Peter Barnes: Failures and Helpers, 2 Timothy 1:15-18 (Sunday 19 July 2020
Morning Service, 9.00 a.m.)
We should never think that there was a period in the history of the Church when nothing much went wrong. Not even the first-century Church in the New Testament was without spot or wrinkle.
1. Professing Christians can fall away.
– 1:15. We know nothing of these two men, Phygelus and Hermognes. Calvin considers that it was rather like what happened amongst the Galatians – Gal.1:6-7. But it may have just been a case of being unwilling to identify to a religious preacher who was in prison.
– Paul names them as in 1 Tim.1:20; 2 Tim.4:10, 14. People fall away for whatever reason – John 6:67.
2. Show kindness to Christians in need.
– 1:16-18. Roman Catholic commentators have claimed that Onesiphorus was dead, bur there is no indication here that that was so.
– This is not referring to Acts 28:30-31. Paul recalls that Onesiphorus had ‘rendered service’ or ‘deaconed’ at Ephesus, which may mean he was a deacon.
– when Hugh Latimer was gaoled for eighteen months before he was burned at the stake in 1555, he became so cold that he thought he would freeze before he was burned. A prison is not like hotel quarantine.
– 1 Cor.16:17-18; 2 Cor.7:6. Paul loved company.
3. Remember the judgment to come.
– Matt.5:7. Paul too expresses the prayer-wish: ‘may the Lord grant [Onesiphorus] to find mercy on that Day’ (1:18). That is how we are to look at life. We live here in the light of what is to come.