Exalting In The Gospel

                “That is why I am suffering as I am.  Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.”

                                                                                                                                                                                2 Timothy 1:12

                In From Embers To A Flame – “How God Can Revitalize Your Church” Harry L. Reeder III focuses upon the need for us to develop a Gospel centred approach to the work of evangelism as well as to living the Christian life.  It is this gospel centredness which unleashes the power of God’s grace into our real life circumstances in order to redeem us.  On page 66 of his book Reeder makes a comment about preaching, which he follows up with a quotation from Bryan Chappell (in Christ Centered Preaching page 12).

                “What we must avoid at all costs is the kind of preaching and teaching that is mere moralism.  Bryan Chappell explains this well:  “However well-intended and biblically rooted may be a sermon’s instruction, if the message does not incorporate the motivation and enablement inherent in a proper apprehension of the work of Christ, the preacher proclaims mere Pharisaism.  Preaching that is faithful to the whole of Scripture not only establishes God’s requirements, but also highlights the redemptive truths that make holiness possible.””

                Chappell and Reeder agree with the Apostle Paul as he writes his second letter to Timothy.  Paul calls Timothy, and incidentally we as well, to a Gospel centred ministry.  This is in fact the only hope for the Church that Timothy is responsible for.  This Gospel has led Paul into suffering, but he is not ashamed.  What Paul is saying here is that despite the great suffering he is facing he is rejoicing in the Gospel.  Paul says the same thing in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans.  “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.  For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith, from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”” (Romans 1:16-17)  What Paul writes here is that he is far from being ashamed of the Gospel.  He exalts in it.  He rejoices in it.  It is at the heart of all his motivation for Godly living.  Nothing is a greater importance for Paul than this gospel message that the Lord Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross in order to reconcile us to God.  In Him we receive grace to cover over all of our sin. 

                There is more here however, Paul tells Timothy that the Gospel is much more than just a message, or a plan of salvation, it is in reality Christ Himself.  “I know whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.”  He knows Christ.  Christianity is Christ.  We have come into a personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We know His character because by the Holy Spirit He is indwelling us.  We know His power, because all that we have entrusted to Him, our lives, our hope of eternity, and our holiness is secure in His all powerful, eternal hands. 

                When Paul writes to the Church at Corinth reflecting on the wisdom of God which is active in our world in Christ he makes this telling point.  “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 3:11) This is the object of all that we hope for and rely upon, the Lord Jesus Christ our redeemer and King.  Everything else fails us but Christ never will, because He alone is able.