Summary: In order to be an effective Christian, we allow God to be our strength.
“How To Become An Effective Christian”
LET GOD BE YOUR STRENGTH!
This past summer during the baseball season, Ken Caminiti, a former All Star and National League MVP, came out publicly to admit that he used steroids during his playing career. Steroid use has been long suspected in baseball but people were shocked and outraged that Caminiti had cheated the game by using this illegal drug to give himself more strength. It’s been said that steroids can make an average player a good player, a good player a great player and a great player a Hall of Fame player.
Just like Ken Caminiti, we continually seek out ways to increase our strength. Weaknesses are to be hidden and ashamed of. We live in a world where only the strong survive. But the Bible tells us that God works through our weaknesses. II Corinthians 12:9-10, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Tonight, we conclude our message series out of II Timothy on “How To Become An Effective Christian” as we study II Timothy 4:9-22, “Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially my parchments. Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he as done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever, Amen. Greet Priscilla and Aquilla and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers. The Lord be with you spirit. Grace be with you.”
This final section of Paul’s letter to Timothy offers some specific instructions as well as some final pieces of advice that Paul is passing on to Timothy. Paul’s main objective is for Timothy to learn that he must allow God to be his strength. His effectiveness as a Christian leader depended on it as does your effectiveness as a Christian. We must allow God to strengthen us if we are to effective in His service.
Let’s begin by seeing the reasons Paul gives for...
I. THE NEED FOR STRENGTH.
There are many different occasions when we will have a need for strength, whether it be physical, mental or emotional. We need strength to accomplish a specific task. We need strength to overcome an addiction. We need strength to cope with the death of a loved one. Paul mentions two occasions:
A. Friends desert you.
Friends play a vital role in making up our lives. They make our lives more enjoyable and exciting. The wealthy, eccentric Howard Hughes, at the time had a wealth amassed of over four billion dollars said, “I’d give it all for one good friend.”
Because of deeply personal our friendships become, it is excruciating when our friends turn their backs on us and become no longer our friends. This is what has happened to Paul. II Timothy 4:9-10, “Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.” He goes on further to write in II Timothy 4:16, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.”
As his UCLA football team suffered through a poor season in the early 1970’s, head coach Pepper Rodgers came under intense criticism and pressure from alumni and fans. Things got so bad, he remembers that friends became hard to find. “My dog was my only true friend,” Rodgers said of that year. “I told my wife that every man needs at least two good friends- and she bought me another dog.”