"...But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.[a] 13 Follow the pattern of the sound[b] words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you."
2 Timothy 1:12-14
Paul is calling Timothy to the difficult task of leading the small church in Ephesus. Ephesus was a cosmopolitan city filled with polytheistic beliefs and the attendant, non-definable, relativistic approach to truth. In this context, Timothy was to live out the reality of the gospel and build up the disciples.
The difficult task today: “In the 1990s we were deconstructing literature; in the 21st century we are deconstructing marriage. In the 1990s we were constructing ideas; in the 21st century we are deconstructing human bodies. In the 1990s we had feminism; in the 21st Century we have transgenderism. In the 1990s, we were encouraged to embrace multiculturalism; in the 21st century we are warned about committing cultural appropriation. Pluralism has given way to identity politics. Relativism has given way to speech codes. Humanism has given way to transhumanism, the union of human beings and machines.” Gene Veith, Post Christian: A Guide To Contemporary Thought and Culture, p.17
“One of Winston Churchill’s greatest virtues was his ability to see the storm and then to summon the courage and conviction to go into the storm. That is the challenge faced by Christians in the United States today: To see the storm and to understand it, and then to demonstrate the courage to face the storm...We are now in the battle of ideas, and we will be in this battle until Jesus comes. But, the example of Churchill has haunted me since I was very young and first came to understand his place in history and his prophetic role. I do not want to miss the storm that is gathering, and there can be no doubt that we are facing a gathering storm.” Al Mohler, The Gathering Storm
Living With Convictional Courage
1. A confident entrusting of our life and message to the Father. (v.12b)
2. A glorious Day. Which is inevitably coming. (v.12b)
“God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.” Baptist Faith and Message 2000, X. Last Things
“As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin; and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity: so will He have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.” Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 33, Section 3
3. A priceless pattern: “Follow the pattern...that you have heard from me.” (v.13)
4. A freeing conviction that the message involves sound, life-giving, life-flourishing words. (v.13)
“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound[a] words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.” 1 Timothy 6:3-4a
“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:9
“8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones...17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.” Proverbs 3:8, 17-18
“The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture...We acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word...” Westminster Confession of Faith, Article I, Section 6
5. A fixed reference point, i.e. we are to speak and live in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (v.13b)
We must continually embrace right belief (orthodoxy) as we live with broken, gracious love and concern (orthopraxis). How we hold to and communicate the truth is as important as the content of our faith.
1. What are some aspects of the cultural “gathering storm”?
2. Why is it continuously imperative that we hold to and embrace the Scripture as the foundational document of our faith?
3. What does it mean to “live this day in light of that Day”? How do we bring this to fruition in our lives?
4. How can we live lives that are full of “the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” as we seek to tell others about Christ and impact our culture?