Sermons

Summary: 1) Authority (2 Timothy 1:1–2a), 2) Altruism (2 Timothy 1:2b), 3) Appreciation 2 Timothy 1:3a), 4) Appeal (2 Timothy 1:3b), 5) Affection (2 Timothy 1:4), and 6) Affirmation (2 Timothy 1:5).

You can tell a lot about a relationship by the way people address each other. One of the most ironic of addresses is the "dear sir/madam" form letter address. In no way can someone be described as "dear" if we do not even know their name. When we give mother’s day cards, one of the basic addresses is to that of our "dear mother" or our "dear wife". The natural difference of course from the form letters, is that this "dear" greeting is to one of a very special relationship.

The greeting in 2 Timothy consists of a single sentence in the Greek. It has the customary threefold structure of the Greco-Roman letter: the name of the sender, the recipient and the greeting (Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (439). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).

With Paul’s letter to his protege Timothy, his very personal comments reflect principles pertinent to Paul’s discipling of Timothy. Not only does this letter reflect on some special women in timothy’s life, but it is also a tender reflection pertinent to Christian parents, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, pastors, counselors, neighbors, and friends—or to any believer who is helping another grow toward maturity in Jesus Christ and effectiveness in ministry.

Six implicit, but easily discernable, principles of motivation towards faithfulness presented here, are that of: 1) Authority (2 Timothy 1:1–2a), 2) Altruism (2 Timothy 1:2b), 3) Appreciation 2 Timothy 1:3a), 4) Appeal (2 Timothy 1:3b), 5) Affection (2 Timothy 1:4), and 6) Affirmation (2 Timothy 1:5).

1) Authority (2 Timothy 1:1–2a)

2 Timothy 1:1-2a [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, [2]To Timothy, my beloved child: (Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord). (ESV)

The first principle of godly and successful motivation is that of authority, as seen in the opening declaration by Paul that he was an apostle of Christ Jesus. Paul’s apostleship already was well understood by Timothy. It is mentioned here by way of reminder that, despite their close and loving relationship, Paul ranked above Timothy in spiritual authority because he brought the Word of the Lord and was writing in that capacity.

Intimacy does not preclude authority. The relationship of love that parents have with their children does not preclude their authority over their children. A parent-child relationship of love without authority is doomed to tragedy for the entire family. No matter how cordial a working relationship may exist, a business cannot succeed if employees refuse to recognize and submit to the employer’s authority over them.

Although they shared a deep friendship, Paul’s loving salutation to Timothy carried the full weight of his apostleship. Apostolos (apostle) literally means one who is sent out, “a messenger,” as it is sometimes translated (See, e.g., 2 Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25). But in the New Testament it more commonly carries the connotation of ambassador, a representative who carries with him the authority of the one he represents.

God chose Paul for special work: “He is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel …” (Acts 9:15). Paul did not seek this apostleship; instead, he was chosen by God. Thus, Paul could truthfully say he was an apostle by the will of God (Barton, B. B., Veerman, D., & Wilson, N. S. (1993). 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus. Life application Bible commentary (154). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.)

As an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul stood in the place of Christ and spoke the Word of Christ, and he did so by the will of God the Almighty Father. The high sense of apostolic vocation that gripped Paul was grounded in the conviction that this was the will of God for his life. A TV commercial once offered a particular credit card as the key that could open the door to the good life, flashing a definition of success on the screen: “Success is the freedom to live your life the way you want to.” The scene then shifted to a couple using their credit card in a Swiss resort! Paul knew a great deal about travel, though his accommodations were sometimes provided by the government. His definition of success was more like: “Success is to live your life the way God wants you to.” (Demarest, G. W., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1984). Vol. 32: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 32 : 1, 2 Thessalonians / 1, 2 Timothy / Titus. The Preacher’s Commentary series (242). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc.)

Paul writes Timothy not merely as a dear friend but as a divinely commissioned ambassador of God the Father and God the Son. He is not offering brotherly counsel but declaring divine truth with firm authority.

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