Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

Appointed To Share Christ And Suffer

2 Timothy 1:11-12
And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. (NIVUK)

Today’s title does not seem very appealing!  Most of us will do anything to avoid suffering.  But the Apostle Paul knew that faith in Christ and suffering are linked (Philippians 1:29).  Jesus Himself was flogged and crucified (Matthew 20:18-19): and before his conversion, Paul had persecuted the church, throwing men and women into prison, and approving their execution (Acts 22:19-20).

And yet, Paul had received God’s grace (2 Timothy 1:9) and was able to describe himself as a herald, and an apostle and a teacher.  Those were three different roles, but all linked to Christ’s commission to bring the gospel to the non-Jewish world (Galatians 2:7).  The herald was a messenger with authority to publicly declare demands issued by a ruler or military commander … the apostle was a delegate sent out with orders … the teacher was a qualified person who could instruct others.  Paul was serving Jesus, the Ruler and Commander of the world … who sent out His apostles to command people to repent … and He qualified them to instruct others according to the truth He revealed to them.  

What a change!  And all because of Jesus.  So, now even though he was in prison, he was still under Christ’s three-fold commission.  He kept on preaching with confidence and was not ashamed (Romans 1:16).  His commission was such a huge privilege.  Also, he believed that Jesus would personally sustain him through all the difficulties of this life and carry him over safely into a Christ-filled eternity. By comparison, his sufferings were insignificant: as Paul wrote in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Paul knew that Timothy needed that encouragement to keep on proclaiming Christ, despite the threats and hostile actions of unbelievers.  What a helpful example for us too!  We are saved to serve the Lord Jesus, who is still ignored or hated by the world.  When we bring Jesus into sharp focus to those around us, they may well hate us also: Jesus said that would happen (John 15:18-19).  Those who are secure in Christ will endure hardship, but will also receive their eternal reward (2 Timothy 2:3-6). Perhaps it is time to stop looking at ourselves and our comfort, and look at the Lord Jesus, praying for increased assurance and confidence in Christ (Hebrews 12:1-3).  Then live without looking back and without fear.

Sovereign Lord. Thank You for allowing me to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I ask for Your forgiveness when my cowardice has prevented me from fulfilling Your call on my life, so that I have not thought about glorifying Jesus in my words and actions, or witnessing about His grace to me. Please help me to trust You more and grow in confidence that the Lord Jesus will sustain me and keep me safe as I witness about Him. In His Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams