(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, 2 Timothy is even more of a personal feel than 1 Timothy is, and I'm going to, in a minute, read you one culminating passage in this book. If the theme of 1 Timothy is “Order in the Church; the theme of 2 Timothy is “Endurance in the Church.” If we’re going to maintain that order, we will need to endure because the church lives under hardship, the church lives under attack, both inside the church and outside the church.
Maybe you've been reading the news and following what’s happening in our culture, and you think, “How does it get any worse than what we’re going through?” It just looks like all the things that we love and hold dear, that our culture is turning their back on it. How is the Church going to survive? Listen, every generation of the Church has faced the same thing; every generation of the Church has felt the same way. And that's why this message of endurance is so important.
But it's gospel endurance; it's not just sort of flexing your muscles and saying to yourself, “I'm going to make it! It's endurance that’s rooted in the gospel. Again, willing to suffer for the gospel-are you? Part of endurance is a willingness to suffer. It's, for Timothy, it means again stirring the gift that God has given him. It's being strengthened by Christ’s grace. If your strengthened by Christ's grace, you’re no longer afraid of your weaknesses because your weaknesses are a playground for His strength.
Endurance means rightly handling God's Word; that's very, very important that God's Word is our wisdom; it is our guide. Endurance means I want to be an honorable vessel; I don't want my life to get in the way of what God has called His people to be.
It means being ready for every good work. I call that the principal of prepared spontaneity, I don't know when God will give me an opportunity, but I position myself to be ready so I can step into those opportunities that God will give me.
It means avoiding foolish controversies. You don't have to have an opinion on everything; and you don't have to get in every debate. There are things that are worth avoiding! And can I make a twitter application here? Well, I don’t know why I'm asking permission, I'm going to. There is so much needless controversy, needless debate, angry talk on twitter that is not helping you endure, it's not helping you grow, it's not helping you love Jesus more. You need to avoid that stuff. Correct others with gentleness. Wow! Again, social media is not known for its gentleness; it's angry, often despicable communication, and correction should be done with gentleness.
But endurance is rooted in the stunning gift of the Word of God. Imagine what our faith would be like without the gift of the Word of God. And so, the culmination of the high point of this book is this passage:
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 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. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from a childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Stand firm in God's Word; endure in God's Word!