Temple Baptist Church - 5-18-2008
2 Timothy 4:1-8
A. We live in the days of “falling away.” People, who were once faithful to the church, are leaving in a mass exodus. Most churches, in areas where the gospel has been preached for many decades, are in numerical decline. I am speaking of churches who are still holding to the “Old Paths” of doctrinal, personal, and ecclesiastical separation. Compromised churches will draw some of these disgruntled church members but these who leave good churches do not, as a rule, join churches of equal or greater separation. You have two types of “finishers.:
1. Those who ARE “finished” (they have dropped out of the race for whatever reason);
2. Those who “finish” (they continue to serve the Lord until He comes or they go home).
B. Why are there so many spiritual fallouts? Many who “Fall Away” are lost church members - 2 Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
1 John 2:18-19 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
C. Most true believers, who do not finish their course, become spiritual fallouts for one of three reasons:
1. They Do Not Finish Because Of Defilement - James 1:13-16 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
2. They Do Not Finish Because Of Discouragement - Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
3. They Do Not Finish Because Of Distraction – Luke 9:57-62 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain [man] said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Matthew 6:19-24 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Romans 8:5-8 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
D. Every believer has a personal race to run!
1. Our Course’s Initiation - Ephesians 2:1-4 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
2. Our Course’s Importance - Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
3. Our Course’s Individuality - 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: (Acts 20:24 - above)
E. Most, unfortunately, do not finish their course in this world but there is a simple formula for doing so.
1. Finishing your course brings Joy - Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
2. Finishing your course brings Reward - 2 Timothy 4:8 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.
3. Evangelist Dean Shook wrote the song, “It’s Been Worth Every Mile!” “It will be worth it all when we see Christ!”
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
HOW TO FINISH YOUR COURSE
1. Keep Your Feet Running YOUR Race – Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Keep Your Hands Busy In The Work Of The Lord. Busy people have little time to get into trouble! Do not keep your eyes on every one else’s race! Narrow sightedness makes for straighter plowing.)
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (Idle hands are the devil’s workshop while busy hands do not have time to get into trouble.)
2. Keep Your Confidence In Jesus Christ – Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (If your eyes are upon the world, you will be discouraged! If your eyes are upon men, they will discourage you! If your eyes are upon Christ, you will stay the course!)
Psalms 118:8 [It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. (Man is not your Saviour!)
Psalms 118:9 [It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. (Government is not your Saviour!)
Proverbs 3:26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken. (The Lord is our Saviour!)
3. Keep Your Ears Open To The Word Of God – 2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (Heeding the Word of God will keep our path straight and secure! Without heeding God’s Word, we will wander and stray. Make God’s Word a vital part of each day!)
4. Keep Your Mind Stayed Upon The Lord – Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee.
Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalms 104:34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD. (Our Lord should be the center of our though life!)
5. Keep Your Body A Holy, Living Sacrifice – Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Distance yourself from the things of the world while keeping your daily walk harnessed by the Word of God.)
6. Keep Your Eyes On The Skies And Your Hope In Heaven - Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (Just the thought that the Lord may return any moment causes the child of God to find encouragement in this present evil world.)