Summary: Paul warned Timothy to keep a close watch on his life and on THE TEACHING because "in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." Why is what we teach so critical to the salvation of ourselves and our listeners?
OPEN: Shortly after I got out of Bible College there was a popular church near Ft. Wayne that attracted thousands of attenders that was called “The Glory Barn” (the building looked like it had been a barn). I went to their worship a couple of times myself just to see what the attraction was, and I remember being disturbed by something - though I didn’t know quite what. Later, I was in a Bible Study in my hometown where a young husband and wife were attending. In the Study I shared something I had learned at college. At that point, the young wife objected that I was wrong. She said the preacher at the “Glory Barn” taught something entirely different. I replied “Well, I guess I could be wrong, and (of course) your preacher could be wrong too…” That offended her: “Oh no! He could never be wrong… he’s a prophet.”
He was a prophet? Where did she get that idea? Well, she got that idea from the “prophet”. He was the ultimate authority in that church… and people hung on his every word. What I learned later was that this prophet taught that if you had enough faith you didn’t have to go see a doctor… YOUR FAITH would heal you. In fact, if you went to a doctor that implied you didn’t have enough faith in God. It just so happened, that the young husband in that Bible Study (attending Glory Barn) had diabetes - and he was so convicted by the teachings of that “prophet” that he tried to go off his insulin several times. The last time he did that… the young man died.
In the NKJV of our passage this morning: Paul wrote Timothy: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
TAKE HEED! BE CAREFUL! KEEP A CLOSE WATCH. Take heed not only in how you live (because if you don’t live right… people could be led astray) but ALSO be careful about what you teach. Because Timothy; because Sunday School teacher; because Elder; because Bible Study leader; because Preacher YOUR salvation and the salvation of your hearers hangs on what you teach. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine!!!
For the past few weeks we’ve been dealing with “SCARY THINGS” (demons and death, etc) but perhaps the scariest thing for a Christian is the danger of accepting false teaching that can rob us of our Lives (as in the case of that young man with Diabetes); Or the blessings of God; Or our very salvation.
So, we want to take heed. We want to keep a close watch on what we are taught, and what we allow ourselves to buy into. IT’S IMPORTANT!
In Acts 17:11 God commended the Bereans because they “examined the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true.” God was impressed that the Bereans studied their BIBLE every day to be sure Paul was right. Why was God pleased by this? Well, if we don’t know our Bible we are at a disadvantage because the Bible is ALL that we know about God’s truth and God’s will. We don’t get that kind of insight anyplace else.
Paul wrote to Timothy “… from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15)
Then (in the next 2 verses) Paul goes on to say “All Scripture is breathed out by God (it’s NOT the work of men) and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God MAY BE COMPLETE, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) The Bible that you hold in your hands (or is on your cellphone) - that Bible can make you complete!!!! It’s ALL you need!
Hebrews 4:12 says “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” In other words - Scripture changes us. It penetrates to the very essence of our being.
That’s why we should strive to know more and more about God’s word. God tells us “Whatever was written in former days (Old Testament) was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4
Everything you and I need is right here in this book.
Now, you can read other books about the Bible, but be careful to ALWAYS read the Bible itself. Someone once said: “Never let good books take the place of the Bible. Drink from the Well, not from the streams that flow from the Well.” (Amy Carmichael) Let me repeat: everything you and I need is right here in this book. Accept NO SUBSTITUTES!!!