Live This Way, Part 2 (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

But in faith he was master of his fear and not mastered by it.

Summary of verses 1-4

God Sees You.  “In the presence of….”

You See God.  “In view of…”

Live By The Word.  “Preach the Word.”


Paul rifles off 5 things to Timothy in one sentence.  These five things are the outline of our sermon today.  (Read verse 5 again). 

  1.  Be Exceptional, 2) Endure Hardship, 3) Evangelize, 4) Execute your duties, 5) Equanimity. 


Notice those two small words, “But you”.  They hit hard.  After describing what all the apostates are doing, what direction the false church will be going, Paul now turns his sights back on Timothy….

BUT YOU!  It’s the language of contrast.  Timothy was supposed to be a contrast to all the fraudulent teachers and churches out there.  When God looked upon the whole body on earth that calls itself the “Church”, Paul wanted Timothy to be an exception to everything God saw.  Be exceptional in faithfulness.  

You stay true when they turn false.  

You go straight when they turn aside.  

You keep going when they quit.  

Your faithfulness does not depend on theirs.  

You are not released from your obligation to God because everyone else is doing what they’re doing.  

Only 1 chapter prior he described these devil’s assemblies masquerading under the name of Christ.  Read 1-5 with me {read}

BUT YOU!  You must stand in Christ and on His Word.  No matter how much they say you’re wrong.  Playing on the words of Cicero you must say, “I would rather be “wrong” with Jesus than be “right” with those people”

BUT YOU.  The more the world goes dark and corrupt the more God’s people will stand out.  In chapter 2 verse 19 Paul said [TURN WITH ME THERE].  

You’re going to feel alone but you’re not.  God stands with you when you stand with Him.  Paul said in 4:16-17a…..[Read] Also, there are always more like you – God always has His 7,000.  Even so, the company of Jesus without another soul always surpasses the company of all without Christ. 


Paul did not want Timothy to indulge for one moment the thought that serving Christ in this world was going to be a party.  It was going to test his manhood to the limits.  It was going to demand far more than Timothy had, thus forcing Timothy to trust in God’s provision.  Serving Christ was going to force Timothy to look at his heart and really choose who he served.  It was going to make him ask himself if he really believed in the glorious things promised in the next life, and whether all the suffering in this life is worth it.

Application:  accept that hardship, suffering, pain, loss, affliction, trials are all part of this life.

Endure hardship means “to suffer evils, hardships, troubles”.  It is used here and in two other verses.  In chapter 2:9 Paul says, “This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of being chained like a criminal”.  Paul was suffering imprisonment for preaching the Gospel.  It is used in James 5:13 too when he says, “Is any one of you in trouble?  Let him pray.”  When you are suffering, pray.  

Paul didn’t expect anything of Timothy that he himself was not willing to do.  He gave Timothy the gift of an example.  Paul was an example of enduring hardship.  Notice 3:11, “You know all about my persecutions, sufferings – what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured.”  It was’t like Paul suffered one time and he kept bringing that one story up over and over at every church potluck or in every sermon.  Timothy, and all the churches, could recall numerous occasions Paul had suffered severely.  

Application:  What example of “enduring hardship” are you giving to other believers?  What pulpit of pain has life put you in where everyone’s watching to see how you “preach”?  We all need to be able to see other’s around us be faithful when its HARD to be faithful.  We will also all need to realize that others need to see us being faithful.

Read letter of Ignatius to Ephesians, p80

The kinds of hardships are multitudinous:  

  • getting abandoned by friends (1:15; 4:10, 16) 
  • betrayal by those you trust (4:14) 
  • watching disciples turn away to false teachings (2:17) 
  • Imprisonment (2:9)
  • getting slandered publicly so your reputation is ruined, financially crippling you, sickness and so on…

This is why Paul said in 1:8…..and 2:3….and 3:12….

How did Timothy do?  Did he endure hardship like a man of God?  He did indeed.  Don’t let people tell you Timothy was timid and fearful.  Maybe he felt fear, like any normal human being.  But in faith he was master of his fear and not mastered by it.  His life ended violently.  Foxes Martyrs records his death (p11, READ)….

Jesus, I my cross have taken,

All to leave and follow Thee.

Destitute, despised, forsaken,

Thou from hence my all shall be.

Man may trouble and distress me,

Twill but drive me to Thy breast.

Life with trials hard may press me;

Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.

No Scar

Have you no scar?

No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?

I hear you sung as mighty in the land,

I hear them hail your bright ascendant star:

Have you no scar?

Have you no wound?

Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent.

Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent

By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned:

Have you no wound?

No wound?  No scar?

Yes, as the master shall the servant be,

And pierced are the feet that follow Me;

But yours are whole.  Can he have followed far

Who has no wound?  No scar?

Christians, endure hardship.  When we are at the great Feast in the kingdom to come, sitting around the great table with the righteous from all the ages, the clinking of utensils, of cheers, the din of conversation, maybe spontaneous singing and hurrahs!?  When we’re sitting around and the conversation turns to how you suffered for the Savior what will you have to say?  I’ve wondered from time to time if I would have anything to say.  


Live like this:  evangelize.  Paul tells Timothy:  “Do the work of an evangelist”.  Paul told Philemon, “be active in sharing your faith”.  He told the Corinthians about being “the fragrance of Christ”.  The Ephesians were informed that Christ “gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists….”  Now Timothy is told, “Do the work of an evangelist.”   

I love that.  He doesn’t say “Exercise your gift of evangelism”.  He says to do the work of evangelism.  In other words, evangelism is not only an obligation for those who are “gifted” with it.  

In the Greek it means that the work Timothy did was supposed to be evangelistic – in everything he did he was supposed to be bringing the good news to people, pointing people to the good news.  It’s like his ministry was a salad and evangelism was the salad dressing.  It was on everything.  It’s like his ministry was an outfit but his evangelism was the cologne he wore – it made everything he was wearing smell good.  Timothy, let make sure that evangelism is woven into everything you do in your ministry.

APPLICATION:  Live your Christian life doing the work of an evangelist.  Do not exempt yourself because you don’t have the “gift” of evangelism.  Be burdened for lost souls and pray for them.  Let the Gospel be your conversation.  Be the fragrance of Christ to others.  Hand out tracts.  


Fourthly we need to Execute our Duties.  He says, “discharge all the duties of your ministry”.  Live like this:  Execute your duties.  Be faithful to everything God has commanded you to do.  The Greek there basically means to show something fully, to carry it through all the way to the end.  Boil it down and it means “Do everything in your ministry, don’t neglect anything or leave anything undone.”

I love how our church Matriarch, Eleanor Slater says it, “When my time comes Pastor I want to know that I’ve done everything the Lord had for me.  I want to finish well.”  In other words, she wants to make sure in her life she “discharges all the duties of her ministry”.  Let each of us learn from her.

In Ephesians 2:8-9 it describes that we have been saved by faith, not by works.  Then verse 10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He prepared in advance for us to do.”  Notice the order:   Saved by faith first, THEN devote yourself to good works.  It is NOT:  devote yourself to good works so that you can be saved by those works.  No, no, no.  Put your faith in Christ and receive salvation.  Then, in that salvation life, live a new life for God, devoted to serving Him and doing the good things He sets before you.  That’s why it says, “[Christ] gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”  (Titus 2:14).  

Let your Christian life be a daily devotion to doing what is good and executing all your Christian duties.


But there is one thing I want to focus on:  Equanimity.  Equanimity is when someone is calm and collected under stressful situations.  Notice it says, “Keep your head in all situations”  The word for “Keep your head” literally means “be sober”, or “be collected and calm in spirit”.  This is the idea of temperate, not drunk – like don’t be drunk on the drama and chaos of the day you live in.  Don’t let what’s going on around you make you lose your control, lose your head, lose your mind.  

It’s like worm-grunting.  You ever heard of that?  Worm grunting?  Yeah its the big thing in a lot of places.  You go out with a stick and a metal bar, rub them together on the ground to make a grunting sound and all of a sudden you’re going to be walking on hundreds and even thousands of earthworms.  People harvest them for fishing and so on.  Well scientists have studied what makes it work and apparently the vibrations caused by the “grunting” are very similar to the vibrations moles make.  The earthworms will scramble to the surface to avoid a mole, so, when they feel the “grunting” ole’ Jethro is making from up above they think its moles and up they go.  What’s the point?  They’re afraid for nothing.  The worms don’t realize they don’t need to be afraid.  When you hear the “grunting” and the “vibrations” of the chaos of this world you don’t need to lose your head.  You need to remember Christ and keep your head. 

Speaking of Him, he may be a better illustration.  Remember when He was sleeping in the midst of the storm?  He was out cold as the disciples were losing their minds in the boat? Jesus was the picture of “Keeping your head”.

Christians are to keep their head in ALL situations.  God said in Isaiah 8:12 “Do not fear what they fear.”  Tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, who is the President, the apostasy in the Church, the tsunami of immorality in our society, our kids’ future, our job security, our health – nothing is to make us lose our heads.  Paul was the example, read 4:16-18.

The key in all this is living with our eyes fixed firmly on what God said is coming.  The word for “keep your head” in the Greek appears several other times in Scripture and every time it is in the context of the coming of Jesus.  For instance in 1 Peter 4:7 it says, “The end of all things is near.  Therefore be alert and of SOBER MIND so that you may pray.”  Remember this is the context of our own passage:  verse 1 says: “in view of His appearing and His kingdom”.  

The key to not losing your mind, and instead keeping  your head in this crazy world, is to remember the certainty of Jesus’ coming.

These are 5 things Paul wanted Timothy to do.  They’re 5 things each of us Christians should do.

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