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“Keep On Keeping On” (2 Timothy 1)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

In 2004, a wonderful country music song came out by a man who is no relation to me, Mr. Tim McGraw (I have no G in my name, by the way). The name of that song was “Live Like You Were Dying.” The song spoke about a man who thought he was dying, so he decided to do all these things that he’s always wanted to do, such as going skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing, and going 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu.

Well, today we are starting the book of 2 Timothy. This book of the Bible is another letter from the apostle Paul to a young pastor who he has influenced greatly named Timothy. It is believed that this was one of Paul’s last letters, and as he wrote it, he was imprisoned in a Roman prison where he awaited his execution. So, in a sense, Paul is writing as if he is dying. He’s writing what is most important for him to share with Timothy before he leaves this earth. That is the context of this letter from Paul to Timothy.

Today, Paul’s message to Timothy is to stay faithful in his calling as a pastor. He is essentially telling Timothy to “Keep On Keeping On.” That is the title of today’s sermon.

Before we go into the sermon, let’s go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to speak to us.


Ok, let’s look at 2 Timothy 1. I’ll read the entire thing, and then we’ll walk through it together:

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, for the sake of the promise of life in Christ Jesus:

2 To Timothy, my dearly loved son.

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. 4 Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also.

6 Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

8 So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. 10 This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher, 12 and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me, until that day.

13 Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 15 You know that all those in the province of Asia have deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he obtain mercy from him on that day. You know very well how much he ministered at Ephesus.

Ok, let’s walk through this passage. First, let me give an . . .

‌I. Introduction

As I said earlier, Paul is most likely writing his final letter to Timothy, from a Roman prison, and he most likely knows about his impending death.

In this passage, Paul addresses some instructions to Timothy that address potential struggles that Timothy could have.

Now, it’s important to note that there is no indication that Timothy is necessarily having all of the struggles that Paul addresses in this passage.

However, Paul wants to be sure that if Timothy is to face these struggles and temptations Timothy is prepared to respond accordingly.

As he often does, Paul starts the letter by saying who he is and to whom he is writing the letter.

Paul the apostle is writing a letter to a pastor named Timothy.

Timothy has been discipled by Paul, and he is very special to Paul, as indicated in verse 2 when Paul calls Timothy “my dearly loved son.”

Then, at the end of verse 2, Paul offers a blessing to Timothy.

He desires for Timothy to experience grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and Jesus our Lord.

In verses 3-5, Paul recalls his own ministry, his special relationship with Timothy, and Timothy’s faithful Christian mother and grandmother.

So, here’s what we see in this introduction:

Paul has been faithful to the Lord, as his Jewish ancestors were.

Paul has been faithful in his prayers for Timothy.

Paul was a faithful friend and mentor to Timothy, as was evidenced by Timothy’s tears the last time they parted each other’s company.

Then, Paul remembers the faithfulness of Timothy’s mother and grandmother.

There’s a lot of faithfulness going on among these folks.

May we be found so faithful, church. May we have the kind of faith that brings joy to others, as Paul said in verse 4, so that he “may be filled with joy.”

Ok, so let’s get into the meat of what Paul has to say. First, let’s realize that Paul is telling Timothy . . .

‌II. Don’t fear the difficulties.

Remember, in this letter, and particularly in this introduction, it seems as if Paul is concerned that Timothy may be tempted to cower back when difficulties come his way.

We don’t know that Timothy had expressed fear, but minimally Paul was aware that Timothy might face fear in his future ministry.

Listen to what Paul says:

In verse 7, Paul says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear.”

Then in verse 8, Paul says, “So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner.”

Paul realizes what every pastor comes to know: as you lead a church, it will sometimes get difficult.

Sometimes you will encounter false teachers in the church. Sometimes you will encounter gossips and busybodies in the church. Sometimes those in the church will slander you, even though they should honor you as a leader of the church. Sometimes those you invest in will leave the church. Sometimes you will have to make leadership decisions that are difficult. Sometimes what you have invested your entire life in will appear as foolishness to the world.

Paul says to Timothy: God has not given us a spirit of fear, and do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus.

Listen, church: this message was intended for a young pastor named Timothy, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, it’s also intended for a 41-year-old pastor named Matt, and it’s also intended for you.

Do not fear. Do not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There will be difficulties, not only in ministry, but in your life as a Christian. Do not fear the difficulties. Keep on keeping on.

Second, . . .

‌III. Do face the difficulties.

Will things get difficult? Yes! Should we make it our goal to avoid the suffering that is associated with the gospel of Jesus Christ? No!

Paul says in verse 8, “Share in suffering for the gospel.”

He says in verse 13, Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

He says in verse 14, Guard the good deposit . . .”

These verses sound very much like last week’s passage, where Paul says to fight the good fight.

Paul wants Timothy to stay focused and persevere.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have to remind yourself what you’re doing and how you’re supposed to be doing it?

Perhaps you’re assembling a piece of furniture that you bought from Ikea or Amazon, and you are totally lost. Confusion and fear have started to overtake you. You’ve lost focus and you don’t know what to do. Well, what should you do? You should go back to the instruction manual, right?

Folks, we have something to help us focus. We have an instruction manual. Paul said in verse 13, “Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

Listen, church: the sound teaching of the Bible contains God’s instructions for how we should live as His children. He tells us that we will face difficulties, but we don’t need to fear the difficulties. The Bible gives us sound teaching, and the Bible shows us the faith and love that are found in Jesus.

Before we leave this point, let’s go back to verse 7.

He’s already told us that God has not given us a spirit of fear. In verse 7, we learn that He has given us a spirit “of power, love, and sound judgment.”

Church, you will face difficulties. When you do, face them with power, love, and sound judgment.

You belong to God, so live your life with the power of God, the love of God, and the wisdom of God.

Keep on keeping on.

Speaking of God, let’s move to our last point:

‌IV. Don’t face the difficulties alone.

Paul encourages Timothy not to be afraid and to embrace the reality that these difficulties will come. Yet, he doesn’t expect Timothy to face these difficulties by his own power.

In verse 8, Paul says, “share in suffering for the gospel.”

Remember, as Paul is writing to Timothy, he is writing from a Roman prison. Many others have suffered for the sake of the gospel. Timothy is not alone; you are not alone when you suffer.

What’s more, our Lord Jesus suffered the ultimate suffering.

Paul said elsewhere, in Philippians 1:29, “For it has been granted to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.”

So, there is a very real sense, and a needed reminder for us, that when we suffer, we are not suffering alone. Many other faithful followers of God suffer, and Jesus Himself suffered greatly.

However, not only are we not alone because others have suffered, listen to what Paul says in verse 14.

How are we to guard the good deposit? Verse 14 says, “through the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

Likewise, Paul says in verse 6 that Timothy was given “the gift of God.”

He says in verse 7, “For God” has given us power, love, and sound judgment.

Paul says in verse 8, we are to “[rely] on the power of God.”

Child of God, you are not to face the difficulties of this journey alone. You are to walk this journey through the Holy Spirit who lives in you. You are to face these difficulties with the gift of God that is in you. You are to live this life, relying on the power of God.

Keep on keeping on, through the power of God.

Let this bottom line bring clarity to our message today:

‌Bottom Line: God has called us and equipped us to persevere in our faith.

We are not to be afraid; we are not to be timid; we are not to be ashamed; we are to persevere.

Not only has God called us to this task, but He has given us everything that we need to accomplish this task.

He has saved us, He has given us a holy calling, He has given us sound teaching, and He has given us His Spirit. He has given us everything we need to faithfully follow Him.

Through the power of God, we can keep on keeping on.

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

‌Weekly Challenge #1 – Identify what part of your walk with God is difficult right now.

We will experience difficulties.

Perhaps you’re having health difficulties. Perhaps you’re having financial difficulties. Perhaps you’re having difficulties with certain people; maybe even a fellow Christian. Perhaps you’re struggling in your faith.

This week, challenge yourself to identify what part of your walk with God is difficult.

‌Weekly Challenge #2 – Ask the Holy Spirit to give you strength to endure.

We don’t want to end up being those who do not endure, like those Paul named in verse 15: Phygelus and Hermogenes.

No, we want to endure; we want to be faithful, like the one Paul named in verse 16: Onesiphorus.

The Holy Spirit can help you; He’s here for you. Ask Him to give you the strength to endure.

May these words from Paul in verse 12 encourage you as we come to a close: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me, until that day.”

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

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