Sermon Titled “Follow The Pattern” (2 Timothy 1:13-18) – Sunday 28th September, 2014
- 2 Timothy 1:13-14 13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
At the beginning of this series on 2 Timothy, members of Koza Baptist Church were encouraged to take the Fearless Faith Challenge. The challenge involves three specific tasks:
- Know your gifts and talents – visit kozabaptistchurch.org to download spiritual gifts assessment.
- Read 2 Timothy weekly – and memorize a new verse each week.
- Share your faith – invite someone to church, share a tract, share your faith story.
In committing to this task, there is a definite sense of complying with Paul’s request in verse 13, noted above – to keep the “pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.”
When Paul used the words “sound teaching,” he wanted the church to grasp just how solid and trustworthy the word of God is. He longed for all believers to fully comprehend that there is no truth other than God’s truth, and anything else is a lie.
In his book Words From Fire, Al Mohler claims that it is the mark of a Christian to be truthful. We live, he says, in “the culture of the lie.” He explains elsewhere, in this article, by referring to the following statement made by author Ralph Keyes:
- “…..most persons go through life actually expecting to be lied to, to be the recipients of dishonesty, and to be confronted with endless misrepresentations by advertisers, cultural leaders, and now even biographers. In a world of media invention and virtual reality, truth has become a distant category to many persons, especially in the academic elite.”
Mohler writes that post-modernists pose the idea that all truth is constructed; in other words, social groups construct their own truths to serve their own purposes. This is a problem for Christians however, because our faith cannot stand if we accept that the gospel is a socially constructed truth.
Read just a few more comments by Mohler; they further explain why Christians cannot surrender to contemporary views:
- “Christianity is meaningless apart from the gospel. The Christian narrative is the great meta-narrative of redemption…….We do not preach the gospel as one narrative among many true narratives, or as merely our narrative alongside the authentic narrative of others. We cannot retreat to claims that biblical truth is merely true for us. For Christians to surrender the claim that the gospel is universally true and objectively established is to surrender the center of our faith. Our claim is that the Bible is the Word of God for all, a conviction that is deeply offensive to the post-modern world.”
In summary, says Mohler, God’s people are like islands of truth in the midst of an ocean of lies. Such a statement seems bold and daring, and almost provocative in terms of offending those who do not believe in God, yet it is what it is, and Paul’s words above clearly command us to guard the truth of the gospel.
The difficulty for most Christians, is resisting the urge to sometimes let the truth slide a little, or to feign ignorance. In certain situations, where it’s obvious that being identified as a Christian will invite a certain level of discomfort or conflict, there is often a temptation to slip under the radar by simply conforming. There is a danger however in following this pattern, because any path that leads away from the truth can only lead to unholiness, and unholiness, the Bible tells us, leads to separation from Christ.
Hebrews 12:14 says, “make every effort to live at peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.“ And Romans 6:23 says that the “wages of sin is death,” meaning in this case, eternal banishment from the kingdom of heaven.
On the flip side, the wages of obedience is everlasting life with the Most High God, as well as the reward of spiritual gifts in the temporal world. One of the greatest gifts I believe Christians are blessed with, is the ability to experience peace in the face of death. If there is one thing that is universally terrifying for most people, it’s a fear of dying, but for Christians, that fear is removed.
Christians are also set free from some of the worldly aspirations that typically result in self-destruction (or destruction of others), depression, and false securities. Furthermore, Christians enjoy fellowship with one another, and find refuge in the intimate and supportive church and community networks that they are involved in.
It’s when we follow the pattern of sound teaching, given by the truth of God’s Word, that we are able to find the strength and ability to resist the lies that are daily fed to us. And as we embrace God’s truth over and over again, we start to see a new pattern forming – that is, the pattern of God’s work in our lives. THAT is what the Fearless Faith Challenge is all about, and why you should seriously consider taking it.