The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Series) for Sunday, April 3 , 2011, is from 2 Timothy 2:8-15. Five Questions for Discussion follow the Bible Lesson Commentary below. New Study Guide Class Handouts are below the Questions for Discussion! See also the International Bible Lesson: “Why Must Believers Suffer and Endure?”
2 Timothy 2:8-15
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David — that is my gospel,
These two important facts include answers to the questions, “Why did Jesus die?” “Was Jesus mission a failure?” Answer: “Jesus died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and God raised Him from the dead in accordance to the Scriptures” (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-11). Question: “Was Jesus qualified to be the long-awaited Messiah?” Answer: “Yes, He descended from King David” (see Romans 1:1-6; Matthew 1:1). Through faith in Jesus Christ we have assurance of salvation (see Romans 10:9-13). Timothy knew well the gospel the Apostle Paul preached, so Paul gave Timothy a highly shortened version to highlight important historical facts.
9 for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.
Paul knew that the gospel of Jesus Christ should never be changed or compromised, for the gospel was factual and true. He was so strong in his faith, not just for his sake but also for the sake of all others who needed to hear the true gospel, that he was willing to suffer any hardship, including ridicule and persecution. Even chained in prison, Paul shared the gospel by word of mouth to his guards and fellow prisoners. By letters from prison, he continued to spread the gospel, and his letters have been read around the world for almost 2000 years. Still, the word of God is not chained.
10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
The elect includes those who seek God and find Him; those drawn to Jesus Christ by the truth of the gospel and the Holy Spirit. Saving faith comes from our heart response to God’s offer of saving grace through His Son. Salvation is not mechanical, but personal: Person to person; God speaking to each individual through the gospel of grace. Paul knew that saving faith comes from hearing the word of God the word of God, the Holy Bible, should never be changed or added to for any reason. (see Romans 10:13-18). Though we face troubles and persecution here, eternal glory with God awaits us according to God’s timing.
11 The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead to new life. He rose in a resurrected, glorified human body. He could appear and disappear in a locked room, and He proved to His disciples that He was not a ghost. When we die to self and begin to live for Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, we receive divine help to overcome temptation and sin (see Romans 6:3-14). God also helps us bear good fruit to the blessing of others. God’s Spirit indwells us, and we are the temple of the living God (see 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20). On this earth, we could not live in a closer relationship with God than God living within us. Jesus Christ will also raise our mortal bodies from the dead, and we will always live with Him, throughout all eternity in our resurrected human bodies.
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us;
Living the Christian life in a world that is hostile to God, Jesus Christ, Biblical principles, and those who love one another in Christ Jesus, will always be difficult and result in hardship and persecution in varying degrees around the globe. If we endure, we will reign with Jesus Christ in His kingdom. In some way endurance prepares us mentally and spiritually to reign with Him, and we need this training. Endurance builds character (see Romans 5:1-5). If we reject Jesus Christ or deny that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, then He will not force us to receive Him and the salvation He offers. He will not force anyone to love Him and live with Him. He will acknowledge our denial of Him by denying us. He will admit and confess that we are not one of His own if we deny that He is our Lord and Savior. When Peter denied Jesus, Peter wept and repented; Jesus forgave Peter and received him back within His circle of disciples.
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.
By the grace and love of God, times of faithlessness can be forgiven if we repent and return to Christ Jesus, as Peter did when he was faithless. Jesus Christ will always be faithful in love and keeping His promises. Jesus Christ will never deny His true character in any respect.
14 Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening.
Unhappily, theological word games and wrangling over obscure words and beliefs have too often been prominent in some churches and systems of thought. Paul warned strongly against theological argumentation, especially when it is just for the sake of the argument. Too many disputes concern ideas that have no relationship at all to the central truths of the gospel of salvation, for which we must contend (see Jude 1:3-4). Too many disputes only alienate people from Christ, the church, and the gospel.
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.
All people live in the presence of God at all times. In all that we do as believers, we need to think of ourselves as presenting ourselves to God, as doing things that would be approved by God. We can also consciously work for God, and seek by His grace to gain His approval. We want to live and serve Him so we can meet God at the end the day or at the end of our life and expect God to be able to say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). We also pray and study the Scriptures (through private devotions, daily Bible reading, deep study of the Bible and commentaries, listening to others and our teachers or preachers), so with the help of the Holy Spirit we are prepared to share the truths of the Bible with others, truths especially suited to their needs, whether they are believers or unbelievers.
Five Questions for Discussion
1. How would you explain the gospel of Jesus Christ to someone today? What points would you want to be certain to emphasize? Why would you want to emphasize these points?
2. What does it mean to die with Jesus Christ? What does it mean to live with Jesus Christ? How should these two facts impact a believer’s daily life?
3. What might you say to someone who regrets the fact that they have denied Christ or have been faithless to Him?
4. What kind of wrangling in the church or among believers should be avoided today? How can this wrangling ruin those who are listening, whether believers or unbelievers?
5. In what activities can believers participate in to be prepared to “rightly explain the word of truth”? Why should believers always be prepared to do this? What difference would it make if we prayed for opportunities to share the Biblical truths that we have learned? Pray for someone today who needs to accept the truth of the gospel. Pray that someone will rightly explain the gospel to them.
New Study Guide Class Handouts
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