do! We need to constantly release Him into every circumstance we encounter. We release His POWER by faith!

Don’t allow disappointments to obscure Revelation

So much of “Christianity” is based upon disappointment rather than revelation. We fail to see the Glory of God or the Power of His Son. Stephen saw the revelation in the midst of a downpour of stones. Paul saw the revelation in the midst of a hateful heart. John saw the revelation in the midst of loneliness and exile. The Revelation of Christ changes our environment. It changes our heart! Rather than being disappointed in what God fails to do for us, we need to focus on all that God has done for us!

Jesus said that if you see Him, you have seen the Father. So Jesus is the revelation of the nature and power of God. Jesus said that “all power” had been given to him in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). His power is the basis of us going into the world. If we do not know His power by revelation, then we will be powerless if we go into the world. We will be overcome by the world!

Christ is in us as a River
Let Him Flow!

Powerlessness is inexcusable and unacceptable. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in you and he wants out. He is not in us as a lake, or a ‘dead sea’, but rather as a river. Rivers flow from. The nature and power of God becomes ours as a believer. We have to believe in our own conversion! We have to believe in the POWER that was given to Jesus and was given to us!

As Paul prayed, the Lord is releasing a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we can actually rise to who He says we are! We cannot afford to rest in unbelief, nor can we afford to think thought that God never thinks about us. We must learn to meditate on the things the Holy Spirit can say “AMEN!” to.

Paul wrote that in order to serve God acceptably, our minds (that thing between our ears) must be renewed so that our lives are transformed. Our minds must come under the influence of the Holy Spirit. We must learn divine perspective in order to live the divine life.

This renewing of our mind can only come from a divine encounter with the POWER of God. We must see the revelation of Christ as the POWER in our life. Any creed or teaching that does not take us to the person of Jesus in a divine encounter will only make us more “religious.” It will only equip us to argue, not bring life into our environment.

When our beliefs line up with the POWER of Christ in us, we can take the Gospel into our communities without limits, without baggage that weighs it down and renders it powerless. We must have the experience of the Gospel that changes our lives, changes our thinking and makes us intensely aware of the divine POWER within us. Only then can we dispense the currency of heaven to those joyless souls around us.

(Inspired by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church)


And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4 

I’ve always wondered why Paul would move around so much. The longest he ever stayed in one city was Ephesus (36 months) and Corinth (18 months). Sometimes he stayed only a few weeks. Yet everywhere he went a church began. He and Barbabus were in Antioch of Pisidia for only a couple weeks when they were driven out by persecution. Did the new converts whine about them leaving so soon? Did they bemoan the fact that they would have no ‘Pastor’ to watch over them and teach them? No. Acts 13:52 says, “the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit”.

A decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ was different in Paul’s day. When you gave your life to Christ it was life-changing because it immediately affected your life. The Gentiles were so heathen and vile, the Jews so blind, that a Christian’s changed life would stick out. There was the danger of persecution, of rejection from your family. A decision to come to Christ was not a casual thing. You made the choice and your life was changed. You needed the help of other Christians. You prayed together, you studied the Scriptures together. Churches formed as a means of support and encouragement for Christians facing difficult and even hostile situations.

In countries where Christianity is the ‘de facto’ religion, a decision to follow Christ can be motivated by self. In modern Christian America, we want our children to make a decision to trust Christ as their Savior because we can’t bear the thought of them going to Hell. But once they accept Christ, He fades into the background of activities at school. Church becomes an occasional thing, and there is no serious searching of the Scriptures at home. No wonder that 90% of our children head off to college and leave the church entirely. A decision to follow Christ is more a ‘convenience’ issue rather than one which dramatically impacts our life.

In America, there is no urgency to being a Christian. We have become cultural Christians, because there is no need to hold fast to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to survive in a hostile environment. Christianity is socially acceptable. Lack of hostility towards Christianity breeds an environment of apathy toward the Power of Jesus Christ. It seems that the only time we seek the power of Jesus is when we face some personal situation like loss of a job or a bad diagnosis.

We live lives that are pretty OK. There is no overwhelming need for the power and protection of Jesus that the first century converts experienced.

Where the Word of God is flourishing and Christians growing today is in hostile environments such as China and Muslim countries. Imagine, the church flourishes in hostile environments. Could that be an indication the Power of God is needed to grow the church?

In Paul’s day, being a Christian meant being a disciple. It meant giving everything up. It meant losing family, friends and possessions. It meant the threat of losing your life. We have lost that perspective in Culturally Christian Bible Belt America.

The Gospel has power for our lives, but it is conditional.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain.

“You are being saved” pictures an ongoing process whereby you are the recipient of God’s salvation. You are the one being acted upon. But you can block the power of the Gospel by failing to take hold of the Word. Κατέχω (Katecho) doesn’t mean to take hold of something in a casual way. It means to take hold of something as if you were making it your own, (to hold fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of). Like holding on to a bar of gold. You clutch it close to you, you make it yours, and no one is going to pry it from your hands.

Jesus explained in the parable of the soils and the seeds:

As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:15

When you give your life to Jesus knowing that you could lose your life, you take hold of His Word as though your life depends upon it!

If you are not holding fast to the Gospel, the chances are that your belief in Christ had a selfish motivation, and was for your personal benefit, and not because you needed Jesus, and needed His life to be yours. If you have not been holding fast to the Gospel of Christ, if you have failed to make it your life, perhaps you should “examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith”.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5 

Paul was confident that God would finish the work that he started. He knew the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It is the Power of God, power that keeps us because we hold fast to the Gospel. Not because it is convenient, but because it is a necessity to live! Paul left town rejoicing, becasue he left behind a group of believers who NEEDED Jesus to live! And Jesus never forsakes His own!