Suffer for the Gospel!

 

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in the suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.” 2 Tim 1:8-11

Some of my favorite verses that reveal the gospel come from 2 Timothy. In fact, Paul mentions the gospel in each chapter of 2 Timothy. Did you discover the word that was associated with the gospel in the verses above? Yep, the word is suffering. Some sort of suffering is always going to coincide with the gospel.  What is this gospel, or good news, that Paul was so willing to suffer for? Let’s go deeper:

  1. God saved us
  2. We are called with a holy calling
  3. It wasn’t anything we had done to deserve this salvation but by God’s purpose and grace
  4. It was all done through the act of Jesus
  5. Now there is no fear of death, but hope of an immortal life with God.

Being honest, it almost sounds too good to be true or something way out there, right? Don’t be ashamed of it though. Sometimes proclaiming this to others brings some sort of suffering.  Many times when we think of Paul’s sufferings, we think about him being beaten or ridiculed or something horrible. That is true that he suffered those things, but there are other, “everyday” sufferings as well.

Paul gave Timothy an example in the way that he suffered for the gospel in each chapter.  It may not be something one realizes until they slow themselves down for it to be revealed. Read this:

“You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.” 2 Timothy 1:15

See, Paul had friends turn away from him. Timothy most likely knew who these individuals were since Paul mentions them by name. Think about it though. Can you imagine the hurt Paul felt as friends of his would turn away? I know in my personal life that if people began to turn away because of what I believed in then it would become very discouraging. I may have the temptation to stay quiet about what I believe in order to save a relationship. Paul wants Timothy to know that this is a possibility that could happen when preaching or teaching the gospel to others. I also believe that it is a very good example for believers today. Paul gives hope though. Read this:

“The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me, and found me…” 2 Timothy 1:16-17

See the contrast? Two people turned away, but there is grace in that one searched out for him. That could be very encouraging. Paul wants Timothy to know that there is suffering but there is also much encouragement as well.  You may lose some relationships due to what you believe in, but there are others that can come alongside you to refresh you! It is important to remember that encouragement.

Paul thought the gospel was worth it and wanted Timothy to be ready. If Paul would suffer the loss of friends for the sake of the gospel, I believe the gospel is worth it as well. 2 Timothy is a very neat book to study. Next week, I’ll look at Ch. 2 and talk about the examples of suffering given there and the hope of the gospel.

Practical Application:

  • Get to know Paul’s definition of the gospel given above
  • Make it personal: “God saved me! I have a holy calling! It wasn’t by my works but by His grace through Jesus! I can have a greater eternal perspective knowing there is a greater life after death!”
  • Preach this to yourself every day and let it affect your identity, purpose, and perspective towards life and others
  • Share it with others
  • Find friends who can encourage you and you can encourage them in this truth

 

Ryan Thomason works with Transform Student Ministries as the product development and events coordinator. He has voluntarily served Precept Ministries for close to 10 years before coming on staff full time. He has interned with their media department in 2008 and with the student ministry in 2009. He has lived in Guatemala to learn Spanish.

“I have become its servant, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints.” Colossions 1:25-26

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10.08.12

[…] my first post on 2 Timothy, we took a look at the presentation of the gospel given by Paul. Also, we took a look […]

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