Enduring in Ministry – Part Two (2 Tim 4:9-22)

We’ve come to our final day looking at 2 Timothy. Yesterday, we saw that our endurance in ministry shouldn’t be left up to other Christians. Because they’ll often let us down. They let Paul down, so why should we expect it to be any different with us?

But today, we look at the flip-side to this: how other Christians can often be a great support in ministry, helping us to endure.

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Enduring in Ministry – Part One (2 Tim 4:9-22)

The last part of Paul’s second letter to Timothy is what’s often called the personalia section of a letter. I like to call it “epistolary shrapnel.” It’s the bit you don’t want to have to preach on because most of it seems very specific to the first-century situation, there’s often little in the way of a unifying theme, and it’s full of foreign names you have to pronounce like you know what you’re doing. And that’s where we’re at today.

But take heart: I think there is a unifying theme. It’s just a bit of a depressing one, in one sense, in that it shows Paul being let down by his fellow Christians. But it also reminds us not to allow the behaviour of other people in our church or in our ministry team to determine how we minister, or how we evaluate our ministry, or whether in fact we endure in ministry.

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Ministry is Sacrifice (2 Tim 4:6-8)

Over the last two days we’ve seen Paul warn Timothy that if he fulfils his commission to be a faithful teacher, he’ll face opposition. He’ll need to endure. And so, at the end of this charge to Timothy, he reflects on his own life. His endurance. And the sacrifice that is Christian ministry.

Ministry is sacrifice

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.

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Faithful teaching – Part Four (2 Tim 4:3-5)

We ended last week with Paul’s charge to Timothy, encouraging him to follow Paul’s example in being a faithful teacher. As well as teaching by example, teaching confidence in the truth, and teaching behaviour (not just knowledge), we saw that faithful teachers continue teaching even when the teaching isn’t received well. We proclaim the message “in season and out of season” – but, we were reminded, with “great patience and careful instruction.”

Today, we see Paul telling Timothy why the season for God’s word may be unfavourable:

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Faithful Teaching – Part Two (2 Tim 3:15-17)

Yesterday, we looked at how to be a faithful teacher, from the example Paul passed down to Timothy. We saw that faithful teachers teach by example; and that faithful teachers teach confidence in the truth.

Teach to impact behaviour

Today, we see that faithful teachers teach to impact behaviour. To change the way people live. Just like our teaching is worthless if we ourselves don’t live it – it’s also worthless if our hearers don’t live it. We teach behaviour, not mere content. Let’s start by looking at verses 15-17:

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Faithful Teaching – Part One (2 Tim 3:10-15)

The next major section of 2 Timothy deals with faithful teaching. (After all, we’ve just spent the first half of the chapter talking about unfaithful teachers.) Here, Paul reMinds Timothy of his Model in teaching, so that Timothy can iMitate it. (See the introductory post if you’re wondering why the weird capital Ms.)

Teach by example

2 Timothy 3:10-13 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

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False teachers in 2 Timothy (2 Tim 3:1-9)

Today we reach a new chapter in 2 Timothy, chapter three. And the first half is a difficult text to find direct relevance for us. Because Paul is continuing his use of the false teachers as a negative example to avoid, launching into a scathing attack. Have a read of it:

Evil in the last days!

2 Timothy 3:1-6 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

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A trustworthy saying (2 Tim 2:11-13)

Last week, we looked at what Paul had to say about being loyal to God:

  • Work hard, like Paul did.
  • Be prepared to suffer for God – in big or small ways.
  • Avoid the rival loyalties that tempt us away from the truth.
  • And be obedient, so that God might use you in honourable service.

Big concepts aren’t they? Almost too big. Too hard to do. And it begs the question: what happens if we fail. What happens when we fail.

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Avoid rival loyalties (2 Tim 2:14-21)

This week, we’ve seen that the second chapter of 2 Timothy is all about loyalty. And we asked the question, what does it mean for us to be loyal to God?  Yesterday, Paul told us to work hard (but in a focused way) and be prepared to sufffer. Today, he gives us two more ways to be loyal.

Avoid rival loyalties (like the false teachers)

Being loyal to God will mean avoiding rival loyalties. We’ve already seen Paul’s positive example we’re to follow. But a little later on in chapter two (we’ve skipped a few verses – we’ll come back to them on Monday), he brings up a negative example: false teachers in Ephesus who were seducing people away from the true gospel. Encouraging people to be dis-loyal to God.

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