Summary: WE need to be diligent in our faith!
The Christian walk is not easy, it is not a stroll through the park, it is something that takes a lot of work on our part.
Paul tells us to be diligent. This means to take pains, to strive for something.
An approved worker diligently studies the Word and seeks to apply it to his own life. An ashamed worker wastes his time with other “religious duties” and has little or nothing to give his class or congregation. An approved worker does not waste his time arguing about “words to no profit” (2 Tim. 2:14) because he knows that such arguing only undermines God’s work (see 1 Tim. 6:4; Titus 3:9).
An approved workman will shun “godless chatter” (2 Tim. 2:16, NIV; and see 1 Tim. 6:20), because he knows it only leads to more ungodliness. I fear that some “sharing times” do more harm than good as well-meaning people exchange their “spiritual ignorance.”
An approved workman knows that false doctrine is dangerous, and he will oppose it. Paul compared it to gangrene (2 Tim. 2:17). Much as gangrene spreads, infects, and kills other tissue, so false doctrine spreads and infects the body of believers, the church. This infection must be exposed and removed. Only the “sound [healthy] doctrine” of the Word of God can keep a church healthy and growing.
These things take a lot of work, it will not just happen from being fed on Sunday morning.
Today, let us look at some areas in our lives that Paul says we are to be diligent!
TO ACCURATELY HANDLE THE TRUTH. 15
A. Accurately handling God’s word means that we have to know God’s word!
1. If you’ve ever been to Yellowstone National Park, you were probably given a piece of paper by a ranger at the park entrance. On it in big letters was the warning "Do Not Feed the Bears." You no sooner drive into the heart of the park, however, than you see people feeding the bears. When I first saw this I asked a ranger about it. "Sir," he answered, "you have only a small part of the picture." He described how the park service personnel in the fall and winter have to carry away the bodies of dead bears -- bears who have lost their ability to fend for food. That’s what’s happening to us.
2. Some years ago, respected Christian leader D. J. De Pree of Zeeland, Michigan, addressed the annual Gideon convention in Washington, D. C. In his message he pointed out that we must engage in ten important spiritual activities if we are to realize fully the revitalizing power of the Word.
We must read it (1 Tim. 4:13);
eat it -- that is, take it into our very being (Job 23:12; Jer. 15:16);
bathe in it for spiritual cleansing (John 15:3);
look into it as a mirror to see our true self (James 1:23-25);
meditate on it (Psalm 1:2; 1 Tim. 4:15);
memorize it (Deut. 11:18; Psalm 119:11);
study it (2 Tim. 2:15; Heb. 5:12-14);
teach it to others (Deut. 11:19; Col 3:16) ;
talk about it (Josh. 1:8);
and sow its seeds of truth in the field of the world (Matt. 13:3-9; Luke 8:11)
3. IT is amazing how little Christians who have spent many years in the Church and in Sunday School know so little about God’s word. If our income depended on knowing what a particular book says, we would know it. Your effectiveness in God’s kingdom will be hurt greatly by a lack of knowledge of God’s word.
4. John Huffman tells the classic story of the man who was in a difficult situation, and in desperation turns to the Bible. He didn’t know where to look, so he let the book flop open and he laid his finger on a verse, which said that Judas "went and hanged himself." After a moment’s thought, he decided to turn to a different verse for help; he repeated the process and read, "What thou doest, do quickly." Too many of us are "hunt and poke" Bible students, and it’s no wonder we have so little understanding of God’s Word for us. The Bible requires and deserves our serious attention and study.
5. Some basic tools will help greatly in your study. Every Christian home should have a Bible, a concordance and possible a bible dictionary, and they should be used!
B. We are to accurately handle the truth so that we can be an approved workman of God!
1. We are told to present ourselves to God, this means that we put ourselves at God’s disposal!
2. One who is approved is one who has been tried, tested and passed.
3. We do not want to stand before God ashamed because we could not use the Word of God.