1. As Paul sought to encourage Timothy in his work as an evangelist
a. He made allusions to three secular occupations: soldier, athlete, farmer - cf. 2 Timothy 2:3-7
b. Here we find three pictures of faithful service
2. The lessons to be gleaned from these pictures is not limited to evangelists
a. All who serve the Lord should learn from the soldier, athlete, and farmer
b. No matter what our function as members of the body of Christ
1. "ůmust endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" - 2 Timothy 2:3
2. Soldiers often endure great hardship in their service for their country
3. Should Christians be any less willing to suffer hardship?
a. For the gospel of Christ? - 2 Timothy 1:8
b. For the kingdom of God? - Matthew 5:10-12
1. "No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life" - 2 Timothy 2:4
2. Soldiers must concentrate on the task at hand to survive
3. Christians need to be careful less they become distracted by the world
a. Or they will bear no fruit to maturity - Luke 8:14
b. Or they will drown themselves in destruction and perdition - 1 Timothy 6:9-12
1. "...that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier." - 2 Timothy 2:4
2. Soldiers desire to please their commanders
3. Should not Christians desire to please their Great Commander?
a. Note Paul's attitude concerning himself - 2 Corinthians 5:9
b. Note Paul's prayer concerning the Colossians - Colossians 1:10
The next time you see a soldier who serves his or her country with honor, ask yourself:
"Do I serve my Lord and His kingdom with the same dedication?"
1. "...he competes according to the rules." - 2 Timothy 2:5
2. Athletes understand the need to abide by the rules if they desire to win
3. Are Christians under any less obligation to abide by the rules?
a. Jesus calls upon to observe what He taught - Matthew 28:20
b. We must doers of the Word, and not hearers only - James 1:22; Matthew 7:21-27
1. Note another comparison by Paul regarding athletics - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
2. Athletes know that ultimate victory requires great self-control
3. Should Christians exercise self-control any less?
a. We strive for an imperishable crown - 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Peter 1:4
b. If we are "disqualified", what then? - 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5
As you watch athletes competing in the different sports,
let their example of self-discipline challenge you in your own service to the Lord
1. "The hardworking farmer..." - 2 Timothy 2:6
2. Farming is certainly no easy task
3. Should Christians labor any less in the vineyard of the Lord?
a. The harvest is plentiful, and laborers are needed - Matthew 9:37-38; Matthew 20:1
b. The fruit that we gather relates to eternal life (souls are at stake!) - John 4:36
1. "...first to partake of the crops - 2 Timothy 2:6
2. It is the hardworking farmers who enjoy the benefit of their labors first
3. Do Christians not have good motivation to labor diligently?
a. Their labor is not in vain - 1 Corinthians 15:58
b. Their hope is eternal life, and the crown of righteousness - Romans 6:22-23; 2 Timothy 4:8
1. From these three pictures of faithful service, we glean that Christians should be:
a. Dedicated like soldiers
b. Disciplined like athletes
c. Diligent like farmers
2. Are we willing to learn from these three pictures?
a. Willing to suffer in our efforts to please the Lord?
b. Willing to discipline ourselves to receive an imperishable crown?
c. Willing to work diligently that we might benefit from the fruit of our labors?
3. "Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things..." - 2 Timothy 2:7
-- Don Treadway, March 2011 --