I have shared my testimony before, but perhaps a portion is worth repeating.
I grew up in church (drug problem – my momma drug me to church). As a boy I had an inner sense of right and wrong along with guilt and conviction. In principle I agreed with the Bible’s teaching. I trusted Jesus for saving faith around the age of 10. I say around because my faith was both established yet emerging in learning the truth of God and teachings of Scripture. My teen years of spiritual growth was slow and perhaps stalled due to lack of intentional focus. Yet, various circumstances during my senior year of high school led me to pursue God with intention and intensity. Night by night I would spend hours reading entire chapters and books of the Bible. Through reading the word of God I encountered the God of the word. The same can happen for you.
We know God through the book. We are a people of the book. We believe the promises of the book. We embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ from the book. Our faith is fueled by the truth of the book. The book is sweet to our taste, satisfying to our soul, and saturating to our being. God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible, and intimate word is the foundation for all our life past, present, and future hope.
Today’s message reminds us the significance of treasuring and trusting in God’s word.
EXAMINE 2Timothy 3:10-17 Learn & Lead
Paul writes to Timothy about contrasting examples and life paths to live. The previous verses describe one path that is foolish/folly (2Tim 3:1-9), while the other path is to be followed in faith. Paul lists 9 targets for Timothy to follow.
Follow Me: each target contains a definite article for emphasis.
1) My teaching
– Paul’s teaching was divine truth as one of Jesus’ appointed apostles (2Tim 1:11). Paul would warn Timothy about a coming time when people would “not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2Tim 4:3-4). Paul preached and wrote doctrine for Timothy to follow “sound words… and guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (2Tim 1:13-14); and to entrust the teaching to others who will be faithful to teach others (2Tim 2:2); present yourself as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2Tim 2:15).
– Paul’s teaching was dear preparation. Paul had traveled with Timothy and spent countless hours together. Paul viewed Timothy as a “fellow worker” (Rom 16:21), and a “beloved son in the Lord” (1Cor 4:17; Php 2:22; 1Thess 3:2; 1Tim 1:18). Their relationship was not just professional and theological but was personal, which made all the more reason for Timothy to continue in the path of Paul’s teaching.
◊ Parents, your teaching is in the context of relationship and preparation for your child. Therefore, allow your children to not just hear your teaching but to see it lived out.
◊ While it may be good for parents to ask children what they learned after church experiences, parents should also share what they have understood and are seeking to apply.
o If raised in the church, your children will know what the church believes but will they know what you as parents believe?
◊ Teachers in the church are to be esteemed. They have a high calling with high accountability before God (James 3:1). Spend time praying for them, participating in their groups and in their lives.
2) My conduct
Paul’s example of conduct with Timothy was loyalty to Christ (2Tim 4:6-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith…”). He exhorted others to follow his conduct as He followed Christ (1Cor 4:16; 11:1; Php 4:9; 2Thess 3:7-9).
◊ People will follow our actions more than our talk. Someone has quipped, “your walk talks and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.”
◊ There’s an African tribe that became Christian and they would make walking paths to pray. If your walking path filled with grass & brush the village would know you were slack in talking to God. à Is there brush growing up in the example you’re setting for others?
3) My aim in life
Paul uses the word “πρόθεσις“ which means purpose, way of thinking. In other words, Paul’s aim is his overarching purpose and overwhelming passion.
è What is your overarching purpose and overwhelming passion?
o Where do you dedicate most of your time and talent (beyond home and career)?
o On what do you spend most of your money (beyond shelter & food)?
o What or who excites you most (beyond family)?
If we want others to believe what we say we believe, then the aim of our life must have eternal value. “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24
4) My faith
Paul’s faith was his not in his own faithfulness but in the fixed righteousness and grace of Jesus Christ. Paul tells Timothy to continue in the faith that was learned from Timothy’s grandmother Lois and mother Eunice (2Tim 1:5; 3:14). Timothy’s faith was learned knowledge. Paul’s word usage of Timothy’s knowledge is not epignosis but oida, implying not just head knowledge but heart knowledge.
“not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith… Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Philippians 3:9, 12
Parents must not have a dry cleaner approach to their faith. Dry cleaner faith is dropping off expecting the object to be returned all complete. Faith should not be approached with such an isolated or indifferent manner. Instead of dropping off, parents should stick around… whether to be involved as a participant or to be instructed as one who is learning, growing, and being discipled to disciple.
Those who are not parents of young children are encouraged to be involved in CM/YM, and or coming alongside of younger parents.
– Some of our CM vols do not have young children but are serving bc they see the value and vision of growing godly generations.
– Some of your young parents are serving in our CM but do so at every turn yet with little opportunity to step-back to gain needed spiritual development and depth.
5) My patience
Paul’s testimony was that he was a violent persecutor of Christians, of which Christ Jesus gave him mercy and displayed perfect patience (1Tim 1:15-16). Paul’s patience was learned from his experience with the Lord Jesus (Rom 2:4; Eph 4:32).
The word for patience “μακροθυμία“ which literally means long (makro) suffering (thumos), carrying the understanding of endurance and perseverance. Paul was determined and devoted to the long-term health of Christians and the church.
◊ Patience is perhaps the most challenging virtues.
o Do we dare pray for it?
o Our impatience is a refusal to accept God’s refining of our character and trust of God’s wisdom.
◊ Patience occurs through prayer, because it’s a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22)
6) My love
Paul’s use of the word is ἀγάπη, which is the undefinable yet distinguishing mark of Christianity (John 13:35). For Paul to tell Timothy to follow in his love would indicate the nature of their close relationship.
è Parents, how often do you tell your children you love them?
è How often do you tell your friends you love them? [ – – – me at O’s game seeing Erik, been ~10-15 years]
è How often do you tell church members you love them?
o à If we have not love then we are an obnoxious noise and offensive witness for Jesus (1Cor 13).
7) My steadfastness
Paul’s perseverance is to remain/abide, while the evil impostors go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2Tim 4:13).
◊ Paul never quit or failed to finish the ministry God called (2Tim 4:7).
◊ Quitting can be a character flaw, but it can also be a wise choice by setting right priorities.
o à Is there something you’re called to keep on or to quit?
8) My persecutions
Paul had to be steadfast because of the persecutions and sufferings he faced. The reader may also note the shift from singular to plural, indicating multiple circumstances of persecution. Timothy would have known many of Paul’s persecutions, as they were constantly fleeing as fugitives during their missionary journey with the religious Jews.
◊ 2Corinthians 11:23-28 “far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea, on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”
◊ The un-persecuted faith is an unlived faith. “Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2Tim 3:12)
Jesus promises protection but this does not necessarily mean removal from trials. Similar passages using the verb “to keep” (cf. John 17:15; 2Tim3:11; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 3:10) indicate that the term can mean “protection in & from” rather than a “removal from” suffering.
John 17:15 “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”
2Tim3:11 “yet from them all the Lord rescued me.”
2 Peter 2:9 “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.”
Revelation 3:10 “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.”
9) My sufferings
Paul not only endured external persecution but also internal suffering. He experienced affliction, burdens, hardship and thorns in the flesh, but all to learn the comfort of God the Father (2Cor 1:3), the resurrection power of Christ (2Cor 1:9; Php 3:10), the sufficient grace of Jesus (2Cor 12:9), and the intercession of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:26-27).
◊ Testings give testimony.
◊ Purple heart is awarded to soldiers wounded in the field of battle. Civilians see our soldiers who have a purple heart and recognize they are heroes. Likewise, those who share their sufferings while honoring Christ are emulating Christ as our hero.
If we follow these 9 targets, then we will be
v Enlightened for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus
v Equipped for every good work.
o Scripture’s benefit
- Profitable for teaching – what is right
- Profitable for reproof – what is wrong
- Profitable for correction – how to get right epanorthosis – refers to restoration of something to its original and proper condition
- Profitable for training – how to stay right
– – – – – –
 In its context, this statement is directed towards the Philadelphian Church. In this, Jesus promises protection but this does not necessarily mean removal from trials. Similar passages using the verb “to keep” (cf. John 17:15, 2 Peter 2:9) indicate that the term can mean “protection in & from” rather than a “removal from” suffering. Therefore, the context of the rest of the passage must clarify its meaning. The rest of the context points to the believers enduring, holding fast and overcoming which hint at the protection being in the midst of suffering rather than removal from suffering. The key is the central promise Jesus provides in the passage of opening a door that no one can shut and making unbelievers (those of the synagogue of Satan) acknowledge the identity and object of Jesus’ love. Verse ten starts with a transition word “since” indicating its secondary nature of importance to support the previous promise. As Grant Osbourne notes, “Therefore, the point is that the Philadelphia church (identified with all faithful believers here) will be protected from the wrath of God against unbelievers but not from the wrath of Satan, and that this protection is within and not a removal from (as in a pretribulation rapture) that wrath.” (Greg Beale, Baker Commentary, Revelation)