Thursday, March 30, 2023

2023.03.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Timothy 1:3–5

Read 2 Timothy 1:3–5

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does the apostle thank (2 Timothy 1:3)? How does the apostle serve Him? Like whom else? In what activity does he remember Timothy? How frequently does he do this? At what times? For what does he especially pray (2 Timothy 1:4)? What memory fuels this desire? What does he anticipate happening when he does se him? What memory fuels both the desire and the thanksgiving (2 Timothy 1:5)? In whom had this faith previously dwelt? Of what is Paul persuaded?

What thanksgivings, desires, and joys should fill believers’ prayers for each other? 2 Timothy 1:3–5 looks forward to the second reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that believers are thankful for one another’s faith, desiring to see one another’s face, and rejoicing over one another’s fellowship.

Thankful for each other’s faith. Paul has many reasons to be thankful for Timothy. Paul serves God with a pure conscience that was a gift from God. Paul’s forefathers’ good service was a gift from God. And now Timothy, his son in the faith (cf. 2 Timothy 1:2a), is serving God with a pure conscience that is a gift from God. Remembering Timothy’s place in this lineage of faithfulness is cause for thanksgiving!

And there has been a lineage of faith, as well. Although Timothy’s father was a Greek whose faith is not mentioned here, his grandmother Lois was a believer, and then his mother Eunice. And theirs was the same “unpretended faith” that is now in Timothy. Here is evidence not only of God’s historically consistent mercy but also covenantally faithful mercy.

There is nothing in this world that is so marvelous a display of the mercy of God as a believer in Christ, serving Christ faithfully. And yet we are such an unthankful people that it is possible for us to be forgetful of believers altogether, or even to remember them but still not be thankful. Paul’s conscientious service of God, however, expressed itself in constant, regular prayer, with thanksgiving.

Believers ought to be those who pray for one another. And this constant praying for one another should include especially thankfulness for the goodness of the God Who has saved them and uses them.

Desiring to see one another’s face. One of the things that the Lord has used to keep Paul constant in prayer for Timothy has been his “greatly desiring” to see Timothy. He remembers the tears on Timothy’s face when last they parted, and he desires to refresh his memory with one in which that face was last joyous. 

Paul knows that Timothy even now weeps for the absence and hardship that has come to his mentor. So, he is always remembering to pray for Timothy’s joy—and especially the opportunity to be an instrument of that joy when he sees him again. “Introversion” is something that believers need to get over in order to conform to the mind of Christ in believers. We ought to desire to see each other in order to cheer each other.

Rejoicing over one another’s fellowship. It isn’t only Timothy who will be full of joy. Paul unashamedly says “I may be filled with joy” in 2 Timothy 1:4. It’s not selfish to aim at true joy. Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (cf. Hebrews 12:2). And He desires that we might have His joy (cf. John 15:11, John 16:24, John 17:13; 1 John 1:4). Well, part of imitating Christ’s own joy is rejoicing in the fellowship that we have with one another (cf. John 17:24; 2 John 12). Believers ought to rejoice in one another’s fellowship!

Whom has the Lord brought into your circle and lineage of His work in your life and through your life? What part does thanksgiving for them have in your prayers? For whom, especially, ought you to be praying more? How do you aim at others’ joy? What pleasure do you take in seeing others?

Sample prayer:  Father, thank You for Your great mercy from one generation to the next of servants. From the fathers, to Paul, to Timothy, to us, serving You with a pure conscience is a gift for which You are worthy of praise. And as You pass the faith along from grand parent to parent to child, You show Yourself faithful. Forgive us for how infrequent we are in thanking You. Forgive us for being infrequent and irregular in prayer for one another. Forgive us for how little we desire to see each other and gladden each other. But You have sent Christ to bring us into Your family. And He rejoices to gather us to Himself. For His sake, forgive us, and make our joys to imitate His joy, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

ARP16A “Keep Me, O God” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

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