Sermon – 4. New Guide (2 Timothy 3:1 – 3:17) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Sermon 4 of 5

4. New Guide

Nathan White, 2 Timothy 3:1 - 3:17, 5 August 2018

2 Timothy 3:1 - 3:17

3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Thank you very much. And as as I said, it's brilliant to to be with you here. Our church feels very loved by you. I remember when I was here a little while ago, Tom was asking for some prayer points, and it's great to know that you, as a church pray for us. And I always look upon this church and see the work you're doing, and it's very, very encouraging.

And tonight, we're gonna be looking, at god's word and would you be looking specifically at this idea of a new guide? And, I was actually in the Philippines very, very recently. And we rented motorbikes. My mother wasn't very pleased that we'd done that. I actually hadn't driven a motorbike before in my life, but we won't go into that.

And during, 1 of the rides we got to, we had 2 different options, 2 different roads. We essentially came to a crossroads. Now, 1 of the roads on the map looked like it was a coastal road, which obviously had got us quite excited. We wanted to go along the coast The other road was the road that we'd already come on. So we knew what it was like.

It wasn't that impressive. And both of them would take about 5 hours for us to, ride down. Now, as we got to this crossroads, the road that we wanted to take didn't look great at all. In fact, it looked very dangerous. It was pretty rocky.

It looked very, very uneven. So we thought best person to ask, ask a local. So we went up to 1 of the locals, and we asked him How long is the road bad for? 15 minutes was his reply? Well, 2 hours later, as a tropical storm had begun, we quickly realized that our guide wasn't to be believed.

Actually, it took 13 hours for us to get to our destination. In that time, I nearly ran out petrol, because we were in the complete middle of nowhere. 1 of my friends came off his bike, I was on a bridge that nearly collapsed and we came across a flooded road. So you can imagine how I felt about my guide at that point. And if we could have gone back, I sure would have made a very, very different our decision.

But the guides that we have in life are very important. Aren't they? Everyone in life actually lives by some kind of guide. Whether you think that or not, we actually make our decisions based on something. The actions that we take, there's always something behind them that is motivating us to make those choices.

And this current series has looked at the different things as we become Christians that are new to us. So I've been listening, to Dean, to to Tilly, and so Rory speak about these new things that we get when we become a Christian. And what we're gonna be looking at tonight is a dramatic change that takes place in the Christian's life. And that is basically that they get a new guide. A new way of living.

And if you're a Christian here tonight, I think the particular challenge of a passage like this is that we've come across these verses so many times. And the challenge for us is that we are living as if the Bible is our new guide. It is the way that we should be living day to day. But actually, in reality, if you're anything like me, so often that isn't the case. So what my prayer is tonight is that actually through going, in this passage, we will be, struck anew by how wonderful this new guide is.

But if you're not a Christian here tonight, then you might be wondering, well, what does it matter what my guide in life is? Well, whatever your guide in life is, every single human being will have the same destination. That destination is death. Seems a little bit of a morbid thing to say on a summer, a sunny, sunny. That's in between sunny and summer.

We're going with a summer afternoon. It seems a weird thing to speak about quite morbid, but actually that is the destination that all of us are going to. And the wonder we'll see from this new guy tonight is that it gives us hope in the face of that. So we're gonna see 3 points tonight and the first point is the guide of the world is godly is godless. Less.

The second is the new guide for the Christian is scripture, and the third is the new guide equips us for good work. So first of all, the guide of the world is godlessness. So for there to be any kind of new guide, they kind of have to work under the assumption that there is an old guide. And actually what we see here is there is an old guide, and we see that from looking at the context of these verses. So look down with me, you'll see that actually we're in 2 Timothy free.

Now 2 Timothy unsurprisingly is the second letter that we have recorded that Paul was writing to Timothy. As Paul was writing this letter, it's, probably most likely that he was in prison potentially in a cold dungeon and he's actually very, very close to death. And he's writing to Timothy, who is this man who is in charge of a church in ephesus, and has this real gift for teaching. And as we come to a chapter 3 specifically, we see that Paul begins to speak about the kind of context that Timothy is going to be preaching him. And what he speaks about is how the world is guided by godlessness.

The problem that all humanity has is all humanity rejects god. Let me read some verses from the start of that. Look down with me at verses 2 to 4. Actually, we'll start with 1. But mark this.

There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves lovers of money boastful, proud, abusive, disobedience to their parents, ungrateful unholy, without love, unforgiving slanderous, without self control. Brutal. Not lovers of good. Treacherous rash conceited lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of god.

You see, people naturally live for themselves instead of the god who made them. And Paul is warning to me that this is the context that he's going to be ministering too. And the last days that Paul is speaking about in verse 1 actually apply to us as well. Because that is the time between Jesus's death and his resurrection. So what is true for timothy is also true for us.

Today. And don't we so clearly see a world that links in with what we see in verses 2 to 5? This idea of lovers of self, I think, particularly fits in so well. Our culture's attitude that you need to take care of number 1. You need to make sure that you're doing what makes you happy.

Just think about how our actions are swayed by how people view us. I've been listening to a some of you might have listened to the new Drake album, which has been slightly popular, in, people listening to it, but there's a specific song called emotionless that has these really interesting words. I know a girl whose 1 goal was to visit Rome, And she finally got to Rome. And all she did was post pictures for people at home because all that mattered was impressing everybody that she's known. Look at the way we live.

And our culture is 1 that is driven by a love of ourself, 1 that wants people to recognize us, The selfie exposes that. Our culture is 1 that really is a culture that is exactly how Paul is describing. But that's just looking at lovers herself. I'm sure we don't have to go very far to see how much money motivates people. How people will do anything to make a little bit more money.

How every single decision they make will be based on how much money they can have or how much money they've got. And the list really in verses 2 to 5 does actually make quite offensive reading. I don't think there's anybody here who would like to be called abusive. Or boastful or slanderous. But the Bible says that that is the reality of what we are like naturally.

And as it reads in verse 5, instead of following god, the world seeks pleasure. The interesting thing about this pleasure is that at actually, it leads to slavery. Take that video that we were looking at earlier. That video was actually not working a little while, so I have crossed out all my on this, not expecting it. But when you watched that video, what did you think about the people that you saw or the cartoon characters that you saw?

They were those that were enslaved. And they might have been enslaved to their mobile phone, but I don't think that's exactly what the video is getting at. Actually, all of us are enslaved. We're enslaved to pleasures. We're enslaved to fulfillment.

And that question from Moby, who is the artist that's singing, I think is so insightful. The repetition of are you lost in the world like me, a world in which our daily decisions become more about how we can best find pleasure than anything else. We wanna be the gods of our own lives and choose the way we lie, where we live, whatever it leads. That last clip you have of all the people on their mobile phones going towards a cliff. No idea of what's about to happen, but so engrossed in themselves, they don't realize what is about to take place.

But you might be sitting here thinking, well, you know, Nathan you're a visiting preacher, you actually probably sound quite cynical. You probably should lighten up a little bit. And there is beauty in the world. But this is what Paul is getting at. In these last days, the days that we live in, we live in a world where people are lovers of themselves.

We live in a world of godlessness, a world that doesn't want to live by how god says but wants to live by by self. But that pleasure that everybody's looking for leads to people being lost. But there is hope. There is hope in the new guide. So that is my second point.

The new guide for the Christian is scripture. So after speaking about how the world is guided by pleasure and self, in verses 1 to 9. Paul then changed changes tracked. So if you look down at verse 10 with me, we get this, you'll see in your NLP, it says a final charge to Timothy. And he begins to speak about himself.

And what he's really speaking about here is how Timothy really should respond to the world that he's living in. Let me read verse 10 for us. You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patients love endurance, and he goes on to speak about how timothy should react to the world that he's living in. He encourages timothy to cling to scripture, the new guide that we have as a Christian. And particularly what we see is we come to these verses versus 14 to 16, where there is this specific charge that Paul gives.

Let me read those verses for us. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of because you know from those, from who've you learnt it, and how from infancy you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is god breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. You see, the beauty that there is is there is a better way than the worlds. There is a better way than the slavery that the world is in.

The Christian turns to this new guide, this new way of living. And verse 16 is probably 1 of the most well known verses in the entire bible, and it explains exactly what this new guide is. Now when Paul was speaking about all scripture, at that point, and there actually wasn't really a new testament, but we obviously have the new testament today. And there's a couple of ways that we can know that that is also scripture itself. 1 Timothy is a couple of pages on.

If you just flick back in your bibles with me to page, 1193, So that's 1 Timothy 5 verse 18. And Paul's writing this to Timothy's first letter. For scripture says do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain and the worker deserves his wages. Now there's an interesting thing going on here because what Paul is doing is he's actually quoting from, deuteronomy, which is in the old testament, but he's also quoting from Luke. And he's saying that both of those are scripture.

So the new testament is scripture. There's another place as well. You don't need to turn to it. It's actually in 2 Peter, where Peter also refers to Paul's writing as scripture. He actually has a little dig at him, also saying that his words are a little bit hard to understand, but what he's really saying is Paul's words or scripture, they have authority.

Scripture is also described as being god breathed. All of scripture is god breathed. Now the bible was written by men but it was inspired by the holy spirit for them to write it. The words they wrote were from god So they have god's authority. Look down with those words, that Paul says to Timothy.

All scripture is god breathed. All scripture comes from god. I wonder if that amazes us as much as it should. The fact that actually we can each hold in our hands a bible that has the very words of the creator of the universe. Now our words reveal a lot about us.

If you're anything like me and you put your foot in your mouth, a little bit too often, sometimes they reveal a little bit too much about us. But to understand a person, very often, you will take what they say, their words. And actually what we have here is the word of god, and that reveals a lot about him. It reveals his character. And that is really important because particularly for, every single Christian, but also for this church, it's very, very relevant that we will face many, many different, I would say challenges in the generation that we're in.

We'll have many challenges on whether the Bible is relevant. That could be, in the instance of homosexuality, for example, or transgender. People that look at the bible and say, hang on, the bible doesn't seem to be that culturally relevant anymore. Surely, actually, years and years ago, it was okay to believe, but you don't need to believe that anymore. That is the challenge that we'll have as Christians.

That's the challenge this church will have as Christians and as a church. But we're not just following some kind of self help book. We have the word of god here. And I think there are 2 big dangers if we ever don't think that this is the word of god. The first danger is if we try to say that there are certain parts of the Bible that aren't the word of god, then the whole validity of the Bible falls down.

Because if 1 part isn't god's word, then surely other parts can't be god's word as well. And very, very soon you have a straw house that very easily topples. The second challenge is that actually what we can do is we can say Okay. Well, it's god's word, but it doesn't specifically apply to us today. Now there are things in the bible that do apply to the times that they were written in.

But if we're starting to say that we can discard parts of the bible that we don't like, then we're in real danger of challenging god's character. God's character is revealed in his word, his character is truth. And we are saying that there are parts of his word that aren't true. So there are some real dangers of us not believing that this is the word of god. Now if you look back down with me, you'll see that we move on.

All scripture is god breathed, but what else is it? It is also useful. Now, the word useful, I struggled with a little bit in, my prep if I'm honest, I think the original Greek is probably closer to profitable. It's this idea that it actually profits us to be in scripture, to have scripture, as our guide. And there are 4 particular things that you'll see.

If you look down at verse 16, you'll see it's useful for teaching. For rebuking for correcting and for training in righteousness. Now, this shows us how we change as a Christian when we have this new guide. We have the new guide which teaches us on how we are to live, but it doesn't just teach us. It also shows us when we're wrong.

It rebukes us. Sometimes I think as Christians above can be quite annoying book to read, because it highlights those things in our life that actually aren't too good about us. It tells us that we shouldn't be doing that thing that actually we really wanna keep doing. It rebukes us. But it doesn't just point out the things in our life that are wrong, it also if you look down, it also corrects us.

So it takes us from the wrong path or on and it turns us to see the right path. But it also continues on that in training us in righteousness, being right with god, living in the way that god says we should live as Christians. And it's a completely different way of living. Rather than living for self and pleasure, we're living by a new guide. Which teaches us it rebukes us, it corrects us, and it trains us for righteousness.

Now, the lens that we look at for our lives will be 1 of 2 things. It will either be god's word or it won't. If you wear glasses and you really, really need glasses, you take them off in your perspective changes. If you put glasses on, everything that you see is through the lenses of those glasses. The Bible should be like lenses that we look through everything everything that we look at should be through scripture.

It should affect how we see everything. So Paul's laid out what scripture is and what it's profitable and he follows with our final point, which is showing us what scripture produces. And my third point is the new guide equips us to do good deeds. Now, you'll see down, at the start of verse 17, Paul changes tracked here, and he uses these words so that. So, immediately, what we see is that actually we're moving from this description of what scripture is to what it produces.

From the explanation to the effect. Let me read verse 17 for us. So that the servant of god may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Producing good works is what godliness looks like. Do you see the link?

What Paul was previously been speaking about in verses, 1 to 9 of chapter 3 is this godlessness of the world, how the world seeks after its own pleasure. But actually what we have here is this new guide brings godliness, the exact opposite, 2 different guides which lead in completely different directions. But I think there's 1 final problem that we need to consider tonight. The Christian has this new guide, but if you're anything like me, you can look at your own life and so often we don't produce good works. This Bible here has the word of god And if it is my new guide, then I should be producing good works.

How come so often when I read particularly verses 1 to 5 that seems like more of a description of my life. We actually regularly seek after worldly pleasures as Christians instead of seeking after god's word, the Bible. And the reason that is is because the reality is we'll never be able to follow this new guide perfectly. We're constantly gonna fall short of the mark. However, there was 1 person who never failed to produce good works.

There was somebody who truly had the word of god as their guide. Think back to the life of Jesus Christ. Whether he was being tempted or whether he was teaching, everything in his life was saturated by scripture. Even as he hung on the cross in agony, he was recalling scripture. And he actually was hanging there to fulfill scripture itself.

He was being obedient to god's word. On the cross, he was giving his life so that we could turn from the old way of living and have a new guide. Because we can't do that by ourselves. Tom slightly scared me earlier when we were praying, in that he prayed, about the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is also known as our new Guide. And I worried that I'd got the, the, the kind of main point of my sermon wrong.

But the reality is is that actually it's twofold. We have this new guide, which is scripture, but we also have this new guide, which is the holy spirit. The holy spirit helps us to live by this new guide. And actually once we see that, it should radically change how we look at this new guide. So to end, what should our response be to this?

Now if you're not a Christian here tonight, then the Bible says that you are living for yourself. We put our kind of pleasure in all sorts of things. Comfort, money, sex, or even maybe our families. Now there's nothing wrong with those things in this world. God's given them as gifts to us.

But actually when you live for them, then instead of satisfying you, they'll leave you hooked to an endless cycle of never being truly fulfilled. And ultimately, they won't be able to solve your biggest problem either of death. The thing that's gonna happen to a hundred percent of people in this room. But actually what you have here is an offer of a new guide. An offer of being in a new relationship with somebody who has given his life for you.

An offer of having a new guide which shows you how you can live in a world in which you'll never truly be satisfied, but a world in which you can have hope. A world in which you can have a guide that leads you to eternal life. And I'd love to speak more, about that with you if you're not a Christian here today. But to end for the Christian, well, how do we apply this to our lives? Well, if you're a Christian, you're sitting here and all of us have accepted that we should live by this new guide, but we face that daily battle to live by it.

So to end just a few practical points of how I think we should be approaching this new guide once we become Christians. The first point is examine what other guides tempt you. So take you some time, I think, either maybe tonight or tomorrow to examine your heart. As soon as you wake up, the battle begins on whether god's word will be your guide. I very, very often lose it because the first thing I do is go, onto my bedside table, take my phone and either look at WhatsApp or go into BBC sport.

Now if that is the first thing that I'm doing in my day, that is not encouraging me to put this as the central point in my life. It's saying that I care more about what my friends are texting me or what's happening in the world of sport than actually god's word. So have a look at the different things that get in the way of you reading your bible. Maybe it's comfort Maybe it's your work. Maybe you just prefer having a little bit more free time, but I think as Christians often the things that get in the way of us reading the Bible are actually showing us what our true affections are.

And you'll also see this in a way when you make choices. If the Bible is your new guide, it should be affecting everything you do. When you have a new decision to make or a new choice to make, Do you go to god's word? Do you think about what god says? Or do you think about how you can get that work promotion?

Or how that decision that you're about to make is gonna make your family better in some way, or how that decision that you're about to make will put you in better standing for work. Actually, we can often see by what we consider when we have to make decisions and when we are about to do any kind of action, what guide we're really living by. And the second point apart from examining what guide and examining what guide tempts us is to turn to god in repentance. Now, our response to not being guided by the world, we're naturally sinners. But we are called to repentance, not just a simple sorry, but actually honestly admitting our guilt and asking god to change our hearts that we might be changed that we might turn back to him.

1 great way of, looking at repentance is to go to god's word itself. Psalm 51 is a fantastic, opportunity for each of us to go to in the next couple of days, and just use that to repent to god. Read through what David says about his sin and how he's turning back to god after it. And use that as a prayer for yourself. And thirdly and finally sits under god's word as a priority.

It should be our priority to sit under god's word. Now Paul is writing to Timothy as a church leader, so I do think that when we're looking at the context of these verses that actually does apply to church leaders, and I think the way that we apply that is that we should be praying for our church leaders. We should be praying that they would be those that are saturated with god's word that are guided by god's word themselves before they teach us. We should be praying for people like Andy Breins who's going to another church that he would continue to do that. We should be praying for the local churches around us.

The churches like Hampton, that they would continue to do that in the face of a world that is putting pressure on us Christians not to obey the Bible. If you think that there's a hundred and 68 hours in a week, I hope I've got that maths right. Around probably about a hundred and 12 of those hours, let's say, for example, we are awake. So if we're only hearing god's word in church in the morning and in the evening, probably it's only about 1 percent of our lives that we're actually listening to god's word. And that's why it becomes so important that we're grappling with god's word outside of church.

That we are listening to our new guide. Because if we're only giving 1 percent of our lives, it's very, very likely that it will very soon be put on the back burner. If I think about how much of percentage of my time I spend on my phone, It's probably very worrying. And actually, that probably shows my heart is more interested in my world and it's what's going on. Than actually being guided by god's word.

And the big question I think that we have or the questions that we have as Christians is do we treasure god's word? Do we love it? Do we read it? Do we meditate on it? Do we memorize it?

Do we study it? As it should be. We believe that the Bible is the word of god, but I think if we're not delighting in the world of god, then actually we're not delighting in god himself. Because we have everything here revealed about god that we need to know. If this is something that isn't attractive to us, then the question becomes, well, how attractive is god in our own lives?

Psalm 1 specifically speaks about how a person is blessed if they meditate on god's word day and night. And I found that so true in my own life. The days that I get up and I read the bible is the first thing that I read in the morning and the last thing before I go to bed. Are days that I am often more guided by god's word. But sadly, that doesn't happen enough.

And my prayer is that actually I would continue to do that through the Holy Spirit. It's been immensely helpful very recently, also meeting with people to read the Bible with them, to remind ourselves that actually this is our new guide, to speak to somebody who you know who is a Christian, and to look at what god's word says and to then apply it. To look back at our lives when we weren't Christians, and look at how we lived by the old guides of this world and then to look at the new guide and see what god says about how we should be living. But to end, the motive to have god's word as our guide isn't just so we can produce good works. We don't have a gospel of works.

The motive for this to be our new guide is why we turned to this new guide in the first place. The motive is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died so that we might have this new guide. And the whole of scripture is pointing to him. So when we use this as our new guide, it's pointing us to the 1 that we love.

It's bringing us willingly under god's authority. Let's just spend just to end 1 minute just putting this into practice. Just take, a minute, maybe 30 seconds to look down at 2 Timothy 3 16 to 17. And I'd love for us each just to, in the core of our hearts, just to read those verses to ourselves. And as we read them, I'd love us to ask the question to ourselves.

At the moment is god's word my guide? And if not, How can I be praying that this week specifically I can live with god's word as the guide of my life? Spend some time just now, reading those verses and thinking about that and then I'll pray, that we put that into practice. All scripture is god breathed and is useful for teaching rebuking correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of god may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Heavenly father thank you, that your word reveals your character to us.

And lord, before we were Christians and if we're not a Christian here tonight, we know that naturally as humans, we all live for the things of this world. The guide of this world is godlessness. We would far rather seek our own pleasure. We would far rather turn from you and it's because we want to be on the throne. Laura pray tonight that you will have shown us the beauty of this new guide.

We have in our hands the very word of god. And when we become a Christian, we turn from the old guide. We turn from the ways that we used to live and we say that we are wanting to live for you. We're wanting to live in light of the fact that Jesus died on the cross and rose again so that our sins could be forgiven. And lord, I pray that, tonight and throughout this week that you would help us You would help us immensely to, be those people who are, looking at your word, who are reading your word, who are considering In all the decisions that we have to make and the actions that we take day by day, what your word says about how we should be acting.

What your word says about how we should be making decisions. Lorda pray that for each of us who are Christians here tonight, we would be living by this new guide. It is the way that we start and it is the way that we continue. And lord, if there's anybody here that isn't a Christian tonight, I pray that they would see the beauty of this new guide, the hope of eternal life that is given in it, and the slavery That is in living for ourselves and living for the pleasures of this world. It's a slavery that us as Christians so often attempted by.

Help us this week to put you first and to seek to live by the word that you've given us, by the scripture. In Jesus 9. 0, ma'am.

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