This “Application” column goes with the Bible Lesson for Oct. 25, 2020: You’re Next (2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:1-2; 3:10-17)
By David Faust
Someone said that a diploma doesn’t prove you got an education; it means you had the opportunity to get an education. It’s good to go to high school or college, but it’s better to actually learn something along the way.
I have diplomas on my office wall, but my ordination certificate hangs above the diplomas, because ministry means more to me than academic achievements. The witnesses who signed my ordination certificate stir fond memories. Their signatures are fading, but their influence never fades. Several of the signers, including my father, grandfather, and father-in-law, already have joined the great cloud of witnesses in Heaven. I picture them cheering me on when I write or preach. I would never want to disappoint them or let them down.
Imagine how Timothy must have felt when he remembered how the apostle Paul and a group of elders laid their hands on him (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6). Paul’s exhortations in 2 Timothy 3 contain timely advice for all of us.
“Continue in what you have learned” (2 Timothy 3:14). Stay grounded. Choose faithfulness over flashiness. Perseverance matters more than popularity. Don’t forsake valid principles you learned in the past because today’s trendsetters consider them unfashionable. Don’t embrace fads simply because they’re new.
“Continue in what you . . . have become convinced of” (v. 14). Convictions should override convenience. It’s not enough to parrot the teachings of respected parents, preachers, or professors. What do you yourself believe? What convictions will you never compromise?
“All Scripture is God-breathed” (v. 16). Do you hold Scripture in high regard? Do you recognize God’s voice and respect his authority? Once you understand God’s will, do you yield and obey?
“The Holy Scriptures . . . are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (v. 15). Do you stay focused on Christ and remember that salvation through faith in him is the central message of both the Old and New Testaments? Do you use Scripture to win arguments or to gain wisdom? To make points or to make disciples? To look smart or to love well?
“All Scripture . . . is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (v. 16). God gave us the Bible for practical use, not for mere theological speculation. Do you put the Word into action and help others apply it, too?
Why should Timothy continue as a faithful minister of the gospel? Paul told him, “because you know those from whom you learned it” (v. 14). Timothy had learned a lot from Paul and from other godly leaders, including his grandma and mom, Lois and Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5).
When you feel weary and you’re tempted to give up—when you wonder whether preaching the gospel is worth the aggravation—think about “those from whom you learned it.” Let their examples cheer you on. “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7).
And remember: Others look to you as their example, drawing strength from your teaching and your faithfulness. You are putting an imprint on them. In their hearts, your signature hangs on the wall, inspiring them to serve the Lord.
PERSONAL CHALLENGE: Who is your “Timothy”? What men or women are you intentionally developing as servant-leaders for Christ? What will you do this week to encourage them in their ministry and their walk with the Lord?