This morning my church family gathered together to worship and to celebrate the accomplishments of two wonderful graduates. We sang together, shared in Communion, prayed together and prayed over those two awesome kids. And even had a little time for me to do some teaching. I did my best to share a Word from the Lord that was focused on blessing our graduates. I invited everyone else to eavesdrop.
I had a couple of requests for my teaching notes – which I didn’t have. Truth is, I’m terrible for writing out notes. So instead I decided to jot down the bullet points and a couple of thoughts to go along with them.
Our text was out of 2 Timothy 3. Here it is:
10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.
14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
Here’s the points I tried to make this morning (with very limited success):
- Live hopeful, but fully aware. Paul promised Timothy, his young apprentice, that he should plan on facing some tough times and even some persecution (v12-13). Life is tough. That’s the G version of that truth. And while a Jesus follower has EVERY reason to remain hopeful, there’s no reason to live naively. Know ahead of time that it will get tough, but you will prevail.
- Guard your circle closely, but make sure you have a good one. Paul spoke plainly to Timothy that he would likely encounter imposters and deceivers. Everyone who’s been around for longer than a day has probably met some these folks. If not an imposter or deceiver, certainly a jerk. Make sure you don’t allow those people into your inner circle. That’s just asking for trouble. Instead, keep people around you who think and try to live as you are.
- Lean into your heritage. Some of us are blessed to be raised by parents who love the Lord. And some of us are blessed to have been raised in a community of believers. Don’t take that for granted. That heritage has prepared you well for what you’re going to encounter on your journey. When it’s time, lean into and on your heritage – just like Paul encouraged Timothy to do.
- Cling to Jesus. Cling to Jesus like you’re hanging off a cliff and just trying to hold on. Because some days you will be. People you let into your circle will disappoint you, even break your heart. Challenges in your career will come. Your faith will waver. And you’ll feel turned upside down. When that happens, just hold on tight and know that Jesus has gone ahead of you and still walks with you.
Well, I think that’s it. It’s always flattering to have someone interested enough in your teaching to ask for it again. So, thank you. Hopefully this will be a blessing.