Posted by: missionventureministries | February 22, 2011

FOLLOW THOSE WHO ARE TRUE TO THE WORD OF GOD – 2 Timothy 3:10-12

“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all, the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

Paul exposed the false leaders and reminded Timothy that he (Paul) had been a faithful servant of God. It is important in these difficult days that we follow the right spiritual leaders.

What are their characteristics?

Their lives are open for all to see“You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life” (NIV) – 2 Timothy 3:10. Paul had nothing to hide. Like his Master, he could say, “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.” – John 18:20. To Agrippa Paul told “the Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem” – Acts 26:4. Timothy had lived and labored with Paul and knew the man well. Paul had not hidden behind extravagant claims or religious propaganda.

They teach true doctrine“My doctrine” or “my teaching” in Paul’s case meant the true faith, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter how appealing a preacher may be, if he does not preach the truth of God’s word, he does not deserve our support. On radio and TV today, we have a great deal of “pseudo-Christianity” which is a mixture of psychology, success motivation, and false teachers, with a little bit of Bible thrown in, to make it look religious. Beware, be cautious, and watch out!

They practice what they preach – Paul’s “manner or way of life” backed up his messages. He did not preach sacrifice and lived in luxury. He gave to others far more than he received from them. He stood up for the truth even when it meant losing friends and, in the end, losing his life. Paul was a servant, not a celebrity.

Their purpose is to Glorify God – There was never a question about Paul’s purpose in ministry: He wanted to do God’s will and finish the work God gave him to do “but none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God”- Acts 20:24.  In the letter to the Philippians he writes: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” – Philippians 1:21. Paul was a man of faith who trusted God to meet his needs. He was a man of long-suffering who endured persecution. He was a man of love who willingly gave himself to serve others.

The word perseverance at the end of 2 Timothy 3:10 means “endurance, the ability to stick with it when the going gets tough.”

They are willing to suffer“persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all, the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution”- 2 Timothy 3:11-12. Paul did not ask others to suffer for him, however, he suffered for others. The fact that he was persecuted from city to city was proof that he was living a godly life. Some people today have the idea that godliness means escaping persecution, when just the opposite is true.

The times are not going to get better, but we Christians can become better people, even in bad times. We must separate ourselves from that which is false, devote ourselves to that which is true, and continue in our study of the Word of God. Then God can equip us for ministry in these difficult days, and we will have the joy of seeing others come to the knowledge of the truth.

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