Summary: An encouragement to be faithful from the book of 2 Timothy
Encouragement to be Faithful
2 Timothy 2:1-6, 11-13
2 Timothy contains Paul’s parting words to his younger associate, Timothy. By “listening in”, we can gain wise and godly counsel that is as relevant to us today as it was to Timothy in the first century. This is a powerful manual for spiritual combat. It encourages us to be diligent and courageous to make the most of the opportunities that God has given us.
Who was Timothy?
OCCUPATION: Leader in the early church
BEST KNOWN FOR:
· his close relationship to Paul
· being a second-generation Christian*
· his leadership in the church despite his youth
* Father was a Greek, mother was a Jewish Christian
2:2 “Thou hast heard of me among many witnesses” Refers to Paul’s preaching and teaching, which Timothy had heard repeatedly on all three missionary journeys. Paul is saying here is that all the preaching and teaching that Timothy had heard could be used to “teach others also”. You could say it was a type of work experience for Timothy…in a way. Basically, this is Paul’s advice to a young teen.
2:3 – 6 Paul gives three examples for Timothy to follow: (1) a soldier who wants to please his commander; (2) an athlete who follows the rules of the game; and (3) a farmer who works hard.
(1) Paul often used military illustrations in his letters. This is not surprising since he lived in a military state and was in prison himself. He described as a “good soldier of Jesus Christ”
He endures hardship (v. 3). In our daily lives as Christian teens we have many trials and sometimes even get persecuted. What are some areas that we have to face these struggles? Work, School, Home?? But a dedicated Christian is in a battle that requires spiritual endurance. This implies that every Christian must expect some kind of ill treatment, just as every soldier does. It does not mean that just because you are a Christian you have it easy and you’ve got nothing to worry about.
He avoids worldly entanglements (v. 4). He is totally committed to his Commanding Officer, the One who enlists him. In our case, this is Jesus Christ. Such service of the soldier demands complete separation from worldly business, single, whole-hearted devotion to obeying and the fulfilment of one’s commanding officer. What are the different areas of our lives that are caught up in the world? Maybe it’s a video game, our friends, the music we listen to. All these things just act as stumbling blocks on our walk with Jesus Christ, just like the barbed wire the soldiers get caught up in, we too get caught up in these worldly things. What I am saying here is that we should set apart our focus on the things of this world, and totally commit ourselves to our commanding officer, Jesus Christ. (Romans 12:1-2)
He is focused (v. 3-4). In both these verses it says that we (Christian teens) will go through trials, but before we all lose hope, there is a great truth in all of this, and that is, if we put all our focus on Christ and not ourselves we can survive these things. SS “Himpossible” (Mat. 19:26)
(2) Paul sometimes used athletic illustrations in his writings – wrestling, boxing, running, and exercising. The Greeks and the Romans were enthusiastic about sports, and the Olympic and Isthmian games were important events to them. Same thing with us today. You can’t be a good basketballer without enough practice. And even before a game, you can’t go in cold, you need to do some stretching and warming up. Paul had already urged Timothy to exercise like an athlete (1 Tim. 4:7-8). Now Paul urged him to obey the rules. The winner was given a crown or a garland as his prize. Or today a trophy or gold medal. In the NBA, the team that wins the championship wants to hold the trophy, cut down the net, etc. But for the team to obtain the prize, they must’ve won it fairly. The team should’ve played fairly and not committed anything that would’ve hindered their chances in attaining their chief objective, which is, the trophy and earning the right to be called the champions. Paul was a winner because he had kept the rules laid down in the Word of God, and someday he would receive his reward from Jesus. Paul was saying to Timothy, “The important thing is that you obey the word of God, no matter what people may say. You are not running the race to please people or to get fame. You are running to please Jesus Christ.” There is one verse that comes to mind when I hear the words running the race and that is Heb. 12:1b-2. There is one main difference between the athlete used here and us. It is, that the athlete that wins, gains the crown or trophy, but every Christian who strives loyally in the contest will be crowned.