Summary: Here's the dying words of a hero
Paul’s view of discipleship 2 Timothy 2:1-7
I’ve been told, the secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible. So, I shall do my best.
We’re going to look at the first seven verses 2 Timothy 2 but first; I’ll tell you a little story.
A little bird didn’t feel like flying south with the rest of the flock but decided he’d stay and enjoy the beautiful fall weather. Well, one day he thought, I guess it’s time to go and he took off. The problem was; he stayed too long that it started to get cold. As a matter of fact, it got so cold that his wings froze and he dropped to the ground like a rock.
And as he lay there on the grass along came a cow did what cows do and dropped a large cow pie right on top of him. Now, normally that would be a bad thing but the cow pie was so warm that the bird not only came back to life but he felt so good he started singing. But, a cat happened to be crawling across the field and when he heard this little bird sing he ate him for lunch.
Now, there are three lessons here. First, not everyone who drops something unpleasant on you is an enemy. Second, not everyone who gets you out of a mess is your friend. And third, when things are finally going your way; you should do your best to keep quiet.
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.”
This is the second chapter of Paul’s second book to Timothy and there are a few things I’d like to remind you about Paul. For instance, Paul had been a member of Pharisees and these men not only lived a life of separation from the world; but they felt it was their duty to punish everyone who didn’t. And then, as you know, Paul was wonderfully saved and then he preached from 20-30 years; until he was arrested and imprisoned twice and this letter was written during his second imprisonment and it was not long after he wrote this, that he was put to death for preaching.
So, these are Paul’s dying words to Timothy who he saw as one of his spiritual children and when you think about it; everyone’s final words are important.
I had a friend in Toronto and one day his mother said, “You’re grandfather is in the hospital and you should really go see him. My friend was reluctant to go because he hardly even knew him. You see, they didn’t live close when they grew up and when he did go, he wondered what they’d even talk about.
When he got to the hospital he sat for a few uncomfortable moments and then he said, “Well, grandpa, how has your life gone?” And his grandfather snapped his fingers and said, “Just like that.”
So, these are Paul’s final words to Timothy and he thought Timothy was someone who had a lot of potential for the Lord’s service; but he also knew that Timothy had problems because he felt inadequate in the ministry and was overwhelmed by problems in the churches and Paul was writing to encourage him to get his eyes off himself and back on Jesus Christ.
And to encourage Timothy, Paul tells him that the Christian life requires commitment and that God who saved us is worthy of our commitment; because our commitment to Him is merely a reflection of His commitment to us.
He begins by telling him to be strong in the grace of God and God’s grace involves salvation and everything that goes with it. It’s like he said in Romans 12:1 “I beseech you by the mercies of God” and God’s mercies are the expression of everything he described in the first eleven chapters of Romans and that includes the fact that He not only saved us but has also promised us a home in heaven.