Summary: The roller coaster and the Christian life have a lot in common. Both have their ups and downs.
Get on the Roller Coaster
-Encouraging Words for New and Growing Christians-
The roller coaster and the Christian life have a lot in common. Both have their ups and downs.
I enjoy a good roller coaster ride. When our children were growing up I enjoyed riding on the “Blue Streak” at Cedar Point in Ohio: For me the faster and higher the roller coaster the better.
I checked the internet and found 159 web pages and 3,966 different roller coasters listed. I saw one that I would like to ride located at Six Flags, Jackson, N.J. It’s 456 feet high and goes from 0 to 128 in 3.5 seconds. The Kingda Ka is 151 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty. As of 2005 it is the tallest and the fastest.
I’m not as fanatical as the person who has the record in the Guinness World Records. He spent 9 days and nights riding a roller coaster.
The Apostle Paul understands the ups and downs of a person committed to following Jesus. Paul gives excellent counsel to young Timothy a new convert. In I Timothy and II Timothy Paul writes to Timothy as his spiritual father. Timothy probably came to faith at the age of 17 when Paul visited Lystra. Timothy’s mother and grandmother became followers of Jesus when Paul first visited Lystra and young Timothy became a Christ follower during Paul’s second visit (Acts 16:3). Timothy’s father was Greek and his mother was a Jew.
Paul realized his time on earth was coming to a close so he wanted to pass on basic truths to Timothy and the next generation. Paul’s instructions to Timothy are helpful to all of us to grow and become stronger in the Christian Faith.
We might summarize the instructions Paul gave Timothy in four areas:
1. Know God’s Word
2. Pray and Worship
3. Participate in Christian Fellowship
4. Witness to Others
As we follow Paul’s instructions our highs and lows will even out more and more as we walk with the Lord. (Flip Chart Illustration) Sin verses Struggle verses Surrender
I. Know God’s Word
Paul admonished Timothy to study and know God’s Word. “Study to show yourself approved to God, a worker that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV)
Your serious study of God’s Word will keep you from going off on tangents that do not align with God’s Word. Last Sunday at the close of our picnic a young man walked up to me – he had not been in the worship services – he walked in from the street. He asked me what translation of the Bible we use. I had an idea where he was coming from so I answered, “King James.” He said that’s a good answer. Then I added, “NIV, Living NT, Hebrew and Greek.” He said he was looking for a church that only used the KJV. I asked him what was wrong with the other translations. He said they fell short of the KJV. I told him that KJV was translated from Hebrew and Greek and if he wanted to have the best Bible he needed to read from the Hebrew and Greek Bibles.
His mind was set and he believed that only KJV was the true Bible. He went on his merry way.
Paul was concerned that Timothy knew the scriptures so he encouraged him to study the scriptures so he would be guided into truth. He told Timothy to be alert to false teachings and look out for people who don’t practice what they preach.
I Timothy 1:3b “…stay away from those who are teaching wrong doctrine.” One of the false teachings in the early church was “Gnosticism.” Gnosticism taught that Christ was divine but not human. The human body was evil so Jesus could not be associated with a human body. But, if Jesus was not God in human form then He was not tempted in every way as we are yet sinless. I John 4:2-3 teaches that the incarnation of Jesus – God became man – is the test of true teaching against false teachings. “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God. Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the anti-Christ, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”
God’s Word will stand up to all criticism and critique. God’s Word has an answer for every false teaching. Let me suggest ten myths and the scriptural answer. An insert is in the bulleting for your copy.
1. Jesus Christ is only a great moral teacher. Matthew. 13:34-35