On a recent live stream, Barney and I talked in depth about false teachers; those who desire to lead people away from the faith. Paul tells Timothy that these individuals are wolves and frauds who will be shown for what they really are—just like the magicians in Pharaoh’s Egypt.
What is Faith
In contrast Paul tells Timothy (who was a genuine teacher of truth) that he should stay the course and imitate Paul and the Lord who bought him. Paul’s essential instruction is found in 2 Timothy 3:14-17,
“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned [them,] 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
Paul wanted Timothy to rest on the convictions he espoused. Over and against the false teachers, Paul encouraged Timothy to stand firm in his faith.
A faith, as we are about to see, and as I’ve shared many times in the past, that has both substance and evidence.
Church please understand, faith is not and never will be a “leap” or “blind” in any way. It may not always see (as we read in the case of Noah) but that’s a very different matter.
True Biblical faith is predicated on substance and evidence—it’s something we can count on—like the rising and setting of the sun. So Timothy was being instructed to continue in those things of which he was convinced!
Where Does Faith Come From
Next, Paul reminded Timothy of the source of these truths. Timothy encountered his faith via his mother and grandmother and I’m sure that’s true for many of us today. But what they taught him was the important thing—they taught him the Word of God. Paul refers to this word as the “sacred writings” which give wisdom unto salvation by faith. Writings that constitute “all scripture.”
Not only are these Scriptures true and inspired (by God), they have a particular purpose. Paul said that they are for teaching, reproving, correcting, and training in righteousness, and all so that the servant of God may be adequate and equipped for every good work. So Paul again was reminding Timothy that this truth is what produced the man that he had become and that he should stay the course at all costs.
The Discipline of Our Faith
This sets the stage for what I have to share today. We’re living in a time where although there are glaring issues that require reproof and correction according to God’s word (just pick a sin!) There are also some very subtle issues that need the same treatment: harshness toward one another, the Church’s lack of wisdom and therefore discernment, our getting entangled in the world’s affairs far too deeply, and the list goes on.
But sadly we’re not in the place to receive this kind of love—that’s what discipline is mind you—love. We refuse to hear anything that we deem negative. We do whatever is right in our own eyes or in the eyes of our traditions and ultimate truth be damned. Most Christian’s today believe that as long as they aren’t as bad as the other guy, then all is well. But this isn’t the standard by which we will be judged, church.
Today I’ll be using God’s word again for this sacred task. What I mean is that we’re going to look at a very important truth—which people of faith live by and have lived by for eons of time—and hopefully we’ll allow this truth to teach, reprove, correct, and train each of us in what is right.
This will equip us to stay the course in a very practical way as well as in the work to which we’ve all been called. The practical way I am referring to has to do with our engagement in American politics and the the work we’re all tasked with was stated clearly in Matthew 28:19-20 by King Jesus Himself;
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…”
So, here’s the truth we’re looking at today—as plain as I can articulate it: Our present country (no matter where you reside as a Christian) our present country is not. our. home. Those who believe this and confess it—that they are exiles in this world—are those who truly understand the hope of God’s story.
As we parse through Hebrews 11:1-16 (which is our primary text for the day) we’re going to see exactly how this truth affected behavior in certain key figures. In the next two posts, I’ll offer some pointers on how it should affect each of us in both political engagements and our call to make disciples.
It is my conviction, church, that if we heed the lessons of faith contained in these few verses, not only will our minds rest easier during this current political upheaval, but we’ll also stay the course and be counted among those of whom it is said, “God is not ashamed to be called their God.”
I don’t believe we can receive a higher honor than that.
READING – Hebrews 11:1-16
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it (that is faith) the men of old gained approval.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.
16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”
In the next two posts, we will walk through how these verses should impact our behavior and imitation of Christ in the world. Until then I’d love to hear how you’ve seen someone represent Christ rightly in today’s political chaos. Comment below or email me at email@example.com.