2 Timothy

2 Timothy 3:10-15 – Dare to be Different

2 Timothy 3v10-15

 

Dare to be Different.

 

Introduction

 

What makes us tick?

To be more personal – What makes you/me tick?

Everyone has a worldview – a philosophy of life. That set of beliefs which influences, even determines, the way we think and speak and act.

Now not everyone is able to articulate his or her philosophy of life. BUT simply because I may not be able to articulate the reasoning and motivation behind what I do doesn’t mean I do not have a life philosophy.

 

ILLUS.: English grammar – what is a modal verb? In the sentence “I can speak English” speak is the verb and can is the modal verb.

Unless you are a teacher of English grammar you are unlikely to know that yet every speaker of English uses the rules of grammar without necessarily being able to explain the rules.

 

Likewise we all have a philosophy of life / a worldview even if we are unable to put it into words!

 

Our pattern of life is determined by what we believe as we look back over the last century or so we see many philosophies that have been prominent and some have fail and others will – Marxism, National socialism, Freudianism, materialism, hedonism, relativism and pluralism…. We could go on and on.

 

 

  1. Ungodly Pattern.

 

2 Timothy 3:2-4

  • People will be lovers of themselves – rather than …
  • lovers of money,
  • proud, arrogant, abusive,
  • disobedient to their parents. ungrateful. Unholy. without love, unforgiving,
  • slanderous, without self-control, brutal, haters/strangers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited,
  • lovers of pleasure
  • lovers of themselves ……rather than lovers of God — (NIV)

 

Much of the thinking behind many of these views is not new and what is certain is that they have not and will not offer solutions to human questions and needs.

 

These ideologies can all be summed up under the three phrases that Paul uses at the beginning of chapter 3 – Lovers of self, lovers of money and lovers of pleasure RATHER than lovers of God.

 

There is a philosophy / pattern of life / a worldview that is from God and there are all others that are not of God and therefore of Satan.

Those who are characterised by self love, pleasure and materialism are not necessarily irreligious – indeed they have a form of godliness [v5] but deny the power i.e. Holy Spirit’s work in their lives. They are quite happy with experienced based, self-fulfilling religion that doesn’t interfere in their lives but are not too keen on dynamic spirituality.

 

We have seen in recent years a great surge in things spiritual – New Age religion has blossomed, a growing interest in the paranormal.   We sometimes get distressed – rightly and understandably – by those who distort/ oppose the gospel and trouble the church BUT we need not fear even if some weak people are taken in // or indeed if large numbers of intelligent people follow after fashionable falsehoods. There is something patently spurious about false teaching / belief and there is something self-evidently true about truth. Error may spread and be popular for a time but it will not last forever “…it will not get very far…” [v9] [Stott p.91]

 

There will always be false teachers // false beliefs and always people willing to follow false philosophies – history is littered with “‘isms” and ideologies that have come and gone and returned again is new disguises. Behind them all is the craftiness of Satan doing all he can to delude and keep away from the Truth of God revealed in Christ.

 

Sadly Paul is describing here not just people who are irreligious and openly hostile to the Church BUT often this is describing some inside the church who want a form of religion without the divine empowerment of the Holy Spirit. This happens when human philosophies sideline the Word of God – and decisions are made on the basis of “what will benefit ME!”.

 

  1. Godly Pattern.

 

BUT Paul’s charge to Timothy – and us – is not to catch this infection of an ungodly pattern of life but to stand out boldly against the prevailing popular fashion.

 

In this passage before us Paul twice addresses Timothy with the strong words “But as for you…” {you however, … in gk. The same words} v10 & v14. In stark contrast to the contemporary decline in morals, empty show of religiosity and the spread of false self-serving teaching Timothy is called to be different and if necessary to stand alone!

 

Every Christian is called to be different… Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould – Romans 12v2 [JBP]

 

The pressure on us to conform are huge – and if we are honest we have allowed the world to squeeze us – There is the direct challenge to traditional beliefs and morals BUT there is the more subtle influence of secularism which seeps insidiously into church life.

 

We need to be careful and balanced in our assessment – and above all biblical. What we sometimes claim to be biblical values are no more than our cultural and denominational traditions which we are reluctant to relinquish. If we hold on to outdated, anachronistic traditions we are no better than the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who substituted outwards forms of religion for true spiritual faith.

 

On the other hand, we need to ensure that our desire to be relevant and attractive to contemporary society doesn’t cause us to drift from the truth of God’s revelation. If our concern is to make everyone comfortable and happy then we are guilty of what Paul describes in 2 Timothy 4:3 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (NIV)

 

We MUST hold fast to the truth – content – of the Gospel but be willing to change the packaging – present it in a relevant and contemporary way

 

So what is the godly pattern Paul urges Timothy to follow. 2 Timothy 3:10-11

You, however, [But as for you, you] know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings —

 

Paul is not simply saying to Timothy – “I am the senior pastor and you’re the junior so just do what I do!” NO Paul is laying out an apostolic pattern for ministry – in other words, these are the things that should characterise a godly Christian’s ministry. Every Christian is a minister of the gospel – and those like Timothy who aspire to leadership within the church should exhibit these characteristics even more.

  1. Teaching / doctrine.

In his 1st letter to Timothy Paul encouraged Timothy to follow “good teaching / doctrine”. It is not that Timothy has simply heard Paul’s teaching and understood it intellectually – he is not just a detached observer but he has embraced it and made it his own.

2 Timothy 3:14 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, …, (NIV)

 

ILLUS.: I understand the basic rules of football – but it is not something I am passionate about – you may call me a detached observer – but for some it is all consuming. The now famous quote “Football is not a matter of life and death, it is much more important than that!”.

 

For Paul and Timothy and every committed dedicated Christian – the gospel is more important that life itself!

 

What we believe is crucial – thus the study of God’s Word is indispensable. It is our spiritual food – without it we are malnourished, our growth is stunted.

The Christian who imagines that he or she can develop spiritual without sound doctrine is deluded.

Doctrine / biblical teaching is characteristic of a godly pattern of life. {SEAN – so helpful is this regard]

 

  1. Way of Life.

Paul mentions Antioch, Iconium and Lystra .. Timothy was a citizen of Lystra and when Paul first went there Timothy was probably there. He heard Paul teach about the Gospel of Christ – he saw how Paul suffered for his beliefs. Then he travelled with Paul, observed his lifestyle and was convinced that here was aman who didn’t just talk BUT lived out in daily life what he believed and taught.

Titus 2:10 10 … in every way … make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive. (NIV) … adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. (KJV)

 

i.e. wear the doctrine of God like a garment. Doctrine / biblical teaching is not just propositional dogma hidden away in dusty books in a theologian’s study.

No it is belief that impact practical everyday living. For doctrine to be real and useful it must walk around in the nitty-gritty of everyday life.

 

How does what we believe influence the way we live? If there is no discernible different to everyone in the world then we must ask the question – do I really believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. The gospel must affect the way you live!

 

  1. Purpose / aim.

Spending time with the Apostle Paul – Timothy was in no doubt about what motivated Paul.

What drives you? What is your aim in life? What are you trying to achieve?

A bigger bank balance? A promotion? A perfect house? ….

2 Corinthians 5:9 9 So we make it our goal [aim / purpose] to please him, ….

Philippians 1:21 21 For to me, to live is Christ ….. (NIV)

Philippians 3:10 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (NIV)

 

Is this your / my purpose in life?

If not then we are drifting along with those Paul contrasts in the 1st half of the chapter – lovers of self, money, pleasure!

 

  1. Faith / trust in God in all situation.

It is easy to trust God in the good times – Paul had known those. BUT how about in the tough times. Paul had known plenty of those too.

When writing to the Corinthians he defends his apostleship thus…

2 Corinthians 11:23-27 23 … I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. (NIV)

 

To the Philippians he writes…

Philippians 4:12-13 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)

Through all these trials his faith remains strong and true.

Can include in these his reference to endurance, persecutions and sufferings.

In fact he says [v12] all who desire a godly life will be persecuted –

The godly arouse the antagonism the worldly – it has always been so.

 

 

ILLUS.: Just this week I heard about a Christian evangelist in Paraguay who went to a new place to preach and many responded – but some local gangsters took exception and they shot and killed him.

 

Maybe in business you have taken a strong moral stand on something and as a result your superiors / colleagues have made life very difficult for you.

John 15:18-20 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. …. (NIV)

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

  1. e) Patience /tolerance

Not an indifferent tolerance that is characterises modern day political correctness gone mad – where it is never acceptable to say someone’s moral behaviour is wrong. No Paul is talking about godly patience and long-suffering with those who are difficult and aggravating – who rub us up the wrong way. Spiritual fruit patience!

 

  1. Love

If there is one characteristic that should set Christians apart from all others it is love. John 13:34-35 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV)

1 Corinthians 13:2 2 If I have ….. not love, I am nothing. (NIV)

1 John 4:8 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 

In contrast to the worldly/ ungodly pattern of life which is characterised by self-love – the godly pattern is to be characterised by self-giving love as demonstrated by Christ in his death and resurrection.

 

Christians are called to be different – the Church is God’s counter-culture / God’s new society. But not separated from the world hidden in cloisters. We are to be in the world while at the same time not of the world. Called to live among the godless while living godly lives.

It is radical – it is risky – BUT Jesus asks us to follow him – “To dare to be different” – not squeezed into the world’s mould.

 

This kind of life demand complete dedication – complete obedience to Jesus as LORD. None can do it perfectly this side of heaven BUT is this our aim / purpose / goal in life.

Can you say with Paul “For me to live is Christ …” “Christ is my life!”

 

SING: Take my life….

 

Dare to be Different.

 

2 Timothy 3v10-15

 

  1. Ungodly Pattern. 3:2-4

 

  • people will be lovers of themselves
  • lovers of money,
  • lovers of pleasure

……rather than lovers of God

 

  1. Godly Pattern. 3:10-15

 

  1. Teaching / doctrine.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of… v14

 

  1. Way of Life.

… make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive. (NIV)adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. (KJV) Titus 2:10

 

  1. Purpose / aim.

.. make it our goal to please him. 2 Corinthians 5:9

For to me, to live is Christ … Philippians 1:21

 

  1. Faith / trust in God in all situations.

(include endurance, persecutions and sufferings.)

all who desire a godly life will be persecuted v12

 

  1. Patience / tolerance

godly patience and long-suffering – spiritual fruit

 

  1. Love

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

 

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