THE WINNING EDGE

                         2 Timothy 2:1-26

 

Do you ever wonder why some people get saved and go to work for the

Lord and never quit and yet others never seem to develop into a true servant for the Lord?

 

What makes the difference?

 

I believe the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gives some answers to

this question in our text this morning.

 

There are certain qualities that we must acquire in order to serve God on a more that mediocre level.

 

Some people serve God like they watch T.V. they just sit back and watch others and criticize.

 

Others go to work. They get the criticism, yet they keep working. They overcome the obstacles and learn 

to accomplish the purpose for which God called them.

 

What makes the difference in those who give lip service and those who are accomplishing great feats for God?

 

There are three comparisons given in which the successful servant must take heed:

 

I. A SOLDIER=S EXPEDIENCE (vs 1-4 & 10-12)

 

A. Grace (vs 1)

 

A soldier displays grace in the way he snaps to attention, marches, obeys commands precisely.

 

2 Peter 3:18

18    But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 

 

The Christian (especially leader) should give an appearance of professionalism.

 

B. Enlisting help (vs 2)

 

Everyone can do something. What are you doing?

 

We need people to show up on Saturday for visitation, nursery workers, van drivers, helpers in children’s church,

people to mow the lawn.

 

C. Enduring hardships (vs 3, 10-12)

 

A soldier must go through rigorous training in order to accomplish the grace that he displays.

 

It doesn’t come easy.

 

The child of God must undergo many heartaches and struggles to become a graceful soldier for God.

 

1 Pet 4:12‑13

12    Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13    But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

D. Separated (vs 4)

 

The soldier is separated from the world while he is in training.

 

The Christian is to live a separated life.

 

2 Cor 5:17

17    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

2 Cor 6:17

17    Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

 

II. AN ATHLETE’S EXPERTISE (vs 5 & 14-21)

 

An athlete is expert in his field.

 

Striving with every fiber in his being when put to the test to win the event in which he participates.

 

 

He has trained and now the time has come to show what he can do.

 

But with all his training and all his effort, he must learn and follow the rules of the game. He cannot take a short cut through the woods to win the race. He must run according to the rules given.

 

And one thing the Christian must keep in mind is the commands given to us from God.

 

We do not only want to go to heaven, but we would like to know that we have lived a life pleasing to God. And that we have been a good influence on those who watch us.

 

A. Become united (Don’t be contentious) ( vs 14)

 

Prov 10:12

12    Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

 

Prov 13:10

10    Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Prov 15:18

18    A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

Prov 17:1

1      Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.

Prov 17:14

14    The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

Prov 18:6

6      A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.

Prov 26:20

20    Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

 

Rom 12:18

18    If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

 

2 Cor 12:20

20    For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

 

B. Become skillful ( vs 15)

 

 1)  Requires food

 

Job 23:12

12    Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

 

2) Requires practice

 

John 8:31‑32

31    Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

32    And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

John 17:17

17    Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

 

C. Become grounded in doctrine (vs 16-18)

 

Know what we believe.

Shun strange doctrine.

 

II Jn 1:7‑11

7      For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

8      Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

9      Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10    If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

11    For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

 

D. Become strong in foundational truth (vs 19)

 

John 1:12

12    But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 

 

Eph 1:13‑14

           13 In whom ye also trusted, after

            that ye heard the word of truth,

            the gospel of your salvation: in

            whom also after that ye believed,

            ye were sealed with that holy

            Spirit of promise,

            14 Which is the earnest of our

            inheritance until the redemption

            of the purchased possession, unto

            the praise of his glory.

 

Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of

         God, whereby ye are sealed unto the

         day of redemption.

 

John 3:16 everlasting life ;

Titus 1:2 God cannot lie

 

E. Become a vessel unto honor (vs 20-21)

 

Be precious to God.  Be valuable.

 

III. A FARMER’S EXERTION (vs 6 & 22-26)

 

A farmer labours to produce fruit.

But he is first the recipient of fruit.

He must have seed.

A. The Christian worker must have the fruit in himself in order to produce fruit.

 

Vs 22-24

 

If a Christian is to produce other Christians he must be a Christian in word and deed.

 

B. The Christian must plant the seed. (Vs 25-26)

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