Aim For God's Approval (Spurgeon)
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Aim For God's Approval (Spurgeon)

2 Timothy 2:1-26  (ID: 3038)

The work of a pastor can be challenging. As he seeks to lead his congregation, many situations may arise within the church that can distract him from his primary task of preaching the Word. To help us, Alistair Begg draws our attention to the counsel that the apostle Paul extended to Timothy regarding ministry responsibilities. Paul encouraged Timothy to aim only for God’s approval as a worker who rightly handles the Word of Truth—just as we, too, should do.


A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus

1You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men1 who will be able to teach others also. 3Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

8Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

12if we endure, we will also reign with him;

if we deny him, he also will deny us;

13if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.

A Worker Approved by God

14Remind them of these things, and charge them before God2 not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,3 a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

20Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable,4 he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

22So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24And the Lord's servant5 must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Copyright © 2020, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.