2 Timothy 3:10-17
“10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. 14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
Paul knew that ministry would only become more difficult and dangerous for Timothy and as Hebrews 13:23 attests, Timothy’s was also arrest and put in prison. Pastors how prepared are you for prison, or are you only going to preach and proclaim the truth during the pleasant times? Paul as a pastor was well aware that Timothy’s task of keeping the church within the bounds of sound doctrine while encouraging them to live their lives as lights would be a difficult and often thankless call. Yet despite the difficulty Paul challenged Timothy to continue in the things that he had learned and to draw on his rich heritage of faith that had been passed down to him by both pastor Paul and his mother and grandmother. Parents don’t underestimate the power of parenting, you have a critical calling to raise your children to follow Christ. As Christians we are not called to cower but to continue to share Christ, despite the difficulty. Don’t focus on the difficulty and the danger make a difference. Instead of letting the world change us we should be sharing God’s Word with the world, His great gift of grace. Paul doesn’t just tell us to persevere but instead provides three survival strategies for the savage days ahead.
1. Follow Faithful and Godly Leaders v. 10-13
This principle points to the truth that we become like those we associate with. If we follow after the ungodly, we will become like the ungodly, unholy, unavailable and unloving. If we follow the arrogant will not become like the Almighty, instead of becoming like Christ we will be controlled by an attitude of arrogance. If we follow those who follow Christ we will be more likely to be controlled by Him and have a heart of compassion. Paul presents himself to Timothy as an example to follow, not because he is prideful but because as a passionate pursuer of Jesus he is a model of what a real man of God looks like. What are the marks of a real man?
● They have nothing to hide. “You know how I live”
● They teach the truth. “You know what I teach”
● They practice what they preach. “You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.”
● They aren’t afraid to suffer for the Savior “You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured.
How many real men do you have in your life, are you modeling your life after that which really matters or the madness. Paul’s point is simple, find faithful follower of Jesus and do life with them. Don’t expect this to be comfortable or convenient, Paul was no stranger to suffering, he was a regular partaker of the pain of persecution. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.” Paul was plagued with persecution but it didn’t stop him from preaching Jesus. But notice that persecution doesn’t stop with Paul, it will be present for all who choose to proclaim the name of JESUS, for verse 12 says: “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” What happened to Paul happen to Timothy, what’s happening in the world around us to Christians in Sudan, China, and in many Muslim countries, will also happen to those of us who live in the US. But persecution and suffering for the Savior is a privilege. As 1 Peter 2:21 says, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” Part of walking out His Word means following in His steps of suffering? You may be bullied and even beaten for your belief but don’t back down, wear you badge of belief boldly. Don’t expect a free pass for being faithful, that is not what the bible teaches, thats the powerless message of the prosperity preachers. Why are prosperity preachers so popular today, because no one wants to hear the true message that persecution is part of a passionate pursuit of Jesus. We want to hear that if we love Jesus we will easy lives of comfort not ones of conviction. Look Paul’s message may not be popular but its biblical, and its time for the church to wake up and realize that we are in a war. Following Christ involves sacrificial service, its not about your way of life its about His. We are not called to live on a luxury liner, thats coming, its the hope of heaven, but its ahead and we are not home yet we have work to do. We are just passing through and part of the passage involves persecution. Its time for the church to stop chasing after comfort and start facing the reality that we are on a fishing vessel not a cruise ship. I know fishing boats stink, its hard work, and its dangerous . Our persecution may not involve beatings, torture or imprisonment, not all suffering leaves outward scars, but it may involve ridicule, social rejection, shunning, and even shaming. But despite the persecution we are called to proclaim Jesus. We all need faithful servants of Jesus that we can look to and follow. Who do you know that is faithfully following God, are you emulating their example? Are you going to follow faithful men or fools?
2 Timothy 3:10-17