How to Succeed in the Christian Life

This message was preached February 19, 2023 by Pastor Eddie Foster.

II Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. 7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

The Apostle Paul was a rare individual. He wrote half of the New Testament. He was unique and whatever he did, even before salvation, he did with all his might. In Acts 3 we see him going house to house arresting Christians and putting them in prison. Most awaited execution. Paul was responsible for this. We are certainly blessed to have the freedom to gather. Once Paul was saved he had that same zeal for the church. I pray for that same boldness. Timothy wasn’t as bold as Paul; in the books of Timothy Paul encouraged him to be all he could be. That’s what we need to do:  give it all we got!  God has more Timothy’s than he does Paul’s. I’m not being critical of Timothy. He was called by God and was used by him, but he was timid. Think about this:  are most Christians good Christians? That’s up for debate.  The disciples squabbled with each other over who was the greatest. Jesus stopped it. He told Peter that Satan wanted him. Peter talked a lot, probably many times when he should not have. Even so he was a little timid with the gospel. That was until the Day of Pentecost; he preached and 3,000 were saved. Let’s put on some boldness.

Verse 2 tells us there is a responsibility that comes with the Christian life. My job as pastor is to train and equip you. I can’t reach everybody. As you’re equipped you reach others through the week. We read in Ephesians 4:11 that not everyone had the same job–he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. Verse 12 goes on to tell us why: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. We’re all in the ministry of God. The church grows as we all tell others and they get saved. Paul was doing what we call mentoring. All we need to do is tell others. Paul always told his Damascus Road story. We’re all links in a chain and evangelism is how we do it. We tell others; that’s what evangelism is. We have all failed in this area. I think we need to support missions but let’s also be concerned about what’s going on around us. God didn’t save us to leave us like we were. Christian maturity is needed. Mentor others to help them grow.  It takes time; be willing to give it.

It also tells us there’s a cost to living a Christian life. When we get saved, our worries aren’t over. Problems don’t stop. I could preach a prosperity gospel but that’s not a reality. We won’t have a smooth road. There will be struggles.  Satan is again you and me but remember that greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. The price of success could be loneliness. Paul wrote many epistles from a prison cell. Some friends leave when you get saved. We must be oblivious to what others think when we’re serving the Lord.  

Verse 4 says to be a soldier. Your life is always on the line. Endure hardness and avoid the affairs of this life. The Christian life is a battlefield, not a playground. Ephesians 6 details that we wrestle with the devil.  Verse 5 shows us we are to be as an athlete. It’s like the “no pain no gain” saying. We’ll have the thrill of victory when we cross our finish line one day.  We never lose as a child of God. An athlete plays by the rules; we must live by God’s blueprint. We don’t know it all. We don’t understand it all. But we know this Book will guide us through life. Lay aside the weights and sins that hinder us and run the race with patience. Verse 6 speaks of a farmer. He works long hours. There are frequent disappointments of pests, drought, and frost. But a farmer knows you can’t reap the harvest in a week. The reward will come.

Revelation 22 outlines the fact that there will be rewards for the Christian. You’ll wish you had them when you see others laying theirs at the feet of the Lord. We all want to hear these words: well done thou good and faithful servant. It should be our desire to serve the Lord to the best of our ability. I trust you’ll pray with that in mind.

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