I told my pastor I didn’t think it was necessary for him to aim this _entire_ sermon directly at me. He insists it wasn’t, but it sure felt like it. Which is just another way of saying, I was very convicted.
2 Timothy 2
24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,
25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
_bond-servant_ – another word for slave. A person devoted to the cause or purpose of another, to the _disregard_ of his own interests.
If I’m a bond servant of God, I’m more committed to Him and His cause than I am to myself.
_not quarrelsome_ – Verse 23 says that foolish and ignorant speculations cause quarrels. A quarrelsome person is quick to debate in order to win.
_kind to all_ – to ALL. He has a gentle spirit, and is kind in his interaction with others, even if they are not kind to him. For example, if a debate gets heated, he remains kind.
_able to teach_ – The context of this (see verses 20-21) includes all Christians. We’re not all gifted as teachers, but we are all able to teach a little if we are mature. [See Hebrews 5:12]
_patient when wronged_ – cf Proverbs 19:11. I don’t have to confront every wrong, or address every time I’ve been offended.
_correcting_ We do have a responsibility to correct people, but do it gently. We should act like someone who got, _and still gets_, grace from God.
_if, perhaps, may_ – It is possible that others may come to Christ through your work IF your life looks like this (see v20-26)
_God may grant them repentance_ – No one can repent on their own apart from God’s grace. Repentance = a change of mind leading to knowledge of the truth.
_come to their senses_ – because God grants them repentance
_captive_ – They are doing Satan’s will, but they are his captives as well.
To be an effective voice of truth:
* I must see myself as the Lord’s bond-servant. This is not somebody else’s job.
* I must remember my need for grace and act accordingly toward others.
* I must have a growing and maturing understanding of the nature of spiritual warfare. The lost are captives that need to be set free, not my enemies.
* Don’t sugar coat the message. Sugar coat yourself instead.
That last point is really signficant to me. These verses come in the middle of Paul exhorting Timothy to “retain the standard of sound words”. The gospel is offensive enough – it doesn’t need my help!
I believe there is a message starting with 2:1 and running through 2:26. These verses define what an effective servant of Christ will look like.
* suffering hardship as a good soldier of Jesus
* being set apart as a soldier on duty or an athlete
* avoiding foolish controversies
* lining ourselves up with God’s word and being diligent about that
* cleansing ourselves from youthful lusts and instead pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace with other Christians
* being gentle to others
These are more or less prerequisites for effective service. If I do these things, others might listen to the message I’ll be preaching. If not, I’ll be useless for God (v 21).