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Summary: In this sermon, we discover what kept the apostle Paul ticking even though he took a licking. Four "f"s kept him going - foundation, force, faith, and focus.

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Introduction:

A. I like the story told of the boxer who went to his corner after getting knocked down in the first round.

1. His trainer patted him on the back and said, “Great round. Now go back out there and get him. He hasn’t laid a glove on you.”

2. The boxer was a little confused by that last statement, but he went back out there and was knocked down twice and saved by the bell at the count of nine.

3. He barely made it back to his corner.

4. Again, his trainer patted him on the back and said to him, “Great round. Go back out there again and get him. He hasn’t laid a glove on you yet.”

5. The boxer turned to his trainer and said, “I’m going back out there, but you keep your eye on that referee, because somebody out there is beating the devil out of me!”

B. Have you ever felt like that?

1. Life can beat you up and ministry can beat you up.

2. Sometimes the enemy seems invisible.

3. You’re not sure where the blows are coming from, but they really hurt, and you’re not sure if you can go another round.

4. I’m sure there were times when the apostle Paul felt that way.

C. In today’s marvelous section of 2 Corinthians, Paul discusses some of the things that keep him going – that keep him from losing heart and giving up.

1. In this sermon series from 2 Corinthians we are trying to learn about leaning on God.

2. Today we want to discover how to become a Timex Christian servant.

D. Those of you who are less than 30 years old probably have no idea what I mean by today’s title.

1. Sure, you know that Timex makes and sells watches, but what does that have to do with anything, right?

2. Those of us who are a little older remember the Timex TV adds from the 60s and 70s.

3. Here’s a little trivia for you - watches with the Timex brand name were first used in 1946 with a small shipment of nurses’ watches.

a. The "X" suffix "was used to invoke a sense of technological advancement.

b. Watches were not sold under the name Timex in the U.S until 1950.

4. Over the next three decades, Timex watches were sold through a series of advertisements which emphasized durability by putting watches through "torture tests," such as falling over the Grand Coulee Dam, being strapped to the propeller of an outboard motor, or the blad of an ice skeate.

5. The slogan for the ad campaigns was “Timex - It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”

6. Timex employed the popular TV newscaster-turned-spokesman John Cameron Swayze, and everything fell into place – and Timex watches became popular and still are bought by many.

E. As lovers of God and servants of God we need to become like Timex watches – we need to be able to take a licking and keep on ticking.

1. In 2 Cor. 4, Paul has given us some insight into how he did it – how he took a licking and kept on ticking.

2. So let’s work our way through the text and see how we too can learn to be a Timex Christian servant.

F. I’ve picked one word for each of the four paragraphs that summarizes the one of the keys to Paul’s endurance.

1. Each of the four words begins with the letter “F.”

I. The First “F” is FOUNDATION – Paul said that he preached Christ.

A. Look at verse 1: Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

1. Last week we discussed the glory of the New Covenant and how much greater it is than the Old Covenant.

2. The New Covenant has the power to transform our very lives into the likeness of Jesus through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

3. Paul said that because he has received this ministry, there is no reason to lose heart.

4. The greatness of this ministry kept him going.

5. And the memory of the mercy of God that he had received also kept him going.

B. Throughout the letter of 2 Corinthians, we have seen Paul defending himself and his ministry against the criticism of his opponents there in Corinth.

1. He continued his defense in verse 2: Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

2. From what Paul says here, we can conclude that his enemies had leveled three charges against him.

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