I taught this lesson on April 7 to the ladies class I go to. I hope it benefits you.
Read the entire book of 2 Timothy aloud.
The two parts of this book I will be focusing on are 1) the fact that this is the last letter of Paul's that we have and its insights and significance because of that. 2) The extreme importance of Scripture in a Christian life and a reminder to whom we belong.
This week I will focus on Scripture and sound teaching.
2 Timothy 3:16- 16All scripture is inspired by God and isb useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
I trust that God's hand has been working through the ages, through the first collecting of writings, through the different languages, through the various councils and leader decisions. God has protected and honored His words.
So our verse 3:16 tells us
1) It's good for teaching.
2) It's good for "reproof" or conviction. When you read the Word you should be convicted by it. That is the Holy Spirit working.
3) Good for correction- setting things right in your life.
4) It's good for instruction- becoming closer to God's will for your life.
Paul goes on to remind us that not all teachings will be sound, and not everything we hear on this earth will be truth. In fact I see that it is getting increasingly more difficult to find truth in this world. Despite the amazing variety of ways to get information and the millions of authors on our planet, I see more and more nonsense.
I call it nonsense--it's a fun word to use and it sums up the situation. I speak lightheartedly of some of the nonsense I allow into my life, but it really isn't funny at all. I am pretty careful with teachers who purport to be Christian. I think and compare with God's Word while they are teaching. Yet I allow a disturbing amount of time in my life where I turn my brain off altogether and I wonder if that isn't even more disturbing. For the sake of example I will tell you what I have been known to do in a day. I have been trying to remedy this and feel it is wrong.
1)Facebook games such as when a squirrel hands me a bubble and I use that bubble to pop other bubbles before the time runs out.
2) Kids books about camping
3) Website that makes fun of people
4) Reality show where people lose weight through finally thinking only about self.
Total in one day: 4 hours.
That sounds horrible to me. In this same day I probably did 1 hour of housework, 1 scattered hour of parenting, 30 minutes of Bible study, and a bunch of other "necessary" stuff. I say this because it scares me. None of these things are evil on their own or in tiny doses, but when I spend such an unbalanced time on them I believe Satan has too much influence in my life.
I am being lukewarm. I know I should be studying God's Word more and spending more time with my children but that takes work. That takes brainpower, and full attention. I'd much rather check out and pop the squirrel bubbles.
I'd rather skip the sound doctrine all together and heap teachers who scratch my itching ears. It's much easier that way.
Even though this is very hard for me to share I want to because I am scared for our culture. I am scared that we are letting our free time be wasted. We are taking all our time-saving devices and adding mindless games to our lives or conversely filling our time with "Very Important Things" that God might not actually think to be that important.
Fiddler on the Roof has a great song called "If I were a rich man".
The last verse pulls me in.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, seven hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.
Let me read this again.
2 Timothy 3-4:514But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is inspired by God and isb useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. 5As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
I want to be like this. I want to be thinking, preaching, and living God's Word. And if I am bringing trash into my life I will be spewing trash right back out.
20 In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. 21All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentionedb will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work.
I want to be a special utensil, don't you?
How can we counter this legacy of trash? How can we change it to a legacy of truth? How can we be different?
2 Timothy 3:14-15
14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
The only antidote against a world of apostasy is the Word of God.
Get it on audio. I have Johnny Cash reading the New Testament.
Read it out loud.
Take a course.
Post Scripture on Facebook.
If you do something with your spare time, analyze it! Does it make you want to read more of God's Word? Does it make you yearn for a closer connection to Him? If not, should you really be doing it?
I am sorry that I cannot say "I have it all figured out and you do ABC and then you too can be perfect and I never struggle so that's why you should listen to me."
Before I end, and read your charge to you, I would like to point out that this says preach the Word, not preach from the Word. Don't just take a couple verses and weave a sermon. Preach the Word.
Here is your charge:
4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.