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Approved & Disapproved Workers (2 Timothy 2:14-26)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 11 November 2012 00:00

2 Timothy 2:15 tells us that Approved Workers Are Not Ashamed at the Bema Seat of Christ.
This is the verse from which the AWANA youth ministry derives its name. In his final letter to Timothy, Paul reminds Timothy (and us) to live in light of ‘that Day’ (2 Tim 1:18) when we will stand before our Lord and give an accounting to Him concerning the way we lived our lives as His servants. Only His children will be at the Bema. Our works done now in this life will be evaluated with a view to future opportunities and privileges for service for Him in His coming kingdom.

Paul urges Timothy to serve as an example for all believers. In order for Timothy or any believer to present himself at the Judgment Seat of Christ approved to God, an unashamed worker, he must be diligent to learn and so be able to teach the word of truth accurately.
While all believers will be accepted into the kingdom, only biblically faithful ones will be approved by Christ at the Bema. This approval includes eternal rewards like:
(1) commendation (“Well done, good and faithful servant; … see Matthew 25:21, 23),
(2) promotion (… you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.
(3) enhanced enjoyment and intimacy (… Enter into the joy of your Lord.”)

We may summarize 2 Timothy 2:15 by asking ourselves three questions:

(1) Is the Lord well pleased? Be diligent to present yourself approved to God,
The word translated “to present yourself” is used by Paul in Romans 14:10c: For we shall all “stand (present ourselves) before the judgment seat of Christ. This refers to individual believers presenting themselves at the judgment seat (Bema) of Christ on ‘that Day.’ That is why each believer must endure hardship and thus live one’s life as a good soldier of Christ whose priority is to please his/her Commander (2:3-4). We want to be a vessel of honor and not of dishonor (2:20-21). We want to be useful to our Lord both now and then on into His coming kingdom.

(2) Is the work well done? a worker who does not need to be ashamed,
The judgment seat of Christ is not about whether we will spend eternity with the Lord. That was already determined when we believed in Jesus for eternal life (John 5:24; 6:47; etc.). The judgment seat of Christ is about how we lived our life as God’s child. It is about how we served our Master during this life. It matters how we live! If there is something you need to do today to be obedient to the Lord Jesus, I want to encourage you to ‘just do it.’ Take the next step to become a ‘Nike’ (the Greek word for ‘overcoming; victorious’) Christian in that area of your life today. We deceive ourselves if we think that at the Bema we will be commended by Jesus with the words, “Well planned …” or “Well intended …” It is about hearing Him say, “Well done …” That is why it is so important to be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only as James (1:22) tells us.

(3) Is the Word well used? rightly dividing the word of truth.
The word translated “rightly dividing” is a compound word meaning literally “cutting straight” and means “handling accurately” the Word of God.
It must be taught in a way that is consistent with God’s intended meaning and purpose.
The word picture is of a workman who is careful and accurate in his work. The word is used elsewhere to describe a tentmaker who makes a straight rather than wavy cut in his fabric. It pictures a builder who lays bricks in a straight row and a farmer who plows a straight furrow.

This same word (cutting straight) is used in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures found in Proverbs 3:6 and Proverbs 11:5.
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will direct (= make straight or smooth) your paths.

Proverbs 11:5-6
The righteousness of the blameless will direct (= make straight or smooth) his way aright,
But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,
But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.

In summary, may we grow strong (be empowered) in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2:1-7)!
– May we choose, like a soldier, to obey our Commander (2:3-4).
– May we choose, as an athlete, to live according to the truths of Scripture (2:5).
– May we choose, like a farmer, to not grow weary in well-doing (2:6).

 

 

 

 

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