December 7, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Timothy 4:9-22

When death comes knocking on the door, I’m convinced that one’s true purpose and desires come out. You see this in certain celebrities’ last words before they died.

  • Musician, Bob Marley said to his brother, “money can’t buy life.”
  • Whiskey founder, Jack Daniels was recorded saying, “one last drink, please.”
  • Famous occultist, Aleister Crowley said, “I am perplexed. Satan get out.” (shows his true heart in light of the black magic he was promoting)
  • There’s a website called “death letters.org” where people anonymously write their last words and it’s heartbreaking.

Aside from cultural examples, we also see how this is true in Scripture as King Solomon pours out his heart in the book of Ecclesiastes saying that “much of life is meaningless but to remember the Creator in the days of your youth.” We see it in Jesus’ final prayer as He prays for us, Himself, and asks God if there can be another way to take away the sins of the world aside from the torture He is about to encounter but in the end saying, “Father, your will be done,” and “it is finished.”

Finally, we see it in the apostle Paul’s last letter while he was sitting in prison knowing that he will very shortly face death. Paul’s heart bleeds out in this letter, and like most people before they face death, his true purpose and desires surface. However, it’s kind of surprising how he ends it knowing that this may be the very last thing he’s going to communicate before dying.

You see, Paul ends his last letter with a genuine, compassionate concern and care for PEOPLE. No great sermon closer. No great quote that can be posted up on Lifeway coffee mugs or painted on the back wall of churches across the world. No famous one-liner that can be printed on cheesy t-shirts or put on a wristband. Paul’s last words reveal an in-depth knowledge of where people are in his ministry. The people to whom he ministered and the people he ministered with are his closing signature and shows what was on his heart when death is at his doorstep. When you are about to die would you be giving a spiritual report on the people God has entrusted you with? Paul loves people to the very end. People who encouraged him, people he had sent out on mission, and, people who have hurt and deserted him.

I bring this up because I, like Paul, believe that the greatest legacies are made when we invest our time into people. Not position. Not power. Not prestige. That’s how the world views legacies.   But we serve a God who loves people and uses people to pass the Gospel from generation to generation. This means that you should already be ministering to people and you should never give up on them, always remembering that God never gave up on us, demonstrated by what Jesus accomplished through the cross. Is your heart’s true purpose and motives the same as Paul? The same as Jesus? If it is, you will love God and love people to the very end.

Posted by:Erik Koliser

December 6, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Timothy 4:1-8

“Which one is easier…to sit with a bucket of butter-soaked popcorn and watch Tom Cruise on the big screen for two hours, or kneel and pray for five minutes? Tom Cruise wins hands down, because there is literally no competiton. What the flesh hates is God, so it resists anything that smacks of God- especially communion with Him. The flesh can curl up by your side and watch mindless movies all night long. But, let even the barest thought of meditations flutter into your mind, and the flesh goes to Red Alert. Before you get past “our Father,” your eyes, which were glued to the screen, now sag in sleepiness, and your attention, which was so fixed on the plot, now zips around the universe faster than the Starship Enterprise.” ~ Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within.

We struggle, as Christians, to war against the passions of our flesh. All of us can identify with the quote from, The Enemy Within. Paul is addressing that very issue with Timothy and the early church. We see this issue more than ever in our culture and many churches are turning away from speaking truth in the name of being “seeker friendly.” I do not want to put too much blame on the pastors of these churches without addressing the truth that the reason for these churches is because “seeker friendly” draws large crowds. When you and I are addressed with truth it will lead to conviction. Conviction is awesome and leads us to change into the likeness of Christ, but conviction hurts. It means that you and I desire things that are not of God and we need to be rebuked and reproved (v.2). So how can we avoid allowing our flesh to win?

1. Be sober-minded.

It means we should not just listen to everything that sounds good to us but to test everything by the word of God (2 Timothy 3:16, Deuteronomy 6:4-8, Psalm 1).

We have to be transformed in our thinking and protect our beliefs from the lies of our flesh (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23-24).

What beliefs do you live by that you cannot defend scripturally?

2. Endure suffering.

Denying yourself and living for Christ is hard and often will lead to suffering and persecution. This is why it is so important to develop your beliefs biblically and know why you believe them because they will be tested in persecution.

Remember that suffering does not produce character, it reveals it.

3. Do the work of an evangelist.

Live with a godly purpose and intentionally share the gospel with those around you. When our focus is on God and his glory for the purpose of loving others (Matthew 22:34-40) then our focus will not be on ourselves. Pride and selfishness fuel our sin but the cure is humbly serving others and glorifying God through the gospel.

Who is on your heart this week? Who do you plan on building a deeper relationship with in order to share the life changing message of the gospel?

Posted by:Chad Wiles

December 5, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Timothy 3:10-17

There is some good stuff in this section of Scripture.  I’m going to make a few observations on the well-known verses 16-17.

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

In verse 16, the phrase “inspired by God” is the Greek word theopneustos (theos=God, pneo=breath).  This means that the Scripture is God-breathed.  We can have confidence that the Bible we read is literally the Word of God.

The God-breathed words that we read are very profitable.  Specifically, the Scripture is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness so that we may be equipped to walk with the Lord and do as He pleases.  Let’s briefly break down the meaning of these profitable things from verse 16.

Teaching:  The Scripture teaches us how to live, about life, about God, about others, about how to treat people, etc.  Basically, the Scripture is sufficient to teach us about everything.

Reproof:  The Bible points out areas where we fall short.  God uses the Scripture to point out areas where we are doing wrong.

Correction:  Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t just show us where we fall short; it also shows us how to correct those areas and make us more like Christ.

Training in righteousness:  The Bible shows us how to live lives that are holy and pleasing to the Lord.  That’s one reason having consistent intake of the Bible is so important.  We need all the training we can to become more and more like Christ.

OK, so that’s a super brief breakdown of verse 16.  By way of personal application, I’ll leave a Bible study method that you might find beneficial based off of this verse.  You can use verse 16 as a template for studying the Scripture.

Teaching:  What is the subject of the passage? What is the issue being addressed?  The subject might be a character issue, a skill, an attitude, or an action.  What is the passage teaching you?

Reproof:  What wrong attitude or action might the Scripture be exposing in your life?

Correction:  What do I need to do to have the right attitude or action about the issue being addressed?

Training in righteousness:  How do I apply this to my life now?  How can I take the truth and apply it to my life so that I can live rightly?

rich

Posted by:Rich Duffield

December 4, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Timothy 3:1-9

If you are as sensitive to your own sinfulness as I am, then reading the list given in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 can really hurt. Even though it doesn’t — or shouldn’t — describe Christians, I see so much of the “old life” (2 Corinthians 5:17) in it. And until Jesus comes back or I die, I have to deal with parts of that old life. I am eternally grateful, though, that God gives us His perfect Spirit to help us in this fight. There are two lists given in Galatians 5; one describes the “old life”, and the other displays the “new life” that is fighting to overcome the “old life”.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:16-26, ESV)

The context of our passage today is concerning those who call themselves Christ-followers in the last days yet deny Jesus by their choices and lifestyles. Among them, we find false teachers and cult leaders. Such evil people will drag many into ungodly devotion to falsehood and false gods. We must be on guard today, even though this may describe something that is even more prevalent in the future. We must “keep in step with the Spirit” in such a way that we fend off evil teachers, and Satan himself (Ephesians 6)!

If you have questions about Jannes and Jambres, here is a quick ESV Study Bible note that may clear it up for you:

Jannes and Jambres are the names given in early extrabiblical Jewish writings to the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses inEx. 7:8–13. In these writings, these men became key symbols of opposition to God’s truth. Though their names do not appear in the OT itself, they would be familiar to Timothy and other Jews; identifying the opponents with these archetypal enemies of God’s truth would have significant rhetorical power.corrupted in mind. Again false teaching is cast in terms of deficient thinking (see note on 2 Tim. 2:26). This is why divine aid is necessary for coming to the “knowledge of the truth” (2:7, 25–26). disqualified regarding the faith. In spite of their claims, these people do not have saving faith, since they oppose the gospel both in their teaching and in their living (see Titus 1:16).

Since we just concluded a detailed series through 2 Timothy, I encourage you to catch any of the messages you may have missed. You can do so at our website or via Vimeo:

CPCLex Media                        CPCLex on Vimeo

What were your thoughts on today’s passage? What did you learn? Blessings on your day!

Posted by:Todd Thomas