Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemonby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We have pointed out that the subject of 2 Timothy is inoculation against the decline of the church. In this message we shall consider five specific titles given to the inoculator in 2:1-15. These titles are a teacher, a soldier, a contender (an athlete), a husbandman, and a workman. If we read these verses carefully, we shall see that Paul regarded Timothy and his other co-workers as those who should be teachers, soldiers, contenders, husbandmen, and workmen.
In 2:1 Paul says, “You therefore, my child, be empowered in the grace which is in Christ Jesus.” The word “therefore” refers to chapter one. Paul’s exhortation in 2:1 is in view of what has been mentioned in the preceding chapter. Based upon what he has just written to Timothy, Paul now goes on to encourage him to be empowered in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. Paul did not charge Timothy here to be empowered in knowledge or in gifts. He charged him to be empowered in grace. The apostle himself had experienced the empowering of grace in life (1:9-12). Now he exhorts Timothy to be empowered in the same grace. This grace is God’s provision in life for us to live out His purpose. Instead of being discouraged, Paul was empowered in grace, even though he was in prison. He realized that grace is nothing less than the processed Triune God—the Father embodied in the Son and the Son realized as the indwelling Spirit. Second Corinthians 13:14 indicates that grace is the very Triune God Himself: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (lit.). Grace is not a thing; it is a unique Person, the living, divine Person of the Triune God processed to be the all-inclusive, life-giving, indwelling Spirit. This Spirit now dwells in us as our grace. We all can be empowered in this grace in the indwelling Triune God processed to be our enjoyment.
The more we are empowered in this grace, the more able we shall be to teach others. Thus, in verse 2 Paul goes on to say, “And the things which you have heard from me through many witnesses, these commit to faithful men, who will be competent to teach others also.” The things to which Paul refers here are the healthy words in 1:13. The healthy words, after being committed to faithful men, become the good deposit in them (1:14). This word indicates that if someone in a local church has a deposit of the Lord’s healthy words, he should train the faithful ones, the trustworthy ones, that they also may have a good deposit from the Lord, thus making them competent to teach others.
Paul realized that Timothy had received a good deposit, that he had been taught and nourished with the riches of grace. Therefore, he charged Timothy to commit these things to others who would be faithful and competent to carry on the same ministry. This indicates that more than one person is needed to carry on the riches of God’s New Testament economy. My hope is that through all these Life-study Messages thousands of saints in the Lord’s recovery will receive a good deposit of the riches of grace concerning God’s New Testament economy. Then those who have received these riches will be able to commit these things to others. Imagine what the situation would be if the Lord had ten thousand saints filled with His good deposit, spreading the riches of His economy throughout the earth. No doubt, this would hasten the time of His glorious appearing.
There is one God, one Christ, one Spirit, and one church. Because God is one, His way must also be one. Is this way to be found in Catholicism or in the denominations or in the charismatic movement? Certainly not! Neither is God’s unique way found among the independent Christian groups. God’s way is in His recovery. Actually, the recovery is the recovery of the unique way. Many saints can testify with a pure conscience from the depths of their being that if they do not take the way of the recovery today, they have no other way. The Lord’s recovery is the way. I say this, not because I have been used of the Lord in His recovery, but simply because it is a fact. Some who became dissenting and left discovered that they had no way to go back to the denominations. In certain cases the denominations might not even be willing to accept them. This shows that if we touch the recovery and then leave it, we commit spiritual suicide, for we turn away from God’s unique way.
In 2:1 and 2 Paul is burdened to charge Timothy, one who had received such a good deposit, to pass on the riches of grace to others. Then there would be many teachers, many ministers of Christ, to spread the riches of God’s New Testament economy.
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