Saturday 8 May 2021


2 Timothy 1.

I like this Letter, it is my favourite book of the Bible, and have preached on it more than any other book of the Bible.  It is a very tender and moving letter from the great Apostle.

 The world famous London preacher John Stott stated how impressed by the timeliness for today by what this Apostle writes.  John is correct ,it could well be named as a Letter of Paul to the Western Church in the 21st century.

  Paul, now an old man confined to  Roman prison dungeon, a tired and weary missionary who has served the Lord with great devotion and faithfulness, taking the gospel around the ancient world and planting Churches wherever he went. Suffered a lot, physically and mentally, yet never wavered in his commitment; now he is nearing his life’s end in the prison, where he had been detained after anti-Christian Jews had laid false charges against him, and he was held awaiting trial. 

He knows his days are over and is anxious that the all his labours would have been in vain if he is not succeeded by a true and honest man, and the gospel will not be passed down to future generations.

Some of us have unexpectedly faced death and God has preserved us,  Others know they face death and want to leave a message and so write a letter, which Paul is doing.

 He has chosen Timothy, a young man who served him on the missionary field and whom he had mentored, but Timothy is young, timid, and a  little in awe of what he is going to be called on to do. Hence Paul writes two Letters of guidance, advice and much encouragement  It contains much teaching which is still so relevant to us today.

 Paul begins by asserting his right to be called an Apostle, an office specially created by our Lord to a special group of men whom He wanted to represent Him and teach in His name.  It was a select group which was never to be added to.  There are no Apostles today.    

 Paul was specially and uniquely called by God to take the gospel to the Gentiles, whilst also catering for the Jews, whom he never forgot. It has been accepted that when Paul spoke, he was speaking for God.  He could never forget his commissioning as the direct will of God, to be a prisoner for being a privileged Apostle of Christ.  

 He calls Timothy ‘my beloved child,’ a young and timid man who Paul had converted and for whom he has a special affection.  He felt Timothy had the right credentials to lead the Church, having come from a godly family where his mother and grandmother had brought him up teaching the Scriptures. 

 It is a sad fact that now the vast majority of children do not attend a Church meeting, and schools do not have assemblies where children can learn the Christian faith, unless of course a private school. A worrying number of State schools, encouraged by the body appointed to examine schools, have a deeper concern to teach the agenda of the homosexual lobby there.  Children for some years now have been deprived of being taught the slightest knowledge of the Bible, which could give them a strong foundation for their lives.

 Children are growing up in moral confusion, taking up pieces of bizarre lifestyle which they pick up from television programmes produced by depraved minds. When they are faced as teenagers with going away from home to Colleges, they are vulnerable to temptations.

 Then Paul turns to Timothy’s Christian character.  He was a  child of mixed parentage, his fater was a Greek and mother Jewish Christian who taught Timothy the Scriptures.  Paul acted as a spiritual father and took him on missions with him

After parents, it is our closest friends who influence us most.  Paul had converted Timothy and maintained contact with him. 

We all owe a debt to those who led us to Christ.  My own mother always encouraged me to go to Church from an early age, and by example attended as we went together to Liverpool Cathedral ever Sunday until I was called to military service. 

Like most fathers, mine was not interested in religion. But for deeper conviction, I owed much to a most devoted Christian when in Kenya, who worked tirelessly for Christ, far away in East Africa. 

We all may have been influenced  by someone who has stirred us and helped to make our faith stronger.  Those are the relationships which God establishes, and you remember things, from sermons and written notes which have become precious to you.    

Paul tells Timothy he was set apart through ordination. To some Timothy might have been a surprise choice to lead the Church being young and frail, but we see God often chooses someone seemingly insignificant , others would look for a person with a degree no matter how little common sense or how useless the degree. I am sure if the Apostles have had to appear before a Church selection board we wouldn’t have had them. God delights to say to someone, ‘you are the one for the task I want doing’.  Remember who God chose to bear His Son, just a beautiful young Jewish village girl.      

 The office of pastor, or minister, or priest, whatever term is used, is meant to be a gift of God’s grace, and those called upon owe a debt to God.  They should be selected by the Church only if they can show they have a commitment to Christ, rather than those looking for some imaginary status.

 Paul calls on Timothy to personal discipline and many in ministry today could learn from Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus. 

 There is the call not to be fearful of speaking the truth, of keeping to the teaching of the gospel as it is written.  Cowardliness has no place in Christian ministry.  The Bible states, ‘for God did not give us a spirit of timidity’.  We can be taught the Scriptures and be led to Jesus Christ, but it is up to us to use the gift God gave us, and apply ourselves in active discipline to inspire others, and so fulfil the ministry God has given us.  This has to be taken seriously, no toying with the gospel, or seeing the ministry as a soft option.

Paul begs Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel, and calls on him to guard it. It hurts when leaders in the Church attack the gospel, breaks trust with God and demoralises the faithful Christian. Altering is done to make the gospel more acceptable to modern man/woman, which means giving up the gospel instead of guarding it.

 I often hear that bishops are the direct descendants of the Apostles, that is offending the Apostles. Which Apostles of Christ would call for the bible to be abandoned just because it didn’t please one section of the community; or cast an ordained Minister out for trying to teach biblical morality; or order fellow Christians not to attend a meeting of a world famous evangelist because he was a solid bible teacher. Which Apostle would call for sections of our Lord’s teaching to be removed or replaced with a modern version.?  

 Those who are appointed to preach this gospel have a duty to devote themselves to faithful teaching. This is a call still to be heeded.  From the very start of the faith, essential truths have been under attack.  Truth does not change.  The manner of presentation may be adjusted, but to change and replace is not acceptable.

 Some of us were greatly encouraged by the visit some years ago by Pope Benedict, who used brave and bold words to tell the politicians to stop interfering with Christian beliefs, and called on all Christians to oppose the aggressive secularism which is trying to dominate our society.  This is a great challenge for we have no political party leader on our side.  Most members of Parliament are reticent as being identified as Christians, in total contrast to the more faithful members of the Congress of the United States who openly declare their faith to their honour, and even more so until recently had a President who was of like belief and ensured Christians in that great country were free to defend their belief in public.

 Any preacher who dares to speak in the public arena in the United Kingdom must be prepared to be arrested, for too often now someone will call the police, who will respond with the speed householders in need can only dream of, and snatch the preacher’s Bible and pull him down to convey to the nearest police station.  Invariably after the indignity of being processed the preacher will be released when it is realised they have erred.  All proof free speech is a myth, and stating marriage is between a man and a women a crime.

 However let us face up to the challenge and never ever be ashamed.  Paul says he was not ashamed, in fact he glorified in the gospel and that is what all Christians should do. But sadly I fear we all do not. How many Church members are embarrassed when asked if they believe? Indeed how many are ready to acknowledge they attend Church? How reluctant to answer if asked to give our opinion on moral questions? If you are not ashamed, you are ready to speak out about your faith.  How many Christians I wonder would be able to answer if asked what the gospel is?

 The gospel is the good news of salvation.  God wants everyone to be saved, so it is the duty of the Church to tell the story of Jesus Christ, who gave Himself to communicate that news.


The word ‘saved’ often causes people to think of devoted charismatic enthusiasts asking, ‘are you saved brother/sister’. In simple terms it refers to a man or woman who has accepted that when Jesus died on the Cross, he did so that they personally would be forgiven by God for all their past wrongs in life, and when their life on this earth was over, the could have eternal life in heaven.


Jesus was crucified for our sins in order to reconcile us to God. Why should anyone be ashamed to tell that story? We all no doubt are ashamed of things we have done in our lives, and the things we have said but wished we hadn’t, and that is understandable. But we allow ourselves to become ashamed of something for which there is no need to be ashamed of The reason Paul is not ashamed is because the gospel is the power of God leading to salvation for all who believe. This means more than just believing there is a God, the devil accepts that. It is not enough to just hear and say you believe, it demands a response. God wants all people to turn to Him.

 The Church perpetuates the belief, sincerely held by many people unaware of Bible teaching,  that all you need to say is being honest and kind; discounting the need to attend Church, sing hymns, pray and read the bible. The funeral service liturgy states such a belief, which may be compassionate, but it is like telling a blind person they can cross a busy road whenever they feel like doing so.


Jesus sent His Apostle to the lost sheep of Israel, for as God’s people He wanted them to have salvation first. When they refused to listen to Him God directed the Gentiles should be

brought into the Kingdom. Let us remember, all but one writer of the Bible was a Jew; our Lord was Himself a Jew; and we worship the God of Israel, and we should pray for the mission to the Jews.

We are called to live holy lives, but we cannot do that If we are living in a way forbidden by Scripture, or if we encourage or appease others who are.

Paul refers to his suffering, which is because of his imprisonment and impending death. He knew what suffering was having been neaten, tortured, driven from towns, yet ever faithful to Christ.  Every pastor must be prepared to be verbally attacked, and I they are not I would suggest they are not truly preaching the gospel.  There is always someone you will be unfortunate to meet who will challenge you, which is why the sermon must be fully checked and one is ready to respond.


From personal experience, I suggest you ask them for their interpretation and how they reached that view, then you will find the conversation ends as they start walking.  To be attacked for quoting the Bible is like getting a badge of honour, it shows you are being faithful to the Lord.  

Timothy felt embarrassed at being young and having to deal with older people so receives encouragement from Paul. Dealing with people is an art which some of us who have been in the real world have learned from good and bad experiences. I have always thought since theological training, it would be wiser and more beneficial if some lesson in handling people was given in seminaries and theological colleges, instead of the subjects which we will never look at again or need.

Different ages need different reception.  Most Churches would like their pastor to be safely married preferably with children, not too young or old.  How wise was the person who said age was just a number, it is what the person’s ability and commitment to the true gospel is that matters.  


So the plea goes out to Timothy to guard what had been entrusted to Paul. But it also goes out to all Christians, and especially to all Church Ministers.  There is as much false teaching in our churches as speakers seek to align a message to relate to modern life, forgetting God didn’t speak for only the first century.

Christianity has been the faith of this country for over 1500 years which has brought and kept this nation as one, now Christianity is being wrecked and fazed out of public life by political bullies, ideologues in the government, civil service and secular activists who want to take Christianity right out of public life by using punitive measures, betraying the culture which nurtured them.


Remember the final words of our Lord to his Apostles, which they so faithfully carried out. ‘Go into all the world and make disciples; TEACHING THEM ALL I HAVE COMMANDED.

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