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.”
Last time we saw that Paul 3 point plan to persevere involved first, following faithful and Godly leaders. Who are your role models, do they base their lives on the bible or some other belief, are they living according to God’s Will or their wants? Next we see that the second survival strategy for the savage days ahead involves:
2. Leaning on what you have learned v. 14-15
The second strategy that Paul provides is an extremely practical one, simply put its, stay the course. Don’t get distracted by smooth talking people and smart sounding philosophies, just stick to the scriptures. Lean on and live out what you have learned from God’s Word. As Proverbs 14:12 states: “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Don’t believe everyone that knocks at your door, don’t get distracted by deceit. Satan wants to steer you into sin but the scriptures will always steer you straight, just as Psalm 119: 104-105 teaches: “Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. 105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Are you following the light from the lamp of God’s Word or the fake flickering florescence of this world? Man can light up the outside of the White house but only God’s Word can illuminate the heart. Look the rainbow is a sign of God’s promise of grace not gay pride, the rainbow resulted because of mans rebellious lust not love. Sadly it is a sign that points to our ruinous past not our present rights. You can legislate and legalize your lifestyle but true liberty only comes through the Lord. Are you settling for sin and a false way of life or a life of faith? Is it right according to social standards or scripture? Paul’s survival strategy involves a proper understanding of Gods Word which comes through studying the scriptures not surfing social media. How much time do you spend spend on Facebook verses your Fathers book? In verse 14 Paul reminds Timothy that it is God’s Word that gives us not only the courage but the confidence to carry on in the difficult days to come. Only scripture can steady the soul because only scripture gives us the absolute standard for truth. Are you hiding God’s Word in your heart or is there no room because you are hoarding worldly ways? Not only is Timothy to remember what he has learned but also who taught him the truth. Paul says: “for you know you can trust those who taught you.” Can you trust your teachers? Are they leading you down the path of truth or lies? What is the fruit of their lives, faithfulness or failure and foolishness? Don’t just consider those who teach you, ponder their character, and pay attention to their convictions. Do their convictions coincide with Christ or run contrary? Paul now points Timothy back to his spiritual heritage and the holy scriptures he has been taught since childhood. Notice that everything we need to know about what really matters is found in the pages of scripture not in what society says is popular. The keys to unlocking real life are found in God’s Word not worldly wisdom. For only the bible teaches us how we can really know God. It is in the truth of His Word that we discover how to be, saved, forgiven, justified, sanctified, purified, transformed, and ultimately how to have a home in heaven. God’s Word is complete, a finished product that will produce in us new life. A godly life, a growing life, a faithful and fruitful life of love. Timothy learned about the Lord from childhood, he had a godly grandmother and mother who taught him the truth even as a toddler. Parents do you pray with your kids, do you read God’s Word to your children? Are you going to let the Word or the world teach them, stop letting the world take the first shot at your children? Are you living out what you have learned? Last but not least Paul tells Timothy to:
3. Let the Word of God mold your life v. 16-17
Where verse 15 teaches the “sufficiency of God’s Word,” verses 16-17 teach the “authority of God’s Word.” All Scripture, the Old and the New Testament, is inspired by God, it is God-breathed. This means that those who wrote the bible wrote down the very words of God, they were not inspired the way that Shakespeare was inspired. Sure Shakespeare wrote wonderful plays, but they came from his mind they were his thoughts not Gods. This means we can base our lives on the bible, that the bible equips us for life. Are you modeling your life after the message of God’s Word or the mess of the World. You will never find satisfaction in sin, only the scripture can bring lasting success. If you want to know God’s Will, then study scripture. If you want to live with purpose and passion then learn and live out God’s Word. Do you want to live a better life? Do you want to live in freedom and forgiveness then study the Bible. Look at the phrases that Paul uses to describe the practical impact God’s Word can have on our lives. God’s word tells us what is right (teaching), what is not right (rebuking), how to get right (correction), how to stay right (training in righteousness). The result is that we are prepared and equipped to do what God wants us to do. Just like a soldier who needs a sharp sword to win the war, we have the bible to face and fight the battles of this life. But a sword left in the scabbard is useless, it has to be taken out and used. So let me ask you, first do you have a bible and second, do you take it out and read it? Paul’s answer for the problems that are come are, know the Word, read the Word, obey the Word. No matter how mature a Christian you become, you will never outgrow the bible, and because we will never outgrow our need for the Word, we dare not live on yesterday’s knowledge. Make the Bible the foundation of your life, love it and live it, believe it, faithfully follow it and then teach it to others. Paul reminds us that the world will get worse, so don’t be surprised. That tough times are coming don’t be discouraged. It’s easier to stand strong if you don’t stand alone. That believers who base and build their lives on the Bible will be persecuted but they will never be defeated. Pastors and parishioners please listen to Paul, his news for you is that ministry in the last days will be a tough business, but remember God has given us two great advantages: 1) He has told us what will happen and 2) He has told us what to do. So let me ask you some critical questions in light of what is coming: How are you building God’s Word into your life? Are you submit to God’s Word even when it doesn’t fit your wants? Are you filtering everything through the foundation of God’s Word or through your feelings? It takes a strong foundation on which to build a house that can stand in the storm while other houses are being blown away by the howling winds of unbelief. What foundation are you building your future on, God’s Word or the world?