Sunday, June 17, 2012

2 Timothy 4:7 A Godly Man Lives as a VIP June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!!!

There are several groups of people here. Each of you is going to get a different application from this message. The first group is those who are, or will soon be, men. I want you to have a picture of what it means to go beyond being male and to be a man of God. The next group is those of you who are parents of boys, I want you to have a clear picture of the man of God your son can be. For those who parent girls, I want you to begin praying that your daughter would someday marry a man who lives up to these standards. If you are a lady, whether or not you have children, you can apply these principles to your life as well as influencing the men around you.

As many of you know, we have two sons: Isaiah and Asa. So that they would not have to suffer 5 hours strapped in a car seat, we left them with their grandparents today. When our kids were infants, our biggest concerns were making sure they were healthy, comfortable and happy, but always in the back of our mind was the much bigger issue. Our desire is to see our sons become godly men. One night Amy and I were talking about how to raise our sons and realized that we needed a more specific target for our efforts. After talking and praying, we came to the conclusion that we had three goals for our sons, that they be men of Valor, Integrity and Piety.

While we were convinced that God laid these three principles on our hearts, it took several months before God really showed us how these ideas are reflections of scripture. In Luke 2:52 we see that "Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Wisdom and favor with men are both aspects of Integrity. Stature is integral to Valor. And what definition of Piety could be better than "increasing in favor with God." I then began to see the same theme in the lives of others. Samuel was described as "[…] growing in stature and in favor both with the LORD and with men." (1 Samuel 2:26) David is known for His Valor in Battle, his Integrity in his interactions with Saul and his Piety in his relationship with God. Daniel, Moses, Abraham, and many others are known for their successes in these three areas. Timothy is told to "Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12) Many men in the Bible are also known for their failures in these areas. David had Integrity failures. King Saul failed in the areas of Valor and Piety. I have concluded that one of these three principles, or failures thereof, define at least 90% of the actions done by men in the Bible.

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." But what are we to imitate? 2 Timothy 4:7-8 tells summarizes Paul's life and the results he expects:

"7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."

From this passage we again draw our three principles. A real man of God is a man of Valor who fights the good fight. A real man of God is a man of Integrity who finishes the course. A real man of God is a man of Piety who keeps the faith.

A real man of God is a man of Valor who fights the good fight.

"2 Timothy 4:7a I have fought the good fight,"

Webster's: "strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness : personal bravery."
Me: Properly fighting the needed fights and knowing when not to fight.

Fighting the good fight takes planning: "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of [it] yet; but one thing [I do:] forgetting what [lies] behind and reaching forward to what [lies] ahead," (Philippians 3:13)

Fighting the good fight takes self-control: "25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then [do it] to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)

We fight the good fight in God's strength: "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to [you.]" (2 Timothy 1:14)

Sometimes valor is in escaping instead of fighting: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

A real man of God is a man of Integrity who finishes the course.

"2 Timothy 4:7b I have finished the course,"

Webster's: "incorruptibility, soundness and completeness"
Me: Doing the right thing in all circumstances, public and private.

Finishing the course requires focused endurance without distractions: "1 ¶ Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
  • Focus on Jesus
  • Endure through the external challenges
  • Remove the internal distractions
Finishing the course requires wisdom which comes only from God: "1 ¶ My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, 2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; 3 For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth [come] knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; [He is] a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones." (Proverbs 2:1-8)
Finishing the course requires God working through you as a result of His grace: "6 [For I am] confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 ¶ For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me." (Philippians 1:6-7)

A real man of God is a man of piety who keeps the faith.

"2 Timothy 4:7c I have kept the faith;" "1.The quality of being religious, reverent and dutiful."
Me: Living life in a way that seeks to glorify God.
Jesus' example of piety: "Jesus *said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." (John 4:34)

Keeping the faith is expressed in our interactions with others: "34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me [something] to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me [something] to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You [something] to drink? 38 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, [even] the least [of them,] you did it to Me.'" (Matthew 25:34-40)

Keeping the faith is expressed by sharing it with others: "32 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32-33)
  • Dad sharing the gospel with photography clients.

Results of being a VIP: a crown of righteousness.

"2 Timothy 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."

IS laid up: God has already prepared it for you!!!
  • "How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men!" (Psalms 31:19)

Common requirement: love Him, love His appearing and take refuge in Him

You are not MADE righteous by the way you act, you are RECOGNIZED as righteous by the way you act. You are made righteous by
  • Admitting our sins: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
  • Believing His work on our behalf:
    • "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)
    • "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit," (Titus 3:5)
    • "and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from [the] Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith," (Philippians 3:9)
  • Confessing He is your in charge of your life: ""If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15)

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