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Faithful When It Hurts

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 7, 2021 7:00 am

Faithful When It Hurts

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 7, 2021 7:00 am

As Paul writes his final letter to Timothy from his prison cell in Rome, the apostle reminds his student that he must stay strong in the Gospel, despite the culture in which he lives. Join Dr. James Boice on The Bible Study Hour as he looks at Paul’s charge to Timothy of his need to endure, and to pass on the torch of the Gospel to others.

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Many believe that apostolic succession involves the laying on of hands in an almost mystical passing of the torch of faith, but in Paul's final letter to Timothy.

The apostle presents quite a different picture to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically, Paul urges his protg to stay strong in the face of opposition and to pass the gospel to other reliable men just as Paul had passed it to Timothy joined Dr. Boyce as a study continues of this emotional epistle from a spiritual father to his son in the faith in Paul's final instructions before his appointment with destiny erratic quotation from John Stott presenting a challenge, which is the challenge of this book. Stott set a new generation of young Timothy's is needed. I don't know the female form of that name. Matheny is or some such thing, that there needed to those who will guard the sacred deposit of the gospel were determined to proclaim it and are prepared to suffer for it and I will pass it on your end uncorrupted to the generation which in due course or rise up to follow them.

This is certainly what Paul had to say to Timothy and which in one way or another.

I'm sure he passed on to the various leaders of his day, and it's something that we need to say today Timothy lived in an age of decline. We live in an age of decline. Timothy was challenge not to be ashamed of the gospel, week two should not be ashamed of the gospel was told to garner the gospel to hang onto it as a precious possession under proclaim it and we to are called to do precisely the same thing we need to understand that what Paul is about the site now in second Timothy two is built in a certain sense upon what has been implied in chapter 1.

Here you have this declining situation in the church in the midst of which Paul has given these three great charges to Timothy, the fan is gift and the flame not to be ashamed of the gospel in the garden. Now in chapter 2 he makes a contrast spot, a contrast between what is said to Timothy, but it's a contrast between what Timothy is to be and what the culture. Even the Christian culture in which he lives is basic ideas found near the beginning he wants him to endure, to be strong and do it in the strength of the gospel.

You then my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and the things you've heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust those to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others what he says be strong it means to be strong in spite of the tendencies to be weak in spite of the weakness around you.

Stand firm is telling him. Furthermore he saying to which the strength of the gospel. Very glad. He said that because he simply said he strongly would be preaching the gospel of Stoicism, but not the gospel of power to be saying to Timothy, things are going downhill, but don't you worry, you just stand there firmly and let them go downhill.

I find that a hard position to take. I guess those who are of stoic temperament can do it more naturally like me would have a great deal of difficulty I would get depressed by simply say be scrawny says be strong in the grace is in Christ Jesus when he encourages him to be strong and when he instructs them to guard this gospel and to proclaim it with forces saying that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ will be there with them to help them do it. Furthermore, I think he implies by the way, he goes on to talk about the passing on of that gospel from age to age from person-to-person that there are those who have gone before will done it, and those are not only our example, but an encouragement to us as we take our stand. I read that verse two wonder if you notice the sequence that's involved there.

Paul says the things you've heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will be able and qualified to teach others how many steps do you have in the chain of the passing on of the apostolic gospel of the first of all, you have the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave the gospel to Paul because he said as we've indicated that he did not receive that simply out of his own imagination, but he received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

So that's the first step. Secondly, I have Paul passing on the gospel to Timothy. That's a second step always faithful in doing that now he says, Timothy, and this is step three. Timothy, I want you to pass it on to reliable men. Jesus gave it to me. I gave it to you.

I want you to give it other people because this is the way the gospel is going to be spread. The way the church is going to be strengthened. This is the way it's going to be down through all the ages of church history.

So as you go about your work in the city and that ministering in this direction that I want to seek out reliable man who could be leaders, reliable man but one soul say on the surface of things all yes yes that sounds good but the next week or the next month of the next year will be off doing something else. Those you can really count on to preserve this precious treasure and furthermore he says when you pick out those reliable man to whom the gospel is going to be entrusted who were going to be the ministers of the next generation. I want to have this qualification in mind, I want you to pick out reliable man who in their turn, will be able to pass the gospel on others of like mind their stage. Let me just say that that's the true apostolic succession real secession as those whom God has called and raised up, generation after generation as those who are faithful to the truth of the word passing on the others were faithful to the truth of the word, and so on. Because God always has his remnant of God always has those were faithful and that's what we desire to see I was in that context that Paul encourages Timothy to be strong this point of the letter introduces three images they occupy. Verses 3 to 6 and their images that are directed particularly to Timothy you perhaps was timid maven of been lazy to encourage him to be strong. The image of a soldier in athletes, a farmer, here's the way puts it, what is it about soldier that Paul has in mind we remember whatever we think of soldiers and Paul certainly knew them well you knew them far better than most of us know them or might help to know that because in Paul's case soldiers he knew were jailers now in Philippians C describes how the gospel spread from his imprisonment throughout all the praetorian guard and then send the very household of Caesar, we have that oblique reference. They are an indication of what must've been Paul's experience in Rome during his first imprisonment, he would be change to a guard and these with the elite troops overgrown the praetorian guard the very guard that surrounded the Emperor and they were in charge of Paul because Paul now was a prisoner of the Emperor because he had appealed to Nero.

So here was Paul, and here was the garden. I don't know how long their shifts department if they were eight hour shifts that guard was chained to them for eight hours and instead of complaining. Paul witness to the guard. I'm sure he struck up friendships with a guard asked how his life once I was the fighting what was going on up there in the German woods eternal sorts of rumors. Was it really as bad as they pretended, and they were talking in the back streets and alleys of Rome and so on and eventually worked around the gospel and some of the soldiers became Christians as they left this prison and went back to their barracks. They said boiler certainly is a remarkable prisoner back there. His name is Paul and he's got this news about God who came to earth person of a man named Jesus was crucified and Paul says is a Savior and you know I believe it when the gospel began to spread. But to see it all. That way Paul was making contact with the soldiers getting to know the know, for example, in his letter to the Ephesians. How at the end where he's talking about our spiritual warfare fighting, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers rulers of the darkness of this air begins still bring into play a whole set of images based upon the armor and the offensive happens were carried by the normal soldier in the Roman armies so we talked about the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the word of God and such thing, but was very observant. I got to know these men, I got to know something about their lives. Now when he writes to Timothy says, in effect, I want you to be like them. I learned something about the soldiers as perhaps as he was writing this, he was chained to a soldier thinking about that man standing right beside me was say I want you to know this a soldiers life is hard and I want you to endure the kind of hardship you have to endure in precisely the same way the soldier endure hardship. Furthermore, he says nothing characterizes soldiers. That is, I have to give up a lot of the entanglements that all the rest of us down soldier is off with the lesions is not entangled with the responsibilities of the home or business, or other kinds of relationships that would keep them from doing what's necessary for the defense of the Empire and he says I want you to be like that.

I want you to keep your entanglements to a minimum.

You're in the world which are not to be of the world. I want to be free to go a certain sense wherever the Lord Jesus Christ would send. I want to do that in order like this soldier. You might be able to please your commanding officer secondly turns to the example of an athlete and he says if anyone competes as an athlete. He doesn't receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules to different things. And Paul talks about when he talks about athletes. Matter fact he talks about them so well, and with such insight that some commentators have speculated that maybe at a certain point in his youth. Paul himself might've completed athletic events know in first Corinthians 9. He talks about he says look anyone who is setting out to be an athlete explains himself the subjects is Bonnie. He submits the discipline in order that he might become physically all that he can be honest and talk about discipline so much in this passage, but certainly that's in the back of his mind that he would want Timothy to be disciplined what he talks about here is competing according to the rules say what he's talking about being a soldier of the thing that impresses the most about the soldiers life is its hardness. He wants them to endure hardness as a soldier when he talks about the athlete what he has in mind largely is the rules and he says what an athlete that competes and breaks the rules doesn't get any prize at all. So I want you to become like in athletes in hardness and discipline that to but above all, I want you to keep the rules that God lays down. I want you to walk according to the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ strive for righteousness. The way puts righteousness before you leave. You live by his rules.

You would buy the law of God and then to be found faithful and at the end wall of the struggle and all of the training you received the prize for example Paul gives is that of the farmer and his very brief. I think probably although Paul knew a great deal about soldiers and maybe even admitted athlete. I suspect Paula never really done any form. I don't know but I do know he knew this about farming unit farming is hard work. Got a get out there in the field.

I guess today still hard work, but at least you have motorized equipment plow field in the tractor and I understand even do it in air-conditioned tractor with a stereo radio today when I dated that anything like that. They might've had an animal to help pull the plow, but they had to get out there and hold it guided through the 40 heat of the day sweat was hard work and not only that you had to do it again and again and again plow the field for the field at the plant the field you had to watch the weeds eventually had to get out there and harvest the crop in that day.

Almost all of it was done by hand and Paul knew that it was very, very difficult. So he says I want you to be like that reason, I want to be like that is at the farmers.

Bonnie participates first of all of the crops and I want you to have some of the Lord. When you get to the end. I don't know why it is. Or I guess I should say I suspect I know why it is that Christians are so unwilling to work hard in anything today. I guess it's because of our times. We have the idea that if anything is difficult shouldn't be done.

Some easy way to do it after all 20th century recall one of the sons of one of the Roman emperors educated under Cicero complained to him and said, isn't there an easy way to do this cannot be made easier for me and Cicero said there is no royal road to learning and there is and it's the same for anybody whether you're the common are the king and it's simply hard work, but we in America but the idea that things should be easy and if they are easy something is wrong. Somebody's not doing their duty.

The government isn't taking care of me properly or the teachers are teaching properly or my employer to buy new equipment so I don't have to do this sort of thing to get over that I need to learn that we have to work hard and that anything worth doing is hard work. Nothing comes easy. We need to get back to that above all Christians should get back to that lead the way. There is no easy way to holiness hard work after read the Bible study and appliance and pray.

No easy way to doing the Lords work deleting other people to the Lord. Sometimes God intervenes in his work before hand and we commonly reap what other people of Solomon and benefit from their labors but generally that's not the case requires hard work with people enduring with the listening to their problems agonizing with them at times as many, many of our congregation do weekend and week out doing that sometimes year after year. It's only at the end of that we begin to see the fruit that we Christians and to get the message that is so clear here that if we would triumph.

We must labor that we would see fruit. We must toil, Paul says to Timothy, Timothy, that's what I want you to do and I want you to set the example you say after all of that. I think I'm so discouraged I'm going to quit. I don't know whether Paul thought maybe Timothy had that in mind to because the verses that follow. Give them some incentives. I think you know Timothy might be discouraged know he says a motivation for you. First of all is the motivation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus Christ.

He says raised from the dead descended from David, what is he mean when he says that he simply means Jesus Christ as our example Jesus Christ had everything. Jesus Christ didn't have to labor Jesus Christ didn't have to toil. Why the flick of a royal risk all myriads of angels were at his disposal. Yet what he do we became like us humble circumstances he labored in the same things that we labor under and eventually paid the price of our salvation by his death on the cross. Remember Jesus there is nothing you're asked to do.

There is no burden so heavy that you're asked to bear no difficulty so hard that you're facing the Jesus Christ about worsened were far worse, so he needs motivation. He says remember Jesus secondly says remember the gospel.

This is my gospel, for which I'm suffering, even to the point of being chained like a criminal.

But God's word is not change what he mainly talks about that. Well if when he talks about Jesus is talking about our example, when he talks about the gospel he is talking about our power because he says the gospel is powerful evidence in the midst of things, it might be hard market might be difficult. God is at work through his gospel through his word and God brings forth fruit promise that his work doesn't return unto him void say when Paul says God's word is not change these contrasting that with his own circumstance. He was Jane. He says it was a time when I was free to go about I could preach here and I could breach their I felt like going up and degrees so I can go to Greece was nobody to stop me now that's over. I'm chained. I can't believe I'm hearing is and probably I will never leave again. By contrast God's word is not change. Nobody can shave that word that's the word of the living God. That is the path to learn of the living God. That is the change word, the powerful living God. He says that word is good to go through all the world and indeed has everywhere he goes. God is using to bring you feel discouraged by the hardships by the difficulties of the place life which you live.

You remember God is acting through his word and you be faithful and share that word preach that were testified to that word allow glove Holy Spirit who is work in the lives of the people. Then finally I think he says just in case you think that's not enough that there's also this matter of heaven and our reigning with Christ that he says is our reward and let that be an incentive if we died with him. We will also live with him life of the resurrection. If we endure, we will also reign with him.

See difficulties might be great in the hardships might be many. The day is coming when they're all going in from the perspective of eternity the hardships of this life are very short thing in the soldier's there who endures the hardship of the battle, knowing that it's a short time and soon it will be over in the fruit of it. He has what athlete is there doesn't endure the hardship of the discipline of training, knowing that it's only a short time and soon it will be over in the victory will be has what farmer doesn't endure the hardship of the planning and the harvesting for a short time, knowing that it will soon be over. The fruit of the harvest will be his. He says all Christians get in the way of thinking in that way about life. Don't say all I have years and years and years. How will I ever endure to the end. Instead, say, boy, this is a short time doesn't last long. It might be hard. Short, my going to make it count.

Look ahead to the culmination of all these things in the return of Jesus Christ. But I'm simply making is that this is God's world. It is not our world and God is establish the laws of this world and they are his laws about our laws and there is nothing we can do about them.

We can live in accordance with the laws of God and if that's the case we will be blessed. We can live in opposition to the laws of God and if that's the case, we will suffer the consequences. And, if necessary, we will be broken because it's like dealing with a gamble and will wears out many a hammer hammer doesn't break gamble.

Let me put it to you in straight language way to praise from our commanding officer is through service wave achievements in the Christian life is through discipline way to fruit from our labors is through toil and there is no shortcut because that's what God has ordained. He has ordained the fruit but is also ordained the means by which that fruitful, and that fruit is our labor to let us be strong and faithful to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ by the spray father we do shrink from toil would far rather have things be easy is easy to take it easy and that we read a passage like this and we are told in uncertain language. This is not the life to which we are called that we are called to the life of the soldiers the athlete farmer doing so hard to follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ grandfather that we might be found faithful. We might work hard. We might labor looking under Jesus, one who is the author and finisher of our faith went before us the joy he saw endured suffering of the cross grant, we too might endure for his sake. A man moon you're listening to the Bible study gallery featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce. How do we overcome the hard things to come our way in the Christian life. The discouragement and sin that often make their way into the church.

Dr. James Boyce addresses that important question that affects us all in a message entitled strong in grace will be pleased to send it to you free on CD. If you will simply call us at 1-800-488-1888 that number again 1-800-488-1888 in the message title is strong in grace few of us will have the impact of a Paul or Timothy and few of us will have an audience like the one God granted to Dr. Boyce but we can play an important role in spreading the gospel by supporting the Bible study our with our prayers and financial gifts.

The need is ongoing so you might choose to make a monthly pledge, or perhaps a one time donation when you call 1-800-488-1888 or visit us online at the Bible study our God to work if you prefer to mail a check or postal address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. Thank you for your prayers and gifts reformation 21 and a place for truth are websites of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals proclaiming biblical doctrine in order to foster reformed awakening in today's church, find blogs, articles, and podcasts from today's most influential reform thinkers connect to it all from Bible study. Our dog Mark Daniels. Thank you for listening in one of the greatest tests of any preacher is to constantly remind his people of the simple truths of the faith.

Join Dr. James Boyce next time of the Bible study our as he illustrates Paul's command to Timothy to remind his people to not forget that's next time on Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically


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