The blessing to have Alex on staff. He's just done a tremendous job and we got him in all kinds of different areas of the ministries, teaches in our LBI. He's a very studious guy. If you've ever been around him, you know that he is a really a passion for studying and teaching the Word of God and he teaches our seniors class. And then also he oversees our kids, he oversees our radio ministry, puts all that together. So really appreciate him. Make him feel welcome as he comes to preach for us tonight. Well good evening everybody.
Losing stuff already. My mind is not it on this one. Well, so grateful I get to be here. Grateful I get to preach.
It's one of my favorite things in the world to do. I used an excuse to kind of get in here this time. I'm like, well my school requires me for something I'm doing but I have to preach once while I'm in this class. And I said, so how about that business meeting? And he's like, yeah, all right.
No, he's very gracious with me and I'm just so excited for the opportunity. I'm going to read the text. The text is 2 Timothy 2, 1 through 7. If you'd like to stand to honor the Word of God, you're welcome to do so. The text says this, it says, Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet he is not crowned except he strive lawfully.
The husbandmen that laborerth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say, and the Lord give the understanding in all things. Let's pray. Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for those that are here today. Thank you that your word can be opened, that we live in a country where it's still legal, that we can openly gather, we can openly meet and proclaim how good our God is. We can ask him to come and relish the fact that our King is coming back. But God, tonight, help us to focus in what you have for us with this faith that must be passed on.
In Jesus' name, you may be seated. You know, last night I was very touched. I was working on things.
I was prepping different things for different classes that I'm teaching. And I was working on my sermon, getting the finishing touches on it as well. And my four-year-old son comes up to me with Bible in hand and says, Daddy, will you read to me? And yeah, oh, I was very touched. You know, I had a lot to do still. I was going to have a very busy night.
But I couldn't say no. So I opened the Bible up, and we sat down, and I read and explained to him the word for a few minutes in a way that I felt like he could understand. I act a lot more silly with the kids than I do with you guys, which you're grateful for, I'm sure. But that said, even 10 minutes later after we finished, I walked by his room, and he's sitting in there doing something with his siblings, and he's looking up, and he's still got that Bible just clutched to his chest. And man, I just had a great moment, a heartwarming moment. My heart was full. And you know, getting to teach and train my kids to know the Lord does my heart good. But I get a similar way, a joy in teaching and training people here at the church. And so it fits in well with our topic of the evening.
Just some background on this portion. Paul is writing this epistle to young Timothy, his son in the faith. And Timothy at this point is the pastor at the church of Ephesus. Now, Paul is writing to encourage Timothy not to back away from his calling. And this is really important because Timothy has some things that may be discouraging to him. Well, first off, Timothy's nature is he's very timid. He's not this big, bold, outspoken guy.
He's very timid. And he also has lots of difficulties that may come in the ministry. I guess you may not know this, but there's a lot of hardships there. There's also the fact that there's the cares of this world that grab all of us from time to time. And regardless of it's this or anything else, Paul is warning and encouraging Timothy, don't go back, don't stop what you're doing, keep going. And that said, anything that's written to a pastor, which this is, just about can be applied to everyone else as well to some degree. That's because the final goal for all Christians is the same. When we die, when we see Christ, we want to hear the same thing.
Well done, thou good and faithful servant. So the first point tonight is we must live in the gospel. We must live in the gospel. So we must be made strong in the Lord is what goes along with that. 2 Timothy 2, 1, it says, be therefore my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Paul in verse one notes a few things. The first is that he has love for Timothy.
He does this by the designation. How does he, how does he mention Timothy? He says, Therefore my son.
There's a level of intimacy there, a level of care. This is the person that Paul has been training up who he's been bringing with him on these different journeys and who he's really delved his time and his energy into. Now, although he loves Timothy, he does not coddle him.
Sometimes we mistake coddling for being loving and instead, sometimes what's better to do is tell people stand up, be strong, don't give up. And that's Paul's message to Timothy here. Timothy is told to be strong, but this isn't an encouragement to rely on his own strength. He's told to be strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now the Greek verb there, be strong, is actually in the passive mood.
And what that means is this. It's not something he's doing, it's something that is to happen to him. And he's supposed to be made strong or strengthened in the grace that is in the Lord Jesus. So for the Christian, we can't do things effectively in our own power. If you're like me, you've attempted.
Doesn't normally go very well. But God already told us this. When Jesus was on earth in John 15 five, what's he say? He says, I am the vine and you are the branches, and he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me you can do nothing.
When we don't get our strength from the vine, nothing we do will be fruitful. Now, how do we fully understand this grace that is in Jesus Christ? Well, the acronym for grace helps us see it well. Grace is God's riches at Christ's expense. And so as we look at that, God's riches at Christ's expense, we think about the very message of the gospel. For the Christian, the gospel is not meant just to save us, but it is the operative tool in our life also that changes us. It's the reason we're sanctified.
It's the reason that we live differently day to day. It's only in realizing God's great condescension that he would stoop down to me where I was. That he would save me, that he would give his Holy Spirit to me as an earnest, as a down payment telling me he's not done with me. Of course he's going to continue the work in that same fashion. The gospel continues to work in Christians' lives. Again, this applies whether you work in the ministry or whether you don't, but it's especially true for pastors. We must rely on the work of Jesus Christ. Every single person must find their strength in him, and that's how we find the strength to live for him. 2 Corinthians lines this up really well, actually. 2 Corinthians 5, verses 14 through 15. It says, For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge that if one died for all, then all were dead. It goes on to say, and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again. It's the love of Christ, the fact that he loved us so much that he came to die for us, that changes how we live. As a matter of fact, the same power that raises Jesus from the grave in verse 15, look to verse 17. It says this, it says, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things become new. So we must live in the power of the gospel and in the grace of Jesus Christ, whether you're a pastor, a teacher, or anyone else in the body.
It's the only place our power comes from. Secondly, we must pass on the gospel. We must pass on the gospel. We must commit this truth to faithful men, which we'll see in verse 2.
It says, And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also. Pastors and leaders very much to their own sadness cannot meet every person's need. You guys don't get a clue into this, but sometimes when we're in meetings, pastor really is saddened and is hurt by the fact that, you know, he forgets things. He can't do everything.
There's things where he wishes he could be more and do more for you. But he's not meant to. We must train other people, faithful people, to help with the teaching, with the discipling, with the caring, with the growing of the rest of the congregation.
Think about this. Who is fit for the training and oversight of others? What has to be those that are faithful themselves? I mean, good luck trying to have somebody be a teacher who you can't get to show up on Sunday.
Something tells me that's not going to work out very well. But, you know, this was even true of Paul. In 1 Timothy 1-12, he says, And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry. There's not some secret sauce.
There's not some way you get all the way up there. It's, am I faithful with what God gives me from day to day, from moment to moment, my walking where he wants me to go? And what is it that Timothy is to pass down and the people behind him are to pass down, but the Word of God and the example of living it out? I mean, that's what Jesus did. Jesus had 12 disciples. And he had more people that kind of followed him in between and disciples that came and go, but 12 that were consistently with him the whole time. And, you know, Jesus spent all his time, essentially, intimately with these 12 people. I mean, think about how many people could you effectively disciple by yourself? Yeah, a lot of people saying one. Yeah, not very many.
You're not going to make it very far. But we need to train other teachers. We need to train other people. We need to pass down the faith because if it stops with me or with pastor or with someone on staff, being able to be the one to teach it and proclaim it and give it to somebody else, we are in dire condition because we could be here and be gone tomorrow. Think about it, though, the 12 came under Christ. And what if they could disciple 12? Well, 12 times 12 is 144. Now what if 144 people could disciple? You know what I mean? It's this concept.
You go from adding one by one by one to multiplication when you train people and let them do the work. This is how the work in church ought to be done. It's throughout the body and not just by the pastor.
And unfortunately, there can be hangups in this process. Hebrews 5 11 through 14 mentions this. It says, Of whom we have many things to say and are hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing. He's speaking to the readers there, specifically Jews, and he says, For when the time you ought to be teachers, you have need the one teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God, and are become as such that have need of milk and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
It says, But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even of those who by reason have the use of their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. And so you have this concept that unfortunately, even among people who are called Christians, sometimes we see stunted growth. We see people who are not growing and being faithful in the Lord. We see people who are not spending their time caring about what God cares about. We see people who maybe started well, and they kind of got a little lost along the way. They need re-established.
They need to be brought back along and put back on the right path. You know what's really great for that? Scripture. This isn't in their slides.
You'll just have to listen to it. But the Bible says, For all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction and righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished into all good works. Here's what that means. It means it gives you the truth of what you need to know. Reproof means it tells you where it's off.
Correction means it tells you how to go back to where you ought to be. And instruction and righteousness is saying this is how we continue down the right line. Not passing the truth down to the next generation has consistently been a problem throughout the Bible, specifically with Israel. Listen to Deuteronomy 4-9. It says, Only take heed to thyself and to keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from the heart all the days of thy life, but teach them to thy sons and thy sons' sons. Wow, this really isn't supposed to be a one-generational thing. It's not supposed to be how much can I gain and learn and stuff up within myself, but what can I give out? What can I pass on? How can I teach this to the next generation?
Now, you guys are very familiar. Deuteronomy is happening right before the people go into the land, and Joshua is the next book up, and so they spend some time going in and clearing out the different peoples until Joshua is too old to finish the job. And that's what the Bible said, not me. And so then you have this scenario, and Joshua has to stand up and say, Look, as for me and my house, this is Joshua 24-15, by the way, he says, Choose you this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. He makes that stand. And, you know, he brings the people, they're all there, they hear it. How do they respond? Well, Joshua 24-24, it says, And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
Man, that sounds good. Sometimes we say a lot better than we do. By Judges chapter 2, believe me, this is not that long later, because Caleb's younger brother is the first judge. In Judges chapter 2, it says, And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochum, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and I've brought you into the land, which I swear unto your fathers, and I said, I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land, and you shall throw down their altars, but you've not obeyed my voice.
Why have you done that? Not been that long. I mean, even if you tried to extend it as long as you could, I mean, maybe 30 years. Judges 21, 25, this is the end of the book, this is hundreds of years later, but this is what it becomes. It says, And in those days there was no king in Israel, and every man did that what was right in his own eyes. So much for we will follow what God has to say and obey him.
They did not successfully pass on the faith that was within them. Now, not everyone is called to be a teacher at the church or called to be a pastor, but, you know, every Christian has someone who they know more than. Every Christian has someone there farther in their walk than, someone that they can encourage a little bit.
And if you're a parent, you have some by default. Believe me, my kids have a lot to learn. You know, Charles Spurgeon said this, he said, How can we hope to see the kingdom of God advance when his own disciples won't teach the gospel to their own sons and daughters?
What are you faithful with with where you are right now? You don't have to be a teacher before you become faithful. The same is true of the next generation in our church. We must make sure we impart the truth. Number three, we have the endurance for the gospel. The soldier is the first picture.
There's three that I'm going to give you. There's the soldier, the athlete, farmer, okay? The soldier, enduring hardness. Verse three, it says, Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Now, hardness is certainly something that's felt by all. Anyone who lives realizes life is not always hunky-dory. Things go south. I have a theology of vacations, that God always makes something go wrong on a vacation because we don't want our paradise to be here. My own personal belief. I've just never had a vacation where everything went right.
Maybe that's just me. But that's okay. Now, this word, hardness, could refer to natural difficulty or it could refer to more direct persecution because there would be both. And the Bible is clear as you go continue in 2 Timothy 3, verse 12. He says, Yea, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Is it some or all?
Okay, just checking. In America, we've been blessed, but more and more, if we live out our faith, the difficulties will be coming. We must not be surprised when difficulties or evil confronts us. Instead, you should be surprised if it never does because that shows you're not different enough from the world for them to see you as an enemy.
That goes for any and all of us. Also note that we are to endure as a good soldier. A soldier must meet the demands of his superior no matter what the cost, no matter what the scenario. I've worked a construction job, and sometimes, if it rained, we all just went home.
If you got enough rain, you couldn't do anything there, so your day is over. It doesn't quite work like that in the military. Something tells me if it rains, you're just now standing in the rain. That said, all Christians, whether you know it or not, are now a part of a war. You are a part of a battle. And I like how one commentator puts this, although all Christians are in this, our masters are to be the spiritual green berets.
We are to be leading the charge for other people. The soldier imagery continues in the idea of avoiding entanglements in verse 4. It says, no man that warth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. So as he continues with that idea, he's saying it's vital for you, Timothy, and for those who you train up, avoid entanglements. His focus cannot be on this life, because then he will miss living in the light of eternity. Pastors and those for the next generation of faithful teachers must have an eye on the world to come. This leads to concentration, self-denial, and a disregard for small things that just don't matter. How often do we get caught up in things that just don't matter? I'm really glad we don't go to a church that fights about the carpet color, because there are those.
But if we keep our eyes on the eternal thing, all this carpet's going to come up in ten years. All right, so question then for you, for me. What do we find ourselves living for? Not just what are you doing on Sunday and Wednesday, through the week. Do the people around you know that you're a Christian by the way you live, by what you do, by what you say? Is your life built around representing and directing people to Christ with your words and with your actions?
I'm not saying you have to go be a pastor, but is it obvious that you're a disciple, that you're a Christian? For many of us, many people, we live for our own pleasures. God made things to be enjoyed, but we must be careful we don't let our focus get out of whack. It's not wrong to have things, but it's definitely wrong when things have you. It's not wrong to have things you enjoy and love to do, it's wrong when they dethrone the Lord. Personally, I have my own interests. I'm a weirdo, I like to do jujitsu.
I know a couple people who've talked to me about that, between family members or themselves that also have done this. I'm about a year and a half in, but I know, no matter what, this has its proper place. I assure you, if there's a time when I want to go, but my family needs me, I'm not going. I assure you, if there's church, I'm not missing church to go to jujitsu.
I assure you that when I'm there, my conduct and my conversation still show who is king in my life. You know, I can never get over the lyrics to this song, it's by Jimmy Needham, and the song is called Clear the Stage. I'm just going to read them to you, I was going to sing them, and my wife determined that's a terrible idea. I don't know if she's trying to protect me from my bad singing voice or if it's just weird when people sing in the middle of oratory things.
She says it's the latter, but I'm not, we'll see. So here's what it says, it says, we must not worship something that's not even worth it. He says, clear the stage and make some space for the one who deserves it. He then goes on and he says, anything I put before my God is an idol. Anything that I want with all my heart is an idol. Anything that I cannot stop thinking of is an idol. And anything that I give all my love is an idol.
And you know, we can come into church, we could stay here for 198 hours, 12 days, I don't care. Here's the section saying we can sing all we want to and still get it wrong, because worship is more than a song. So you have the soldier, then you have the athlete. He must strive for masteries, that's what he's got to do. Verse 5, it says, and if a man also strived for masteries, yet he's not crowned, except he strives lawfully. Training is required for anyone to be good at anything. Some people have some level of talent, but in order for it to go anywhere, it has to be fostered. They have to practice at least a little bit. But most people find that even if you don't have a lot of talent, hard work can often overcome some of these things. But hard work is required.
We must strive for masteries. The teacher and pastor are no different. That is why the pastor cannot be a novice when you look at the qualifications. It takes practice to speak effectively. It takes practice to counsel people well. It takes practice to handle yourself in a wise manner. And certainly it takes practice to study the Bible. 2 Timothy 2.15, here's what it says.
It says, study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. You know, studying to be approved of God in general takes the three steps of learning. And in case you're not familiar with those, I'll give them to you here. The first is knowledge. All learning starts this way. You get facts. You get the basics of something. You learn the outline of how something works. Then as time goes on, you grow into getting understanding.
This is more focused. It's discernment. This is right and that's wrong. I can tell because these things don't fit together.
That's incompatible with what I know about God in the rest of the scripture. There's all these things. You have knowledge, you have discernment, and finally you have wisdom. And in wisdom, it's the proper placement of both knowledge and discernment to correctly apply the word to a situation.
This is how you rightly divide the word. You need to know. You need to be able to discern this from that.
You need to be able to apply it rightly as you go on. The athlete also can take no shortcuts. He cannot cheat the system. The verse again says a man must strive for masteries, yet he's not crowned except he strive lawfully. A pastor or any Christian can try like the athlete to get to the end, but if he even gets there unlawfully, he's disqualified. So many of us have played sports.
The concept of following rules is easy. We get that. But in this context, it may address either allowing sin or pragmatism to rule. Many things draw a crowd, but do people grow?
Do they leave changed? Let's not aim to be a sensation. Let's aim to be people that are wholly striving according to God's word and his design. Let's be people coming in and doing something. Let's not be people who warm a seat. We want to see people truly saved.
We want to see people truly changed to the praise and glory of our God and Savior. The final picture there is the husbandman, the farmer. And you know the husbandman is willing to work and receive the benefit later.
This is immensely important. The husbandman is he that laborerth first, or the husbandman that laborerth first, or must be first a partaker of the fruits. The need for instant gratification in our culture has left many unable to be productive.
It's really hard to lose weight when we eat all of our meals through a microwave. It's really hard to get good at anything when you expect to be good the first three times you do it. The problem is is people want the harvest without putting in the work to plant the seed.
They want the return without the investment. And the pastor, the teacher, and even the Christian at large must put hard work in to receive the results, to see growth, to see something happen. And individually we must practice the Christian disciplines to grow in them.
You know they say Rome wasn't built in the day and students don't become masters overnight. And with that I have to tell you nothing that's worth doing is ever easy. But you know what, 3 John 1 4 says, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk with fruit. Consider what I say and the Lord give the understanding in all things is how it ends in verse 7.
So as we get ready to close, I'm just going to ask you a few questions as we start the invitation time. Christian, are you living for Christ in His grace day to day? Is the gospel the operative tool in your life?
Has something taken your focus? Are you enduring the difficulties of the world or do you need to renew your strength? Are you striving to be what God has called you to be? And are you walking, putting in the work, waiting to see what God will do? Today, as we finish, where are you in your walk? Are you one of the faithful? Are you someone who's been stunted along the way? Are you a brand new Christian and you haven't had time to go one way or the other?
How do we grow from here? Let's pray. Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you'd be with us this evening. I pray, God, that you would open our hearts, open our minds to receive the word. God, we would love to see revival, but we want to make it something where we hear the truth, we repent of decisions we make. We come to know you. We come to live like we do. God, I pray that we would see people growing, maturing. I pray that people would stand with endurance, be great examples to the next generation. In Jesus' name.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-06 12:40:27 / 2023-03-06 12:52:41 / 12