Summary: Our calling as Christians is to live by the Word, we had better get back to it.
Get Back to the Word Part 2
Last week we visited 2 Timothy 3:15 “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ”. There we learned, what I call the “Trinity of Design”. That is the triple design of the Word of God; The Purpose of the Word, The Plan of the Word and Participation With the Word.
Today, we visit with this same passage again, for the Lord would still speak to us from it. We must refresh our memories by considering the societal and cultural context to which Paul, the human author of this book, writes. Let us read 2 Timothy 3:1-7.
There are indications within the passage of 2 Timothy 3 that suggest Paul was not merely speaking of the condition of the world outside the church. For, you see, he refers to a form of godliness by those who commit these heinous acts and those outside the church do not pretend to be godly. They do not hide their sins, they just go ahead and do it. Those who commit these heinous actions are likely those who profess to be Christians. Those who frequent the pews each Sabbath, those who sing in the choir, those who may participate in the varied activities of the church.
Write down 1 Timothy 4:1. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…” This is a text to preach on another time, but I referred to this text to convince you that the evil Paul spoke of in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 is being committed by members of the church. He says that “some will depart from the faith” meaning that they were once a part of the faith. He doesn’t mean that they left the church, their bodies are still in church, their names are still on the church roll, but in mind and heart they have stopped their forward progress in Christ and taken a detour off the main path to heaven. They now listen and take heed to more popular and favorable teaching. They want to hear positive sounding things all the time and nothing that points out sin.
That is why Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:3,4 “for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ear, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” So Paul’s admonition to young Timothy in times like these, is the same admonition I follow “preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim 4:2).
In the midst of a church slowly leaning toward apostasy, and denial of the truth, Paul points Timothy to the only secure and stable reality; the Word of God. While life is like shifting sand, Paul directs that young preacher, Timothy, to the unchangeable, unmovable Word of God. When people don’t want to hear sound teaching that cautions them to put away their sins, “preach the Word”. When people start leaving because they feel uncomfortable about what they are hearing, “preach the Word”.
When the other churches are all excited because the preacher is giving them a good show, “preach the Word”. Paul says, “the Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation…” It is not about what people want to hear, or even about leaving with a good feeling. It is about hearing a Word from the Lord that will get you off the wrong path and point you in the right direction. It is about hearing a Word from the Lord that will help you to make a decision that you have been delaying. It is about hearing a word from the Lord that will put you in right relationship with Him. Paul said to Timothy, it is all about “the Holy Scriptures…”
Now, why? Why is he so determined to keep Timothy preaching the Word, the whole Word and nothing but the Word? And for us, why is it so necessary for us to receive and practice the Word, the whole Word and nothing but the Word? I believe the answer is also in 2 Timothy 3:15. Five words. “…are able to make you…” In this message today I want to share with you three main ideas that come from these five words. My prayer is that our experience today will lead us to a fuller dependence upon the Word of God. Those three are: The Capability of the Word, The Creative Power of the Word, and Cooperative Union With the Word.