Pastor Ken Crow
2 Timothy 2 (King James Version)
2 Timothy 2
1Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
5And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
6The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
7Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
8Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
9Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
10Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
11It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
12If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
13If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
14Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
19Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
22Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Paul in his second letter to Timothy illustrates the real world of ministry perhaps with more clarity and accuracy than anywhere in the new testament outside of the words spoken by Jesus himself. He explicitly outlines the dangers and the opposition as well as the mission and cause of the man or woman of God.
What he is telling Timothy is exactly what we must realize and expect today as ministers.
As I reflect over my few years in the ministry I am amazed at the similarity of the conditions. Not only the condition of society, but also the condition of the religious world.
1. 3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Lets take a look at the prediction of Paul in 2Timothy chapter three regarding the hardness Timothy would face as a man of God.
2 Timothy 3 (King James Version)
2 Timothy 3
1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their's also was.
10But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
11Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2. Jesus also warned his disciples they would encounter hardness.
We in ourselves as much as we would like to cannot soften the hardened heart of another person. It takes an inner change in the life of that person. That change may be produced by tragedy or desperation. Very seldom is that change of heart brought on by what we call good circumstances. Lets look at what Jesus told his disciples.
Matthew 10:14-15 (King James Version)
14And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
15Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Mark 6:10-11 (King James Version)
10And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.
11And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Luke 9:4-6 (King James Version)
4And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.
5And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
6And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
Jesus ,no doubt was warning them that they would encounter hardness. And at the same time Jesus was letting them know that all they could do was proclaim his Word. It would be each individuals own responsibility to accept it.
Jesus did not want the disciples to get discouraged because of the hardness they would meet nor for them to wear themselves out trying to change that hardness.
Sometimes we just have to pray for people to change their heart.
Another instance of hardness occurred in the book of Acts.
Acts 13:50-52 (King James Version)
50But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.
51But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.
52And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.
3. Paul wanted Timothy to know the reality of the ministry.
Today many enter into the ministry expecting what they see on television.
And regrettably they measure the success of their ministry by these same standards.
Truth be told , while our ministry is unlimited by Jesus Christ very few people attain to the level of preaching every Sunday to thousands of people.
Most churches in the world are groups of under one hundred people.
While television ministry has done enormous good it has also created a picture of glamour and fame that when failed to be attained causes many to feel like a failure.
Jesus Christs ministry was personal.
Our ministry must be personal.
This year the world will dish out awards for everything from sports to acting to music.
Many in the gospel ranks have chosen to make the ministry a similar stage.
The bottom line is this.
If we follow the will of God.
If we preach the Word of God.
If we live the Word of God.
No matter if we minister to one or one thousand we are successful.
While I do believe that where the fire of God is and where Jesus is lifted up people will be drawn I also believe that quality is what God is looking for .
Remember, Paul and Jesus both said everyone would not like us.
Both told their followers to endure hardness.
God Bless and Amen