Fighting the good Fight, Finishing the race and Keeping the Faith – 2 Timothy 4:5-8

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Last Sunday we looked at 2 Timothy 4:1-4 where Jinson shared the importance of the preached word in the life of the church. We learned the goal of preached word and how to prepare our hearts to receive it.

Here are the three applications from the sermon.

– Value the preached word of God
– Pray for the elders who preach the word of God
– Prepare our hearts throughout the week especially on Saturday to hear the word of God.

I hope and believe that all of us who’ve heard the sermon last Sunday have prayed for me and also prepared their hearts to hear God’s word this morning. If you’ve not done so then, I will encourage you to do so as we pray now.

Our passage for this morning is 2 Timothy 4:5-8, let’s turn to our bible and read.

We see that verse 5 starts with a word of encouragement.

After emphasizing the importance of preaching the word, Paul is now encouraging Timothy to remain sober minded, endure suffering, continue to work as an evangelist and to fulfill his ministry call.

The reason Paul sends encouragement is, of course, because of verse 3 & 4 where he writes

“the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

But “As for you” … Always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

What Paul is essentially saying is don’t let anything or anybody bother or distract you from pursuing Gods calling and purpose in your life.

As we progress in our Christian life serving God and serving people, we will come across people who will reject our teaching, follow their passions and turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.

Sometimes, they will be our closest friends, our family, the people whom you love the most, people you disciple. They might say things that will hurt our feelings, maybe some of us may even have to go through persecution and affliction.

Paul’s encouragement to us is to remain sober minded (sensible & composed), endure suffering (not shaken or moved), continue to do the work of an evangelist (share the gospel faithfully), fulfill your ministry (follow your calling).

The enemy uses circumstances like these to destroy Gods calling and ministry over our lives. And therefore it is important that we recognize them and take Paul’s instruction and encouragement seriously so that we don’t stumble and deviate from pursuing God.

In verse 6 Paul goes on to say “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.”

I love Paul; because he is a fantastic role model to me.

When I read verse 6, I get this sense of Paul saying, guys, what I am asking you to do is something I have already lived and followed.

When Paul using the term ‘being poured out as a drink offering’ he is referring to the old covenant act of sacrifice called the ‘drink offering’ which was first recorded in Genesis 35:14

“And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with God, a pillar of stone. He poured out a drink offering on it and poured oil on it.”

‘Drink offering’ is also mentioned in other parts of the old testament law.

The pouring out of a drink offering is a metaphor for the blood Jesus spilled on the cross. Jesus himself used that language to describe his death in Luke 22:20 when he instituted the new covenant.

He said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

By that definition what Paul meant was that his life had been offered as a sacrifice in the service of God and his people. I wonder how many Christian leaders today would be able to say that about themselves.

Isn’t he an excellent role model for us to imitate and follow.

I love King David, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Joshua – and all the other heroes of faith from the old testament but if there is someone whom I’d like to look up to as a role model in the new covenant, that would be Paul.

Paul is a great example to follow …

  • If I want to learn what it means to love Christ
  • If I want to learn what it means to serve the people of God faithfully
  • If I want to get to live a life led by the Holy Spirit
  • If I want to learn how to endure suffering
  • If I want to find out how to raise leaders
  • If I want to learn about church planting

Paul would be the perfect guy.

But one of the main reason why I’d like to follow Paul and his example is also because of his next statement in verse 7 where it says.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished my race and I have kept my faith.”

Because that is exactly what I want to say to my children and my loved ones at the end of my life.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished my race and I have kept my faith.”

It is important that we all look at our aspirations for life. Would you like to live life in such a manner and leave a legacy for your children and your next generation? Or Are you happy being mediocre? Live life as it comes.

Here’s encouragement from Paul in Colossians 3:1-4 –

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Now that we know that Paul is a good example to follow what did Paul mean when he said: “he fought the good fight”?

Firstly, It is a deeply moving affirmation of Paul’s unwavering faith and unyielding love for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Secondly, it also reminds us that Christian life is a struggle against evil – within ourselves and in the world.

Let me highlight the three broad areas of battle in our Christian life that needs to be won over.

1. The battle to abide in the love of Christ

In John 15:9 Jesus says “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
How did the Father love?

John 3:16 – For God the Father so loved the world that he gave his one and only son Jesus, to die for us, on our behalf, for the penalty of our sins, so that whoever believes in him will not perish in hell but have eternal life in heaven.

Abiding also means enduring – to remain. The original Hebrew meaning says “to hold on.”

Jesus is saying “hold on to my love.”

Brothers & sisters, holding on to Christ’s love is a battle, and we have to hang on to it at all times

… whether in pain and suffering
… joy and happiness
… riches or poverty
… good health or bad health
… job or no job
… life partner or no life partner
… in guilt, in condemnation, in being insulted
… Also when we are highly exalted by men

Whatever situation you can think of – Abiding or Holding on to Christ’s love is one of the greatest challenges of living a Christian life.

The enemy will do anything to kick you out from the place of ‘abiding in the love of Christ.’
And that is why we need to daily and continuously remind ourselves the gospel.

The second area of battle that we need to find victory is

2. The battle to walk in obedience to God’s word

The following verse in John 15, verse 10 Jesus says “ If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

Obedience to God’s word proves our love for Him, demonstrates our faithfulness to Him, glorifies Him in the world, and opens avenues of spiritual blessing for us.

When we obey God’s word, we can live a life of joy, without shame, rooted deeply in the Lord and confident in our eternal hope.

And most importantly – When we obey God’s word, God is glorified.

The enemy would never want us to live this kind of life and therefore

… he will convince you that reading and meditating God’s word is boring
… he will distract you with every possible hindrance to keep you from reading your bible
… he will cloud your mind with worldly worries and won’t allow you to see the truths of life
… he will fill your minds with doubts to stop you from applying and walking in God’s word
… he will disengage you from making radical decisions for your life when God’s word inspires you

He will use our own people against us … our family, our friends, our near and dear ones.
But, we have to fight … Paul says it’s a good fight. It builds us, makes us mature in our faith.

The third area of battle is

3. The battle to disconnect ourselves from the world

James 4:4 – Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

One of the significant progress that needs to happen to us as we grow in our Christian life is to see the world as it is described in the God’s word.

In 1 John 2:17 John writes don’t you know that “the world and its desires are fading away, along with everything that people crave”

The world and its desires are the enemies of God; everything people crave for, everything that some of our parents told was important in life, the money, the possession, a house, accumulating wealth, accumulating treasures, accumulating shares, accumulating mutual funds .. are enemies of God.

I am so sorry to disappoint you … But this is what Gods word means when it talks about the world and the things of this world.

… the more you are in love with the world, the less you are in love with Christ.
… the more you desire the things of the world, the less your desire for the things of God.
… the more you hold on to the world, the lesser your grip on heavenly things.
… the more you trust your job and business as your provider, the less you trust in God’s provision.
… the more you find your security in your money and your job, the less you trust in God’s sovereignty and abilities.
… the more you rely on your worldly wisdom, the lesser you make of God’s divine wisdom.

“The world is an enemy of God because it takes away His glory.”

It’s a battle, and we have to fight … It’s not going to be easy on us … People will mock at us … Make fun of us … Rebuke us … Throw stones at us …

But we have to finish the race with perseverance, boldness, and with a never give-up attitude – Holding on to our faith just as we did when we first gave our lives to Christ Jesus.

And when we are on our deathbed we will be able to look into the eyes of our loved ones as say “I fought the good fight, I finished the race and I kept my faith.”

The greatest reward will be to receive the crown of righteousness from our good Lord as Paul describes in verse 8.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

As I conclude, I want to encourage you to make much of your life as a follower of Christ. Fight the good fight of abiding in Christ’s love, walking in obedience to his word and separating yourselves from the world and all its desires.

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