Final Thoughts on II Timothy 3:14
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, NKJV
This past Sunday morning we honored this year’s high school and college graduates at Bethel Bible Church. The purpose of having spent 12 or more years in school is to learn. But learning does not stop with graduation from high school or college. Learning is a lifelong process. As high school or college graduates, we may think that there is not much left to learn, but as the years pass, we come to realize how little we really knew at graduation. I have been learning all of my life in the school of life and that learning will continue until the Lord calls me home. In our text verse, there are four lessons for graduates.
First, there are still lessons to learn. The Lord says, “you must continue. . .” Learning is a lifelong process and there are three main ways that we can learn as we continue in the school of life.
We can learn by experience. In Genesis 30:27, Laban said to Jacob, “I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.” Do not be afraid of volunteering or launching out into a new field, business, or career, or taking a job because you are afraid that you might mess it up.
We can also learn by example. In I Corinthians 10:11, the Lord says of the things that happened to the Israelites in the wilderness, “Now all these things happened to them as examples.” Keep an eye on those around you and learn from their successes and mistakes.
Most importantly, we can learn through what the Bible, God’s word, says to us. His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psa. 119:105) and the entrance of His word gives light and understanding to the simple (Psa. 119:130).
Second, there are still classes to attend. “Continuing” involves effort. We cannot lie out of school and be successful (Heb. 10:25). As we attend the school of life, we will make mistakes, but the great thing to know is that failure is not final. We can recover from failure. In I Kings 19:1-4, Elijah fled into the wilderness at Jezebel’s death threat, and even asked God to take his life. Instead, the Lord refreshed and strengthened him, and Elijah went forth and anointed Jehu as Israel’s next king. The Apostle Peter denied the Lord three times, but the Lord restored him, and his preaching of the gospel became the foundation upon which the New Testament church was built. We should never intentionally make mistakes, but when we do, there is a God who forgives and restores (I John 1:9). By God’s grace and help, we can rebound and recover from our failures.
Third, there is a teacher to listen to, “the one from whom we have learned.” In Mark 1:22, the people were astonished at the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ because “He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” The Lord Jesus Christ alone is the only inerrant and infallible teacher, and like the teachers we had in school, He will give out grades (II Cor. 5:10).
Finally, there is a graduation to expect (Rom. 8:18). Why do we go through 12 or more years of school? We do it to achieve our dreams and goals for our life’s career. Likewise, as Christians, we subject ourselves to the authority of the divine teacher for the same reason—to achieve the goal of eternal paradise in His presence (I Cor. 2:9).
Have you repented of your sins and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? If so, are you applying the lessons of the divine teacher to your life? Are you ready for graduation where you will meet Him face to face?