(Part 1/3 – A summary of the Sunday morning teaching on 05-Apr-15, in AFT Church, English service.)
WHAT DOES THE RESURRECTION MEAN FOR US?
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel
2 Timothy 1:8-10
THE CONTEXT OF THIS VERSE
Timothy was a disciple of Paul. He was inducted into the ministry and trained by Paul. Paul considered him as his spiritual son. At this point, Paul was imprisoned in Rome. Rome was ruled by the eccentric Emperor Nero. Rumors abounded that Paul would soon be killed for his faith. Young Timothy was worried, confused and even embarrassed. He probably wondered how this great inspiring leader’s death would affect the ministry and future of Christianity. He was confused as to why Paul was still a prisoner if Jesus Christ was the powerful Savior. He was embarrassed because people were asking why his God wasn’t rescuing Paul from the prison.
Paul is writing this last epistle to Timothy to encourage him. He tells Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or of being a prisoner. He encourages Timothy to get a better picture of the Gospel.
If we were there, we might have given Timothy a pep talk. But Paul addresses Timothy’s worries and fears by presenting a summary statement of the Gospel.
We might think of dealing with the problem and its psychology. But Paul believed that the Gospel is the answer for all our troubles and difficulties. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is the answer to every national, international, financial, physical and spiritual problem.
THE PLAN – A HOLY CALLING
God had already planned and purposed our redemption even before the world began. Paul tells Timothy, ‘You are very shortsighted. You are only looking at the problem and difficulties right now. Look at the big picture of God and see your position in it. The big picture is that God called us even before the world was created or time, as we understand it now, began. In eternity past when only the Trinity existed, we were called with a specific holy calling. Our names were written in the Book of Life and God had chosen and marked us. Paul says that, ‘When I was in my mother’s womb, God marked me and separated me for the gospel of Jesus’. What a sense of God’s calling!
Christian life is not just about being saved and going to Heaven. The Christian life is a holy calling. When we are called for something, nobody can separate us from it. God saved us to do the good works that He had planned for us before the foundation of the world began. Ephesians 6:10 says, ‘Before time began, God made these plans’.
Building a house in the past involved deciphering an abstract blueprint made by the architect. But nowadays, there are software programs that can show a clear, detailed 3D image of our house. We don’t need to speculate or try to imagine it. We can see exactly how our house will be. Similarly, God saw us clearly and in detail, before the world began. Paul is in essence telling Timothy, ‘We are part of God’s big plan. He has orchestrated everything. He has got both of us in our places. Don’t be afraid. We are in God’s hands. No matter what happens, the end will be good’. In a day and time like this in our country, we can be assured of the same message. No matter what happens, we are in the hands of our Almighty God. Our end will be glorious.
…to be continued…