Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, September 6, 2015

BeFaithful2Timothy

What do a soldier, a farmer, and an athlete have in common? If it helps, visualize them walking into a bar. For starters, they are all metaphors that St. Paul uses in his second letter to Timothy.

This is the final letter from a man condemned to die. These are his final words to Timothy who was like a son to him and to whom he had entrusted the church at Ephesus. This is Paul’s passing of the torch to his “beloved child.” What would you want to say?

This Lord’s Day, We are starting a new series on 2 Timothy called Be Faithful, and to kick it off we’d like to say a bit about our series image and why we’ve chosen it.

Farmer

Borrowing Paul’s metaphor, we have an image of a farmer at work in his field. The steady faithfulness of life on a farm is a potent image of the Christian life. Wendell Berry is a Tennessean farmer, author and poet from whom the Rev. Eugene Peterson has said he has “learned much of [his] pastoral theology.” Peterson continues, “Whenever Berry writes the word ‘farm,’ I substitute ‘parish’: the sentence works for me every time.” Paul says “It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.” (2 Timothy 2:6)

Father/Son

The subjects of this image appear to be a father and a son. Paul refers to Timothy as a “son” on numerous occasions and it is clear that he regards himself as a spiritual father to Timothy. Why does Paul think of Timothy as a son? Probably the best answer to that question can be found in Philippians 2:22, “But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.”

Training

We wanted an image not just of a farmer, but of a farmer investing in his son, training him to do what he does. This was foundational for Paul and Timothy’s relationship as Paul knew that Timothy would be carrying on kingdom work after Paul was gone.

Counter-cultural

We chose the image of a farmer in part because of how countercultural it is. I know a bunch of soldiers and athletes, but I don’t know that many farmers! However, even though ours is no longer an agrarian society, the necessity of farming is indisputable. In a world increasingly hostile to the gospel and religious conviction, Christianity can seem to many like a relic from a bygone era. But we must be faithful amidst opposition for the life of the world.

More than anything, 2 Timothy reminds us that even “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)

THE WORD

Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:1-5
Sermon: “Faith Of Our Fathers…and Mothers”

SONGS

Forever (Tomlin)
listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase

Our God Our Help In Ages Past  (Cardiphonia)
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Lead On O King Eternal  (Indelible Grace)
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Jesus With Thy Church Abide  (Indelible Grace)
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Song of Preparation: By Faith (Getty)
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Song of Response: For All the Saints (Indelible Grace)
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RESPONSIVE READINGS

Confession of Faith – Heidelberg Catechism, Questions 54 and 55

Q. 54: What believest thou concerning the “holy catholic church” of Christ?

A: That the Son of God from the beginning to the end of the world, gathers, defends, and preserves to himself by his Spirit and word, out of the whole human race, a church chosen to everlasting life, agreeing in true faith; and that I am and forever shall remain, a living member thereof.

Q. 55: What do you understand by “the communion of saints”?

A: First, that all and every one, who believes, being members of Christ, are in common, partakers of him, and of all his riches and gifts; secondly, that every one must know it to be his duty, readily and cheerfully to employ his gifts, for the advantage and salvation of other members.

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