2 Timothy 2:14-26 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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A Workman Approved by God
Comments for Study 3

2 Timothy 2:14-26
Memory Verse: 15


I. Do Your Best (14-19)

>1. Who should Timothy keep reminding of Paul's teachings?

* 2 Timothy 2:14 "Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen."

* "Keep reminding them" -Timothy was to preach to the congregation at Ephesus. Paul was creative in presenting God's truths. Jesus is the master of creativity when it comes to explaining spiritual things with worldly things. The lyrics are the same, but the melody that delivers it may change.

* "of these things" -Jesus' physical resurrection as mentioned in the previous verses is an imperative to the gospel. The wording in 14-16 indicates that the heresy mentioned here is an early form of Gnosticism - the same as he dealt with in 1 Timothy and Titus, and John dealt with in his letters. Two leaders of this heresy, Hymenaeus and Philetus, denied the bodily resurrection and probably asserted that there is only a spiritual resurrection (similar to the error mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:12-19). Gnosticism interpreted the resurrection allegorically, not literally.

* "Warn them before God" -Jesus' followers are always conscience of his presence, especially when preaching and teacher.

* Timothy was a preacher and a teacher. He learned from Paul's practical and theoretical teaching. Timothy was assigned to be the head preacher at Ephesus. Timothy had become afraid and ashamed of not only his mentor Paul who was in prison but also his teaching (15).

Two men, Hymenaeus and Philetus were using Bible words and phrases in their teaching that the resurrection had already taken place (17, 14) They were propitiating that people who had died had risen from the dead; whether this was reincarnation as someone else or as themselves somewhere else on earth is not important.

Paul called it godless chatter to be avoided (16). Timothy was to present himself to God as one approved. He was to handle the word of God correctly.

Whenever I listen to a message, read something, or listen to someone on the radio or TV I pay attention to what they teach. Many false and deceiving information is taught these days. Without knowing the Word of God well and being inspired by the Holy Spirit I could easily be led to improper conclusions.

However, even though I may come to wrong conclusions I am comforted to know that the Lord knows me and I am his (19). I am to turn away from wickedness and its teaching.

>Why shouldn't they become involved in quarreling about words and in the prevailing controversies?

* "against quarreling about words" -As a writer using the right word is important to me... well at least it should be all the time. God's people need to stick to essentials. We don't need to argue about empty words or philosophies or our little differences. This does not mean that we don't pay attention to every word of the Father. It just means that there will be some differences in understanding and interpretation that will either be sorted out in heaven or really won't matter in heaven. We never back down on the fundamentals and we don't argue about the small differences of opinions on the non-essentials. Don't argue about the grey areas.

* "words" -Words of the Bible or phrases of the Bible. My Bible study comments highlight words and phrases as well as the main idea in them. I am not perfect and do make mistakes. You should always check everyone words out and at the same time don't fret when we don't agree on ever word or phrase.

* Quarreling happens when jealousy grows in a heart and when we see things from a viewpoint other than God's. Those who quarrel about little things are proud, thinking they are better and more wise, lack spiritual life, and do not walk before God.

* "no value" -It does not lead to salvation and does not build up the people of God. It is not the work of God he should be concerned about. Christian are to lead people to Jesus and build them up.

* "ruins those who listen" -The teacher and preachers argue while the congregation listen and all are ruined, no one is built up. When parents fight the children suffer the most.

>2. What must gospel workers present in a straightforward manner to ungodly people?

* 2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."

* "Do your best" -Paul mentions this three times in this letter. Here and in 4:9 and 21.

* No matter what we do for the Lord we should do our best.

* "the word of truth" -We are to present the word of God as found in the Bible throughout our whole life.

* "to present yourself to God" -God is the one we should be concerned with. God is the one who judges. God is the one who rewards. God is the one who corrects and disciplines. We are to present the word before God because some, many and even all we preach to might not accept.

>How should they be prepared for it and what do they have to do for that?

* "correctly handles" -We need to know and study the word of God. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to be called by God. We need to stay connected to him in prayer. We need to be taught by men and women of God who can themselves correctly handle the word. We need to know God's will for our life. All this takes effort on our part.

>Who is the workman approved by God?

* "as one approved" -God blesses our work when we see his fruit, the fruits of the Spirit in us and the fruit in other people who hear the gospel we preach and teach.

* The approved one is he who follows God's words. Jesus said, "If you love me you will obey my commands."

* We should not deviate from the word of God.

* Proverbs 3:6 is same as "straight" meaning "correctly".

>And the one who needs to be ashamed?

* "does not need to be ashamed" -The person who does not handle the word of God correctly. They do not repent. They destroy others and argue about words.

>When does the ultimate approval of God come to a good workman of God?

* When we die we will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ.

>3. Why should a workman of God avoid godless chatter?

* 2 Timothy 2:16 "Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly."

* "godless chatter" -Gossip is perhaps the worst godless chatter there is. Next would be bragging, followed by endless talking about sports and beauty secrets.

* "those who indulge in it" -They like arguing. They are addicted to it.

* "will become more and more ungodly" -God has nothing to do with arguing. He separates himself from this and all sin.

>Why is it so harmful to God's ministry?

* 2 Timothy 2:17 "Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus"

* "Their teaching" -it has an organization to it, of sorts.

* "gangrene" -Localized death and decomposition of body tissue, resulting from either obstructed circulation or bacterial infection.

* We are in the body of Christ. These people are in the body of Christ as well. No one could tell they are believing things that are not of God. In the church are "birds" that eat the seed. In the church is cancer that eats at the body, bringing death. In the church is gangrene that spreads death to other parts of the body.

* After these people say empty things people feel empty.

* It misdirects God's people while appearing to be right.

>Why do you think Paul singled out the names of the two men as bad examples? (1 Timothy 1:20)

* "Hymenaeus and Philetus"

* 1 Timothy 1:19b-20 "Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme."

* Paul, Timothy and many other Christians knew them.

* Distinguishing false teachings are sometimes hard to detect and needs direct pointing out.

>4. How can some people who confess the name of the Lord go astray and undermine even the survival of the Christian community?

* 2 Timothy 2:18 "who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some."

* "have wandered away from the truth" -Their going may not be deliberate. It might be slow and gradual. Sheep can wander away from the shepherd and end up in all kinds of trouble.

* "already taken place" -Paul deals with this problem in his letters. I've mentioned the "spiritual resurrection" that they preached above. Just a little while ago a man who owns a lot of radio stations predicted a date for the rapture three times. The third time he was wrong he fell back on the false teaching of a spiritual rapture. He at one time was well respected by many. Now in his old age as made himself out to be a man totally mislead. Why? He was to proud to admit he was wrong and repent. He had made himself his own authority. He believes he is so wise that he can't see the fool he has made himself and other believers out to be.

* Ask ourselves, "Do I do or teach something that will crush others and is against the gospel?"

>How can God's servants discern genuine Christians from false Christians and establish a solid foundation for the Church of God? (19, Ephesians 2:20-22)

* 2 Timothy 2:19 "Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."

* christians are to build with the teaching of the apostles and the prophets with Jesus christ as the sure foundation. In him the whole building is joined together.

* 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 states, "But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

* Jesus was physically raised from the dead. No one else so far has not been raised from the dead yet. We need to have faith that someday we and all the saints will be physically raised from the dead. Physical resurrection is our foundation. It gives hope and reason to live and endure hardships.

* How do we deal with it? Warn (14) and avoid (16). If there is something to be solved go to the secretly to them and be direct.

* If the good medicine of prayer and teaching are ineffective we need to cut off the gangrene skin and maybe even the whole part with it.

II. Pursue Righteousness, Peace and Love (20-26)

>5. How does the illustration of many articles in various quality in a large house give insight to the different quality among Christians in the Church?

* 2 Timothy 2:20 "In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble."

* "in a house" -The whole church, congregation, assembly of God is compared to a house. I've started to do that in a quote from Ephesus above.

* "gold and silver" -Good and desirable. Last and is strong.

* The Day of Atonement is described by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Cor. 3:11-15) What does gold, silver and costly stones represent? What will survive? Later in his first letter to the Corinthians Paul tells us, “And now these remain faith, hope and love.” (1 Cor. 13:13a) When Jesus' loved ones come before their King and Bridegroom his glory will burn away all that was not done with faith, hope, and love. All that will remain is what was done with faith in Jesus, hope in his kingdom, and love for him and others. This d,uay marks the day when Jesus will give rewards to his bride according to what they did during their first lives. (Rev. 22:12, 5:10, 4:2, 1:5-6, and 2 Cor. 5:10, and 1 Cor. 6:2, Dan. 7:22, 12:1-13, Luke 19:11-27, Matt. 25:14-30, Jam. 1:12, and 1 Pet. 5:4, etc.)

* The above is taken from the manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope That Inspires.

* "wood and clay" -Not desirable, weak and does not last. Jesus talked about cutting off branches that do not bear fruit and so that the fruit bearers will be even more fruitful. Jesus said, "If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. If your hand causes you to sin cut it off."

* "purpose" -All have a purpose in the church even those who have gone astray and are like gangrene.

* All those who believe in Jesus are the temple of God. The Spirit of God dwells in each believer. We are the house of God. The house of God is large (20). Many people are in it with different personalities, dispositions, and different degrees of faith, hope, and love.

God is in me and will never leave me. The Spirit will always be in me and all those who believe in Jesus. I have met all kinds of people who claim the same.

A wealthy person's house has objects of gold, silver, wood, and clay. When guests come over the expensive plates and utensils come out. When just the family is eating the inexpensive common plates and cups are used. So is the analogy in verse 20.

Those who have great faith, hope, and love in and for Jesus are highly praised by God. They are his special possessions. Those whose faith in God is weak, whose hope is in things other than God, whose love is divided between God and money are not honored by God (20).

Hymenaeus and Philetus were not honorable men in the congregation at Ephesus (17). Timothy would be wise to stop associating with dishonorable people like them (21). Doing so will stop the constant bickering over words (14). If I want to be praised by God and set apart for the master's use I am to be prepared in this way to do good things.

>How can one become an instrument for noble purposes, a workman useful to the master?

* 2 Timothy 2:21 "If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work."

* "cleanses himself from the latter" -Work is needed to do this. The harder the stain the more work it takes to get ride of it. This is talking about ourself, not about others. We are to cleanse the ignoble parts of ourself.

* "made holy" -Pursue Christ and his righteousness. Sanctification and consecration is needed. Sanctification is cleansing. Consecration is set apart.

>What makes Christians different in their spiritual quality?

* "instrument... useful to the Master" -We are for God's use not our own.

* Refine ourselves with prayer and the word of God.

* John 17:15-19 records Jesus praying, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified."

* "prepared" -After initial salvation by grace we need to be prepared to be used by God. How do we prepare? Prayer, study the word, and obey it.

>6. What is the spiritual defilement that even a workman of God is easily subject to?

* 2 Timothy 2:22 "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

* "Flee the evil desires of youth" -The sinful nature (evil desires source) was inherited when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. They were made "in the image of God" who is holy. They were perfect and desired his perfection. The sinful nature is the tendency to go away from holiness and perfection. When faced with a choice for holiness or imperfection we tend to desire imperfection. This is the sinful nature me must resist. The sinful nature permeates ever aspect of who we are; our heart and emotions, our thought, and our actions. If heard Bible teachers make statements like this, "Then this bad (evil) thought can into my head. Where did that come from? From the devil!" NO IT DIDN"T. Satan can not telepathically transmit into a Holy Spirit filled believer evil thoughts. This is spiritually impossible. So where does bad (evil) thoughts come from? They come from our sinful nature. The battle within is to resist these impulses through the power of the Holy Spirit. (1 Timothy 1:18, 6:12; and 2 Timothy 4:7)

* "pursue righteousness" -Holiness found in God.

* "righteousness, faith, love and peace" -We can pursue these. It's a choice.

* The end of the movie "Cast Away" had Tom Hank's character, Chuck Nolan, standing in the middle of a four-way intersection gazing into flat open land stretching a panoramic horizon. After years of being trapped on a small solitary island, Chuck now had the power to choose wherever he wanted to go; explore endless creation with Wilson, join the young attractive lady who stopped to express her interest in him, or settle down at the home he just delivered his last Fed-Ex package to. Chuck took in the moment of the freedom of choice given him.

Every moment I have the same freedom of choice. I can choose to pursue the evil desires of youth or flee them (22). Some evil desires are sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like (Gal. 5:19,20).

Or I can choose to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace while calling on the Lord out of a pure heart (22). Faith is expressed in believing in God's love when there is no evidence that he is expressing love. Love is expressed in willingly laying down selfish pursuits for someone else. Peace is obtained in actively maintaining a presence with Jesus, for he is the Prince of Peace.

Is it possible for a professing believer in Jesus to become captive to the trap of the devil (26)? Hymenaeus and Philetus were members of the Ephesus congregation (17,18) whom Timothy served as pastor. They wandered away from the truth and became trapped by the devil. Yes, a person who has the Spirit of God can wander from a close relationship with God and become trapped by the devil.

The choice is mine on how to respond to people like Hymenaeus and Philetus. Should I become trapped in the devil's trap and quarrel with them? Or should I be kind to everyone, able to lovingly teach without resentment?

>How should he deal with this problem?

* "along with those" -We do it with others. We back each other up. Ecclesiastes 4:12 states, "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

* "who call on the Lord" -Prayer

>How can a workman of God pursue spiritual qualities?

* "out of a pure heart" -No selfish motives. Stay away from sin.

>7. Why shouldn't God's servants be entangled with foolish arguments?

* 2 Timothy 2:23-24a "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel"

* A second time Paul tells Timothy to stay away from quarrels.

>Why is it so easy for one to be so?

* God's people want to teach the truth and help others.

* We want to do what is right. We believe we know what is right. If we are not careful pride will spring up.

>How should God's servants deal with those who oppose him?

* 2 Timothy 2:24b-26 "instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will."

* "must be kind to everyone" -Love, love, love. Don't let bad emotions take control of us.

* "able to teach... gently instruct" -don't quarrel, and avoid arguments. Keep calm, pray for them and the discussion you'll have. If they accept then good. If they reject then "turn them over to Satan."

* "not resentful" -Don't hold a grudge. Don't be envious.


* "in the hope that God" -Don't loose sight of the objective. God works in a man's heart. We can not change anyone.

* In hopes that they will repent.

* Pray that they will have an open mind and heart.

* "escape the trap of the devil" -The devil wants to sidetrack us.


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