God Is Faithful
2 Timothy 2:8-13
“…if we are faithless, he remains faithful…” vs. 13
The Three Sisters
Have you heard about the three absent minded sisters – Wanda, Martha & Wilma – who lived together in the same house? One day, when Wanda decided to take a bath, she drew the bath water & began undressing.
But suddenly she stopped & said, “I don’t remember. Am I getting into the tub or have I just gotten out?” She yelled to her sister Martha, “Martha, help me. Am I getting into the tub, or have I just gotten out?”
Martha hollered back from downstairs & said, “That’s a ridiculous question. I can’t believe you. You’re so forgetful.” And she started up the stairs, but stopped about half way up & said. “Why am I on the stairs? Am I going up, or am I going down?”
So she cried for Wilma. “Wilma, come here. I can’t remember if I’m going up the stairs or going down.”
Wilma replied, “You so funny. I can’t believe you’re so forgetful. I’m glad I’m not like that. Knock on wood.” (Knock on pulpit) Then she stopped, looked around & said, “Is that someone knocking at the front door or the back door?”
Ever have a day where you just can’t remember anything? If you’re able, please stand and let’s read 2 Timothy 2:8-13.
Read Passage – 2 Timothy 2:8-13
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;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
Our passage toady starts with an interesting challenge for us, verse 8:
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead…” vs. 8
The call is to “remember.” The concept of remembering has a few things to consider. First, I realize that there are some things that we would just rather forget; trauma, really difficult times in our lives like in relationships, people who may have hurt us or wronged us, etc. But…remembering can also be important for us. There are benefits for us to remembering things as well. We learn from our mistakes and from our difficulties and are tough times and when we remember those things and learn from them, we don’t make the same mistakes and we begin to formulate more of who we are and those things can help us achieve things in life and make us smarter and stronger.
Ex. I had a “light bulb” moment like that. You all know the 3 Stooges and the antics they have. One was actually putting a light bulb in their ear and having it light up. Well, as a boy of about ten I thought that was pretty cool. So…you guessed it, I stuck a light bulb in my ear and when I twisted it, that sharp then that goes into the socket, really cut up my ear. I never did that again.
In another instance, at about the same age, I remember my dad teaching me how to use an electric drill and how to use a drill. That has helped me many times when I have built and remodeled things.
Paul is asking us to remember Jesus and who he is in our life. Paul makes this statement in vs. 9:
“This is my gospel…” vs. 9
He asks us to remember Jesus and who he is so why does he follow that up with this statement? I believe it’s because in the normal living of our everyday lives we can forget that Jesus is with us and what he has done for us and that when we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our life needs to reflect that. Remembering that we have committed our life to Jesus and that he is part of our story, should be reflected in our daily actions.
Today we are celebrating communion. Communion is a way of remembering Jesus and his actions on our behalf. God purposefully built into the life of a church the service of communion so that we would always remember that. I grew up in a church that had a separate service for communion. We called it the Remembrance Service.
Ex. Look on the front of our communion table (point to the table in front of me), it even says “Do this in remembrance of me.”
A Trustworthy Saying
Paul continues on in this passage about what the communion means to us. We are suppose to remember what Jesus did but how should that effect our lives? Paul explains that in what he calls a trustworthy saying. In other words, these are words we can live by. So what are they and what do they teach us?
Verse 11 – If We Die With Him, We Will Also Live With Him
The first line is verse 11 which states: (read above). We are called to remember Jesus and that he died and also that he rose from the dead. For us, that means that when we accept that gift of salvation through him, that we are called to die to our old way of life and to live in light of all that he is in us. It means that some of our old habits and behaviors we choose not to do anymore. Paul uses some strong words here. Think about that idea of dying. That means it to disappear or to exist no longer. Think about that when it comes to some of our old habits and behaviors, those are to die.
There is a challenge here. If we accept Jesus and all he did for us, do we believe that enough to live it out. It should make a difference. It should make a difference in the way we treat people, in the things we say, the things we do, etc. Another verse that helps us understand what this might look like in our life is in Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Gal. 2:20
Ex. There was a movement in the early 1990’s lead by a guy named Dan Seaborn where he created a bracelet with the initials WWJD. Do you remember that? The WWJD meant What Would Jesus Do. It was meant to challenge us to live out the commitment of our faith through our actions.
When we really trust him and put behind us those old ways of life, those old habits and behaviors that are not really in agreement with our faith in Jesus, we actually live a more full life…as Paul said in verse 11, “in Him.”
Verse 12a – If We Endure, We Will Also Reign With Him
The second part of this trustworthy saying is in the first half of verse 12: (read above) the second call in this saying is to endure. Let me expand our thought on this by using a verse from Matthew 24 to help us get a better understanding of this. Matthew 24:12-13:
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:12-13
The key is the words “stand firm.” Standing firm is holding your ground in the face of adversity and difficulty.
Ill. Ever had a bad week? A week where things just are out of whack? My week was kind of that way. I had a few difficult things happen and I just was in a bad place mentally, thought wise, attitude wise, etc. I am sure that most of you have had weeks like that. Just yesterday I saw someone I hadn’t seen in a few weeks and when I said, ”How are you?” they said,”Ummm, ok I guess.” They had had a bad eek to and they weren’t hiding it at all.
So what do you do? Let’s go to Paul’s word s from 1 Tim. 4:11:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 1 Tim. 4:11
Standing firm, enduring, is gutting it out even when it’s not good. It’s working through the tough times and sticking to your faith even when you want to give up
Ex. What does that look like. For me, this week, it meant going to a few selected people I trust and pouring out my heart. It meant praying when I didn’t feel like praying. It meant going back to Scripture and trusting it when I just wanted to go hide somewhere and forget about everything. It’s not easy, not fun, and not a great place to be. I was not a fun person to be around. I moped a bit, I was more quiet than normal, I didn’t have that pep that I usually do. But…by the end of the week things had started to turn. I was popping out of it and it even showed in my physical countenance. My wife said she could see it. See, it even happens to pastors.
Verse 12b – If We Disown Him, He Will Also Disown Us
The third part of this trustworthy saying is the second half of verse 12: (read above). There is a stark reality that comes in this saying, it that we can choose to put our faith in anything we want, but if we don’t believe that Jesus is God’s Son, and that he died for us, we can’t expect him to stand up for us. He even told us that himself; Matthew 10:32-33:
“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33
In this passage Jesus is sending out his disciples to spread the gospel. He wants the disciples to be strong in telling people about salvation in the face of opposition and not lose faith themselves. Jesus gave 100% of himself on our behalf and he wants us to have a similar commitment. Many people put their faith in a lot of things, science, other gods, power, material things, the earth itself, etc. His call to us is to be willing to stand up for him. He allows us to choose him or anything else but if we choose something else, we cannot expect him to stand up for us when we are standing before God.
Verse 13 – If We Are Faithless, He Remains Faithful
The final part of this trustworthy saying is verse 13: (read above) this seems to be a bit confusing because he talks about us not being faithful. I believe this is referring to our struggle to remain faithful. We, in and of our own power, struggle to remain faithful. There is good news though, God is faithful. Let me try to explain this in this way; if we accept Jesus, God gives us his Holy Spirit to live in us. So if he is in us (point inside), it’s not about us and our power but about him and his power and he can’t fail. We are his and this is where the end of verse 13 comes in, he cannot disown himself. See if he is in us, he is there and he will never, he cannot, he will not, disown or turn on himself. He can’t. he won’t. we are secure in him. He promises us that and he doesn’t fial o his promises, we learn that in Hebrews 10:23:
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Heb.10:23
God is faithful.
So let me bring this full circle. There are some things we should never forget. Jesus, his work, and his victory is one of those things. God put in place a way for us to never forget, it’s the communion part of our worship. It’s a way for us to remember what was done for us and what Jesus went through on our behalf. This is actually a gift from Jesus to us as well. He gave everything for us on the cross. When he dies, he was completely spent, he had given everything he had including his communion with God. He felt distance from God and that’s why he said “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” In turn we can have full communion with God because of all he did for us. So we take this a a great honor and a serious remembering of what a loving, giving and incredible God we serve and the gratefulness for the work of Jesus Christ and his gift of salvation.