Listen: Study Controls the Volume
Sermon Summary
This message is the first part of a two part message on how we can turn up the volume of God’s voice in our lives through study. In part one we will look at the role a spiritual teacher or leader plays in a persons life and how important it is to make sure you are following a godly teacher! By studying what the teacher teaches, the way they live their life, their faith, their purpose, and a host of other characteristics, you can get a good idea as to whether or not they are godly teachers. If they are genuine, then God will use them to help you better hear and understand His voice! The second part of this message will deal with the textbook a godly teacher uses.

Community Group Discussion Guide
1. When you were in school, did you have a favorite teacher? If so, why were they your favorite? Was it the way they taught? Was it what they taught? Was it their personality?
Was it because they were easier than the other teachers? Was it because they challenged you to achieve your best? Was it the way they lived their life in and out of the classroom?

2. Why is it so important to scrutinize the teachings of a spiritual teacher?
1 Tim 6:3  If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,
1 Tim 6:4  he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions
1 Tim 6:5  and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain

3. Discuss the following statement: If you examine the life of a spiritual teacher you will discover either a good example to follow or you will discover reasons to find another teacher. Paul put it this way in his instructions to young Timothy...
2 Tim 4:3  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
2 Tim 4:4  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
2 Tim 4:5  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

4. Paul had a powerful testimony of faithfulness to God even through terrible hardship and persecution. Why is a teacher’s testimony so important?
 1 Cor 2:1  When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
1 Cor 2:2  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Cor 2:3  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
1 Cor 2:4  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power,
1 Cor 2:5  so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Full Sermon Notes
Why wouldn't we desire to listen to the voice of the like no other, unequaled, eternal, sovereign, majestic, almighty, and most holy, God? The Psalmist spoke of the thunder of God and God reminded Job that His voice, God's voice could be like thunder. But Elijah had a different experience. Listen to this passage in 1 Kings 19:11-13a...

1 Ki 19:11  The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
1 Ki 19:12  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
1 Ki 19:13  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave...

Our world today is such a noisy place! It's loud, it's distracting, it's demanding, and it is sometimes hard for us to hear God whispering to our hearts. He could thunder at us, and demand and command us to listen, but He prefers to whisper gently to those hearts who desire to hear His voice! You might say, but Pastor Larry, I'm trying, I just need for God to turn up the volume! My life is so noisy and cluttered, and busy, and my world is really, really loud! Here's a truth we each need to know…God allows us to control the volume!! We're going to talk about that today. Let's pray and ask God to speak and to help us to hear!

Father God, we long to hear Your voice of wisdom and we are desperate for Your direction and guidance as we travel through this world. And help us remember while we are just passing through, we have very important things to accomplish, things with an eternal purpose and for this to happen, we must hear Your voice. Thank You for Your desire to talk to us in a personal and loving way! Help us to learn how to turn up the volume so we can hear more clearly Your wisdom and guidance. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and let me simply be Your mouthpiece today. Love You Jesus, thank You for hearing my prayer for I pray it in Your most precious Name, Amen!!

Let's open our Bibles to 2 Timothy 3. This will be our text for today. While your turning there, let me say a couple of things. First of all, the Sermon Notes insert has two main points. So you don't get really worried about half-way through the sermon, I'll let you know now that we'll only cover the first one today.

I was over zealous when I gave that info to the team! We'll cover the second point next week. With that said, let me ask you a question. When you were in school, did you have a favorite teacher? If so, why were they your favorite? Was it the way they taught? Was it what they taught? Was it their personality?

Was it because they were easier than the other teachers? Was it because they challenged you to achieve your best? Was it the way they lived their life in and out of the classroom? Now some of you might say, "Pastor Larry, I didn't really like school and I didn't pay that much attention to any of my teachers." Fair enough.

But when it comes to turning up the volume of God's voice in your life, it is vital you know your spiritual teachers! In fact it's dangerous not to know your teachers! History is full of examples of people who followed false teachers and paid a huge price. So how do we make sure we don't make that mistake? The first way is to...

Turn up the volume by studying the teacher!

Here's what Paul told his young apprentice Timothy in his second letter to him. 2 Timothy 3:10ff...

2 Tim 3:10  You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,
2 Tim 3:11  persecutions, sufferings--what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.

What a list!! Paul gives us the critical things you must look for when it comes to a person your going to allow to be your teacher in life. First of all you can learn a lot about a teacher by what they teach, so pay attention to what they teach. Paul said...

You know all about my
 "Teaching"

When it comes to spiritual things and things of the Bible, you need to know if your teachers are really teaching what the Bible teaches or just using the Bible to push their own opinions and agendas? This was a problem in Paul and Timothy's day and is still an issue in our world today. Paul had addressed this in his first letter to Timothy...

1 Tim 6:3  If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,
1 Tim 6:4  he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions
1 Tim 6:5  and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

So here's the litmus test: If a person's teaching does not line up with the word's of Christ and the life of Christ, then you need to find another teacher! It's so important for a teacher of the Bible to teach the Bible. That would seem to be a no-brainer, but there are many who call themselves Bible teachers who barely mention the Book!

Another powerful way to vet a teacher is to look at their life. Paul said...

You know all about my
 "Way of Life"

With the one exception of Jesus, no other teacher is perfect, but you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their life! Once you determine the truthfulness of what they teach you can examine whether or not they live what they teach! Don't overlook this. There are people who teach the wrong things, but there are also people who teach the right things for the wrong reasons and this can be discovered when you ask the age old question, "do they practice what they preach?" You turn up the volume to God's voice when you do your best to follow those who truly follow Christ!

Paul said this in his letter to the Corinthian church...

1 Cor 11:1  Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 Cor 11:2  I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

And what are some of the things Paul wanted to be remembered for and what were the things he was passing on to his students? We find some of these in our text where Paul told Timothy...

You know all about my
 "Purpose"

Paul had stated his purpose in ministry in his letter to the Colossian Church, Colossians 2:1-3

Col 2:1  I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.
Col 2:2  My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
Col 2:3  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

What a purpose! And out of this purpose flowed so many other characteristics about Paul the teacher. I don't have time to go into all of them in great detail, but let's look at them because they're important. Paul told Timothy...


You know all about my
 "Faith"

Does your teacher have faith? Is that faith evident in his or her life? If a person is walking in faith it will be evident even to those who don't know them personally because faith exhibits itself in the life and words of the person and it will become known! I love the following verses Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatian Church...

Gal 1:22  I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.
Gal 1:23  They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."
Gal 1:24  And they praised God because of me.

You know all about my
 "Patience"

Paul had mentioned the importance of patience many times in his writings, but especially in his letter to the Colossians...

Col 3:12  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Col 3:13  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

I hope you're not only realizing how important these qualities are in your teachers, but also how important these things are in your personal life. Why? Because you are a teacher whether you want to be or not. The way you live your life as a follower of Christ speaks volumes to those who are learning from you!

Now someone might say, "Pastor Larry, this was a pretty good message until you went and pulled my personal life into the equation!" Sorry, but you know teachers do like equations! And that's as close to a math teacher as I'll ever get! Paul then mentions one of the great themes of his life. He said to Timothy...

You know all about my
 "Love"

Paul had been changed by the love of God and the result was his entire ministry was motivated by love. In fact Paul felt love was the hinge pin upon which the doors of ministry swing. Listen...

1 Cor 13:1  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 Cor 13:2  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1 Cor 13:3  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Cor 13:4  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
1 Cor 13:5  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
1 Cor 13:6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
1 Cor 13:7  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

And talking about perseverance, Paul wanted young Timothy to turn up the volume of God's voice by observing how Paul had made it through some really tough times. Paul said...

You know all about my
 "Endurance"

And what had Paul had to endure? Well Paul reminds Timothy when as he says...

You know all about my
 "Pursecution"

And...

You know all about my
 "Sufferings"

I'm putting these three things together because they go together. When you're studying a teacher, it's important to know if what they teach has actually worked for them! How have they endured the tough times in life. It's not so much did their faith take them out of the storm, but did it get them through the storms?

Or you might ask the question, "Did their faith weather the storm?"
Paul told Timothy to remember the things he had been through and how he had by the grace of God endured. Wanna know what Paul was talking about? I sure hope so, because I'm gonna tell you...

2 Cor 11:24  Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
2 Cor 11:25  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
2 Cor 11:26  I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
2 Cor 11:27  I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
2 Cor 11:28  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
2 Cor 11:29  Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
2 Cor 11:30  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
2 Cor 11:31  The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.

And I love this! Paul said "If I must boast I will boast of the things that show my weakness." In other words…Paul didn't say, "Hey Timothy, remember my great strength and my tremendous power, and my awesome wisdom as a teacher!" Why did Paul not brag about those things? Because he knew he wasn't perfect and was prone to make mistakes. He was totally dependent on God. Paul knew if people followed teachers who were prideful, and stuck on themselves, it would drown out the voice and word of God so he resolved to never let that happen in his life. In fact he spoke of this in 1Corinthians 2:1-5!

1 Cor 2:1  When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
1 Cor 2:2  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Cor 2:3  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
1 Cor 2:4  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power,
1 Cor 2:5  so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Paul wanted the voice of God, the Word of God, to over power, and out shine any of his own personal qualities or traits. Paul knew that it was imperative, that his student's faith was firmly placed in and on God's power and not a man's wisdom! Why? Because he knew he wasn't the only one who would face hardships because of his faith! Listen to what he goes on to say to Timothy in our text.

2 Tim 3:12  In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
2 Tim 3:13  while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
2 Tim 3:14  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it...

When Paul says, "continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it," he's telling young Timothy to think long and hard before he discards the principles that have been lived and proven to him by the testimony of the godly people in his life! Paul is being very honest with Timothy by letting him know that living for Christ will not always be easy and may even bring persecution, but Paul had already told Timothy this in the beginning of his second letter to him. And we'll close with these words… 2 Timothy 1:5-13...

2 Tim 1:5  I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
2 Tim 1:6  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
2 Tim 1:7  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Tim 1:8  So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
2 Tim 1:9  who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
2 Tim 1:10  but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
2 Tim 1:11  And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.
2 Tim 1:12  That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
2 Tim 1:13  What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.

Let's Pray!!

ETS: Paul encourages young Timothy to learn from the example he had seen in his teachers lives and to continue learning from their text book, the holy Scriptures!
ESS: We can turn up the volume of God's voice by studying godly teachers and the Bible!

OSS: I want my hearers to turn up the volume of God's voice by studying their spiritual leaders and their textbook, the Bible.
Probing Question: How do we turn up the volume of God's voice by studying godly teachers and their textbook the Bible?


Unifying Word: Ways
Transitional Sentence: Let's look at the ways we can turn up the volume of God's voice by studying godly teachers and their textbook, the Bible!