Summary: Modern seminaries may be helpful, but the Lord’s seminary training is much different. Here Paul reviews the training Timothy received--and it is much different than what we often see today.
Purpose: To describe the ingredients that make up a successful servant of Christ.
Aim: I want the listener to accept the challenge to serve Christ without reservation.
INTRODUCTION: I am constantly amazed by the difference between the Bible’s formula for success in the Christian life and current popular teaching about how to be a successful Christian.
Recently I looked as some of the popular Christian books that are being sold today. I know that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but just listen to the titles that publishers know will sell: Happiness is A...Simple Steps to a Life of Joy; Happiness, God I want to be Happy; Secret Power to Winning, Happiness and a Cool Wardrobe; Life’s simple Guide to Happiness; The Fulfillment: Pursuing True Happiness; Secret’s of Happiness, 101 Ways to Happiness; Nourishing Body Mind and Soul; Success and Spirituality: 7 Steps to Financial and Spiritual Happiness; (and here is my personal favorite) One-Minute Wellness: The Natural Health & Happiness System That Never Fails. Do we ever find passages in the Bible that sound like these books?
God’s seminary training is much different from our modern idea of following Christ.
1:1-2:13 I. How Should a Christian React to Stress?
2:14-26 II. How Should a Christian Relate to Fellow Believers?
3:1-17 III. How Can a Christian Reside in a Hostile Culture?
Vs.1 A. See the big picture
1. Jesus may come at any time “in the last days”
2. Serving Christ is hard “difficult times will come”
Vs.2-4 B. Identify evil
Vs.5-9 C. Identify religious imposters
Vs.5 1. An imposter’s character
a. They love to look religious “form of godliness”
b. They ignore the Gospel “denied its power”
Vs.6-9 2. An imposter’s conduct
Vs.6 a. They target the vulnerable “captivate weak women”
Vs.7 b. They emphasize the novel “always learning”
Vs.8a c. They fight the truth “oppose the truth”
Vs.8b d. Their thinking is pointless “depraved mind”
Vs.8c e. They have no relationship with Christ “rejected”
Vs.9 f. Their hypocrisy will be exposed “their folly will be obvious”
Vs.10-13 D. Practice the spiritual disciplines
Paul is drawing a very sharp contrast between
the religious impostors and Timothy when he says, “Now, you...” Notice that Paul emphases this again in verse 14: “You, however...”
The word FOLLOWED literally means “follow alongside.” Paul’s seminary training was much more than just a classroom. Paul practiced his Christianity out where everyone could see it. Timothy learned by listening to Paul, but he also learned by watching Paul and serving the Lord with Paul.
✔ The world does not need sermons; it needs a message. You can go to seminary and learn how to preach sermons, but you will have to go to God to get messages. - Oswald J. Smith
Vs.10 1. Faithfully pursue godliness “followed my...”
Let’s look at Paul’s “Seven Steps to Success” in the Christian life.
a. Learn the Word “my teaching”
Acts 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching [First, then] and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (NAU)
The Word of God can save us: James 1:18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. (NAU)
The Word of God also changes us: Ephesians 5:26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (NAU)
1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, (NAU)
John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (NAU)
b. Live the Word “conduct”
The Bible changes us so that our conduct is different.
“I’d rather see a sermon that hear one any day,
I’d rather one should walk with me, than merely point the way.
And the best of al the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.”
✔ Don’t unsay with your life what you say with your tongue. - Richard Baxter
c. Know your goal “purpose”
What was Paul’s purpose in life?
Philippians 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (NAU)
Philippians 3:12 . . . I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. (NAU) What did Christ “grab” Paul to do? Acts 9:15-16 15 . . . he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (NAU)