2 Timothy 2:14-26
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels (2 Timothy 2:22-23).
Paul is rich with metaphors for the Christian life.
Already, in 2 Timothy 2, he has mentored us with three vivid images.
He has called us to see ourselves as soldiers, willing to live disciplined lives, willing to suffer as we serve with our ultimate allegiance being only to Jesus Christ.
He has called us to see ourselves as athletes, who keep ourselves in daily spiritual condition, realizing we are running a long distance race until that day we step into the presence of Jesus Christ to receive our crown of glory.
He has called us to see ourselves as farmers, who know there will be good years and bad years. But we faithfully husband our spiritual gifts along with all the rest of the resources the Lord gives to us, so that, ultimately, we can participate in His harvest.
One of the early church leaders, Chrysostom, captured these three vigorous metaphors in the following words: "In a word, it is absolutely necessary for one who hopes to please God and to be acceptable and pure, not to pursue a relaxed and slippery and dissolute life, but a laborious life, groaning with much toil and sweat. For no one is crowned, Paul says, 'unless he competes according to the rules.'"
Now he shifts gears, challenging you and me with three more metaphors, calling us to be unashamed workers, clean vessels and gentle servants.
Let me put this to you in the form of three questions.
Question #1: Are you an unashamed worker?
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:14-19:
Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness."