Difference Makers

Home » Sermons » Outlasters » Difference Makers

Auto Generated Transcript

If you got a Bible, I want you to turn to Second Timothy, chapter two. We’re in a series together called Outlasters. And the theme of this, the start of the book of Second Timothy, uh, goes along these lines. Paul’s about to lose his life. This is the last book of the Bible that he writes this this book that Paul writes Postdates acts by a few years. Paul, after the book of acts ends, Paul goes on a fourth missionary journey. He’s captured again, brought back to Rome, he’s about to be decapitated for his faith. He’s concerned with the time that he’s left just to pour into those that that love the Lord, that he’s invested in with his life, most specifically into the life of Timothy. He tells Timothy at the end of this book, hurry and come to me, because Paul anticipated that the end was near and he wanted to pour into the life of Timothy. Well, I consider the the life of the Roman Empire Christians during the first century, the hardships that they endured and their their stand for Jesus. There’s a lot of similarities in the way that our culture is going today, as it stands with what was happening in the culture of of Rome. I heard a quote once that recently said, um, today, in today’s society, we don’t need careful men and women. What we need is is brave men and women. The careful men and women can come later to write the biographies of the brave men and women.

And I think that’s true in what Paul is sharing in the life of Timothy. Now, granted, the Bible tells us as people in the midst of opposition, as we stand for Jesus, the way that we do that is to be as shrewd as snakes and as wise as doves. That’s probably not a prayer that you’ve prayed in your life. I guarantee you, when you leave today. This will be the first time, if you ever pray this, that you’ve done this. God make me like a snake, right? But, but the Bible says God’s desire for you is understanding that culture will fight against you. God still wants you to be bold in the truth. But be gracious in your love. Understanding that the world doesn’t stand for the same desire that Jesus does. And Paul is writing to Timothy. As a person who desires for those who love Jesus to make a difference in life. Jesus, and the reason for which he has created us is far better than any ambition or goal that we can claim for ourselves. And Paul encourages Timothy to make a difference. In fact, the theme idea that we’re carrying with our pastors as we look at the Book of Second Timothy is as the world tries to make its mark on you, you stand to make your mark on the world. Make. A difference.

That would be the positive phrase that we’d look at going into Second Timothy chapter two today. Make a difference. How do we make a difference for for the Lord? But if you read the end of chapter one, you see the reason that Paul is starting this statement in second Timothy chapter two, he says, you. Therefore he starts with this word. Therefore you always pause to ask, why is therefore. Therefore it’s because Paul just ended at the end of chapter one, talking about those who have walked away from the faith. And so writing to Timothy, he says, you therefore, my son. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Over the next three verses, Paul just outlines four areas of our lives in which we can make a difference in our stand for the Lord, and how God uses us to make a difference in the character qualities that we carry in the in the life of an individual who does make a difference. And we’ll look at those four points in just a moment. But if you were to if you were a person that likes the negative approach to give you a swift kick, maybe Paul’s statement coming from chapter one into chapter two would be this I don’t want you to fail, Timothy. And the positive aspect make a difference. Timothy. This is how you do it. I don’t want you to fail, Timothy. This this is how you do it.

Having just written about those who have walked away from the faith, he now explains to Timothy how to be a champion for Christ. And he says in verse one, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. He’s building Timothy up and the grace of God. Because he understands that God’s grace and the intentions of God’s grace is to call us to a greater calling in this world. The grace of God. Doesn’t exist. So that we can feel better about the bad that we’ve done. The grace of God gives us freedom in Christ, the forgiveness of Christ, so that in Christ we find the power to live for God the way that he’s called us to in this world. Be strong in the grace, he says to Timothy. Recognizing within the lives of the believer there will be challenges to the stand. Being strong in the grace for us as believers is a great balancing act and what it means to walk with Jesus. Let me explain. It’s the grace of God. It’s given to those who understand. That we are weak as individuals. He says. Be strong in the grace. He’s identifying not being strong in self, but simply being strong in grace. And the truth is, I am not strong in myself, and the only strength I have comes from God to begin with. Whether I recognize it or not, God is the one who enables us to do what he’s called us to do.

It’s never been about you. It’s always been about his grace. And so, Timothy, when God calls you into this world to take a stand for the Lord, it’s not based on your own strength, but it’s based on the strength of God who works through you. It is his grace that enables you. When you read about Christian history in the New Testament especially, and you go into the Old Testament and you read about those who are walking with the Lord, one of the continued challenges that you see as God calls people on to new things in him is this this bucking of the system to say to God, God, isn’t there someone more qualified than I? And I think Paul knows this with Timothy. Looking at a system of a world that operates contrary to God. It’s significant for Timothy to live the life that God has called him to live, to understand that anything God calls him to do is never accomplished through his own strength, but only by the grace of God. But in addition to that. The grace of God has a way to help us as individuals experience life if we get too big for our britches. There’s a saying that says the ground is level at the foot of the cross. And the grace of God recognizes to us as people that none of us are more special than anyone else, that all of us find our significance wrapped up in what Jesus has accomplished for us as people.

There isn’t a person who is out of the reach of God’s grace, because they are beyond the need for his grace. And so, by the grace of God elevates us in our position of Christ, helping us to recognize that it’s by his strength. The grace of God also humbles us as people, and helping us to recognize that there is nothing special about us and uniqueness as individuals. But the grace of God is important for all of us, because all of us have need for that grace in our lives. It helps us to see the value of every individual. But just as I needed this grace, and just as I fought against the Lord of my own life, whether it be by pride or not. Others need his grace to. Understanding the grace of God, I believe, is what gave the Apostle Paul the compassion, even the midst of being persecuted, to look at the Roman soldiers who were he was chained to in a dungeon, to set and share the love of Jesus, to even record in these times, as he is in Rome, in prison, about to lose his life. To say that now Caesar’s household has been infiltrated with the gospel, because the opportunity God has given me in his grace to love those who are opposed to him. Just as I learned about the grace of God when me myself stood opposed to God.

Be strong and the grace. This grace of God as individuals. Gives us the strength not to be afraid of the big bad world. This grace of God is what gives you the authority to take a stand for Christ within this world. Shrewd as serpents and wise as doves. Holding both truth and love. And the strength that Christ has given you. I believe leaders struggle in standing for God with with filling this qualification. But it’s it’s the grace of God that qualifies you to stand for the Lord because of what Jesus accomplished apart from yourselves. It’s true. The Bible tells us in first Peter chapter five that Satan roars around like a lion. But it’s also equally true that Jesus has triumphed over sin, Satan, and death. Meaning when it comes to the life of the believer, Satan may be pointing a gun at you. But there are no bullets in the chamber. In fact, the book of Colossians tells us in in chapter one and chapter two. Look at this. It says, for he rescued us talking about Jesus from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son. In chapter two and verse 15 and when he had disarmed the rulers and authorities, he made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through him. Jesus. Defeated. Forces of darkness. Be strong in his grace.

Matter of fact, I think for us as believers, when when you feel something oppressing you or you, you think something’s standing against you. A lot of times in our life, the reason Satan is able to shoot the gun that he has pointed at us is because we as believers hand him the bullets. Because of what Christ has said. He has triumphed over. Satan. And in fact, in Matthew chapter 28 and verse 19 and 20 comes one of the most famous passages in the Bible you hear often read in church. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, talking about the followers of Jesus. He’s commanding them into the world to go. But what’s important about the command that Christ gives is the authority that stands behind it. And in verse 18. Jesus gives that authority. And says, Jesus came and told his disciples, I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. This word for authority can also be translated as power. In the Greek New Testament, there’s two words for for power within Scripture or authority within Scripture. One is dynamos, from where we get the word dynamite. In Romans chapter one, Paul describes the gospel this way for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation. He says. In Romans 116 and 17 he refers to the gospel as power. He refers to it as dynamite.

It explodes with force and power. But then there’s another form of power. In the power that Jesus is referring to. The power. It’s called excuse. This isn’t a power of governing authority. If I were to give an illustration within our minds this morning, I would maybe use the thought of of a referee in a sporting event. You watch the NFL games, these guys a little older in years, running down in these zebra suits along the sidelines. Sorry. I talked about referees and some people have opinions about that. But referees running in the game and up and down the sidelines and these, these enormous players on the field that could just crush these referees at any given moment. But these referees have the ability to govern these games, to throw the flags, to blow the whistle, to declare what’s in bounds, out of bounds, whether someone scores or not scores. And when the referee declares these things, the player has no authority to challenge this referee or to threaten him. He’s removed from the game. What Jesus is saying about us and his grace. As you’re like these referees. The big bad wolf may look threatening to you. But it has no authority over you. Timothy. To make a difference in this world. To not become one who is sidelined at a failure and following Jesus rather to to stand for Christ. It involves you being strong in the grace of which God has called you.

Be strong in this grace. This foundation of grace wraps everything and who we are as believers and the authority that’s been given us and why we can stand in a world of brokenness. Be strong in this grace. When someone wins a championship. I have yet to see someone walk to the podium to receive the trophy and say, nah, I don’t want that right? Being strong in the grace as a believer. That’s exactly what Paul is saying. You’re declared a champion in Christ. And when you go through this world because of your victory, you have the authority. You are the referee. Those threats on the outside can’t touch you because of the grace of God that rests on you in the inside. Celebrate that championship. Declare it with dynamos, authority and power because you have been given the authority and power in Christ. In addition. As Paul writes in verse one, he goes on and he says, these things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, and trust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Verse two. When Paul calls Timothy to take a stand, he’s saying to Timothy, Now Timothy, remember you’ve had an example of what godliness looks like in your life and the importance for Timothy. And recognizing this is because Timothy, while he’s got an example of godliness, he’s also had tremendous example of those who have fallen from the faith.

And so Paul reminds Timothy of the significance of his example. For us as believers. I think we’re desperate today. For godly examples. I love watching people who are bold in Christ that do it in grace and love. Why is a serpent’s? Harmless as doves. And sharing truth in this world, not to bash people over the head with it, but to minister to their hearts. This world is desperate for examples, and I was reminded just this week, as I was thinking through this passage, what what an incredible history Christianity comes from and those who have followed him, pursuit of what Paul is talking about in this example. When it comes to to Christian history. I mean, it only takes but just a small amount of study to recognize that Christian history doesn’t have apostasy, but what it has or or this darkness that overcomes it. But what it has is this individuals who stood for Christ at the expense of their life repeatedly for him. When you study Christian history, you see, as soon as the apostle John dies, the last apostle, the Apostle John, invested in individuals to make a difference. Papias, Ignatius and and Polycarp. The baton was passed on with with Polycarp onto Irenaeus, and from Irenaeus onto Hippolytus, which I think would make great names for Avengers. Who are you? Irenaeus. I don’t know about Hippolytus. I haven’t been able to figure out how to make that sound mean, but.

Tertullian. Justin the Martyr. Giving their lives. Year after year people giving themselves for Christ. And this week I was reading through just different leaders in church history. John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, and even the first few centuries and into the 15th, 13th, 14th, 15th century, John Wycliffe and John Huss, and William Tyndale, and and Martin Luther, and the expense that they gave for their lives. One of the beautiful ones that I love was the story of Polycarp, who was discipled by the Apostle John. And we still have writings from Polycarp today. And it says that Polycarp, 86 years old. Roman soldiers are sent to his house to arrest him, to execute him, and when they get to his house, he knows they’re coming. It’s late at night. And he says, you know, gentlemen, in the morning I will I will go with you. But tonight it’s late. In the morning, I’ll fix you breakfast and we’ll be on our way. And Polycarp did the very people taking him to jail. To. To execute his his life. Take his life from him. He he fixed breakfast for them in the morning, went before the council of Rome. And as he stood there, they they said to Polycarp, Polycarp, out of all things he’s being accused for Polycarp is being accused for atheism. Roman authorities, they and Roman civilization. At that time they worshiped several gods, and because Polycarp and his unique faith only worshiped one god, he was accused of atheism.

And he stands before the pro council and and these Roman citizens. And behind them are Christians about to lose their lives. And they look at Polycarp and they say, Polycarp, declare the ones behind you as atheists and say, away with him and your life will be spared. And Polycarp looks out at the Council of Individuals. And he takes his hand with one broad sweep and he just says, away with you atheists. Polycarp was taken away at 86 years old and burned at the stake. Ignatius, who was also a disciple of John, said this. Let fire or cross beasts, broken bone or dismemberment come upon me so long as I attain Christ. History tells us that Ignatius lost his life by being fed to the lions. What a history we come from. The quote of the early church was the blood of the martyr is the seed of the church. For three centuries they’re giving their lives for the cause of Christ. So much so that by the beginning of the fourth century, the city of Rome becomes the very capital of Christianity. How did that happen? Strong in the grace of God. Not only are they strong in the grace of God, but they see this lineage of individuals by example who stand for Jesus, even if it cost them. If you’re interested in just reading some of the stories of people whose example might encourage you, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs tells wonderful examples of those who have stood by faith and given their lives for Christ.

Good stewards. Have good examples of good character. Paul is telling Timothy in this passage, Timothy, while all these examples around you are influencing you towards things contrary to Christ. Timothy, focus on the example of the grace of God that’s been given you. For us as people. We pause here and just simply ask on our behalves what example do I have within my life that’s godly? Who who is in my encourager when I am called to lead for the Lord in this world, which I would say, all of us are called to lead for the Lord in this world, because all of us have been given authority in Christ to do so. For us to ask. And the challenges of life, what what would a great leader do in the circumstance? Paul goes on in Second Timothy chapter three and describes his leadership. He says, follow my teaching. Uh, the conduct, the aim in my life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness. My persecutions. My sufferings. What would a good leader do? Maybe wrestling your heart right now and you just think, well, I don’t even know that I’m a leader. Let me just throw these thoughts out. What would a great husband do, right? What would a great wife do? I mean, when God calls you to lead, if you find yourself married in that area of your life, what what would you do to stand for Jesus? What what would a great mother do? Her father to.

On a day like today. Guys, if you just found out right now that today’s Mother’s Day, I feel for you. Redeem yourself. What? What a great father do. What would a great follower of Jesus do? When it comes to leading for the Lord. One of the things that you discover is you walk with Christ, and especially through the example of Christ, that when a leader makes that decision, he doesn’t do it for the benefit of himself, but for the benefit of the Body of Christ. The benefit of those God has called him to reach. If it were about you, Jesus would have never come. And Jesus would have made it all about himself and his leadership. If it were guilty by association, Jesus would have definitely never come. But God is a leader has has called you to to lay down yourself for the benefit of the arena in which God desires for you to lead. You need examples. You need mentors. And sometimes in Christianity. I think we get caught up in this thought of mentoring. And so we’ll say to people, you know, will you meet with me and mentor me? And I just want to encourage you that sometimes that’s good. And it works over a period of time, usually not a long period of time, but just getting together on a strategic meeting time that can work.

Work. It’s especially important to go through some basics of Christianity to do that in the beginning. But here’s what I found out about good mentors is growing up in the Lord. Good mentors are busy people. And when you want them to mentor you. If you go ask them. Sometimes they get afraid by that question because they’re so busy and their schedules that they don’t always have a lot of time just to sit every day of the week, designate time to sit down and meet, which sometimes it’ll work. But let me encourage you this way if you think of someone in your life that’s a godly example that you want to help influence you and encourage you in certain areas of your lives, sometimes meeting with them doesn’t work. But here’s what I would encourage you to do when you find challenges in life. When you have questions in life, when you’re looking for godly answers, ask them. It’s one of the things I’ve noticed in mentors that are gifted or led, with good examples in an area that encourages you. As they love to answer questions. On the sporadic is where we tend to learn on a needs to know basis. I mean, you look at the life of Jesus’s apostles, the disciples that walked with Christ Jesus ministered to them on the fly.

I mean, you read the story of Jesus. He’s like, oh, let’s walk past all guys. See that field? I got a parable about a field. Let me just tell you about this field while we’re going down the road together and they’re spending life together, all you see the birds of the air, you know, Jesus takes God, takes care of you. Like, just like the birds of the air. Birds of the air doesn’t worry about their lives. Walk with the Lord and he’ll care for you. I’ll see those rocks over there. See how that farmer’s plowing the field? Look, I got a few illustrations on this one. Let me tell you something. There’s weeds, there’s tears, there’s good seed, there’s bad seed. But it’s important for our lives to recognize godly examples and find the places that encourage us as believers. And then Paul goes on, he says, entrust these to faithful men. Give this in community. Live this in a real setting in life. Give it to people who want to really know Jesus. Well, sometimes God calls us to be examples in areas of where people don’t know the Lord. I would say God calls all of us to be evangelists, and sometimes we find ourselves as people in those arenas more so than others. But God also wants you to invest in people. Who have a hunger for Christ. Those are the ones that continue to pass the baton.

And I find in my life. Early, especially my Christian faith, that I really wanted everyone to know Jesus. And so. I would see believers that were loving the Lord. I think, okay, they’re good. Let me just go past the hard, the easy part and let me just get to the hard people. And I would want to be their Holy Spirit. Just come on, please. Come on. The Lord beat my head against the wall. I think God calls us to share his gospel. But God also is saying to us, don’t overlook those that are hungry to learn. Pour into them the the path of least resistance when it comes to Christ. That’s where God identifies where he is working, and that’s the opportunity you have to dump into them. You’ll notice within your Christian life you go through seasons. You’ll go through a period in your life where you’re just wide open to learn and grow. You can’t just you can’t stop. Just read, read, read, read, read, read. And you do that for a few months and all of a sudden it’s like a a chill moment where now you’re just digesting what you went through. And then the next thing you know, you’re back on the hill where you just can’t so much coming your way again and you just invest, invest. And Timothy saying, when, when those people get to those place where they’re just an open sponge, just absorb what you’re saying to them, pour into them, take the opportunity and share and do it in community.

And here’s why. Proverbs 1320 says this walk with the wise and become wise. Associate with the fools. And get in trouble. This is the you are what you eat passage of Scripture. If you want to look like Jesus in the way that you live with your life, get with people that look like Jesus in the way that they live their lives. Godly examples in community encouraged with Christ. I mean, this even works down to the. As a leader, when you start thinking about parent parenting, you understand as you’re called to lead. The world wants to shape your children. They put nice terms on it. Like well-rounded. Your kid would be well rounded and well rounded is nice, but it may not be God’s goal. And how are you going to encourage your kid? Well, I can tell you, when you make priorities about music and sports and your kids will reproduce that. And when you make priorities about Jesus within the family. Your kids will reproduce that. Your family is what it eats. Raising the bar of where Jesus is represented within your family. The wise become wise. And the fools become foolish. Now, I know as a parent you can’t force your kid’s heart. But you can’t encourage it and direct to it. You can speak to it. Make it a priority in Paul’s saying, to live the life that God’s called you to the example that you have, and living as a team with those who love Christ and being strong in the grace is significant for a believer.

I’ll share that verse like this. And I want to encourage you as parents don’t don’t go nuts. Right. When you recognize within your life, you know, I do want my family to walk with Jesus and you start to examine and think. Sometimes I feel like we go overboard. Not that I don’t think you’re ever going to get to Jesus. And Jesus is going to say, you know you love me too much. Sorry, but what I mean is, when you start molding your family closer to Christ, if you just throw everything out the window at one time. Um, it becomes difficult for the family to make adjustments. So here’s what I want to encourage you to do something. Just look at one thing and try it within your family and see if it encourages and and grows. I don’t care if it’s prayer around the dinner table, if you don’t do that, or even making the dinner table a priority, I don’t. I don’t care if it’s prayer at night time. I don’t care if there’s a certain day or time during the day that you might open the Bible and read to your kids as a family, I don’t care. Before you go out the door, dad, as a as a father, you gather your family around real quick and you just share one Bible verse with them.

Just just something. Something to encourage them in Christ. Paul then gives a few examples for us. He compares the Christian life in three things. He says this and this is the last passage we’ll look at together. He says, suffer hardship with me. Yeah, okay. Suffer hardship with me. And he compares to this as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also, if anyone incompletes or competes as an athlete, he he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. Paul saying, I just gave these three examples and I want you to think about this. We had a. A youth event a few weeks ago, and actually it may have been longer than that, I don’t know. Time flies. It’s we’re already almost halfway through this year, if that makes you feel old. There you go. But Paul saying think through this. We had a youth event not too long ago and the kids were on this topic and I was given just these, this focus of of a passage to share with the kids.

And I thought to myself, okay, Paul says, think on this. So I want to sit down. I’m just going to think on this. What does it mean? I just specifically started thinking about the soldier. What is what does it mean for a soldier not to entangle himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him? What does that mean? And so I remember I’m sitting at my kitchen table and I’m going through this study with my kids. I’m playing kind of halfway, playing with my kids and halfway studying the Bible. And I’m just thinking about this verse, run it through my head. And as I’m sitting there, my kids keep screaming. I’m like, guys, I’m trying to figure out how to not entangle myself in the affairs of this world. Just thinking through my head, thinking through my head over and over. What? What does it mean not to take it? Guys? Come on, if you could understand how I’m trying to not entangle myself here for a moment and then begin to dawn on me. I’m doing the entangling. Because God’s given me certain areas of my life. To be a light for him. And as a father. When your kids are going crazy and they’re about to lose each other’s eyes or about to pull some hair. That is what it means. Uh, as a leader in tangling myself as to stop and to make sure that when I’m answering that question, it’s really just to say, what? What should I be leading? And the world’s going to come up with a system of what they say is important and leading in.

And when my system in Christ becomes what the world system is, I begin to entangle myself in things that Jesus doesn’t care about. Well, Jesus doesn’t care what car you drive. He doesn’t care how much money you make. I don’t think he cares how many degrees you can hang on your wall. I know God has given you a mind and God’s given us support to provide. When you get to heaven. I doubt Jesus is going to say, oh, over your lifetime you made 3.1 million. I called you to 3.2. Sorry. Get back down there. That’s not what matters to him. As one whose given given been given the authority in Christ. When God calls us into areas of this world. I mean, it’s important to recognize that when we think about entangling and not entangling, the place is really that God’s called us that we often find get getting ourselves entangled are are in the areas of life that we don’t really anticipate. They sort of pop up on us. Like for instance, when your kids are going crazy at home and you think that you’ve got to wrestle through this verse and the application to the verse is just sitting right, right in front of you.

God’s called you to lead in areas of your life. Whether it’s motherhood or fatherhood, or husband or wife, or in the community or at work, God’s given you the opportunity not to stand in a system that the world rests in, but his. System in Christ. Here’s what happens. That day. As a father, I learn what God’s Word meant. And my kids had the opportunity to see the heart of God as I talked to them. And here’s why Paul says it’s so important. This is how he concludes this section of Scripture. He says, Remember Jesus Christ. Rather than get entangled. Remember Jesus Christ. Risen from the dead descendant of David according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal. But the Word of God is more. Is not in prison. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, and with it eternal glory. This train is going somewhere. And it’s crossing the finish line. And the grace of God and the authority of God has been given to you, that you and victory could live for Christ, surrounded by those of examples in community. For him not entangling yourselves according to a system of the world, but seeing the purity of which Christ has called you to lead. Be strong in his grace.