God has a plan for you in your life. Whether or not you fulfill the will of God will depend on staying faithful to God. Paul the apostle, in his last letter to young Timothy, encourages him to stay faithful to God. Paul uses a term that all God’s children should learn to live by: Endure.
When thinking of enduring, some may have the mindset that we just need to hold on a little longer, indicating that we are at a low point of survival. God doesn’t want His people just to “survive”, He wants them to thrive! I remember when I was young, my father was a world champion kick-boxer. He won the world title because he didn’t just survive…he thrived. It was by thriving that I learned what endurance meant. I learned that enduring wasn’t just finishing, but it was finishing STRONG.
In the Christian life, I want to finish strong. I want to stay faithful to God. I want to hear Him say, “Well done…” Those that hear God say, “Well done” must do well, that is, stay faithful to God. By enduring, we can hear those word.
To Stay Faithful To God We Must Endure As A Solider
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 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. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:1-3
Paul often used a battle mindset when comparing how we can stay faithful to God. If anyone knew that the Christian life was a battle, it was Paul the Apostle. He was tortured for Christ. He was left to die. He left alone by so-called friends in the ministry. Yet, he stayed faithful to God. It was a battlefield attitude that allowed this man of God to finish strong. While others were quitting, Paul stayed faithful to God. While others compromised the purity of local church doctrine, Paul continued to proclaim doctrine. He endured. He stayed Faithful To God. He finished strong.
Now, Paul is relaying this to young Timothy. Paul was concerned that the doctrines of God would be compromised, therefore Paul admonishes Timothy to commit such teachings to the next generation. The idea was, it will be a battle to keep the doctrines of God. I will be honest, staying faithful to God is hard enough with the attacks from the world, yet, I find even Christians attack when one takes a stand. It may be hard, and often seems like a fight, but it is worth the fight to keep God’s doctrine pure.
Those who win in the battle must go through the battlefield
We Stay Faithful To God Because Of His Word
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 2:9-10
As Paul is writing this epistle to Timothy, we find that he is in a prison. He was imprisoned for the faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ that he preached. Everywhere Paul went, he preached the Gospel. He stirred people to make a choice for God. Would to God we had some men of God that would preach that old fashioned Gospel of Jesus Christ, admonishing men to repent and believe the Gospel. This life changing message convicted people, it was a dart that penetrated their hearts, minds, and souls. Such preaching led Paul to a prison cell, which eventually led to his martyr’s death of beheading.
In spite of such persecution, Paul realized that no matter what evil men did to him, the Word of God would still prevail. Lock him in a prison, yet the Word of God was spread. Paul endured such trials and suffering because he knew the Word of God would accomplish the Will of God.
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
We Stay Faithful To God In Living A Holy Life Unto God
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
2 Timothy 3:10-11
We find Paul went through many trials in life as a result of the Gospel he believed, loved, lived, and preached. In spite of how people treated him, he endured…he stayed faithful to God. Young Timothy was a witness to these sufferings. I could image Timothy wondering what drove Paul to continue on. We find it was the fact the God delivered him in these trials.
The reason he suffered was because he lived a holy life unto the Lord. Paul was persecuted for the following reasons mentioned in the verses above:
- Doctrine – What he believed based on the Bible
- Manner of Life – How he lived separated from the world unto God
- Purpose – His Godly goals in life and ministry
- Faith – The Gospel of Jesus and the hope he had
- Longsuffering – How he dealt with people
- Charity – How he cared for sinners and saints
- Patience – How he cared and nurtured people despite how they treated him
We Stay Faithful To God Because Others Don’t
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
Paul had already experienced the turning away of so-called ministry friends. At one point, he stood alone by the side of God. I could imagine that he felt let down because he had invested so much in people that would only turn their backs on him. Even Demas, a dear ministry friend would leave the will of God to follow the ways of the world. All this must have been running through the mind and heart of Paul as he admonishes Timothy to endure. Why? Because other didn’t.
The dividing factor was the same dividing factor we face today: Doctrine. Prior to the compromise of doctrine, there was the pure doctrine of the local church. When people started making changes in doctrine that would match their philosophies and world views, we then find the beginning of denominations. Despite the popluar majority of false doctrine that has prevailed among many protestant churches, there has always been a true line of churches since the time of Christ. First known as Disciples, they took on many names, such as: Christians, Paulicians, Novatists, Monatists, Moravians, Waldenses, Anabaptist, and now known as Baptists. I firmly believe the church Jesus started was a Baptist church. Though the names have changed through the ages, the doctrine has never changed. We never protested out of the catholic church, therefore we are not protestants.
It was this local church doctrine that was being compromised. Every time such doctrine is compromised, give it time, and the rest of a churches doctrine will become diluted. Paul was admonishing Timothy to stay faithful to God and His truth, thus encouraging him to stay faithful to the local church and her doctrine:
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1 Timothy 3:15
Stay Faithful To God No Matter What Comes Your Way
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
2 Timothy 4:5
Lastly, Paul gives some statements for Timothy. They are pretty self explanatory, so we will not take time to explain them. Yet, in this verse we find the 5th the word Endure is mentioned in this little pastoral epistle. It was a final statement of endurance in the hard times. Why? Because hard times come to everyone. Therefore, Paul ended the thought with a challenge to stay faithful to God though it all, including trials, tribulations, sufferings, and afflictions.
I closing, I would like to encourage you to stay faithful to God. This message has been preached on several occasions, but the one that strikes me the most was when I had the opportunity to preach it in a little Indian church in Colorado. The pastor had invited several churches to come to his revival. It was the first night, and the only people there were the preachers he invited and one member from his church. They normally had 20 people or so in church, but that night, only one person from his church was there in the company of three or four preachers. I could see his disappointment and discouragement. My heart broke for his broken heart. I had another message prepared, but the Spirit of God told me to preach this one. It was amazing to see God lift this man’s head and encourage him through the Word of God. I hope this little blog post will encourage someone out there that needs it.