2 Timothy: A Workman Approved

2 Timothy  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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· Ch’s 1-2 à Paul is giving Timothy encouragement to overcome his fears and to speak the truth of the Gospel to others in spite of any hardship that may come.
· As we get to verses 14-26 of ch2, we see the instructions that Paul gives Timothy apply, not only to Timothy’s ministry, but also to those who he is working with...
· In verse 14, Paul begins this section by giving Timothy the instruction to "remind them of these things." The question that needs asked is, "who is the THEM Paul is referring to?" It could be the whole church that he was working with, but more than likely, it was probably referring to the men Timothy was commanded to teach in verse 2. These men needed to learn the specific things that Paul has been dealing with in this book so far, but also what he will continue to talk about. They needed to learn how to be strong in the Lord’s grace (vs1-13). They needed to be warned that serving the Lord as teachers would not be an easy task. It would bring temptations to be silent or to change the message out of fear... They needed to, just as Timothy, be encouraged to be faithful in spite of the hardships that may come.
o Timothy is also instructed to get these men ready for false teachers and those who want to cause disputes over things not worth fighting about... If we remember, this is one of the things that Paul focused a lot on in his first letter to Timothy. He reinforces it again here so that Timothy would know to teach the same things to those he was equipping to teach.
o Paul says that they need charged "before the Lord" not to strive about words to no profit... This is something that we saw in 1 Timothy that the false teachers in Ephesus were busy doing. They were wrangling after words... and Paul told Timothy not to argue with them but to charge them to be silent and to correct them. Only teaching the scriptures brings true profit to those who hear... And this is where Paul goes in v15...
o He also tells Timothy how approved workers are to interact with false teachers or those in error in verses 24-26, “The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”
§ The main idea here is to be gentle and humble in your teaching, no matter how opposed someone may be to you. Whether we are talking to false teachers or those who have been affected by their teachings, our goal is not to “win the argument/debate”. Our goal is to reflect Christ to them and hope that they would come to repentance. We can hinder this for happening if our attitude or motivation is not right.
· Rightly divide the truth. He tells Timothy that he needed to do his best to rightly divide the word of truth. Your translation may say, "do your best," or "be diligent" or "study" "to show yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth..." If one wants to be a teacher that is pleasing to God, they must use their tool, the scriptures, well...
o Use your tool well! If you are a craftsman, you need to know how to use your tools well. If you are a mechanic, do you need to know how to use your tools to fix a car? Of course! If I took my car to Don and wanted him to rotate my tires, I would want him to make sure it was done well because my life would be on the line if it wasn't. I would want him to use the right tool and to use the tool correctly and not try to take any shortcuts...
o (had this happen before) The wheels on my car need a specific torque whenever they are tightened, and if a mechanic would not torque them correctly, it could be dangerous... I have had lugnuts fall off, or the bolts that the lugnuts are tightened onto break because of over-tightening... In every trade, you need to train to learn how to do the job properly. A workman might rightly be ashamed if his work were shoddy or lacked real effort. The same is true with serving the Lord. Timothy is told that He needs to show good workmanship so that he would not be ashamed for mishandling his tool, the word of God. If he doesn’t use his tool correctly, he will have many reasons to be ashamed before God and man. There is no room for incompetence and shortcuts in using the scriptures. We need to know the scriptures good so that we can interpret them properly.
o We need to remember that we are in the presence of God attempting to speak on His behalf. We need to take that seriously! We as craftsmen need to use the tool that God gave us correctly. If we do not, serious consequences can occur.
o Nearly anything can be proved using the Bible, even wrong things when we come to the scriptures with an agenda or preconceived ideas of what we want the text to say, we should be ashamed of ourselves. We must be good workmen! This must be the aim of all true teachers of the word. Reading into the text what is clearly not there is of help to nobody but is depressingly common.
o Our goal as teachers of the word of God is to encourage God's people to be godly in their lives, but if we are teaching error, we are leading people, when they listen to and believe what we say, into error. False teaching is a disease that spreads among the people of God and destroys them if it is not dealt with.
o Paul gives two examples of men who have fallen away from teaching the truth. These men, Hymaneaus and Philetus, it seems, had been faithful teachers of the Gospel at one point, and now look at them here... I like how the ESV words this... It says that they had "swerved concerning the truth..." Now that may not sound as bad as going astray, but when you think of swerving, at least in terms of driving.... well, swerving may not sound bad, but if you swerve out of your lane, you could swerve into oncoming traffic or off of the road and hit a tree! That's what leaving the straight road of the truth does to you... It is like swerving off the road and running head-on into a car or a tree! But then as you teach it and people believe it, it is like everyone who believes get's into your car with you on a one-way course to the tree of God's judgment...
o These two men, Paul says, were teaching that the resurrection had already took place... Wow... of all things to teach. This teaching still has it's forms today... Some who would claim to be brethren believe and teach that the only resurrection we partake in as Christian is the spiritual resurrection into new life at baptism... Some teach that the resurrection, as well as all future prophecies in the NT were fulfilled in AD70 when Jesus came in judgment of Jerusalem and then Rome thereafter... These are just two examples of the same kind of thing that we see with the two men Paul describes here... These kind of doctrines can destroy peoples' faith in Christ... They can destroy people's faith in the future hope we have of a bodily resurrection at the return of Christ...
· Remember that the LORD knows! In verse 19, Paul reminds Timothy of an important truth... No matter how much men and women may try to pervert the Gospel and live how they want, and no matter how hard someone may try to even hide their sin, God's Gospel cannot be changed. It stands strong... and God knows who truly belongs to Him... Whatever you are doing in secret... even if you think you can hide it from everyone, God sees and knows... He knows who is living right and who is not... he knows who has His Spirit and who does not...
o Because God knows those who truly belong to Him, then we need to be motivated to make sure that we are part of that number - part of the group that is known by God as His children. And how we do this is given to us at the end of verse 19, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity..."
o If you are going to name the name of Christ - claim to be a Christian - then you must strive to live a certain way... in a way that does not blaspheme the name of Christ... this is what happens whenever we live in a way that is ungodly when claiming to be Christians... We are God's representatives to the world. We see this principle in David’s life in and its surrounding context. In this context, David committed some terrible sins in adultery and murder, and it’s impact is shown when Nathan confronts him. He tells him, “Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. 14 "However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die." .
David's life would become difficult. This sin he committed I believe led to all of the problems that he would have throughout the rest of his life. His sin led to the death of his child, and the reason the child had to die is an important one we need to take note of: in verse 14 it says “by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.” But why? God did not cause David to commit this sin. Why was God's name going to be spoken of as evil? The reason why is David represented God to others. He was the king of the people of Israel. He showed in his example that the King appointed by the God of Israel is no better than the kings of the other nations morally…
o The same is true of Christians! Whenever we commit sin, and others see it, we can cause others to blaspheme the name of Christ. We share a close relationship with our God. We wear the name of our Lord. We need to realize that there are other ways of taking our Lord’s name in vain other than using it in some kind of frivolous way. We can take the Lords name in vain and dishonor it by our sinning against Him. We need to be careful because the way people will look at us as Christians more than likely will be the way that they look at Christ! Whenever we sin, especially when unbelievers know of it, we are dragging the name of the Lord into that sin with us
o "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Wearing the name of Christ needs to be a motivation to us to flee unrighteousness.
o Paul adds to this idea in verses 20-22: "Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart."
We cannot pursue things that will fulfill the desires of the flesh. We cannot feed our desires and our lusts. We need to flee temptation. We need to flee just as Joseph fled from Potipher's wife in . She grabbed a hold of him to get him to compromise his purity, and he fled from that woman. He ran right out of his garment that she grabbed a hold of! Jesus says that we must make radical changes in our lives to prevent ourselves from sinning: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” (NKJV) We need to take drastic measures to maintain our purity. The Lord encouraged radical, decisive action: cutting off a hand or a foot or plucking out an eye in order to avoid abandoning Him. He was not speaking literally--but He was forcefully declaring that we should sacrifice anything that is tempting us to sin. There should be nothing that we are not willing to give up so that we can have pure hearts that are solely focused on God. Whenever we do this, Paul says we can be useful, valuable vessels to the Lord. We are like the “fine china” that is brought out when you have important visitors coming over or if you are having a meal on a special occasion. When we flee youthful lusts and distractions in this life, we are on display to the world, and also to the principalities and powers in the spiritual realm, showing the glory and wisdom of God…
· Do we desire to be workers that are approved by God? If so, we would be well to listen to the encouragement that Paul gives Timothy. The main emphasis of these teachings are for teachers, but there are powerful applications for us because the world is watching us and we interact with lost people every day whom we need to show gentleness and humility towards so that, when we open up our mouths to tell them about the Lord Jesus, there is a greater chance for it to make an impact…
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