MS Week #49: Steadfastness Through Persecution

Brad Libolt speaking on 2 Timothy 3:12-17. He spoke about the Bible being our map of life. How we are going to go through both good and difficult times, and the thing that is going to help us through those times is the Bible.

Intro

  • I love fall because it’s hunting season. A couple years ago I went hunting by myself. After going out and attempting to shoot deer (and missing), I tried to find my way back to my truck and I couldn’t find it. I pressed the alarm button and nothing happened. I was starting to get a little scared, and it was getting very dark. I was not prepared to go hunting. You should look at a map before you go out hunting to find where you want to go and when you are out in the field, you should have a GPS so it will mark your truck’s location and will lead you right back to your truck when you are done. The map helps you prepare your route and it also helps you get back to where you need to be.
  • The bible is the map of life. You are going to go through both good and difficult times, and the thing that is going to help you through is God’s word.

12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 

  • Timothy has followed Paul’s teaching, his way of life, and followed his example of faith, love, and steadfastness. Timothy has encountered some great times but also very difficult times and persecution. All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. This is not a subcategory of Christians who take their faith seriously, this is all Christians, because we are truly Christian if we desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.
  • We should expect persecution, it is guaranteed to come. Imagine you join a football team but you say you don’t’ want to get hurt and or hit anyone. Getting hit in football is part of the game. It’s the same with Christianity. Persecution is part of the deal when you are living a Christian life.
    • Different forms and different ways, some more or less serious, but it will come. Persecution here may look like getting made fun of, jokes about you, people not wanting to be your friend. If you are being persecuted in school, you are doing something right, because your desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus is evident.
  • We will be persecuted because of the state that the world is in. While we desire to live godly lives, others will live ungodly lives. There are people in the world who are evil; who are imposters and false teachers.
  • The world is getting worse, and will continue to get worse until Jesus comes back. But when Jesus does come back, there will be no more persecution or pain or war.

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  

  • Paul tells Timothy to continue in what he has learned and believed based on two things: who he learned it from and the sacred writings.
  • A lot of us have been coming to church our whole lives, and we grew up reading the Bible, going to church. Timothy also was from a family of believers. Paul is challenging him to make his faith his own.
  • Timothy learned the faith from his mother, grandmother, and Paul. He could trust what these people taught him because of their character and the way their life evidenced their faith.
    • Who is this for you? Parents? Small group leader? Friend?
    • Who is modeling the faith to you in such a way that you can be confident it is true because of the way it has changed their life.
    • Who are you modeling the faith to, and are you modeling it in a way that gives people confidence in what they believe because they see how it has changed your life?
  • Timothy also could continue in what he believed because of the sacred writings.
  • The sacred writings would have been the Old Testament, and at a young age he would have been familiar with them. The Old Testament, doesn’t give him confidence to continue in what he believes because it is a list of good advice, it gives him confidence because it points to salvation in Jesus Christ. The is important because it is the Old Testament, making them wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Timothy was ready to accept the gospel and believed in it because it was laid out for him in the Old Testament. The Old Testament points us to Jesus.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  

  • Scripture is breathed out by God. What does this mean? Scripture was written by humans but God inspired those biblical authors to write what he wanted them to write. This didn’t happen through a trance, this happened through their own experience, from their own perspective. It is not just God’s own words, but it is profitable, it is useful. It is useful for both doctrine, what we believe, and practice, how we behave.It is useful for teaching and for reproof (correcting. It influences what we believe both in a positive way and negative way; it teaches us what to believe and also corrects us when we believe something in correct.
  • The behavioral piece is the same way: correction and training in righteousness. Scripture corrects our behavior when we are living wrongly, and it also trains us how to live rightly, to live godly lives. All this isn’t for nothing, it is so that the man and woman of God will be complete and ready for every good work. Scripture is what equips us for good works, and it is what helps us get through persecution. Paul began by warning of guaranteed persecution, but ends by offering encouragement through the usefulness of God’s inspired word. As you enter school and the persecution that is going to come, it is so important to be in the word of God and allowing yourself to be taught, trained, and corrected in both what you believe and how you behave so you can be equipped for good works and prepared to be steadfast through persecution and suffering. It is important to have something to help us go through the world and that is the Bible. Jesus already saved us from the worst possible thing: separation from God so he can also get us through any persecution that we might go through.

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