We had to fly through this material this morning, so I wanted to post my notes for study and future reference. Thanks to everyone who came out.
Koinonia occurs 19 times in the New Testament and it’s primary meaning is “fellowship, sharing in common, communion. The first occurrence of this word occurs in Acts 2:42
Believers in Christ are to come together in love, faith and encouragement. But why is encouragement important in our community? Because we all suffer at different times and this will bring us closer to God and each other if we make the choice to seek the Lord in it. The book of 2 Timothy has much to say about suffering and it’s purpose and I want to look at a few verses and then ten principles for enduring suffering. This has hit me this week with everything we have going on within our PAX and my own life. In looking around, what I know about is Herbie’s wife and the potential cancer. Honeypot’s father-in-law, Big House has been down with the flu for a few days, injuries, job loss and that’s only what I’m aware of. I’m sure there is much more but it’s either not known or not being shared.
Suffering happens and I never enjoy it but in looking back on those seasons you and I can see God’s hand in it. Let’s look at few verses in 2 Timothy, 2 Timothy 2:1-13
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
No one enjoys suffering, but suffering is a necessary, normal part of the Christian life. In fact, the Scripture says we can expect hardships and suffering to increase (2 Tim. 2:3; 3:1-4, 13), so we must be prepared.
We learn from the book of 2 Timothy that we may experience suffering as a result of our testimony, our godly living, or our stand for truth (2 Tim. 1:8; 2:8-9, 17-18; 3:6-8, 12). We may also experience suffering when we are rejected or left alone (2 Tim. 1:15; 4:9-11; 4:16), or as a natural consequence to our fleshly, worldly desires (2 Tim. 2:22).
Suffering will indeed come, but God can give us grace and power to overcome every trial and to fulfill our purpose and mission in His kingdom. In his second epistle to Timothy, the Apostle Paul shares some important truths about how we can endure suffering.
Ten Principles for Enduring Suffering
1. Don’t forget why you are suffering. Remember your purpose and Whom you serve! The Apostle Paul said he was willing to suffer for the proclamation of the Gospel, for the sake of the elect, and for the glory of God. Our suffering, big or little, can be used to bring about the same purposes. (2 Tim. 2:8–9)
2. Remember that you are a prisoner of Christ, not of your circumstances or other people. (2 Tim. 1:8)
3. Keep going back to the things you know to be true from God’s Word. Don’t doubt in the dark what you have seen in the light. Remember what you received as a result of your salvation in Christ (2 Tim. 1:5). Remember your calling and the grace of God (2 Tim. 1:1, 9-13).
4. Keep doing whatever God has called you to do. Persevere, stay the course, and be faithful, regardless of any opposition or hardship. (2 Tim. 4:1-5)
5. Trust God to deal with those who oppose the truth. Don’t take matters into your own hands or become bitter and argumentative. (2 Tim. 2:23–26)
6. Remember times in the past when the Lord delivered or rescued you. Be quick to praise Him and testify to others (2 Tim. 3:11; 4:16-17).
7. Rely on the resources God has given you:
* The grace of God (2 Tim. 1:2, 9; 2:1; 4:22).
* The gift of God—your God-given ability to serve Him (2 Tim. 1:6-7).
* The power of God (rather than your own strength) (2 Tim. 1:8; Phil. 2:13; Eph. 6:10).
* The indwelling Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 1:14).
* The Word of God, which will keep you grounded and give you perspective (2 Tim. 2:7, 9; 3:12-17; 4:1-2).
8. Remember that you are not alone in your suffering.
You already have:
* The presence of Christ (Matt. 28:20)
* The prayers of other believers (2 Tim. 1:3)
* The “fellowship of suffering”—other believers who are facing hardships for the sake of Christ (2 Tim. 1:8; Heb. 13:3; Col. 1:24).
Cultivate these to help you endure:
* Godly helpers – Find and cultivate a group of like-minded believers whose faithfulness and prayers can inspire and strengthen you (2 Tim. 1:2, 4-5; 4:9-13, 19-21).
* Godly heroes – Read the biographies of missionaries and other faithful believers so God can cultivate faith and wisdom in your heart (Heb. 13:7; 2 Tim. 3:10, 14).
* Godly heritage – As you learn about those who’ve gone before, you will be able to instill faith and courage in the next generation. Pass the baton to others. (2 Tim. 2:2)
9. No matter how difficult things are today, you can face the future with hope. Trust the truth of Scripture.
The Truth is:
* All wrongs will one day be righted (2 Tim. 3:8-9; 4:14).
* The Lord will deliver you from all evil—in His time and way (2 Tim. 4:17-18). In the meantime, counsel your heart according to the truth and promises of God (Psalm 27).
* All your suffering, efforts, labors, and faithfulness will be rewarded in “that Day” when believers stand before the Lord (2 Tim. 1:12, 18; 2:12; 4:8; Phil. 1:6, 10; 2:16; James 1:12).
* You will give an account, so guard the “deposit” entrusted to you (2 Tim. 1:12, 14; 1 Tim. 6:20).
10. In all your suffering, remember Jesus Christ.
* His life and His suffering and sacrifice for you (2 Tim. 2:3)
* His triumph over Satan, sin, and death (2 Tim. 2:8)
* His power, promises, and presence (Matt. 28:18-20)
* What He is doing for you in heaven (John 14:2-3; Rom. 8:34).
Expect suffering—it is inevitable—but don’t forget the powerful resource that you have in Christ. Entrust your life to His ever-present care and control. He loves you, and He will help you endure.