I Timothy 4:1-5 & I Timothy 3
Pastor Steve based today’s sermon on 2 Timothy 4:1-5, where Paul instructs Timothy to preach the Word. The passage also contains a warning about the coming time when people will not endure sound teaching. To illustrate that, he mentioned the Nashville Statement, a document signed by dozens of evangelical pastors and leaders that affirm marriage is between a man and a woman. And, how it stirred up a storm of controversy on social media.
“In the church we spend time about persecution coming when there is persecution that is going on that would blow our minds,” Steve said. “Yet we are seeing a culture that is saying, ‘If you don’t agree with the culture, you’re in big trouble.’ We need to know why we believe what we believe. Today we have a ‘social Jesus’ who wouldn’t hate sin, but Jesus hates sin. The social Jesus never would have come up with the Nashville Statement.”
In Matthew 19, Jesus said people were made male and female and were to leave their parents and cleave to each other, but now that idea is considered radical. Steve warned if we don’t know why we believe what we believe, we will be torn apart by a culture that doesn’t like scriptural truth. This is why we need to know the Lord and who He is, and what He says. Our source of information can’t be feelings, but the objective reality of the Word.
An example of objective reality is the 55 MPH speed limit on Rt. 7 in Ohio. When he takes it to visit his parents in the Parkersburg area, if he tries to persuade a police officer he’s quite capable of driving 80, he will get a ticket because of the speed limit’s objective reality. The Bible is our “little white sign.” It’s what Martin Luther cited when he posted his “95 Theses” 500 years ago, saying, “This is the standard, not what somebody thinks it says.”
“We need to know what the Bible says about everything,” Steve said. “We can’t get (that knowledge) overnight. We need a daily relationship with His Word if we are going to show others the reality of Jesus Christ.”
Since this was the last letter Paul wrote, Steve said it contained a warning to Timothy to be ready because Jesus was coming. Every era in history has had problems with heresies in the church; Paul’s was dealing with Gnostics who taught you needed special knowledge to know God. Today the temptation is to be sucked into cultural relativism; if dealing with LGBT issues, there will be pressure to not be biblical.
He also talked about the parallels between Gnosticism and today’s hyper-grace teachers, who teach nothing you do in the body matters. These false teachers know the lingo and the right things to say, so we have to be careful to examine what anyone is saying. This means loving the Word and constantly reading and studying it to know what it says.
“If I don’t like reading the Bible the first thing I need to do is confess it,” Steve said. “Say to the Lord, ‘Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Help.’ Don’t wait for some Sleepless in Seattle emotions to hit us before we start reading the Word. Get a Bible reading plan and read through the Bible. . . . Reading with the expectation that the God who wrote it will talk to you.”