Be Strong and Endure Trials

Be Strong and Endure Trials

Be Strong and Endure Trials is a sermon teaching us to wear the whole armor of God for we fight not against flesh and blood but powers and principalities.

In II Timothy, Paul teaches us to be sincere in our faith and not be ashamed of our faith. There will be those who will try to persuade you to leave the faith. We are to live the Christian life consistently and continually since the day we first accepted the Lord as our Savior until the day we breathe our last breath — it is by way of being a good soldier for Jesus Christ.

Consider also that you have enemies all around and could meet them face to face, or it could be a spiritual battle. That is the Christian life. The best thing you have is Jesus as your Savior. You have a hope of everlasting life but others have no hope. There are going to be tests that you must face. The bible teaches that you are going to endure trials. You are going to endure temptations and people who will try to take you away from the faith. Being a good soldier for Jesus means He will equip you to go through it and be ready for future battles.

We need to be strong and endure to share the faith that is in us. Paul implores his protege, Timothy, to be strong and sincere in the faith, and have that fire for the Lord rekindled so that he would not be ashamed of Jesus Christ. It happens too often that Christians, once on fire for the Lord, turn away and never come back again. Paul is telling us to be empowered and be enabled so that we can increase in strength. He wants us to be strong in grace. Jesus gives us grace, that loving-kindness from God toward us. People are going to attack us for our faith, so Paul tells us to be strong. We need to grow to stay empowered in His grace to share the Gospel with everyone.

What Timothy has been taught to do, he needs to share with others. It’s the whole principle repeated, older teach younger, and that is the role of the church so that the younger will be prepared. The things that Paul taught Timothy, need to be taught to others and train new ministers, giving them the tools to teach others also. It is discipleship, which is sharing and bringing up the next group of people — it is done churchwide and we ought to continue this line of succession. The things that Timothy heard of Paul, the same are to be taught to the faithful who shall teach others also. Paul is telling us to teach others and hold on to Jesus who gives us grace to get through difficulties.

How to Be a Soldier for Jesus Christ

Aside from being strong, we must endure hardness to be a soldier for Jesus Christ. Paul tells us what to do to become a soldier for Christ. We have a choice to be prepared or not when we go into battle. As Christians, we should always prepare to face the enemy, the devil, by putting on the whole, not partial, armor of God. We cannot go forward in the Christian life inadequately prepared, we must be fully prepared. Sometimes Christians go after things without the guidance of God — decisions being made and actions to be done. We should settle into that armor, it’s needed to protect ourselves against the devil.

Put on the whole armor of God so that you can withstand the devil’s enticements and his tricks. Without the armor, the devil will have a field day with us. Satan is methodical in how he wants to devour the Christian. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Resist by first submitting yourself to God by putting on the whole armor of God, which allows God to take complete control, but it is your choice.

We do not war against flesh and blood. The battle Christians face is not a physical one, it is a spiritual one. We fight against those who wield wrongful authority and power to take control — the rulers of the darkness in this world with hidden agendas who see their way is just. We fight against demonic activity, malice, and evil plots. There will be people who will try to ruin Christians and their testimony, that is why Paul emphasizes to wear the whole armor of God. Because we cannot defeat Satan, fight against the world’s philosophy, and try to win against the world if we are not fully equipped. By being fully prepared, we can withstand the temptations of the devil and the evil that comes from Satan himself.

The Pieces of Armor

We need to stand firm in what we believe in. Stand firm in the truths that we have been taught, it is an unmovable foundation. Wear the belt of truth that keeps everything together and upright. Always be truthful with others which keeps your testimony cohesive and sure. Guard your heart by doing right and not allowing temptation to enter your heart and turning you away from the truth. Always declare being righteous. Satan can go after your heart but the bible has many verses about protecting your heart. Paul tells us to put on the whole armor to protect, keep everything together, and defend your heart.

Paul tells us to go and tell others about peace, and protect ourselves as we journey. Trust that God will protect you and deliver you when you are attacked by the devil. We are to protect our minds with truth, sharing the true Gospel. Besides all the defensive armor, we have an offensive weapon, the Word of God. There is also a hidden weapon, praying often to God. Communication with God is key. Paul tells Timothy to be strong, endure hardness with the whole armor of God, and be a virtuous soldier of Jesus Christ.

If you try to beat the world through the world, you’re going to lose. Being entangled with the world is not a winning strategy for you to win the battle. Be pleasing to Jesus who chose you to be a soldier for Him. The lifestyle of the world is something you don’t need to be a part of. Don’t mingle yourself with people who are doing things contrary to the Word of God and are trying to get you to be like them. You can’t reach somebody for Jesus Christ if you do the things they do. They won’t find any reason to accept Christ because they are content in what they do and see you doing the same. Be in agreement with Jesus who calls you to defend Him. Timothy is told to endure hardness and become a soldier of Jesus Christ, and that there will be hardships in the Christian life.

Faithfulness Being Rewarded

Paul teaches Timothy to be strong and enduring, and that faithfulness is rewarded when one remains committed. But we ought to do things God’s way in order for it to be so, we must do it by God’s rules. If you want recognition, you have to do it the right way. Strive for mastery, just do it lawfully, you won’t be crowned if you don’t do it according to the rules. There are no shortcuts in the Christian life. We cannot hope to get the fruits of our labor if we don’t first do the things that will take us there. We must do things correctly in the service of God.

How does a farmer enjoy the fruits of his labor? First, he has to do the little things — prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water the soil, and be diligent. Without doing these things first and being diligent, he cannot enjoy the fruits of his labor. There are little things that have to be done in order for us to succeed in the Christian life, for us to be following Him safely, and to be rewarded because of that. Little things need to be done that we might normally skip or overlook. Follow the rules.

Jesus gives you understanding when you apply the truths you have learned. Paul says that he shared Jesus and people treated him like a criminal. What had he done wrong? In the eyes of the world, sharing Jesus. Acts 21 and 22 describe what happened to Paul, being put on trial by the Sanhedrin and others, making his plea in Rome, getting shipwrecked, and then being placed under house arrest in Rome for two years before his execution.

Despite all this and being treated as a criminal and suffering, Paul knows the Word of God cannot be bound. The gospel is not hindered despite what happens to Paul or any other Christian. They may have placed a person in jail but it doesn’t mean the Word of God is suppressed. Paul was still able to communicate with those around him and wrote books like II Timothy that we’re studying 2,000 years later. God was not suppressed in that instance. Paul suffers because the religious people thought he had done wrong by preaching Jesus. But the bible is not restricted and cannot be captured. Paul says he endures all these things, even death, for the sake of the ones saved, believers in Christ. He wanted the Gospel to be preached and not suppressed.

Paul wanted people to hear about the salvation story, the good news. He got his reward in Heaven because of what he did for Jesus when He walked this earth. The same Paul, formerly Saul, who persecuted Christians, saw the light and served Christ even until death. There are people who have seen the light but then turned back because they felt the Christian life was hard and burdensome. But it ought not to be burdensome, there is much joy in serving the Lord. But you will endure hardships and must be strong for Jesus and be a good soldier well-equipped for his service.

When we serve Jesus, He will reward us in Heaven. Persecution will come but it will be for the betterment of the Gospel. God will be there for us if we allow Him to control our lives. Be strong in the grace that is from Christ Jesus, endure trials, and be a good soldier putting on the whole armor of God. Trust Jesus fully and He will guide us for as long as we are in this world. God will be there for us if we let Him, it’s a personal choice.

Be Strong and Endure Trials sermon starts with verses from II Timothy 2:1-10:

1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 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.

3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

10 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.

Ephesians 10-18:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

James 4:7:

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Romans 10:15:

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Hebrews 4:12:

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I John 2:15:

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

II Corinthians 6:14:

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

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Christopher K. Lewis is the Assistant to the Pastor of West Park Baptist Church. Rev. Lewis helps the senior pastor with various church duties and guiding others to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

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