Living A Life of Endurance

It Matters How You Finish!

2 Timothy 2:3

Audio MP3

May 12, 2013 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (2 Timothy 2:3)


A.      Are we ready for the hard times? Are we prepared for the suffering, for the endurance that will be needed to stay faithful to God’s word? Are we going to finish what we start?

B.      It costs nothing to start! But it can cost you everything to finish!

C.      I want us to learn how to finish as Christians. Learn how to persevere, endure the hardships!


1.      Meaning of Endurance: to bear hardship; to endure  means to put up with something or somebody unpleasant; to survive is to continue to live when you want to quit and die!

2.      The ability to withstand hardship or stress

3.      The act of persevering

4.      Just continuing, to the end

5.      Ernest Shackleton’s Ship that he sailed to Antartica was named Endurance!


D.     The Christian Life is one that starts well, AND finishes well!


1.      So easy to start a race

2.      But even after just a few minutes of running, it starts to hurt

3.      Anyone can start…

4.      Not many ever actually finish – especially in the Christian life!


E.      God Finishes What He Starts


1.      He Finished Creation – Genesis 2:1  Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2.      He Finished His Book- Revelation 22:18  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book


F.      Jesus Finishes What He Starts


1.      Author and Finisher of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2)

2.      Finished the work God gave Him to do (John 17:4; 19:30)

3.      Finished Salvation for every last person on this planet (Hebrews 10:11-14)

4.      He will finish His perfecting work in our lives (Philippians 1:6)

5.      Next week I will show you just how far Jesus endured!


G.      Paul’s greatest desire was to be a finisher (Act 20:22-24) – and he was (2Tim 4:7)!

H.     God saved US to be finishers


1.      It was Monday night, August 3, at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. About 100 meters into the 400-meter semifinals, Britain’s Derek Redmond crumpled to the track with a torn right hamstring. Medics rushed out to assist him, but as they approached Redmond, he waved them off, struggled to his feet, and crawled and hopped in a desperate effort to finish the race. Up in the stands, a man wearing a T-shirt, tennis shoes, and a Nike cap with Just Do It written across the front, barreled out of the stands, hurled aside a security guard, ran to Derek Redmond’s side, and embraced him. He was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father. Arm around his son’s waist, Derek’s arm around his father’s thick shoulders and neck, they continued down the track. Derek’s mom and sister were watching back home on television. His sister, who was pregnant, went into false labor. His mom wept. At the stadium, the crowd rose to their feet and cheered. Finally, arm in arm, the father and son crossed the finish line. If that’s the way an earthly father responds to his son who is determined to finish the race, how much more does our Heavenly Father support his son or daughter who says, “I’m finishing, no matter how much it hurts.”

2.      Never quit.  Get up and keep going when you stumble.  God will carry you if you make your best effort to move ahead for him.  He will send others to help you.  But whenever you stumble get up and keep going.

3.      In the fall of 1968, on October the 20th, in Mexico City, in the Olympic Stadium, it was beginning to get dark. Cool weather had come, and the last of the Olympic marathon runners were being helped by first aid attendants. Over an hour before, the Ethiopian runner had crossed the finish line seemingly as strong as he had begun. There were a few thousand spectators left an hour later when, all of a sudden, a lone figure entered into the coliseum. Attention turned to that gate. He was wearing the colours of Tanzania. This runner came limping into the stadium. His name was John Steven Aquari. He was the last man to finish the marathon in 1968. His leg was bandaged. It was bleeding because he had taken a terrible fall and injured himself severely. All he could do was limp the last lap, and the crowd all stood up and applauded him. When he finally crossed the finish line, one man put the question to him: “Why didn’t you quit, friend? Why didn’t you just give up?” And, with that wonderful east-African dignity, he said, “My country didn’t send me seven thousand miles to start this race. My country sent me to finish.”

4.      Jesus didn’t save us just so we could just START living for Him


a.       He redeemed us from hell so we could finish the whole course for Him.

b.      God came into this world and died for us

c.       He gives us salvation and lives in us.

d.      He didn’t do all that just so we could quit on Him.

e.       Jesus finished strong for us on the cross.  We must finish strong for Him!


I.        Yet We Are Not Good At Enduring


1.      9 out of 10 pastors and ministers quit the ministry before they retire – many get into it thinking it is just another career, not knowing it is hard, hard work!

2.      5 out of 10 Christian marriages are failing – that’s half of every Christian marriage ends in divorce before death separates them!

3.      More than half of all Christian teenagers quit church when they are in college. Some of them will find their way back when they marry and have children, but most won’t even marry, and still more will carry massive scars for the rest of their lives!

4.      50% of the people in this room will not be here tonight for church again


a.       Some will say it is boring and instead stay home and waste countless hours in front of a TV

b.      Some will think it is not important enough to make the effort to come back

c.       But thankfully SOME will be back AMEN!


5.      8 out of 10 of you don’t pray about things, talk about spiritual things at home, don’t testify to the lost around you about hell and getting born again!

6.      The fact stands that we don’t endure well

7.      I want to change that this morning!


J.        Seven Things Christians Must Endure for God (Hebrews 12:1)


1.      It’s what we just put up with.

2.      They are obstacles, hills, pains, heartaches, struggles, failings, fallings along the way to the finish line!

3.      What I am about to describe IS THE CHRISTIAN WAY OF LIFE – a life not of only blessing and fun, but mainly of endurance, perseverance, stamina, faithfulness!

4.      These are not things we enjoy very much, but are things that we must press through for God!

5.      We decide to just keep going! Staying faithful in the race that has been set before us!

6.      Always looking unto Jesus


II.    Message – Seven Things Christians Endure for God


A.      Temptation (James 1:12)


1.      There is not a person breathing that doesn’t face temptations – loads of them!

2.      Temptations to:


a.       Quit doing right, and instead…

b.      Give in to some sin

c.       Fornicate and constantly experience sex before marriage

d.      Revenge a hurt someone has caused

e.       Smoke, drink, take a drug

f.        Steal something that doesn’t belong to you

g.       Lie about something you were caught doing

h.      Stay up and watch filthy TV late at night, or go surfing the internet for pornography and filthy romance

i.         Become consumed with depression, bitterness!


3.      Enduring, NOT GIVING IN, is a trial – a testing, a furnace (James 1:2,3) – it is not a holiday!


a.       It is NOT easy for anyone to NOT give in to a temptation!

b.      It always costs you

c.       Enduring will usually hurt YOU (while others get on with their lives and seem to make out okay – at least for a while)

d.      Abstaining from some things because they are just plain WRONG will ALWAYS be hard – but it is the right thing to do (1Peter 2:11,12)


4.      But endurance is FOR your Lord – “promised to them that love HIM!”

5.      AND, there is a blessing, a reward from God for ENDURING that temptation – not giving into it!


a.       A crown of life

b.      A priceless reward in heaven – greater value than all the “crown jewels of the British throne”

c.       Not many today will receive this crown (Rev 2:10)


6.      What are you being pulled away by?

7.      How far are you willing to endure and not give in to that pull?

8.      We need to be men and women again who endure temptations, who persevere, not give in to them! But who finish their race!


B.      Chastening (Hebrews 12:7)


1.      Chastening comes when we have given in to a temptation – when we HAVEN’T endured

2.      It is a time of correction

3.      THAT is when God says, “Well, put up with getting in trouble for your wrong doing”


a.       Being rebuked (12:5)

b.      Scourging (12:6) – that’s being whipped by God

c.       It is not joyous, but GREIVOUS (12:11)


4.      So “take it!” Put up with it. When you do wrong, and are rebuked, then accept it


a.       Quit getting angry at the Bible, and at the preacher, and at your parents, and at the Garda when they rebuke you

b.      Quit blaming everyone else for YOUR disobedience, and YOUR sinfulness

c.       A real preacher is usually hated (2 Timothy 4:1,2) because he doesn’t always coddle and caress and encourage… but has to reprove and rebuke a lot more than make people happy!


5.      Do you want God to treat you like a grown-up? Then endure getting in trouble!

6.      People come to church looking for help. But the best help they might get might just be a rebuke.

7.      Pro_27:6  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

8.      Are you going through a time of chastening?

9.      Good. Thank God! That proves you belong to God! And that He seeks only your profit (12:10)

10.  But there is no profit, no reward, no change, no betterment if you don’t stay the course – endure whatever God is doing to correct your life!

11.  Let Him chasten you!


C.      Sound Doctrine (2Timothy 4:1-4)


1.      People want entertainment, ears scratched, pleasant words, happy times

2.      But a Bible believing Baptist Church preaches the whole counsel of God – the whole content of the Bible!

3.      Sound doctrine is solid, real truth that stands the tests of time and troubles

4.      Fables are more popular


a.       In Germany people gladly believed almost all other races were inferior – a fable

b.      People easily believe and accept the fable of evolution


1)     From Tad Pole to Taoiseach

2)     From a Big Bang to beautiful galaxies

3)     From violent volcanoes and lava, to living, breathing, reproducing people and life!

4)     That we all are the product of blind chance, and the survival of the fittest


c.       People prefer all that to the truths of the Bible

d.      Most churches this morning will have speakers who will TALK, but won’t present SOUND, SOLID, RIGHT DOCTRINE


1)     That we are accountable to an all holy, all perfect Creator God

2)     That there is a hell – and it is getting fuller every minute of every day with good, religious people, who won’t get born again!

3)     That God is bigger than this entire universe, and will burn it completely up one day soon

4)     That Jesus Christ is THE ONLY HOPE for salvation from the coming wrath of God – not your good works, or Mary, or your grandmother!


5.      Sound Doctrines often seem more “boring” to the entertainments of modern life – but they are the truth!


a.       So many “churches” have brought in drums and electric guitars, and professional singers to make their meetings more exciting

b.      But real Christianity just simply LOVES THIS BOOK! Loves to hear what IT says!


6.      Endure the teaching of sound doctrine!


a.       Sunday mornings when it is exciting

b.      And Sunday mornings when it is a bit boring, and well known

c.       Sunday evenings when it is easy to understand

d.      And Sunday evenings when it is hard to be understood

e.       Wednesday evenings when you enjoy it

f.        And Wednesday evenings when it is hard to enjoy

g.       Endure it!


7.      Because the alternative is that you will end up rejecting God’s truth, and go back to believing the devil’s lies – all in the name of LUSTS!


D.     The Hardness of the Will of God (1Thessalonians 5:18)


1.      What is God asking of you? What is God’s will for you TODAY?

2.      God asks you to carry it – THAT IS YOUR CROSS!

3.      I wish God’s will was easy to do – but it usually is not!

4.      Are you in school? FINISH IT! God HATES quitters!!!!

5.      Are you in a ministry? Stay at it!

6.      Listen again to the testimony of the life of the Apostle Paul (Acts 20:17-24).


a.       It was not easy for Paul to do what God was asking of Him

b.      It was actually NEVER easy

c.       But he stayed at it

d.      And he thanked God for the privilege of doing it


E.      Delays (Hebrews 6:12-15)


1.      Abraham found waiting on God hard!


a.       25 years is a VERY long time to have a baby when you are old!

b.      ONLY AFTER Abraham WAITED patiently, did Abraham and Sarah receive their baby boy Isaac!


2.      Enduring a delay is hard

3.      A Christian wants to believe ALL God’s promises, but finds it hard to wait on them

4.      If YOU want to see God answer prayer, then you need to endure, keep praying, keep believing, keep serving the Lord – as if He has already answered your request! THAT is FAITH!

5.      If you want to see God save your marriage, no matter how long it takes, then endure believing – not giving up on God (like most do now)

6.      Endure the delays that we all face


a.       We call them set backs

b.      We think of them as God not caring about us


7.      Listen: God’s delays are NOT God’s denials

8.      God’s timing is perfect (Eccl 3:11)


F.      Troubles, Grief (1Peter 2:19; James 5:8-11)


1.      It is so strange to us in this modern era that we would have to endure troubles!

2.      Shouldn’t we be better off, and have life easier?

3.      That is the illusion, the lie of our modern government


a.       That there will one day be no poor people, no sick, no redundancies

b.      That people will be able to live out their lives without fear, and without troubles

c.       Sounds like a new campaign promise just waiting to be made!


4.      Some times, life is good (Hebrews 11:32-35)

5.      And then again, sometimes, life is harsh (Hebrews 11:36-38)

6.      Remember Job? James 5:10,11  Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.


G.      Lastly, Persecution (2Timothy 3:10-12; 2Thes 1:4)


1.      If you choose to do right, and live godly like Jesus did, then you WILL suffer persecution. Count on it!

2.      Persecution is not fun


a.       Being laughed at for being like Christ

b.      Being fired for being like Christ

c.       Being rejected by friends because you don’t do the same things they do anymore

d.      Being hated only because you are acting, talking and living like Jesus Christ

e.       Being forced to move, being skipped over for promotion, being made to blame – all because you live godly

f.        It is NOT fun!


3.      The apostle Paul did not say, “what persecutions I EXPERIENCED…” but “what I ENDURED!”

4.      God says we need to prepare to endure such times!

5.      I find that so many people quit when the heat is turned up (Matthew 13:18-21) when persecution comes against them!


III. Some Quick Thoughts on Preparing to Finish – Enduring!


A.      At least START Right – start WITH Jesus, not alone!

B.      Then, at least WANT to be faithful (Luke 22:33) And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

C.      Expect Hard times. (2 Timothy 2:3) “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”

D.     Hang around the people of God. (Hebrews 11:25) - “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season”

E.      Endure for others – for souls that have no idea what is at stake! YOU KNOW what is at stake!


1.      Paul LOVED his people (Rom 10:1; 9:1-3) yet they were enemies (Rom 11:28)

2.      Jesus loved those that hurt Him


F.      Just Stay the course – you WILL reach the finish line!


1.      Once you have made a choice to follow Jesus, then stay at it

2.      Every day, get up and keep going – never quitting!

3.      Stay the course, no matter the distance


IV.  Conclusion


A.      Are you ready to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”?


1.      Are we ready for the hard times?

2.      Are we prepared for the suffering, for the endurance that will be needed to stay faithful to God’s word? Are we going to finish what we start?


B.      The Christian Life is one that starts well, AND finishes well! It costs nothing to start! But it can cost you everything to finish!

C.      I want us to learn how to finish as Christians. Learn how to persevere, endure the hardships!

D.     God saved US to be finishers

E.      Maybe you have not been very Good At Enduring

F.      The fact stands that most of us don’t endure well

G.      God wants to change that this morning!

H.     If you will decide to just keep running the race


1.      Even though facing Temptation (James 1:12)

2.      Even though experiencing Chastening (Hebrews 12:7)

3.      Even though Sound Doctrine may seem boring (2Timothy 4:1-4)

4.      Even though the Will of God may be hard (1Thessalonians 5:18)

5.      Even though there are constant Delays along the way (Hebrews 6:12-15)

6.      Even though there are many Troubles, Grief (1Peter 2:19; James 5:8-11)

7.      And even though there will be much Persecution (2Timothy 3:10-12; 2Thes 1:4)