√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken
2 Timothy 2 [NIV]
1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others…4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this…25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…
Renewal is the application of “the grace that is in Christ Jesus” that fills the void sins once occupied in us. What makes renewal real is Jesus’ grace, and our confidence in it. That’s the only thing that can overcome our limitations.
Paul knew it was God who’d entrusted him AND his limitations, to be a witness for Him. He had first-hand experience of the power of Jesus to change even the most undeserving opponent, despite their limitations. Isn’t that an interesting thought? God knows how to teach us to use what we wish he would just take away.
This is my grand finale for all of us today. I want our confidence to be in God’s power and the grace of Jesus to help us reveal He is the strength we count on despite our obvious limitations. Then we can we be His reliable witnesses “qualified to teach others… in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…” I guess it’s the “takes one to know one” method of witness….and on a personal note, if God can “gently” instruct and continue to change a woman who once said…I’ve changed enough…He can change anyone.
II Corinthians 6: 14 Do not be [KJV adds unequally here] yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
We know from our most reliable examples, Jesus and Paul, these verses mean something more than turning your back on unbelievers. These two men were real evangelists. That makes this Scripture passage thought provoking. The word comparisons are easy. We know righteousness and wickedness have nothing in common, nor do light and darkness or Christ and idols. “Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” What is this separation that protects righteousness, fellowship and harmony so it’s clearly the antidote to wickedness, darkness and idols? What is the concern about being “yoked” together?
The idea of a yoke sounds helpful. My definition of a yoke is a device that enables two separate animals to pull together to purposely lighten the weight of a load and accomplish a specific task. If you look at my definition as a believer coming along side an unbeliever to “yoke” up with them to deal with a load of sin and accomplish the specific task of salvation it might seem to be a reasonable definition of evangelism. But…
What if Paul’s warning is for us to recognize the reality that being “yoked” is only a forced restraint of the fundamental incompatibility of purpose and task for the unbeliever. The Lord’s reality is that righteousness, fellowship and harmony come from the unyoked evangelist who has the courage and the strength to lead that unbeliever “As God has said: Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate.”