Summary: 2 Timothy 2:1-7 gives instructions for effective ministry.
David and Louise Turpin currently sit in a California jail. They were sentenced to life in prison in February 2019.
The two of them had secretly kept their 13 children in captivity for years—possibly even decades.
Some of the children were so isolated from society that they barely knew what medicine or police were, upon being finally rescued from their false imprisonment after one teenager managed to escape and alert police in January 2018.
The children were not allowed to eat more than one meal per day, which led to malnourishment so bad that the eldest child—a 29-year-old woman—weighed a mere 82 pounds when she was rescued. Additionally, the Turpins did not let their children shower more than one time per year.
One routinely hears of children who are abused physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally. They are undernourished and mistreated in the most horrible ways.
Sadly, however, this is the condition of too many of God’s children today who are undernourished spiritually and, consequently, are underdeveloped, disoriented, confused, and immature in the things of the Lord. There are more popular preachers today than at any time in history, especially on TV. There are also many popular churches with massive crowds, but few disciples. There is lots of activity, but little spiritual fruit. There is much talk about being the best you can be, but little gospel transformation.
Why does this happen? Why are there so many spiritually weak churches? I agree with John MacArthur who states, “In the great majority of cases, weak churches are the result of weak leadership, especially weak pastoral leadership.” I think that in the majority of cases, pastors are not even aware of how much they are contributing to the spiritual malnourishment of their members. They are giving people what they want. They are providing people with excitement and emotion. But in the end, their people are malnourished. Why? Because pastors are not feeding them the life-giving word of God.
Paul was aware of spiritual malnourishment. He wrote to Timothy about how to oppose false teachers and promote biblical truth that would nourish the people of God. In today’s text, 2 Timothy 2:1-7, Paul gave Timothy instructions for effective ministry.
Let’s read 2 Timothy 2:1-7:
1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2 Timothy 2:1-7)
2 Timothy 2:1-7 gives instructions for effective ministry.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. An Effective Minister is Like a Teacher (2:1-2)
2. An Effective Minister is Like a Soldier (2:3-4)
3. An Effective Minister is Like an Athlete (2:5)
4. An Effective Minister is Like a Farmer (2:6)
I. An Effective Minister is Like a Teacher (2:1-2)
First, an effective minister is like a teacher.
Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:1, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Paul wanted Timothy to continue being strengthened by God’s grace that is given to all who are in Christ Jesus. Timothy came to know the saving grace of God through the ministry of his grandmother Lois, his mother Eunice, and Paul. But saving grace was just the beginning of God’s provision of grace. Grace was a continual source of power for Timothy to live a godly, Christian life. Here was Paul’s main admonition to Timothy in the first part of this letter to him.
Several years ago, I met with a person who had visited our church regularly for a couple of months. He insisted that the only kind of grace in the Bible was “saving” grace. That is not true, however. Saving grace is a grace that justifies. That is a one-time declaration. But there is empowering grace that sanctifies. That is ongoing enablement to live more and more like Jesus. That is what Paul wanted for Timothy: he wanted him to be “strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” The apostle John put it this way, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). James, the brother of Jesus, put it this way, “But he gives more grace” (James 4:6). God gives strengthening grace to believers. We are not only saved by grace but we are strengthened by God’s grace.