(Audio Transcription Below)
One month has already passed us by. Instead of 10 months, you now have nine months to train for the 2024 Summer Olympics. You are all going to watch at some point: track and field, basketball, rowing, swimming. Right now, the athletes who plan to compete in those games are on a training schedule which will land them in the best shape of their lives so they can compete for a gold medal.
Challenge Yourself: What two or three events do you want to be in peak shape for? Spiritual, relational, financial, physical shape?
Accountability: Write it down and share it with someone. Share it with me if you like and I will check in and see your progress.
Core Training: Think of the book Run to Win as our training guide for the year. Seventeen core exercises to keep yourself, your soul, in shape so you might run to win.
Twenty one years ago there was an epic rant by basketball player Allen Iverson at a news conference where he was questioned about his commitment to the team due to his lack of practice. This now legendary speech was used in the popular show Ted Lasso.
In order to compete at any level successfully, it takes knowledge and practice. Run to Win states it this way: Doctrine & Devotion. Think of doctrine and devotion as the sit-up. Doctrine, what you believe and Devotion, practicing what you believe, is the sit-up for being a disciple of Jesus.
What I want to do this morning is to hear the voice of the Apostle Paul exhorting his apprentice, Timothy, towards doctrine and devotion. II Timothy are Paul’s final words before he was beheaded. In the letter, you get a sense of Paul’s passion and urgency toward Timothy.
The Importance of Doctrine and Devotion: II Timothy 2 and 3
II Timothy 1:14 says “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” A deposit has been made into Timothy, by his family and Paul. Paul knows he is about to exit the stage. The time of his departure has come, the boat is being untied and leaving the dock. Now, it’s Timothy’s turn to take over and leave a legacy. It’s Timothy’s turn to pass on the good deposit. II Timothy 2:2 says, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Timothy is now responsible for making a deposit into other people’s lives. One way he makes a deposit is to remind (II Timothy 2:14) them, to put it in their minds, to try to make sure they understand the gospel.
I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. II Peter 1:12-15
Fathers…bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
You are leaving a legacy, whether you’re a father, a coach, a teacher, or the owner of a business. In order to leave a legacy, you have to know the stuff. You are leaving a deposit, make it an eternal one! Know your doctrine and deposit your doctrine into the mind of the next generation.
You must practice your doctrine in front of others. In II Timothy 2: 3-6, Paul provides a power point full of images to help you understand your role – a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. What do these three have in common? Each must have the discipline to say “No” in order to accomplish their goal. The soldier says “No” to civilian pursuits. The athlete says “No” to another set of rules, he stays within the boundaries God has established. The hard working farmer gets up early and works long hours before he sees a harvest, he says “No” to immediate satisfaction.
One more image in II Timothy 2:21 is that of an honorable vessel. To become an honorable vessel, you must cleanse yourself -PRACTICE! Paul lays down this tremendous challenge to Timothy: “Be a vessel for honorable use, be useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
You’ve probably heard the question, “What would you want written on your tombstone?” What could be better than this:
- Useful to the Master – he got stuff done that God wanted done!
- Ready for anything – he was prepared to play any position. God could look down the bench at his players and consider you his Go To person!
I’d like that to be written about me! Then I ask myself, how? How can I be useful to the Master? How can I be prepared to play any position? The answer is found in II Timothy 2:22-23.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.
- Flee – say No. Pick the one thing you can’t get away from and do whatever it takes to be done with that.
- Pursue – Don’t just run away from something, aim for something.
- Along with – Flee and pursue alongside those who call on the name of the Lord.
As one writer put it, “What are you running from, What are you running toward, and who are you running with?”
This is probably the mantra of every parent of a teenager. They keep saying this because you can sketch out someone’s life by examining these three patterns.
II Timothy 3:1-15. In 3:1 Paul tells Timothy, “Understand this, there are going to be difficult days ahead!” You are living in a world where storms will exert tremendous pressures on you that will try to knock you off your feet. I want you to be left standing.
- In verses 2-7, Paul gives a description of the conditions Timothy will face.
- In verse 12, Paul gives this sobering analysis, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
- In verse 13, Paul gives a description of the people who are attempting to drive you away. They are “imposters”. They may look impressive or have charisma, but they are imposters.
- In verse 14, “But as for you, remain in what you have learned.” What is Timothy to remain in? Where is Paul encouraging Timothy to stand? How is Timothy going to be different?
- In verse 15, “from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation.” The sacred writings, the doctrine – the word of God. How did the first great deception begin in Genesis 3? By questioning God’s word. How did Jesus fight temptation? By memorizing and quoting God’s word.
- Legacy: Who do you thank God for, for leaving a “good deposit” in your life? Who are the most important people you are making a spiritual deposit into right now.
- Leadership: The soldier, the athlete, the hard-working farmer – What stands out about these images? Where in your life now do you need to say “No”?
- Your usefulness for the Kingdom is measured by:
- What are you running from…(flee)
- What are you running to…(pursue)
- Who are you running with…(along with)
- Literature: Paul warns Timothy that the world is full of imposters, people and messages trying to knock you off your feet in following Jesus. What people or messages are you an easy target for? Do you have a “chair” routine which keeps you grounded?
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