ࡱ> 02/5@ bjbj22 "&XXnnnn}}}8::::::$R^ }} ^s 8 8 .    `~+n  80    .0 }L6 ,+i}}}^^J$ JSUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS Commentary by Walter Albritton February 12, 2006 Pursue Righteousness and Shun Senseless Controversies 2 Timothy 2 Key Verse: Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22 Here Paul offers wonderful advice. He may have had church leaders and teachers in mind but clearly the Spirit can use Pauls wise counsel to benefit the whole church. Indeed, the church suffers whenever its people ignore these instructions that Paul gave to Timothy. It is with great sadness that I recall how often I have seen the church ruptured by senseless wrangling about trivial matters. Congregations have been split by foolish fights over where to locate the organ console or what color carpet to install. The sad reality is that 50 church members can sometimes spend two hours squabbling about nothing and go home without a word being spoken about how the church can respond to the Great Commission of our Lord. We can stand around complaining to high heaven about the music being too loud and never lift a finger to try to reach some lost soul for Christ. Clearly there is still much profane chatter that Christians should avoid for the sake of the church. Perhaps we can learn from Pauls serious attitude toward controversy in the church. We may not take the problem seriously enough. We tell our cute stories about church disputes, like the one about the church board that argued about buying a chandelier. People laugh about the man who opposed buying the chandelier because no one could play it if we got one, and what our church really needs is more light! Such bickering was no laughing matter to Paul. There is nothing jovial in his words to Timothy, Remind everyone of these things, and command them in Gods name to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them (2:14 in the New Living Translation). Command them to stop is stern language. And Paul does not let up. He goes on to insist that everyone Avoid godless, foolish discussions that lead to more and more ungodliness. This kind of talk spreads like cancer (2:16, NLT). Pauls sternness stems evidently from having observed that such talk has undermined the faith of some. All of us have known persons who quit the church and the faith because of senseless squabbling. I endure a continuing heaviness of heart because of dear friends who gave up on the church years ago because of a church dispute. I pray for their return to the faith and to the church. I pray also that the Spirit will guide me to discern how to encourage them to return to the fold. Surely none of us can be at peace about those persons who have been wounded by our church fights. The Good Shepherd whom we serve will not settle for 99 but relentlessly pursues the one lost sheep. Certainly he expects no less compassion from those of us who represent him today. Though lies and foolish talk can weaken the church, Paul asserts that the truth, Gods truth, is in no danger. His words are brimming with confidence when he says to Timothy But Gods truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his, and Those who claim they belong to the Lord must turn away from all wickedness (2:19, NLT). This is a good word for us today. We must not lose heart even when wrangling in the church breaks our hearts. Gods truth will still stand firm when all the dust has settled. What we must do is follow the advice Paul gave Timothy when he said, Do your best. We do our best by keeping ourselves pure so that we are always ready for the Master to use us to do his will. We do our best by running from anything that stimulates youthful lust. We do our best when we follow those things that make us want to do what is right. We do our best when we pursue, or seek after, faith, love, and peace. We do our best when we enjoy the companionship of people who serve the Lord with a pure heart. We do our best when we refuse to participate in foolish, ignorant disputes that cause Christians to fight one another. We do our best when we refuse to quarrel. We do our best when we are kind to everyone. We do our best when we choose to be patient with difficult people. We do our best when we gently teach those who oppose Gods truth. When we have done the best we can to live as workers of God who have no reason to be ashamed, then we can believe with Paul that, Perhaps God will change those peoples hearts, and they will believe the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the Devils trap (2:25-26, NLT). This is, of course, a high calling but one worthy of the best effort we can offer as servants of our Lord Jesus! + + + (Contact Walter at walbritton@elmore.rr.com) 56AGHI~+ - H : ; < m 3 4 ~ o ȿޠޔތ||x|x|xtpthhh:Dh`oh@hehhhA"7hyhfhh5h"[h! 5CJaJhM5CJaJhf5CJaJh=zB5CJaJh h=>* hyh= hyhyh! h*2hJOh'5CJaJhJOhJO5CJaJ)56HI, - ; 4 q,1Bgdf $`a$gd|$a$gd$a$gd $a$gdJOpq+27Hg+,01ÿhJO hh N hpsh]h'h'>*h'hh,hh(hh`huh0!h4cdhHhMK<huh:Dhhh6#BdGr`gdgdf 1h/ =!"#$%H@H Normal CJOJQJ_HaJmH sH tH DA@D Default Paragraph FontRiR  Table Normal4 l4a (k(No ListJ^@J % Normal (Web)dd[$\$OJQJ*W@* %Strong5\&56HI,-;4q , 1BdGr0000000p000000000000000p00000000000000O90B8@0(  B S  ?Y"Y "Y"YL"Y;#6bGf>*urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags PersonName8*urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttagsdate8*urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttagstime  1214162200625DayHourMinuteMonthYear  e g e g Preferred CustomersPk3 [;L6|{fw-[r~+ 8K+7&S0 ! \  b 4]v%Hb^G^eFO/>Mf5,R s*w Y+D:D6qq/be?%  @!nH!"""+%">;#C,$M$dU'9( )^)do)%*wJ*[+f-,g<,h,-- '-+-y-}-x.2*2Sv2w2 3z3;$4~57y7A"7}7F8P*9U9" :}: ;MK<*=g="t= {>?Z?vs@z{@PAB=zBC D4D Eg2EzE;FjFG`P`+uab%cD~c'd4cdid+f"ghKrhD;i"CjWej,k/yk(Ll$mHo`oxprrr-t uw8uqFvYv*w)z\,zx{Z||x|B.}OZ~@%[>LZ37*FysM@ei'ax$9^k2%x>q %oC\OR))qK5GpCpG| v( "-77:?@SyEJSd/pYkMdy4z&oC#(qsf5tMju\`?=QR Z%3? >Pd V>]`m|A]wI/g@z @|RC?&W&e\K{,uUrav<MD 8{iwwSfWGzMff sKOy{.(wN~.@g g Ыg g P@UnknownGz Times New Roman5Symbol3& z ArialCFComic Sans MS"h7:F7:FB "B "!r4d3QKP)?JOSUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONWalter AlbrittonPreferred CustomerOh+'0  (4 P \ ht|SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON1UNDWalter AlbrittonSONaltalt Normal.dotiPreferred CustomerN2efMicrosoft Word 10.0@Ik@w+@w+B՜.+,0 hp  St. James UMCO" A SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON Title  !"#$%&()*+,-.1Root Entry F@%~+31TableWordDocument"&SummaryInformation(DocumentSummaryInformation8'CompObjj  FMicrosoft Word Document MSWordDocWord.Document.89q