Faithlife Sermons

Keeping the Right Focus in Trials

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9 Timothy, please come as soon as you can. 10 Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.*
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm, but the Lord will judge him for what he has done. 15 Be careful of him, for he fought against everything we said.
(NLT)
16 The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death.* 18 Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.
Joseph Reassures His Brothers
14 After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. 15 But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.
INTRODUCTION:
16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said.
19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.
INTRODUCTION:
When going through life’s trials, it is imperative that you and I keep the right focus. …But how do we do that?

I- TIMES OF TRIAL CAN TEST OUR FOCUS ().

A- Feelings of loneliness can overwhelm ().

2 Timothy 4:9–12 NLT
9 Timothy, please come as soon as you can. 10 Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
1- Paul pled with Timothy to come quickly to him and bring John Mark with him.
a- He was lonely:

Paul wrote his Second Letter to Timothy from the loneliness of a dungeon while awaiting a likely death (4:6–8).

Paul felt that Demas had abandoned him. ( Δημᾶς γάρ με ἐγκατέλιπεν ἀγαπήσας τὸν νῦν αἰῶνα).
Δημᾶς γάρ με ἐγκατέλιπεν ἀγαπήσας τὸν νῦν αἰῶνα)
Three other brothers (Crescens, Tychicus and Titus have left to continue missionary work.
Only Luke had stayed with Paul.
The Old Testament saint, Joseph, understood these feelings. ().
Betrayed and manhandled by his brothers and sold into slavery.

B- Discomfort and sense of need can frustrate ().

2 Timothy 4:13 NLT
13 When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.
1- Paul was likely in need of his coat because the weather was getting colder and the jail was chilly.
2- He needed his parchments and books to enable him to work from prison.

C- Persecution and feelings of abandonment can distort focus ().

2 Timothy 4:14–16 NLT
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm, but the Lord will judge him for what he has done. 15 Be careful of him, for he fought against everything we said. 16 The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them.
1- Alexander the Coppersmith had led the persecution of Paul and was instrumental in his arrest and imprisonment. Paul warned Timothy to steer clear of Alexander.
Paul was concerned that Alexander might cause trouble for Timothy.
Paul felt that he had little or no human support during his legal battles. People had abandoned him, but did not want them to be punished for it.

II- TIMES OF TRIAL MUST BE FACED WITH THE RIGHT FOCUS (, ).

2 Timothy 4:16–18 NLT
16 The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death. 18 Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.
2 Timothy 4:5–8 NLT
5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. 6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

A- Remember that you are never alone ().

2 Timothy 4:17 NLT
17 But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death.
1- The right focus in trials begins with the assurance of God’s presence in the trials.
2- It is important to recognize God’s hand at work in bringing a successful end to the trial.
3- Joseph found he was not alone in his land of captivity- God was with him (see

B- Recognize that you have a purpose ().

2 Timothy 4:17b NLT
17 But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death.
1- Paul recognized that God’s strength was given for a higher purpose than his own comfort.
a. That purpose was for him to share the gospel with the lost world.
2- You and I must recognize that God’s strength flows through us for a purpose that is far bigger than us.
a. God desires to use our trials to accomplish things of eternal consequence.
b. People are looking at us…watching how we respond in trials. This tells them a lot about Christ’s worth in our lives.
3- Joseph determined that God had a purpose for him, even when thrown in jail on false charges ().

C- Remember that you must keep a clear mind in every situation ().

2 Timothy 4:5 NLT
5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
1- Allowing our feelings to control us in our trials will cloud our judgment and obscure our vision of ministry opportunity.
2- Keeping the right focus takes effort. Paul had to warn Timothy to Keep a clear mind and work to stay focused on things of eternal consequence.
3- Joseph kept a clear mind and did not allow his feelings to take control even when Pharaoh’s cup-bearer forgot him ().

D- Recognize that you must keep your focus upon the goal ().

2 Timothy 4:6–8 NLT
6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
1- Paul knew that his martyrdom was certain.
2- Paul had lived in a way that allowed him have confidence in facing Christ in judgment.
3- Joseph remembered that his purpose was to point Pharaoh to God and serve God ().
a. God had a purpose for Joseph that was bigger than Joseph or his feelings ().
(Genesis
Pharaoh
Genesis 50:14–21 NLT
14 After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. 15 But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. 16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. 19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.
CONCLUSION:
Joseph experienced the same type of trials
Sold into slavery by his own brothers.
Falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife
Potiphar’s wife
Put in prison
forgotten by Pharaoh’s servant
He kept the proper perspective (see below)
Lived with integrity and faithfulness toward God and his master after being sold into slavery
Refused to sin with his master’s wife
Kept being faithful and live with integrity in prison
Recognized that God was the one who sent him to Egypt for a higher purpose.
(NLT)
Joseph Reassures His Brothers
14 After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. 15 But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.
16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said.
19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.
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