The following is a lesson I shared at Point Of Mercy this week. Our Pastor was ministering in Bristol, and I was asked to speak.
2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
I was setting at a red light this week, and The Lord put a thought in my head. What if suddenly, someone took from you the knowledge of what the color green meant? How would that affect you?
You wouldn’t know to pull out at a green light for one thing. People would start hitting their car horns and making noise. More than that, let’s suppose you were a florist. Green’s pretty important, or the absence of it is. A brown leaf is a sign of problems, but if you were color blind you wouldn’t know it.
What if it was a red you suddenly didn’t know or couldn’t see? A lot of lives would be lost because no one would stop at the traffic light. Did you know that in the military, three jobs you can’t do are a fighter pilot, a Navy Seal, or a Marine Bomb tech if you’re color blind?
Suddenly it seems a lot more important than just what color socks you put on doesn’t it? Today I would like to contrast color blindness with something else. Something that too many take for granted.
It’s what our Pastor has been strategically encouraging us to address in our own lives. That is our relationship to The Word Of God, and the knowledge of it. Today, I would like to share four reasons to love, and know The Word Of God, as illustrated in the life of the Apostle Paul.
In the verse I read today, the Apostle Paul is addressing a young Pastor named Timothy, Pastor of the Ephesus Church. He’s talking about something as vital to a Christian as color is to either an artist or a soldier. It’s about his relationship with The Word Of God.
Paul was absolutely convinced of both the importance, and the merit of knowing The Word. It wasn’t just about believing it, it was about knowing it backwards and forwards, and why we should.
Paul, at this stage of his journey, is an old soldier, skilled in spiritual warfare, nearing the last leg of his fight. He’s telling Timothy, not only to do his best to present ourselves to God as a worker who doesn’t have to be ashamed, but how to do so.
According to Paul, we do this through the knowledge of God’s Word. Notice, we’re not talking about someone who’s a new Christian. Or someone who had just met The Lord.
We are talking about a man who was now the Pastor of Ephesus. It’s important to know there’s no record of a rebuttal from Timothy. He never questioned, argued, or disagreed with Paul’s counsel here.
Why, because if anyone knew the value of knowing The Word, it was Timothy. He knew Paul was right, but not only because he knew The Scriptures, but because he knew Paul.
The Apostle Paul was his mentor. He saw Paul in the prison house, and in his sufferings. He also saw what Paul leaned on in those times. In the third verse of the first chapter of this book Paul says I serve The God my ancestors served.
In other words, Paul didn’t only know The God of Abraham, he knew about Abraham. He knew about Isaac. More over, he knew what had happened in their lives and how it applied to his.
Paul knew that Abraham looked for a city, who’s builder and maker is God. Paul wrote that, but before he wrote it, he read about it. All through the books that Paul wrote, he references the Old Testament.
He talks about everyone from Moses to Jepthah. When Paul meets the Jews in Rome, in the book of Acts, the place where he wrote this letter to Timothy he looks at them. He tells them, for The Hope Of Israel, I am wearing this chain.
Paul didn’t only say I trust in Jesus. Or I remember a story about the cross. He knew why there had to be a cross. He knew that every step Jesus took was a fulfillment of a prophecy, even the steps to the whipping post.
1. Sustains Us In Our Journey
Knowing that Jesus’ sufferings were part of the plan, helped to 1 Sustain Paul in his journey. It kept him through his sufferings. Knowing The Word Of God may not always explain the trial you are facing, but it will explain the purpose of it.
Paul knew that every thing he ever faced, would result in The Glory Of God, and his testimony. It wasn’t easy to endure the prison house, but he remembered that in the book of Psalms it tells us Joseph’s feet were hurt by the chains he wore in Egypt.
You won’t find that in Genesis, but you find it in Psalms. Why? Because it was something that was handed down in the conversations of the generations of the family of God. The Lord won’t spell out every situation in Scripture, He could, but He chooses to do something better.
Instead, He places jewels, apples of gold Solomon said, in pitchers of silver. In other words, He hides things in this blessed black book that He wants you and I to seek out. Treasures are made to be mined, not grown.
If we’re not careful, we’ll be waiting for the answer to grow out of us, when we are supposed to dig out those things which will cause us to grow. Jesus said in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.
You’re going to have problems. Things are going to go wrong. Hardships happen, but every book of this Bible, every chapter, every line, has something to help us, if we will seek it out.
We talk a lot of Paul writing, but before, during, and after his writing, he was reading. Even in this very book that we read the verse, he tells Timothy. The books I left at Troas, bring them, but especially the parchments.
Most commentators believe he was talking about The Old Testament. If Paul, who was getting ready to die, wanted to read His Bible one more time. How much more should we? No wonder Timothy didn’t get mad when Paul said, I know you’re a Preacher, but you need to read The Word, and so do I, and so do we.
I mentioned color at the start, relating to painting. Did you know that a set of watercolor paint is actually made up of two things? One is the actual color, and the other is the binder. Traditionally, it’s gum Arabic, a resin of a tree.
That tree is the acacia tree, in the same family of tree that was part of the Ark Of The Covenant, and the Tabernacle. The binder is what holds the color together in order to apply it to the canvas. God’s Word is what will hold us together when everything goes south, and make our lives a testimony.
I love Pentecost, but it’s not the shout that will sustain you when you’ve lost your job, and you feel like you’re on the verge of losing everything you own. It’s knowing Scriptures like the one where David said, “I’ve been young, and now I’m old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, or his seed begging bread.”
It’s Scriptures that remind you that Jacob, when he was trying to do right, got cheated ten times. He was robbed of a son, lied on, lost two wives, and wanted to die. All of this was after he turned his life around. Or knowing Jesus said that people would leave Him because they would get offended that persecution came because of The Word’s sake.
The reason our Pastor is spending the time encouraging us to know The Word, is because he’s seen firsthand what this life holds, and he’s felt The Hand that holds you when nothing else will. It will sustain you.
2 It Will Instruct Us
2 It will also instruct you. Life is a journey. God’s Word is called both a Light to our path, and a lamp to our feet. One speaks to a roadmap, the other where to go. God not only orders your steps, He steps ahead to clear the way.
We don’t need to know everything. That’s one of the problems with our generation. Everyone’s demanding to know why this and why that. I don’t need to know why everything happens, I just need to know what to do today.
When Paul writes this verse, he isn’t talking about standing before God in the last day. He’s talking about the everyday that Timothy was called to. To please God, you have to study, and according to Paul, it’s a consistent daily time of devotion.
So many times in my life, I’ve read a verse and went to work, and that day’s reading, or that week’s reading, or that Message that I heard that week, helped me know what to do when I faced the unexpected.
Did you know people read Shakespeare in other languages? The man was an English poet who never went to Japan, and yet people listen to it in Japanese. People debate an actor’s words more in the 21st century, than they do The God that invented the time that century exists in, much less the poet who’s been dead for generations.
Yet, we have a Savior, who lives, breathes, and reigns. How much more should we learn about Him, about His Word, and about His plan for our life? Do you want to know the Mind and Will Of God for your life? Read His Word, Hear Him Speak, know where to go.
3 It Is Our Weapon
3 This Word isn’t only our compass, it’s our weapon. The Apostle Paul calls it The Sword Of The Spirit. This book of books, this volume that’s made up of 66 smaller books, isn’t just a good moral code. It’s not only a collection of stories. It is the unadulterated, inspired Word Of God.
It’s what Jesus used when He was tempted. It’s what Moses was given on tablets on the mountain for Israel to hold to. It’s what David trusted in when he was running for his life. He said The Lord taught my fingers to war, and my hands to fight.
Paul tells Timothy that the Scripture brings wisdom and salvation through faith in Jesus. He also in 2 Corinthians tells us that knowing The Word will teach us about the weapons of the enemy.
It is in The Word we both learn the arsenal of the attacker, and how to stand against it. Instead of studying what’s wrong, study what is right. Right will teach you enough to know not only what to refuse, but how to defeat it. It will teach you how to fulfill your calling in this life. We’re not all called to be a, b, or c, but we are all called to be Saints according to the Scriptures.
4 It Will Carry Us To Our Destination
4 It will carry you to your destination. Paul said that The Lord who called him stood by him, and strengthened him, and delivered him from the lion’s mouth. Paul said The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His Heavenly kingdom.
Notice Paul didn’t say he wouldn’t die, as a matter of fact, he said I’m going to be poured out like a drink offering. What he said is, I’m going to be brought safely home. Whatever we face, whoever we face, no matter what the report of the doctor, or the result of it, we will see Jesus.
This isn’t only about Heaven, it’s about the next level of your life. You have a calling, and a mission. You have something to do, and places to journey. Don’t try to do it without studying the guidebook. Find out why Abraham believed it. Why David loved it. An why Paul trusted in it all the way to the chopping block, and then to Glory.
One day, it will be about Heaven. When you see Him, let it be a face that you’ve first seen here in this book. Not only a few verses on Sunday, not a glimpse of color here and there, but a full picture. They say that what made the paintings of Venus so brilliant, was their use of color.
They knew how to use red, they knew how to use green. Paul, at one time in his life, couldn’t discern the green, or the life, that Jesus offered, or the red Blood which washed away our sins. A Light got his attention, but it was The Word that changed him.
The sad thing is, they say that color blindness can be caused by coming into contact with things that alter you. Such as shaken baby syndrome, or coming in contact with certain vapors. Macular degeneration can cause color blindness. Stay in tune with God’s Word.
Don’t let this life shake you. Don’t let the circumstances rob you of your sensitivity to God’s plan for your life. Circumstances, would take away your ability to discern what is truly beautiful in this life, if you let it. Don’t let the cares of this world, or the busyness of it, rob you of that which will bring so much color to your spiritual walk.
Let God’s Word sustain you in your journey. Let it instruct you in your daily life. Let it be your well practiced weapon in battle. Let it be your compass, companion, and welcoming Host to where He wants to take you.