Wednesday, October 5, 2016

2 Timothy 2:8-15 Paul's 3-point Gospel

2 Timothy 2:8-10 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

KEY THOT: If we may summarize the Gospel preached by Paul in one word, it would be Jesus. So, he writes, “Remember Jesus Christ” (v.8). But what about Jesus that we must remember? Paul goes on to mention three vital truths about Jesus Christ which he calls "my gospel" (v.8):
  • “Risen from the dead” (v.8b): The fact Jesus has risen from the dead is a critical fact of the gospel, for it implies that sin and Satan have been defeated once for all. As we know, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23) and “the one who has the power of death” is the devil (Heb. 2:14). So, in rising from the dead, Jesus Christ has demonstrated conclusively his victory over sin and Satan, the main purveyors of death. All believers who are “in Christ” now share his victory over death through our participation in his death and resurrection when we were baptized. In other words, sin and Satan have no more power over us who are now joined to Christ and share his victory over death. We have been set free in Christ from sin to walk in righteousness and from the devil to walk in freedom from demonic oppression perpetrated by the spiritual forces of evil. 
  • “Offspring of David” (v.8c): In referring to Jesus as the "offspring of David", Paul is reminding us that He is the Messiah-King promised to David who would one day sit on his throne to rule over an eternal kingdom: “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Sam. 7:12-13). The Gospel does not end with Jesus Christ overcoming sin and Satan. That is the means. The end-goal of Jesus' defeat of sin and Satan is so that he might establish an eternal kingdom promised to David almost 1,000 years earlier.

    So, we are not just saved from hell to go into heaven, but we have been rescued from Satan’s rule of sin and death to come under Christ’s rule of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Salvation is not life after death, but life before and beyond death. The moment we receive Jesus as Lord and Christ, we are not only delivered from sin and Satan but we have been transferred into Christ’s kingdom as God’s “elect” (v. 10), the pre-chosen people of God. Discipleship is not just telling others to believe Jesus is Lord, but also helping them make Jesus as Lord over their lives. It involves cultivating and acquiring new attitudes and actions that are consistent with our new status as citizens of Christ's kingdom. This is the heart and goal of discipleship--learning to live like kingdom people under a new King and a new Law of the Spirit. As kingdom citizens we can no longer live like denizens of darkness that we once were, but to live by the power of the Spirit's gifts and graces.  
  • “For the sake of the elect” (v.10): Paul defines his ministry as enduring everything (including imprisonment) in order to proclaim the word of God to the elect so that they may be found and rescued out of Satan’s kingdom: “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10). The elect refers to people God has already foreordained to be saved but now need to be told that they have been nominated for an eternal inheritance through Christ. But who are these people? We don’t know—only God knows. Our job is not to argue over who or why certain people are “chosen” and not others. This is entirely God's prerogative for it’s based entirely on His sovereignty and foreknowledge. Our job as a church is simply to share the gospel with everyone we know so that the lost elect may become the found elect and returned back to the Father's home: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).
That, in brief, is “my gospel” according to Paul: Christ has defeated sin and Satan by conquering death so that God’s lost elect may be found and transferred into Christ’s eternal kingdom. And as the church, that should be our ministry priority—to become the missional community wherein the lost elect of God may hear the gospel and be found.

Father, thank You that You already know who would come into the Kingdom of Your Son, for many are called but few chosen. Deliver Your church from our pre-occupation with our needs so that we may invest Your money and time to fulfill Your agenda of finding the lost elect. Amen.

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