Archive for the ‘1 & 2 Timothy’ Category

gospel driven

From the Romans 12 Bible study we saw that worship can be gospel-driven tea serving or toilet cleaning.

Fidel kicked off preaching through 2 Timothy with a wonderful reminder of the gospel:

  • An unpopular message we might well be ashamed of and will need to suffer for (and that’s what the spiritual power is for – suffering) – v8
  • God saved us, not at all by our works but purely by his purpose and grace (v9)
  • He purposed to save us before time began – v9
  • All this is IN CHRIST – v9-10
  • Our salvation was manifest and accomplished through the coming of Jesus who destroyed death and brought life through the Cross – v10
  • It is about immortality – v10 – that’s why Paul can talk about the ‘promise of life’ (v1) when he’s about to die (4:6)
  • It’s a message – heralded, sent, taught – v11

We did a ‘How To’ on introducing a speaker.

Harrison introduced doctrine and particularly the doctrine of Scripture, warning us of a creeping liberalism.

And Mrs Mercy Eunyalata gave a hugely helpful Call to Faithful Children’s Ministry.

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  1. Discipleship is discipline – suffering (as a soldier), keeping to the rules (as an athlete or workman), working hard in season and out of season (as a farmer) as you preach the gospel (1:8,11-12; 2:3-6, 10, 15; 3:10-12; 4:2, 5, 7)
  2. Discipline flows from the grace of Christ – suffering, faithful gospel service flows from the massive grace of our salvation in the crucified and risen Christ (1:8-10; 2:1, 8, 11) and His Spirit dwelling in us (1:7-8, 14; 4:22)
  3. Discipline is a means of grace – it is through our continuing in the reading of the Word that God makes us wise for salvation in Christ, trains and thoroughly equips us (3:15-17) and it is through our continuing in the struggle of preaching the gospel that God shines the light of life, the elect find salvation in Christ, the church is kept from dangerous error and brought to maturity (2:2, 10, 14-15, 24-26; 3:16; 4:2-5).

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It’s not good to argue about words and split hairs. Different people mean different things by ‘internship’ and ‘apprenticeship’. What one church calls an ‘intern’ might be very similar to what we prefer to call in iServe Africa an ‘apprentice’. On the other hand, the UK/US TV series ‘The Apprentice’ has very little to do with what we mean by apprenticeship and looks more like an extreme internship. So the stuff below might not apply in some contexts. But generally speaking, there are some important differences between the way ‘internship’ is usually understood and the connotations and conceptions that go with it, and what we mean by apprenticeship.

  1. Holistic – This flows out of the relational nature of apprenticeship – father and son (Phil. 2:22) – as well as the biblical view of the human person – the inter-relationship of heart, head and hands. If you’re an intern at Safaricom or Barclays, no-one is interested in your personal life, spiritual life, emotions, passions, health, character – so long as they don’t interfere with your work that is all irrelevant. In an apprenticeship, particularly a ministry apprenticeship, they do matter. It’s a life-on-life thing where the apprentice should be seeing and following the mentor’s ‘teaching, conduct, aim in life, faith, patience, love, steadfastness’ (2 Tim. 3:10).
  2. Horizontal – An internship suggests that you are getting on the first rung of the career ladder. The organisation is interested in getting the most out of the skills and knowledge that you gained at university (and cheaply!). They’ll work you hard and if you produce the goods then there’s a chance they may take you on and you can start working your way up within the organisation. In contrast, apprenticeship might well be unrelated to school learning. It’s more about gaining new skills – being a child again. And when you’ve gone through a year or two of apprenticeship you realise that you will always be a child, always learning, that there are no CV points to be earned here and no promotion prospects in the Kingdom.
  3. Humbling – All that makes for apprenticeship being a humbling thing. In fact the very label ‘apprentice’ is more humbling to wear than ‘internship’. I’ve been told that apprenticeship sounds like something that uneducated people with no ‘prospects’ in rural areas do – becoming a carpenter or farmer or mechanic like their father. If you are university educated then internship is the thing to do. And for organisations too – to say, “We have two interns” sounds more impressive than, “We have two apprentices” (to which people say, “What does that mean?” or silently think, “That’s a bit weird”). Of course internship might be humbling at times but that is seen as a pain to get through until the glories of a secure position, whereas in an apprenticeship humbling is part of the point of the exercise and a preparation for the rest of life. 
  4. Hearing – Apprenticeship is about hearing not just doing. Internship is mainly about output. Apprenticeship has more to do with input. Interns need to contribute straight away to the organisation. Apprentices are more ‘works in progress’, growing and changing on the inside – identity, convictions. That doesn’t mean we forget that apprenticeship is learning through service (Phil. 2:22) and it doesn’t mean apprentices shouldn’t end up being a great blessing to the church or organisation they are with and to the wider community, but it is also about transformation. And that transformation comes about very largely through listening. Paul told Timothy, “Follow the pattern of sound words that you heard from me” (2 Tim. 1:13); “What you have heard from me” (2 Tim. 2:2). Timothy would have been with Paul hearing him preach hundreds of sermons, listening in as he carefully pastored and counselled people, and no doubt they had lots of time on the road and on ships talking about ministry, and late nights where Timothy and Silas and the others just sat at Paul’s feet soaking up his wisdom, sharpening their doctrine and biblical theology. This overlaps with the relational nature of apprenticeship –listening to the stories of the wazee around the fire in the evening; it meshes with what the Christian life is all about – first and foremost being and receiving rather than doing and performing; and it flows from the truth that transformation comes through hearing the Word.
  5. Heaven-minded – Finally, one of the most difficult things to get across when it comes to the apprenticeship model of training is the idea that it is training people for the Kingdom of Heaven not for my little earthly kingdom. As we noted, internship carries with it at least the hope/possibility of the organisation retaining the intern. With apprenticeship – certainly ministry apprenticeship – the idea is to send out workers into the harvest field regardless of whether that is ‘my’ bit of the harvest field or not. The apostle Paul spent days and nights, weeks, months travelling around with Timothy, mentoring, training, investing in him and then he encouraged him to remain in Ephesus, not to lead franchises of ‘Paul Ministries International’ but simply to nurture and grow the Church of God. The plan is simply 2 Timothy 2:2. It’s not about organisational growth it’s about people being born from above and growing in Christ. That doesn’t mean that an apprentice can’t sometimes stay in the ministry in which they’ve been mentored but the focus is on their continual growth and exposure to mission and more than that to the growth of the Kingdom of heaven whether that be in this denomination or that one, whether it mean working in Kenya or East Africa or beyond.

If you’re a recently graduated Kenyan and you’re up for that kind of apprenticeship or you know someone who would be) then get in touch before the end of this week (16th November) to apply for our December intake.

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James Wainaina continues his report on the Kiwoko Bible Expositors Fellowship


“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!”  2 Timothy 2:8-9

There were 4 main points on building with the right foundations

1.  We must remind each other of the gospel!

Severally when writing to different churches, Paul keeps reminding them to remember the gospel they have heard from him. In several of this occasions like in Rom. 1:1-5; 1 Cor. 15:1-11; 2 Cor. 4:5, he does not leave it to their guessing but actually reminds them of what the gospel is. When writing to Timothy, he reminds him again to remember the gospel and to remind each other of it.  In the middle of instructing Timothy to endure persecution and suffering for the gospel, Paul commands Timothy to…

  • “Remember Jesus Christ……”  The question is, how could Timothy forget him?  2 Tim 1:9 answers.  We naturally drift to focus on our works and forget that it is all about what Jesus has done for us, that we are saved and given a ministry not by virtue of our works but simply by His own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus before Creation.
  • “……as preached in my gospel.” Jesus was to be remembered in a particular way:
    • “Christ” (‘Messiah’ –Isaiah 61:1-3) Jesus is the anointed King that God set apart to be our savior.
    • “risen from the dead” (Matthew 28:17-18; John 20:28; Luke 24:26-27, 45-47; Acts 2:36; Rom 1:2, 4; 1 Cor 15:4). Jesus is the crucified Lord whom God declared to be his Son.
    • “Descended from David” (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Ps. 89:3-4; Isa. 9:6-7; Jer. 23:5; Matt. 1:1; 22:41-45; Mark 10:46-52 11:10; 12:35-37; Acts 2:25-36; Rom. 1:5; Rev. 22:16). Jesus is the son of David that God promised would rule forever.

 2. We must never assume the gospel in our Christian Ministries

….because when we assume something it ends up being forgotten about!

“and what you have heard from me before many witnesses (i.e. the gospel) entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim. 2:2)

Paul points here to four generations to pass on the gospel.

  • 1st generation: Paul himself
  • 2nd generation: Timothy’s generation
  • 3rd generation: Faithful men
  • 4th generation: Others taught by faithful men.

This also means that in 4 generations, we could also lose the gospel.

  • 1st generation: Gospel accepted
  • 2nd generation: Gospel assumed
  • 3rd generaton: Gospel confused
  • 4th generation: Gospel lost

Where do you think we are in East Africa now?

God has warned us that some people will not put up with sound teaching!

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3)

Paul is concerned to warn the churches that people who desire to live ungodly lives will stop listening to the truth of God’s gospel and turn aside to believing lies (see 2 Tim. 3:1-5).  Femi Adeleye, speaking in an African context, says we are living in very dangerous times:

“These are times in which it is becoming more difficult to differentiate between faith and fantasy or between devotion to Christ and religious delusion. We live in times when the line between churches and cults is so thin and men easily mistake spiritism for spirituality. These are strange times indeed. Times when men wholeheartedly follow strange teaching and philosophies even within the Church; times of strong addiction to seducing spirits; and times when leaders feed their flock with false doctrines. As regards the content and practice of the gospel, only those with discernment, who understand the times and refuse to compromise their vision, know the difference between the true and the counterfeit gospel.” Preachers of a different Gospel (IFES Anglophone, Kampala, 1999), p.1

If Femi Adeleye is right about our East African Church context, then the need for expository preaching of God’s word is greater than ever. The pulpit sets the direction for the whole church. Therefore if reformation or revival is to come to the church, it must be preceded by a reformation or revival of the pulpit through a return to expository preaching.

 3. Lastly but not least, we must preach Christ from the whole of the scriptures.

Christianity is all about Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The gospel must be Jesus Himself. Every sermon, if we say it is gospel-centred should always preach Christ. This we see this in Paul’s faithful preaching of the gospel (Acts 17:2-3). All stories and themes of Scripture find their climax and fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27; Acts 3:18-26; 20:27). In fact all creation finds it’s fulfillment in Christ (Eph. 1:9-10).


In times when deception and false prophecy is on the increase, ours is to remain faithful to the call of Christ Jesus and to the great commission in Luke 24:46-49:

“and said to them, “Thus it is written, that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.And behold I send the promise of my father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”


We are very grateful to Steve Smith, senior minister of Grace Church, Worcester Park, for this teaching and permission to share it here.

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