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Striving That The Gospel Will Be Accepted

1 Timothy 4:9-10
This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labour and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, and especially of those who believe. (NIV)

Truth is always true, but until it is received and obeyed it brings no blessing. Timothy knew how hard the Apostle Paul had previously laboured in preaching the gospel (2 Timothy 3:10-13). So Paul urges his trusted assistant to keep working in the same way to make Jesus known. Both men had abandoned their former way of life. Their hope was exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ who is God the Son, the Saviour of the world. Despite many diversions and obstructions from false teachers, Jesus and His cross must remain central. Apart from Him there is no hope for this life or eternity (Acts 4:12).
Importantly, Paul does not say that Jesus is the Saviour ‘of believers’, but ‘of all men’. That does not mean that everybody will be saved, but that His salvation is available to all people irrespective of their current belief. People who trust Him enjoy the benefit and blessing of being saved from sin and its future punishment – that is why they have confident hope about the future. But what about those who currently do not believe? The offer of salvation is still open to them because Christ died for everybody’s sins (1 John 2:2 , 2 Peter 3:9). Therefore believers should strive to make Christ known to unbelievers, urging them to repent and turn to the only Saviour of the world while they have time.
The words for ‘labour’ and ‘strive’ convey the meaning of hard toil to the point of exhaustion, in the face of opposition which may throw the gospel back in the face of the evangelist. That was the hard reality for the apostolic team, and continues to be experienced in dedicated gospel ministry. Opposition is not a sign that you are wrong, but that the gospel is so potent that hardened sinners will resist it with all their strength. Timothy needed to be reminded that the gospel is of eternal value to those sinners and so it is worth every effort to tell them how to be saved, whatever the cost to the gospel-bearer. Are you willing to be courageous for the gospel like that? Believers who are willing to risk their reputation or even their life to bring the gospel to the lost, will receive Christ’s reward (Matthew 5:11-12).

Lord of Salvation. Thank You for the Apostles, who blazed the trail of gospel proclamation, many of them at the cost of their lives. Forgive me for holding back from speaking about Jesus because I am afraid that I may be despised. Please help me to be so filled with Your Holy Spirit that Jesus becomes more important than anything to me, so that I will be willing to labour and strive so that others may come to know Him too. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams