Summary: Looking at faithfulness as guarding the truth and looking after others
2 Tim 1:13-18 – What does Faithfulness Look Like?
There is a story about a boat that was wrecked during a dark stormy winter’s night. As the dawn came, many were seen out in the icy waters, holding on to anything that would prevent them from sinking. Now Ed and Will Spencer came to the scene and Ed was a good swimmer. He swam out and out again until he had rescued many, and was almost exhausted. But just then he saw another woman holding on to a piece of board and crying for help. They said, "Ed, you’d better not go, you’re too weak." But it didn’t stop him. He swam out into the icy waters once again and brought her to shore. Then he collapsed unconscious and was taken to the hospital with those that he had rescued. After several hours, he became conscious again and said to his brother Will, "How many were drowned?" Will replied, "I do not know." Then he said, "How many did I save?" Will replied enthusiastically, "Ed, you saved seventeen." But Ed looked down and asked, "Did I do my best?" He slipped into unconsciousness several more times that day and each time he awoke, he would ask the same question - "Did I do my best?"
Have you ever asked that question? Wondered whether you have done your best for God. Have you followed Him to the best of your ability. Have you been faithful to the best of your ability? What does being faithful involve anyway?
This morning, I want us to briefly open up our Bibles and look at a passage which gives us a few hints as to what being faithful is all about. I want to try to answer the question – What does faithfulness look like for us this morning? If you’ve got your bibles, open them up to 2 Tim 1:13-18. Paul is writing a letter to his apprentice – Timothy. The setting for his letter is that Paul is in a Roman prison. It is his last letter that we have and as he faces death, he writes to Timothy encouraging him to be a Faithful minister of Jesus Christ.
If you glance back over the preceding verses you can see that Paul speaks of Timothy’s faith with thanks (vs 5). He urges Timothy to live life in God’s power, love and self-discipline (vs 7). He encourages Timothy to not be ashamed of his faith (vs 8) but to testify faithfully what Christ has done for us. Why can we live in faith? Because of God’s grace – He sent his son who died for us, yet rose again, defeating death itself. That is why Paul says he himself is not ashamed of the gospel.
So let’s read what Paul goes onto tell Timothy about living out that faith without shame. And then let’s try to figure out what living a faithful life means for each of us.
Read 2 Tim 1: 13-18 & Pray
1) Faithful living is guarding the truth
There are 2 things in this passage which show us what faithful living looks like. The first thing in this passage that Paul says that a Faithful person or a person who is not ashamed of the gospel does is that they guard the truth that they have learned. Paul says that Timothy is to keep what you heard from me, as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. The word for pattern here is typically used of an outline sketch. It is an overview, a broad brush stroke painting which lacks the detail. Paul is saying, I have laid out before you the framework you have to follow. I have given you boundaries in which to stay. I have given you the bones. I have lived an example, now hold onto that as your example and go and apply it to your life situations. And apply it says Paul with faith and love. This is what faithful living is all about
There is no way that Paul could teach Timothy all there was to know about the Christian faith or about Christian belief which could be applied to any and every situation. That was just not possible. But what Paul did pass on, what the structure. It was sound teaching. It was the core facts, the central tenants which under girded every decision that Timothy would or could have to make. Paul was saying here, hold onto these as sound teaching. Guard them as something valuable that is entrusted to you. Don’t lose them. Don’t abuse them, but protect them and care for them. And what was the purpose of this guarding? It was to pass it on - accurately. Timothy, like Paul, was a minister of the gospel and he was charged in vs 8 to testify about our Lord.