Summary: Quitting is a common malady among Christians. Many start this race with a false concept of its requirements, and leave disillusioned.
Biblical Text: 2 Tim. 4:6-8 (KJV)
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Quitting is a common malady among Christians.
Many start this race with a false concept of its requirements, and leave disillusioned.
They come into the fellowship seeking shelter, and instead, they find themselves in the middle of a battlefield.
They come in to escape the troubles of their world, and instead, they find that they are troubled on every side.
They come running from the temptations that haunt them, and find that there are still temptations they must endure in order to receive their reward.
They never bargained for a fiery furnace;
They never bargained for a personal cross to bear;
They never bargained for painstaking trials, deep-seated sorrows, or unceasing temptations.
So they end up quitting.
The quitters miss the whole point of this Christian race.
The faithful Christian allows God to test his endurance.
He knows that God examines our love and loyalty in the midst of problems, persecutions, and pressures.
He knows that God tests our courage and faith, in the midst of defeat, despair, and difficulties.
He knows that God studies our character and commitment through trouble, trials and turmoil.
Yes, we will continue to face temptation, but “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
Yes, we will continue to suffer; “We are troubled on every side….yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
Though we are afflicted, we are blessed, because the Christian winner knows how to suffer THROUGH affliction.
And thanks be to God, who giveth us the ultimate victory…not here and now, but at that great “getting- up mornin’”!
Everyone of us knows a quitter.
Most come in to present their own personal agendas to God.
God…I need money.
God…I need friends.
God…I need a promotion.
God…I need good health.
God…I need to be in charge of something.
And when the money, the friends, the promotion, the good health, or the position don’t immediately materialize, the quitter finds the nearest exit.
They didn’t count on endurance as a prerequisite to blessings.
Paul is sitting in the drab dungeon of a Roman prison. He is facing the capital charge of insurrection against the Roman government. He has had his preliminary hearing before Nero, and he is soon to stand before Nero
in his final trial and hear the fateful verdict: “Execution.” We do not know how soon, but our text today indicates very soon. Paul knew that the end of his life upon earth was imminent. What does he do?
If anyone had a reason to be a quitter, it’s Paul. He suffered beatings and stripes beyond measure. Three times he was beaten with rods. Once he was attacked with stones. He was shipwrecked and spent a day and a half floating in shark-infested waters. He suffered imprisonment seven times, and the threat of death almost constantly. And now Paul is facing death for the cause of Christ. But is Paul a quitter? No! His only focus now is to pass on his testimony of the love of Christ to Timothy. He is like an Olympic runner, straining to pass the baton to his successor.
In Nero’s dungeon, with death hanging over him like a repulsive stench, Paul pen’s his awesome charge to Timothy, the charge to preach the Word of God and to minister to a world that is lost and dying—a world that is reeling under the weight of so many desperate needs. This man who stares death in the face, encourages Timothy to look ahead to the end of his own life and to be
able to bear the same strong testimony, to the end.
Paul wants Timothy and us to know that our lives are not only a living testimony, but a living sacrifice. He sees death as his final offering and sacrifice to God. “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. The Greek word for offering spendomai, and its implication is striking. It refers to the drink offering that was presented to God in ritual sacrifice. When a person wanted
to make a sacrifice to God, he often took a cup of wine or oil and poured it out as an offering and sacrifice to God. The drink offering symbolized the Lord Jesus pouring out His soul—dying—for us.