Sermon Audio & Review
Pastor Tim Potter
- Category: Morning Worship Series
- January 8, 2023
Preparing to Celebrate Our 75th Year as a Church – Part 2.
2 Timothy 4 gives reminders by way of command of how to nurture that which has been established at Grace Church of Mentor these past seventy-five years and how to maintain it for the next seventy-five years. Timothy is instructed by Paul to preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2). Through the preaching of the Word, that which has been established for the gospel is nurtured, cared for, and maintained. The necessity of caring for each other is understood by Paul’s encouragement to Timothy to make every effort to come to him by winter (2 Tim. 4:9, 21). That which has been established is nurtured by the interdependent, mutual care of the flock. Galatians 6 teaches that we need to sow exceedingly in caring for one another so that we can reap what is eternal.
Restoring Relationships for Gospel Progress
As we minister together and walk with each other here at Grace, we must discipline ourselves to maintain relationships for the gospel’s sake. Paul models this when he directs Timothy to pick up Mark (2 Tim. 4:11) who has been separated from him over a ministry disagreement. Paul realizes the benefit of reuniting during his last days. Paul assumes that Mark is born again and growing in Christ-likeness while they have been apart. Paul is determined to build their relationship for the gospel’s sake.
At Grace Church of Mentor, we need to assume the same things, that those in the flock are born again and growing in Christ-likeness. We ought to build relationships with each other towards that goal and for the gospel’s sake. If a member of the flock is not born again, that will demonstrate itself in time as we seek to build relationships. Spirit-filled people long to maintain and restore relationships, as this will affect the progress of the gospel. If we want to nurture that which has been established, we must seek to maintain and restore our personal relationships among the flock using Biblical communication. This protects the content of the gospel and allows gospel progress to flourish.
Reasonable Expectations of One Another
- "Bring the Cloak"
There are some reasonable expectations we all can have of one another. Paul, imprisoned in Rome, requests Timothy to bring to him three specific things: the cloak, the books, and the parchments (1 Tim. 4:13). These are essential for him to nurture himself as well as the body of the church. Paul, having nothing, perseveres in sacrifice as he endures the miserable time of prison. As believers, we need to be willing to persevere in both sacrifice and simplicity. Gospel progress is not dependent on how much stuff we have! Gospel progress is often greatest at believers’ times of significant simplicity.
Paul grew in his relationship with his Savior during this brutal prison time. God gave Paul the opportunity to stand before Nero and the Roman Guard to deliver the gospel message (1 Tim. 4:16-17). Alone and facing death, Paul testifies how the Lord Jesus stood with him. Jesus in a position of standing is an Old Testament Jewish posture of prayer. Jesus is interceding for Paul as a divine advocate before the Father just as He did for Stephen in Acts 7:54-60.
- "Bring the Books and Especially the Parchments"
Being a learned man, Paul still desires to learn more, remaining faithful, active, and teachable until the Lord takes him home. Paul sets an example for Grace Church to stay teachable and to keep our minds active, a necessity for the nurture and maintenance of that which has been established in the church. Paul has written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit a good portion of the New Testament by this time. God gave Paul the wisdom to protect those parchment scrolls by leaving them with a friend six hundred miles away (2 Tim. 4:13). At this point, Paul needs the encouragement and teaching of God’s Word that the Spirit of the Lord had originally created using Paul!
Just as Paul could not live by bread alone, Grace Church of Mentor must be a Word-saturated church to nurture what has been established for the next seventy-five years. The chief discipline we must have in our daily lives is the reading and understanding and the living of the Word of God. This most essential thing is often the most difficult to maintain.
In sending greetings to Prisca (informally called Priscilla in Acts) and others (2 Tim. 4:19), Paul makes clear the essential nature, need, and purpose of women in the local church. The church needs to be spiritually mothered. Any church that devalues the role of women within her is a church that is not nurturing its future and its gospel progress. It is essential for women to be established in their proper place within the local church according to Scripture to nurture gospel progress.
Paul also greets Onesiphorus (the man who had robbed Philemon), indicating that regardless of the hurt and damage caused by someone in our past, if the person has been born again and is growing in Christ-likeness, this person then has an equal place in the church as any other believer. Our identity is not in the failures of our past, but our identity is exclusively in Jesus Christ. The intentional listing of these people by Paul in this chapter teaches us the necessity of nurturing the church by acknowledging, appreciating, and relating with one another in the flock for gospel purposes.
Finally, Grace Church of Mentor needs to guard against gospel enemies within (2 Tim. 4:15) who oppose the teaching of the full Word of God by promoting noble things not found in the Bible. The mission of the church is to preach the full Word of God.
- With whom do you need to restore a right relationship? Will you initiate a conversation for the purpose of restoration?
- Are you teachable and keeping your mind active? Are you Word saturated, faithful in studying the Bible and engaging in opportunities to grow in your knowledge of the Lord?
- Are you being intentional about getting to know different members of the flock?
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- Matt. 6:14-15, 18:35; Mark 11:25-26; Luke 17:3-4; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13 – Forgiveness
A Hymn to Encourage: "A Passion For Thee"
Set my heart, O dear Father,
On Thee, and Thee only;
Give me a thirst for Thy presence divine.
Lord, keep my focus on loving Thee wholly;
Purge me from earth; Turn my heart after Thine.
A passion for Thee;
O Lord, set a fire in my soul, and a thirst for my God.
Hear Thou my prayer; Lord, Thy power impart --
Not just to serve, but to love Thee with all of my heart.
Father, fill with Thy Spirit, and fit me for service;
Let love for Christ every motive inspire.
Teach me to follow in selfless submission;
Be Thou my joy and my soul’s one desire.