“For The Elect’s Sakes”

Posted by on Sep 22, 2002

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

September 22, 2002

Sunday Morning

 

“For The Elect’s Sakes”

 

Scripture Reading:   2 Timothy 2:1-10

Scripture Text:       2 Timothy 2:8-10

 

Introduction:

 

A.     One of the realities of the Christian life that we sometimes struggle with is the reality of suffering.

1. In other words, the reality that even though God has saved us and we are now His children, we are still going to suffer in this life.

2. Paul put it like this in Phil. 1:29, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake

 

B.     Why does God allow His children to suffer?

1. Two reasons.

2. First of all, He allows us to suffer because it strengthens (builds character within) us.

3. James put it like this in Jam. 1:2-3, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;…Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience

4. Let me read Vrs. 3 again, this time from the Amplified Bible, “Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.”

5. And so, first of all, God allows His children to suffer because it strengthens (builds character within) us.

 

C.    He also allows us to suffer because sometimes our suffering benefits others.

1. (Illus.- Adoniram Judson, the great missionary to Burma, put it like this, “If you succeed without suffering, it is because someone else has suffered in order that you might succeed. If you suffer without succeeding, it is in order that someone behind you might succeed without suffering.”)

2. The apostle Paul is a perfect example of this.

3. Very few believers have suffered as much as Paul did during his ministry, yet God used Paul’s suffering to advance the gospel into areas that it would not have gotten into otherwise.

4. Listen to Paul’s own words, recorded in Phil. 1:12-13, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;…So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places

5. And so, God allows His children to suffer because sometimes our suffering benefits others.

 

D.     Now with this in mind, there are three things that I want us to notice from this morning’s text. Notice, first of all,…

 

I.       The Message That Paul Preached.

 

 

A.    If you listen to very many preachers today, you are going to hear a wide variety of messages, but what was the message that Paul preached?

1. The answer is found in Vrs. 8 of our text, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel

2. According to this verse, the message that Paul preached was the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

B.     What is the gospel?

1. While Paul only mentions one of the elements of the gospel in this verse (the resurrection of Christ), the gospel actually includes three elements.

2. Listen as I read 1 Cor. 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;…By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain….For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;…And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

3. What is the gospel?

4. The gospel is the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (the message that Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day).

5. This was the message that Paul preached!

 

C.     Why did Paul preach the gospel of Jesus Christ?

1. He preached the gospel because he knew it was the only message that would result in the salvation of lost souls.

2. Listen to what he wrote in Rom. 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

3. Paul put it like this in 1 Cor. 1:17-18, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect….For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God

4. Paul preached the gospel because he knew it was the message that lost mankind needed to hear.

5. While it wasn’t the message that they wanted to hear, it was certainly the message that they needed to hear.

 

D.     There is a lesson to be learned here.

1. A lot of churches, as well as entire denominations, that once preached the gospel no longer do.

2. Why have they abandoned the gospel?

3. Different reasons.

4. Some have abandoned the gospel because it is not a popular message with most people today.

5. Others have abandoned the gospel because it is an old fashioned message, and they are looking for something new (contemporary).

6. Still others have abandoned the gospel because they are more concerned about man’s social needs than they are his spiritual needs.

7. And so, a lot of churches, as well as entire denominations, that once preached the gospel no longer do.

8. The lesson to be learned here is this: We must not let this happen to us.

9. We must not, for any reason, abandon the gospel.

10. Why not?

11. Because the gospel is not the message that a lot of people are looking for today, it is still the only message that will result in the salvation of lost souls. (Amen?)

 

E.     And so, first of all, we notice the message that Paul preached. (He preached the gospel of Jesus Christ.)

 

F.     Now I want us to notice…

 

II.      The Circumstances Under Which Paul Preached This Message.

 

 

A.    I think the best way to describe the circumstances under which Paul preached would be to use the words “extremely difficult.”

1. Look again at Vrs. 9 of our text, “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.”

2. Let me remind you that when Paul penned these words, he was a prisoner in a Roman prison, and this was not the first time that he had been jailed for preaching the gospel.

3. The fact is, he had been jailed on many other occasions.

4. If he had lived in our day, he would have a “rap sheet” that would go all the way to the floor.

5. Of course, his only crime was preaching the gospel, yet he was often treated like a common criminal.

 

B.     There’s a lesson to be learned here as well.

1. Just like Paul met with stiff opposition when he preached the gospel, we can expect similar opposition today.

2. Why? Because there is a spiritual warfare raging.

3. You see, the devil doesn’t want the unsaved to hear the gospel, because he knows that if they hear the gospel, there is a good possibility that they will get saved.

4. And so, he does everything within his power to make things difficult for us and to limit our ability to get the message out.

5. Thankfully, in this country it is not very likely that one will go to jail for preaching the gospel.

6. However, there are many other countries in the world today [a lot of them Muslim nations] where believers are not only being jailed, but are also being killed for sharing their faith.

7. You know, this shouldn’t surprise us.

8. Do you remember what Jesus told His disciples in John 15:18-20, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you….If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you….Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you

 

C.     But there is a precious promise here that we must not miss.

1. While the devil can certainly imprison (bind) believers, he can’t bind the Word of God! (Amen?)

2. Look again at the latter part of Vrs. 9 of our text, “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound

3. While the Devil can imprison believers and even take their lives, he can’t stop the Word of God from going forth.

4. And it’s not that he hasn’t tried.

5. Do you remember what happened to the early church?

6. Turn with me to Acts 8:1, “And Saul was consenting unto his (Stephen’s) death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

7. This was clearly an attempt by Satan to suppress the Word of God and keep it from spreading beyond the city of Jerusalem.

8. Was he successful?

9. You be the judge, look at Acts 8:4, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word

10. Listen, the Word of God cannot be bound! (Amen?)

 

D.     We, as believers today, should find this truth extremely comforting and reassuring.

1. Why? Because, as I said a moment ago, just like Paul met with opposition when he preached the gospel, we can expect similar opposition today.

2. But, hey, that’s okay, because while the devil may make things difficult for us and try to limit our ability to get the message out, he’s not going to stop the Word of God from going forth.

3. Why not? Because, as Heb. 4:12 tells us, “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword,”

 

E.     And so, secondly, we notice the circumstances under which Paul preached this message. (They were extremely difficult circumstances.)

 

F.     Finally, this morning, I want us to notice…

 

 

III.    The Reason That Paul Didn’t Quit.

 

 

A.     One of the amazing things about the apostle Paul is the fact that even though he preached the gospel under extremely difficult circumstances, he never…

-quit,

-gave up,

-stopped preaching.

1. Many of us here this morning (perhaps most of us)  would have quit, but not Paul.

2. He faithfully proclaimed the message of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ right up to the very end.

 

B.     Now this raises a question.

1. Why didn’t he quit?

2. There are at least two answers to this question.

3. First of all, he didn’t quit because he knew that one day he would have to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, and he was determined to finish the course that God had given to him.

4. This is why he was able to write in 2 Tim. 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand….I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:…Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

5. And so, first and foremost, Paul didn’t quit because he didn’t want to let his Lord down.

 

C.     But there was someone else whom he did not want to disappoint.

1. Look again at Vrs. 10 of our text, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

2. In other words, he did not want to disappoint those lost souls who were depending on him to give to them the message of salvation.

3. Listen to what Paul wrote to the church at Rome in Rom. 10:13-14, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved….How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher

4. Paul knew that if he quit preaching, some would never hear the message of salvation.

5. He knew that if he quit preaching, some would never hear that God loves them, that Christ died for them, and that God has a wonderful gift for them, the gift of eternal life.

6. He knew that if he quit preaching, souls would end up in hell who might not have otherwise.

7. And so he didn’t quit.

 

D.     You know, this is also why we must not quit.

1. This is why we must not quit sharing our faith.

2. This is why we must not quit preaching the gospel.

3. This is why we must not quit supporting missions.

4. This is why we must not let our light go out as a church.

5. There are souls depending on us, and if we quit, many will end up in hell who might not have otherwise.

6. We need to think about this every day of our lives.

 

Conclusion

A.     What have we noticed from this morning’s text?

1. The message that Paul preached (gospel).

2. The circumstances under which he preached (difficult).

3. The reason that he did not quit (souls depending on him).

 

B.     We don’t face near the difficulties that Paul faced, yet we are not near as faithful to proclaim the message as he was.

 

C.     (Prayer & Invitation)