Read 2 Timothy 2:1-13.

The greatest problems for the church of Jesus Christ have always come from within. When people inside the church confuse right and wrong, trouble is sure to follow. For example, when believers become unsure about God’s design for the sexes, for marriage, or for family, they often begin to question the Truth that’s revealed in God’s Word in general.

We shouldn’t be surprised to see this. Satan has been trying to confuse people since the very beginning. Remember how he approached Eve by asking, “Did God really say, . . .?” (Genesis 3:1). Today he’s still asking the same question, confusing people by instigating doubt about the Word of God.

No one understood this better than the apostle Paul. “[E]veryone in the province of Asia has deserted me,” he said of those who had abandoned the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:15). Knowing Timothy would face the same temptation, Paul gave him a bulwark to help him stand firm in the face of confusion. He lovingly writes, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2:1).

Paul then gives Timothy three images to keep in his mind, three word pictures to help him be strong in the grace of God as he presses on to share and instruct others in the Truth.

First, he tells Timothy to behave like a soldier on the battlefield: “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer” (2 Timothy 2:4). In order to remain strong, we cannot try to please other people; we must look to please Him and Him alone.

Second, Paul says Timothy is to be like an athlete who trains to win the prize (see v. 5). We must not run according to our own desires, but according to the rules of the Word of God and the authority of the Scripture.

Finally, Paul tells Timothy to be like a hardworking farmer, who “should be the first to receive a share of the crops” (v. 6). Before we give to others, we are to make sure we’re harvesting holiness in our own lives.

We live in an age when confusion abounds, even in our churches. Therefore, God’s people must step up in the grace of God to disciple the next generation in the Truth of God’s Word. Will you answer the call?

Prayer: Lord, empower me to live a holy life that I might serve the next generation as a guide on the path to righteousness—a priest pointing people to Christ (1 Peter 2:9). I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Don’t Ever Give Up, Part 3: LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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