How to Persevere
Paul writes Timothy as his own life is about to come to an abrupt end under the decree of Caesar Nero. Paul's main emphasis throughout this letter is simply: "Don't give up and don't give in." He wants Timothy to finish well and avoid the trap that so many fall into, including the trusted companion Demas who, "in love with this present world, has deserted me."
In 2 Timothy chapter 2 Paul gives his young disciple a roadmap to perseverence. I remember the man who discipled me (Charles Ellis) referring to this kind of disciple as a "Serious Saint."
Serious saints are strong in the Lord (2 Timothy 2:1).
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
I am so glad it doesn’t just say “Be strong.” Our strenghth to carry on doesn't come from our gut. We are not drawing on our own resources to stay faithful. We are drawing on God's infinaite storehouse of resources. The Lord is the one who will enable us to "Be strong."
Serious saints are strategic in their ministry (2 Timothy 2:2).
...and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Our Job is to reproduce. Paul tells Timothy to entrust to others what has been entrusted to him with an eye on multiple generations. I have found that few things in life have the power to keep me on the right track as much as the realization that, "What leaders do in moderation, followers do in excess." If we are going to, "Give every man, woman and child in Greater Austin repeated opportunities to see, hear and respond to the Gospel," we had better be making disciples!
First, you need to be a disciple.
“What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses...”
Disciple Defined: “A person who has a consuming passion for the Person of Jesus Christ, who has an unshakable confidence in the Word of Christ and is completely committed to Christ in service and obedience.” Dwight Pentecost
Next, you need to reach and disciple someone who can reach and disciple someone else.
"Entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
So, if you are not currently in either a C-group, D-Group, Multiply Group or Mentoring relationship... what are you waiting for?
Serious saints are single-minded in their devotion (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
Paul reminds Timothy that we are on the front lines of a real battle. We don't have the luxury of multiple "main things." We need to be thinking about one thing: How to please the One who called us into service.
Lord, I don’t know what your question is, but my answer is - "Yes."
Serious saints are strict in their pursuit (2 Timothy 2:5-7).
An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
Paul tells Timothy that if he really wants to finish well, it is going to take the discipline of an athleteand the diligence of a farmer. If Timothy is to finish his race... If Timothy is going to make it to the harvest... it is going to take something that is very rare in our culture: Delayed Gratification.
Serious saints are spurred-on by His preeminence (2 Timothy 2:8-10).
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Verse 8 is my favorite part of this passage. Right at the point where we are all thinking the same thing: "I'm just not that strong. I don't have to focus of a disciple-maker or the discipline of an athelete or the diligence of a farmer. How are normal people supposed to persevere?", Paul tells us to REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST!
I have personally found the secret for persevering for the long haul, for finishing well, for serving diligently until the harvest. What's the secret? Reminding myself on a daily basis: IT'S NOT ABOUT ME. IT'S ABOUT HIM. It also greatly helps to have friends who will remind me of this when I forget.
If Jesus is worth anything, He is worth everything!
“The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.” Matthew Henry
Serious saints are secure in His promise (2 Timothy 2:11-13).
The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.
Many schlors believe this was an early hymm – possibly sung by believers as they were on their way to be executed. I have found that personal worship turns my heart and my thoughts toward what matters in eternity.
Serious Saints Are Sound In Their Doctrine (2 Timothy 2:14-19).
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
Question: Whose approval are you ling for?
We need to immerse ourselves - consume ourselves with what is true about God, I have found that as I "overload" myself with spiritual truth, I am able to think rightly about everthing else. Chrsitian books, devotionals. podcasts are all great, but there is no substitute for the Word of God.
Serious Saints Are Sanctified In Their Lifestyle (2 Timothy 2:20-22).
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
Truth changes us - or at least it should! What we truly believe will determine our behavior.
Question: Who is your running partner as you pursue Christ?
Serious Saints Are Servants In The World (2 Timothy 2:23-26).
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
God's word shared God's way wins God's approval.
BOBBY PRUITT | Lead Pastor
Bobby was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. He is the youngest of 13 children and was the first believer in his family. He graduated from Columbia Bible College and served in churches in North & South Carolina before coming to Texas in 1994. Bobby and Amy have been married since November of 1990 and have 3 children (Riley, Beau, and Emma Grace).