Summary: This world can be tough on Christians. Some cave in and live in powerless mediocrity, but Jesus didn’t die to build a church of wimps. Paul’s instruction to Timothy is timely for today’s trials!
Heavenly Help for Hard Times (Victorious Living in a Vicious World)
(flip a coin) Heads or tails? This happens at the beginning of many sporting events today. Flipping a coin to determine who would begin a game goes all the way back to the Greek Olympic games where they believed the gods determined which side of the coin would be up. Heads meant, “yes,” tails meant “no.” They used this method to determine what the god’s wanted. Today, we still use a coin toss and let someone call it, but we don’t see the hand of God in the outcome at all. We call it “chance.”
Today many believe in God, but live as if God is disconnected from life and daily choices. Some Christians pray as a duty, but with little expectation of any real results. In other words, we don’t see the hand of God in the outcome of our lives. Or if we do, it is categorized. For some people, God is involved in what we do at church, but he is not involved in other aspects of life such as my selection of entertainment, or clothing, or day to day activities outside of church. These people are very uncomfortable doing something at church that they think may not be acceptable to God, but as soon as church services are over and they leave, they do not sense his influence over many other aspects of their lives.
Brothers and sisters, this is a lot of what it means to have a form of godliness, but to deny its power. Those words are in our text today. They are found describing the kind of people that Paul warns Timothy to avoid. The Christian nearness to God doesn’t end at the doors of the church building. The truth of the gospel includes Jesus saying, “I will be with you always!” The Christian who takes this seriously, lives the rest of his or her life “in Christ.” We do what Paul told the Colossians: 3:1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
And how does this affect our lives in general on a day to day basis? Read on!
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
6 For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come,
7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him
11 --a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
14 And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
I said all that to set the foreground for our text today:
Chapter 3 of second Timothy forms two sections:
1-9 is about the challengers of the faith
10-17 is about facing those challenges with faithfulness and the Word of God.
John wrote, “this is the victory that overcomes the world… our faith!” 1 John 5:4
Paul wrote, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.” Rom 10:17
When the world rises up, the Word equips us to overcome it!