Date: July 8, 2018
Pastor Rodney Collins
Title: The Christian’s Assurance
Text: 2 Timothy 1:12
Wellspring Church, Springfield, Ma.
SCRIPTURES: Psalm 32, 2 Timothy 1:3-14,
2 Timothy 1:12
which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me
BIG IDEA:The Christian’s Assurance
Paul addresses a practical subject that weall deal with. One of the things we struggle with is why would our savior rescue us, specifically me!
Earlier in the chapter, Paul encourages Timothy to fan into flame that gift that was given him. These qualities are gifts. God forms these in us. God can so take possession of us that we have the power, self-control and love that comes from Him. Sometimes when we possess it, we are amazed that we do. Paul is encouraging Timothy to share in the suffering. Secondly, Paul reminds him that the gospel is worth suffering for. He reminds Timothy that his calling is holy. The source of the calling is the free grace of God. Thirdly, he wants Timothy to see the accomplishment. What an amazing thing – what was hidden before time has now appeared and been revealed. Sometimes people look around and they say they don’t see God anywhere. Paul is saying it has been revealed – in the person of Jesus Christ. What great news that is. Death has been abolished! He has brought life and immortality to life. Life and the meaning of life has been revealed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul goes on to talk about how he was appointed as a herald of this good news. God didn’t leave the promulgation of this good news to chance – he chose Paul and the other apostles to get the news out. In those days, the news got out through curriers and heralds. That’s how the news got out from Kings. Paul is using that idea. Paul is a herald to give the news.
Point 1: Necessity of suffering
Paul reminds Timothy that he need not be ashamed. Paul is suffering, he is in prison in a cell and in chains. Paul knows he is at the end of his journey. Paul’s life has been filled with constant suffering because of the fact that this revelation of God from heaven is above human reason. It is something that humanity can’t get to on their own. It has to come from heaven. It has to be revealed. It goes contrary to all the assumptions of man; his autonomy; his progress. It says to us in Adam we all died but in Christ we are made alive. The curse is removed through the second Adam; substituting His death for our death. No one could have ever dreamed this or thought it up. It is above human reason and for this reason it was folly to the Gentiles. We preach Christ crucified – it is a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles. But for the elect they experience the power of God to salvation. For everyone that is elect, someone would tell them about Jesus Christ and they are then moved to trust in Christ. Therefore, the message of the gospel is the power of God to salvation to those who believe. We are the aroma of God among those who are being saved. Among those who are perishing we are the fragrance of death. You see how opposition is inherent in the gospel. You are not going to be popular with your non-Christian friends if they have not been ordained to accept it. But don’t be quiet – speak about Jesus. You don’t know the seeds that you plant. You never know. Paul experience opposition and he urges Timothy to not be ashamed of the gospel and suffer for the sake of Jesus.
Point 2: Nature of faith
We see in Paul an example. He is holding his life up for Timothy. He says that he wants Timothy to follow a pattern of life that he sees in Paul. Christianity is caught as well as taught. We live and people see us live and Paul is saying to Timothy – imitate me. What is it about Paul that he wants Timothy to follow? It is faith. In v12 he says he knows whom he has believed. There is some controversy in this verse that you can see in the various translations. In ESV – “the gospel will be preserved” – the idea is that Paul is concerned that Timothy keep the gospel. In the new Kings James the deposit is Paul’s life and soul. Paul is saying God will keep me until that day. The new revised standard is different. Think of it all as bound up in one – Paul’s ministry of the gospel was so combined in his own person that he knew that the Lord would take care of both. Paul’s confidence is that he is entrusting his life to God’s keeping. Faith is entrusting your life to God and living that way. The life I have to live in the next 24 hours is yours Lord. What a wonderful thing to know that God does keep it. Whoever lives and believes in me – what a promise! Do you believe that – that you will never die if you trust in Christ. Jesus says I will lose nothing of all that are given to me. Faith is believing that promise. Here we learn something of what faith is; believe whole heartedly that God’s word is true.
Point 3: Blessing of assurance
As we walk in good conscience, faith is able to develop into certainty and assurance. Notice that absolute certainty is not of the essence of faith but by walking in obedience to God faith is able to rise to a point of certain knowledge that we are in a state of grace. One may believe in the gospel but be plagued by doubts – doubts that one possesses Christ. Our own assurance is often under attack. The germ of faith, the germ of certainty is in faith. But certainty doesn’t always rise to the surface. It has to be nurtured and developed. We see in Paul this amazing certainty. Here he is under circumstances that would seem to be discouraging. People have turned away from him. In a moment when it would be tempting to lose faith and lose that sense of certainty, Paul is absolutely certain. He demonstrates for Timothy how to live out that certainty. It is within faith and we may rise to it and it is a great blessing when we experience that assurance. It is hampered by our disobedience. Your own understanding of the gospel may be defective and this might lead you to a lack of certainty. It may be that you are spiritually immature. In all these things, God leads us to repentance and more knowledge. The confession of faith says addresses this: it is possible to have this sense of certainty and assurance. Job expressed it well when he said I know that my redeemer lives. Job says “ I know that I shall see God”. We sang this morning Psalm 23 – surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Don’t let that word surely slip by you! There’s certainty for you. Paul expresses it so well: I know whom I have believed! That is the blessing of assurance – to be absolutely certain that God does it. The security that Paul felt resided in God and His keeping. If you look to yourself, you see your level of assurance is not where it should be. But Paul is saying I know He is able. The security lies in who he knows God to be. Your assurance will grow as you know Him more. I urge you to focus your attention on Jesus Christ. Get to know Him better as God has revealed Him toyou in the pages of the Bible.
Point 4: Extent of God’s keeping power
What does Paul say? Until that day… Paul is convinced that no one can snatch him from the hand of Jesus Christ. No one has the power to derail his salvation. Jesus Christ is able to save him to the uttermost – all the way to the end of his life. He is persuaded that neither death nor life will be able to separate him from the love of Christ. Martin Luther says let him who died for my soul see to the salvation of it. Let him look after it. Paul committed himself into the hands of God. No man is ever so strong as the man who feels it is God’s business to take care of him and his business to do as God tells him. How wonderful is that security of the believer. His life that began in eternity past and lived right now in the filthy cell and his life on the great day when Jesus Christ is revealed –all of it is kept by God. That comfort makes you strong in the midst of trials. It will extend to the very end. Think of it – all who love His appearing – do you love Jesus Christ? Do you love the fact that He appeared the first time? Do you love that He is coming again? Do you long for the second coming? Your security is safe in His hands. It will be safe until that day when He is revealed. You are justified before a watching universe and God publicly declares His love for you. There is no better place for you than to trust yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ.