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Ordinary Time Revised Common Lectionary Year C

Revised Common Lectionary

Year C

Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

October 16, 2022

 

Highlighted Text: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

Introduction:

In Paul’s second extant letter to his beloved Timothy, the passage of 3:10-4:5 records Paul’s final charge to Timothy. Calling on Timothy’s trust of Paul’s ministry and character (3:10-13), the role of his mother and grandmother in his knowledge of the Gospel (3:14-15), and the divine nature and power of Scripture (3:15-3:17), Paul commissions Timothy to fulfill his ministry as a harbinger of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ (4:1-5). This is Paul’s great last words for his disciple, knowing his own death was coming soon (4:6). These essential commissioning words of Paul can be seen as the core of pastoral responsibilities for Timothy and for all pastors since. 

Ancient Context:

This charge to Timothy is delivered in “view of [Christ’s] appearing and his kingdom.” While Paul saw his own life about to end, he still holds that Christ will come quickly. This was the mindset for much of the early Church. The paraousia (or second “appearing”) of Christ was on the horizon and Timothy was charged to take the baton for the next leg of the relay race Paul had begun in Christ (4:7).

Key Words and Phrases:

2 Tim. 3:15 – ἱερὰ γράμματα – Paul commands Timothy to remember the “Holy Scripture” he was raised immersed in. This phrase, found here without an article, should be seen as referring to the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible. The plural adjective hiera often describes someone or something of a sacred or consecrated nature or purpose. This use of word hieros only describes “writings” (grammata) here in 2 Timothy 3:15, while it is more common to describe the Temple (Matt. 4:5) or priests of the Temple (1 Cor. 9:13, translated “those who serve in the Temple”). Most importantly, both Paul and Timothy as Jews would have understood this phrase to mean the Torah, writings, and prophets of the Old Testament.

2 Tim. 3:16 – θεόπνευστος – This compound descriptor (translated “God-breathed” by most translations) of “every Scripture/writing” (πᾶσα γραφὴ) is foundational for our appreciation of the divine inspiration of the Bible. In particular, the Old Testament should never be seen as lesser Scriptures or less divine in its heritage (e.g., Marcionism). Every word of Scripture not only originates from God, but does exactly what God’s breath has done since the beginning, it animates the inanimate (Gen. 2:7). The new life of Christ is now available through faith by the same breath of God in His Word (2 Tim. 3:15).

Key Words and Phrases:

While some have been called into full-time, occupational ministry, this charge in 2 Tim. 3:14-4:5 could easily be seen as a universal charge to all believers. While many Christians may not assume they are called into full-time ministry, God’s Word is available to be used for the good works of God’s kingdom (3:17) and is not reserved to only be used by “professional” evangelists. Every man, woman, and child in the faith should see themselves as commissioned by the same voice that animated their own hearts, continuing the lineage of the ministry of whoever first shared the Gospel with them. To do so is to realize the “holy priesthood” united under the same consecrated, holy (hiera) Word of God (1 Pet. 2:4-5).

Charles Teixeira

Charles Teixeira was born just south of Boston, Massachusetts, becoming a believer just before college. Charles attended the University of Connecticut and then later Gordon College (MA), earning a degree in Biblical and Theological Studies. Following college, Charles served as a social worker for three years in a group home setting for teenagers who had been removed from their homes. 

From 2012-2019, Charles also worked for XXXChurch (xxxchurch.com) as a contributor and a pastoral counselor to men experiencing sex addictions. Charles’ first ordained call in Midland, TX as Assistant Pastor of Congregational Care. He has just transitioned into being the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Albert Lea Minnesota.

Charles is married to Elizabeth and they have two sons, AJ and Isaac, and one very orange cat named Ginny Weasley. In his spare time, Charles loves reading, traveling, and watching the Red Sox win.

Sermon Resources

Key Quote

“The highest proof of Scripture derives in general from the fact that God in person speaks in it.”
– John Calvin, Institutes 1.7.4

Key Illustration

Dr. William Evans, who pastored College Church from 1906–1909, was an unusually accomplished man. He had the entire King James Version of the Bible memorized as well as the New Testament of the American Standard Version. Dr. Evans also authored over fifty books. His son, Louis, became one of the best-known preachers in America and for many years pastored the eminent First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. When Dr. William Evans retired, he moved to Hollywood to be near his son, and when Louis was away he would substitute for him.

One unforgettable Sunday Dr. William, as he was affectionately called, spoke on the virgin birth. All were amazed when he raised his Bible and tore out the pages that narrate the birth of the Lord. As the tattered scraps floated down toward the congregation, he shouted, “If we can’t believe in the virgin birth, let’s tear it out of the Bible!” And then as he drove home his point, he tore out the resurrection chapters, then the miracle narratives, then anything conveying the supernatural. The floor was littered with mutilated pages.

Finally, with immense drama he held up the only remaining portion and said, “And this is all we have left—the Sermon on the Mount. And that has no authority for me if a divine Christ didn’t preach it.” After a few more words, he asked his listeners to bow for the benediction. But before he could pray, a man in that vast and sedate congregation stood and cried, “No, no! Go on! We want more!” Several others joined in. So Dr. Evans preached for another fifty minutes.

Dr. Evans was right. You cannot pick and choose from the Bible what you want to believe is inspired. The Bible does not present itself that way. Even more, the Bible will have no sustaining power for life if you make yourself the arbiter of what you will and will not believe about it.

Significantly, the text before us, containing the Bible’s most famous statement of the inspiration of Scripture, is set in the context of continuance—going on, remaining in the gospel. What Christians believe about the Scriptures has everything to do with their continuance and service in the faith.

Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2000), 235–236.

Liturgical Elements

Prayer of Invocation:

“Blessed Lord, you have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning—grant us that we may in such a way hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.” Book of Common Prayer, 1552

Prayer of Adoration:

“Your words and ways are

Perfect
Sure
Right
Clear

Your words and ways are
Pure
True
Righteous
Every one

Their value, beyond price
Their goodness, beyond delight
Their counsel, enduring blessing

Place in me a longing
To desire them
Become them
Every one”

Words and Ways © 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com

Prayer of Confession:

“Please give us mercy, Oh Lord, for how we have misused your word. We ignore it, discredit it, weaponize it, and commandeer it to prop ourselves up. Instead, please make us humble, bring us low, so that we can encounter the mystery of your grace in the Scriptures. Strip us of our securities in ourselves that we would pursue you more fervently. We come you in silent confession.” Time of silent reflection and confession…

Submitted by Austin D. Hill

Assurance of Pardon:

The good news is that Christ calls us to new life and enables us to begin again and again and again and again.

Leader: Friends, believe the good news of the gospel.

People: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!

As Jesus healed the afflicted and restored those who have died, he also forgives our sins and gives us new life.

Leader: Friends, believe the good news of the gospel.

People: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!