Train to Live on Mission Today! (Overview Week 1)

Grow Strong in the Grace of God!

2 Timothy 2:1-4 (NAS95)


The Scripture lesson for today and the theme verses for the 2022 sermon series are found in 2 Timothy 2:1-4:


You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.


This passage is the foundation for a year-long journey of learning how to live on mission for God as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. In fact, it is verses 3-4 which will provide the theme for this sermon series: “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” From this truth, I am going to train you to live on mission for Jesus Christ and to see every moment of your life as a providential opportunity to fulfill the mission of God. As a good soldier of Jesus Christ, you have been enlisted to train to live on mission today!


I know what this life looks like because once upon a time I was on the tip of the spear in our nation’s security, serving in a rapid deployment unit as an Infantry platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 82nd Airborne Division, stationed out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1997-98. After graduating West Point, I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. Having graduated from the US Army’s Infantry Officer Basic Course, as well as the Airborne, Air Assault, and Ranger Schools, I was prepared to live the life of a paratrooper and train America’s finest to complete the mission, at any time and in any place that we were called to go. It was our mission to be delivered behind enemy lines through airborne operations to successfully secure key objectives for follow-on combat missions. As a rapid deployment unit, we had to be ready to be wheels up within 18 hours of notification! As a leader in such a unit, it was my responsibility to ensure my platoon was trained, our equipment was maintained, and we were ready to deploy so that we could respond without hesitation. Our motto was “H-minus,” which represented our readiness prior to the start of the operation. H-hour was too late to train—it was mission time!


In the same way, you need to be trained to respond to your Lord’s calling without hesitation. When the opportunity presents itself or the enemy comes against you, you need to already know what to do and to execute the mission with confidence! Each Sunday of January, we are going to lay a solid foundation for our year-long training routine, so that by the end of this year, you will be ready at any time to accomplish the mission of God anywhere you are called to go.


Let’s start by walking through 2 Timothy 2:1-4. Today, we will focus on what what it means to grow strong in God’s grace and next week we will learn what it means to have a mission-focus, like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. You have been enlisted! Are you ready?




Paul calls Timothy his son, even though he is not a biological father to him. In 1 Timothy 1:2, Paul calls him “my true child in the faith.” He is speaking to Timothy, just as he did to Titus in Titus 1:4, “my true child in a common faith,” as a spiritual father who sees in him the potential not only to be a follower of Jesus, but to carry on his apostolic mission to spread the gospel. Paul relates to both Timothy and Titus as his protégés (his apprentices or disciples). This is the intent of verse 2, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” We will learn more about this next Sunday (1/16) when I will teach you to have a mission-focus, like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.


It is enough for today to explain that Paul’s familial reference (son) to Timothy is mission-focused; it’s not sentimentality or emotionalism. While there is genuine love, it is a love born of shared suffering for their “common faith.” I equate this kind of relationship to that which we see between veterans who shared combat together or who can relate to one another because of similar experiences. There is a powerful camaraderie amongst soldiers that is unique to them.


We can share in Paul’s charge to Timothy because we are the “sons of God,” as Paul taught of all Spirit-filled Christians in Romans 8:14-17:


For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.


This is God’s promise of adoption, as we learn from Galatians 4:4-7:


But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.


This is the grace of God in your life—you are no longer a slave to sin! You are alive in Christ and are commanded by the One who enlisted you to grow strong in your identity as a child of God and your new power source as a good soldier of Jesus Christ—the grace of God! It is because of God’s amazing grace, which saved a wretch like me (and you), that we can share a unique camaraderie with one another. It is only through the victory of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary that a blind man like me can now see. That is our common faith, and this is the war that has been won for us! His victory yokes us to one another and we are called to the mission of God by the One who saved us! We are the sons of God—co-heirs of God’s grace!




There are seven usages of this Greek word in the New Testament, many of which will be familiar to you. First, and most alike in usage to today’s passage, is Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:10-20:


Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak [italics added].


Listen to the other verses with the Greek word italicized for emphasis:

  • Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens
  • 1 Timothy 1:12, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:17, “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth.”
  • Acts 9:22, “But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.”
  • Romans 4:20, “Yet, with respect to the promise of God, [Abraham] did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.”


It will be the emphasis of this year’s sermon series to learn how to grow strong in God’s grace, increase in strength, and be strengthened by God. I will be teaching you more about the very intentional training routine of a good soldier of Jesus Christ in 2 weeks (1/23).




Grace is the saving power of God. Grace ushers us into the Kingdom of God as children of God. This is most clearly stated in Ephesians 2:8-9:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”


Furthermore, Paul teaches us in 2 Corinthians 9:8 that God’s grace is not just our entrance into the Kingdom, it is also the empowerment of the Christian life, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”


Grace is what enables us to successfully live the Christian life and accomplish the mission! Paul expressed to his protégé in Titus 2:11-15:


For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.


The promise of grace teaches us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that God’s grace is our sufficiency for every task God calls us to accomplish: “And [Jesus] has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” In other words, there is nothing you can’t do in God’s grace, but apart from God’s grace, there is nothing you can do! Jesus taught us this with the agricultural imagery of John 15:1-5:


I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.


This is the beautiful partnership we are called to have with God through the grace of Jesus Christ! His grace flows into our lives as we abide in Him! Listen to 2 Peter 1:2-11 explain this through the imagery of fellowship with God:


Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.


To accomplish the mission of God, every good soldier must be trained to grow strong in God’s grace, which has been abundantly supplied to you!


Grace is the key to the Christian life! We must grow strong in our identity as children of God, enlisted into the mission of God as good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3-4). Next week, we will learn that we are commanded to remain focused on the mission of God and not get ensnared or entangled on that which would distract us from growing strong in the grace of God. As Hebrews 12:1-3 commands us,


Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


This is the Father’s pleasure in enlisting you through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and empowering eternal life in you today through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Train yourself to grow strong in God’s grace and you will not grow weary and lose heart. Train to live on mission today and be a good soldier of Jesus Christ!

You can listen to Pastor Jerry’s message here:


You can watch the video by clicking HERE.