1. Is self-confidence a good or bad thing? (It depends on the context in which it is used. Confidence in the abilities and gifts God has blessed us with is good as long as we remember that God is the Source and not ourselves.)
2. Does our culture over emphasize self-reliance?
3. How does our culture foster or impede trusting in God opposed to ourselves? (Our culture often stresses reliance on self and our own abilities without regard to any thought of God.)
Paul writes his second letter to Timothy while in prison in Rome the second and final time. Most scholars believe Paul felt his death was near so this letter is most likely the last letter Paul wrote. He wanted to encourage Timothy and urge him on to preach/teach the truth of God’s Word with assurance and boldness.
Read 2 Timothy 1:1-2
As we look at 2 Timothy and understand its context, we can begin to recognize how Paul sought to demonstrate the work of the gospel in believers. It begins with how we learn to have confidence, not in ourselves, but in Christ!
Heritage! Read 2 Timothy 1:3-5
1. What was it that made Paul so thankful to God? (“When I constantly remember you—Timothy—in my prayers night and day.”)
Paul was saying that anytime he was praying Timothy came to his mind and he lifted him up in prayer.
2. How would it make you feel to know the Apostle Paul was praying for you on a regular basis—day and night?
3. What was it that Paul remembered about Timothy? (The tears that were shed at their last parting; and Timothy’s sincere faith.)
4. What was Paul’s spiritual heritage? (Paul remembered his ancestors who served God with a clear conscience, and now Paul was doing likewise. He could be making reference to his immediate family but more likely to his Jewish ancestors—Abraham, Isaac, Moses and so on.)
5. What spiritual heritage did Paul recall for Timothy? (Timothy’s father was most likely Greek and not a Christian, but that didn’t stop his mother and grandmother from having a tremendous influence in his spiritual life.)
A recent Barna Group study cited the following statistic. “If a child becomes a Christian it may impact his family for Christ 31% of the time. If the mother becomes a Christian it may impact the family for Christ 48% of the time. However, if the father becomes a Christian it may impact the family for Christ 84% of the time.”
Of course, it is important for everyone to accept Christ but when we reach the man of the house we have a greater opportunity to reach virtually the whole family.
6. What impact does experiencing and leaving a godly heritage make within a family structure? (It leaves a godly witness to the next generation as well as the culture around you.)
7. How is a person’s spiritual growth impacted by the lives of others? (We see the result of lives that are live for God’s glory and those lives that do not honor God. The difference in the peace and joy reflected in those lives witness to God’s grace.)
8. Paul demonstrated the value of investment in the body of Christ. How does the investment by others in our lives help us to model sincere faith? (The investment others make gives us encouragement as we live our lives for God. There is also a sense that our life of faith would also be an investment in their lives. This mutual support and encouragement builds the faith of the entire Christian community.)
9. Can you name some specific people who have impacted your life for Christ?
Our challenge is to emulate the example our mentors have been to us and share our faith with our own children and grandchildren.
Just as Timothy demonstrated sincere faith that came through the investment of prior generations, Paul encouraged Timothy to use his gifts to follow the Lord and keep the fire of ministry burning brighter. Perhaps because of his youth and the sharp criticism Timothy was getting from the older false teachers Timothy’s fervor had lost momentum. Paul wanted Timothy’s ministry at Ephesus to be stirred into a blazing flame of godly leadership.
Gifted! Read 2 Timothy 1:6-7
1. What are the dangers of relying on our own strength and abilities to complete a God-given task? (We will ultimately fail without God’s strength.)
2. How can we tell the difference between relying on our own strength and God’s strength? (In our own strength we quickly grow weary and see little results. In God’s strength we may not see fantastic results immediately but we will be energized through utilizing the spiritual gifts God has showered us with.)
The giftedness of believers begins at our conversion. All believers are gifted and are responsible for the discovery and use of their gifts to benefit the body of Christ.
Paul’s reference to “laying on of my hands” was most likely at Timothy’s ordination service mentioned in 1 Tim. 4:14. There the elders placed their hands on Timothy recognizing God’s call on his life to the ministry.
3. Why do we often fear doing what the Lord calls us to do? (It is beyond our capabilities and our faith is weak. We are looking at ourselves and not God to accomplish the task.)
4. Based upon these verses, with what does the Lord promise to replace our fears?
God has given us power, love, and sound judgment. One commentary explains these three qualities as follows: “These three qualities given by the Holy Spirit are complementary. Power that is exercised without love and sound judgment can become tyranny. Without power, love can lack strength. Power and love without sound judgment can be misguided. Only power exercised with love and sound judgment can accomplish God’s purposes in His churches.”
Paul’s final word of encouragement to Timothy in this letter was for him to remain unashamed of the call to share the gospel.
Unashamed! Read 2 Timothy 1:8-12
1. To get a clear understanding of why Paul endured suffering we need to look at verse 12. What had been entrusted to Paul? (The privilege of sharing the mystery of the gospel as a “herald, apostle, and teacher.”)
2. When Paul says “until that day” what is he talking about? (Either Christ’s return or Paul being called to his Heavenly home, whichever comes first.)
In Paul’s perspective, his suffering was part of his call to share the gospel. And the thing that made the suffering bearable was his reliance upon the power of God. Furthermore, Paul provided an interlude describing how we rely on God for salvation.
3. Why do Christians need reminders that we shouldn’t be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ? (As Christians, we’re at odds with the secular culture, which tries to belittle, bully, and stigmatize our choices in order to minimize our impact and influence. Too often we ignore the persecution of other Christians when we aren’t directly affected; however, sharing in Christ’s suffering also means supporting fellow believers through trials.)
4. How is God’s plan for redeeming His creation tied to a person’s purpose? (God’s ultimate purpose for every Christian is to be used to spread the gospel so others will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior just as we do! Our spiritual gifts are different but the goal is the same: sharing the gospel with the lost.)
Paul exhorted Timothy in verse 8 not to be ashamed. Paul wasn’t just giving Timothy a pep talk; instead, Paul was able to share his own personal experiences and knowledge that the Lord would be with him and give him peace and joy in pursuing Christ in his life.
5. What is the relationship between confidence in the gospel and one’s willingness to share the gospel? (We must believe that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We are only responsible for sharing the gospel, God does the rest!)
Read Romans 1:16. The truth of the gospel should instill confidence in the believer!
6. How does our attitude toward suffering dictate our abilities to withstand it? (Although we glory in the cross, when we’re in the midst of suffering it doesn’t feel or look particularly glorious. Embracing the big picture of suffering helps us to bear up under it. Understanding that God is the ultimate guardian of our faith empowers us to do our parts. We stand up under pressure as people protecting a sacred trust.)
Read 2 Tim. 1:8-10
The gospel was in God’s plan through grace before time began! Even though God knew we would sin, He had a plan to redeem us by giving His Son as our Sacrifice to conquer death and the grave. That is the mystery of the gospel!
After we reflect upon our call to share the gospel, we also realize there is the need to take the gospel to the next generation of believers.
Loyal! Read 2 Timothy 1:13-14
Paul commands Timothy to “Hold to the pattern of sound teaching” and “Guard...that good thing entrusted to you.”
Paul encouraged Timothy and the church not to get caught in things that can distract the church from sharing the gospel. Instead, he encouraged them to be loyal to Scripture and to the gospel.
1. Why is it so important for believers to remain faithful in sharing the gospel? (We are never more than one generation away from paganism.)
2. What are some things that get in the way of believers freely sharing the gospel with others? (Fear of rejection. Fear that we don’t know enough. Fear of persecution. We simply don’t have the mindset to share the gospel. In other words we never even think about sharing the gospel!)
Summarize and Challenge!
The main point of our study today: We’ve been called to be confident in the gospel in all circumstances.
· The confidence we have comes from the godly heritage that has been provided by other believers, the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us to be used sharing the gospel, and knowing that suffering builds confidence in the Lord.
· We are to pursue the call to hold and guard the gospel in its truth.
Based on what you have heard today, what does confidence in the gospel look like in your life?
Read 2 Timothy 1:15-18
What could you do today to refresh someone?
Close with prayer!