The Reward of Endurance
2 Timothy 2:1-13 February 24 2013
JA;”>Even before the N.T. was complete, basic truths were understood, entrusted to reliable men, and passed on unchanged to the next generation.
JA;”>The word is used here as a euphemism for “Christian.” Paul is in chains, but gladly endures that others may hear and respond to the Gospel promise of salvation in Christ.
JA;”>Suffering can be endured if we are convinced it is for a good purpose. In fact there is a glory in suffering, if the purpose is great enough.
The last two “if” statements here have caused some confusion. The Gk. words for “disown” are also translated “deny.” In some places they mean “decisive rejection of Christ” but in others have the sense of “a fall from fellowship.” Thus, Peter’s denial of Jesus was not a final rejection, but a temporary withdrawal. It is best to take this passage as a warning: If we abandon fellowship with Jesus, His withdrawal of fellowship with us must follow. Even so “He will remain faithful” to His commitment to save us, “for He cannot deny Himself.”
1. The apostle exhorts Timothy to persevere with diligence, like a soldier, a combatant, and a husbandman. (2 Tim.2:1-7)
JA;”>2 Tim.2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 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. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
JA;”>As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger. This is opposed to our being strong in our own strength. All Christians, but especially ministers, must be faithful to their Captain, and resolute in his cause. The great care of a Christian must be to please Christ. We are to strive to get the mastery of our lusts and corruptions, but we cannot expect the prize unless we observe the laws. We must take care that we do good in a right manner, that our good may not be spoken evil of. Some who are active, spend their zeal about outward forms and doubtful disputations. But those who strive lawfully shall be crowned at last. If we would partake the fruits, we must labour; if we would gain the prize, we must run the race. We must do the will of God, before we receive the promises, for which reason we have need of patience. Together with our prayers for others, that the Lord would give them understanding in all things, we must exhort and stir them up to consider what they hear or read.
2. Encouraging him by assurances of a happy end of his faithfulness.
(2 Tim. 2:8-13)
JA;”>2 Tim. 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 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.11 This is a faithful saying:
mso-fareast-language: JA;”>12 If we endure,
mso-fareast-language: JA;”>12 If we endure,We shall also reign with Him.He also will deny us.13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
JA;”>Let suffering saints remember, and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God. We must not think it strange if the best men meet with the worst treatment; but this is cheering, that the word of God is not bound. Here we see the real and true cause of the apostle’s suffering trouble in, or for, the sake of the gospel. If we are dead to this world, its pleasures, profits, and honours, we shall be for ever with Christ in a better world. He is faithful to his threatenings, and faithful to his promises. This truth makes sure the unbeliever’s condemnation, and the believer’s salvation.
JA;”>What will it mean for Timothy to follow the pattern of commitment set by the Apostle Paul and to teach that pattern to others? Three images provide insight. A committed Christian is like a soldier in his ability to endure hardship . He is like an athlete who keeps in training for competition . He is like a farmer who works hard in expectation of enjoying the harvest .
JA;”>Paul is very clear that commitment to the Gospel is likely to result in suffering . He is also clear on the need to remain fully committed . Actually commitment calls for a disciplined attention to service and Scripture that many have been unwilling to give . This is not unexpected, for everyone uses cheap dishes as well as expensive chinaware. But it’s important for us to “cleanse ourselves” that we might serve the more noble function . Finally, commitment calls for the most rigid self-control, not only in fleeing evil desires, but also in maintaining a loving attitude toward those who oppose our teaching, with prayerful reliance on God to change the heart of the lost .
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