Suffer for the Gospel Part 2

 

“Remember Jesus  Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal but the word of God is not imprisoned” 2 Timothy 2: 8-9

In my first post on 2 Timothy, we took a look at the presentation of the gospel given by Paul. Also, we took a looked at a key word that is found in the whole book and seems to correspond with the word, gospel. The key word is “suffering.”

Paul writes Timothy and encourages him in the gospel and lets him know that if he is going to fulfill his ministry and preach the gospel then he will experience suffering. In chapter one, we saw that Paul gave an example of suffering through two individuals that turned away from him. He also gives an example where he was also encouraged by someone seeking him out.

Paul then turns his attention to Timothy and tells him to be strong in the grace of Christ Jesus in chapter two. He also commands him to suffer hardship with him as a good soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. Why does Paul give these examples to Timothy and how does each suffer?

Good Soldier

How does a good soldier suffer? Read this:

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him.”- 2 Timothy 2:4

How do soldiers suffer? Soldiers, many times, are away from their families. They experience high warfare. Many times, they are wounded from the battle that they are in. They fight for others. There is also always the chance that they may lose their life.

Honestly, in one way or another, all these examples could fit within the life of a believer. We experience warfare. We experience wounds. We fight for what we believe in a manner worthy of the gospel. In many places, there is always the chance of losing your life for what we believe.

Athlete

How does an athlete suffer? Read this:

“…he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.”- 2 Timothy 2:5

I have been training for the past three months. It is hard. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be a true athlete. Think about it. They have to be truly disciplined. They go through rigorous training. They take themselves to the limit and then some. They watch what they intake. They watch what they do. He has to know the rules of the sport that he is competing in. He has to study his skill.

Farmer

How does a farmer suffer? Read this:

“The hard working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.”- 2 Timothy 2: 6

Think about the suffering of a farmer. He plants. He waters. He takes care of his crop faithfully. He works hard at making sure that what he is working for comes to fruition well. It takes weeks and months to take care of the crops and every day he has to go out and tend to them.

We have to continue to cultivate within ourselves the gospel every day as well! We have to be diligent to make sure that the life that we are living is lived well for the gospel? I also encourage where else we have seen fruits and crops being an illustration within the Word?

The Gospel

Paul then tells Timothy to consider what he is talking about and then reminds him of the Gospel. Read this:

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel…” 2 Timothy 2:8

So once again, suffering is corresponding with the gospel message. It is also interesting to see in the rest of the chapter how Paul encourages Timothy to not “entangle” himself in different things, to be diligent in certain areas of life, and of faithfulness.  I would encourage reading the rest of the chapter in light of those examples of suffering.

Take Away:

I would realize the weight of the gospel first and really meditate on what the death and resurrection of Christ has done for you. I would also encourage reading through chapters one and two again and see how Paul suffers and what he tells Timothy to expect. I would then apply those truths to everyday life. Share the gospel with those around you. Are you shy about the gospel? Memorize 2 Timothy 1:7. Remind yourself who lives in you! Expect that there might be some practical ways of suffering when you share the gospel. When you realize its coming and you “live through it”, the gospel will begin to be shared in confidence! Suffer hardship with Paul for the sake of the gospel!

 

 

Ryan Thomason works with Transform Student Ministries as the product development and events coordinator. He has voluntarily served Precept Ministries for close to 10 years before coming on staff full time. He has interned with their media department in 2008 and with the student ministry in 2009. He has lived in Guatemala to learn Spanish.

“I have become its servant, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints.” Colossions 1:25-26

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