Summary: There are so many things we can be discouraged about. But we are called to be encouraged. Why?
Passage: 2 Timothy 1:1-7
Intro: Living in the world, it is easy to be discouraged.
1. things don’t always go as we planned.
2. a few people are happy this Super Bowl Sunday, but most football fans are discouraged because their team isn’t playing and probably won’t next year, either.
3. jobs are lost, health fails, candidates drop out of the race, people let us down.
4. believers get discouraged because we live in the world and experience the same discouraging events.
5. Timothy, this friend of the apostle Paul, had reasons to be discouraged.
6. and so Paul writes to him from a dank Roman prison cell and encourages him, and that encouragement can be very encouraging to us in times of discouragement.
7. we are going to see the basis for our encouragement, the challenges to that view, and what we need to do to apply the encouraging truths to our challenging lives.
I. Be Encouraged by What Comes with Eternal Life
1. Paul is writing to a close friend
2. and yet he is compelled to use this rather formal introduction
3. he is claiming apostolic authority, but he clarifies what that means.
4. our tendency is to think that “apostle” means “big shot”.
Il) TV show, nationwide radio broadcast, best-selling books
5. apostleship in the NT means persecution, long walks, servanthood to the church, and ultimately, a martyr’s death.
6. and his “apostleship” was his according to the promise of life that is in Jesus.
7. in other words, the life that Jesus demonstrated, a life of complete servanthood to God, is the same life that is now given to every person who believes in Him.
8. our problem is that we equate “eternal life” with a better physical life.
Il) a prosperity gospel book cover?
9. instead, Paul desires certain things for Timothy that are eternal and spiritual
10. he wants for Timothy the grace of God and the mercy of God that will produce the peace of God.
11. and he wants Timothy to understand what he has through faith in Christ.
12. it is very easy for us who live in a physical world to focus on the physical things, and find comfort in them.
13. but Paul here is seeking to turn Timothy’s mind and heart to eternal things.
14. vv3,5 “I’m convinced that you have the faith that brings these eternal values into your life.”
15. and that is the basis for Timothy to encouraged.
16. remember, this is being written by a guy sitting in jail, during his 2nd Roman imprisonment, not in a rented house by in a dank prison from which he would soon be dragged to be killed.
II. Recognize The Challenges That Discourage Us
1. there is an intriguing statement in v4
2. “recalling your tears,” clearly there were some things bothering Timothy.
3. the most obvious is that he was separated from Paul, who was in prison for his life.
4. that would have been bad enough.
5. but Timothy was a native of Lystra, having been raised there by his mother and grandmother.
6. and now he was 200 miles away in Ephesus, a large city compared to Lystra.
7. he had been sent to Ephesus by Paul for a specific purpose
8. so here he was, a stranger from far away, correcting respected men of the church.
9. not only that, but he was a young man.
10. and finally, his personality was somewhat retiring and shy.
Il) frankly, he was probably getting hammered by some of the people in the church
11. in v7, Paul indicates that he was fearful, the word means “cowardice.”
12. can you feel for this young man?
13. essentially alone in a foreign big city, given a tough task that went against his makeup, perhaps the object of derision?
14. I would imagine he shed more tears than the ones Paul remembered in v4
15. probably discouraged enough to run away!
16. But Paul’s encouraging instruction will be just the opposite!
III. Be Encouraged to Overcome the Challenge
1. the challenge will never go away.
2. for the believer, there will always be things that can dishearten us. Count on it!
Il) read the list of rejections of great inventions and people.
Il) we are in a spiritual battle, and the enemy is persistent.
3. but in v5, Paul reminds Timothy that he possesses a real faith.
4. and because Timothy is a child of God, he needs to redefine the physical challenges in light of the spiritual realities.
5. v6, based on your faith, I remind you that you have a gift that you need to grow through use.
6. the gifts of God are the evidence of Holy Spirit’s powerful presence.