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Summary: In 2004, Christians may not be nailed to crosses or thrown to wild animals or burned as torches, but the need is as great now as it was in Paul’s day for us to be courageous. As we approach the Christmas Season the Lord wants us to be courageou

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Be a Courageous Christian!

Text: “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:1-3 NIV).

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1—7

Introduction

The last recorded words of Paul are found in 2 Timothy. Paul had been arrested. His trial had proceeded far enough that he knew there was no hope of escape.

While waiting in the Roman prison for the “time of his departure,” he wrote these words to Timothy, a trusted friend.

Those were not easy days in which to be a Christian. To dare to be a leader in a local church was to volunteer to be a martyr. So Paul wrote this letter to his “son” for the purpose of encouraging Timothy to be a courageous Christian in the most trying times the church had ever faced.

In 2004 in the UK, Christians may not be nailed to crosses or thrown to wild animals or burned as torches, but the need is as great now as it was in Paul’s day for us to be courageous. As we approach the Christmas Season the Lord wants us to be courageous for Him.

I have five brief points for us to consider:

I. A courageous Christian has a heritage to enjoy.

II. A courageous Christian has a hope to share.

III. A courageous Christian has help to offer.

IV. A courageous Christian has hurts to avoid.

V. A courageous Christian has a heaven to gain..

I. A courageous Christian has a heritage to enjoy (2Tim. 1:3-6).

Paul’s purpose was to inspire and strengthen Timothy for his task at Ephesus. To keep his courage high and his effort strenuous, Paul reminded Timothy of the heritage that was his to enjoy.

A. Our Heritage includes The belief of others in you (vv. 3—5). Paul reminded Timothy of his own belief and confidence in him. No greater encouragement is ours than to know that someone believes in us. An appeal to honour is effective. The fear that we might let down those who believe in us is a constructive fear. The fact that others believe in us and look up to us is a heritage to enjoy.

B. Our Heritage includes A Christian family that supports you (v. 1:5; 3:15). Paul reminds Timothy of his family tradition. If Timothy failed, not only would he mar his own name, but he would lessen the honour of his family name as well. A Chris¬tian family is one of the greatest gifts a person can have.

C. Our Heritage includes A calling that requires the best in you (v. 6). Your calling to be a witness for Christ requires the best that is in you. Be courageous in witnessing.

II. A courageous Christian has a hope to share (1:12).

Verse 12 contains three key words:

Ashamed, Know and Committed.

A. Ashamed. The hope and faith we have in Christ are never a cause of shame but always a truth to share.

B. Know. The reason for this hope was Paul’s personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. Merely to know Christ was all that Paul needed in order to trust Him. The Greek word oida (“know”) means “fullness of knowledge”—the kind of knowledge that comes from a personal experience with another.


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