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Sermons on 2 Timothy
2 Timothy 2:2 says “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” This has been in my heart lately. To raise up men of God, who have been taught and will teach others. But Paul continues in verse 3 “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” We are soldiers of Jesus Christ. Remember at this time in history there were no guns. Primary means of battle was hand to hand or close combat weapons. You would group up in formations with a man on your side and a man behind you. This would give you protection where you can’t see. You relied on your fellow soldiers to protect you in those areas. If they were weak and easily overcome then you were vulnerable to attack from that position. So you would want your fellow soldiers to be trained as well as possible, and be as strong as possible for your own protection. We are in a battle. We have enemies, people and forces that would have us to fall; people that seek to try and destroy God. God has given us the church, the body of believers; in order that we may come along side one another in battle. The problem is that many of us within the body of Christ are sitting on the sidelines. We aren’t engaging. We are weak because they aren’t trained up. A firefighter will run into a burning building while everyone else runs out because they have been trained to do so. We have been commanded to train everyone according to the Word of God. Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Men we are called to teach or disciple other men. That is plain and simple. We are not a religion. Religion is a set of rules and traditions by which people follow. We are not that. We follow Christ. Christ is our commander. In Joshua 5 Israel has crossed over the river into the promised land. They are moving towards Jericho and then they come across a Man. Pick it up in verses 13-14 “And it came to pass when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ So He said,’ No but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’” What we see here is a Christophany. It is Christ appearing as a Man in the OT. We can come to the conclusion that it has to be Christ and not an angel because Joshua, after meeting Him falls to his knees and proceeds to call Him Lord. You don’t call angels Lord, you don’t fall to your knees at the sight of an angel. Angels are not worthy of worship and they will tell you that. There are multiple instances in the Bible where a man falls at the feet of an angel and they are rebuked by the angel for it. So this is Christ Himself. He is the Commander of the army of the Lord. Who is the army of the Lord then? We are! As you continue to read through Joshua you see that the Lord gives Joshua instructions on how to defeat Jericho. There were no angels involved. It wasn’t a specific group of people. It was Christ says “all you men of war”. Do you hear the call to battle? Do you hear Christ commanding us to engage in His name? Are you ready for battle? Have you been trained? Have you been discipled? We have a discipleship group that meets here on Sundays, but that is not the only discipling that goes on here. You don’t have to be part of a group to be discipled. The word disciple means plain and simple a pupil. Who is your teacher? It may appear that anyone who takes this podium is your teacher, but they aren’t. They are just a vessel to bring forth the Word of God. Jesus is our teacher. In Luke 6 Jesus says “’Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.’” 1 John 2:6 “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” And gain in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” We don’t follow men. We follow Christ. The first thing to remember about discipleship is that you are being taught by Christ. Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word of God is “living and powerful” yet in Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He doesn’t change, but what each of us is taught by the same scripture set is different. What I get from it is going to be different than what Matt gets from it. Because we are at different places in life and in our walks with the Lord. I am going through different trials than you are. Though we may each get something different out of it The best part is we will both be right, we both will have received truth from Christ. Christ teaches us where we are at. This is such an important reason to be studying on your own. There is so much that is revealed to you on a personal level from God, that can’t be revealed by me or anyone else. Now that we have been taught by Christ we need to be tools. We need to disciple others. We already read the great commission, go and disciple. With Father’s Day being tomorrow I ask you fathers are you discipling your kids? Husbands are you discipling your wives? Are you discipling your co-workers, your roommate, your friends? Discipleship isn’t something that just happens at church. It should be happening at home, it should be happening where you spend your time. Because where you spend your time is where you are invested. If you don’t spend time at home you aren’t invested there. You spend 8 hours a day at work, that is a pretty big investment. Discipling someone doesn’t always mean sitting down with them and teaching them verse by verse through the Bible. So much of discipling is watching how people conduct themselves. How they act. This is where the problem lies. Those people sitting on the sidelines proclaim to be Christians but don’t walk the walk. As we continue on in this study we will talk about how we are transformed into the image of Christ. People see Christians and think of the church not of Christ. We need to be breaking this stereotype. We need to be raising people in Christ not in the church. Raise them in a relationship not in religion. And it starts with us men. If you have been here for any amount of time you have probably heard it taught that “I’m a sinner therefore I sin.” Meaning that you are by nature a sinner and you can’t help but sin because it is who you are. Well being a disciple is the opposite. It’s not just something that you are, it’s something that you do. I am a disciple because I disciple. Ok so far disciples are taught by Jesus, and disciples disciple others. In order to disciple others you have to be being filled with the Spirit. We do this through studying the Word of God. Going back to 2 Timothy, Paul exhorts Timothy to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” How do you rightly divide the word of truth if you aren’t filled with the word. If you keep going in 2 Timothy Paul speaks of us as vessels. Vessels are used to carry stuff, and often even to mix together things in order to make something new. So what are we filled with? When we study the Bible we are filled with wisdom, love, understanding and knowledge. We are filled with these things through our study in His Word, and through this we produce good works. We produce good fruit as the Bible puts it. Our discipling others in the name of Christ is a good work. It is all inter connected, you can’t have one without the other. You can’t disciple others if you yourself aren’t being discipled by Christ. You also can’t disciple others if you aren’t being fed on a regular basis. What is the most common way God speaks to us now? Through His Word! God will speak to us in our prayers, but He has already spoken and His Words are found in this book. You can’t have God speak to you if you are cutting off His line of communication. This is like God’s cell phone right here. It’s wireless. You want to hear from Him, He speaks through this. If you are being disciple by Christ, if you are studying, if you are discipling others, you are going to be continually growing. If you aren’t growing you are going backwards. We are always changing, either in a good way or a bad way. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” We are transformed into the same image as Christ. We are made more like God the longer we stare at Him. That is the meaning of Christian. To be Christ like. If you aren’t changing to be more like Christ then you aren’t seeking in after Him. A great example of change is this stage. Like Matt said on Sunday, this stage is built from pieces from both the school and the old building. But it is so much more than a reminder of where we were. It is an image of the change that God is doing in us. It is an image of the work that He is doing and how He is building upon the faithfulness that was found in the School. The gates from the school were transformed into a part of the stage and sound booth in the old building. Then the stage and sound booth were transformed into this new stage. God took one thing and built upon it something bigger. Then he took that and built upon it something even bigger. This should be an image of us. We should be able to see ourselves changing. Like I said if you aren’t growing you are going backwards. If you aren’t on fire you are cold. I pray that you don’t sit here and think you are fine. Don’t be the church of Laodicea. Jesus said to the church of Laodicea “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor not, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” Recognize that you are either cold or hot. If you know you aren’t hot, but don’t want to admit you are cold then there is nothing God can do for you. He won’t mold you into His image if you don’t want to be. Always be looking circumspectly and ensure you are growing. The next thing we should watch for as disciples is being doers of the word. James 1:21-22 “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We drive it hard that you need to be reading your Bible and need to be pressing in on God, but if you aren’t taking what you have learned and apply it to your life you are still being deceived. What is knowledge good for if you don’t use it? I think about these people on Jeopardy. The random knowledge that they bring is so amazing. But Jeopardy is the only place it is useful. They have a lot of knowledge, but there is no use for it. It’s just a party trick. And as we have been studying through Romans as a congregation we have been reading a lot about how works can’t save you. Which is absolutely true, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have works. The works of a believer are an outward manifestation of the inward knowledge. They are a way that we do what we have learned. Our works are done unto the Lord and not to ourselves. We receive rewards in heaven for our works. So to not be doing, to not be doing good works is to not be invested in the kingdom of heaven. What do you do with your money, other than spend it? You invest it. You put it someplace safe. You put it somewhere where it will gain more money for doing nothing! To do good works is to invest in the Kingdom of God. There is no greater investment than the kingdom of God. It will never need a bailout. Your rewards are worth exactly what they were when you received it. But you gain interest in the form of faithfulness. If you are faithful to the little things the Lord has put before you, you will be entrusted with more. Who cares the most about a company? The employees who haven’t invested a dime and just draw a paycheck, or the owners who have invested their money into it. The owners care more. By doing the things you have learned, by doing good works in the name of Christ you are investing yourself in the Kingdom of Heaven. A disciple is a doer of the Word. As you walk the path of discipleship, the narrow road, you will want to quit. You will fail, the enemy will whisper in your ear, and you will want to quit. A disciple won’t quit. Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Our flesh and our hearts will fail, but we will keep on because our strength doesn’t come from within, it comes from God. I love what Matt said recently. You never have to think to make your heart beat. You can’t even tell your heart to stop beating. Because God is doing it for you. We have no strength, but only what God gives us. As you read through Romans chapter 7 you might notice that Paul starts saying “I” a lot. He says “I” 26 times in chapter 7 alone. What he is saying is that ‘I will fail.’ I can’t do it. I am weak. A disciple never says that God failed me. If I failed it is because of me. But we are able to rise above our failure. Back in 2 Timothy Paul says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” We have power from God to rise above our failures. And when we fail our cry should be “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” We don’t serve a God of weakness, we serve a God of strength and power. Don’t quit, don’t beat yourself up. Get back up, get back into the Word, and get back in the battle. Finally discipleship never ends. There is only one way that discipleship ends, and that is to be in the presence of the Lord Himself. Paul is such a great example of this for us. We can see his progress and his changing throughout the scripture. We first read his description of himself in 1 Corinthians as the “least of the apostles”. Then in Ephesians 3 “least of all saints”. Finally in 1 Timothy the chief of sinners. Paul grew throughout his life and he was changed as he was discipled by Christ. You see as Paul was faithful in the little things that God revealed him, then God gave him more. As Jesus says in Matthew 25:23 “Well done good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” We will never stop growing in Christ. We will never reach the pinnacle. The only way to go is up, literally. To reach the point where you can stop learning is to be in heaven in His presence. So I ask you today. Are you going to be content sitting on the sidelines. Are you going to let the world fall away while you sit there idly by. Or are you going to engage in the battle? Are you going to follow our Commander into the fight for eternity. Are you going to be a disciple? I have given you characteristics of a disciple, of a soldier of Christ. I have shown you how a solider in the army of the Lord is trained. Are you going to fight the good fight? Father’s are you going to fight for your children? Husbands are you going to fight for your kids? Sons are you going to fight for your parents? Brothers are you going to fight for one another? Stand with me today, shouldered up in the name of the Lord. CU has one of the most powerful fight songs I know of. It ends like this “never give in, shoulder to shoulder, we will fight, fight, fight, fight, fight.” That is just for sports. A meaningless game. A contest with an undetermined ending. Shoulder up with Christ. By doing that you will shoulder with the church, which is the body of Christ. Never give in. Never stop fighting for the Kingdom of God. Never stop advancing. Never stop fighting. Fight for something with an eternal meaning. Something that has already been decided. Christ has won for us on the cross. Fight for lost souls. “For I am unashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.”
About this time last year we began a study in the pastoral epistle of 1st Timothy; today we conclude with the final verses of 2nd Timothy. The first series of sermons had to do with getting church right; the 2nd epistle, written a few years later is Paul's last will and testament which has to do with how to Finish Well...soon the apostle Paul will be imprisoned and beheaded...so these verses are the last words ever penned by the Holy Spirit through Paul.
( 2 Timothy 4:6-8 )