2 Timothy 2:8-15 (9 October 2022)

G’day, how’re going? Feeling OK? Up to another sermon? Still breathing? Still alive, anyway.

Actually, there’s more to it than that, especially when you look at a passage like this one.

The apostle Paul wrote a couple of letter to Timothy, his protege he had left behind to help christians Pul had been teaching.  Paul wanted to encourage and guide Timothy in his role as a leader.

Look at the passage and see that it contains a couple of reminders, things to remember.

(2 Timothy 2:8-15)

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him, we will also live with him;

if we endure, we will also reign with him.

If we disown him, he will also disown us;

if we are faithless, he remains faithful,

for he cannot disown himself.

Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, we are told.

Jesus was, of course, a real man in history.  He was a descendent of other men and if you go far enough back in his ancestry you find he is a descendent of the great king David.  But, unlike all his ancestors; remember, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.

Now that is a fact of such importance and significance that it is something to be remembered!

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, never to die again.  Who else can be remembered for that?

No one else was ever God in human form, God who came to earth to be crucified, offering himself to those who believe in him so that they can be forgivem for failing to submit to almighty God.

Now this is good news.  This is the gospel.

This is what Paul spent his life sharing, even now while he was  prisoner in Rome, chained to a soldier guard.  He put up with every restraint for the sake of those God wants to call into his kingdom, into his family.  For others so that they, too, may obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus.

It is what he wanted Timothy to remember and to share.

It is what he wants us to share although we do so without being chained, being a prisoner or being treated like a criminal.

Paul was restrained by chains.  Shamefully we are usually restrained from sharing the gospel by less tangible and far less valid restraints.

We are becoming more and more aware that there are changes in our society that require Christians to hide or deny their faith, or to compromise on important truths.

A current example is the man who was appointed chair of the Essendon football club left the job after one day because the club gave him the alternative of leaving his position with his church — a compromise he would not make.  You can’t be prominent in a football club and your church.  The football club advertises itself as safe, inclusive, tolerant, diverse and welcoming but not inclusive, tolerant or diverse enough to welcome Christians.

In the Australian newspaper, Greg Sheridan wrote, “Essendon football club has revealed itself as an anti-Christian organisation.  It conforms precisely to the new prevailing public culture, with that innate cowardice that allows institutions to perfectly reflect the lineaments of raw power.  Essendon doesn’t speak the truth to power; it genuflects before power.”

‘Innate cowardice”, eh!?  Hey you footballers, run, run, run away — here comes a Christian!  He might have opinions you are too scared to allow him to have.

But this gospel message is too true, too real and too powerful to be restrained, locked away or chained.

So, remembering Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, we are given another reminder with a warning.

Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Don’t get tied up with wrangling over words among yourselves. That only leads to confusion,division and hurt.

People who enjoy that sort of thing should stick to Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

We have better things to do.  Paul put it simply and clearly in Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.

If you really want to keep it simple, just stick to the gospel because then we are rightly explaining the word of truth.

We are not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16)

Follow Christ Christ, raised from the dead, and you will present yourself to God as one approve by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed.

When Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy he included one of those things that are so hard to find, a trustworthy saying.

In 1 Timothy 1:15 he wrote, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Here, in his second letter he writes another precious trustworthy saying:

Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him, we will also live with him;

if we endure, we will also reign with him.

If we disown him, he will also disown us;

if we are faithless, he remains faithful,

for he cannot disown himself.

This is probably an early Christian hymn, sung together to rejoice in some very great truths, sung to encourage each other, to remind each other of some deep and powerful teaching packed into a short hymn.

So what does it mean when it says if we died with him, we will also live with him?

Now, it’s true that when we die we will certainly be resurrected to new life and will be with Jesus but this saying tells us about what happens before we die - while we are still living as we are today.

This statement is about living with Jesus in the here and now.  If it isn’t then it doesn’t make sense to go on to the following statements which talk about enduring with Jesus, disowning him and being faithless.  These are things you can only do if you are still physically living.

No,  it’s talking about dying in a different way, not a physical way.

It’s in the way Paul explained in Romans 6 where he wrote that we do not go on sinning but that we die to sin.  The sign we make of this commitment is baptism.

You can understand it if you think of being baptised by total immersion.  In this case you make the public affirmation that you have died to sin.

Having died you are buried in the water by baptism into a kind of death which parallels Jesus death and burial.  But then, like Christ, you are raised out of the water to live a new life with Jesus Christ.

Count yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus, he says.

There are now some things you don’t do.  You could do them because you are alive.  But you don’t because as far as those things are concerned you are dead.  You are alive bur you consider yourself, count yourself dead, dead to sin.  Your life now goes in this new, different direction.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he put it this way, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old had gone, the new is here!

We are new creatures! We have been born again!  The Holy Spirit of Jesus moves in to be in us and with us and it is he who brings this new life.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you (Romans 8:11)

Let that sink in! The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in you.  The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is living in yoou and gives a new kind of life to your mortal bodies.  That’s how you move from being dead to new life.

In Ephesians chapter 2:4-7 this is put in dramatic words:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Cjhrist even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Before you found Christ you were dead, dead to God, dead to Jesus, dead to the Holy Spirit.  None of that meant anything to you.  It was a mystery.  In fact, you didn’t want to know anything about it - because you were dead to these realities.

Corpses don’t know what’s going on in real life because they are dead.  And they can’t do anything about it.  They certainly can’t help themselves.

Non-Christians are like that, like corpses, dead to the spiritual realities.  They just don’t get it.

But it is by grace you have been saved and God raised us up with Christ abd seated us with him in the heaavenly realms with Christ Jesus.

You know how Jesus told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them? Wel,, he has.  So far as he is concerned you have been raised to a new life and you already have a seat with him in heaven.  You are as good as there!! It’s been settled, secured, guaranteed.

God has raised us up and seated us with him, with Christ Jesus.  He HAS done this.  It’s not easy to grasp how this works so just get used to it because when God says it has happened then it has happened.

Jesus praysed for us on the eve of his crucifixion, saying in John 17:14

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

Just like Jesus was we are undeniably in this world but not of it.  But it’s OK to be different, even if there are some people who don’t like the difference.  As Robert Frost said, “It’s OK to follow the path less travelled, it can make all the difference.”

Rick Owen made the point that “those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it.”

And a relevant pice of advice is, “don’t worry about the potholes in life; just enjoy the journey.”

So, while it’s true that we are not of this world any more it is also true that in the meantime we are in it.

And so we can say if we died with him, we will also live with him;

If that part of the trustworthy saying is, in fact, trustworthy so are the other parts:

if we endure, we will also reign with him.

If we disown him, he will also disown us;

if we are faithless, he remains faithful,

for he cannot disown himself.

Of course, endurance on our part is essential.  There’s no point in giving up.  Jesus said, “no one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”

Endurance might mean forgoing being the chair of a football club, or even of playing football, if it means holding fast to what Jesus has taught us.

Endurance has its reward.  In this life we have failures but we also have victories and in eternity, of course, we will reign with Jesus.  Now there’s a thought worth pondering over!

If it’s hard to endure taht makes it easier to disown Jesus, to yield to those who are offended by Jesus and the teaching he has given us.  Disown him and get lost in the crowd but be aware of the consequences! If we disown Jesus he will also disown us and that leads to a kind of being lost which is horrible to contemplate.

The Holy Spirit of Jesus has given you the gift of faith; hang onto Jesus, hang onto faith in him knowing that he never fails, always loves you, always refreshes your faith.  He remains faithful so remain faithful to him.

Remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead.

We have dies with him so let’s get on with living with him.


1414 Modified: 14-10-2022
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