God's Goals for Our Lives
2 Timothy 1:1-12
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 4, 2014
*We talk to our daughter, Katie, almost every day, and I had to laugh a couple of weeks ago, when she called to whine a little bit. With graduation coming up, it suddenly dawned on Katie that she's been out of high school for ten years. Yes, at the age of 27, she's worried about getting old.
*Many of you know that Katie and her husband, Wes, live up in West Monroe, and she has a boutique over in Ruston. But when Katie left home to go to LSU, her goal was to go to New York City, and run one of those glitzy fashion magazines. That was her big goal. And she told us many times that she would never come back to our little country town
*We are so thankful that God had other plans for her life, and she is too. The truth is that we never really know where life is going to take us. As Proverbs 16:9 says: "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."
*Even so, it is a good thing to set goals in life, especially spiritual goals. And today's Scripture shows us four goals God wants all of us to make.
1. The first goal is: Seek to communicate your love.
*God wants us to communicate our love for other people. Make the effort to express your love. This is one of the main things Paul did in vs. 1-4.
*In vs. 2, Paul made it clear that Timothy was dear to him. And he did this when he addressed his letter to "To Timothy, my beloved son." The KJV says: "To Timothy, my dearly beloved son." Paul wanted Timothy to know, and God wants us to let people know that we care for them dearly.
*Also let people know that you are dedicated to them. Paul did this in vs. 3, when he told Timothy: "Without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day." That's the kind of dedication we need too. Let people know that you are dedicated to them.
*And let them know you desire to be with them. In vs. 4, Paul let his young friend know that he was "greatly desiring to see" Timothy. In all of these ways, Paul was communicating his love for Timothy. And God wants us to do the same.
*There are all kinds of ways to show your love. Paul wrote at least a couple of letters to young Timothy. Cards and calls are good today. You could also send emails or even texts. A short note can go a long way to express your love.
*On the day before Christmas in 1980, over in Anderson, South Carolina, Richard Ballenger's mother was busy wrapping presents. Mom was so busy wrapping that she asked 7-year-old Richard to shine her shoes. Soon Richard came back with a big smile on his face, and he presented the shoes to his mom for inspection. She was so pleased that she gave him a quarter.
*Christmas morning, Richard's mom put on her shoes to go to church, but she noticed a lump in one of her shoes. Mom took her shoe off, and inside she found the quarter all wrapped up in paper. Richard had written a note on that crumpled up piece of paper, and it said, "I done it for love." (1)
*"I done it for love." It was just 5 words written in a little boy's scrawl, but it was one of the best presents Mrs. Ballinger got that Christmas, or any other Christmas. Your little expressions of love can have a big impact on someone else. And God wants us to communicate our love for other people, so seek to communicate your love.
2. And seek to be a contagious Christian.
*Set a goal in your life to be a contagious Christian. That's the kind of Christian who spreads their faith to other people. Bill Hybels wrote a book about being contagious Christians, and that's what had happened in vs. 5. There Paul told Timothy that he remembered "the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also."
*Timothy's grandmother and mother were contagious Christians. And if anybody ever catches anything from me, I want it to be my faith! But how can we be contagious Christians?
 First: faith has to dwell in us.
*Again in vs. 5, Paul said that "genuine faith . . . dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also."
*In order for us to be contagious Christians, real, transparent, sincere faith has to live in our hearts: faith in God's Word, faith in God's love, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and what He did on the cross for us, faith that Jesus rose again from the dead, and that He will give eternal life to all who put their trust in Him.
 This kind of genuine faith has to dwell in our hearts. And it has to be developed.
*This was another reason why Paul wrote this letter to Timothy. Paul was trying to develop and strengthen Timothy's faith. And for us to be contagious Christians, our faith has to be developed.
 It also has to be delivered.
*Genuine faith dwelt first in Timothy's grandmother and mother. But they didn't keep it to themselves. They passed it on. And the more we develop our faith, the more we will be able to deliver our faith. There will be a fragrance about our lives that comes from our living faith, and we will be contagious Christians.
*That's why in 2 Corinthians 2:14&15, Paul said:
14. Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
15. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
*What kind of spiritual fragrance are you giving out to the world?
*I like the story of a young lady who was nervous about meeting her boyfriend's parents for the first time. She wanted to look her absolute best, and as she glanced in the mirror, she noticed her black shoes looked a little dingy. Not wanting to be late, she gave them a fast swipe with a paper towel on the counter, but that paper towel had some bacon grease on it.
*When the girl got to the parents' home, she was greeted by them, and by their spoiled rotten, cranky, mean, little poodle. That dog got a whiff of the bacon grease on the girlfriend's shoes, and followed her around all night.
*When she got ready to go, her boyfriend's parents said, "Our dog, Cleo, really likes you, dear. And she is an excellent judge of character. We are delighted to welcome you into our family." (2)
*Well Christians, we've got fragrance a whole lot more attractive than bacon grease! We've got living faith in our Living Lord, and He wants to use our lives to attract other people to Him. He wants us to be contagious Christians, and that's a great goal for our lives.
3. But we should also seek to build courage in other believers.
*That's what Paul was doing in vs. 6&7, when he said this to Timothy:
6. . . I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
7. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
*Paul wrote those words, because young Timothy was afraid, and he needed help. Remember that bad things were going on when Paul wrote this letter. Paul was a prisoner of Rome, about to be executed.
*This was Paul's last letter, and many have called it his last will and testament. In Chapter 4, the last chapter of this short book, Paul said:
6. . . I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
*Paul had been suffering, and Timothy was suffering too. That's why Paul was mindful of Timothy's tears in vs. 4. I am sure Timothy was discouraged and under a lot of stress. Maybe he felt like he wasn't going to make it, but that's not true! If we belong to Jesus Christ, we are children of the King, we are on our way to heaven, and God will give us all the strength we need!
*But sometimes we all get discouraged, and Paul wanted to help build up Timothy's courage. How did he do it?
 In vs. 6, Paul urged Timothy to rekindle the flame
*Paul said: "I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands." "Stir up the gift of God;" the word picture there is stirring up a fire, and we know that's often necessary with fires. Think about a campfire, or a fire in the fireplace or a burning pile of leaves. Those fires have to be stirred up, and the same thing is true on a spiritual level.
*When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, when we open our heart and invite Him in, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is like a good fire in our hearts.
*But here Paul tells us something very important about the Spirit of God. Christians: He IS in us, but sometimes we need to stir Him up. That means we need to focus on Him, and lift Him up in our hearts. We need to turn the things of God over in our hearts, and fan the flames of our spiritual life.
*When a Christian friend needs more courage, urge them to rekindle the flame.
 And remind them of the gifts.
*Again in vs. 6, Paul said, "I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you." Paul reminded Timothy, and if you want to encourage other Christians, remind them of God's gifts.
*By the way, that's also a great way to encourage yourself. This is what David did in Psalm 103, when he said:
1. Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
3. Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
4. Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5. Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
*You can encourage yourself by remembering God's gifts. And you can encourage other Christians the same way.
*Remind them of God's gifts: The gift of God's Word, the gift of His Son who gave His life on the cross for us, the gift of salvation for all who trust in Jesus, the gift of forgiveness for all of our sins, the gift of eternal life, the spiritual gifts God gives us to serve the Lord, the gift of a home in Heaven, and the gift of God's presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. For in vs. 7, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
*That means we can have personal courage, and we can help build up courage in other Christians. That's what the Lord wants us to do. Set a goal. Make the effort. Seek to seek to build courage in other believers.
4. And seek to carry-out God's call in your life.
*This is what Paul was urging Timothy to do in vs. 8-12. Here the Apostle said:
8. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
9. who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
10. but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
11. to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
*In vs. 11, Paul had been called to be a preacher and apostle and teacher. And you may not be called to be a preacher, but we are all called to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
*And Church: We are all called to make vs. 12 our own. There in the KJV, Paul said: "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
 In this verse, God calls us to His cause.
*Paul said for this "cause I suffer these things." Paul served the cause of Jesus Christ, and so should we.
 God calls us to His cause, and He calls us to His companionship.
*Paul was talking about Jesus when he said, "I know whom I have believed." As believers, we don't just know about Jesus, we get to know Him in a personal way.
 God calls us to His companionship, and He calls us to confidence in Him.
*Our confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ! That's why Paul could say, I "am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."
*Paul was persuaded, and we should be too, persuaded that Jesus loves us, died on the cross for us, and rose again from the dead, also persuaded that Jesus is preparing a home in heaven for us.
 God calls us to have confidence in Him, and He calls us to fully commit our lives to Him.
*God wants us to be fully committed to Jesus Christ. As Paul said in vs. 12, I "am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." Paul committed everything to the Lord. He committed his life, his soul, and his future to Jesus Christ. So should we!
*Godly goals like these are the greatest goals we can ever have in life. With God's goals in our lives, we can weather any storm, and we can help other people along the way.
[PIC 1] I'd like to show you a picture of David and Becky Guinn from Christmas of 2003. They both have been an inspiration to me and many other people.
*In 1997, the Lord blessed me to go on a mission trip with David to Ukraine. It was a life-changing experience for me. David was a wrestler in the Olympics many years ago, and for many years after that, he served as an Olympic Chaplain. Due to health reasons, David was not able to go to Sochi a few months ago. But he served the Lord in every other Olympics, both summer and winter, from 1988 through 2012. Dave has also done a lot of work for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His wife Becky is an Art Teacher over in Georgia.
*Back in 2002, Becky went in the hospital for a heart valve replacement. There were drastic complications. Her heart stopped. She went into a coma. Most of the blood supply to her arms and legs was cut off for a while. Becky developed a terrible infection. It was so bad that both of her arms had to be amputated below her elbows, and both of her legs had to be amputated below her knees.
*If anybody could be excused for giving up, it would be David and Becky Guinn. But listen to part of what David wrote ten months after the tragedy:
Ten months ago, today, Becky was admitted into the UAB Hospital in Birmingham for a routine surgery to replace a valve in her heart. One week later we were begging the Lord to spare her life. The frightening chain of events throughout her stay at UAB ended there on Feb 7th when we were able to bring her home.
*Though she was released from the shackles of death, ahead of her stretched a long road to recovery. Looking back we are amazed. We see the faces of those that have helped us along way. We feel the strength of the prayers that have carried us through the most difficult valleys. And we hear the echoes of voices coming from so many people who have encouraged us in times and situations when we simply did not know how or where to keep going.
*When a person is asked, "How are you doing?" some might respond, "Under the circumstances, I am doing okay." But it is our desire and our goal to live "above the circumstances". . .
*It was signed: "Gratefully, David Guinn and Family"
[PIC 2] Becky Guinn later learned how to paint again using her artificial hands.
[PIC 3] Here is one of her watercolor paintings.
[PIC 4] Becky also went back to full-time teaching in the fall of 2003. She is teaching students how to love art.
[PIC 5] And she is teaching them that they can overcome terrible hardships in life. (3)
*Remember what David Guinn said: "It is our desire and our goal to live "above the circumstances." With godly goals in our lives, we can weather any storm, and we can help other people along the way. We need these goals when we're 18, and we need them when we're 80. God help us to set and keep His goals in our lives.
*Would you please bow for prayer.
(1) "Lion and Lamb" by Brennan Manning - Old Tappan, NJ - Fleming H. Revell - 1986 - Source: Sermons.com sermon "The Gift Has Arrived" by King Duncan - Isaiah 61:10-62:3
(2) "BACON GREASE AND ABOUNDING GRACE" by King Duncan - Luke 7:36-50 - "Dynamic Preaching" - 2nd Sunday of June, 2004
(3) I would be happy to email these pictures to you. Just contact me through SermonCentral.