INTRODUCTION: The great struggle in life is to understand the Word of God well enough that
we can translate it into godly living in the midst of a very difficult world in which we live.
Consider the former prophet Nehemiah. He was raised in the Persian culture a long way from home.
Yet in the midst of an environment that was not friendly to the things of God, this man developed
a heart for and lived out his life with a passion for the Lord God. He withstood unfamiliarity
of the culture, the old power structures of Jerusalem and worked hard and faithfully and
accomplished great things. The reason for his success was because of his accurate handle
(control, grasp) on the truths of God and for that God blessed him.
October 6th, 2002, Sunday Morning
Do you have a handle on your life's priorities considering your coming Day of Judgment?
OPENING: 2 Timothy 2:14-19 (key: v.15)
TIMOTHY (Paul's student and successor) NEEDS TO WEIGH CAREFULLY THE CORRECT PRIORITIES IN LIFE
- Paul made his decision a long time ago and is walking correct
- Paul exhorted Timothy to join him in
suffering (spreading) the Gospel
- 2 Timothy 4:7: Paul wraps up with a powerful sentence we'd all like
to say after a life of hard work: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith:"
- Timothy needs to make a quick decision about how he will live his life
- Be certain about his calling by Paul (and Christ)
- Be diligent (to be eager and motivated;
to leave reminders; to be spotless and blameless)
- Help others
- Preserve the unity of the Spirit
- Visit and fellowship with fellow believers
- Rest in Christ
- There are no shortcuts to success in life--you must be diligent (a constant, careful effort)
- Make haste! (act quickly and early): you can always get started later but eventually
later is too late
- Eagerness: implies that we're doing is something we love to do
- Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind (from Moses in the Old Testament,
Deuteronomy 6:5, to Jesus in the New Testament, Mark 12:30)
- Mark 12:31: Love your neighbor as you love yourself
- The battle is against being a sluggard--the human heart is lazy
- Proverbs 13:4: End results: the sluggard will get nothing but
"the soul of the diligent shall be made fat."
- Proverbs 19:15 & 2 Thessalonians 3:10:
Laziness will result in going hungry
- Proverbs 21:25: Laziness will ultimately result in death
- What effort are you making in your life today to take serious your walk with
the Lord Jesus Christ?
- Are you willing to pay the price--to stay the course?
- What is winning in your life--diligence or laziness?
- Moses was 80 before he began the greatness of his work. It's not too late to begin today!
THAT RAISES THE QUESTION: WHY DO WE HAVE TO BE DILIGENT?
- Paul alludes to the truth of responsibility
- Responsible: being accountable
for your behavior in life
- Most people today do not believe that there will be a "Day of Judgment" (accountability)
- 2 Timothy 2:15: Paul tells Timothy to present himself approved unto
God. The verse uses the word "study" ("Study to shew thyself approved unto God")
but Paul means in the context of "weigh carefully", "consider how you'll live your life" as
opposed to simply reading scripture
- There is a simple but powerful truth of Scripture: Judgment
- 2 Corinthians 5:10: Contrary to the beliefs of this world,
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the
things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
- All inclusive: everyone in the world will individually appear
- We will stand before the Judgment Seat which Christ will sit on
- We will be rewarded (used relatively) for everything we did on Earth--good or bad
- Hebrews 9:27: The coming Judgment is as real as the eventual
death of our earthly body
- Romans 14:12: And our giving an accounting for all each of us has
done, in open and secret, is as real as the coming Judgment
- We give an account--every word, thought, every secret thing each of us has ever done
- We give an account of ourselves--not those around us. We cannot blame other
people or circumstances for our actions. You cannot "play the excuse game" with God
- Do not take lightly the Judgment of God
- God shows no partiality:
you will be judged according to His law as it's written in the Bible
- There are no second chances--we cannot go back and change our past. Therefore,
prevent the need for a second chance by making the most of each day--starting now!
THAT RAISES THE SECOND QUESTION: WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO?
- Paul tells Timothy to be a workman that does not need to be ashamed
- ASHAMED: an intensive word meaning real shame;
to be caught not doing your job or doing it for the wrong reasons
- The best way to avoid shame is to be a workman--a laborer. But what does works
have to do with the Judgment?
- James 2:17: While one of the Biblical truths (and contradiction to
other religious groups--particularly Jehovah's witnesses and Catholicism) is that you cannot be
saved without performing certain work, just saying
you love and believe in Jesus without doing any work for Him is to not really believe (have
faith) at all
- James 2:22: Your faith is strengthened through working (to demonstrate
your faith is real)
- Works are a demonstration of what we believe is true
- Working--not talking--is the key to being shameless
- Working does not earn you salvation
- What works are we do to?
- 2 Timothy 1:8: Do not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ that so
much of the world has growing hate for today
- 2 Timothy 2:1: Be strong knowing that Christ gives you strength and grace daily
- We are not controlled by situations or by others
- We are to be controlled by the Spirit of God
- Specific works which we are to do:
- Stand for the truth
- Faithfully take care of your responsibilities in life (church, family, work, community)
- Treat people with love, patience and kindness
- Leave vengeance in the hands of God (Romans 12:19)
- Get rid of your bitterness and anger--your animosity toward others
- 2 Timothy 2:15: The key verse--"Study to shew thyself
approved..." because you will be tested by God
- What test can you fail if you can pass the test issued by God?
- James 1:3: The more you successfully pass God's tests of your faith,
the greater the endurance of your patience
- That's important because loving our neighbor includes, among other things,
being "longsuffering" with him--meaning being very patient (Galatians 5:22)
- Works: they'll always be a struggle and they should never allow you to be
"looking down" upon others as if you were better than them. Don't forget God shows no partiality
at the Judgment
- James 1:22: Don't just talk the talk--you must walk the walk, also
- THE BASIS FOR BEING READY FOR JUDGMENT IS TO HAVE A CORRECT GRASP (handle) ON
THE TRUTH OF GOD'S WORD
- Paul tells Timothy to handle the Word of God correctly
- Handling correctly comes when we have taken the time to learn to use something
- It takes "sweat and tears" to do the job right. Anyone can make a cut but to
cut straight and true takes time, practice and effort
- What you tell others about Salvation--depending on if you speak God's words accurately--is
the difference between eternal hell or Heaven for another lost soul
- There is a truth and it is God's Word--a truth a growing number do not want to ever
- John 18:38: Pilate, who had Jesus Christ crucified, asked Jesus,
"What is truth?" and right after he said that, he walked away
- Acts 26:28: Paul witnessed of Christ before King Agrippa and the
king stopped just short of salvation by saying, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."
- True believers (the saved) take great
pains in ensuring they use the "Sword of the Spirit" (God's Word--Ephesians 6:17) with care
- James 1:26: If anyone thinks of himself as religious but has no control
over his tongue but deceives his own heart, his religion is worthless
- James 1:27: Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God is to visit
orphans and widows in their distress while keeping yourself "unstained" from being associated
with the sins and evil of this world
The only true power we have is the Word of God. May we take great care to make
certain that we do not violate it or misinterpret it for others
From this day forward, let's wake up each morning with the Word of God and our
gift of eternal salvation as the first things on our mind. With that, let's make the most of
each day so that we can claim true faith at the coming Judgment Day
It's not how much you've accomplished up to this point in your life.
It's how faithful you'll be to the final day.