Summary: Serving Christ requires sacrifice. What steps must we take in order to serve Christ effectively?
How to Deal With Opposition
Purpose: To describe the hard realities of sharing the Gospel.
Aim: I want the listener to renew (or start) a commitment to sacrifice in order to serve 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?
4:1-22 IV. How Can a Christian Remain Faithful to Christ?
Vs.1-5 A. Put First Things First
Vs.1 1. Believe the seriousness of the commands “solemnly charge you”
Vs.2 2. Know the importance of the Word “preach the word”
Vs.3-4 3. Accept the urgency of the commands “the time will come...they will not endure”
Vs.5 4. Learn how to carry out the commands “But you...”
Paul gives us another contrast here. After he talked about impostors in chapter 3 he turned to Timothy and said, “Now you . . . ” in verse 10 and then he said “You, however . . . ” in verse 14. Now he makes this contrast one last time and says, “But you . . .”
There needs to be a big difference between what is false and what is true, and between those who turn away from the Gospel and those who spread the Gospel.
Paul now gives Timothy four final instructions on how to remain faithful to Christ.
a. Be level headed “be sober”
BE SOBER means to be self-controlled. While many around us may rush to the things of this world and to false religious teaching, we must steadfastly stick to the clear teaching of Scripture.
“Getting a following, becoming well liked, being admired can be downright intoxicating. We need to have all of our faculties at full command lest we sell our souls for the pottage of being adored by folks with itching ears.” [Demarest, G. W., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1984). Vol. 32: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 32 : 1, 2 Thessalonians / 1, 2 Timothy / Titus. Formerly The Communicator’s Commentary. The Preacher’s Commentary series (294). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc.]
When other people are consumed with the new and the exciting, the sensational – be level headed. Don’t get carried away. Change slowly and thoughtfully. Keep first things first. For example, the best run church in the world is worthless if it isn’t built on prayer. The best sounding sermons in the world are worthless if they are true to God’s Word.
✔ Effective servants for Christ have a serious side to them. 1 Timothy 3:8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, (NAU) 1 Timothy 3:11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. (NAU)
b. Serve Christ when it’s hard “endure hardship”
This is the third time that Paul has given this word of advice. Look back at: 2 Timothy 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, (NAU)2 Timothy 2:3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (NAU)
Paul was working hard to prepare Timothy for what was ahead of him. 2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (NAU) 2 Timothy 3:1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. (NAU)
✔ While others around you cannot endure listening to the Gospel, made sure you endure the difficulties of giving out the Gospel.
This is one reason why Paul taught that proclaiming Christ was such serious business. 2 Timothy 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom (NAU) You could lose your freedom, and maybe even your life over it.
✔ G. Campbell Morgan said, “The world hates Christian people, that is, if it sees Christ in them.”
Paul understood that proclaiming the Gospel is a battle that must be fought. 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; (NAU)
Timothy needed to hear all of this. In the book of Hebrews, which Bible scholars believe was written shortly after the book of II Timothy, we learn that Timothy had been in prison. Hebrews 13:23 Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. (NAU)
The good news is that suffering for Christ proves that we belong to Him. Matthew 10:24-25 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25 “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! (NAU)