Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
1. Read 2:10. What does "the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory" mean?
Salvation that is in Christ Jesus: Salvation is salvation from man's sins, so he could live as God's child. John 1:12; 3:16
with eternal glory: this refers to the net result of salvation, that is, being restored back to the life in the presence of God and participate in His glory. Man sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rm 4:23 So God sent Jesus to take away the sins of the world, so man can come to God in Jesus, and live as His child. For the details of the meaning of glory, refer to the posting entitled "glory 101" at http://isaachkim.blogspot.com
2. Describe the times of the last days. (2:16-18, 24-26; 3:1-9)
False teachers teaching false doctrines such as saying, the Resurrection has already taken place. The resurrection will take place when Jesus comes again. (John 6:39,40,44,54; Colossians 3:3-4)
The devil who is the ruler of the air of this world works to deceive many. The devil also known as Satan (i.e., the one who opposes, or in opposition of, God) has already taken captive many. In fact all unbelievers who are yet to be saved have remained captive of the devil, and therefore are in opposition of God's truth.
The times are terrible, primarily because of "people" being and going increasingly wicked.
19 character traits which have one thing in common, that is, not the lover of the true God who sent Jesus Christ. They are idolatrous.
deceptive in appearance (on the surface they look godly, but have no power to overcome the power of sin and death; they are rather overcome by sinful desires; they try to enjoy the best of both kingdoms - God's kingdom and the worldly kingdom; they are therefore split between good and evil; they put one foot in this world, another in the church, so to speak.)
They always learn but never acknowledge the truth. This is because they have been deceived by the devil who constantly entices them to enjoy the pleasures of sin.
3. How did the Apostle Paul serve the Lord as the Lord's servant?(3:10-12; 4:6-8)
My teaching - primarily he taught one thing and one thing only, that is, the cross of Jesus - the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as he said, "I resolved to know nothing but Christ and him crucified." 1Co 2:2
My way of life - he strove to go the way of cross, following Jesus' example, even to the point of death. Read Phi 3:10
My purpose - he had one single purpose, that is, to please Jesus, his commander in chief.
His faith - he believed in Jesus, not himself
His patience, love, endurance - these three represent the way (the question of how vs. what) to serve others, following Jesus' example.
Godly life - godly life means God/Jesus-centered life, meaning business. Then naturally persecutions and sufferings become the order of life, as Paul says, "Persecutions, sufferings--what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted..."
Strong finish - the expression 'I am being poured out like a drink offering' refers to him devoting his life fully preparing himself for the day of departure (via martyrdom). At that point he was locked in prison in Rome. There he poured out his spirit to write the four prison epistles (Col. 1-2 Ti; Eph; Phi]
4. What does the Apostle say about the Lord working (or being) with his servant(s)? (3:11; 4:17-18)
The Lord rescued him from harms and dangers. This shows that a man of mission will never die (or the Lord will never allow or leave his servant die) until his mission is completed.
Although everyone deserted him, the Lord did not; rather the Lord stood by him giving him the strength to stand firm and boldly speak for the Lord.
The Lord will be with his servant to the last minute and second, protecting him from every attack. He will allow his servant to suffer martyrdom if at all only to take him home quickly without going through a prolonged session or sessions of sufferings.
5. What do the following teach us about a man (or woman) called to serve the Lord as the Lord's servant?
1) Entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others (2:1-2)
A good gospel worker, a minister of Jesus Christ and an instrument useful to the Master must always think about the 'disciple-making'. Disciple-making is something he or she must consider doing at the outset, not later. Notice that on the second day of Jesus' public ministry, he called five disciples (John, Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael).
Read also Matthew 28:18-20, esp. focusing on the call to make disciples of all nations.
The key qualification as a disciple candidate is 'reliability', not 'smartness' nor 'Bible knowledge' but 'reliability'. Question is: "Is this man or woman reliable?"
Once he or she is reliable, then you can work on that person, so that person would be qualified to teach others.
2) Examples of a) good soldier; b) athlete; and c) hard-working farmer (2:3-13)
Good soldier, - [note for a group leader: let the group discuss on the meaning/imports/significance of 2:4]
Athlete - [See note above and consider the meaning of 'competing according to rules' to win the crown of victory; note that by the rules, Paul primarily refers to the way of service, esp. in love, long patience, walking in steps with the Holy Spirit, all in prayer.]
Hard-working farmer - i) work hard (do not be lazy); ii) farmer (God's work is like farming, involving cultivating, fertilizing, weed removal, pruning, etc.)
The overarching theme is to remember Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead, descended from David. [While this line goes to the issue of Jesus' authenticity as the Promised Messiah, Paul might have had in mind by this call the lie that leads man upward (resurrection) via incarnation (descended from David), so all in all, we are called to serve the flock of God by coming down to and getting into the level of the flock of God, and serving them just as Jesus served his disciples who were earthbound.
3) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who handles correctly the word of truth (2:14-3:17)
** This passage (2:14-3:17) has negative injunctions (don’ts) and positive injunctions (do’s) for God’s servants to bear in mind. But primarily, it talks about the need for man to be a good administrator of God’s word. For this purpose, God’s servant must first devote oneself to studying and internalizing the Scriptures, to the point that he could master the Bible, inside out, top to bottom, left to right, beginning to end, in letters and spirit, remembering that God’s words testify about Jesus Christ, the Only Savior, in whom God put salvation, and eternal life. For this, a disciple like Timothy ought to be taught to master the Bible via daily bread, deep Bible studies, via one to one, learning from servants like the Apostle Paul, learning both in practice and in principle.
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction (4:1-5)
** This duty can be discharged successfully, if one has a good command of the Scriptures (as seen in the para 3) above).
** Be prepared in season and out of season refers to the call to make the most use of every opportunity such as during eating fellowship, sports fellowship, in one to one setting, during group Bible studies, during public sessions for sermon such as in Sunday worship service, etc.
** Note the action plan: correct, rebuke, and encourage. First thing first, that is, correction, then rebuking, then encouragement. All need to be combined, so after getting corrected or rebuked, Bible students would not lose heart, so encouragement is needed.