|Volume 19 Number 5 May 2017||
Paul began the second epistle to Timothy by encouraging Timothy to boldly declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul encouraged Timothy by reminding Him that God had equipped him with all of the tools necessary to be an effective evangelist (2 Timothy 1:6-7). Still, in order to be a good minister, Timothy would have to be willing to endure suffering for the Gospel’s sake (2 Timothy 1:8). What should compel Timothy to endure suffering for the Gospel? What should cause Christians today to endure suffering for the Gospel? In 2 Timothy 2:9-10, Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, provided a compelling argument for the Christian’s unwavering dispersion of the Gospel.
First, Christians should be bold evangelists who are willing to endure suffering because God “saved us, and called us with a holy calling” (9a). God calls men to Him by the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), and when men obey God’s call to obedience, He saves them (Romans 1:16). The calling is “holy” because God is holy and requires His people to be holy—sanctified from sin (1 Peter 1:14-16). With such a blessing bestowed upon us, about what is there to be embarrassed or timid? If a man sacrificed his life to save your physical life, would you be timid to mention his name? Would you be shy about sharing what he had done for you? It seems unlikely. God has done something much greater for us; He saved us from spiritual death! Let us boldly share the good news.
Second, Christians should be bold evangelists who are willing to endure suffering because God saved us “not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace” (9b). Men cannot earn their salvation with “works of merit,” but God does require acts of obedient faith in order to be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; James 2:24). God planned before the foundation of the world to call men to Him in order to save them (Ephesians 1:4-5; Romans 8:29-30). It was not a plan haphazardly put into place, but it is one motivated by His grace (unmerited favor). There should be no greater joy than to share with others the truth about Almighty God and His desire to save them (1 Timothy 2:4).
Third, Christians should be bold evangelists who are willing to endure suffering because God’s plan is “made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel” (10). God’s purpose and grace were clearly revealed in the person Jesus Christ (John 1:14). God, motivated by grace, purposed to save all of mankind through the death of His Son (John 3:16), and His Son willingly completed the plan of redemption. In so doing, Jesus rendered both physical and spiritual death inoperative (1 Corinthians 15:22; Acts 2:23-24; Romans 5:6-10). What a beautiful message revealed in the Bible!
Are you ashamed of the Gospel? Don’t be! The God of heaven saved you according to His purpose and grace through the death of His only Son!
Ernest S. Underwood
How many times have you been told, “One of these days I’m gonna…“ or “When I get around to it…”? I know I have done so more times than I should have. One lady in Oklahoma crocheted me a “round to-it.”
In matters of everyday things, we don’t get too upset when someone tells us this. However, following the vocation I have chosen, that of a preacher of the Gospel, it is heartbreaking to hear someone who has been taught the truth, has learned that truth and even admits that he understands his condition and what God requires of him to make the statement, “One of these days…”
In my forty-nine years of preaching, I have had the sad responsibility to conduct the funeral of at least seven persons who had previously told me personally, “One of these days…” This means that there are seven lost souls who need not have been lost, and this by their own admission. What a terrible, terrible waste and loss. James said, “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Do you need to obey God, and know what you need to do? Then do it!