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The Pillars of Peresverance

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The Pillars of Perseverance
What does marriage, exercise programs and the Christian life all have in common? It’s fairly easy and almost fun to begin, but it’s incredibly hard to hang in there for the long haul. Eugene Peterson calls the Christian life “long obedience in the same direction”. Paul is writing this letter to Timothy knowing that he must be wore out. He’s dealing with false teachers who are opposed to solid doctrine, bad health to accompany a timid personality, and bullies who think they can take advantage of his age. This section’s aim is to call Timothy to press on.
Don’t we need that today? Especially after a milestone, it seems like it’s so easy to hit coast mode. Maybe it’s your age--- and this goes both ways: those thinking I’ve done my part… I’m through. And those who think that they are young and this is the time of their life where they don’t need to make a commitment to the church because they want to be freed up to do whatever. Maybe it’s frustration. I talked to a pastor the other day where a church member spoke honestly but rudely… It wasn’t said to restore or edify but to leave marks. It caused the whole church to be engaged in this squabble. He asked me why do we keep doing this… Maybe you are in that spot as a Christian. There is enough junk going on in your own life, why do you connect yourself to an organization that you are increasingly believing to be non-essential?
Wherever you are, this word from Paul today is for you. It’s a call to persevere in this meaningful journey.
- It’s a call to press in further
- It’s a call to not check out when you’re tired.
- It’s a call to see the worth of a commitment too
- It’s a call to fight through the frustrations
This passage is actually ordered remarkably clear. This is one of those passages you probably don’t need me to preach, but I’m going to anyway.
The 8 Pillars of Perseverance
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11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”
21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.
Grace be with you.
We are going to focus on the 8 present imperatives in this passage… These are commands that call for an immediate and continuous action. These are things we can’t slack in if we are going to successfully persevere.
But before we do that, I want us to take a special notice of who is being addressed. Paul calls Timothy a man of God. This phrase is only used twice in the New Testament—once here addressing Timothy and once in Paul’s second letter to Timothy to describe Christians. Although it’s only used in the New Testament twice, it appears over 70 times in the Old Testament. So this descriptive phrase carries with it the tremendous legacy of Moses, Samuel, David, Elijah… all the prophets who served as the mouthpieces of God in some of our history’s most corrupt times.
That’s an incredibly weighty title to lay on someone who is naturally weak and unassured. But that what he needs in this moment, and here’s the kicker for us… it’s what we need too!! You see this isn’t some special title reserved for the years pre-21 century. This is our title as blood bought Christians looking to serve God with our lives! Paul has just finished telling Timothy that he is living in the midst of a culture that is on a path towards destruction because of their lust over self-exaltation and they are looking to bring everyone they can down with them. This isn’t a time to check out. This isn’t a time to flaky with your commitment. This isn’t a time to bow out due to frustrations. This isn’t the time to set cruise control. This is a time to rise up men and women of God and persevere!
What is necessary for Perseverance?
1. Fleeing
Running relentlessly from those things that can cause to become our reality.
2. Pursuing
If Jesus’ desire is for us to have life and have it abundantly, our Christian lives must go beyond just not doing certain things. We must fill up.
- Righteousness
—To do what is right
- Godliness
—Going beyond just our conduct to the heart behind our actions
John Flavil- “It is easier to cry against a thousand sins in others than to kill one sin in ourselves.”
- Faith
—Having such unshakable trust in our Sovereign God that there’s no frustration, forcing or manipulation
Faith is confidence in God’s power (the Creator of the heavens and the earth), God’s Word (the One who spoke all things into being is the One who is speaking specifically to you right now), God’s purpose (To be exalted high), God’s plan (redeeming for Himself a people from every tribe, nation, and tongue), God’s promise (What He begins He will be faithful to complete)
- Love
—Commitment to a self-sacrificial life not just some mushy sentimentalism
- Steadfastness
—The ability to endure, not passively, but victoriously. Having unswerving loyalty to the Lord and to truth. Being resilient in times of good or bad, up or down, disappointment or affirmation, heartbreak or triumph
- Gentleness
—Attitude that encourages repentance ()
3. Fighting
Going on the offensive is essential to persevering in a life filled with spiritual warfare.
There is something unique about this word that we need to get. The word here actually means to agonize. The original Greek literally says “agonize the good agony”. It gives us this picture of a grueling race or a slugfest of a boxing match.
I believe a valid question to ask here is—Have you ever agonized over this Christian journey? Have you wrestled with God in the depth of your heart over His plan for you? Have you worked out your salvation with fear and trembling?
4. Seizing
The prize before us is greater and more precious than anything we can obtain here in this momentary world.
1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
5. Keeping
A conscious effort to continually hold the values of your life in the light of the great commandment
It is so easy to get our priorities all out of whack. Our life should be defined by how we love God and how we love others and measured by no other barometers. Everything flows from this.
6. Exhorting
Speaking and having words spoken to you that intentionally address particular sins wrestled with.
7. Guarding
A rooted refusal to allow anything to tamper with the clarity of the life changing Gospel message
8. Avoiding
Staying clear of all the unprofitable gab that the enemy seeks to work through so that churches can be filled with dissention
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