Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – November 20, 2016
Theme: A Call to Christian Commitment – 1 & 2 Timothy
Topic: Follow After Righteousness: Flee Youthful Lusts
Main Texts: 2 Timothy 2:1-26
Key Verse: 2 Timothy 2:15: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (NIV)
Last Sunday we discussed the topic “Faithful Heritage Through the Gospel: Sharing the Word”, based on 2 Timothy 1. We noted that the overall thrust of the chapter is the need to keep up our fervency of faith by reminding ourselves of, and holding on to fundamental truths of the gospel. Our key learning from the study include the following:
- When we come to know Christ, God deposits in us gifts to be used for His purposes. As worthy stewards, we have a responsibility to fan them into flame, putting them to the use God intended, and not allow time to obscure their reality.
- Holiness and suffering are fundamental truths of the gospel, and it is important that those who preach the gospel convey this truth to their hearers so that those who come to faith in Christ do so with realistic expectations. As we do so, we also point that Christ has made abundant provision to see us through.
- Every Christian should seek to identify with a gospel ministry, providing support and encouragement to those who have devoted their lives to the gospel, and ministering to their material needs to the extent that God has blessed us.
This Sunday, we continue in our study with the topic “Follow After Righteousness: Flee Youthful Lusts” – a meditation on 2 Timothy 2. Here, Paul addresses issues that can derail a Christian’s walk with God: Loss of focus from the gospel to irrelevancies, occupation with marginal doctrinal points to the detriment of the unity of the body of Christ, and the various lusts to which many young people fall victim. In the study, our key learning should include the following:
- The Christian must have absolute clarity on the essential gospel and hold on to it as non-negotiable, and must resist pressures from the world or the environment to water it down to make it more “acceptable”.
- The Holy Spirit ministers to Christians in various ways, and may give us different perspectives of the same issues. So long as such points are not fundamental to the core gospel, we must not allow the differences to cause divisions in the body of Christ.
- If we desire to be “vessels of honour” used by God to do exploits, we must purge ourselves of all that defile and be humble enough to admit that we are not always as great as we would like to think we are, or that those around us think we are!
Paul paints a picture of the committed Christian life as one fraught with continuous challenges. These come in various forms: (a) Tendency to dilute or adulterate the gospel message, for which he warns that the ministry of the word be committed only to “reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (v2); (b) Physical and emotional suffering in the course of preaching the gospel (vv3, 9,10); (c) Distractions by way of getting entangled in irrelevancies that dilute the Christian’s focus (v4), and (d)Temptations to try to cut corners by seeking to achieve God’s objectives through unapproved ways (v5). Over the centuries, these challenges have not changed, and will probably not change until Jesus comes again.
1. Give examples of practical manifestations of each of the challenges listed above in your current environment.
Many church denominations have sprung up over the centuries based on disagreements over a few words of Scripture. A Christian has what seems to him a special revelation of the meaning or application of a Bible verse – or even a few words in a verse – and deems it sufficient to be the basis of a new congregation. This phenomenon has been around since the early Church, and Paul, in verses 14-21 of our text, deemed it necessary to alert Timothy to the dangers. He warns of outright derailment of believers that could result, and even names examples of those who had been active promoters of divisive doctrines. He sums up what is really important: “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (v19). He points out that some of the doctrines being piled on the foundational doctrine of righteousness, faith, love and peace could amount to mere rubble in terms of building the kingdom of God.
2. (a) Give examples of scriptural issues on which true Christians may hold different views. (b) How can we ensure that the divergence of views does not lead to divisions in a local Church?
Many Christians desire to be used by God in great ways – being instrumental to revivals, ministering the gifts of the Holy Spirit, bringing succour to the despondent, and so on. Sometimes it seems to us like God has changed over time and that He no longer does those things. In the last few verses of our text (from v22), Paul makes the point that those who desire to be so used must present themselves as worthy vessels: shun evil desires that often consume young people, pursue faith, love and peace, avoid worthless arguments but handle oppositions gracefully, be kind to all, be not resentful. One of the challenges we face is that many of us who fall short in these areas don’t know it, and would even argue when someone draws our attention to our shortcomings. It takes a humble spirit to admit that we may not be as spiritual as we assume, or even as others around us think we are!
3. Give examples of “evil youthful desires” that could hinder a Christian’s realisation of his or her potential in God’s vineyard.
4. Give examples of our defences when confronted with what others see as our failures in the matter of (a) evil youthful desires, (b) worthless arguments, and (c) resentment. ______________________________________________________________________________
Prayer: Father, we seek Your grace to live as vessels of honour fit for Your use. Help us to face up to our situation as You see us, and to draw from Your grace to be the people You meant us to be, in Jesus’ name. Amen.