As I spent time in my study this past Wednesday pondering the service, a story came to mind. It was the story of a husband and wife, who were experiencing a number of fairly intense and difficult circumstances: within their community, within their church family, and within their own family. And it was all coming to a head. It was at that moment that the wife suggested that there was one thing that they must do if they were going to survive. If they had any hope of making it through.
In order to make the point that they must do this one thing in order to survive, she gave her husband this illustration, “I want you to think about this one thing like this. Say you went to the doctor, and she told you that you had a disease that is going to kill you. That’s the really bad news. But then the doctor tells you that there is a pill you can take, that will keep you alive. That’s the really good news. However, you have to take this pill once per day, in order to stay alive. My question for you, husband, is this: would you take the pill?”
Answer: of course you would. Would you forget? Would you not get around to it some days? Of course not! You would never forget, you would never miss.
In our first look at the story of Paul and Timothy (found in 2 Timothy) we learned that in this life we will have trouble, and affliction, and suffering. We learned that as followers of Jesus, we must, “share in suffering as…good soldier[s] of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3), because the point of our lives is to endure this soldier-suffering “for the sake of the [lost], that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10).
Finally, we asked the question: “How? How can we possibly fulfill what seems like an incredibly difficult mission. I mean, Paul is very clear about how hard this is, and will continue to be. How will we do this?” And we heard from Paul this deeply comforting testimony: the way this will be possible is through the present and future promise of the empowering presence of Jesus (see 2 Timothy 2:1; 4:17-18).
But there is still one thing that we must do in order to survive (and thrive) as good soldiers of Jesus. One thing that actually opens up the way to the present and future promise of the empowering presence of Jesus. And without this one thing, every day, just like that wife said to her husband, we won’t make it. We won’t survive.
This is the one, vital thing that Paul passes on to Timothy, so that he might be a good soldier of Jesus, putting a dent in the kingdom of darkness, and rescuing and transforming lost people into followers of Christ.
I invite you now to watch or listen to my second sermon from Paul’s second letter to his spiritual son, Timothy. And if you’d like some additional resources on this book, head on over to the Bible Project page for this part of the Whole Story.
May God use his Word to inspire you to help just one other person move one step closer to Jesus.
Just a brief reminder that a great way to prepare for the service this coming Sunday is to read the text we will be studying together.
One of the dangers of reading the stories of those followers of Jesus that we find in the Bible is we can treat them as if they are almost super-human.
Preparing For Sunday May 12, 1 & 2 Thessalonians
This last Sunday, I preached the first of two sermons on Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Here was the sentence I began unpacking, which is my summary of both letters:
Martin Luther warned that the people of the church are always in danger of their hearts straying from the truth of the good news of the kingdom of God found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
First, it is Palm Sunday. Which means it is the beginning of a week of remembering the most important events in the history of the world: the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, his last meal with his disciples, his death at the hands of sinful men as the result of a sham sentence in a kangaroo court, his burial by those who loved him, and his resurrection from the dead just three days later. All of it for the salvation and rescue of the world.
The Whole Story: Ephesians-Week Two
I attempted to show in the sermon this past Sunday that Paul offers us two anchor points for our lives, and upon which our lives depend.
Preparing For Sunday 19 May 2019
What do you think of when you see these two words together?...