Sunday, 9 August 2020

Endure all things

Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. – 2 Timothy 2.10

When Paul talks about enduring he is saying a lot. He enduring rejection, abuse, hatred, arrests, jailing, beatings, shipwrecks, being left for dead, and a snakebite just for starters. Any of us would be hard pressed to compare what we endure with what he endured.

Those things are terribly discouraging and can cause despair. I preached recently from 2 Corinthians 2 about discouragement and despair and how what gets us through that is the knowledge that Christ had already given us the victory and cause us to march in The Triumph.

So Paul simply endured. He did not become weary in well doing. No matter how bad the circumstances he just carried on as a good soldier of the cross.

Why? Why would he do that? Because nothing was more important to him than seeing people saved.

What then does it take to deter me? How much am I willing today? Can I even endure setbacks cause by the crazy reaction to the Covid virus? Will I?

How important are souls to me?

Saturday, 8 August 2020

The word is not bound

Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. – 2 Timothy 2.8-9

We can forget sometimes reading Paul’s letters where he was and what he was going through when he wrote. Here he was back in Rome under arrest and saving execution. While he was under house arrest he was still a prisoner and was in chains. Most of us would have just given up.

But Paul didn’t do that. Even in his desperate situation he would not let the word be bound. God’s word still went forth as people came to him where is continued to preach and teach the gospel.

While this is a great testimony I think it pictures a much greater truth. God’s word can never be bound no matter what the opposition. The church suffers persecution, the word of God has been attacked and attempts have been made to wipe it out but the word of God abides forever.

And, even more exciting than that it cannot and will not be bound. It can’t be shut up. In fact, it is probably more available now than ever before in history. It is on paper and online and on phones and tablets and any number of devices.

Covid restrictions have closed ,any churches and limited many assemblies. Churches have been forced to think outside of the box and things are a lot differnet – but God’s word has not been bound. There is more preaching and teaching and more Bible on social media that even before. Facebook and YouTube and Zoom have provided a way to expand God’s word outside of our church wall.

Nothing can ever bind God’s word!

Friday, 7 August 2020

Consider my words

Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. – 2 Timothy 2.7

As a teacher I enjoy watching Paul teach Timothy. Remember, Timothy was a young man, he was probably early in his twenties. Paul was preparing to die and he was getting Timothy ready to take his place. He knew Timothy had a proclivity to Aguirre and debate. He knew that Timothy needed to be reminded about how important his task was going to be.

He told Timothy here ‘don’t just read what I write or listen to what I say, carefully consider what I say.’ That reminds me of when Joshua was told to meditate on the word of God and mull them over.

It is one thing for us to go to church and hear a sermon and read the word of God. Unless we consider it and dwell on it and contemplate it and act on it then it is not going to have a real impact. For God’s word to impact we must take it and consider what we read and hear.

We consider God’s word when we take to the time to read it and mull over it and prayer over and meditate on it and, as one of the Hebrew words put – to ruminate on it.

As we read God’s word and hear it preached let’s take the time to carefully consider that we hear and apply it to our lives.

And we can do that with the assurance that God will give us the understanding. It is His word and He can apply it to our lives.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

An athlete

And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. – 2 Timothy 2.5

Paul liked to use illustrations in his messages. He spoke of a soldier and now he speaks of an athlete. He uses this kind of illustration often. He speaks of runners and boxers especially. Chance are good that he would have been familiar with the Roman games, which were like the Olympics, after the time he spent in Rome.

In sports there is one basic principle – you have to play by the rules. If you don’t, you can’t win. We’ve all seen stories of people who cut corners in races or took drugs to enhance their performances or found other ways to cheat. If they ‘win’ and get caught they are disqualified. I remember Lance Armstrong who won, I think, seven Tour de France races, but when it was discovered that he had been a liar and a cheat he lost his rewards.

You know, the Christian life can be like that. There are sadly some folks who give all the signs that the are in the Christian race. They go through life going to church are doing the right things, but the problem is that they have never done what really counts – they’ve never actually played by the rules. They’ve never confessed their sins and repented and turned to Jesus.

So, at the end of the day there is no prize to be won. They may have deceived the church and their family and friends but they cannot deceive Christ and they don’t receive their reward.

What a tragedy that so many seem to be in the race and yet are disqualified for heaven.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

A good soldier

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. – 2 Timothy 2.3-4

Endure hardness as a good soldier.

Though from a military family where my dad, two brothers, a son and sin-in-law have all served despite having planned to serve when I was young I have never served so I can’t speak from personal experience.

However, I do know enough to know that soldiering is no easy task. The worst thing a soldier could do was to get distracted from his task. If a soldier were to get distracted they could very well end up dead. Soldiering takes unity of purpose and cooperation and determination and dedication and purpose and obedience to the commander. To be a success it requires a love of country.

All of these things are required as we soldier on for Christ. We serve, as this verse says, to please our commander – Jesus Christ. I think of Joshua when he met the pre-incarnate Christ across the Jordan when Jesus told him ‘I am the commander of the Lord of hosts.’ I also think of Jesus returning leading His saints to bring diving wrath and justice to this broken world.

The soldier image is a powerful. We are in for a fight – a long and tedious fight, but we do not war with carnal weapons and a human enemy. Our fight is agains spiritual wickedness in high places.

But our Commander is supreme and will arm us for the fight.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Pass it on

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. – 2 Timothy 2.1-2

How did we get from Paul and Timothy all the way down to serving God today? Why do we teach the same things they did?

Paul laid a pattern early on that has continued through the ages.

Take what I have given you Timothy
Pass what you have received on the others
So that they can pass it on to others

That’s been the plan and that is how it still carries on today.  It is vital that we keep that going today and on and on and on.

Some call this discipleship. Today we call it mentoring. Either way passing it and teaching others to pass it on is God’s perfect plan to make sure the church continues on and the gospel continues to be spread.

Monday, 3 August 2020

A refresher

The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; - 2 Timothy 1.16

I like to read about the ‘minor’ characters of the Bible who may only be mentioned once or twice in scriptures and then the writer just moves on. These folks are rarely superstars, but they did something that merited an mention in the Bible.

Onesiphorus is one such man. Paul prays that God would give he and his family mercy because he had often refreshed Paul and he was not ashamed of Paul despite his chains.

I would love to be known as a guy who refreshes those I come into contact with. Wouldn’t be great if people looked forward to seeing us because they knew they would leave feeling refreshed.

People should never dread seeing us. They shouldn’t feel like turning around and going the other way when they see us. Every single person we meet should feel better after they have seen us. When I see people on my walk they should look forward to seeing me. They should enjoy stopping and talking to me.

That’s how Onesiphorus was. He refreshed Paul’s spirit and that blessed Paul’s heart. God give me the grace to be a refresher.