Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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My dearly beloved child 6/03/2012

Dearly beloved in Christ Jesus!

If you knew you only had a short time to live, what would you tell your children, your loved ones? You and I would most certainly share those matters of utmost importance concerning life, namely spiritual life. In our text of meditation, Apostle Paul, who shortly will be martyred for his faith, is writing from prison (possibly the last letter that he ever wrote) to Timothy, a young man who was converted through Paul's ministry. He is concerned about the Gospel being handed off to Timothy intact so that it may continue to bring salvation through Christ to multitudes. What did he share with his son? Let us read the first 7 verses of 2 Timothy 1.

KJV 2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Paul, vested with the authority of Christ as one who was sent by Christ, pours out his heart to his dearly beloved son, first of all expressing his love for him to him by greeting him with these beautiful words of affirmation: "My dearly beloved son." Not only my son, not only beloved, but "my dearly beloved son." He then tells him of the reality that God through Christ has been and is yet gracious, merciful and peaceful toward him. Paul goes on to share with his son his heart of prayer for him, his longings for him, and his joy in him. Then before Paul shared of his main concern for the writing of the letter: the source, foundation, guarding, teaching and preaching of the Gospel, Paul spoke of those things that were of a personal nature concerning Timothy. Before we continue through those things, let us make a connection between today and the time that Paul wrote to Timothy.

At this time of the year a milestone is reached in the lives of many young people in our local area which includes those from our own congregation. They either have already graduated from high school or soon will be doing so and is so doing, will be entering into a new phase of their lives: Adulthood.

We recognize that our life's story never begins with ourselves, as we must be children before we become parents. There are a number of factors which bring young people to the place they are today and there are certain factors that will continue to play a role in whom they become in their adult lives. In light of this, today we will consider the relationship between the Apostle Paul and his spiritual son, Timothy, and in so doing, be reminded as to our continuing role in helping our sons and daughter in their maturing process as we continue to release them more fully to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let us consider this text today, asking the same Holy Spirit who was poured out on that Pentecost Sunday 2000 years ago to illuminate the Word into our hearts today. ..

First off, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, identifies himself as to who he is. He is one who was granted salvation by Christ Jesus and was sent to tell others of the promises which were connected to Christ. He understood that he was a dearly beloved son of God and therefore, he looked upon others through the same eyes of longing that His Father and God does Paul understood that being in union with Jesus Christ means that He no longer knows any one after the flesh. (2 Corinthians 5:16) His attitudes, words and actions had become and were growing in concert with Christ. This is the man whom begins to share the heart of Jesus Christ with his dearly beloved son. It is out of great abundance of the love of God that he continues on with this letter. He is bursting with love for his dearly beloved son. We must get a sense of the heart of this man who was once blind but now sees clearly what it is to be a follower of Christ.

He then identifies to whom he is writing to as he speaks openly to his son before he moves on to bring affirmation, encouragement and direction to his dearly beloved son. He says: To Timothy, my dearly beloved son. Paul wants him to understand that they are forever connected together, as in calling him his son, he spoke of permanence. We understand today very well the significance of this terminology in that you and I will always be the son or daughter of our parents and if we are parents, our sons and daughters will always be as such. It would be a cruel parent who would disown an offspring, which sad to say has happened to some in various ways. Can you imagine the fall out of being told that "I do not want you anymore."

He not only spoke of permanence, but also he spoke of his love for him, using the words dearly beloved. What it meant by these words? It is an expression which means that one is loved, and not only just loved, but dearly and preciously loved. The Greek word for love is the root of this term "dearly beloved" which in the English language two words are put together to bring forth the meaning. We remember in our study of 1 John that the word love was used many times and which was defined in this manner: God is love and He demonstrated this love by giving of His Son to be the payment for the sins of the world.

This love that Paul speaks into his son's heart is one that enjoys the object of love simply because that nature of God's love. The love of God is not diminished by a lack of reciprocation, for rather than to feel rebuffed and hurt, the love of God pours out more towards its object in longing to bring that person to the understanding of God's love. For sure, the lack of response causes sorrow on the part of the who is the lover, even as we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. (Luke 19:41-44) But it never loses patience with the object of it love, fallen humanity. That is why the Lord came to seek and to save us.

After affirming his love for his dearly beloved son, Paul seeks to bring encouragement through the greeting from God to him, saying, Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Again, I say, and I emphasize, that this is a greeting from God and it is one that has a depth of meaning and signicance for us as sons and daughter of the most High God, through Jesus the Christ. We live in a relationship with God which is not according to anything we are or have done, for grace means just that: We have received unmerited favor from our Creator, God our Father in and through the last Adam, Jesus the Christ. He acted favorably and peaceably towards us, while we were yet helpless to save ourselves.. (See Romans 5)

He not only acted favorably and peaceably toward us, but He also withheld that which we deserved, death and separation from our God due to our unbelief and sin through the first Adam. This can be described as mercy. We have not only been given unmerited favor by God, but we have also been given a stay of execution by God. Rather than demanding payment for our sins from us, He gave us mercy and sent His Son to pay our debt of sin.
He sent Christ to be the bridge between an uncrossable chasm between us and God, which He spanned with wood. There was no way that we could build a bridge to get to the other side, for all our materials were not acceptable and would not allow us to cross the bridge to God. But God.....came to us, using not silver or gold, but the precious and holy blood of His Son, built the CROSS ing that has enabled millions through the years to be gathered into the body of Christ, into the fellowship of believers, into the Holy Christian Church, into the communion of saints.

He came to get us, not the other way around. We ran from Him, hid from Him, but He continued coming for us because of His limitless and tireless love. He loves us, He rejoices in us, He longs for us, He is able to live without us, but He does not desire to do so......

These two verses lay the entire foundation of this letter that Paul wrote to His dearly beloved son, Timothy. The groundwork was now laid so that Paul could bring forth that which he desired to pass on to his young coworker in the Lord. Let us now notice how Paul addresses the life of his dearly beloved son and in doing so, let us glean some encouragement and direction for our lives and the lives of others, especially the younger generation. Please not the following pattern that Paul has left with us as he shared his heart with his son.

He openly spoke of his love for him. (1:2)
He pointed him to the grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Jesus our Lord. (1:2)
He was thankful for him. (1:3) He prayed for him continually.(1:3)
He longed to see him for the joy that that would bring him.. (1:4)
He commended him for his sincere faith that had lived in his grandmother and mother.(1:5)
He reminded him to fan into flames the gift of God that was in him through the blessing the he had placed upon him. (1:6)
He reassured his son that God's Spirit is not a spirit of fear, but one of power, and of love and of self control. (1:7)

I am convinced that if we spend some time praying and reading over these verses, asking the Holy Spirit to open and broaden what is written here, we will be refreshed through the affirmations, the encouragements and the directions that are experienced and gained by us.
Please consider the blessing of Christian grandparents and parents, think on what it means to fan into flames the gift of grace that has been poured into you, and think on what it means to live the life of the Spirit which one of power, of love and of self control.

In closing, I would like to relate of how I have been blessed through the meditation over this text.. I have spent most of the writing on the first two verses of this chapter. Why? This is why.......It is because I have been very blessed through the love that is between the father (Paul,spiritual) and son (Timothy), which is only because there has been a receiving by the son (Paul) of the love of the Father through Jesus the Christ. It has caused me to rejoice in the love of our Father in heaven to the extent that I have found myself rejoicing in His love..........But it did not stop there, for it seems as in those times that the Father opens our heart to receive his love for us by giving us a sense of His acceptance of us, and His joy and pleasure in us, He opens an avenue by which we may allow this love to flow of out of us and into the heart of others so that they may be blessed. Here is how this blessing continued.

One of my sons has been blessed with song writing and musical talents and being that we have lived apart it has not been easy to follow his development and progress toward those goals that have been set before him. We have always had a close relationship, but living 2000 miles apart has made it where we have not been able to enjoy our relationship more fully. He has produced music cds over the years and much enjoyment has been gained in listening to those words and tunes that have been given to him through the Holy Spirit which bring glory to the Father through the Son.

Just yesterday we received a new cd from him with his latest songs and since I was doing some driving yesterday, I decided to take the new cd along to listen to these newest songs.
He and I have talked in the past about how the songs are arranged on the cd, i.e. which ones are put where in the order, what is the main point of the cd, what is the last song and so on. Well, I have been listening to the songs in order, have thoroughly enjoyed them and will be yet listening a lot more. And...here is where the connection between this text and my relationship with my son.

As I was listening to the words of the songs, as I thought of the meaning that he is wishing to bring forth through the metaphorical language, and as I thought about my Father's love for me and my love for my son, I was overcome with emotion. Why , you say? Let me try to explain in as few words as possible.

As I listened to him sing, as I enjoyed the music, and as I thought on the words, it came to me that I was hearing the heart of God through the life of my son. Even though we talk regularly, this was different as it was a condensing of many conversations over the phone.
I rejoiced in my heart to the point of tears as I thanked the Lord for revealing Himself to my son. Life has not been easy for him and his family due to circumstances, but through it all the Lord is pouring His love into him and through him through his music gifts.

Later that day, it was a privilege for me to affirm my love for my son, as we shared together of the Love of God.......

May the Lord bless us through the knowledge and experience of His love as we together live in unity of Spirit and as His love is extended to those around us.

In His Love,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 03 Jun 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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