“What You Have Become Convinced Of”

Strasburg Pike pond, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19 Click to enlargeStrasburg Pike pond, Lancaster County, PA
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“What You Have Become Convinced Of”

Message summary: Today’s church needs men and women and young people like Timothy, who will continue in what they have learned and have become convinced of.
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“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14,15).

Today we complete our short series from 2 Timothy 3:14,15. Wednesday we considered the importance of “continue” and in Thursday’s message we studied the portion that states, “what you have learned” and “because you know those from whom you learned it”.

Today let us consider the phrase “have become convinced of” which is an expression of our personal convictions. We hear the word “conviction” a lot these days. It’s a talking point in both secular and religious circles. Opposing parties may have strong convictions though their views may stand in stark contrast.

Paul emphatically called Timothy to continue in what he had learned and had become convinced of.

Paul was confident that Timothy not only learned the great truths of the faith, but he had become personally convinced of them as well. He had an inner conviction concerning the truth and reliability of these things. Such confidence produces personal stability. Without this conviction of heart, it would have been difficult for Timothy to hold fast in the things he had learned amid so many persecutions and deceptions.

Conviction is defined as “the state of being convinced; of having a fixed or firm belief”. This word has certainly trickled down from its original meaning, most especially in the political world. These days when many speak of their convictions they merely mean their present opinion which may very well change at any time with the current political and cultural winds. It’s not hard to find prominent politicians only ten or fifteen years ago expressing what they called a deep conviction that marriage is between a man and woman only to flip flop when their position cameat a cost. They are among the many who, as the Apostle Paul described, are “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).

About 35 years ago a well-known politician expressed this view in writing to a constituent when he was in the House of Representatives, “It is my deep personal conviction that abortion is wrong.” This same politician has now completely changed his view on this “conviction” (and many more I might add). You may think of similar examples, among politicians, theologians and even in your own life, which I hope will lead to you being “convicted” by the Holy Spirit in a theological sense about those subject matters in the Bible that “change not”!

What do you stand for today? What is it which you are convinced of and have a fixed and firm set of beliefs regarding? I believe this is one of the most important questions of life. Today, although the expression “having convictions” is bantered about and sounds good, many, including those who claim to be Christians, have convictions that vacillate with the wind. Their views are more established by current notions than a Biblical foundation.

Let us consider Paul’s statement to Timothy in today’s text. I want to receive it myself and urge you to do the same. “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of”. This is in a section designated with the heading “Paul’s Final Charge To Timothy”.

Paul established two foundations for these convictions:

1) The Source of our convictions: “Our Godly Heritage”
  For Timothy “the source” of his biblical faith was from his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, who passed it down to him from childhood on (2 Timothy 1:5, and 2 Timothy 3:15). Paul discipled Timothy as a son in the faith along with other godly people of his time period.

2) The Basis of our convictions: “The Holy Scriptures” From his infancy Timothy was introduced to “the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

The faith message and lifestyle was passed down generationally to Timothy. This led to his own faith experience based on deep convictions about eternal matters. Today’s church needs men and women and young people like Timothy, who will continue in what they have learned and have become convinced of. The church needs mature people who continue to proclaim truth regardless of how contrary it may be to the world’s vacillating standards. What a sad spectacle to see an older person abandon previous convictions they held to be popular with culture. When barraged with attacks on these foundational convictions we should not weaken but uphold our resolve to remain firm. Will you join us in being a people of deep Biblical convictions?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, there are so many gray areas in life where we  may differ with our own family or even the best of friends. We may vary in our preferences of personality styles, giftings, and tastes. But when it comes to the eternal truths, unchanging principles and commands of Scripture it is not for us to pick and choose. We must give full attention to the words of Scripture and build a godly heritage that we can pass on to our children and our children’s children. We must uphold and teach the Scriptures that are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. We want to remain steadfast and faint not as we seek to be people of deep conviction with growing faith and sterling character, making a positive difference in our sphere of influence. Help us, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

* Study note: “have become convinced of.” This phrase is translated a bit differently in various versions each adding value to the rich sense of the Greek word it translates. “and hast been assured of” (KJV), “and are confident about” (NET), “and which you know are true” (Phillips), “and have been assured of” (Wuest), “things of which you are certain” (BBE), “and have become convinced of” (NASB, NIV), “of which thou hast been fully persuaded” (Darby), “and your belief that has been confirmed” (Barclay), “firmly believed” (ESV), This word (epistothes) is used several other times in the New Testament such as “in full assurance” (Hebrews 6:11, 10:22).

Yesterday we made six company visits and want to share some photos taken in Lancaster County as we traveled from location to location.
Amish horse-drawn wagon, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
We came up behind this Amish horse-drawn wagon with a father and daughter early yesterday morning as we crossed the Conestoga River on Route 322 east of Ephrata. There was a convoy of similar wagons probably headed to a harvest.
Amish horse-drawn wagon, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
As we passed we saw their non-padded makeshift seats.
Mennonite children on wagon, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
These Mennonite children are riding along with dad for a wagon ride north of New Holland, PA.
Amish mother and two children on scooter, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
Also north of New Holland this Amish mother had apparently been shopping and was returning home on her scooter. You can’t see them but she had a little boy and girl standing on the scooter in front of her!
Amish on spring wagon, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
This family was out enjoying a pleasant summer day on a spring wagon near Bird In Hand. As you can see this is a real wagon, not the commercialized “buggy rides” advertised in the sign on their right. We wonder if the little girl is pointing to the sign and saying, “We are on a real Amish Country buggy ride”.
George the goat in van, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
We picked some items up at Costco for the Lapp family on the Old Windmill Farm.  One of the family goats just had to get in our van to see if there was anything for him.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“I Know Whom I Have Believed”  Video  Antrim Mennonite Choir

You won’t find this old hymn in most modern hymnals. Consider its words today.

We need more men like Daniel to stand for God and right;
Men clean and strong, who hate the wrong,
And for the truth will fight.
When those controlled by evil their base designs pursue,
We need more men like Daniel who never prove untrue.

We need more men like Daniel their virtue here to show;
Men bold, sincere, who know no fear when called to face the foe.
Though dangers dark may threaten, they crave not ease or rest.
We need more men like Daniel who boldly stand the test.

We need more men like Daniel whose faith defied the king;
Who knelt and prayed when plans were laid
his shameful death to bring.
But God sent down His angel His all to guard and shield;
We need more men like Daniel whose hearts will never yield.