Read 2 Timothy 2
The Appeal Renewed
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
Dealing With False Teachers
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
Paul charges Timothy to be strengthened, not by his own might, but by “grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Grace isn’t normally associated with strength. It is more often likened to meekness and mercy. But Paul understands true strength is rooted in our relationship to Jesus Christ and given to us by His grace according to His will.
Paul’s second exhortation to Timothy is direct and then amplified by three analogies: Share in Christ’s suffering (v. 3). The idea of sharing in the sufferings of Christ is a defining characteristic of the Christian life. It’s one we must understand and accept but also delight in. When we suffer with Christ and for Him, we have the promise that He will also raise us to new life with Him (v. 11-12).
In his analogies, Paul references three types of people—a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer—to illustrate our need to be strengthened for the suffering that lies ahead. All three know strength is necessary and suffering is inevitable in their line of work.
The soldier must submit to his commander and avoid trivial matters. His job is to protect and defend in peace and in war. Likewise, the Christian must live in obedience to God’s call to make disciples of Jesus Christ in times of joy and suffering, always aiming to glorify God. The athlete must devote herself to training and not waver in her commitment as she longs for the crown of victory in competition. Likewise, the Christian must run the race with passionate pursuit of spiritual disciplines. Finally, the farmer rises early to work the land in hope of a great harvest. The Christian labors in the vineyard of God, planting seeds of the gospel wherever the Lord leads in hope of seeing the lost saved.
We must be a people strengthened by grace in Jesus Christ to suffer with Him for the sake of God’s glory and the joyful conversion of God’s elect. This glory and joy is the ultimate hope that drove the first century disciples, frontier missionaries, to spread Christianity across Europe and Asia. Like Timothy, the disciples, and the missionaries that came before us, we have a gospel call that requires strength from Christ and the acceptance of suffering that comes with our calling.
- How has the grace of Jesus Christ been a strength to you as you share the gospel with others?
- To which of the three analogies (soldier, athlete, or farmer) do you most relate, and why?
- Have you ever suffered for the sake of Jesus Christ? If so, how did it impact your life?
In your Life Group this week, read 2 Timothy 2, and share this devotional. Then talk about how incorporating discipline and obedience in your life can impact your Christian life and walk with Jesus.
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