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                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                   A Worker Approved To God (2:14-18)

INTRODUCTION

1. What should be expected of a minister of the gospel of Christ?  This
   question is one...
   a. Every preacher, evangelist, teacher, should ask of himself
   b. Every congregation should consider as they evaluate those they
      support

2. In 2Ti 2:14-18, we find qualities of a worker...
   a. Who is approved of God
   b. Who does not need to be ashamed

[While these verses do not list every quality, they certainly point out
that which should be true of all ministers of the gospel.  For example,
"A Worker Approved To God" is one who...]

I. REMINDS THE BRETHREN (2:14)

   A. AS PAUL DID HIS BRETHREN...
      1. When he wrote his epistle to the brethren at Rome - Ro 15:15
      2. When he sent Timothy to the church at Corinth - 1Co 4:17
      3. When he wrote to Timothy himself - 2Ti 1:6

   B. AS PETER DID HIS BRETHREN...
      1. Especially when he knew his death was imminent - 2Pe 1:12-15
      2. Knowing this was a way of stirring them up - 2Pe 3:1

   C. AS JUDE DID HIS BRETHREN...
      1. Reminding them of things they already knew - Jude 1:5
      2. Because of the dangerous influence of ungodly men - cf. Ju
         1:3-4

[Repetition is needful; don't fault preachers and teachers for telling
you things you already know.  It is good for you, and may be news to
others.  "A Worker Approved To God" also...]

II. CHARGES THE BRETHREN (2:14)

   A. AS PAUL DID HIS BRETHREN...
      1. Concerning their spiritual growth - 1Th 4:1
      2. Commanding them to withdraw from disorderly brethren - 2Th 3:6

   B. AS PAUL DID TIMOTHY...
      1. To observe things without partiality - 1Ti 5:21
      2. To preach the Word - 2Ti 4:1-2

[As long as what is being charged is from God's Word, don't fault
preachers and teachers for commanding you to do something.  "A Worker
Approved To God"...]

III. DISPLAYS DILIGENCE (2:15)

   A. AS SHOULD ALL CHRISTIANS...
      1. Lest they fall short of their heavenly rest - He 4:1,11
      2. To make their calling and election sure - 2Pe 1:10
      3. To be found by the Lord in peace, without spot and blameless
         - 2Pe 3:14

   B. ESPECIALLY AS IT RELATES TO THE WORD...
      1. As Timothy was charged to "give attention" to doctrine - 1 Ti
         4:13
      2. As he was commanded to "take heed" to the doctrine - 1Ti 4:16

[While this certainly involves "study" (cf. KJV), the Greek "spoudazo"
means "to exert one's self, endeavor, give diligence" (Thayer).
Applying proper diligence to the Word, "A Worker Approved To God"...]

IV. RIGHTLY DIVIDES THE WORD (2:15)

   A. DIVIDING IT PROPERLY...
      1. As translated by the NKJV, KJV
      2. The word (orthotomeo), found nowhere else in the New Testament,
         means:
         a. "to cut straight, to cut straight ways; to proceed on
            straight paths, hold a straight course, equiv. to doing
            right" - Thayer
         b. "to make straight and smooth, to handle aright, to teach the
            truth directly and correctly" - ibid.
      3. Other versions translate the passage:
         a. "handling aright the word of truth" - ASV
         b. "rightly handling the word of truth" - ESV
         c. "one who correctly teaches the message of God's truth" - GNB
         d. "handling the word of truth with precision" - ISV
         e. "accurately handling the word of truth" - NASB
         f. "correctly handles the word of truth" - NIV
         g. "rightly explaining the word of truth" - NRSV

   B. HANDLING IT ACCURATELY...
      1. Understanding there is both old and new - cf. Mt 13:52
      2. Distinguishing between Old and New Covenants - e.g., 2Co 3:
         6-11; He 8:6-13
      3. Remembering that meat is for the mature, milk is for babes
         - cf. He 5:12-14
      4. Bearing in mind that some may be carnal, not yet spiritual
         - cf. 1Co 3:1-4

["A Worker Approved To God" will handle the Word like the "sword" that
it is (He 4:12); i.e., carefully and appropriately for the occasion.
Accordingly, he will be one who...]

V. SHUNS 'WORD BATTLES' (2:14,16-18)

   A. AS EXPRESSED IN OUR TEXT...
      1. Such as:
         a. Striving about words to no profit - 2Ti 2:14
         b. Profane and idle babblings - 2Ti 2:16
      2. Leading to:
         a. The ruin of the hearers - 2Ti 2:14
         b. More ungodliness - 2Ti 2:16
      3. Exemplified by:
         a. Hymenaeus and Philetus - 2Ti 2:17
         b. Saying that the resurrection is already past - 2Ti 2:18
         c. They overthrow the faith of some - 2Ti 2:18

   B. AS EXPRESSED ELSEWHERE...
      1. Later in this chapter - 2Ti 2:23
         a. Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes
         b. That only generate strife
      2. In his previous epistle to Timothy
         a. Do not give heed to fables and endless genealogies that
            cause disputes - 1Ti 1:4-6
         b. Do not be obsessed with disputes and arguments over words,
            useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of
            the truth - 1Ti 6:3-5
         c. Avoid profane and idle babblings, false contradictions
            - 1Ti 6:20-21
      3. In writing to Titus - Tit 3:9
         a. Avoid foolish disputes, contentions, strivings about the law
         b. Such are unprofitable and useless

CONCLUSION

1. With so much error and false doctrine in the world, a minister of the
   gospel must walk a fine line...
   a. Diligent in his use of the Word to remind and charge the brethren
   b. Careful in handling the Word with the spiritually immature and
      those in error

2. Yet with the aid of such epistles as those written to Timothy and
   Titus, it is possible...
   a. To "present yourself  approved to God"
   b. To be "a worker who does not need to be ashamed"

May those who preach and teach ever be mindful of these things, and may
those whom we teach always encourage us to be "A Worker Approved To
God"...!
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