Temple Baptist Church - 5-15-2011
2 Timothy 4:6-8
A. Today is the “Big Day” for me in 2011. Today is my birthday! I was born May 15, 1948 in St. Mary’s Hospital, Evansville, IN. You do the math! I was saved late in life (28); called to preach late in life (almost 34); began to pastor my first church late in life (almost 39); and am now a “senior citizen” who is approaching the “winter” of my life.
B. I have enjoyed my salvation and still do! Saved, Saved, Saved! I have enjoyed my school years! They were wonderful years sitting at the feet of Dr. Harold B. Sightler and Dr. Jerry C. Clark! I have and am enjoying pastoring my first (and last) church! We have had ups and downs; seen some saved and watched some leave possibly lost; had war and peace; but—through it all—I have no complaints. You are a wonderful church and our fellowship is sweet. We are family, friends, and fellow laborers.
C. Though the years are quickly passing, I—for the most part—feel good. I plan on staying here until I have used up my usefulness as a pastor. I feel like I have 15-20 good years left in me. I thought about what to preach on today because my birthday rarely hits on Sunday. I want to encourage both myself and you in the Lord this morning.
D. According to tradition, 2 Timothy was the last book that the Apostle Paul wrote and guess what? He was probably about my age. The date of 2 Timothy’s writing has been placed at about 66 AD. He was probably about our Lord’s age or a little younger. That would place his age in the early to mid-60’s. Paul knew that he would soon be put to death and was writing to encourage young Timothy, a young pastor and Paul’s son in the faith.
E. We, as parents and grandparents, have an awesome responsibility. One) to the Lord for all that He has done for us. Two) to our children and families. Three) to sinners around the world. If we do not hold the lines and remain in the “old paths,” then just who will.
F. I want to look at Paul’s reference to both his labor and love for the Lord.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
1. Our Fight Must Be Right! Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Paul was referring to a “good fight.”)
a. We Must Have Desire. We need a people who are not afraid of the fight. Satan may possibly destroy you in the fight but he will destroy you if you refuse to fight. The “good fight” is worth the effort. I pray that, in the days to come, we will be willing to fight. So much depends upon our standing firm and straight.
b. We Must Have Discernment. Oftentimes, we fight the wrong fights. Some things are worth fighting for. Some things are worth dying for. Some fights are just not the right fights. I have seen good people fight each other over personal convictions. I have seen good people fight against people of other denominations. I have seen good people tear down instead of buildup. Identify and Isolate the enemy. To many of God’s Children are killed by “friendly fire.”
1) Fight sin, not sinners.
2) Fight sin, not sinful saints.
3) Fight heresy, not the heretic.
4) Fight to change government, not those in authority. We pray for them.
c. We Must Have Determination. The fight is not easy and the enemy will not go away. Fight with determination and direction. Paul said, “So fight I, not as one that beateth the air.”
2. Our Finish Must Be Right – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (25) And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (26) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: (27) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (We must be able to withstand as well as to stand. We want to finish right.)
a. We will be persecuted for righteousness sake. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
b. We will be hated of the world for the Lord’s sake. John 15:18-19 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. (19) If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
3. Our Faith Must Be Right! Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
a. The Following Of Our Faith. Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
b. The Foundation Of Our Faith. Psalms 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
c. The Fight Of Our Faith. 1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Conclusion: One day, we will stand before the Lord and it will not matter how much money we made in this life. It will not matter how successful we were in this life. The only thing that will matter is what we did with Christ, what we did for Christ, and how we finished our race.