Last week we started in the book of 2 Timothy. Paul's life was driven by God's purpose: 2 Tm 1:9 "He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace." Paul lived out that purpose by serving, by suffering, and by spreading the faith (passing it on) and wrote this letter to encourage Timothy to do the same. As believers, we too are invited to a life of being part of God's purpose in this world by living out God's word in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In chapter 2, Paul encourages Timothy to have a drive and a passion for God's Word: 2 Tim 2:15 "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."
How does Paul instruct Timothy to handle the Word?
First, Paul tells Timothy to remember: 2 Tim 2:8, 14 "Remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead, descended from David...Keep reminding God's people of these things."
Paul is at the end of his life, he won't be around to remind Timothy much longer. So he wants to make sure that Timothy will remember what's important and keep reminding God's people of its importance.
What things are they to remember? 2 Tim 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel..."
What is the gospel? In Mark 1:14-15, we are told that "...Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 'The time has come,' he said. 'The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!'"
The kingdom of God is God restoring us to perfect relationships with Him, each other and creation for eternity. We enter into the kingdom through believing in our Savior Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and was raised to life.
Secondly, Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 to
a) "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved" - the idea here is of zealously pursing something to the very best of your ability so that you can pass the test. It is similar to the effort that students make to get the very best grade they can, even trying to get over a 4.0! Are we putting in that kind of energy towards our knowledge of the Word?
b) "...a worker who does not need to be ashamed" - a worker doesn't want to be ashamed by the lack of quality in their work. Paul states later in the passage in 2 Tim 2:19-22 that people should flee the evil desires of youth and pursue good so that they can be used by the Master for good work.
c) "...who correctly handles the word of truth." The truth is correctly handled when it is accompanied by right behavior, right belief and right attitude. Paul expands on this in 2 Tim 2:14, 23-26, when he instructs Timothy not to quarrel about words or get into foolish arguments but instead to be kind and patient with others when teaching them.
What is God's invitation to us this morning? How can we do our best to be a worker who handles the word of God with care?
1) We must pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us to understand and remember God's word.
2) We must read God's word! I pray that this may be a genuine desire to hear and connect with God.
3) We must ask for the Holy Spirit's help to live out and apply what we read.
May we truly handle God's word with care this week!