LINK: 2 Timothy 2:1-13
Paul continues his exhortation to Timothy.
(1) Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. This reminds us that Jesus is our source of strength. We are not our own source of strength, despite what American culture tells us.
(2) As leader of the church, Timothy was to be discipling others to become church leaders as well. He needed to find faithful men to teach, and those faithful men would also become teachers.
(3) Stay focused. Don't let this world distract you from your service to Christ. Be like the soldier who is focused on obeying and pleasing his commander. And, like an athlete, stick to the rules so you don't get disqualified.
(4) Like a farmer is paid with the first of the crops, so a pastor should be paid by his church.
Paul was willing to suffer hardship, being treated as a criminal, for the sake of those who would believe the gospel. As far as Paul was concerned, everything centered around salvation in Jesus. Nothing else could distract him from this life purpose of sharing the gospel.
Today's passage ends with a "trustworthy statement." This may have been something that the early church recited together. At the time Paul wrote this book, Nero was the emperor of Rome, and persecution of the church was heating up. Paul knew that many believers were already facing, or would soon face, severe persecution. They would be pressured to deny their faith in Jesus or die for it. He encouraged them to be strong and keep their faith. Men could kill the body, but not the spirit. But he also assured them that Jesus would never deny them.
What a paradox it is that death brings life! But it's true. If we are in Jesus, then our death ushers us into His presence where there is life eternal. And the second paradox - suffering leads us to reigning with Him - is also true.
If we deny Jesus, we will lose our rewards in heaven. But even if we are so faithless, Jesus remains faithful. Our security rests in Jesus Himself, not in our faith or in anything we do. What a blessing to know that He holds us securely because of who He is and what He has done!
Is your life focused on Jesus? Let's remain faithful to the One who has provided our salvation!
Lord, let us be focused on YOU and center our lives on obeying and loving YOU. Thank you that our salvation rests in Jesus and not in ourselves. You are the faithful one, and we praise you for that! Amen.