II Timothy Series – “Stand on What You Know” – Part 8 (Conclusion)
Text: 2 Timothy 4:9-22
Date: 6/18/17 (Father’s Day)
In Matthew 20, there’s a story of the mother of James and John asking Jesus for special seats by Him in the Kingdom, but Jesus’ response was all about servant-leadership. On this Father’s Day, I want to look at seven qualities represented in the closing verses of II Timothy.
I. A Servant Leader admits needs (v.9, 13, 21)
- There is an urgency in verse 9
- Paul was always investing in others, but he was also transparent about his own need for fellowship and encouragement
II. A Servant Leader presses on when others fall away (v.10)
- Demas represents those who “turn back”
- He “loved the world” – I John 2:16, (lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life)
- Keep moving forward (even in sadness)
III. A Servant Leader is about purpose (v.10)
- Titus (v.10) – had been in Crete, now going to Dalmatia (Illyricum)
- Paul called him a “true son in the faith” Titus 1:4
- He was about God’s purposes
IV. A Servant Leader forgives and chooses grace (v.11, 16)
- Mark had earlier abandoned Paul on a missionary journey
- He and Barnabas had parted ways over it
- The relationship was restored
- Verse 16 shows no bitterness or resentment toward those who had left him alone at the trial
- He chose an attitude of grace
V. A Servant Leader shows compassion for his friends (v.11)
- Represented by Dr. Luke
- At risk of his own life, he ministered to Paul
VI. A Servant Leader expects the enemy’s people to show up (v.14-15)
- Alexander the coppersmith
- Some are resistant to the end
- There’s always an “Alexander” nearby
- Be on-guard
VII. A Servant Leader trusts in the Lord (v.17-18)
- He never leaves us alone
- He strengthens us
- We are in His care
- Our life is a living sacrifice of worship (Rom. 12:1)
As we conclude, let’s take inventory and see where we “stack up” on:
- Willingness to “admit needs”?
- Ability to “press on”?
- Being “about purpose”?
- Giving “forgiveness”, choosing to “show grace”?
- Showing “compassion” to friends and others?
- “Expecting the enemy”-diligence?
- “Trusting” the Lord?
“Stand on What You Know” – Part 7
Text: 2 Timothy 4:6-8
“How many of you skip to the end of a book and read the last chapter? Or read a movie review past the “spoiler alert” and want to know what happens?
This was Paul’s “last chapter” – his look-back and reconciliation with 30 years of ministry. There were a lot of highs and lows. For today, I want to consider three thoughts:
I. Life as an Offering to the Lord (v.6)
A. “Poured out”- the ancient practice of offering wine on the base of the altar
B. Followed Jesus’ model – Ephesians 5:2
C. Our life as an offering to the Lord
II. Life as a Journey with the Lord (v.7)
(Sentence structure of the Greek shifts focus to the “objects” of the verbs and away from the “I”)
A. “the good fight…”
(“fight”– Greek agōn where we get the words agony, agonize), along with “good” meaning to fight within the rules, gives us a word picture of contending, striving, and even agonizing for the right things)
- We should always be asking the question, “What’s right?” and not necessarily “What’s normal or accepted?”
- We should also be asking ourselves, “What’s important in God’s eyes?”
- And we should be ready to ask, “What’s not worth fighting for?”
- Wage the “good fight!”
B. The “race”
(Let’s consider Paul’s race as listed in II Corinthians 11:24-28)
- Paul didn’t choose the course
- Paul didn’t choose the schedule
- Paul didn’t choose a lot of the people he interacted with
- Paul didn’t choose the location of the finish line
- Paul didn’t choose the retirement date
- BUT, he chose to run
- Keep going!
- Don’t quit!
C. The “faith”
- It echoes I Timothy 6:20
- Guard the treasure
- He was a great “care-taker” of the truth
- He trusted Jesus
- Faith is about trusting something or someone
- Our faith is specifically in Jesus, not a system or religious rituals
- That’s the pressure point when life gets tough
- Do we really trust him?
- Do we really trust His Word?
III. Life Validated by the Lord (v.8)
Think about validation regarding parking. You can only get your stub “validated” when you park for a valid purpose. For example, a place of business may say “we only validate parking in the Front Street Deck”. Other parking decks; no, or if you’re not a patron; no.
A. Paul ran with purpose
B. The race is forward-looking, not backward-looking to prove someone wrong
C. The race is hopeful
D. The race is based on love for Jesus not competition
This was Paul’s final chapter, what will yours read like?
- Life as an offering?
- A journey with the Lord?
- A race based on love for the Lord?
- Fight the good fight!
- Run the race well!
- Keep the faith to the end!
“Stand on What You Know” – Part 6
Text: 2 Timothy 4:1-5
- Right before you take the field
- Right before you open the troop carrier door
- Right before you go into a big meeting
- Last instructions…remember to…
I. Be Mindful of Reality v.1
A. There are heavenly mandates
- “Charge” (I solemnly witness)
- From the beginning, Jesus has been actively leading His church
B. There will be an accounting
- “Who will judge the living and the dead”
- Jesus will have the final word
- We will all give an account
C. There is a kingdom to come
(There is so much more coming, this is only the beginning)
D. There are priorities for Pastors
- “Preach the Word!”
- Patiently convince
- Patiently rebuke
- Patiently exhort
II. Be Prepared for People’s Choices v.3-4
A. “will not endure…”
(people will prefer stories, over actual teaching)
“True preaching is the explanation and application of Bible doctrine. Anything else is just religious speechmaking.” – Warren Wiersbe
B. They will elevate teachers according to their preferences
(with only messages of positive reinforcement, not repentance)
C. The result will be a turning to fables
- In John 8:44 Jesus talks about Satan’s lies. Untruth is Satan’s natural language and he is the father of it.
- Stay focused on the actual Word, don’t get distracted with substitutes
III. Be Doing Ministry v.5
- We should be “observers” of various events and people
- How we interpret those events and people is important
B. Expect some negative responses (afflictions)
- The enemy isn’t a neutral by-stander
- The world system isn’t neutral either, it’s geared to reinforce itself
C. We should do everything with purpose (evangelist and fulfill ministry)
- Influencing people to know Christ
- Influencing people to grow in their faith
- Influencing people to influence others in the same way
“Stand on What You Know” – Part 5
Text: 2 Timothy 3:1-17
- Battle of 1st Manassas (Bull Run)
- The expectations of both sides
- The expectations of spectators
- Then the reality…
At this point, Paul begins communicating a “reality check”
– Read v.19-23
- He begins with a word used only twice in the scripture (here translated “perilous” or “difficult”). The other occasion is Matthew 8:28 “exceedingly fierce” to describe the demon-possessed man’s terrible violence.
- Paul also references the “last days”, meaning the period of time between Christ’s ascension and return/kingdom.
- These words are for us
- This is our “reality check”
I. Realistic Descriptions v.1-5
A. Self-centered-“lovers of themselves”
B. Users of other people-“Slanderers, traitors, brutal”
C. Irreconcilable-“unforgiving” (unwilling to make peace)
II. Realistic Examples v.6-8
(taking advantage of others)
B. Corrupt Minds
- Romans 1:22 “Professing to be wise they became fools”
- Original word is “morōs” (moron) which is literally a “broken mind”
(picture of metal being tested in the fire and not passing the test)
III. Realistic Process v.13
A. Progressively Worse
(not evolving to better as evolution teaches)
B. Deceived themselves
(They bought the lies)
C. Deceiving others
(then peddling the same lies to others)
III. Realistic Responses v.14-17
A. Continue in the Word (v.14)
(don’t forget to be daily in the Word)
B. Appreciate the Word (v.15)
“to make you the wise for salvation”
C. Be confident in the Word (v.16)
- Context of 16-17
- “Holy Scriptures” common phrase for the Old Testament
- “Scripture” is the on-going writing by revelation of God
- “Inspiration”- “God-breathed” – “theopneustas”
- Only time the word is used in the Bible
- Similar to Genesis 1 when God breathed life into lifeless flesh (which then became Adam)
- The Word is life
- For doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction
- To be complete and equipped
- Is to look at life in the “big picture”
- Is to know the real answers, not just politically correct ones
- Is to know the real source of hope (Jesus)
“Stand on What You Know” – Part 4
Text: 2 Timothy 2:19-23
- Last time we looked at “rightly dividing”
- Paul then mentions the danger of false teaching being allowed to spread with “Hymenaeus” and “Philetus”
- Then he turns his attention to “honorable service”
Let’s look at the word picture he paints for us:
– Read v.19-23
The point I want to focus on today is v.21 “sanctified and useful for the Master”, which draws on the concept of clean and serviceable towels, bowls, etc.
He gives four things to consider:
I. Run from the traps-(flee youthful lusts) v.22
A Recognize what youthful lusts are: sources of discontent
- I Timothy 6:6-11
- I John 2:15-17
- Not age-related only
- Maturity is moving beyond them
B. Admit the inability to overcome them ourselves
- Flee-run (don’t linger)
- Even when it feels like cowardice
II. Chase the Good – (Pursue) v.22
These are the exact opposite of immature lusts
(God’s standard of “right-ness”, not our own interpretation)
(Trusting someone else-God)
(putting others first)
(listening to others)
III. Don’t get distracted (avoid foolish disputes) v.23
A. Pick your battles
(not everyone is productive)
B. Be aware of your audience
(Conversation is good-arguments rarely are)
IV. Remember You’re Not Alone – (with those) v.22
- At times, we can feel like Elijah (who thought he was the last faithful person in Israel, but God said there were 7,000 others)
- It reminds me of a story in 1860s Nevada. Because of soft stone, the Comstock Silver Mine was limited in potential due to cave-in danger until Philip Deidesheimer developed “square-set timbering”. With each “set” supporting the one above, below, and to the sides, the mine went ever deeper and further.
A. We are meant to support each other
- A body
- A fellowship
- A family
B. Together we are:
- Can take more pressure
- And can go further
- Where are you regarding “honorable service”?
- Are you “banquet ready” for the Master’s use?
“Stand on what You Know” – Part 3
Text: 2 Timothy 2:15
In the 1st Century Jewish mindset, “diligence” was a major part of their faith. It was tied to Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (called the Shema´).
– Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9
- It was a way of life
- Morning and evening prayers related to it
- Physically placed on the doorposts
- Worn on the forehead inside a leather pouch called a “phylactery”
For Paul, diligence was still a major part of his faith, but it had taken on a whole new meaning. It was now how he reflected a life “in Christ”. He no longer worked to earn God’s favor, He worked from an appreciation of God’s grace.
– Read v.15
He prefaces his statement in verse 15 with:
I. Three Examples – Soldier – Athlete – Farmer (v.3-7)
All three must be:
- Teachable – Listen and change
- Willing to make sacrifices – delayed gratification
- Patient – There are often periods of waiting
II. The Directive – “Present yourself to God”
A. He is the One who matters
(In an environment driven by “likes” and approval)
B. Not about others
(Our nature is to blame someone or something for mistakes or poor choices)
- Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent
- We must take ownership
III. The Goal is Approved and Unashamed
A. Approved – The word-picture for “approved” is metal that’s been tested in the fire
Question: What does the fire reveal in you?
B. Ashamed – is wishing something was different
C. Unashamed – is “no regrets”
IV. The process – “rightly dividing”
(literally means “to cut straight”, such as cutting fabric or making a path)
A. An Old Testament Principle
- Proverbs 3:5-6 (and He will make your paths “straight”)
- It’s not just communicating truth accurately, it’s about applying it accurately as to live a “straight” example
B. The three examples (again)
- Soldier – A focus on the things of God
- Athlete – discipline to compete within the rules ( a Greek athlete swore a vow to follow-through on certain commitments of training and rules or was punished)
- Farmer – tenacity through droughts, pestilence, and long hot days
A. Is there diligence regarding faith in your life?
(Not legalism to earn God’s love, but an “unashamed”, “no regrets” way of life)
B. What stands in the way?
C. What will the testing reveal?
“Stand on What You Know” – Part 2
Text: 2 Timothy 1:13-18
Personal Story about Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s three levels of products in years past:
GOOD – BETTER – BEST
Had a “Best” washer for 25 years
The machine was proven and trustworthy. In other words, it was a very “sound” machine.
Today, I want to talk about “soundness”. Paul mentions two key things for a “sound” life. As a matter-of-fact, they’re the only two eternal things in this life:
- The Word of God
Read text (v.13-18)
I. Sound Words
A. Keep – “Guard” (v.14)
- Realize what you have in your possession
- Appreciate the both the New and Old Testament (full counsel of God)
- Understand the gospel in context of the overall narrative of scripture (v.8-12, for example, the Greeks laughed at the idea of Jesus defeating death because they welcomed death as a wonderful release. The Bible tells the story of why death without Christ is eternal torment, not a release. The overarching story is supremely important.)
B. Hold to the pattern
- Make the extra effort to see the truth for yourself – Lazy disciples are unproductive disciples.
- Trust the pattern (v.13 “faith”) – Anecdotal story about engineering/manufacturing
- Correctly apply the pattern (v.13 “love) – Truth in love – Ephesians 4:15
C. With God’s help (v.14) – By the Holy Spirit who dwells in us
- Ask for His help to understand (to connect the dots)
- Ask for His help to remember (remind me of a verse, teaching, or memory)
- Ask for His help to trust (not unspiritual to admit when our trust wavers)
II. Sound Friendships
A. The reality of friendships:
GOOD – some are simply “ok”
BETTER – Some are a little more reliable
BEST – Some are proven to be reliable and helpful
- Life is full of all three types
- Some will fail you (v.15)
- Some are temporary
- The BEST go the distance and are positive influences (the kind you want in your life)
B. The cultivation of friendships
- It takes effort – Paul invested in people
- You must be proactive
- It takes time (praying for them, and time together)
- It results in much fruit – Jesus modeled it, including have an inner circle of 3
A “sound life” will have:
- A pattern of sound words (even in a “Greek” world)
- A pattern of sound friendships (even in times of fickle friends)
Let’s hold fast to both!
“Stand on What You Know” – Part 1
Text: 2 Timothy 1:1-7
Paul was a man on a mission. At this point:
- 15 years of amazing, miraculous ministry
- 20,000+ miles traveled over land and sea
- Multiple countries and people groups
- Had successfully planted many churches (including Ephesus where the letter was going)
- Was busy planning his long-awaited evangelistic journey into Spain
However, while he was in Rome, everything changed. A fire had destroyed much of the city, Emperor Nero was descending into insanity and the Christians were being sought out for persecution as the target of blame for the fire. Paul was arrested and imprisoned as a common enemy of Rome.
There were multiple reasons why he could have felt as though his life’s work was coming unraveled:
- Heresy had taken root in many of the churches he had planted
- He had been abandoned by several close associates
- His influence was now limited to letters (no more direct preaching/teaching/mentoring)
- And Spain was may never happen
Had he missed God?
Should he had done different?
Paul stood on what he knew to be true:
In the greeting, there are several items of encouragement for us. First,
I. Settled Convictions
These are things we’ve wrestled with and have concluded through the process of prayer are of God (v.1 by the will of God)
A. Paul’s Authority – he was no longer as widely accepted among the new leaders, but he knew Jesus had directly called him into apostleship
B. His Conscience – Sitting in a dungeon, awaiting execution, with a years-long goal of going to Spain seta side, may have given his critics opportunity to accuse; but he knew his actions were in obedience to the Lord (pure conscience v.3).
A SETTLED CONVICTION!
What’s it worth to know deep down in your soul that you’ve done what was right…no matter the results? SETTLED!
II. Genuine Faith (v.5)
The authenticity of faith requires time to reveal
A. Taught the truth
- Timothy had been taught the true things of God from a young age
- The teaching resource would have been what we call the “Old Testament”
- Don’t neglect the OT in your development and disciple-making
B. Legacy of Faith – He was an example of the spiritual legacy of Lois and Eunice
- He was ½ Greek ½ Jewish
- They purposely invested in his spiritual development
- The people of Ephesus was beneficiaries of their investment (the women probably never visited the city)
- Never underestimate the lasting value of it!
III. The Gift (v.6-7)
A. “Stir it up” – Literally means to kindle and nurture a fire back to life after the night (on purpose) How? Make a spiritual “fire-bundle” (what the ancients used to carry fire from place to place)
- Keep notes/journal
- Spend time in familiar passages (again)
- Use a paper Bible and make notes/dates in the margins
- Study new passages
- Prayer walk through your list of “gratefulness” (it grows once you start)
B. No fear
Re-read v.7 – “Spirit in us” – “Power, Love, and a Sound Mind”
Fear considers the wrong things first:
- Who will be mad?
- What negative results will happen?
- Is it really worth it?
- I wonder what everyone will think?
And fear often produces one of two things:
- Inaction when there needs to be action
- Action when there is no need for action
Paul says, “No fear”, but instead these three things:
C. Power – “dynamis”
Explosive and the potential for incredible energy and change (His power in us)
D. Love – “Agape”
Starts with a cognitive decision (not emotion) – God’s type of love, which is uniquely Christian and of the Lord Jesus
E. Sound Mind – “sophronismos”
Reflecting the orderly nature of God:
- Sober thoughts
- Rational behavior
- Seeing things from God’s perspective (His Word)
- What are some of your settled convictions?
- How are you investing yourself spiritually?
- What is your “fire-bundle”?
Perhaps you need to stop and make one
Stir it up!