Suffering for the Gospel

February 8, 2021

2 Timothy 1:8-14

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Devotion

Most scholars believe that 2 Timothy is the last letter Paul would write before his death. This letter was written about A.D. 66. Paul would be executed in A.D. 67. Paul is writing this short letter from a prison cell. We sense the heart of the apostle as his love and concern for the church were obvious. Paul was very aware of the evil that existed in the world as well as in the church. He was also aware of the huge responsibility resting on Timothy.

In verse eight, Paul warns Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel. Paul did not want Timothy to be afraid of being associated with Jesus or himself. Instead he invites Timothy to “join with me in suffering for the Gospel.” He also reminds Timothy that the Gospel is “the power of God.” Suffering for the sake of the Gospel was a common experience in first century Rome. As a matter of fact, suffering for the sake of the Gospel is the most common experience for most believers in the world today. I have often said that in America, “We live in a Christian bubble.” American Christianity is not the norm. We live in relative peace and comfort. We are rarely persecuted for our faith. I do believe the “bubble” is bursting and some difficult years lie ahead for those of us proclaiming the name of Jesus.

In verses nine and ten, Paul summarizes the Gospel for which believers suffer. He reminds Timothy that there is a close connection between salvation and living a life of holiness. Once again Paul writes about God’s purpose and His grace. As a result of these two things, Jesus “destroyed death” and “brought life” to those who would trust in Him. As Paul writes this he is under sentence of death. Therefore, he is not referring to physical death here. A literal translation here would be that Jesus “has made of none effect death.” Christ abolished spiritual death. Because God was pleased with Christ’s sacrifice, we no longer have to fear being eternally separated from God.

Proclaiming this truth is why Paul was suffering and under sentence of death. Yet Paul was confident that God would complete the work that began many years before on the road to Damascus. Therefore, Paul encourages Timothy to remain true to his teaching while he walks in faith and shows God’s love to others.

Questions to Ponder

How does the fact that Paul is facing death affect the tone of his letter to Timothy? How would Paul’s words in 2 Timothy encourage Timothy as he faces the ongoing challenges in the church at Ephesus? How do Paul’s words to Timothy encourage us as believers today? What does this passage teach us about suffering for our faith? Does this passage impact how you view death? If so, why?

Prayer Points

  • Praise Him as King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, the honor and glory for ever and ever amen! (1 Tim. 1:17)
  • Thank the Lord for being the Hope of Glory, One God, One Mediator between God and men. Thank Him for Your salvation and relationship with Him.
  • Thank God for granting you sound teachers of the Word like Pastor Bob and other Oak Pointe Pastors. Pray that what has been entrusted would be guarded with the help of the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray for your own heart, pray protection to remain true to the Lord’s teaching, to walk by faith and abound in God’s love. Pray for grace and strength to endure hardship knowing that there is eternal value.

Suggested Prayer
Abba,

Thank You for giving Your children a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7). Forgive me and Your church for times when we quench and grieve Your Holy Spirit within us by not relying on Your empowerment, strength or love. I confess self-reliance, independence and often a stubborn heart. Forgive me.

Lord I repent for times this week when I was silent about You, the Living Hope. I ask that You would help me and Your church to make the most of every opportunity to share You with those around us. I also ask that You would draw us all into reading Your Word . By your Spirit, help us to live out your Word and pass it on to our children, grandchildren and those in our intimate circles. As You grant us power, help us to submit to You daily and walk in the way of love especially when being persecuted. Help us Lord to be a trophy of Your glorious grace I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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