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May 13, 2017
Resolve to Continue
Pastor Philip De Courcy
2 Timothy 2: 8-13

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Trying times are not the times to stop trying. We need to persevere, we need to endure. One of the keys to success in life and ministry is a spirit of resoluteness, fixedness, grit, determination, and perseverance. Life is hard. Ministry is tough. Success rarely jumps into your lap. You've got to plod, and you've got to persevere until success surrenders to your enduring endeavor. Perseverance is the answer when there are no answers. Paul’s motivations in this passage were to be encouraged by the empowering reality of the resurrection, the unstoppable power of the Gospel, the glorious work of evangelism, and the promise of eternal life. We have every reason to preserve and endure given the glorious win, Word, work and welcome. Keep on keeping on in light of these realities.

More From This Series


Philip De Courcy (00:00):
If you take your Bibles, we’re in a study on 2 Timothy. It’s 2 Timothy 2:8-13. A message I’ve called resolved to continue. Now before I get into the message, let me give you a little bit of philosophy on life. Trying times are not the time to stop trying. Trying times are not the times to stop trying. We need to persevere, we need to endure. It’s a godly quality. The old theologians call it the perseverance of the saints. In fact, Alexander Whyte a great Scottish Presbyterian said that the perseverance of the saints is falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up all the way to heaven. That’s what God’s going to encourage us to do here in 2 Timothy 2:8-13. As Paul gives us four motivations for enduring, four motivations for enduring. So let’s turn to God’s Word 2 Timothy 2:8-13 resolved to continue.
“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. Therefore, I endure all things for the sake of the elect, then they obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This is a faithful saying, for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful, He cannot deny Himself.” So reads God’s Word. William Carey has been dubbed the father of modern missions.
During his life, this 18th-century Baptist missionary to India expected great things from God and attempted great things for God. Read his story and as you read his story, you’ll learn that his legacy included awakening the church to global missions, fighting the evil of infant sacrifice, establishing a Bible college for the training of ministers. But his greatest legacy was the translation work he did, turning the scriptures into over 40 languages. Now that’s an impressive resume and the interesting thing is that William Carey gives us a criterion by which to judge his success. Listen to these words that he spoke to his nephew, Eustace. Here’s what he said. “If after my removal anyone should think it worth his while to write my life, I will give you a criterion by which you may judge if it’s correct. If he gives me credit for being a plodder, he will describe me justly. Anything beyond this will be too much. I can plod. That is my only genius. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.”
That’s the secret to William Carey’s success. “I can plod, persevere in a definite direction.” That is one of the keys to success in life and ministry, guys, a spirit of resoluteness, fixedness, grit, determination, perseverance. These are winning words because you know by experience we know that life is hard. Ministry is tough. Success rarely jumps into your lap. You’ve got to plod, and you’ve got to persevere until success surrenders to your enduring endeavor. Galatians 6:9, “Don’t be weary in well doing.” Hebrews 10:36, “You have need of endurance.” Gritty, gutsy, grace is central to life and to ministry. Write this down. Perseverance is the answer when there are no answers, perseverance is the answer when there are no answers. Trying times are not the times to stop trying. We need to endure.
That’s one of the themes of 2 Timothy. As Paul writes here to his protégé and the ministry, he calls for faithfulness. He calls for fixedness from this young minister. If you remember from our earlier studies, he encourages him to endure as he does here in verse 12, in the context of Paul’s impending death and the example of his own faithfulness in the context of apostasy in the church where others are proving themselves faithless and have deserted Paul in droves in the region of Asia, then you have the context of an ever-increasing hostile culture that indeed opposes the gospel and the ministers of it. So we shouldn’t be surprised that Paul would call Timothy to endure. Look at 1:8, “Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.”
Look at 1:13. “Hold fast to the pattern of sound words which you heard from me and faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” Look at 2:1, As this theme of persevering and plotting continues. “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. You have the image of endurance with the farmer in verse 6 and in verse 10, “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect.” Then in verse 12, “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. I think we got the message. Paul wants Timothy to endure, to be faithful, to applaud, to persevere even after he’s gone, regardless of what others are doing, regardless of how the culture would judge him and his message.
But listen, guys, this isn’t a hollow perseverance. This isn’t an empty endurance. This isn’t just suck it up and get on with it. Paul actually feeds Timothy with reasons and rewards to be considered in his pursuit of perseverance. He’s already done this, hasn’t he on several fronts? He has encouraged Timothy by a remembrance of his ordination wise and how he needs to stir up the gift that is within him. He has encouraged him by his godly upbringing to carry on the faith of his mother and his grandmother. He has encouraged him by his own example of faithfulness and suffering. He has shown him the example of oneness for us, and he has also argued from the logic of certain images that perseverance is the calling of the minister of the gospel. Now in this action, we’ll look at four things.
Paul adds four more motivations to keep on keeping on. Number one, he gives him the encouragement of the empowering reality of the resurrection. Number two, he gives him the encouragement of the unstoppable power of the gospel. Number three, he gives him the encouragement of the glorious work of evangelism. And number four, he gives him the encouragement of the promise of eternal life. So let’s begin to look at these four motivations to keep on keeping on. Number one, what I call a glorious win, the empowering reality of the resurrection. This is 4:8, “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel.” Paul wants Timothy to resurrect his faltering resolve in the light of Jesus’ empty tomb. Or I like how Tony Merida puts in this commentary in 2 Timothy. When your tank is empty, remember the tomb is empty. When your tank is empty, remember the tomb is empty. Remember, that’s an imperative mood. That means it’s a command. It’s in the present tense that means it’s to be a continual action and it’s the active voice, which means it’s something you need to rise yourself to do.
So Paul is saying, “Timothy, you need to consciously and consistently bring to your mind the thought of an empty tomb and an occupied throne and a son return, and you need to allow that to stir you to further action when your tank is empty, remember the tomb is empty and there is power available to you through the indwelling spirit because the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in you. That’s what Paul argues in his letter to the Colossians and that’s what he argues in his letter to the Ephesians. Timothy, don’t forget the unforgettable. “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel.” Because Jesus resurrection changes the way we live. In fact, remembering is a repeated theme here as we’ve already noted in chapter 1, Paul remembers his own forefathers. He calls Timothy to remember the faith of his mother and his grandmother. Then he encouraged him to remember his ordination vows. Spurgeon is right. A good memory is the handmaiden of faith and you and I need to constantly stir ourselves up.
And yet I think looking at verse 8, when you and I conclude or even raise the question, “Isn’t this asking the obvious?” I mean, who’s going to forget the resurrection? You are. We are. We’re all capable of that. The human mind is notoriously fickle. Mental lapses are real and they’re dangerous. Just study the nation of Israel over in Psalm 106. Listen to this kind of condemnation. Psalm 106:19-21, “They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molded image. Thus they changed their glory into the image of an ox that eats grass. They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt.” They forgot the unforgettable, they forgot the Exodus. They forgot the ten plagues. That’s unforgettable, isn’t it? But they forgot it. Our minds are so fickle.
Jim and I were lying in bed a few weeks ago and I said, “You know what? Can you remind me to do this in the morning?” The next thing I heard something hitting the floor, and I said, “What was that?” She says, “When I’ve got to remember something, I throw the coaster on the floor to remind me to remember what it is I’ve got to remind you about.” I’m going, “How do we know in the morning when we look at the coaster, we can remember what we thought we needed to remember?” But we’re all capable of that. We all need some way to remind ourselves not to forget the things we must do. And Paul is saying to Timothy, present tense, verb, commanded, “You need to keep on remembering the resurrection” because it’s an important doctrine, isn’t it?
It’s the capstone of each gospel and it’s the cornerstone of our faith. Paul will tell us in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, “If you and I don’t hold onto the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection and preaching is pointless, faith in Christ is futile, death is unconquered, sin unforgiven, and suffering in this life a waste of time.” That’s how critical the resurrection is. That’s why H.B. Charles, pastor in Atlanta says, “Christianity is the only religion in the whole world where its adherence go to the tomb of its leader just to make sure he is not there.” Because if he’s there, we’re in trouble, but he’s not there and we need to remember that fact because the resurrection isn’t just a past event where Jesus conquers death and it’s a sign of God accepting His death on our behalf and it’s not just the future expectation because He lives, we shall live also. And His resurrection is a first fruits of a further series of resurrections. It is also a present experience.
It’s not just a past event, not just a future expectation, it’s a present experience. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is not what working us. Read Colossians 3:1-3. Read Ephesians 2:1 and 6. Guys, you and I need to bear that in mind when we are up against the wall when our tank is empty, remember the tomb is empty and that power, that strength is promised to be poured out into us. Philippians 4:13 is indeed available to us. The power that shook the very foundations of hell and bent back to the bars of death can flow through us like electricity through a cable. We can know that strength, we can know that for defined presence of God in our lives. It is an enduring power and a subduing power and it’s ours through the indwelling Christ and through union with Him, through His Word, through prayer, through communion with Him, you and I can tap into that power and find a second wind to move on past the challenges.
I may have mentioned this before, but a couple of years back I read a book called The Forgotten Founding Father written by Stephen Mansfield. It’s on the life of George Whitefield, an English evangelist, and revivalist who God used in a mighty way to stir the people of New England in the early days of American history, during the time of the colonists. He was beloved by New Englanders. In this book, I learned something I never read in any other book about the fact that in the war of 1776 during the revolution, the continental and patriot army met in Newburyport, Massachusetts at First Presbyterian Church before they had it off the battle, and some of them remembered this was the burial spot of George Whitefield whether we agree with this or not, and some of them went to his tomb and they opened his vault and they began to cut pieces of his collar and cuffs and coat, and some of them put them inside their boots, some of them sewed them into the linings of their jackets as they headed off the war against the English.
For some reason, this man stirred within them a courage and a confidence. Here’s the issue for you and me as we think about that. What is the memory of a dad preacher compared to the remembrance of a living savior? I mean, we have our heroes. In that day, Whitefield was a hero to some within the continental army. His memory, the remembrance of that man of God stirred them to the cause of right and righteousness. If a dead preacher can do that for an army, cannot the living savior do that for his church? “Remember Jesus Christ raised according to my gospel.” So you’re tired, in fact, [inaudible 00:17:10]. He once said, “I’m never tired of the work, but I do get tired in the work.” Are you tired, discouraged? Well, you know what? Remember this glorious win.
We’re not fighting for victory, we’re fighting from victory, and the power that subdued death is it working you and me, and it can subdue fear and it can subdue fatigue and it can give us reason to march on. Here’s a second motivation, not only a glorious win but a glorious word, a glorious word, the unstoppable power of the gospel. Let’s keep reading. “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel,” verse 8. Now verse 9, “For which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains,” and listen to this, “but the Word of God is not chained. A glorious win. That’s a great motivation. A glorious word. That’s another great motivation. Paul wants to steal the resolve of Timothy by reminding him that while the messenger is imprisoned, the message is not. Paul tells us both in this verse and earlier in 1:8-12, that he was a prisoner for the sake of the gospel, but despite attempts to thwart the gospel and muzzle the minister, the Word of God is at work triumphantly in the world.
That’s a great encouragement. That the Word has power, sustaining power, subduing power that we don’t have in all our weakness limited by our circumstances. We preach the Word of God out of a context of weakness, but the Word of God can’t be bind. Its power cannot be thwarted. That’s the wonderful truth that Paul passes on. Paul is suffering grit and dignity. Here make no mistake about it. He says, “I suffer trouble as an evildoer.” That’s an interesting word that’s used to describe the thieves who were crucified either side of Christ in Luke 23:32-33, it speaks of common and hardened criminals. Paul said, “I’m being treated like a criminal.” It’s a word that was used to describe burglars, murderers, traitors, and the like. This is the second imprisonment and it’s a much harder and harsher imprisonment. Remember Paul was imprisoned twice. The first imprisonment several years earlier. You can get the description of that in Acts 22. This is when he wrote The Prison Epistles, Philippians and Colossians, and Ephesians.
He was accused of heresy by the Jews. It was during a time of sporadic persecutions, but his living conditions were quite decent. In fact, in Acts 22, he’s in a house, and he has certain liberty to entertain guests and disciples and teaches and he tells us that the Word of God was not hindered, but this is his second imprisonment. He will not survive this one before it’s done, he will be beheaded and murdered. During this time he writes, 2 Timothy, this is a persecution under the Romans. We’re probably around the time of Nero. He’s no longer in a house, he’s now in a dank, dump, dungeon. He’s virtually alone. He’s very limited in who he can meet and what he can do. Paul is saying, “That’s the key is that I’m chained that’s my second imprisonment. I’m suffering as an evildoer, but…” It’s one of the glorious buts of the Bible. “But the Word of God is not chained, literally not fettered, not imprisoned, not shut up.”
So the point is that the gospel is not being impeded. In fact, when you go to 4:16, listen to what Paul says, “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” Paul was seeing in his second imprisonment what he saw in the first imprisonment. You can shut up the prisoner, but you can’t shut up the message he preaches. In fact, he tells us in Acts 28:30-31, the Word of God was unhindered.
He tells us in Philippians 1:12 [inaudible 00:21:57] speaking of his first imprisonment, “That these things have fallen out for the furtherance of the gospel.” The word furtherance in the Greek, there is a military term speaks of a spearhead battalion that breaks through the ranks of the enemy. What an image. “You want to know how I’m doing in Philippi? Well, here I am in Roman under house arrest. They probably think they’re crimping my style, but it’s all working out for the furtherance of the gospel and we are penetrating levels of Roman government that we would not otherwise have done.”
In fact, he tells us some in Caesar’s Palace are being saved. That’s the point, guys. The Words of God and the Word of God that spoke the world into existence cannot be held ransom by anybody or anything in this world because the Word of God is triumphant. It can’t be silenced by the words of man and it can’t be stopped by the works of man. It will accomplish that which God sends it to do. It will not return void. Isaiah 55:110-11. Good stop there, but let’s hear from the great Spurgeon, I got my hands on a commentary he’s written on 2 Timothy and in it he makes a few applications in this whole idea the Word of God can’t be chained and I’m quoting from him, he says, “The Word of God cannot be bind by prison walls because the gospel can be preached by imprisoned preachers planted by God within those walls.” And you got that in 2 Timothy 4:16-17, “You guys that are preachers of the gospel in prisons, you’re an example of how the Word of God cannot be bind and there are men in that prison who have got saved through the word of prison ministers and ministries and now they’re preaching the Word of God in prisons to the word cannot be bind by evil times because the old faith has come to the forefront again and again through revival and reformation.
Just when it looks like the work of God is dying and receding, all of a sudden God pours out his spirit through the preaching of the word. You know what? Things are revived again. What about Josiah and the reforms in Israel in 2 Kings 22-23 where the law is rediscovered and it reforms the nation? What about Nehemiah 8 in a dilapidated city where the people were in spiritual disrepair as much as the walls? You know what? You’ve got the revival at the water gate under Nehemiah and Ezra as the book is brought. Here’s what Spurgeon says thirdly, “The word cannot be bind by hardened hearts and closed minds because God can find ways to enter the most resistant life.” Here’s Spurgeon quote, 2 Chronicles 18:33. That’s the story of the king of Israel who goes out the battle under disguise and per adventurer, an archer sends his arrow through the air and he hits the king between the joints of his armor.
Spurgeon likes to point that out. Someone’s putting their defenses up and they’re fighting you every time you share the gospel, a wife, a son, a friend, a coworker. You can know this as you send the Word of God towards them, it’ll find a way in just like the arrow in 2 Chronicles 18:33, the word of God can’t be bind. You can imprison its preachers, but you can’t imprison it. It isn’t bind or limited by evil times and it can break through the most resistant heart. I love the story that Allister Begg tells in a message at cassock on this very text. Coming from Scotland, he tells of Andrew Melville, one of the early heralds of the Scottish reformation, who was denounced and imprisoned by the authorities. He was headed by the Regent Morton. In fact, the Regent Morton said that, “If a few of Melville’s types were hanged, it would silence their proclamation of the gospel once and for all.”
So he did sided that indeed Andrew Melville would swing from the gallows and as he’s brought to his death, here’s what that gospel minister says. “It is the same to me whether I swing in the air or rot in the ground, the earth is the Lord’s, my fatherland is wherever well doing is. I’ve been ready to give my life when I was not half as well-worn at the pleasure of my God. Yet God be glorified, it will not lie in your power to hang or exile the truth. The Word of God is not bind even when His servants swing from ropes on gallows or die in lonely dungeons. That’s a great encouragement. When our voices lie silent and our body’s cold in the grave of the Word of God cannot be bind. It will go on speaking into the lives of our children and grandchildren if we’ve seen it there. Our churches will continue to flourish after one generation of leaders have gone if that ministry is built on the Word of God.
Paul goes on. He’s not only encouraged him here with a glorious win and a glorious word, he now encourages him, thirdly, with a glorious work. This is the third motivation, the joyful work even though hovered of evangelism. Look at verse 10, “Therefore, I endure all things.” He’s calling Timothy to endure, right? He’s calling Timothy to persevere. Telling Timothy get up again and keep going. Remember that Alexander Whyte quote about the perseverance of the saints? The perseverance of the saint is falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up all the way to heaven. Paul is saying, “Hey, here’s another thing that keeps me going and I urge you to let it put a tiger in your tank. Therefore, I endure all things for what purpose to what end, for the sake of the elect that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Paul motivates Timothy by his own example, the work and witness that he gives to Christ, and that work and that witness comes at a cost. You want to get a flavor of what Paul’s talking about when he says, “I endure all things”? Then go to 2 Corinthians 11. Here’s what we read in verse 23. “Are they ministers of Christ? Speaking of others. I speak as a fool, I am more, in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have been in the deep. In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold, and nakedness, and besides the other things, what comes upon me daily, my deep concern for all the churches.”
Just bear that in mind as we come back to our text, Therefore, I endure all things for the elect’s sake.” He had lost friends, he had gained enemies, he had imperiled his own life, he had suffered imprisonments. He was the target of satanic attack, he fierce the worst of fears. But what drives Paul? Among many things he tells us here, it’s the thought that through his life, his testimony, his preaching, through the means of preaching the gospel, God saves of people, he has set his love upon from all eternity past. That’s what drives him. The spiritual fruit of winning souls to the sea of your side. This spiritual fruit comes through Paul’s efforts. There’s a means to the saving of the lost and the securing of the elect. What is it? It’s preaching, it’s suffering, it’s putting forth an effort. That’s what Paul acknowledges here. Here’s what Paul is saying, “The elect, those whom God has chosen under salvation, the elect cannot be brought to Christ without preaching. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God.” How shall they hear without a preacher? How beautiful the feet of those who bring good tidings.”
Romans 10:14-17. ” Therefore I endure all things for the sake of elect that they may also obtain the salvation.” I think he’s speaking about people who have not yet got saved. How are they going to get saved? Well, if Paul doesn’t shut up and Paul doesn’t give up and he prays one more time and he preaches one more time and he speaks one more time and he takes another step in their direction one more time after a thousand nos, he does it again. That’s how people get saved. That’s how they obtain salvation. By the way, as a footnote, you’ll see here we’re introduced to the doctrine of election, but I want you to notice that it does not negate or dispense with preaching or evangelizing. It’s the means to the elect being saved. They won’t be saved if you don’t stand up and speak up. If you won’t do it, somebody else will have to do it. Sometimes it’s not easy.
In fact, it’s often very difficult. You’re going to have to endure all things for the sake of the elect that they might obtain salvation. So Paul is telling us that the doctrine of election does not cut the nerve of evangelism. More often than not preaching the life-giving gospel cannot take place without suffering. Therefore, Paul has been willing to endure all things in order that people might be saved by means of the word preach. That’s challenging, isn’t it? In fact, as I thought about Paul’s heart for the loss, I was challenged by his tears. In Acts 20:19, you’ll read about his tears for those to whom he seeks to minister Christ. In Galatians 4:19 read about his travail. He says, “I travail like a woman in birth until Christ is formed in you.” Lot of emotion, a lot of struggling, a lot of pain involved in that. His tears, his travail, his trials. 2 Timothy 2:10, “I endure trouble as an evildoer, the Word of God is not chained, I endure all things for the sake of the elect that they may obtain the salvation that it is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Guys, the real business of life. Do you want to know one of the things that should mark everything you’re about? The real business of life is to help people find life in Jesus Christ. Everything else ought to be subservient to that one object. Paul says, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel.” Romans 1:16-17. He says in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.” Why would it be woe as you, Paul, if you preach not the gospel? Because if I don’t preach the gospel, woe to those to whom I don’t preach the gospel. The God of the Bible and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is a missionary God, an evangelist and so what his people to be. CH Spurgeon, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter. Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”
You’re either telling the truth of the gospel or you’re living a lie. And I don’t give a hoot for your theology or your understanding of the doctrine of election if it doesn’t lead you to have a heart for lost people. And to know that part of God’s sovereign purposes includes means by which he accomplishes those sovereign purposes, and people don’t get saved without us praying and persevering and preaching. Some years ago, I interacted with the story of Martin McGartland. To his fellow IRA volunteers, he was a Republican patriot, to the British, he was Agent Carol. He was a double agent. During the troubles in Northern Ireland for four years, he led a remarkable double life. Even his wife, the mother of his two children didn’t know this about him. When he could, he would pass on life-saving information to the British services and to the RUC that would foil or interrupt bombings or shootings of innocent people or members of the security forces.
But his cover was blowing, the IRA got him, and a death squad took him to a flat three stories up in West Belfast, they were going to interrogate him and give him an ugly and prolonged death. He knew it. He was tied at the feet. He asked for a bathroom, and he bunny hopped to the bathroom. On the way back, he realized he had only one opportunity and that was to bunny hop towards the window and try and just smash through the window. He had been blindfolded through this whole experience. He didn’t realize he was three stories up, but according to the story he does bunny hop right through the window, smashes it, falls three stories down, lies unconscious in the concrete below. Thankfully, the British services knew he had been caught, they were furiously trying to get him and deliver him, and the RUC wasn’t far away and they swapped in and grabbed him and saved his life.
That’s an interesting story. In fact, later on he survives another assassination attempt where the IRA find out where he is living in England and they shoot him six times and he survives it. The book’s a little salty if you understand my drift. I think it’s been made into a movie and the book and the movie’s called Fifty Dead Men Walking because that’s how they summed up this man’s life. They believe through his information, through his bravery that the information he passed on saved upwards of 50 men’s lives, 50 dead man walking because of Martin McGartland. Are there any dead man walking in your circle of influence because you see our friends and our family without Christ, they’re dead in their sin? But if we can bring the gospel to them and by God’s grace and our effort, they’re saved. That’s one dead man, one dead woman walking in the power of Christ.
I wonder how many spiritually dead people will be walking into the presence of God because like Paul, you and I have endured all things for the sake of the elect that they may obtain salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ with eternal glory through our praying and through our persevering and through our preaching. Let’s wrap this up. Four motivations. So that you and I can be resolved to continue a glorious win, a glorious word, a glorious work. Finally, a glorious welcome. This is the promise of eternal reward and God’s final benediction. Look at verse 11-13. This is a faithful saying. This is another of Paul’s faithful sayings. You’ll find it in 1 Timothy 1:15, 1 Timothy 3:1, 2 Timothy 2:11, and then Titus 3:8. What is a faithful saying? Usually, it’s a submission of a doctrine or something that Paul wants to emphasize and to make an extra point concerning.
This is a faithful saying, “Hey, Tim, this is important. Let me drill down on this.” In fact, just a little aside, the rhythmic and poetic nature of the verses in the Greek lead many biblical commentators to conclude that this actually may be a fragment of an early Christian hymn. But that aside, its function here at the close of Paul’s early exhortation to Timothy to endure is to remind Timothy that the suffering is worth it, all right? Paul has mentioned his own suffering, hasn’t he? “For which I suffer trouble as an evildoer,” verse 9. Verse 10, “Therefore, I endure all things for the sake of the elect.” And now he wants his example to become Timothy’s pattern because he says in verse 12, “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” And he wants Timothy know winning the lost, sanctifying the saved, training the next generation of leaders, establishing biblical churches that can survive a culture that’s Christless, that’s going to come at a price. None of that comes easily. But you know what, it’ll be worth it in the end, and I want you to keep that in mind. That’s what’s going on here.
This is a faithful saying, “If we died with Him, we shall live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” Martyrdom opens the door to eternal life. Gospel endurance leads to millennial and eternal kingdom blessings. In James 1:12 and in Revelation 2:10, we read about the crown of life. You see, the longer the Christian lives, the deeper the Christian gets to live. Paul is holding out here the hope of eternal life and the incomparable glory and joys that await us beyond this life. Romans 8:17 and 2 Corinthians 4:16-17. Paul’s saying, “Look, there are great things to look forward to in the Christians experience.” So when you’re down in the trenches, when the prison cell door slams behind you, when you’re alone, when you’ve been physically beaten for the gospel, deprived, mocked, you need to remember that if we suffer for Him, we’ll reign with Him.
It will be worth it in the end and conversely, apostasy is a danger. Paul send them one hand, “I want you to endure, if we endure, we’ll reign with Him. But if we deny Him, He’ll deny us.” If we are faithless, verse 13… The word faithless there is a word that carries on the idea of continually being faithless. So I don’t think this is a momentary lapse. This isn’t Peter momentarily lapsing in his commitment to Jesus Christ. No, this is full-fledged apostasy. This is giving up the faith. This is walking away from Christ. This is becoming indeed a denier of the gospel. And so Paul is saying, “Look, a true and continued denial of Christ leads to banishment from God.” You know what, we often read verse 13, I think the wrong way. I think the right way to read it is like this. “If we are faithless, if we continue on in a pattern of denial, He remains faithful to His Word and the judgment He will visit upon those who deny Him because Matthew 10:33, what Jesus said, “If you deny Me before men, I’ll deny you before the Father.”
So if you’re going to be faithless and deny Him before men, you can be sure He’s going to be faithful and deny you before the Father, He’ll keep His Word. This is a warning, this is a promise to punish those who deny Him, who apostatize the faith. But conversely, if we’ll be faithful, if we’ll endure, if we’ll be marked by persevering grace falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up all the way to heaven. Then if we endure, we shall reign with Him. Returning to Paul’s point here, Timothy has a great many things to look forward to, things that ought always to overshadow the shadows that we find ourselves in sometimes in life.
Look at some of the phrases here and the verse 10, eternal glory. How good does that sound? Verse 11, live with Him. Verse 12, reign with Him. Eternal glory, living with Christ, reigning with Christ. The Christian endures knowing that what is nothing compared to what will be, This is the glorious welcome that awaits us, the abundant entrance in the God’s kingdom that Peter talks about. The Christian can endure this day and suffer for the elect sake this hour in the light that day and the future hour. I mean, that’s what keeps Paul going, isn’t it? 4:6, as we close, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
This day, we endure so that that day we enjoy. If we deny Him, He’ll deny us. If we live for Him, we will reign with Him. Stay in the course, guys, that’s what it’s all about. Trying times are not the times to stop trying. We need to endure in the light of this glorious when the resurrection, in the light of this glorious word that cannot be bind, in the light of this glorious work, the opinion of salvation of the elect, in the light of this glorious welcome. Came across this story and we wrap it up about William Booth. If you don’t know who he is, shame on you, but let me inform you who he is. He’s the founder of the Salvation Army. Godly man, little rough around the edges, but you’d have to be given the work he did. But he was often harangued and mocked and attacked for his unusual evangelistic methods, his bold notions of bringing about moral societal reform.
In fact, Professor Thomas Henry Huxley, a biologist, and an agnostic despised Booth. In the London Times, he viewed Booth’s sway over his followers as being quote, “The prostitution of the mind and a worse evil than prostitution or alcoholism.” He characterized Booth’s campaign to make people sober and hardworking as nothing more than a ruse to herd, washed, shorn, and docked sheep into his narrow theological fold. Another newspaper accused Booth of being a sensual, dishonest, sanctimonious, and hypocritical scoundrel. Brazen-faced charlatan, tub-thumper, masquerading hypocrite. Here’s what [inaudible 00:46:46] the Earl of Shaftesbury. I think a friend of William Wilberforce and part of the evangelical branch of the Church of England, an eminent social reformer himself came to a point where he denounced the work of the Salvation Army as clearly anti-Christ.
One of the Earl’s admirers had revealed to him in his own studies that he had learned that there’s a way to look at William Booth [inaudible 00:47:10]. It all adds up to 666. That game was being played back then as it is today. So when William Booth’s loyal and oldest son showed him such newspaper attacks, the general but often shrug and reply, “Bramwell, 50 years hence it will matter very little indeed how these people treated us; it will matter a great deal how we dealt with God’s work.”
Guys, 50 years from now, 500 years from now, 5,000 years from now, 5 million years from now, do you know all that will matter? How we dealt with God’s work? Were we faithful? Did we persevere? Did we give our best effort? We have every reason to given the glorious win, given the glorious word, given the glorious work, given the glorious welcome. Amen. Let’s pray.
Lord, we have need of endurance. That word to the Hebrews is a word to us. Oh God, we realize our days not unlike Timothy’s day, the church’s weakening and compromising all around us. The generation of great sin seem to be passing, left the passing of Paul. The culture getting darker and darker day by day and the victory all against Your people and Your gospel is getting more bitter and biting. This is a day for strong man who will preach the message strongly in the face of opposition. Give us gritty and gutsy grace to persevere. For if we endure, we shall reign with Him. Help us to know that our labor is not in vain because the Word of God is not bind and the part of resurrection is at work in us and through us subduing the darkness as it did then. Oh God, give us the spirit of William Carey. I can plod. I can move in a determined direction. Help us not to be put off. Help us not to be put down. Help us having put our hand to plow not to turn back. for Jesus’ sake, amen.