“Stand behind this tree! Don’t move to peek out, and stand with your body sideways, so nothing can hit you.” My father walked away. Disobeying him would never have occurred to me, so I stood straight as the tree itself, not daring to move my head and see what was happening. I could hear him moving away. “Where will you be, Daddy?” I called. He quickly answered, “Behind another tree, not far from you.” I waited and listened; at that age I had perfect trust in my father. I could hear him use the shovel or a pick, then a scratch and the slight smell of sulfur. At the same time, I saw him move quickly to stand behind another tree. In all my life I never saw my dad run–he didn’t have to. His stride with his long legs was probably between 4-5 feet, maybe longer, and he covered ground faster than anyone I knew.
I heard a hissing sound, and then an explosion. The dynamite, a long stick (if I recall correctly), faded red in color, about the size of a broom handle but maybe 16″ long, had been inserted under a huge stump that was in the middle of a field where Daddy wanted a garden. The stump had burst into thousands of pieces from the power of the dynamite.
As far as I know–which is not “experientially,”–doing that is not legal today, but when I was a child, sensible men were allowed to clear fields in this way. Come to think of it, I guess the same scenario does go on in today’s world: it is just illegal, called a bomb, and usually trees are not the object! The power is definitely the same.
Grab your notebook, perhaps call a friend or if you’re waiting for a group, click on the link http://www.trbc.org/service-archive, and then select the sermon preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Sunday, September 11, 2016. You can watch the entire service and be blessed by the music, or you can fast forward to the beginning of the sermon itself (unless you watched it Sunday!), and then do the Bible study below. Take it slowly and absorb all the amazing instructions Paul gave to his spiritual son, Timothy, or do it all in one day and let it process through your mind the rest of the week! In either case, let the Word of God saturate your being as we see that our task to spread the gospel is an UNFINISHED task!
Basic learning falls into one of two categories: learning by experience, or learning by observation. For instance, your parents may have divorced, and the impact on your life, and the sad consequences, made you determine you will never do that to your child–that is learning by observation (combined with experience). Experience in getting a $150 ticket for speeding may teach you the consequences were not worth the moment of fun! Can you think of an illustration for either that has impacted your life? Write down your memories, or if you’re in a group, share them!
Over the next few weeks we will focus on finding answers to questions like “Why am I here? Why was I born? Do I have a purpose?” as we start a new series called “Unfinished.” You may find some of the answers through having experienced God’s movement in your individual life, while other answers may come as you learn by observation that lives of those who have given their heart to Christ have been completely changed.
Think About or Discuss:
- Before you look at the focal passage, do you know a Scripture that may tell you why God says He made man? (Psalm 86:9 is one). Kudos to you if you think of several!
- How do you know God has a purpose for you? (Read Jeremiah 29:11).
We are going to study Paul’s last words to Timothy, encouraging him to carry on the work of the ministry. You need to apply these instructions to your own life, knowing the work of spreading the gospel to the world is not yet finished.
Life exists only in Christ
- Read 2 Timothy 1:1-7. What does verse 1b tell you? Why must you know this by your own experience, or by observing the changed lives around you? Why is it basic to how you live your life? Jot down your thoughts.
In a crazy world, hope comes only from Him
- Read verse 2b. What are some ways the world uses to avoid believing this verse? What is your hope and how is it so different from that of the world?
Finding purpose in life starts with Him
- Read verses 3a and 4. If you believe that God created you with certain gifts, with a specific purpose, how can you know what they are? Read 1 Peter 4:10. Why did He give you a gift/gifts? Will you find true joy if you are not serving others in some way?
It’s been entrusted to us
- Read verse 5. Who had passed on the gift of faith to Timothy? Who introduced you to the gift of faith? God has delivered it to you; who are you passing it on to?
Our starting point
- Read verse 6. What does Paul mean by “stir up”? Is your gift like that of your friends? What are ways in which you can recognize your gift (question 5)? When you find it, what are you to do with it?
Peace through strength
- Read verse 8. Where do your fears come from? What has God given to you? Can you describe the extent of the “power” that God gives you?
These verses are so filled with important content that it’s hard to condense the time it takes to study it in depth! Below will be some points for you to think on during the coming week, expanding on what God has done for you. He has given you so much, both in your life on earth, as well as gifts of service for your brethren, and a future with Him. Examine your life to see if these things are alive and well in you, and meditate on ways that you can increase your awareness of them. Pray that you would be able to vanquish the fear that Satan tries to use to destroy these wonderful blessings from God. If you know someone who would benefit from doing the study with you, invite them to come next week, especially if they are new to your area. Loneliness is a tool Satan uses too often in the life of a believer to destroy the work you are called to finish.
Memory Verse: 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Focal Passage: 2 Timothy 1:1-7
Home Study: Take some time to list all the benefits that God had blessed Timothy with, and then do a self-examination to see if they are active in your own life. In verse 1, the “life” Christ promises is not only for here and now, but for eternity. Verse 2, “grace” in the original Greek implies God draws the heart, then keeps you, grows you, encourages you through kindness, and pushes you forward to complete the task He has given you. Mercy is to exercise kindness toward the miserable and afflicted, and to stop looking at the world. Peace is that tranquil state of a soul that knows its future is secure in Christ Jesus. Joy (verse 4) is the natural result of a life lived in service to God. Power (verse 7) is the word for dynamite—an explosive, immense capability to choose what is right, true, honorable, and pure (Phil. 4:8) over what is bad; love for the brethren, and a sound mind, which is one filled with being content in whatever state you are placed in (Phil. 4:11).
We don’t ever have to live a mediocre life!