Worship Leader Rev.Shinichi Hirohashi 司会者 廣橋信一牧師
Accompanist Mrs.Kazusa Oba 奏楽者 大場かづさ姉妹
Preacher Rev.Ｓean Radke 説教者 ショーン・ラドキ宣教師
Interpreter Rev.Shinichi Hirohashi 通訳者 廣橋信一牧師
Song Leader Elder Ｍuneyasu Nasu さんびリーダー 那須宗泰長老
Worship song : Hear Our Praises
Worship song : One Voice
Worship song : He is our peace
Bible Reading ：2 Timothy 2:14-26 第二テモテ2:14-26
Message： “Pursue righteusness,faith,love,anda,peace”
Worship song: I have a maker (He knows my name)
Worship song: Awesome God 大いなる神
Benediction Rev.Ｓean Radke
Sean Radke 2 Timothy 2:14-26 message 7/15
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. /////
This past April was the 30th anniversary of “New Coke”. Apparently it did not come to Japan then. At that time, the Coca Cola Company decided after 99 years of the same recipe, that it would be a good idea to change the flavor of Coke, and so was born New Coke in April 1985. However, the Coke Company was a little surprised by the reaction. To put it mildly, people were not happy with the New Coke. 1000 phone calls were made to the Consumer Hotline – every day. Clubs of loyalists formed, and a black market was created for the old Coke. Protesters picketed the headquarters. Letters of the sincerest, heartfelt kind poured in and many criticized Coke and some were not very kind. They were fascinating to read because some of them almost made threats. One such letter said to them, “If the Old Coke isn’t brought back soon Good luck. You’ll need it! It’s really too bad that a handful of fools have destroyed something that so many determined people have kept alive and well for 100 years!” Needless to say, it did not take long before the Old Coke was back. I read a fascinating reflection that that this surfaced on the human condition. “New Coke …showed that people craved- and still craved- a degree of certainty, familiarity, and comfort in a world that changes so quickly and so dramatically. …They expect Coca Cola the product to endure.”
This is an important point as we come to tonight’s Scripture. That is because it reminds us of longing in life for what is authentic. Maybe the reason we crave this certainty, familiarity, and comfort in our rapidly changing world but we can never find is because we were made to live for God and the satisfying truth he teaches us.
This Scripture is a passage of the clash between the authentic and the inauthentic. Some people think that the gospel is just a product like Coke. But it is so much more valuable than anything in this world and it satisfies us like nothing else. But people want to change it. Then and now. They think they can improve upon it. But in reality they should just pass on what is authentic and satisfying.
This passage is all about a huge difference between two different people and two different messages. It is between Timothy and the message of the gospel he is to guard and the new message of the false teachers. This chapter is filled metaphors so that the young and timid Timothy could remember how important this is like using from daily life.
What was the problem going on then? They were “quarreling about words” (verse 14, cf. 1 Tim 6:4). That resulted in “ungodly chatter.” They were speculating about myths and genealogies instead of going back to the basics of God’s word. These were fads- youthful passions. It spread like a deadly disease: gangrene. Those caught by that teaching were “swerving” from the truth like someone going in a straight line would go off course. It was causing pain and damage. God’s people are like special “vessels” made of gold and silver in a house. But wood and earthenware vessels were for garbage and waste, and sometimes the containers were thrown out with the contents. In today’s terms it is the difference between nice plates that you own contrasted with plastic trash bags or garbage cans. Perhaps it is the difference between chopsticks you would throw away and expensive chopsticks that some people keep for a lifetime. However the meaning here is that the false teachers’ teaching and actions are the equivalent of that. They are dishonorable, to be thrown out of God’s house, the church. So how should we respond ? “Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace…” When we look to God in the gospel, we find the Person that has what we are to pursue. He gives us those things. We find His righteousness we need that clothes us in place of our sin. We find the faith that we need to face life in a fallen world. We find the love that satisfies us. We find His peace that protects us.
Our words reveal what we believe. These words when built on foundations other than God’s word of truth can cause damage and pain in our relationships. They wanted to argue about and change the definitions of words that may not have seemed like a big deal but had major effects on their commitments. For example, they said that “the resurrection of Jesus has already happened.” We do not know much more than that about what this meant. We do know that Jesus resurrection has already happened. In one sense the Christian has been raised with Christ (Romans 6:4, Ephesians 2:6 Col. 3:1). So what does this mean? But they took a basic Christian truth and went far beyond what Scripture teaches. That is what false teachers often do. They start with something true and move away from the gospel to legalism. They require that more than trusting in the work of Jesus for our salvation and focus on some other work. As one bible teacher put it, “Jesus plus nothing equals everything.” Somehow these false teachers were adding to the gospel that was affecting the way people viewed the material world and their own bodies. They were being pulled away from freedom in Christ. Everyday we need to make sure that we don’t listen to voices from outside of us or even our own thoughts that would take us away from the truth. We are tempted daily to twist the truth or believe lies. We have to go back to the basics of what God says is true about Himself, others, His church, His world, and who we are everyday. It is not about what we can do to save ourselves as false teachers subtly or overtly teach – but only what God has done for us to rescue us. The false teachers were basing their hope not on the reliable Scriptures, but on intellectual speculations. We may wonder, does that matter? In his classic bok Christianity and Liberalism, Machen said, “What is today a matter of academic speculation begins tomorrow to move armies and pull down empires.” Ideas have consequences in real life. Therefore let’s make sure we check our thinking with the Bible and go with what it says, but not beyond it.
“Some day He is going to disappoint you. And when he does call me.”
I have been thinking about that quote often since I heard it a couple months ago. It came from a powerful story from a man named Michael Svigel (rhymes with “eagle.” As the story goes, there was a high school student named Michael who committed himself to a new religion. It has become very influential in the world today even here in Japan and it is called Scientology. When he was in high school he had an English teacher who was also a Christian pastor named Mr. Dent. This teacher got into a conversation with that student while seeing the student’s book about that religion. The student told his teacher that all religious people go to heaven. After all the religion teaches that Jesus was only “one of many good teachers.” Their famous founder taught that man is basically good. He said that Jesus was “implanted” as an idea a million years ago and that he was fiction, that only each person can die for their own sins and that if you believe that Jesus could die for human sins that you are “still in chains.” But Mr.Dent said, “Someday I’ll tell you the other side of that.” The student wanted to argue about words and debate his teacher, but before the conversation ended, Mr. Dent said something that Brian never forgot: that someday the famous founder of that new religion “is going to disappoint you. And when he does, call me.” Mr.Dent was offering to be there for Michael when he was ready and tell him the truth. But Michael ignored him, considering Mr. Dent to take religion too seriously.
Michael happened upon a book that presented strong evidence that discredited scientology. It presented a life of L Ron Hubbard as one of a madman. He wasn’t sure if he could trust that book, but he thought, “If only 10 percent of this book is true, I am in big trouble.” He called Mr.Dent who invited him into his home and shared with him about the good news of Jesus. As Paul told Timothy, God’s workers are to be able to teach. We are to be patiently enduring evil, correcting our opponents with gentleness. Mr.Dent was a good workman.
Michael remembered hearing that same gospel when he was a child from a lady in a neighborhood bible club. He also remembered hearing it from a good pastor he had growing up. He was persuaded based on the fact that he had heard this same gospel from very different people at different times in his life. This is a picture of what Paul said in verses 19-21. We have two foundational truths.. God is sovereign over salvation and we yet must turn to him so we are looking to him for our foundation. Michael joined the church where Mr. Dent worked as a part-time pastor. His life began to change as he Michael began to study the Scriptures so that he too could be a “good workman.” He went on to teach at a major US seminary and write books to this day. He is an example of someone who as verse 25 points out, was gently instructed, and who God granted repentance leading him to a knowledge of the truth.
What about your story? If you are new to Christianity and would like to gain an understanding of the Christian faith, I encourage you to let us know. May we also learn the truth, love the truth of the gospel, and live the truth of Jesus’ message so that we can be gentle guides to those who need the same truth that we need. We are all looking to be satisfied this week. Let’s look to what is real. Our God offers us what is real. He is the real foundation to build our lives on. Like Paul wanted for Timothy, for all of us who aspire to be workers in Christ’s church let’s go back to our need for God today. Let’s continue to learn the truth, love the truth, and live out the truth of our salvation. He wanted him to present himself as a good workman before God, purify himself, pursue the love of God in his own life, pass on silly ‘word battles’ and arguments, but promote, and proclaim peacefully the love of God to others. This chapter calls us to do a lot, and this is not to overwhelm us or crush us under an unbearable weight of obligation, live in our own strength but really just lean on him as our foundation. We are to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” From that grace this week let’s pursue God’s righteousness, faith, love, and peace in him.