All right. We are in round 14 of our 20 days in 2 Timothy, and we are in Chapter three, starting in verse 10. So if you haven’t yet, take a minute, take a few deep breaths, try to lower the heart rate, get the mind clear. And let’s focus in on the word of God here, beginning in 2 Timothy Chapter three and I’m going to start reading in verse 10. You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct. My aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lyster, which persecutions I endured. Yet from them all, the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
It’s interesting, I remember doing a ropes course with my daughters who were elementary school age, and, you know, it’s a pretty unnerving experience to get up and have to walk across a rope high up on this telephone pole. You’re looking around, the sky looks different, the wind’s blowing different, the ground’s moving. It can be really disorienting for a young person, but I remembered to help my daughter navigate this uncertain moment as I just told her, hey, just fix your eyes on me. Look at me and we’re gonna take one step at a time. See how I’m doing it? One step at a time, one foot in front of the other. And she started to laugh and OK. And as she watched me walk along this rope, she could walk along, too. And we looked on the other side and said, look, we made it.
And if you remember from last time, Paul was telling Timothy, hey, the environment around you is about to get extreme and dark and disorienting. These are difficult days. People in the name of progress will progress away from the truth, and you’ll go is, is that where the whole world is going? Does no one believe this anymore? What is happening? No one seems to care about Jesus, the gospel, each other. What’s going on in the world? It can all be disorienting and you start to shake. And Paul says, hey, hey, hey, hey Timothy. Just keep your eyes on me. Remember what I did?
Because if you recall, Timothy was Paul’s protege and he traveled with them, and if you haven’t read it yet, consider going to Acts Chapter 16 where you meet young Timothy. He had come to faith because of his mom and his grandma, and the believing community there vouched for him said, hey Paul, you should keep an eye on this kid and and Timothy ended up traveling with him. And so here as Paul is telling him now you’re on your own, now it’s your turn.
He just told him in the last text, I know it’s going to be disorienting, Timothy. I know it’s difficult, but he says but you remember you followed that word followed means follow close behind. Timothy, you were tucked in right behind me and you saw my teaching. You heard what I explained to people and you saw my conduct, how they fit together, how there’s integrity between word and deed. You saw my aim in life. That I wasn’t using religion, manipulatively to get money or wealth or power or essential activities. I was aiming at something holy. You saw my faith to trust God and my patience to wait when things didn’t unfold, according to my plans. You saw my love for people, even enemies. You saw my steadfastness that I didn’t give up when it was hard. You saw my persecutions. That it was difficult. You saw me suffer. Then you start saying, you remember what happened to me at Antioch, Iconium, and at Lyster. Like I said, go read them and he’s telling Timothy, you remember you were there. It was crazy then, too. So, Timothy, your days are crazy, disorienting, nuts. But guess what? The world’s always been crazy. He said. But those persecutions I endured. And from all of them, the Lord rescued me.
And this is another one of the reasons why it’s so great to be in a believing community. For many of us, high school is overwhelming, and college is such a mystery, and post college is crazy and my friendship groups are nuts. But there’s people that said, yeah, I’ve been through. It’s not the exact same thing, something very similar.
We’ve been through difficult days. We’ve been through crazy things. And yet if you’re in a community of faith, people can say, but let me show you how the Lord rescued me. Let me show you how he delivered me. You key off me and tuck in behind me and we can cut through the chaos together.
And so here Paul stabilizes Timothy by saying, hey, remember my life. You remember. You remember how God showed up for me. He’ll do the same for you. But here’s the reality Timothy, you saw it in me. You see it in you. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. He says, Timothy, when hard things start happening to you, like Peter said, don’t be surprised at this fiery ordeal as if something strange was happening to you. Jesus said it. If they persecuted me, they’re persecuting you. And so Paul saying, hey, you’re taking some hits, Timothy. Welcome to the club. That’s how it goes. Yeah, you get knocked around. That’s what happens. But look how God helps and moves in us, even in the midst of persecution. If you’re not swimming against the stream, you’re not really going to be a change agent in society. To help make society different you gotta be different.
And that means you’ll often swim against the grain. And people won’t understand that, right? They won’t crucify and spit on and curse Mister Rogers or the guy from Blue’s Clues, right? Someone that is just gentle and nice. Jesus was gentle and kind, as gentle and kind as a truth teller could be. And he was spit on and cursed and crucified, and Jesus said, if they came after me, they’re coming after you. Buddy said, whoa to you if all men speak well of you, if everybody likes you, it’s probably because you don’t stand for much and aren’t making a difference.
So Timothy, here, is someone who is associated with Jesus now that he’s out in the world without Paul, is taking some hits. And that’s discouraging. It’s destabilizing. The rope’s starting to shake. And yet, Paul says, hey, Timothy, look up. Look at me. They hit me too. It was hard, too. I suffered, too. And guess what? You saw me endure. And you saw the Lord rescue me. And He’ll do the same with you.
And as for the people that are coming after you, he said look, that’s going to happen. Evil people, imposters, they’re going to keep going from bad to worse. And he says, and they’ll keep deceiving other people and being deceived. That’s the crazy thing in the culture. The more someone will start to say lies, the more they start to believe them. And you can get some people that really start to believe things that have really left reality. Some of you’ve experienced that watching TV or the news following social media. See people go, how did you even get that frame around the way you see the world?
And Paul tells Timothy, hey, don’t get rattled by the chaos around. You key off the people who you saw walk by faith and you saw how faithful God was to them. And you just take one step at a time and follow me. Don’t be worried about the chaos. You have a Christ who rules it all. And the Lord rescues those who walk with him. So be encouraged. Even in a difficult day. God loves to shine a light in the darkness, and you just might be that light in the place he has placed you.
So, praying for all the Timothy’s out there today. Some of you feel this, and I hope this encourages you. It’s OK. Godly people get persecuted, but that’s all right because they persevere because of the grace of God. And so hang in there. Don’t give up. We’re with you. We’re in it together, and I’m praying for you, and I’ll see you next time.
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