THE CLIMATE AND CHARACTERISTICS
INTRO: The time is now. We need to personally equip ourselves. These are dangerous days, especially for Christians. Those who choose to be different, who choose to stand up for Jesus, will be persecuted. It will go from bad to worse.
I. We need to be ready and equipped.
> We can follow the example of Paul and Timothy.
- Timothy followed Paul’s teachings and conduct.
- Paul mentored Timothy.
- Timothy listened, and he followed.
- He witnessed how Paul lived.
- Timothy followed Paul’s faith.
- He also followed Paul’s purpose.
- Paul was giving Timothy an eternal perspective.
- He learned how to trust God through Paul’s example.
- Paul wanted Timothy to follow his example so that he would continue even though Paul was in prison.
- Timothy learned about patience and perseverance.
- Timothy saw his floggings and imprisonment, the high cost of ministry.
> Stay in the Word daily.
- We are different.
- We represent the Lord of all lords.
- We stand separated, apart from the world.
- We are here for a purpose.
- If we are here, we have a purpose.
> It is easier to stand strong when we don’t stand alone.
- As times get more evil, we need to get together more.
- We need to be careful whom we follow.
- Even if we follow someone who seems to be perfect, they can fall also.
- We tend to mimic the people we admire.
- Someone who is weak or new in the Lord may be watching us and what we do.
- They wait to see if our conduct matches our walk.
- People learn to trust God through our example, the way we walk out our lives.
- People are watching us.
- This should be sobering to us.
- We may not be called to be a pastor, but we are all ministers.
II. As I follow Christ, imitate me.
> Following Christ is living life in a godly manner.
- We live a life pleasing to the Lord.
- We are in the Word of God.
- Could we say that we would want people to do what we do?
- It is possible to go to church and put up a good front.
- Not everyone who goes to church is a Christian.
- Being a Christian is connected to a godly life.
- We are not perfect, but don’t allow that to be an excuse not to live a godly life.
> Remain in what you’ve been taught in the Scriptures; follow it (v. 14-15).
- Be convinced in what you believe; don’t be moved.
- “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” (v. 16).
- It communicates the information we need to know - how to get right and stay right.
- We can know a lot yet not have it affect what we do.
- If we know a lot, we need to be careful that we apply it to our lives.
- The correction is for restoration to Him.
- He wants to straighten out the things that are crooked.
- We don’t beat ourselves up over what we did.
- We see it and go on to live honorable lives.
- He wants us to mature in Him, to be adult Christians.
- We are to be equipped for every good work.
- We are called to do good works for Him (Ephesians 2:10).
III. Prepare for persecution.
> Those who desire to live a godly life will be persecuted (v. 12).
- Not everyone, but those who desire to live a godly life.
- We need to be able to walk through it.
- We love God, and we love people.
- We will be called names and hated.
- Let’s make a decision that it will happen and prepare ourselves for when it comes.
- If we want to make a difference for eternity, we will be misunderstood.
- Consequences for our actions are not the same as persecution.
CONCLUSION: We are in this together. We will get through and keep living for Jesus. We thank God for His Word. We need to follow Christ through the examples given in His Word. We are to be an example for others – to be Jesus with skin on. We also need to be ready to stand up for Jesus even if persecution comes.