Passage: 2 Timothy 2:14-21

Speaker: Mitch Kim

Series: Forming Love In A Culture Of Fear

The Work Of Love

            Palm Sunday celebrates the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. When a King comes, he invites us to follow, even to a cross. The shape of love is not a cuddly heart but a painful cross, as we saw a few weeks ago. But what does cross-shaped love actually do for people? Paul is helping Timothy understand the work of love in 2 Timothy, and he stresses the importance of right teaching. In 2 Timothy 2:14–21, we see that such teaching in love paves a path to walk, avoiding babble so that we might be ready for every good work.

            First, love paves a path to walk (2 Tim 2:14–15). In Ephesus their quarrels about words did not lead to action and good (2:14), simply speculations disconnecting the power of heaven for the problems of earth rather than a stewardship bringing the power of heaven for the problems of earth (cf. 1 Tim 1:4). Yet Timothy must present himself to God as one approved, “rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). “Rightly handling” is, literally, cutting a straight path; just as an orthodontist sets crooked teeth straight, a spiritual leader cuts a straight path for people to walk. Love is not simply coddling people to indulge themselves and do what they want; love speaks God’s truth to pave a path to walk in the fullness of God’s purposes.

            Since loves paves a path, it is also avoiding babble (2 Tim 2:16–19). Irreverent babble is endless talk that fails to connect the power of Christ to the world. In this vein, some declared the resurrection had already happened, a teaching that went viral and led people into astray. How could people who have not even yet died physically declare that the resurrection already happened? Such a view is only possible by denying a future, bodily resurrection, thereby disconnecting the spiritual, heavenly power from our earthly, embodied living. While sounding spiritual it caused great damage. However we must identify and avoid such babble and build on God’s firm foundation, for “the Lord knows those who are his”(2 Tim 2:19).

            The purpose of proclaiming this truth is so that people might be ready for every good work (2 Tim 2:20–21). This false teaching disconnects the power of heaven for the work of earth, so that we cannot be used for God’s work. Yet as we cleanse ourselves, then we are a vessel, “set apart as holy…ready for every good work” (2 Tim 2:21). God’s work demands God’s power!

            So what? Palm Sunday is a celebration of our Savior come in power. Yet this power is expressed through the sacrifice of a cross. Our King invites us to follow and express this work of love. Such love paves a path to walk, avoiding error so that we might be ready for every good work.