The Church’s Endurance (2 Timothy 2-3)

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  • Heatwave in MD while we spent time in Blue Ridge Mountains in mid-80s cool breezes.
  • I enjoy warmer weather – fits my personality – and makes ice-cream tastier 😊
  • When you hang out with the sun, you will sweat, which for me I’d rather sweat than freeze.
  • There’s no escaping the sun’s power. Many people try to evade the sun, but it’s inescapable; even in shade or inside we feel the effects of the sun’s power. Likewise, we cannot escape God, though many try.
  • When you spend time in God’s presence, you will sweat His purposes and priorities; you will sweat His character and commandments. We cannot spend time in the shining of God’s presence without Him having an affect in your life.

  • Nothing says summer like sunflowers.
  • My friend Tony likes to take pictures of sunflowers. SF are big and beautiful flowers. The reason they are called SF is because they follow the sun. The sun rises in the east and the flower points east. When the sun sets in the west, the flowers point west. These flowers are very productive in throwing out a lot of seeds because they are always looking for the sun. They locate the sun’s direction and then they look for the sun’s attention; therefore they are always growing – some grow 16’ high and most are heat/drought tolerant.
  • When you and I locate and look for the Son of God, like the SF, we will grow spiritually and throw many gospel seeds for others to begin new life and bloom bright.

Today’s message is a reminder to endure in the light of the Son.

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EXAMINE           2 Timothy 2 – 3         The Church’s Endurance

Christians must endure in faith through grace and generational legacy (2Tim 2:1-10).

As mentioned in previous message, Timothy was likely experiencing personal discouragement and ministry discontent. He may have been questioning his calling or spiritual gifts, not to mention becoming burdened by the needs and issues of the Ephesian church. Timothy did not need more from God but needed to apply with confidence and commitment what he already possessed through faith in Christ. He needed to fan the flame of his faith and boldly follow the Spirit’s leadership (2Tim 1:6-7).

Paul encourages Timothy endure by being strong in grace (passive imperative) (2Tim 2:1). Timothy’s strength was not in his pastoral skill but in personal relationship with Christ.

  • Sometimes we too can be busy for God that we are not being with God and doing things with God. Like the bird who finds/chews/spits the worm to its child, it must also find/eat for itself.

Paul also exhorts Timothy to endure through generational legacy (2Tim 2:2-7). If the chain is to extend its length, it must add another link. Here Paul outlines a four-fold generational legacy from Paul to Timothy to faithful men to others also. Commit/entrust (παρατίθημι) means to deposit something valuable

Paul illustrates the principle of generational legacy with 4 examples.

  • A faithful teacher investing in students to share with others.
    • Teachers are most proud to see former students succeeding in life as older adults.
  • A good soldier not endures hardship and does not get distracted in civilian life.
    • Soldiers understand pain leads to gain.
    • Soldiers authority and following orders saves lives.
    • Soldiers endure until their enemy is destroyed or they die themselves.
  • An ambitious athlete competing with integrity and intention.
    • Many admire athletes but few imitate their discipline.
    • Can you imagine a relay race with first two racers running hard, but the third receiving the baton to casually walk the baton to the fourth racer and then that racer just goes and sits down? In a substantially more significant aspect, countless churches and leaders have weakened the effort of previous generations and wasted the resources of Christ’s church.
  • A hardworking farmer working to eat from the fruit of his labor.
    • A starving farmer is either idle or in a drought; otherwise, farmers labor to eat and enjoy a harvest.
    • Christian, are you laboring or being lazy knowing there’s a harvest coming?

 

Definitions

  • Discipleship is a Christian following Jesus.
  • Disciplemaking is a Christian helping others follow Jesus.
    • Includes evangelism and equipping, often relational and life-on-life.

 

  • Endure in grace.
  • Endure in generational legacy.
  • If you’re a Paul, identify your Timothy. If you’re a Timothy, identify your Paul and then begin to identify your faithful few.
    • Paul’s – standup so Timothy’s can see you.
    • Famished faithful – stand up so Timothy can see you. These may not stand up but you may write your name down on a card and give to Pastor, or you may go to the Paul’s and ask if they have time or can encourage their Timothy to provide attention.

2Tim 2:11 may have been an early church creed or hymn.
“For if we died with Him we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny himself.”

 

Christians must endure in faith with leaders who labor well (2Tim 2:14 – 3:17).

Just as Timothy’s need Paul’s, so do churches need leaders and pastors.

Acts 14:23 “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

Titus 1:5 Paul commands Titus to “appoint elders in every town [/church]”

Acts 15:6, 22 “the apostles and elders gathered [to address issue of doctrine and direction of the church].

Acts 20:17 “the elders of the church [were accountable for the development of the church]

James 5:14 elders are called to shepherd God’s people through word & prayer

Revelation 2-4 the church angels/elders were accountable to Jesus for the church.

The church is to have pastors (shepherd/overseer/elder all synonymous…)

  • Role of Elders is lead by example and personal disciplemaking, feed and protect with God’s word, and knead with wisdom and prayer for organizational unity and missional movement.
  • Role of Deacons is service according to gifting to meet practical needs and to be peacemakers in keeping unity of the church.

 

Paul tells Timothy several key actions of a pastor

  • 2Tim 2:14 Remind
    • We are a forgetful people. Forgetfulness hinders faith – our memories don’t just help us to reminisce but they help us revolutionize our future.
  • 2Tim 2:14 Charge them before God not to quarrel…
  • 2Tim 2:15 Present / Be diligent (σπουδάζω: zealous persistence, unreserved commitment) self as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (ὀρθοτομέω: to cut straight; used of a craftsman, or farmer plowing straight, or mason setting straight line). The careful pastor is to teach God’s word with full accuracy. Who wants a preacher only half accurate? Truth & doctrine matter!
    • 2Tim 3:16 “the sacred Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that you may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
  • 2Tim 2:16, 22-25 Avoid irreverent babble… Flee youthful passions… reject foolish and ignorant disputes… the Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness”
    • False teaching spreads like gangrene. In ancient world, this term was used of all kinds of diseases. In modern warfare, gangrene was a danger in battlefield injuries that if not treated correctly or carefully would quickly lead to amputation or death.
    • Pastor qualifications included competency, convictions, and character.

 

2 Tim 3:1 “Difficult times [χαλεπός καιρός = difficult & dangerous/violent moments] will come in the last days…”

Oh how valid and relevant this statement is for the history of the church, not to mention our present culture. Many children of God are undernourished or malnourished spiritually. We have more popular preachers and common churches than in church history, but few are enduring in sound doctrine. Today’s Christianity has much chatter but little conviction, lip service to morality but little authentic life change, abundant activity but less spiritual fruit; “having the appearance of godliness but denying its power” (2Tim 3:5).

While Christians live in darkness, we are called to be lights.

“being blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life.” Php 2:15-16

  • Hold your leadership accountable in doctrine and practice.
    • Participate in member meetings & open forums… but more than that, get to know them personally. Pastors and leaders are available for personal conversations… so, let us not use public settings for vague claims or explicit complaints. Follow Matthew 18 in handling personal conflicts.
  • Permit your leadership to hold you accountable in doctrine and practice. Follower their “teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance” (2Tim 3:10).

 

APPLY/THINK

2Tim 3:8 “Keep your attention on Jesus Christ…

  • Driving requires full attention… so does life & faith.
  • Ridgecrest “Rec Hill” keep alert to roots, steps, change of directions, over streams, animals…
  • Who is your Paul/Timothy/Faithful few

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