Well, welcome back. We are in round nine of our 20 days in 2 Timothy, we’re doing great. And let’s jump right in. We are in Chapter two, beginning in verse 14. We’re turning a corner here. Follow along with me. 2 Timothy Chapter two, verse 14. Remind them of these things and charge them before God, not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed. Rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble. For it will lead people into more and more ungodliness. Their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are humaneness and felicitous, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. And they’re upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands bearing this seal. The Lord knows those who are his and let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.
Alright, so so far, Paul has encouraged Timothy in the midst of a difficult day, grip on to the truth of Jesus, keep proclaiming that message, and invest it into the lives of people who are reliable and able to teach it to others. Now he’s turning the corner, and we’re figuring out one of the problems Timothy has. That there’s people within his community that are teaching things that are directly contrary to the word of God.
I remember once reading the Player Covenant that the University of South Carolina football team made all their players sign, and it basically had the team’s vision. We’re here to win championships and their values. And so this is how we will treat each other as teammates. This is what we will do. This is what’s on limits. This is what’s off. And they made every incoming player sign this. If I’m part of this team, this is where the team’s going and this is who we are. And if you violated that, God love you. You may be a great person and you’re still welcome to be at the school. But you can’t be on this team because this team is going some place and it’s going to be a certain kind of people.
And what you see here is Paul saying, hey, the church is not a forum where we debate the central ideas of the gospel. Now, do we help people who were struggling with this? Yes. Do we teach people he can encourage Timothy to do that? He’s going to tell them gently, correct those who are in opposition. So we don’t just cast off people who don’t believe like we do. He said, but within the church, there’s a community that we’ve committed. We believe that Jesus is the son of God, and we believe that his death, burial and resurrection accomplished something. And we believe people need to know him and have their lives changed by him. He said these subjects aren’t up for debate now, but the reality is there will be people who want to fight about it. And so what is it, Timothy, do when there’s people that want to be teachers in his church but want to challenge these basic truths he’s been talking about? Well, Paul will say, remind them. Speaking of his community here. Remind them of these things. What are these things? Well what was what was in front of us? Remember, remember. He told him, Do you remember Jesus Christ? That he was risen from the dead. A descendant of David has preached in my gospel. Remember, his word is not bound, but it’s efficacious to rescue the elect, right? And if we endure with him, we will reign with him.
These central ideas of the gospel, the God man, Jesus Christ lived, died, rose, and when you trust him, it changes you both now and forever. These are central ideas.
And Paul says, remind them of all that. And then charge them before God. Does that sound serious? Solemnly charge them not to quarrel about words. That word, literally, he says, not to engage in word wars. We’re not going to get in debates and fights within the church because he says it does no good, but only ruins the hearers. How many of you have watched Christians take issues of the gospel and turn them into fights with each other. Wars online. Debates online. Where they attack each other? It’s not a place of learning. It’s just a place of trying to win. Cross light sabers and see who can quote more authors. He says that doesn’t help anyone. No one gets argued into the kingdom. It’s not a healthy way to communicate.
Francis Schaeffer was one of the best apologists out there. He was kind of like the C.S. Lewis to the hippies. And so he would always get invited to do debates on campuses with people who didn’t believe in Jesus and even pastors of churches that didn’t believe the Bible is the word of God or Jesus was the son of God. And he would say, I won’t debate. He said, but I will have a discussion. If you want to learn, if you want to grow, then let’s talk together. And I want to be able to strenuously object to your ideas but honor you as a person.
And I was like you for me at church when people come to me and and they ask me a question, and when I start to answer it, they interrupt. And then if I start to answer, they interrupt and I realize, oh. We’re not trying to learn, you’re just trying to win a fight. I’ll just tell them I don’t want to fight. You win, you win the fight. That’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to train people with the truths of God, and I’m not going to engage in word wars.
So what do we do? Well, verse 15 do your best. Make every effort to present yourself to God is one to prove. Don’t worry about all that people are saying on YouTube, but on their TikToks and all that. Don’t worry about any of that. You make the decision to make every effort to present yourself as someone who’s been tested and approved, is what that means. That you’ve gone through the fires of learning and studying so you can be tested and shown to be a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed. That the work you’re doing of studying the word of God, explaining it to others, that work is not something you need to be ashamed of. It’s strong. It’s not easily refuted. It’s deeply rooted. He says that you rightly handle the word of truth. It’s a carpentry turn to cut straight that you’re not just making up stuff, but you’ve really studied the word of God and you’re accurately handling it with care, he tells Timothy. Hey, Timothy, don’t try to fight everything everyone’s saying. You just get real good at the basics. You play fundamental ball, Timothy. You know the word of God. But avoid irreverent babble. You don’t need to search online what everybody is saying about how they’re reworking the gospel and how it suddenly isn’t this anymore. Jesus isn’t that or the whole history of the church is wrong about this, he says, avoid that because it just leads to more ungodliness.
Look at the fruit of it. Look at the fruit of some of these ministries online that are always angry and yelling. Does it produce grace and truth and love? No.
Or people that talk about grace, truth and love but never really have truth. And you see that people are just wandering aside into many unhelpful things, he says, hey, you just avoid all this twisting and changing and moving in the gospel. He says because that teaching is like gangrene, it’s like a cancer that infects the body. And he says, hey, among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus. He mentions these dudes. And he says, what have they done? They’re swerving from the truth, saying the resurrection has already taken place. They’re saying, oh yeah, Jesus, resurrection, there’s no future hope for you. It was just a spiritual, like, higher mentality in your life and, and he said, no, that’s a central tenet that if Jesus died and rose, we believe we will.
So people may disagree on non-essential issues, but on the centrality of the resurrection. Hey, this team has a vision and we have values. You don’t get to be a teacher on this team and change the message. We don’t have the right to. And so you can believe whatever you want. But the church has a mission. We’re moving forward. We don’t get to change the message. Paul says, I’m an ambassador. I don’t change the message of the king. I present it as he gave it to me. And if someone wants to deny a central tenet of it, they can do that, but they can’t do it as a representative of our church. And so, Timothy, don’t try to fight him. Don’t try to beat him. You just get real good at knowing what you believe.
And then he comforts Timothy. But Timothy, here’s the deal even as people challenge the faith and attack it. Don’t you worry about it because the foundation’s firm and it stands. Because it has a seal at the bottom of the foundation that the Lord knows who are his. God knows who belongs to him. That’s done. You don’t have to worry about it. That’s a quote from Moses when he was challenged by Cora. Don’t get too shaken up by Cora. If you’re Moses, you just keep being Moses. Keep leading the people. God will deal with the Coras of the world. You stay faithful. And how? You stay faithful. Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.
So don’t get in a bunch of debates and fights online. What does the Christian do who is serious? You study the word of God. Know what you believe. Be orthodox in your belief. And then depart from iniquity or orthopraxy. I’m holy and how I live. That we are people filled with grace and truth. We study the word and live the word. And wisdom will be vindicated by her deeds.
So don’t worry about the fights. Don’t go looking for them online, but let me challenge you now to keep doing what we’re doing here. Get deep into the word of God. Maybe ask God now to give you, give you a sense of what it would look like to be someone who deeply studies the word of God. What would need to change in your life to say, I’m a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed? I’m rightly handling the word of truth. Maybe it’s a little less time online and a little more time in his word. Think about it. Pray about it. I’ll see you next time.
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2 Timothy 3:6-9 // Round 13 // Ben Stuart
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