We Have Some Warnings to Follow

2 Timothy 2Part 3

Paul’s letter to his “son” Timothy is literally bursting with lessons and challenges for all of us, especially those of us who are in ministry. In 2 Timothy 2, he covers a plethora of areas and I have simplified them into five themes. The themes overlap each other throughout and are general to the entire chapter rather than being based on verse sections. Here are the five themes:

Work to do

Word to give

Warning to follow

Ways to live

War to wage

Let’s examine the third one.

Paul challenges Timothy with some warnings to follow.

Verse 4: No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Verse 14, 16, 24: Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers – But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness – And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

Verse 22 Flee youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Paul warns Timothy about becoming entangled with incidentals that will hinder his calling. Our purpose should be to please our God and we should be willing at all costs to do so. We may not be able to pursue some of the “fun” and “normal” lifestyles of our peers because we are focussed on something and Someone bigger! Many young men (and older) become entangled with a lifestyle and a hobby and positions and prestige and any number of other things and that becomes their life and their identification. Paul is warning Timothy to be on guard so that it doesn’t happen to him.

Paul warns Timothy about becoming entangled with interruptions that are useless on the one hand and damaging on the other. One of the easiest things to do is to waste time “striving about words” and participating in “profane and vain babblings.” The phrase “striving about words” has the idea of disputing over trifles! Timothy is warned not to do it. The phrase “profane and vain babblings” is referring to things that are heathenish and wicked as well as things that are simply empty and fruitless. Paul is letting Timothy know that while he is to teach and to reprove and to exhort and to help people to understand and grow, he is to continually “stay above” fussing and quarreling and all of that sort of thing. A wise warning indeed!

Paul also warns Timothy about becoming entangled with impurities that will circumvent God’s plan for his life and his effectiveness in leading others. All of us need this warning continually. Flee youthful lusts. Run from the garbage that will damage and destroy us. “Youthful lusts” are not just referring to lusts that are primarily true in youth, but rather to lusts that are juvenile in nature. They are childish. They are without value. They are to be avoided at all costs and in their place we are to follow God’s plan of righteousness (which brings favor and blessing to our lives); and we are to follow faith, charity, and peace (which makes us more like Jesus than we have ever been). We are also to partner with others and to pray and serve the Lord together. Apparently it has never been God’s plan that we fight alone.

Those are some powerful warnings and my prayer is that God will help us to follow them. I don’t want to become entangled with incidentals and interruptions and impurities. I hope you don’t either.

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