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R1175 Run Like An Athlete

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
June 29, 2022 8:00 am

R1175 Run Like An Athlete

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

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June 29, 2022 8:00 am

The Daily Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton

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So whereas in the first instance, Paul says to Timothy, fight like a soldier.

In the second instance, he says run like an athlete. You want to experience the power of the grace of God and stand up instead of lying down. You want to be a spiritual powerhouse. You want to demonstrate a spiritually strong life.

Run like an athlete. The Encouraging Word. That's the voice of Dr. Don Wilton, our teacher here on The Encouraging Word. And The Encouraging Word is here for that very purpose, to encourage you with God's Word. As a matter of fact, you can visit us online right now at to stimulate your eyes as you stimulate your ears.

Dr. Don will be leading us today about running like an athlete. It's part of this grace series and how the grace empowers us to run the race that God has set before us. There's a unique path, a unique purpose that each of us have, and as we discover that together, we watch God do great and mighty things. We're available to pray with you and for you at 866-899-WORD, 24 hours a day.

That's 866-899-9673. The Encouraging Word. Now today's message with Dr. Don Wilton. I'm going to ask you to open your Bibles this morning to 2 Timothy chapter 2. This is an amazing passage of scripture, folks, because here in 2 Timothy chapter 2, we are looking at a four-part series entitled Strong in Grace. By the way, that statement, Strong in Grace, comes from 2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 1. You can look at it.

It's right there. Sometimes I wish that I had come up with some of these things, but I haven't. This comes right out of God's Word. Paul says this, and I just want to share verse 1 with you, and then I'm going to go where we need to go. It says, You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And of course, we've discovered that that is a command. It's an imperative. It's a powerful statement.

In fact, what Paul is saying here, remember, Timothy was being launched into the world. All right, we all live in the world in which we find ourselves, and the world is a jolly tough place. It is an extremely arduous journey.

There are so many challenges that confront us. Every time I talk about giving, I see someone who's been laid off. That's why the widow's might is so important, folks. It's not about equal giving. It's about equal sacrifice.

It's not about the amount. It's about the heart. And in this world that Timothy was going into, he was being faced spiritual warfare.

Satan's got your number. Some of you are battling with sons and daughters. Some of you have broken hearts. Some people I know are distraught. Do you know what it means to just be distraught? Some are just upset. Every time I meet someone who's got an axe to grind, I usually conclude that they are distraught.

Some have just lost everything that they have. You want to talk about the need to be strong in grace. Paul here is looking into my life and into your life and he's saying God's word tells us something. That we can be strong in grace. We can be strong because of the grace of God. Because of Christ, we can have complete access to all that God is. I love that statement in the Bible, greater is he that is in me than he that's in the world. That means because Christ lives in me, I have a resource. I have a power. I have God's presence in my life.

And because of him, I can with God for me who can be against me. Be encouraged today. I want you to be really encouraged in your heart today.

That thing that's going on in your daughter's life, you know what I'm talking about? Be encouraged. God's on his throne.

What the devil intends for evil, God will turn into good. Don't give up. Don't back down. You got a lot of questions. You want to know why. You feel picked on. You're tired. You're worn out. You're weary. Seems like you're always the one who has to do it.

Nobody else seems to ever help you. Don't stop. Be strong.

This is what he says. You, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the thing you heard me say in the presence of many witnesses in trust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others, endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Jesus Christ for no one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs, but rather he wants to please his commanding officer.

That's what we looked at last week. We're looking now at how, folks, I'm a nuts and bolts person. I want to know, hello, how do I do this? What do I need to do to be strong in grace? Yes, Christ is in me. I've given my life to Christ. I know that I'm a believer. I know that I belong to him. I've done it right, if you'll pardon my phrase. I've followed God's instructions.

I know that I'm forgiven of my sin, but I'm still being hammered, and I still need strength for the journey, and I still have this loneliness, and I still struggle, and I still deal with these things. I want to be strong. He says I can be strong. The first thing he says is fight like a soldier, and we looked at that last week.

And some of you may remember, because I've got a lot of letters from a lot of people over it, God really spoke to us. Fight like a soldier. Don't ever quit. Don't ever take a detour. Don't ever be distracted.

That's what we looked at last week. That's what he's saying here. Don't ever quit. Don't ever take detours.

Don't be distracted. He says no one who is a good soldier does anything less than obey his commanding officer. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. I'm going to look to Jesus. Peter discovered that. He was walking on the water for crying in a bucket. Jesus said, come on, son, you can do it.

He did everything right. Got out the boat. He said, here I come, Lord. Kept his eyes on Jesus. And the moment he became distracted, boom, down he went.

Here comes the sharks. Fight like a soldier. Don't be distracted. Don't take your eyes off Jesus. Don't get caught up in everything else.

And could we just be rank honest with each other, folks? That's what we battle with because we're so bent on succeeding in life. We're so bent on making money. We're so bent on playing that ball game. We're so bent on the good things, all of these things. We're so busy doing these things. It is so easy. I personally constantly find myself taking my eyes off Jesus, don't you? Pain will make you do that.

Fight like a soldier. Then he goes on to what I want to look at today, which is such a great thing. I want you to focus in on verse five. Similarly, by the way, that word similarly is a marvelous English expression. It literally means just the same as what has just been said in like manner.

Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. You're listening to Dr. Don Wilton, our teacher here on The Encouraging Word. Don't go away.

He'll be back with the rest of Run Like an Athlete, this powerful message from 2 Timothy in just a moment. But Dr. Wilton insists I remind you we're here for you. Happy to talk or pray with you and happy to connect you with resources. There have been so many folks asking about this unique collaborative effort. It's a resource from Dr. Wilton's friend, Chuck Colson. You know, here in the summertime, it makes me think of all the times I've spent with Dr. Wilton in prison, in prison ministry.

And that's part of the ways that this is such a perfect collaboration. Dr. Colson's, a book called My Final Word, and Dr. Wilton's message, The Final Authority, it's a powerful dual resource. And it's available right now on our website at Again, this allows us to be a powerful witness in this unique age where there is opposition to the Christian way of thinking. Again, you'll be blessed by this resource. I hope you'll pick it up today on our website at Now back to today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton.

Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. So whereas in the first instance, Paul says to Timothy, fight like a soldier, in the second instance, he says, run like an athlete. You want to experience the power of the grace of God and stand up instead of lying down. You want to be a spiritual powerhouse.

You want to demonstrate a spiritually strong life. Run like an athlete. Love any kind of metaphor that involves athletes.

We all do. There's some of those things that I love to look and watch and to root for our people and watch the United States bring back gold medals left and right. Olympic Games, a spectacular event. Well, Paul here was invoking this athletic metaphor for someone like me saying, you want to be strong in grace, run like an athlete. Athletics to these people, to Paul and Timothy, were very significant. And in Paul's time, the Romans, who were the rulers, held what were called the Greek games. By the way, the origin of the Olympic Games, any person who competed in the Greek games during Paul's time had to qualify in three ways that were non-negotiable.

You wanted to be part of the Greek games in Paul's time. There were three qualifications. Number one, you had to be they had to prove their birth.

Only Greeks could do it. They had to prove their birth. Had to do whatever it took. They had to go down to the place where all the stats are kept. Had to prove their birth. You know, we've got means of being able to prove our birth.

And my three children, my two sons and my daughter, so proud of the fact that they born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Well, the Greek athlete participating in the Roman games had to prove his birth. The second thing they had to do is they had to persist in training. The training regimen was the very means by which they qualified for the games.

You could put a really a good spin on it, just call it boot camp. For the Greeks, it involved a 10 month regimen of training to those who had proven their Greek birth and citizenship. They had to go through a 10 month period of training. And at the end of the 10 month period of training, they had to actually swear allegiance to a statue of the god Zeus, Z-E-U-S. So they had to persist in training.

They had to go through this regimen. And then the third qualification to participate in the Greek games was that they had to participate in competition. There were a whole lot of mini little Olympics held, much like our athletes today.

Every time we open the paper, put on the newspaper, you see Michael Phelps has run another race to qualify him for the London Olympics. The process of competitive participation speaks to the quality of the athlete. You pass the test, so to speak.

So they're the three qualifications to prove their birth, had to persist in training and had to participate in competition. So here's Paul and he looks at Timothy and he says, be strong in grace and in order to be strong in grace, run like an athlete. What was he talking about? He's talking about three things that you and I have got to do.

Number one, we must be sure of our salvation. An athlete was an athlete. What Paul was saying is he was holding up this person and he was saying, here is an athlete.

Any questions? You know, I look out, I love our coaches, man. You get around some of our great coaches.

You know, if I was coaching today, I would probably get that football player or basketball player, whatever it is. And I'd say, stand up, man. I stand up. I say, what kind of game do you play? Well, I play football. I say, well, then be a football player. I mean, good grief.

Football players need to play football. Any questions? So I'm standing here today, not because I'm your pastor or because I'm your friend. I'm standing here today and saying to you that I'm a Christian man. I'm a sinner saved by the grace of God. I've trusted Jesus. I've repented of my sin by faith. I've accepted him into my heart. I'm a Christian man. Paul is saying to me, well, are you sure of that? Yes, sir. I'm a Christian man. Well, be a Christian. See, folks, can I say this very lovingly? I'm going to say this with such love in my heart.

That's the thing about church. Do you know that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi? If you don't know who Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was, he was known for short Mohatma Gandhi. He was the great pacifist Indian leader who espoused the whole system of satyagraha, which was the peace movement or passive resistance.

His name is hallowed all across the continent of India. Well, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi said, the only reason I will never become a Christian is because of other Christians. Run like an athlete. Be sure of your salvation. Stand up and be counted. You want to operate in the full strength of God's grace? Be sure of who you are in Christ. I pray every day, Lord, you know, folks, it's not a matter of me saying, no, I don't want to do that.

I just don't want to do that. I'm a Christian man. Why do I need to go and soak my head in that barrel of junk? You call yourself a Christian, but you're fraternizing and carrying on with all the pagans during the week. You're sitting here today looking all nice and spiritual and cleaned up.

But as soon as you get out there into the world, your mouth doesn't sound any different. You're sitting there putting it back with everybody else. You're telling the same filthy jokes. You're watching the same things. You're acting like the world. You're behaving like the world. That's what he's saying here. No wonder you're so miserable. No wonder you're struggling so much. Get a life. Decide who you are. Run like an athlete.

Can you feel that? Just be sure of our salvation. Number two, we must be set for the finish line. We must be set for the finish.

You know, they had to persist in training. I wish I could demonstrate this for you, because really, folks, I'm just here to tell you what an incredibly fine sculpted athlete I am. And if it were not for the fact that I would trip over my feet coming out of the starting block, I would personally feel compelled to demonstrate to you what an athlete looks like when he takes his mark.

But we're all familiar with that. Even the symbolism. Take your mark. Get set. Go. No good athlete takes his mark or takes her mark without setting his or her eyes on the prize. What Paul was saying to Timothy, run like an athlete.

Be set for the finish. I'd say to all of you young parents here today, just totally enjoy your kids. Have a ball. Be with them. Spend time with them.

Get down with them. They will one day they the things they are going to tell you about are not going to be all the things you thought were important. They're going to tell you about sliding down that slide with them and getting in the mud and going on that camping trip and all the mosquitoes that attacked you up there in the park. That's what they're going to tell you about. And you will never accomplish that if you don't set for the finish with your kids. Your children will grow up before you know it, folks.

Make every moment count because all of a sudden they're not going to be there. Just like that. You're going to wonder what happened if you didn't set for the finish at the beginning when you take your mark.

When it happens just like that, you'll have a life of regret. And Paul here is invoking this metaphor. He's saying here, simply folks, persist in training. Be set for the finish.

Be faithful now in study and prayer. Get down with it. And when you get down with it, be focused. Shut out everything else. Know what you're doing.

I love to be around the people who know what they do. You've got the stuff, man. You've got the stuff. You've got the stuff. Be set for the finish. And by the way, a word to anybody here today who has messed up.

That means every one of you should be looking at me right now. Don't live with regrets. Folks, don't live with regrets when you belong to Christ.

If your marriage broke up, look ahead. If you've gone to the... Forgiveness is absolute. Don't live with regrets with your kids.

My wife and I have cultivated a delightful habit because invariably one of our adult kids come up and will say to us, You know something, Dad? When I was 15, you never came to that game. You know what I say? Oops.

Oops. What you doing tonight, son? Do you know something, folks? There's nothing I can do about winding the clock back 17 years to go to his ballgame. I'm not going to beat myself to death over that. Some of you are living under a fog. You're beating yourselves to death.

You're living in the past. Paul said, I press on. I look ahead.

I forget that which is behind me. Hold on to Jesus Christ. Be sure of our salvation.

We must be set for the finish and there's one more here and I'll close with it. Run like an athlete. Be sound in our doctrine. Be sound in our doctrine.

In the Greek games, these people had to participate in the competition to prove their worthiness. What Paul was saying here is you want to be strong in grace. Be sound in what you know and what you believe. Now, now a weak theology will always result in a weak lifestyle.

One of the reasons why some of you are cheating on your wives and running around and getting drunk and using foul language and backsliding and battling with yourselves and fighting with yourselves and fighting with everybody else and struggling in life is because you've awarded yourself the degree of a weak theology. You don't care about what you believe or who you believe. And you said, it doesn't matter what I believe. If it doesn't matter what you believe, it doesn't matter how you live.

We're living in a world in America today where we are neutering the population. When it comes to gender, the more women can look and be like men and the more men can look and be like women, the greater the accolades are coming from Hollywood and from talk shows. But God created male and female in his image and so it is that God has spoken to us through his word. He's given us our theology. What we believe and what we know about God. The fact that Jesus Christ is the son of the living God. And that he loves me and that there is no other way whereby I can come to heaven accepting through Jesus Christ.

And he accepts nothing less than repentance and confession and trusting in him by faith through the finished work of his spirit. That's what God says. And God tells me I can be strong in grace. I'm going to take that to the bank.

How about you? I am strong in grace. Paul put it like this, I am what I am by the grace of God.

Listen up America, God will not be mocked. He's not a head basketball coach. He's not an icon in a box. He's not a poultry pastor or a Sunday preacher.

He's not a life group leader and he's not a mommy or a daddy. He's God. Know what you believe. Run like an athlete. Compete according to the rules. Compete according to the rules.

God's rules. And you will be blessed. This represents my greatest struggle.

It represents our greatest struggle. Be strong in grace my son. Be strong in grace my daughter. May the grace of God be upon you, Paul prayed.

You can do it. For greater is he that is in you and he that's in the world. And in that strength we can move forward knowing that when Jesus comes into our life, we have that greatness in us. But if you've not asked Jesus to come into your life, then it's not available.

That greater that he is available though as a free gift. You've listened to Dr. Don as he's been teaching and preaching from the Word of God in the pulpit. Now open your heart to what he wants to share next. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner and I know that Jesus died for me on the cross. Today I repent of my sin and by faith I receive you into my heart. In Jesus name. My friend, I welcome you today into the family of God.

This is exciting news. Welcome to the family of God. I'm just convinced that some of you were praying along with Dr. Wilton moments ago to give your life to Jesus for the very first time.

And some of you have come home. You've realized that today's the day to rededicate your life and watch the Lord work in you like never before. That is our prayer. And Dr. Don would love to pray with you and for you if you'll let us know about your decision.

You can do that in a number of ways. You can call us right now at 866-899-WORD and we would be honored to pray with you, to celebrate with you. And Dr. Wilton has prepared some free resources that he feels will help you grow in your faith in this initial stage of rededicating your life or giving your life to Christ for the very first time.

He wants you to have them free. But you've got to call and let us know so we can send them to you. 866-899-WORD is the phone number. That's 866-899-9673. You can also connect on our website,

Again, that's And while you're there, check out this wonderful audiobook offer from The Decouraging Word. This month, as a special bonus offer, you can purchase Saturdays with Billy as a brand new 4CT audiobook. This audiobook is narrated by Dr. Don Wilton and would be a great gift.

It would also be great to listen to in the car. You will enjoy hearing about the beautiful friendship between Billy Graham and his friend and pastor Don Wilton. Along with the audiobook, we are offering a DVD collection of Billy Graham Crusades, A Gathering of Souls. This documentary gives the history of the Crusades from the first event in 1949 to the remarkable events behind the Iron Curtain and in the Far East.

You are sure to enjoy watching this collection of timeless Crusades. Please visit or call 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673 to order. Let's stay connected between now and then on our website at That's ś ś ś ś ś ś
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-28 23:01:18 / 2023-03-28 23:11:33 / 10

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