Remain firm and wait on the Lord, for He will rescue us – a sermon on 2 Timothy 3:1-13 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.
One day a young boy came home from school very excited. He’d taken his normal lunch to school but there one of his friends had introduced him to the wonder of a mango. He hadn’t tasted a mango before and he just fell in love with it. So when he got home he couldn’t wait to share the news of his new-found love with his parents. The dad was happy to see his son so excited and he said to him “well son, why don’t we plant a mango tree and then you can have all the mangoes you want?” The boy thought that was a cool idea, but he didn’t quite realize that mango tress don’t come fully grown, ready to drop their fruit immediately. He also didn’t realise that he would be the one who would be doing all the hard work of digging the hole in which the tree had to be planted. But a while later there he was, digging the hole, sweat dripping off his brow. As the hole slowly got deeper and deeper, he complained to his mom: “Gee Mom, I’m not so sure I like mangoes anymore!” Now his mom was the sympathetic type, but instead of telling him it’s okay to give up digging, she gave him a glass of mango juice to drink. But she also gave him a very valuable life lesson. “Son,” she said, “Nothing really worth doing is ever easy or cheap.”
That’s true, isn’t it? Nothing that is worthwhile doing, is ever easy or cheap. And that’s the point that Paul is making to Timothy in our passage today as well.
This is the last letter of Paul that we have. He’s in jail. He’s awaiting trial and he knows that when he goes to trial, he’ll most likely be executed. In the chapters before this one, Paul has been urging and encouraging Timothy to keep spreading the gospel. It has also very much been on Paul’s heart to warn his beloved Timothy of the difficulties that he would face in his ministry, difficulties that would also be evident within the church itself.
And now, in this section, in these verses, Paul continues his instruction of running the Christian race. He’s busy preparing Timothy to take over the baton. You see, he wants to encourage Timothy to keep on fighting the good fight, but he also wants him to know what he has to expect. He does this by reminding Timothy of all that he has suffered for the Gospel. He’s saying to his pupil “It’s not going to be easy, Timothy! It’s not going to be just plain sailing! So buckle up and prepare yourself!” This is essentially what verses 10-11 are about. Paul gives Timothy examples of what life looks like for someone whose task it is to spread the good news of Jesus. This morning we’ll start by looking at the examples of Paul’s life and the persecution he has had to endure. Then we’ll turn our attention to the results are of a godly life – what are the benefits of living a life such as Paul lived?