2 Timothy 3:10-13
The first church sponsored global engagement trip recorded in Scripture is in Acts 13.
Paul and Barnabas are sent out from Antioch of Syria and they travel to Antioch (of Pisidia), Iconium and Lystra.
At Lystra there is a family and a young man named Timothy (Acts 16:1-5).
Whether Paul’s ministry is first hand in Timothy’s entrance into the kingdom or first hand in equipping Timothy for the work of shepherding is not super clear, but we know that Paul considers Timothy his son in the faith.
Also at Lystra, Paul is stoned and left for dead (READ: Acts 14:19-23).
So, Timothy, is for sure a first hand witness of the cost of following Jesus and he is also a first hand witness that even being stoned and drug out of the city being left for dead is not a death sentence because, in fact, the Lord is the author of life and death and he can over-ride human foolishness to physically rescue any he wants to.
Paul knows this and Timothy also knows it first hand as a witness of Paul’s life.
In the passage today Paul draws on that personal mentoring as an encouragement to Timothy to replicate that mentoring and also on how to set his expectations regarding kingdom work.
He will state that explicitly in verse 14 when he tells him to “…continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed…”
One of the constant challenges of reading and being instructed by the Manual is that it simply will not affirm the lies of the world system that are constantly bombarding our thinking.
For example we are taught that success equals numeric and financial growth.
There is nothing innately wrong with numeric and financial growth. I want both.
However, they are not necessarily marks of blessing.
The scriptures remind us that we are in an epic battle of the ages in which our King is taking back enemy held territory.
The King gives to some more than they can imagine and they are to fight the urge to hoard and are to distribute it freely to the mission.
The King gives to some the honor of suffering in like manner of the King himself and gives them riches in faith and endurance to walk through what the King himself walked through.
The King gives to some a measure of both of these.
Success equals faithful obedience to invest and use what he has given us to multiply his rule as best we can until he returns to take account.
When we read passages like 2 Timothy 3:10-13 we have a tendency to ignore them because they can feel like downers if we have bought the lie or they can become hobby horses to curse those whose life does not contain Pauline level suffering and demand everybody become a sour puss for Jesus.
Our lens for viewing this text properly will, in its proper setting, to be a model of personal mentorship and a sober and real expectation of work in the kingdom.
We have to note that there is no command in our text today.
Our text for today is the introduction to the command that is coming in verses 14-17.
What we do see is the model for personal mentorship and having a sober and real expectation when executing the command he is about to give.
So, let’s get ourselves prepared to receive the command.
A Model of Personal Mentorship:
Who Are You Influencing and What Is the Influence? v. 10-11a
“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra – which persecutions I endured;”
- Who are your people? Are you in covenant membership and therefore
covenant life together with people who share the same spiritual DNA?
- Men: Who are your men? How are your men?
- What are you teaching your people?
- What is your conduct in front of your people?
- What is your created purpose and how are you living it out in front of your
- How do you live in faith in front of your people?
- Do you exercise Spirit filled patience to wait on the Lord for your people?
- Do you love your people?
- Are you steadfast? Can your people see your steadfastness?
- Do you suffer well when you suffer and are persecuted for the sake of the
- Do you people see you suffer well or do you hide it or are ashamed of it?
No doubt Timothy watched Paul’s stoning and him being drug out of the city and left for dead and he also saw the Lord raise him up.
Our living like this in front of and for each other is a grace from the Lord to each other. It accomplishes some amazing feats.
- It gives a model for living
- It gives a model for decision-making
- It gives a model for living on mission
- It gives a model for setting values
- It teaches how to love well
- It teaches how to hurt well
This kind of grace requires that we actually be together in covenant community!
- Are you in a RL group with people who you have signed to covenant with and are accountable to?
Sober and Real Expectations:
Misplaced expectations or unreal expectations have wrecked many people and many relationships.
Sober expectations are a steady ballast to a life that keeps us from wrecking ourselves in the storms that are sure to come.
The Lord did not leave us without clear expectations. It’s not a lack of clarity on the Lord’s part. It’s our failure to know the expectations he gave to us.
The Lord is faithful to his people v. 11b
“…yet from them all the Lord rescued me.”
Timothy has first-hand knowledge that the Lord can rescue from the most intense situations due to having witnessed Paul’s stoning and healing.
Timothy also has first-hand knowledge that the Lord may choose to rescue by releasing his servants from their broken physical existence by taking them to the intermediate state at the hands of evil people. He has this knowledge because Paul is about to tell him that he is being poured out like a drink offering and his departure time has come (4:6).
- Expect the Lord to rescue in every sense of the word.
- Rescue through deliverance from the circumstance.
- Rescue through allowing the circumstance to be what brings about
Listen the Lord Jesus set our expectations for us:
“Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.” (Luke 21:10-19)
- Do expect rescue in one sense or both. The Lord never leaves his people.
- Expect no eternal harm to be done to you. You are too valuable to Jesus
who purchased you by his blood.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:26-31)
Expect Opposition, But Not Whimsical and Non-Providential Opposition v. 12
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”
- Expect opposition from the enemy and the enemy’s agents.
- The Christian life is a war not a vacation.
- Persecution will come in light or dark providences but take heart that
they are, in fact, providences not whims of chance.
God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes. (Grudem)
We must expect persecution, but we must interpret that persecution through the lens of Scripture.
God Moves in a Mysterious Way
“God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
You fearful saints, fresh courage take: The clouds you so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace; Behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan his work in vain; God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain.” – William Cowper
William Cowper wrestled with deep and dark depression his whole life. One evening he hooked up his horse to his buggy and drove off into the London fog to drive into the Thames River to commit suicide and he got lost in the fog. He gave up and his horse found his way back to Cowper’s house. He determined the Lord had done that and he then penned the words to this hymn.
Expect Weeds to Keep Being Weeds v. 13
“…while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
Evil: in a moral / spiritual sense
Impostors: A conjurer, an enchanter. Plato mentions góēs in company with pharmakeús (5332) which word is akin to pharmacist or druggist, meaning an enchanter with drugs, and sophistḗs, a cunning cheat. In the NT, by implication góēs is a deceiver, an impostor (2 Tim. 3:13).
- Weeds can’t produce the fruit of wheat
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” (Matthew 12:33-35)
- Expect weeds to pop up in the fellowship
- Expect to have to love weeds and prevent their spread
Weeds are not wolves. Weeds are the work of Satan. There may be wheat who have been influenced by weeds and need to be rescued by love and patience. There may be weeds who are just weeds and Satan’s planting and have to be dealt with accordingly.
Expect to Worship
Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”
 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).