Summary: Paul tells us why to keep the prophecy, meaning the scriptures. 1- Scripture will put fight in the fight 2- Scripture will give a good conscience 3- Scripture will strengthen your faith
INTRO.- ILL.- Wilma didn't get much of a head start in life. A bout with polio left her left leg crooked and her foot twisted inward so she had to wear leg braces. After seven years of painful therapy, she could walk without her braces. At age 12 Wilma tried out for a girls basketball team, but didn't make it.
Determined, she practiced with a girlfriend and two boys every day. The next year she made the team. When a college track coach saw her during a game, he talked her into letting him train her as a runner. By age 14 she had outrun the fastest sprinters in the U.S. In 1956 Wilma made the U.S. Olympic team, but showed poorly. That bitter disappointment motivated her to work harder for the 1960 Olympics in Rome--and there Wilma......Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals, the most a woman had ever won.
Stick with it. Did anyone ever tell you to do that with anything? Like school? Work? Marriage? We need to stick with something if we want to see any positive results.
Sticking with something generally yields good results.
ILL.- One year I ran the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend, IN. It sounded interesting because it ended on the 50 yard line in the Notre Dame stadium. And besides, my daughter Holly was in her first year at Lincoln Christian College (1993) and one of her best friends lived in South Bend and she wanted to go visit her.
A marathon is 26.2 miles. At about 18 miles I didn’t feel the best and was running as well as I would normally so I stopped at the 18th mile marker and asked, “Where is the pickup vehicle?” They laughed at me like they didn’t know what I meant, so I explained that marathon always had a pickup vehicle to pick up runners that drop out of the marathon. They said they didn’t know of any such “pickup” vehicle.
That meant I had to continue running. I stopped again about mile 20 and I got the same response. I stopped again at mile 22 and still no response so I finally decided that if I was going to get home I was going to have to finished that marathon. And finish it I did, but I didn’t feel great about it.
My daughter Holly and son Shane were standing at the finish line when I finished. We went back to the motel so I could shower. After I showed I told them we would go back to see the awards ceremony. When we got out of the car outside the stadium we heard them call my name. What for? For my award! I got third place in my age bracket of over 40 years of age. I was 48.
The point being: sticking with something pays off. If I hadn’t stuck with that marathon I wouldn’t have gotten third place. And who knows? If I hadn’t taken the time to stop and talk to people at those mile markers I might have gotten 2nd or even first place! Sticking with something pays off!
I think it definitely pays off to stick with the faith. Heaven is a pretty good goal!
Matthew 24:9-12 “9"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Will you? Are you standing firm?
II Timothy 4:6-8 “6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.”
Revelation 2:10b “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
When it comes to sticking to the faith, we must also stick to the Word of God. The faith and the Word go hand-in-hand.
II Timothy 3:13-17 “While evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”