2 Timothy 1:8-12
Faithful in Persecution
There is a difference between persecution and general suffering.
Persecution is a suffering that we endure at the hands of our adversary specifically because of his hatred of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Every man will suffer in human life.
Not every man will be persecuted.
Persecution can be avoided.
All you have to do is compromise.
Persecution is suffering with a choice, with an option, that you don’t have to go through if you just stop preaching, stop believing, or just say that you stopped believing.
The persecuted have this in common: They were given the option, and they said they cannot.
2 timothy 1, we will primarily study 8-12.
Paul is in prison again—a repeat offender.
He knows he is about to die for his faith and his preaching.
Paul writes to Timothy and says that Timothy must preserve and proclaim the truth of the gospel.
Paul fears the perversion of the gospel.
So he tells Timothy in every chapter to preserve and proclaim the gospel.
1:12; 2:2; 3:14; 4:2
Paul calls Timothy to endure the suffering that must follow as a result of preserving and proclaiming the gospel.
1:8; 2:3; 2:8; 3:10; 4:5
The message of 2 Timothy is this: Timothy, they are about to kill me for preaching the gospel. When they do, you preach the gospel until they kill you too.
In chapter 1 we get the theological underpinning.
Faithfulness in the midst of persecution
Verses 8-12, especially 8.
Share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.
The theme of this letter is that Paul will die for the gospel, and he tells Timothy that it is then Timothy’s job to step in and share in that suffering too.
Verse 8 – Do not be ashamed, but suffer.
Verse 12, I suffer but am not ashamed.
Chapter 2:3, share in suffering as a good soldier.
Romans 8:16, if children, we are fellow heirs, provided that we suffer with him.
2 Corinthians 1:5, as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings…
Sharing both in sufferings and comfort.
Philippians 1:29, It has been granted to you that you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.
Paul calls Timothy to join in suffering.
Not just personally suffer, but join me, join us, join Christ in suffering.
WE join Christ in his suffering because it is in the suffering of Christ that we find our place with him.
But also, in suffering with Christ, we are delivered to Christ and to one another, becoming part of the body of Christ.
Christ suffered for me on the cross, and because of that he purchased my salvation.
But Christ has suffered for me through his bride, his body, the church to bring the gospel to me.
As you and I join Christ in his suffering, we are not just joining Jesus in his suffering in our salvation, but we labor and suffer for the gospel as we take his gospel to the nations.
The adversary hates Christ, hates the gospel, and because of this, he hates us too.
We suffer, but we are not alone.
Our suffering is not over, because not all have heard the gospel.
Suffering for the Gospel
God gives us Christ’s body.
God gives us the gospel.
The gospel has not finished doing its work.
Paul suffers as he does because of the gospel.
Suffering for the gospel is worth it.
The gospel is not your gospel; it’s Christ’s gospel.
WE can make an idol out of “gospel.”
The gospel does not exist on its own in isolation.
The gospel is God’s work on behalf of his elect through the person of Jesus Christ.
We need to be reminded over and over again of the work that Christ has done on our behalf and that our very existence is found and preserved in the gospel.
Our passion burns bright for the gospel because the gospel is not just means of God saving us, but the means of God saving a people for himself.
The covenant of redemption is beautiful.
The triune God, who needs nothing, spills out his perfect love as the Father out of his love for the Son gives the Son a people and the Son out of love for the Father redeems that people and the Spirit out of love of the Father and the Son applies that redemption.
How do we share in suffering for the gospel?
By the power of God
This is counterintuitive.
We think God’s power is there to get us away from persecution.
No, the power of God enables us to share in suffering for the gospel.
God sustains us through persecution.
There is the power of God.
Shared Polycarp’s prayer at his martyrdom.
He suffered by the power of God.
You can only do this if you have the theological reality in mind that says that there is something beyond this life that you will experience that is more significant than what you experience in this life.
Christ conquered the grave.
He brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
God saves, God calls, God gives, God abolished death, God appointed me.
Paul is not ashamed. Why?
He knows whom he has believed, and his hope is in that guarding of God.
By the power of God, Paul believed there to be something more important than continuing to breathe.
By the power of the same God, Paul called Timothy to follow in his footsteps.
The task is not finished.
Your flesh cannot do this.
How do we do it?
Trust the God who saved you.
Cherish the gospel, not just as precepts, but because you cherish Christ.
Cherish the gospel because you love what the gospel continues to do as it glorifies God through the salvation of sinners.
Cherish the gospel, because it gives you hope beyond this life.
Cherish the gospel so that, even in the midst of persecution, you may be found faithful.