II Tim. 2 outline
Extension # 006
ENDURE AS A SOLDIER
[Introductory Scripture] II Tim. 1:8
[Introduction] All of us here have probably seen war movies. Some of us here have actually been in a war. When I think of a soldier’s endurance, for some reason my mind goes back to images I have seen of D-day. Soldier after soldier scrambled up the bloody sand to take out the foxholes that were set up on the beach. Many were killed. Many lost friends. Many were wounded. But what we remember of that day is the victory achieved by faithful soldiers who chose to endure hardship over personal comfort. Difficult battles are won through the endurance of the soldiers.
Regardless of your view on whether we should be in Iraq or not, the only thing that will guarantee success is endurance. Endurance is required of the soldier. They do not endure good things. They endure hardship.
As soldiers of Christ, we too must endure hardship.
[Announce and read text] II Tim. 2: 1-13
[Prayer for illumination] As we go to prayer, let us remember what Paul told Timothy in verse seven (“Consider what I say may the Lord give you understanding in all things”).
[Contextualization] We remember from the last chapter that God, through Paul, is exhorting Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel. He gives him the following three reasons for not being ashamed: because He has not given us a Spirit of fear but of power (:7), because we can see His work in us (:9), and because of who Christ is (His ability to keep us) (:10, 12). Paul tells Timothy to remain faithful to what he has learned. As Paul closes the preceding section, he sights a few positive and negative examples of being ashamed of the Gospel. All those in Asia, Phygellus, and Hermogenes were ashamed of Christ and of Paul. Onesiphorus, however, was not ashamed and helped Paul in his time of need. As we come to chapter two, Paul continues his thought by explaining to Timothy the way of endurance (the opposite of being ashamed of the Gospel).
[Fallen Creature Focus] We, as Christians, often refuse to endure, and are therefore ashamed of the Gospel. This results from our own desire for personal comfort.
[Theme] God commands us to endure by proposing the steps in endurance, by portraying the law of endurance, and by showing endurance practiced. (REVISE)
I. Endurance proposed (:1, 2)
Before explicitly commanding Timothy to endure, Paul explains to him how to endure. Paul emphasizes two steps in enduring.
A. By being strong in His grace (:1)
Paul uses “therefore” and “you” to contrast what Timothy should do with what the preceding examples in chapter one did. Paul explains that the strength to endure does not come from one’s self.
It is extremely important to note that the strength lies in God. Paul tells the Ephesians to “be strong in the Lord” (6:10 LOOK AT REST OF VERSE). He tells the Philippians, in that well know verse, that we “can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me” (4:13). We can note that in the Greek the verb for being strong is in the passive. Paul is essentially telling Timothy to “be made strong.”
The verb is also a present imperative (command) which denotes a continuing action. Timothy is to continually seek his strength in the Lord.
We must also note that strength comes from relying on His grace. I am reminded of my life verse, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Cor. 12:9).
Paul is not telling Timothy to buck up, stop crying, and be strong. Rather, he is telling Timothy to rely on Christ’s grace for his strength. Endurance takes strength. The only strength that will last is God’s. If we are to endure, we must follow God’s command to find our strength in Christ’s grace. It may not be easy to endure, but the grace of God gives strength to endure.
[Illustration] “Because an army is victorious, it by no means follows that the victory was a cheap one. ‘One more such victory,’ said Pyrrhus after the battle of Asculum, ‘will ruin me.’ The physical agony of the martyr is not diminished in the least by the strength imparted to him by God to endure it. The fire is as hot, and the pain as great, in his case as in that of an unbeliever. Divine grace does not operate like chloroform, and deaden pain. The bereavement of a believer by death of a beloved object is none the less sore and heavy, because of the grace which helps him to bear it. The promise is, ‘Cast thy burden on the Lord and he shall sustain thee’—not the burden.”—William Shedd
B. By committing the Word to others (:2)
Another key aspect of endurance is the passing on of sound doctrine. This ensures the endurance of individuals in the true faith. It is very hard to propagate false doctrine if one is actively involved in passing on what he has received.
Timothy is to entrust what he has heard from Paul. Paul did not ask Timothy to teach his own words or opinions. Paul wanted to make sure that Timothy was teaching truth from God’s Word. Paul claimed that his words were God’s words (I Cor. 14:37).
Paul also emphasizes the teaching which was to be passed on was approved by many. The greater Christian community would authenticate what was truly from God.
Timothy was to entrust this gospel to those who would be faithful to it [as Paul did with Timothy (I Tim. 1:18)] (the same word is used for Christ entrusting His soul to the Father-Lk. 23:46). Endurance comes through strong doctrine. This strong doctrine can only be achieved by entrusting the Word of God to people who will faithfully use it and entrust it to the next generation.
[Application] Do you fear enduring for the gospel because of the hardship that will come? Do you purposefully not seek Christ’s strength because you would rather live in your weak comfortable Christian life? Or, do you seek to be strong in your own strength? Are you hoarding what you have received in order to avoid hardship? Are you selective to whom you entrust it too? Are you actively seeking to push your own opinion instead of God’s Word?
“God’s power (and one’s need to appropriate it) and God’s gospel (and the need to faithfully pass it on) are the objective realities on which Paul bases his continual appeal to Timothy to suffer for the gospel.” –Knight
II. Endurance portrayed(:3-6)
Paul uses three examples of common day life to explain the “law of endurance.” The “law of endurance” is as follows: if we endure hardship and persecution we will reap rewards.
A. By following the soldier’s example (:3, 4)
Paul uses as his main example the soldier. The soldier is a clear picture of one who endures in order to accomplish the expected goal. The soldier does not become so involved with daily activities that he forgets to accomplish what his job truly is. The word for “the affairs of this life” is not an evil word (I was hoping it would be to make a stronger point). But, the thought is strong, nonetheless. It is the good things that often take us away from doing what we are supposed to do. It is often said, “Don’t let the good detract from the best” (e.g. work is good, but if it detracts from serving Christ it is sin; the sole purpose of a job should be to allow us to serve Christ).
We note what the true purpose of the soldier is: to please the one who enlisted him. An American soldier must endure hardship to please his nation (his President). Christ enlisted us by saving us. We must endure hardship in order to please Him (I Thes. 2:4).
B. By following the athlete’s example (:5)
Paul then uses the example of an athlete. An athlete must be willing to abide by the rules in order to win the prize. What is meant by “according to the rules” is unsure. But, we assume by the context that Paul is speaking of the necessities in endurance. The necessity in enduring is suffering. No one can be crowned, or rewarded, for enduring unless he suffers.
C. By following the farmer’s example (:6)
The farmer must also suffer and labor in order to receive his reward. This is what I mean by the “law of endurance.” Suffering, toil, hardship, and labor are required in enduring. This endurance produces rewards from God.
[Application] Do you understand the “law of endurance?” It is impossible to endure without suffering. It is impossible to please God without enduring. It is impossible to obtain a reward without pleasing God. How are you suffering? How are you enduring? How are you pleasing God?
III. Endurance practiced (:8-13)
Paul now shows how a life characterized by endurance is to be lived.
A. Practiced by Christ (:8)
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of enduring hardship. Paul mentions Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Christ could not have been raised if He did not suffer and die first. Paul also mentions the gospel. The gospel is centered around the death of Christ (I Cor. 15). Christ endured the cross for us (Heb. 12:2).
We as Christians, so often, forget what Christ went through for us. Christ Himself remarked on the forgetfulness of His followers (Mark 8:18). We need to remember that we are to go with Christ outside the camp (Heb. 13:13).
[Illustration] “Lord Nelson defeated Napoleon’s navy at the Battle of Trafalgar, thwarting Napoleon’s planned invasion of England. Nelson began that battle with the famous signal, ‘England expects that every man will do his duty.’ He could demand such devotion because he gave it. In fact, that victory cost Nelson his own life. He cultivated faithfulness and mutual loyalty in his men. A few years earlier, after a glorious victory at the Battle of the Nile, he had written to Lord Howe, ‘I had the happy fortune to command a band of brothers.’ That is the spirit of true leadership.”—John MacArthur
B. Practiced by Paul (:9, 10)
Paul now uses himself as an example of enduring hardships. He was bound in prison. He was not the only one to be bound. Christians throughout the ages have been bound because of their testimony (Heb. 11:36). Paul also presents the irony that he is bound as a criminal when he has competed by the rules (:5).
1. Paul endured for the sake of the gospel (:9)
Paul was enduring hardship because of his stand on the gospel. But, he was happy to report that the gospel was not bound. Though God’s servants may be suffering hardship, God’s gospel will never be limited. The gospel succeeds even under persecution. That is the hope of the Christian. That is why committing it to faithful men is part of enduring hardship. We know that one day we will not be able to fight for the gospel, so we rest in the fact that it is not dependent on us.
2. Paul endured for the sake of the elect (:10)
Paul also suffered for his fellow believers.
B. Practiced by every Christian (:11-13)
1. Through death with Christ, sin dies
Because we are united with Christ, we have died with Him. This is the same idea as Rom. 6:8. We have been liberated from the power of the flesh and sin over our lives. We are truly dead spiritually to them.
2. Through endurance for Christ, Christians reign
This is Paul’s main reason for including this section of text. He is stressing the “law of endurance.” Rewards only come when one endures hardship for Christ.
3. Through denial of Christ, people are denied
Paul proclaims a strong warning. This is complete and abject denial. If someone denies Christ, he is denying his opportunity to eternal life (Jude 4; II Pet. 2:1; I Jn. 2:23) (Mk. 10:33, Lk. 12:9).
4. Though unfaithful to Christ, Christ is faithful
Paul ends this section with a reassuring thought. We can not always be faithful, because of our sinful nature. We will not always endure hardship as we should. But when we fail, Christ is faithful to forgive (I Jn. 1:9). Christ is faithful because of His own nature.
[Application] Have you died with Christ (Salvation)? Have you denied Christ (always acted like a Christian)? Are you enduring hardship for Christ? Christ is always ready to love and be faithful.
[Conclusion] God commands us to endure under hardships. In II Timothy 2, He has given us every reason to obey that command. He has told us how, He has given us examples, and He has shown us how. It is up to us to choose not to be ashamed of the gospel by enduring hardship.