By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-4
Text: 2 Timothy 2:3
2 Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Introduction: We are in a war! I’m not referring to America’s war against terrorists. I’m talking about the war of God’s people against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Salvation is by grace, but service is spiritual warfare. You are saved by grace through faith, not of works of any sort. However, you won’t become a GOOD Christian, and a STRONG Christian, without a battle.
TOUGH TIMES WILL COME. It is not a question of IF they will come, but WHEN they will come. What you do when the tough times come will determine your character. It will display the truthfulness of your faith to your children, to your friends and to your enemies.
Paul told Timothy to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Timothy was to expect tough times. You are to expect tough times.
WHEN TOUGH TIMES COME …
I. DON’T FOCUS ON YOUR PROBLEMS
Hebrews 12:1-3 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, 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. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
A. Focus on the promises and prospects
1. “… who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross …” (Hebrews 12:2)
B. Focus on performance
1. “… endured the cross …” (Hebrews 12:2)
2. Examine your attitudes and actions and be sure you’re doing the things that should
3. Keep doing those things! Perform!
4. When the going gets tough, the tough get going
C. Focus on pleasing God
1. Enoch had that testimony in hard times, that he pleased God (Hebrews 11:5).
D. Focus on the person of Christ
1. Looking unto Jesus – Hebrews 12:2
2. … consider him … – Hebrews 12:3
II. DON’T FAINT AND QUIT
Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
Ephesians 3:13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
A. Be patient
1. In running – Hebrews 12:1
2. In reaching goals
B. Be praying
C. Be persevering
III. DON’T FIND FAULT
Job 3:1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.
A. With your predicament
1. Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
B. With people
1. Don’t blame others
2. Don’t accuse others
C. With Providence
1. Believe Rom. 8:28
IV. DON’T FORGET JOB
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
A. Great men suffer first
B. Great men survive faithfully
C. Great men succeed finally
Michael D. O’Neal (Proverbs 11:30), Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church