this is my Gospel

190252-good-news

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But God’s Word is not chained.  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-10).

I wonder if we have this very same perspective, or if we are too far removed (in both time and even belief) from the early church?  Are these our priorities?  Are these words as central to us as they were to the first century apostolic mission?

As the Apostle writes to his protégé Timothy, the sword that will fulfill his destiny can practically be heard as it is sharpened in the background (Paul, of course, is soon beheaded for his faith).  And so as with much of what we see from Paul’s pen, there is a great sense of urgency in what he seeks to communicate in this final letter to his dear friend.

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel.”

“This is my Gospel.”  Now that’s a significant statement!  Is it not?

The word Gospel is utilized 96 times in the New Testament.  All but 20 are found in Paul’s letters.  76 times the Apostle Paul pens the word.  “Euangelion.”  “Good News.”  “Gospel.”  And each and every time he does, his intention is the same.  For there is no other Gospel that is Gospel.

This is my Gospel: “Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.”

How do we, how do you, understand the word “Gospel?”

How do we define it?

Is “our Gospel” more?

Is it less?

If it is, then “our gospel” is not “the Gospel.”

Glory to God!

Jason

what are you afraid of?

hiding

There is an ancient legend from India that tells the story of a mouse that was terrified of cats.  He brought his complaint to the king who had his magicians transform the mouse into a cat, so as to relieve his fears.  This satisfied the mouse (pardon me, cat) for a little while until he met a dog.  Fearing the dog he pleaded to be changed into one and so the king again obliged.  Until he came face to face with a tiger.  And so once again he begged to be changed into that which he feared.  After not long living as a tiger the mouse-turned-cat-turned-dog-turned-tiger came to fear the hunter.  However when he approached the king to change him once more, the king refused.  “I will not again change you into that which you fear, for though you are a tiger, you still have the heart of a mouse.”

Is your comfort found in your IRA or 401K or 528i?  Is your security in what you possess or the life you’ve built?  Is your confidence in who you are or what you’ve accomplished?  Is your strength in your ability, your knowledge, your reason, your power, or your control?

Then allow me to ask: What are you afraid of?  What are you hiding from?  What do you need to let go of?

Your roar may be the loudest, but inside lies a heart gripped with fear.  Why?

“I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Glory to God!

Jason

the power of the Gospel message

christians studying

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But God’s Word is not chained.  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-10).

For three weeks we have considered these three verses.  As Paul, at the end of his life, chained in a Roman dungeon for his faith, reminds Timothy and reminds us of precisely what the Gospel is: “Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel….”  And that even when we find ourselves in the most dismal of life circumstances, the message of the Gospel is unchained: “This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But God’s Word is not chained.”

However, if we fail to live up to the Gospel, or if we define Gospel in some lesser way, we in fact are capable of chaining it.  Don’t hear me wrong, the message of the Gospel is powerful, and compelling, and without restraint.  But if there are any constraints on the message lived out in our lives as individuals or as a church they are placed there by us.

And as the Apostle writes to Timothy, in this the last letter we have from his pen, perhaps days before his death, he includes a word of perspective.  “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

What greater message is there for the church today?  That all of life is to be lived for the purpose of the Kingdom.  “For the sake of the elect.”  Our situations do not define us.  We are defined by our Lord.  “Salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”  And because of our identify in Christ and the wonder of the Gospel message we embrace a divine reality.  And we transcend the here and now.  And we call others to join us, to follow us, as we follow Christ.  This is the power of the Gospel message.

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel….”

Glory to God!

Jason

the message that cannot be chained

chained

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But God’s Word is not chained.  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-10).

“Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel…” was our focus last week.  76 times in the letters of the Apostle Paul he pens the word Gospel.  And each and every time, his intention is to communicate this very reality.  The resurrection of the Messiah proclaims His deity.  His descent from David reveals His humanity.  Both facets, intrinsically crucial to the Gospel message.

What we sometimes miss is that Paul is in prison as he writes this second letter to Timothy.  We think of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon as prison letters.  But somehow we miss 2 Timothy.  During his first imprisonment in Rome (Acts 28), Paul of course comprises Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.  Upon his release (62AD), he then makes his fourth missionary journey.  4-5 years later, however, Paul is again arrested for his faith.  This time he languishes in a dungeon.  Chained for his belief in our Lord.  “But God’s Word is not chained.”

“This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But God’s Word is not chained.”

God’s Word is not chained!  What a powerful statement.

Certainly the written Word is included.  Surely Christ the Divine Word is a part of this theology.  However, when the Apostle declares, “God’s Word is not chained” he’s referring to the crux of the text, the message of the Gospel.  The message of “Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.”

The message that cannot be chained.

Glory to God!

Jason

this is my Gospel

good news

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But God’s Word is not chained.  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-10).

I wonder if we have this very same perspective, or if we are too far removed (in both time and even belief) from the early church?  Are these our priorities?  Are these words as central to us as they were to the first century apostolic mission?

gospelAs the Apostle writes to his protégé Timothy, the sword that will fulfill his destiny can practically be heard as it is sharpened in the background (Paul, of course, is soon beheaded for his faith).  And so as with much of what we see from Paul’s pen, there is a great sense of urgency in what he seeks to communicate in this final letter to his dear friend.

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel.”

“This is my Gospel.”  Now that’s a significant statement!  Is it not?

The word Gospel is utilized 96 times in the New Testament.  All but 20 are found in Paul’s letters.  76 times the Apostle Paul pens the word.  “Euangelion.”  “Good News.”  “Gospel.”  And each and every time he does, his intention is the same.  For there is no other Gospel that is Gospel.

This is my Gospel: “Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.”

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to pursue these powerful statements from our friend the Apostle Paul found within 2 Timothy 2:8-10.

But I wanted to begin here in verse 8.  Because if our definition of Gospel is any different.  Then there’s really not much need in going any further.

Glory to God!

Jason