2 Timothy 3:12-17
If we desire to make it out of this world, then we need a way to make it out of this world. Indeed, there is one way out of this world. It is through faith in Jesus Christ that we can make it out of this world. It is the Holy Bible, the Holy Scriptures, which tells us how we make it out of this world alive. And we United Methodist Christians believe this stuff!
One of our predecessor denominations, the Evangelical United Brethren Church, stated: “We believe the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, reveals the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation.”(http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/confession-of-faith) Even the former Methodist Church agreed by saying: “The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation.”(http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-articles-of-religion-of-the-methodist-church) Both of statements can be traced to the Church of England, onto the Catholic Church, and even to early ecumenical councils.
Knowing that we believe in the Holy Scriptures, we turn to some of what they contain for us. Since we desire a way to make it out of this world, our reason for this desire has to be founded upon something. As Paul is writing to Timothy, he says, and I paraphrase, “It is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.” Both within and outside the church Paul foresaw this scene in 2 Timothy 3:2-5a:
How then are we to make it out of this world since it will be getting a whole lot worse? This is where Paul instructs Timothy in the means of living a godly life. It is by knowing the Bible that Timothy makes it out of this world by living a godly life. As we have faith in Jesus we are able to live. It is the Holy Scriptures which shows us what this salvation means.
By praying as we read the Bible we are able to be taught. John Wesley continues this thought in his “Notes on the New Testament”:
“16. All scripture is inspired of God – The Spirit of God not only once inspired those who wrote it, but continually inspires, supernaturally assists, those that read it with earnest prayer. Hence it is so profitable for doctrine, for instruction of the ignorant, for the reproof or conviction of them that are in error or sin, for the correction or amendment of whatever is amiss, and for instructing or training up the children of God in all righteousness.”(http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/notes.i.xvii.iv.html )
A. Profitable for doctrine – we get to know what God thinks and desires
B. For instruction of the ignorant – just because a preacher says it, doesn’t make it true – check for yourself!
C. Reproof/conviction of those in error or sin/Correction/amendment of whatever is amiss – When we sin, we need something to bring us back to God. The Bible brings us back to God.
D. Instructing/training up the children of God – We can be godly, or holy, or righteous, as we learn what being godly, holy, and righteous means. We can only do this was learn what is in the Bible.
For some of us, our parents and parents taught the Bible to us. Others of us are learning about the Bible as we continue to believe in Jesus. Either way, somebody has taught us about the Bible. In the Bible we learn all there is to know about salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. We learn how to overcome people attempting to deceive us.
We learn God promised a savior as far back as Genesis. We discover that God is faithful – even when His people are not faithful! We discover how patient God is with people. We come to terms with the idea that God wants us to be near him. We even learn that God does not want us to die.
So, God has this plan of salvation which involves us believing that God can deliver us. We get to be with God because of Jesus. It is Jesus who rose from the dead so we may have life with God. Otherwise because of our sins, we would be separated from God.
God has a way for us to make it out of this world. If we follow Jesus Christ, then we can live. We trust Jesus because we know God’s forgiveness through Jesus. This forgiveness leads us to do the good works God knows we can do. Once we repent of our ways, we get to take up God’s ways of living. Just as God did good in creating us, we do good as God created us.
We will not make it out of this world unless we believe in Jesus. Read the Bible and see for yourself. Then, let’s start living what we read in the Bible.