July 30, 2023

2 Timothy - The Man of God

Speaker: David Jordan Series: Journey Through the Bible Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:1– 4:22

Download the 2 Timothy Bible Journal Outline

Open your Bibles, if you would, to the book of Second Timothy. There's a Bible under a chair nearby if you need one. If you don't have one, please take that home with you. It’s our gift to you. This morning, I'm going to be preaching an overview of Second Timothy. And I'm not just going to be talking about what's in Second Timothy, I'm going to try and preach Second Timothy. Some pastors have endeavored to preach through every book of the Bible, just kind of talking about what's in it, and others have tried to preach through it. And that is what I'm doing today. But Second Timothy, for a pastor, is an incredible endeavor.

Some books of the Bible are easier to preach than others. And sometimes you come to the text of Scripture and you're just overwhelmed by the powerful truths that it contains. And for me, Second Timothy is one of those books. Indeed, it contains one of the clearest Scriptures in all of the Bible about the authority and inspiration of the Word of God. It also contains the strongest mandate for pastors in all of the Scriptures as well. So, I'll do my best to convey this wonderful letter to you. You can see in your outline there, if you got one of these little handouts, in the middle there, where it says chapter overview. You can see it says: “Guard the Gospel,” that's the first two chapters. And the second two could be summarized by: “Preach the Gospel.” Preach the gospel.

This book, Second Timothy, contains one of John MacArthur's favorite descriptive phrases. It is this phrase, “the man of God.” It's used in 1 Timothy 6:11. It's also used in 2 Timothy 3:17. And that title identifies Timothy. It is a simple term, but it is of immeasurable worth. And it is a wonderful and rich designation of who Timothy is. You might not know this, but that phrase is only used of Timothy in all of the New Testament. Think of everyone that is mentioned in the New Testament, there is nobody in there that is called “a man of God,” except young Timothy. But it was a common title in the Old Testament. So, Paul and Timothy would understand its significance.

If you read Psalm 90, you'll see the title in Psalm 90 talks about “Moses, the man of God.” Or if you read about Moses in Ezra 3:2, or a dozen other places, it calls him a man of God. King David and Nehemiah 12 is called “a man of God.” Elisha is called “a man of God.” And other times just someone who comes to speak a word to another person is called “a man of God.” But what it does is it elevates Paul's view of Timothy. And as inspired Scripture, it should elevate our view of who Timothy is. And if you look on the front of the Bible journal there, you'll see what looks like a younger person. At most, Timothy is around 30 years old, as he leads one of the most significant religious areas in all of the world at this time. He is the leader, or the pastor, in Ephesus as this dear letter is being written.

Paul uses it to emphasize Timothy's responsibility to fulfill his ministry, to fulfill his ministry. How could “God's man” do anything less? Well, you need to know a little bit about the context of this letter to understand the weight of what Paul is going to say here. This letter to Timothy was written just a few years after one of the most devastating events of the first century. If you think about world history, around AD 64, most of Rome burned. Many people say at least half of this great city burned. And you may know, the leader of Rome at this time was Nero. He was quite the wicked and deranged man. If you've ever read even extra-biblical accounts of who he was, he was feared among everyone. He did not hesitate to live his life in an abusive way towards anyone that came in contact with him. He did not hesitate to kill close family members if they crossed him in any way. And Nero was the most powerful ruler in the known world at the time. And when his city was on fire – some even thought he set it on fire because people weren't respecting him the way they should – he blamed the Christians. This is the setting of the world when Second Timothy is being written. Just a few years later, this burning of Rome developed a great persecution of the Christians.

We have persecution from time to time of Christians, not necessarily in our country, but in other countries. As I've said many times, our persecution is normally just based on an unkind word from social media or something. But Nero used Christians as candles in his garden. So, when you look into First and Second Timothy, especially Second Timothy, you're going to see this phrase, “do not be fearful, Timothy.” And what we normally think of when we see those words is, “Oh, he was young, so he didn't know anything. So, he was probably scared of his duties, to preach the Word. And so, Paul says in chapter four, ‘preach the Word.’” Or maybe Timothy was scared of false teachers, and they were more learned than him. And so, we think, “Ah Timothy, he was just this, almost like a chicken. Paul probably didn't have anyone else to put they're in Ephesus, and this young guy didn't know what he was doing. So, you know, he was probably just scared. And so that's why Paul says, ‘Don't be fearful.’”

No, it was because Timothy's mentor, the main guy that trained him, the one who preached the gospel to him and saved him, who brought him into the faith, is in jail, and is probably going to die. And that is Timothy's path and could probably die in a most gruesome way. And so, when you see this letter, it's really this outpouring of an older saint who loves this young man, and wants to firm up his countenance, to preach the Word and to guard it no matter what. So, when you go to a church, any church, Second Timothy lays forth the foundation of what you should get from preaching. I would encourage you to read it over and over again, especially if you are interested in becoming a pastor. You should get very familiar with Second Timothy. And if you're not, you should get familiar with it because this is what you should expect every single time you come to a service, a worship service, you should expect a full dose of the Word of God.

This is Paul's second imprisonment. He's in prison in Rome. And this is not the nice imprisonment, where his first time where he was under house arrest. This is where he is in a cold cell. We know that because he encourages Timothy to come to him before winter and to bring his cloak. Okay, and the only other thing he asked for is especially the parchments. So, he wants a coat because he's a normal person and doesn't want to freeze to death. And he also wants the Word of God. Paul knows he's not going to escape death. 2 Timothy 4:6 says, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.” This is the setting, this is the weight that surrounds this letter.

So, turn with me, if you would, to Second Timothy chapter one. And hear as Paul, his love just flows and overflows towards Timothy. He says this in 2 Timothy 1:1-3 (this is out of the ESV), “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.” Now, if you would have received this letter, it's like getting a personal letter from the most famous religious person on the planet.

The Apostle Paul is already known by this point for doing great miracles; for really transforming the known world. All through the Roman region is starting to hear about the gospel. When he gets there, he finds other Christians. So, his gospel has spread for over 1000 miles from Jerusalem (I guess you're facing this way), from Jerusalem. All the way up through the Mesopotamian region, through what is now modern day Turkey, across seas, it has spread far and wide. And this, this is the guy, who was saying, I pray for you constantly. You, Timothy, I pray for you night and day. Paul speaks of no one else in this particular way. This is indeed the last letter that Paul ever writes. Titus is after this in your Bible, but it was written before. This is the last thing that Paul ever pens and he longs to see his friend.

Look in verse 4 [2 Timothy 1:4], “As I remember your tears, I long to see you,” Why? “that I may be filled with joy.” Do you have someone in your life that whenever you see them, you're just excited to see them? You're filled with courage. You're filled with joy. You know that when you need a dear, kind, loving word that this is the person that you want to see. Men, if you didn't tell your wife, “that’s you,” already, you missed it. This is how Paul feels about Timothy. Joy just overwhelms him. Paul in prison, shackled, cold, rats running around, no hot meals, no cable TV. None of all that, no exercise, no sunshine, no nothing. You're just stuck in this cell and you're going to die. And all I want to do is see my friend. That's the conveyance of this letter that we're attempting to try and understand this morning. It is it is very personal, and it is very kind of God to let us peer into this relationship.

Timothy is a great man of God. In 2 Timothy 1:5, his faith is described as a “sincere faith.” And in this case, the fears and the trials of this world they're getting to him a little bit, but he still has a sincere faith. We sometimes crumble when we think of great trials, and we question our faith, but here we have a man who has a sincere faith and he is being overcome, in a sense, by these trials. And as I mentioned, from Nero, they were real, and they were going to overtake and bring Paul to the presence of his Master. But Paul wanted Timothy not just to survive this world, he wanted him to thrive in the world. And if you want to thrive in this world and not just get by, slide by, Second Timothy has a word for you as well.

And in 2 Timothy 1:6, he calls Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God” in you. You see, we do have a part to play in the fervency of our love for God. We have a part to play in the fervency of our joy as a Christian. And Paul is reminding this “man of God” – the only one of whom it has said “you are a man of God” in the New Testament – and he has to remind even him to fan into flame this gift of God that's given to you. And dear Christian, some of you may not even know what gift of God you have. How do I fan it into flame if I don't even know what it is? But I want to encourage you that God not only wants you to know about the gift of grace and mercy that he's given to everyone, and to use that, for the benefit of others, but he wants it to thrive. He doesn't just want you to coast through life. He wants it to be visible, he wants it to affect other people. The same way that Paul knew, if I see Timothy, I am going to receive joy, it's clear cut.

2 Timothy 1:7, God has not given us a spirit of fear, “but of power and love and self-control.” And again, it's not just because Timothy's weak. I don't know if you've ever had a gun pulled on you, if you've ever been shot at. If you have, probably not because you were a Christian. But there's something about the Spirit of God that overcomes even the threat of death. And you wonder, “How could Paul write such an endearing letter, saying really nothing of the beatings and the cruel treatment he's receiving, and all of those things, he's just simply overflowing with love for Timothy. And he's laser-focused on making sure Timothy knows his purpose in life. What could inspire such a man?” God gave us not a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of self-control. Self-control.

When someone is faint in this world, they must turn their eyes on the loving Savior. He knows all things. He knows what you're thinking. He knows what's coming in your afternoon. He knows what you've planned that's not going to happen. And he knows what you have planned that is going to happen. This is the One to whom we trust, not because he has some book that talks about him. But because he made you, he gave you the ability to breathe right now. He gave you the ability to see right now, to experience the people in this room sitting next to you, to hear the great truths of the Scripture. He gave you the ability to know him. And I just asked you, are you taking the opportunity to know God in this life or are you crafting a world of your own?

And Paul did not want Timothy to waver. He was a strong man. You'll see more about Timothy's character in this book. He was a firm man; he knew whom he believed. But he needed encouragement. And then in 2 Timothy 1:8, we get to the “Therefore.” Why encourage him? Why, why tell him all these things? This is the first point: that Timothy needed to “Guard the Gospel.” Guard the gospel. “Therefore,” in 2 Timothy 1:8, “do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.” Share in the suffering! Christians, we need to develop a backbone! We need to develop some convictions that are immovable, that help us to stand in the face of persecution, real persecution. We need to develop the fortitude to look these things in the eye and say, “You know, I don't know how I'm going to get through. But I know God will walk with me every single step of the way. And that is enough.”

And so, Paul is encouraging this preacher, this teacher, to not be ashamed. You know, in this world, we can think that peace is the greatest outcome we could achieve. Peace, success, food, plenty of money to just buy whatever we want, to have the life we want, to live the life we want, to go on the vacations we want, to get the friends we want – until we figure out the friends just want the things we have. That life is fleeting, it's minuscule. Let's say you achieve everything you could ever imagine in life. And then what are you going to do with eternity if you're not with the Lord? Just a dot on the carpet is your life here on Earth, and everything else represents eternity, in the world. We need to aim for eternity and have the long-term view in mind.

See when you embrace suffering – and Paul promises that every Christian, every single believer on the planet will endure suffering, will be persecuted for the cause of Christ. When you embrace the suffering, what else is there to threaten you with? Right? It's like the soldier who is not afraid of dying. They run to the sound of the gunshots. They are unstoppable. Those are the kinds of people that you want protecting you. You don't want necessarily the guy who, you know, at the first sign of trouble runs out the door. You'll hear this from preachers who have big churches and security teams. And some famous preachers, their teams have put, literally, lead or steel inside the pulpit. So that if somebody comes in and [tries to] shoot them, they can just duck. Except the only problem is, none of those preachers are going to duck. They're going to be concerned about their sheep. They're not there for themselves, they're not going to go out the back door, they're not going to run and hide. They're there to preach the gospel, unequivocally, and to shepherd their sheep, and we can learn from those men. I had the whole pulpit built out of that stuff. Just kidding, it’s too see-through here.

But Timothy needed to be like a soldier who's not afraid of dying. He needed to become bold with the gospel. He needed to rise above his fears. And he needed to remember his calling. 2 Timothy 1:9, “who saved us and called us to a holy calling,” remember the power of God, “who [has] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” A pastor can sometimes think their calling is based on themselves. And whenever we do such things, you will find us sucking our thumbs in the corner. It is a daunting task to preach the holy Word of God. But clearly, in this verse alone, people are called to preach the gospel because of whose own purpose? What does it say there in verse nine? Because of his own purpose and grace. Now why would he throw in grace? Because he equates your salvation and your calling with the same divine electoral purpose that happened before the ages began.

Notice verse nine, he “saved us and called us to a holy calling.” US! Salvation was given in Christ “before the ages began.” That's the comparison he's making here. This is something that was set in motion, long before you came about. This is part of God's eternal purpose and calling. Timothy, rise up and take hold of this calling. Just as sure as you are saved, so you have this calling in life. And he needed to guard the truth.

2 Timothy 1:14, “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” 2 Timothy 1:14, “By the Holy Spirit… guard the [truth].” Not by your frame, not by your mental capacity, not by your intellectual ability, not by your ability to use apologetics to develop your worldview and show all other worldviews to be insufficient. No, by the Holy Spirit, Timothy! You see, Paul was elevating his idea of preaching and teaching; and even elevating the idea of guarding the truth. We think of guarding the truth as something we just do on our own, but here it is “by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.” Within you, Christian. You must guard the truth, or people will destroy it.

You may have seen on social media this week that there was a National Prayer Breakfast. And the lady who was the guest speaker to kind of talk at the breakfast or to open the breakfast, I'm not sure which. She opened her time by talking about living with her boyfriend. At the prayer breakfast! And joking about her lifestyle with her boyfriend to open up the prayer breakfast. Now, you might not think that was a good thing to say. But what does that say about what she thought about everyone else who was there? That they also thought that was a good idea? Or funny? I mean, was there no one there offended enough by that to guard the truth? Was there no one there who, hopefully, came up to her afterwards and said, “You're made in the image of God. God calls this sexual immorality. Do you not know that this is an offense to the God you are purporting to pray to?” 1 Timothy 1:10 calls that lifestyle, “contrary to sound doctrine.”

I mean, do we love people enough to share those things with them? It's not my words, right? Don't get mad at me. Shoot the messenger if you like, but it doesn't change the message. Do we put our arms around people to guard the truth? It's much easier to just laugh and kind of, “Ooh, that was bad,” right? Or when your boss uses the Lord's name in vain to just kind of, “Wow, if I say something, I'm going to get demoted.” Or when your neighbor, who you know you're going to live by for many years, you know, constantly talks about all the things that are an offense to God, do you ever speak up? Do we guard the truth, out of love for people? To let them have a relationship with the One who made them, and loves them, and created a world that is much better to live in his way than theirs?

And Timothy had this threat on his life. They were looking for Christians, looking to take them in. It's not that Christianity is a bunch of do's and don'ts. That's such a miniscule understanding of Christianity. It's about this God whom we love, and out of love we serve him. We want to talk to him, and we want to pray to him. And we want to have this understanding of what he requires of us. And yes, we are broken vessels, and he'll deal with that here in Second Timothy. And yes, we too, are sinful. And yes, we could be, you know, told all the ways that we are sinful too. And you know what? Those who love us actually do that. They say, “Brother, you know, you're sinning in this way and it's an offense to God.” You see, you need to guard the truth, or people will pervert it. And then they'll turn it around and teach perverted truth to you. Paul knew this, Paul lived this. And Paul's time on Earth was running short. And he wanted Timothy to guard the truth as well, even if it cost him his life. Was that loving? “Your life, Timothy, is bigger than you,” is what he's trying to tell him. Right? “It's not I who live but Christ who lives in me,” one of my favorite phrases from Paul.

It's not our life, our life has been bought with a price. That price was the death of Jesus Christ. That paid for our sins. You don't need to feel shameful about your sin if it's forgiven. You don't need to act like you're the sum total of your life decisions. No, if you're saved, you have been given this new nature, and you are seen as though you are perfect and holy. You're seen as though you're righteous if you're saved. When you stand before God, he's not going to spend, you know, centuries just knocking you down for the evil ways that you've lived. He's going to say, “You lived this way but my Son paid for that. You did this but my Son paid for that. You spoke this way, and you acted this way, and you went away from me for years, but you came back and my Son paid for that. Enter the joy of my rest.”

That is what Timothy needed to understand. Come rain or shine, guard the truth because there is a better life ahead. But it wasn't just guard the truth, it was to train others with the truth. Look at 2 Timothy 2:2. It’s the common passage for Men's Bible studies, right, they use this. 2 Timothy 2:2, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” Step one: find faithful men. Step two: make sure they can teach others. Right? So, we should be endeavoring to be faithful, we should be endeavoring to learn how to teach and communicate to others.

Families do this, they try and impart the truth that God gave them down to their children. And we do this in church, we try and train men to teach other men, we try and train the ladies to teach the ladies, we try and develop this system of training. Right? Like Ephesians 4:12 says, “to equip the saints for the work of [the] ministry.” This is a clarion call to Timothy, not just to be a man who teaches himself, but also to give part of his life to training others. And that's why we train people here. And that's why we go over the lessons with the men and the women to help them develop their skills and refine how they speak about God's Word, so that it is honoring to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And to make this point, Paul gives Timothy many different examples to consider. It really is like the nature of Christian ministry; he explains it to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:4-7. And he says to be a soldier, and to be like an athlete, or a hard-working farmer.

You know, the farmer is the one who works hard, and he gets his share of the crops. And I remember growing up in Brunswick, Maryland, and one of my friends had a family farm, and they lived on a couple 100 acres, and they had cows everywhere. It was so fun to go and, you know, see these cows and to go see the little calves. Think of a barn that’s got like 100 stalls, and there's these little hungry calf heads sticking out looking for milk. And it was just fun to go and see this. And I'm trying to take all this in as a teenager. And I'm trying to think through what does it take to run this place? Right? With hundreds and hundreds of cows, with calves being born all the time. They've got to get milked twice a day; they filled up two milk trucks a day at this farm. That’s a lot of milk. That's a lot of milking. You can't just do that whenever you want. And I finally just asked the guy one day, I said, “Mr. Brandenburg, how much do you work?” And he just looked at me and he said, “No days off.” I said, “What about Christmas morning?” “We milk them before we open presents.” Oh, wow! That's a lot of work. “What about Thanksgiving?” “Before, in the morning, and in the afternoon, all of them.” Like, wow!

So, when Paul says a hard-working farmer, that's what he means, it's nonstop. You might have a day off on your calendar. But God doesn't take a day off. His enemies don't take a day off. And as his ambassadors, we don't take days off. “You need to work at it like this, Timothy, knowing that there is always work to be done.” And you do so with the faculties God has given you. And you do so for His glory. And we don't idolize being workaholics. I think we do that in our society. “Oh, he works 70 hours, what a great guy.” Probably doesn't even know his children, right? Yeah, we idolize that. But we need to work hard for our Lord. You say, “Dave, this is all great, but I'm not a pastor.” Well look in 2 Timothy 2:15, this is for you, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

You say, “Well, why do I need to rightly handle it?” Well, if anybody ever asks you, “Why are you a Christian?” You should respond with Scripture. And if you ever want to know, are you truly a Christian? You need to rightly handle the Word of truth because it is true and it does show who is and who isn't saved. So, we train people, and people do their best, like Timothy, to present themselves “as one approved…rightly handling the word of [God].” And I think you're starting to see here, the focus for Timothy: guard the truth, train others, have them handle it rightly. And you're starting to see the marching orders of why a church is not only a proclaiming church, but they're a training church. And the churches that just proclaim, and then do all these other things – without the training, and the teaching, and the discipleship – are missing a large portion of what God has mandated for the church.

And that's why we get kind of passé with the things of the church, “It's not really doing anything for me. I'm not really feeling it here. I'm not really energized when I get done. It's like the first time I've sat down for an hour and the guy just keeps on talking.” Right? “And it's coma inducing,” right? Yeah, well, if you're under 80, and its coma inducing, it's either the guy is a really horrible preacher (which is possible), or there's a lack of interest on the things of God, and the Word of God. And there needs to be this understanding that no matter where you're at, you can be made useful to the kingdom through the Word.

Look in 2 Timothy 2:21, Paul calls him to be an honorable vessel. “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” You can be considered a holy vessel before God. Did you ever think that was possible? I mean, we know ourselves. We know our thoughts. We know how we can even deceive ourselves. But he says here, “if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable.” In other words, are you going to allow God to work in and through you for his glory? Then if you are, and you're setting aside these things that are dishonorable, he can actually get you “ready for every good work.” And you and I thought we can only do one or two things for God. “For every good work.” Like working in the children's ministry. Some of you think, “I couldn't do it.” “Ready for every good work.” Right? Going to have tons of volunteers by the end of this message. Yes, everything.

And then in 2 Timothy 2:24, he gives the attitude, “And the Lord’s servant,” that's the word for “slave,” that's the word doulos in the Greek, that actually should say, “And the Lord’s slave must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.” Now, who couldn't use a little bit more of that in this day and age? “Patiently enduring evil.” To be “kind to everyone,” you must position yourself below them. Because if we think we're above someone, whether they agree with us or not, we're going to come across as the most arrogant person on earth. And if we kindly deliver the truth, do so in a patient way, right, patiently dealing with evil. If we kindly deliver the truth to those who disagree with us, then we will be well on our way to not being quarrelsome, with people who totally disagree. Right? And we know that we were one time the same way. Before Christ, we disagreed, lived our own way, thought our own thoughts. And someone graciously spoke the gospel to us. And God in his grace called us to live for him. And so, Timothy is called here, as he's guarding the truth, to train others, to be an approved worker and honorable vessel, and the Lord’s slave – being kind and patient with people. In all these things, you can see Paul is pointing Timothy to Christ and the Word. To Christ and the Word. “Timothy, that's your goal, that's where you need to head.”

The second part is what really gets preachers going. If you like to study and teach the Word of God, these next two chapters – specifically, the end of chapter three and chapter four – are like throwing gas on a fire. It is the greatest portion of the New Testament to people who love to preach and teach the Word of God. So, the second point for Timothy is to: “Preach the Word,” “Preach the Word.” So, the question arises, “What if people don't want to hear what I've got to say?” But that's the wrong question. The real question is, “What if people don't want to hear what God has to say?” If you're a preacher, just preaching your own opinions, you're just really delivering a show. And you've done a good job to get people to show up. But if you're a preacher delivering God's Word, then the real question is, “What if people don't want to hear what [God has] to say? Like, ‘Oh, here we go again, you’re just going to start telling us how unholy we are.’” Well, you can't use the word “holiness” unless you believe in God. “So, you're going to tell us how immoral…” No, you can't use the word immoral, unless you believe in a moral standard outside of yourself. Right? So, do they even want to hear God's Word? That is the question. And the answer is easy: “Preach anyway, Timothy!”

We already know people are going to reject the gospel, we already know people are going to go, “Oh, goodness, this poor misguided person.” But out of love, Paul gives this this gut wrenching list of people who are going to be the hearers of what Timothy is preaching. And he needs to know the truth of what people think out there. 2 Timothy 3:1-5, let me read this list to you. It is really, unparalleled.

“But understand this, that in the last days, there will come times of difficulty.” I mean, all of Rome just burned. They're already using Christians as candles. What in the world are you talking about? Like, duh, we know there are times of difficulty. Right? We see that. But here's what he means. He's talking about the mentality that people have. “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money…” Know anyone like that? “…proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable…” No matter what you say, they are not happy, “…slanderous, without self-control,” that one we've just accepted and completely changed our educational and work system, “brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit,” that is pride. I mean, we love pride, right? Pride month, June, Pride Month. I mean, we were in the hospital with one of our kids in June, and there while we're in the hospital, wondering what's going on with one of our children. We see this pride stuff on the screens rotating through in the hospital, that are paid with our taxes, like what are we doing here? They will be “swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” That just summarizes the whole picture. “Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” Now, why would he say they have the appearance of godliness, if this is what they're like? Because they're in the church. That's the stinger. And then he says, but they deny its power and “avoid such people.”

Just watched a little video the other day about a young man who went into a church and talked with the female pastor there and talked to her about the passages that talk about how that should just be men. And this was an affirming church, of any lifestyle, and she just flat out kind of laid her cards on the table and said, “Well, I would never tell anyone to change no matter what lifestyle they're living.” Like, as if, that was the higher ground. And while that may be accepted culturally today, to affirm anyone, that worldview isn't actually sustainable in any area of life.

“You've got a flat tire.” “How dare you tell me I have a flat tire!” I mean, even just driving your car, it's an unsustainable worldview that we should just tell people what they want to hear. Right? But we think that that is the kindest thing to do. Paul here is telling Timothy after he says, “patiently endure evil.” After he says, “be kind, be gentle, that you've been given a spirit of power, love, and self-control,” after he said those things. After he said, “you’ve been faithful.” Then he gives the list and says avoid such people who are in the church. Why? Because they, in other verses, spread like gangrene, and they take down the church. It's not that he's not supposed to give the gospel to those people, or to love them or ever to talk to them. But he's supposed to give them the truth, so that they can see what true godliness is. They already have the appearance of godliness, right? Brushed up on Sundays. But then living like the world, the rest of the week, thinking like the world all the time. With all these things, they have the appearance of godliness, but they deny the power.

There's no power to overcome their lifestyle. So, they give in as lovers of pleasure. And they say, “This must be what God wants. Oh, I believe in God, and I believe he wants what's best for me. But I get to define what's best.” Avoid such people. See, that can cause us to be a little fearful. How do you do that? Paul already dealt with fear in 2 Timothy 1:7, right? He already dealt with that. He didn't just start out with this. He dealt with fear first.

When a person considers this list, they might doubt their ability. Like, “I don't know God's Word like that.” I mean, even I'm thinking about this, it's one thing to study for a long time during the week and to preach on something that you’ve studied. But just off the cuff? Just to handle that kind of pressure? I mean, I doubt my ability to do that. Do you ever doubt your ability to rightly give the Word of God to other people? Well, Paul already dealt with that. He already dealt with our source of power, 2 Timothy 1:8. He already dealt with it: it's from God, it's not from you. It's God through you. You just need to be the honorable vessel; God will do the work. Oh, you need to work hard. You need to present yourself as a worker as one approved, but God will work through you. And God is capable of bringing about his plans.

Timothy was locked in though, he was locked in. 2 Timothy 3:10-12, shows just how much he was locked in. He followed Paul's teaching, Paul's conduct, his purpose, his faith, his patience, his love, his perseverance. He's doing all of these things and admonished at the same time. But even though God's men do great things, they are still just men. When God's women do great things, they are still just human. Like Peter who walked on water, have you ever walked on water? I mean, we look down at Peter, that guy had more faith than all of us combined. Like, “Oh, he's walking on water and silly Peter, he takes his eyes off of Jesus and starts to sink. I would have never done that.” No, you would have been in the boat still.

King David conquered armies but fled from his son. The mighty Elijah who called down fire from heaven, fled from one woman after that. There were 400 prophets of Baal wanting to kill him. And he's so confident, he calls down fire from heaven. And it licks up all of the sacrifice and all the water that is poured on all that. And then he's scared to death of one person after that. He's just a man. King David is just a human. Or Moses who split the Red Sea by the power of God but got so fed up with the grumbling of his people, that he took the glory of God for himself when he just struck a rock and gave water. He did these great things and then this little thing he fails. You've got to know life is like that. And you can't let it pound you to the ground. When you make a mistake, God's got a plan for that, it's called: ask for forgiveness. When you sin against God and when you fail, when you fall flat on your face, and you find yourself in a situation that just seems overwhelming and like there's no way out. Call to the Lord. Call to the Lord.

Any one of us, including myself, you're just a couple steps away from great fame and great things. And yet at the same time, a couple steps away from great pride and shame. So, what is it then that firms up a person for a lifetime? If you haven't guessed it yet, it's the Word of God. Look in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. This is what gives abundant joy. This is what makes a person firm in the Word. This is one of the most authoritative passages in all of the Scripture about the authority of God and his Word. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

This isn't just some book. I mean, we can look through the source criticism and find out who wrote what and when they wrote it. And look at extra biblical things, like the Sennacherib Stone, which you can go and see for yourself in the British Museum. And see the stories that pagans write about the conquered armies, are written about in the Bible, too. And you can see the historicity of the Bible come through in shining colors. But that's not what we trust in. We trust in the fact that God said this is his Word. And because it's his Word, it's profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

Why? And here's where you come in. I don't know if you caught it when I read it. But everyone just got called “the man of God.” You see that “Scripture is breathed out by God” [2 Timothy 3:16] is what's called a timeless principle. It's true for everyone, for all ages, that this is God's word. And so, it's not just profitable for Timothy, it’s profitable for anyone that wants to be a man or a woman of God. That they can be complete and equipped for every good work by Scripture. That is true for everyone, of all times. Those words that we started with, where just Timothy is called “the man of God” directly in Scripture, is now available to everyone. This is how a Christian can be approved as a worker. And this is where the power to stand firm comes from. When trials come, when life comes at you, when your own decisions catch up with you. This is where the “every good work,” the equipping comes from. It comes from the Word of God, but you must know the Scripture.

2 Timothy 3:15, Paul says that the Scriptures “are able to make you wise [unto] salvation.” They're life changing, they're transformative. It's not just a book that people give speeches out of. It actually changes people, and times, and cultures. It is the Scripture and all of it. The gospel is truly all the Word of God. You'll see in Timothy how he changes from saying “the Word of God” and using the phrase, “the gospel.” The gospel is not just how someone gets saved, it's the whole story of God's truth.

And then Paul, in 2 Timothy 4:1, lays down the greatest charge to preachers, I think, in all of Scripture. He says this, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” And dear friends, do you want the Word preached? Alright, there you go, you're still with me. Do you want the second half of verse two as well?

Praise God! Right? We need to humbly submit ourselves to his Word. Either God is God, or I am, those are the only two options in life. Either you are the god of your life, or God is. That's it. Easily seen by what we say, and what we do, and how we live. Right? We want to be able to put ourselves under the teaching and preaching of God's Word. “Preach” here is the word, “kerusso.” And I'm sorry for using the Greek word there but it's really important to pastors. Pastors who look at this word, they see this word; it's different than the word “teaching,” where he says, “with complete patience and teaching.” That's not just a synonym for preaching, it's a different word. And it means something totally different.

Preaching is the word, “herald” – to herald or proclaim, or let loose the Word of God. It's like letting the lion out of the cage. When you do that, you don't have to tell the lion what to do, it just does what it's designed to do. You just let it out and it does its work. That is what preaching is, it is a proclamation of the truth of God's Word. And that's what you should demand every single time you come before someone who is preaching. Jesus started “preaching” – same word “kerusso.” Matthew 4:17, it says, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” He was proclaiming the truth. He wasn't putting it up for “a conversation.” He wasn't putting it up for a discussion and “what it means to you,” and “well, that's just your interpretation.” That is what someone says, when they don't know hermeneutics, when they don't know how to study the Bible, they always just say, “Well, that's your interpretation.” Because they don't know that interpretation is not up to man. Scripture says interpretation is the very Word of God. The Word of God qualifies the Word of God. It can't have multiple meanings.

That's what the old church fathers got wrong. A lot of them used allegory to just make it mean whatever it needed to, to fit their common understanding of the day. But when he says “repent,” he means “turn.” And when he says, “for the kingdom of God is at hand,” it can be yours right now. Jesus didn't just preach anywhere. He preached from town to town, and he knew that was his directive from God. Mark 1:38, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also...” This is what Jesus did. And he preached in the synagogues, Luke 4:44. Whether he was in company that agreed or company that didn't, he let the truth out.

What did the 12 apostles do? Mark 3:14, he sent them out to preach, to preach. As we learned this morning, in Dustin's excellent lesson on church history during the Reformation, if you were in the early 1500s, and you were called to give a sermon, you were just called to preach maybe once a quarter. And everything was given in Latin, no one knew Latin. So, it was just like [Charlie Brown’s teacher], for however long they talk, you know: “wah, wah, wah.” Nobody was listening, nobody could understand, it was not going in deep. And you wouldn't even recognize their preaching. I mean that just flies in the face of what God told them to do. It's a smack to the face of God, when churches just get up and let somebody pontificate. They are saying, “God, we don't care what your Word actually says.”

Peter, summarized what they preach, you don't have to wonder what they preached. In Acts 10:42-43, he says this, “And he commanded us to preach,” this is Peter giving a testimony about what Jesus actually told them to say, “he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” That is what they preached. That is the Word of God. They preached Christ, they preached forgiveness, they preached repentance, they preached that Jesus will judge all mankind. They preached the message that the prophets gave, that the apostles gave, that the Lord Jesus gave: “that everyone who believes will be saved,” even you. It doesn't matter who you were 10 seconds ago. If you call on the name of Jesus, right now, you will be saved right now! For all of eternity, you will be his child, he will be your Father. Right now, you can be saved! Why would you not do that?

[Paul] didn't just say, “preach.” He gave this charge, he gave this command, with a deep charge and a bold witness. He says, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus.” I mean, that elevates what he's saying here: to preach the Word. It doesn't get any weightier than that. It's not just preaching with a bold charge, it’s that this preaching must shape us: shape our hearts, shape our minds, shape how we live. And we must want all of it, all of it.

And he calls him, chapter four, verse five. “Timothy, I've just laid it all out for you. I've given you your marching orders. I've talked to you about guarding the truth, I've talked to you about training others. I've talked to you about how people will respond. And I've told you, I adjure you, by the living God, to preach the Word. Timothy, I've told you exactly what you're supposed to do. Now, fulfill your ministry. That is awesome. That is awesome.

A long time ago, it seems like a long time ago, I sat with one of my mentors, Pastor MacArthur. And we had a church planting and training class, and it was a few weeks long. And it was just a class to develop leaders, to train leaders for developing churches, AKA church plants, or revitalizations. And I wanted to come out here and revitalize a church. And I had already been through seminary, grew up a pastor's kid. I've heard all the answers, seen hypocrisy – my own hypocrisy, everybody else's hypocrisy. I've seen people who were faithful, people who loved Christ, seen all those things. Seen people turn on each other. Seen kids leave the faith, come back to the faith, leave it again, come back to it again. You know, you've seen all those things, and I just go, “How are we going to revitalize this church, it’s on life support?” So, as we sat there, just six of us with Pastor John, he looks at us and he says, “Okay, what do you want to know?” And he just opens up the floor. And that's this guy, who at the time, had been preaching for about 43 years. Now, over 50 some years. What do you want to know? And we were all thinking there's going to be some kind of magical formula that only he knows. He's got to have something, you know, “the ace in the hole” that just, it wins every time. So, we listened intently, and we listened how he spent time with his family – in the midst of running a seminary, and a church of 5000 plus, and global ministry where he's on the radio 24/7, somewhere around the world 24/7, all the time. He's successfully navigated the tape ministry to the digital world, right?

And we just kept listening, and about a day and a half in, we're all kind of looking around at each other, and our questions are getting fewer and fewer, because his answers are getting more and more similar. And he says, “Men, it just comes down to this, you need to preach the Word.” “We got that. What else you got?” “No, that's it, that's it.” You don't need to add some sugar. That's the sweetest thing we got. You don't need to add anything. This is the best that we have to offer. Grace Bible Church, the best thing that our church has to offer you is just Jesus, himself, in his Word. That's it. And if that's not enough, we got nothing. But I can tell you, it is enough. Jesus is enough for us. And that's what Paul wanted for Timothy. That’s what Pastor John wanted for all the men he's trained and others. And that's what you should want: just to be men and women of the Word who love Christ. Let's pray.

Lord God, I pray that you would soften our hearts for you. That when our issues get poked, that we respond with humility. Lord, I pray that you would help us to be just men and women who love you, who desire the Word above all else because in that we find you.

Lord God, I pray that you would help every single person here today to be right with you before they leave. No matter if they've been saved and just hit the cruise control button decades ago, so concerned about other things. For those who are on fire, Lord, for you and have been for a long time, may they excel still more. For those who don't believe in you and don't live for you, I pray that you would change their hearts today, Lord. That they might see the beauty of Christ.

Now let's just take a moment right now, friends, and ask God to help us to get right with him.

Lord God, we pray that you would help us to be known as men and women of the Word, for your glory. In your precious, Holy Name. Amen.