Good workers for Jesus Christ
So Timothy, you are like my own son now. I want you to be strong, and you can do this if you always stay joined up to Jesus Christ, so that he will always help you. You heard me tell those true things about Jesus to many people, so you have to teach those things to more people. Pick good people that everyone respects then teach them those things, so they can go to other people and teach them those same things.
Remember that you belong to Jesus Christ. You are like his soldier. If soldiers get hurt they don’t quit but they just forget their pain and keep on fighting. Well you have to be like that now. If people see that you belong to Jesus and then they hurt you, you just have to forget it and keep going, just like a good soldier, and like other good Christians.
And you know that soldiers don’t get other jobs while they are in the army. They just work for their army captain and try to make him happy. Well, just like that, Jesus is your captain so you have to do just the things that Jesus wants you to do, and don’t get mixed up with anything that he doesn’t want.
And you are also like a sportsman. You know that sportsmen have to follow the rules of their sport, otherwise they can’t win. Well, just like that, you have to follow the rules that God set down, so that in the end you will win and he will give you the prize.
And I will use another picture story about a gardener. He works hard, then he is the first person to eat the food he grows in the garden. Well, like that gardener, if you work hard for God he will quickly pay you. Now think about the things I just told you, and Jesus, our leader, will help you to properly understand it all.
So if people make trouble for you just remember that they made trouble for Jesus Christ. He was born into King David’s family, but people gave him a lot of trouble, and they killed him. But then God made him alive again. That is the good news that I always tell people about Jesus. But some of them don’t like me if I say that, so they make trouble for me. They even treat me like a crook. They tied me up and put me here in jail. But nobody can tie up God’s word or keep it in jail. Anyone out there now can still go around and tell people God’s message. 10 So, all right, I’m happy to stay here in jail so that other people will hear that message and believe in Jesus. They are the people that God picked out. He will save them and make them great, and they will live happy with him for ever. 11 Listen to these things that you sometimes hear Christians say. They are very true,
If we follow him and stop doing bad things, it is like as if we died and so we can’t do anything bad any more, and then later, we will live with him.
12 If we follow him and people give us trouble, and if we keep on following him and don’t let that trouble stop us, and then later, we will become important leaders with him.
But if we say that we don’t know him, and then later, he will say that he doesn’t know us. 13 Or if we break our promise to him, he isn’t like us, he will never break his promise to us. He will always do the right thing. He is like that.
The kind of worker God likes
14 So talk to your mob there, and don’t let them forget about these things. And tell them not to argue with anyone about words. Let them know that God is listening as you tell them this. If they argue like that, nobody wins, and anyone that listens to those arguments gets all messed up in the end.
15 You try your best to be the kind of teacher that God likes. He likes one that teaches only the true message, and explains it the right way. That’s the way to work for God. 16 Stay away from people that teach useless stories that give God no respect, because if somebody talks like that they just push people away from God. 17 Their message is like a bad sore on a man that will not heal, and in the end it kills him. Those 2 men, Hymenaes and Philetus, they are that kind of wrong teacher. 18 They say that God already raised up the dead people and made them alive again, but they are wrong. Some of those that listen to them don’t believe in Jesus any more.
19 But God gave us that true word that can’t ever change. It is like a solid slab of concrete that builders put a house on. And it is like they wrote some words in that concrete. It is like they wrote this, “God knows those people that belong to him,” and they also wrote, “If anyone says that he belongs to God he has to stop doing bad things.” So God’s people have to live that way.
20 Let me use another picture story. In a big house there are lots of things that the people use all the time. Some of those things are really dear things, like gold bowls or silver spoons, and people use those things for good clean jobs. But for dirty jobs, they use pots made from the ground, or from wood. 21 Well, it is like that too with people that belong to God. If you stop doing bad things you are like gold things or silver things, and God will use you for the good jobs. You will live in a clean way and you will be ready for God to use you any way he wants to.
22 Lots of young people just follow their own feelings and then they do bad things. But you have to keep away from anything like that. Keep away from anything that will push you to do something bad. Instead of that you have to try to do good things, and always trust God, and love people and don’t fight anyone. Live like this with those people that pray to God and only want to do good things. Make them your good friends.
23 But you can’t argue about stupid things that are not important, otherwise you might get into a fight. 24 And anyone that works for God can’t get into fights, but he has to be good to people, and keep on quietly teaching them in a good way. 25-26 If somebody doesn’t agree with the true message you have to straighten them out, but do it gently. Maybe God will help them turn around and get them to think straight and understand that true message. Then they will wake up, and God will get them out of the devil’s trap. That devil catches people like that in his trap and makes them do whatever he wants them to do.