Continue in What You Have Learned
2 Timothy 3:1-15
Pastor Tony Chute
Overview: Paul informs Timothy that living the Christian life will invite persecution. Therefore, he is to be mindful of the characteristics and tactics of those who oppose the things of God. Such people are characterized by love of self and pleasure rather than loving God or that which is good. Consequently, they dismiss authority outside of themselves, demean those they owe respect, and demonstrate self-centered traits while lacking self-control. To make matters worse, they desire to be seen as godly, but they lack the transforming power of God within them; they prey upon the weak in order to gain a following; and they cause trouble in the church by opposing the people God has placed over them. Paul assures Timothy that such people will not ultimately succeed in derailing the work of God, so he encourages Timothy to avoid them and their behavior; to embrace Paul’s way of life and his character; and to continue in what he has learned from the Holy Scriptures.
01. Let’s live wisely in these last days by recognizing bad behavior when we see it and rejecting bad theology when we hear it; we do this best by connecting biblical truth with godly character.
02. Let’s live well in these last days by remaining confident in the providence of God and remaining committed to the people of God; we do this best by continuing in what we have learned and believed.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. What does Paul mean by “the last days”? Is this a period just before the end of time, or does it refer to the time between the first and second coming of Christ? (See Acts 2:17 also). What do the characteristics of the last days suggest about the importance of the church in having a positive impact on society?
2. Paul lists 19 characteristics in verses 2-5 of people who oppose the things of God. In what ways are these characteristics prevalent in our world today? In what ways are these characteristics prevalent in the churches today? How can we avoid such people without isolating ourselves completely from the world (verse 6)?
3. Paul notes that false teachers prey upon those who are weakened by personal sin and lacking in biblical convictions. Do you find these characteristics to be true today regarding false teachers? How do they prey upon the weak? How would you encourage a weak believer to avoid such false teachers?
4. How does Paul’s character in verses 10-11 differ from that of the opponents of the gospel and the false teachers? What does his character suggest about the connection between sound theology and sound living? Who encourages you to continue living a godly life despite persecution?
5. Discuss the process by which you were first instructed in the Bible (verses 14-15). Were you first taught in the home, church, or elsewhere? Were you taught as a child, teenager, or as an adult? In what ways are you continuing in God’s Word for instruction and encouragement?
For Further Reading: Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (Crossway, 2013; 3rd Edition)