Passage: 2 Timothy 3:10-17
Speaker: Mitch Kim
Series: Forming Love In A Culture Of Fear
Persevering By All Of Scripture
“I give up.” These words have a deafening finality to them. “In the face of conflict, I gave up on my marriage.” “In the face of doubts, I gave up on my faith.” “In the face of face of temptation, I gave into my sin.” Yet I heard a pastor recently admonish that one word can give these three words great hope: “almost.” “I almost gave up on my marriage, my faith, into my sin.” Life will bring us to the brink, and this past year has brought many of us to the brink. How do we find our “almost” when we want to give up? In 2 Timothy 3:10–17, we see that through suffering, we persevere by all of Scripture.
We should not be surprised by suffering since God grow us through suffering (2 Tim 3:10–13). Timothy had seen the “persecutions and sufferings that happened…at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra” (3:11). He was exiled from Antioch, threatened at Iconium, and was stoned at Lystra. Lystra was the place of his greatest suffering, yet it was also the hometown of his greatest disciple, Timothy; often the places of our greatest suffering become the birthplaces of our greatest disciples. Why? Because in suffering Timothy could see the depths of Paul’s conviction, what he called “my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness” (3:10). All of this character shone through to Timothy in these times of suffering. Similarly suffering has a beautiful way of exposing to us and those closest to us what is inside of us. And we should not be surprised by it, for “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (3:12). So how do we deal with suffering?
Through suffering, we persevere (2 Tim 3:14–15). In the face of this suffering that is to come, Timothy must “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed” (3:14). We do not know what challenges will come, but we know now the truths and promises that will sustain us through those challenges. We see those “from whom you learned it”, seeing how God’s Word has sustained them through their own challenges. And in the face of those challenges, we persevere because we hold to these truths. We cannot wait for adversity to force us to learn these truths; we must learn them in times of comfort to be sustained through times of adversity. For Timothy, he was “from childhood…acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (3:15). The key to perseverance is preparation. Heart without preparation leads to disappointment. A baseball player fired up to hit a home run without practicing will inevitably strike out. Yet preparation leads us to perseverance. How do we prepare to persevere?
Through suffering we persevere by all of Scriptures (2 Tim 3:16–17). Just as God’s breath brought dust to life (Gen 2:7), so the Scripture breathes life to empower us in our weariness (3:16). Also it is profitable for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (3:16–17). Scripture completes us and equips us for every good work, no matter the challenge that we face.
So what? God’s Word gives us power to persevere. God’s Word can change “I gave up” to “I almost gave up, but God…” May we persevere by the power of God’s Word.