December 16, 2019

The Holy Scriptures Are Your Sure Foundation

INTERESTING FACTS : Francis Scott Key, U. S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; AUTHOR OF THE "STAR SPANGLED BANNER"
 
"[M]ay I always hear that you are following the guidance of that blessed Spirit that will lead you into all truth, leaning on that Almighty arm that has been extended to deliver you, trusting only in the only Savior, and going on in your way to Him rejoicing"[1]
 
Daily Reading : 2 TIMOTHY; TITUS, PHILEMON
 
TEXT : 2Ti 3:1  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2Ti 3:2  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 2Ti 3:3  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
 
2Ti 3:4  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 2Ti 3:5  Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2Ti 3:6  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 2Ti 3:7  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2Ti 3:8  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 2Ti 3:9  But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. 2Ti 3:10  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 2Ti 3:11  Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the LORD delivered me.
 
2Ti 3:12  Yea, and all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2Ti 3:13  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 2Ti 3:14  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 2Ti 3:15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2Ti 3:16  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
 
THEME : THE LAST DAYS
 
2 Timothy
 
An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The Second Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy
 
This second epistle Paul wrote to Timothy from Rome, when he was a prisoner there and in danger of his life; this is evident from these words, I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand, 2Ti_4:6. It appears that his removal out of this world, in his own apprehension, was not far off, especially considering the rage and malice of his persecutors; and that he had been brought before the emperor Nero, which he calls his first answer, when no man stood with him, but all men forsook him, 2Ti_4:16. And interpreters agree that this was the last epistle he wrote. Where Timothy now was is not certain. The scope of this epistle somewhat differs from that of the former, not so much relating to his office as an evangelist as to his personal conduct and behaviour.  (Matthew Henry)[2]
 
Titus
 
INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE TO TITUS.
 
The Epistle to Titus was written before the Second, and there is good reason to believe, after the First Epistle to Timothy. It belongs to a period when Paul was not a prisoner, and can hardly be assigned to that portion of his life which is covered by the historian of Acts. There is not in Acts any allusion whatever to a visit to Crete, or to Churches in that great island, a fact that cannot be accounted for except by placing his Cretan missionary tour after his first imprisonment. It is probable that Churches had been planted before his visit, as in Rome and many other places; that after his first letter to Timothy he returned to Ephesus, and from thence passed into the island. When he left, as the work of organization was left incomplete, Titus remained in order to "set in order the things that are wanting" (Tit_1:5), and afterwards Paul wrote to him to give further instructions concerning the work. Hence the date of the letter will be somewhere from A. D. 65 to 68.
 
Crete is a great island, stretching one hundred and fifty miles from east to west, but only about thirty-five miles in width, mountainous but fertile, and had in 1867 a population of 210,000, mostly Greeks. It is closely connected with early Greek legend and history, and although under Turkish rule, is in full sympathy with the Kingdom of Greece. Its modern history is mainly a record of resistance to the Turkish power.
 
Titus, to whom the letter is addressed, was a Greek. He attended Paul to Jerusalem at the time the question of Gentile Christians was considered (Acts 15). Paul refused to allow him to be circumcised (Gal_2:1-5; 2Co_2:12; 2Co_7:5-16). He bore Paul's first letter to Corinth, and is often referred to in the epistles, although his name is not mentioned in Acts. From 2Ti_4:10, we learn that he was in Dalmatia, at the time Paul wrote from his prison, and we find (Tit_3:15) that Paul bade him come from Crete to Nicopolis, which is on the same coast as Dalmatia. It is still claimed in Dalmatia that he was the missionary of that region.
 
The genuineness of the letter, like that to Timothy, was never questioned until a recent period, but every objection made by the rationalistic critics of the German school has been satisfactorily answered, and there is no reasonable ground for doubt (People's New Testament) [3]
 
Philemon
 
Book Introduction - Philemon
 
Writer: The Apostle Paul (Phm_1:1).
 
Date: Probably A.D. 64. It is one of the Prison Epistles. See Introductions to Ephesians and Colossians.
 
Theme: Onesimus ("profitable"), a slave of Philemon, a Christian of Colosse, had robbed his master and fled to Rome. There he became a convert through Paul, who sent him back to Philemon with this letter. It is of priceless value as a teaching
 
1. in practical righteousness;
 
2. in Christian brotherhood;
 
3. in Christian courtesy;
 
4. in the law of love.
 
The divisions are four
 
1. Greeting (Philemon 1:1-3).
 
2. The character of Philemon (Philemon 1:4-7).
 
3. Intercession for Onesimus (Philemon 1:8-21).
 
4. Salutations and conclusion (Philemon 1:22-25). that all three of the Pastoral Letters belong to the last years of the great Apostle's life.  (C.I.  Scofield)[4]
 
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "THE HOLY SCRIPTURES ARE YOUR SURE FOUNDATION."
 
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come;" is how the Apostle Paul bridges the second and fourth chapters of 2nd Timothy.  If you notice, the subject of the second chapter of 2nd Timothy as well as the fourth chapter, has to do with the Church.  This is important to observe, so that you may understand the context of the Apostle Paul's statements about "the last days," and therefore, draw correct conclusions as to whom he is referring when he lists the characteristics of men and women living in the last days.
 
Though it may surprise some, once the context is understood, we understand the character traits listed in chapter three have to do with those inside the Church.  For example, as you read chapter 3:5 the Apostle Paul states that men and women would have - "a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof." The Apostle Paul would never refer to "the power" unless he was referring to a professing Christian.  The Scriptures are clear on this point -no one outside of Jesus Christ has "the power" of the Holy Spirit and his animating and life changing character.  Then again, knowing the subject is the Church in chapters two and four, we can safely conclude the reference to the ungodly characteristics listed in chapter three of 2nd Timothy, behavior[s] that would become patently manifest in the last days, refers to those who profess they are Christians.
 
Knowing the standards of a true believer in the LORD Jesus Christ, you may find this truth about the Church in the last days to be shocking.  Yet, the LORD Jesus Christ spoke of false Christians being among true Christians in his parable of the wheat and tares as well as other statements the LORD made about his Church.  The point is, the LORD Jesus and the Apostles spoke of false professors of Christ being among true possessors of Christ.
 
The word "perilous," comes from the Greek word that means - "to reduce the strength." The application of the word means "dangerous." However, the literal definition brings to mind the condition many true believers find themselves in today.  That is, they feel their strength is beginning to fade.  Many, perhaps you as well, are starting to lose strength for the fight, the good fight of the faith of the LORD Jesus Christ. 
 
This, by the way, matches the statement Jesus made in the book of the Revelation to the Church of Philadelphia.   "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." (Rev_3:8) Here, the Church of Philadelphia represents the Church of the last days according to many Bible expositors.  The situation at Philadelphia seems to fit correctly with what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2nd Timothy chapter three.  Notice, the Church at Philadelphia had no correction given to it by the LORD Jesus Christ.  Further, the Church of Philadelphia (the Church of brotherly love) was commended for being faithful to Jesus.
 
Yet, the Church at Philadelphia had only a "little strength." Once again, this theology is strange to many American preachers.  Their theological presupposition is that the Christian is always on top, always strong.  However, both the Bible and Christian history give testimony to the fact that the true Christian is often tested to the limits of their strength.  Therefore, the statement "thou hast a little strength," and the definition of "perilous " that means - "to reduce the strength," is fitting.  It is also vital to your understanding of the Bible so that you may be faithful to the end and finish your course with joy and hope.
 
If you will take the time to review the characteristics of men and women (within the Church) in the last days (of which, there can be no doubt we are now in), listed by the Apostle Paul in 2nd Timothy chapter three, you will draw strength from the lives of the Apostles as well as the Holy Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation.  Knowing you have been told beforehand what the condition of the Church would be like in the days in which you live, you can now draw from the source of true strength found in the Bible.
 
First, as "evil man and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived," you should  continue to follow the words and ways of the Apostles of the LORD Jesus Christ.  This is what the Apostle Paul meant in 2nd Timothy 3:14, when he said - "but continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them." He was speaking of himself, and the Apostles.  There can be no surer example of what a Christian is or should be than by watching, studying, and observing the lives of the Apostles in the New Testament.  This is the first step in maintaining your strength.  It is in mimicking those who knew Jesus Christ personally.  (Of course, the Apostle Paul is an exception in this principle.  He did meet the LORD Jesus Christ personally, but after Jesus' resurrection.)
 
Next, is the imprimatur placed upon the Holy Scriptures.  The Apostle Paul states emphatically  - all Scripture, that is, all 31, 102 verses in the Bible , each one of them is "inspired" by God himself. The Bible is God's will for your life put into words.  Nothing could make you more secure than to know that anything and everything God wants you to know is found in the Holy Scriptures.  This is our "more sure word of prophecy."
 
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.  (2Pe 1:19  - 21)
 
The combination of examining the lives of the Apostles as found in the New Testament (and to a limited degree, in the works of the Apostolic fathers and early Church fathers and their writings), and the meditating, memorizing, and making a diligent study of the Holy Scriptures, will see you through these evil days.  Remember, Christ has promised never to leave you or forsake you.  You can count on Jesus Christ to keep all of his promises.  Man is not always worthy of your trust.  Even the best of men can fail.  However, Jesus Christ cannot fail.  He is God come in the flesh.  Therefore, he will not fail since he cannot lie.
 
For this reason, when you make the Bible the central focus of your life, you become secure and confident.  You will also live a life that is pleasing to God, one of holiness and sanctification that the Bible tells us without these qualities, no man or woman will ever see God. 
 
"Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." (Heb 12: 12-17)
 
Surely, the Holy Scriptures are your sure foundation.

  • [1] Hugh A. Garland, The Life of John Randolph of Roanoke (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1853), Vol. II, p. 104, from Francis Scott Key to John Randolph
  • [2] Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. Public Domain, [1662 - 1714].
  • [3] Johnson, B.W. The People's New Testament. Public Domain, 1891.
  • [4] Scofield, Cyrus Ingerson. Scofield Reference Notes. Public Domain, 1917.
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