Mickey D. Brackin
Senior Pastor, Mars Hill Baptist Church, Lawrenceburg
In today’s passage, II Timothy 2:14-26, Paul continues to address the problem of false teachers spreading false doctrine within the church at Ephesus. He begins in verse 14 with the words, “remind them of these things.”
In reference to “these things” Paul is no doubt calling attention to the preceding verses in II Timothy 2, but he is also addressing the entirety of his writings to Timothy concerning his handling of false teachers and false doctrine.
Paul instructs Timothy to be constant and consistent in his teaching of the truth. In order to be an approved workman (laborer of the gospel) he must correctly teach and apply the Word (vv. 14-15).
There were false teachers in Ephesus who were obviously harming and hindering the work of the church. They were causing distractions and disturbances with meaningless debates and arguments (v. 16). To combat such distractions, Timothy is charged with teaching and preaching the uncompromising truth.
Paul specifically mentioned two individuals — Hymenaeus and Philetus — who had strayed from the truth and were dangerously leading others away from the truth (vv. 17-18). The outcome for such as those who deviated from the truth could ultimately be destruction. Tony Merida states, “The result of false teaching is deadly. It leads people away from God.”
Although the church was experiencing problems caused by the false teachers, Timothy must understand and be assured by the truth that the “solid foundation of God stands.” The true church is a triumphant church. Found throughout Paul’s writings to Timothy is the immutable fact that Timothy must be unwavering in his commitment to preach and teach the truth.
Paul uses the imagery of a great house with its many household utensils to exhort young Timothy to a life and ministry of honor (vv. 20-21). Timothy must not allow his life to be contaminated by the unholy and dishonorable. For Timothy and for us, one must decide and make a conscious choice to be a vessel of honor.
For Timothy to honor God, he is instructed that there are things he must deliberately avoid, consciously flee from, and passionately pursue (vv. 22-23).
He must flee from and avoid those things that will dishonor God and sabotage his witness for Jesus Christ. He is challenged to pursue those things that are honorable and holy. Much can be told about a person by the things one consciously flees from and the things one passionately pursues.
Paul closes this section by offering instruction and guidance concerning the “servant of the Lord.”
Timothy as a servant leader must have a pure and loving heart even as he addresses difficult topics and difficult people. His heart must be humble because he has a correct understanding of God’s grace in his own life. This same grace extends to those that have fallen into Satan’s traps with the hope that they one day may be set free.