8: "Never forget that Jesus Christ was a man born into King David's family and that He was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach." - Paul teaches that staying focused on the core of our belief is important.
9: "And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained." - No matter what opposition we meet, God's word cannot be suppressed.
10: "I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen." - A strong statement of faith.
11-13: "This is a true saying: 'If we die with Him, we will also live with Him. 12If we endure hardship, we will reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will deny us. 13If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.'" - This poem or lyrics from a song outlines a life of faith in an if-then format.
14-15: "Remind everyone of these things, and command them in God's name to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them. 15Work hard so God can approve you. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth." - Arguments among Christians can be very damaging. Focus always on the Truth and do not be ashamed.
Points to Contemplate:
Have you forgotten?
As you busy yourself in the activities of the day and as your focus turns towards your challenges, struggles, pains, and worries, do you forget what Christ has done for you? When you work at growing your ministry or developing a new program, do you remember why you have been called by God? Is everything you do in life focused around the Good News that Jesus has given you victory over death and in the process has erased your sins for all times? Do these thoughts stir you onward and upward in ministry?
Do you suffer? Why do you suffer? Suffering is the one aspect of human life we struggle with the most. Why must good people suffer? Why is there, at times, so much pain? What good can come from it? Why doesn't God always heal when you call out His name? Throughout his letters, Paul discusses the suffering he had to endure and the thorn he had asked God to remove. He indicates that his suffering was as a result of his preaching. Are you willing to carry on in the ministry to which God has called you even if it leads to suffering or pain? Are you "willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation" to others?
What will you do? Paul indicates that the actions we choose to take in life have direct results in our relationship with God. Have you considered your relationship with God when you choose to deny His teaching and act in ungodly ways? As you lose your temper and swear at a loved one, is God denying that He knows you? As you choose to indulge in the temptation that always seems to find you, are you causing God pain? When you turn and place worldly things as a higher priority in your life, are you testing God's faithfulness? Paul is not saying that we can earn salvation through our actions but do you see how they can affect your relationship with God and His ability to create you anew into the image of Christ? Do your actions and deeds ruin the relationship that others could possibly have with God?
Are you ashamed? As you work at the ministry God has placed on your heart, as you lean into His truth and bring that truth as a light of hope into the world, do you, at times, become reluctant, shy, or tentative? Do you find yourself changing aspects of your ministry in order to please others? Do you listen to critics and naysayers? Do you seek opinions or feedback and then change your ministry as a result? If you are focused on God, if you are in constant prayer seeking His guidance, do you need to second guess your actions? Do you trust God's guidance to the point that you are willing to boldly go wherever He leads? Promises of the Gospel:
Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins. He was dead and buried. And then, God reached down and raised Him from the dead bringing the gift of eternal life to all who believe. This is the Gospel. This is the Good News to which all ministries should point. Paul teaches us that as long as we lean into this Truth, nothing else matters. Pain and suffering will be endured. Success and glory will be tempered. All of our actions in life will either bring people to God's Truth or it will ruin them. Our deeds and thoughts have a direct impact on our relationship with God. When we die with Him, when all aspects of our selves are set aside and our focus is only on Him, then we will reign in His glory. Paul calls us to focus on God's truth so that we can be unashamed in all we do in order to boldly go wherever He calls us to go.