Summary: HOW DO YOU "GUARD THE TRUTH"? PAUL GIVES TIMOTHY 3 METAPHORS TO DESCRIBE THE KIND OF EFFORT IT WOULD TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN EPHESUS
Soldiers, Athletes, and Farmers
Text: 2nd Timothy, Chapter 2:1-13
N 2nd Timothy 1:14, Paul tells Timothy to “guard the Truth”. The Truth is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote this letter to Timothy from a prison cell; and, he was going to be put to death in a very short time. And in this 2nd letter to Timothy, Paul is encouraging him to “remain strong” in the difficult times that are ahead of him and to “fulfill” his ministry.
Those who preached the Gospel had suffered persecution by the Jews for years and now Tome was beginning their savage attack on Christianity. The true character of all Christians was being tested as never before.
Some of these people were now looking for a “safe” place to hide—and some were changing the Truth to fit their own ideas. Yes, this was a very difficult world Paul, Timothy, and the brethren lived in during the writing of this 2nd letter to Timothy.
This was a world that was about to explode in violence—especially for the Nation of Israel and the City of Jerusalem. Within a short time, the Roman Legion would lay siege to the City of Jerusalem. The Romans would first starve them first and then attack—they would kill many people, burn the City of Jerusalem, and then destroy the Temple.
Yes, the world Paul, Timothy, and the brethren were living in at the time this 2nd letter was written was very violent—but it had other problems as well. It was a world of distorted values, misleading commitments, confused thinking, and dangerous misconceptions.
When we read about Timothy’s world, we know it was different; but, remarkably, it was also somewhat similar to the world we live in today. This world we live in today also has distorted values, misleading commitments, confused thinking, and dangerous misconceptions.
Guard the Truth.
In his letter, Paul tells Timothy to “guard the Truth” which has been entrusted to him.
How do you guard the Truth?
I know Timothy was told to do this; however, I think everyone who has received and obeyed the Gospel has been entrusted with the promise of life, and each one of us is to “guard the Truth”.
Paul told Timothy how to guard the Truth, and gave him (4) ways to achieve this goal. I wonder if the same (4) ways Paul gave Timothy to accomplish this then—during times of great hardship—may be the same (4) ways we can “guard the Truth” today.
At one time or another, most of us have had to ask ourselves this question: “How do you bring sanity into an insane world?”
In the 1st verse of Chapter 2, Paul says to Timothy, “…you be strong in the Grace that is Jesus Christ.” You see, Paul is telling Timothy to first of all to “…be strong…”. We always want to be surrounded by strong people, because it will help make us strong as well.
Paul is telling Timothy that, in the congregation in Ephesus, strength begins with him. This is not a strength that is not going to be found in yourself—it is a strength that God has provided you in Christ Jesus.
When we talk about strength that comes from Grace, those are not merely religious words—they are words of great practical value. Sometimes we chose things in this life to lean on and think they will be “reliable”. There is no stronger feeling than thinking that, physically, we can lean on something; but, when we put our weight on it, it gives way. We trusted it to support us—and we’re startled and unbelieving when it proves unreliable.