3. Embrace the rigors of Christian Leadership (2 Timothy 2:3-13)

Paul devotes the most verbiage to this element- maybe because Timothy was (like most of us) so inclined to shrink from these rigors. Leaders must not merely passively tolerate hardships when we can’t avoid them; we must choose to suffer them, to embrace them as a major and ongoing part of our leadership.

-Suffering hardhips is an imperative we should engage them and embrace them.

What are these rigors? 2:4-6 focuses on the rigors of the work itself.

  • Like a soldier, we must stay focused on pleasing the Lord- and not allow our affections to be seduced from this (Mk. 4:19; 1 Cor. 7:29-35). John Stott says, “Our hard work cannot create harvest but our laziness can prevent it.” We must embrace a lean life- less entertainment which is a sacrifice in our culture.
  • Like an athlete, we must compete according to the rules- not cheating in our actual ministries, and not cutting corners on our own training. You can not build ministry stealing other sheep- we have a tendency to compete with other churches.
  • Like a farmer (especially in unmechanized agriculture), we must work very hard- day in and day out, in season and out of season. While our hard work cannot guarantee a harvest, our laziness can prevent a harvest! Christian Leadership is hard work every day.
So great are the rigors/hardships of Christian leadership that they require a special reminder of the reasons why they are worth it. This is what Paul emphasizes in 2:8-13.
  • Life out of death is the law of redemption (2:8,9; John 12:24-26). -cruciform pattern of life
  • The salvation of souls is at sake (2:10)
  • Eternal life and Christ’s reward will more than compensate for the hardships we endure in ministry (2:11,12).
4. Keep your teaching focused on biblical priorities (2:14-18)
Paul contrasts two different kinds of teaching emphasis through the use of two different terms used for road-builders. One “cuts a straight path” (orthotomeo) so that those who hear their teaching can travel to the destination. The other “swerves” or deviates (astocheo) so that those who hear their teaching do not reach the destination.
The destination is salvation through faith in Christ, and maturity in Christ (Col.1:28). The teaching emphasis that leads people to this destination is what Paul calls “sound” (hygienic) doctrine. This sound doctrine has two key emphasis: the message of God’s grace and the lifestyle of sincere love for one another and all people.
Not heretical doctrine but teaching doctrinal tangents- spiritual junk foods that promote spiritual pride which can include end times emphasis and speculation, inordinate passion about political views- wrong emphasis.
By contrast, Paul warns not only against heresy (2:17-18), but also against doctrinal tangents and theological speculations (2:14-16)- spiritual junk foods that counterfeit real joy and promote spiritual selfishness and pride.
“Handling accurately the word of truth” therefore involves both regularly nourishing you people in the gospel and urging them to a lifestyle of love, and appropriate criticism and refutation of heresy and doctrinal tangents.