A STUDY ON PREPARING FOR ETERNAL LIFE

Getting to Reign with Christ

2 Timothy 2:11-13 10/29/17 SCC

 

The Spiritually Mature Endure to Reign with Christ 2 Timothy 2:11-12

Think about how overcoming great odds to take positions of power and authority resonates with us because it communicates something deeply true about our God-given eternal purpose and destiny. God created us to rule. God often moves people from obscurity to reign and rule. It’s interesting to review the recurring theme of ordinary believers coming to positions of rule and great power in the Bible.

Abraham was an unknown who eventually became a wealthy patriarch of a growing powerful tribe. Joseph went from being orphaned to ruling in Potiphar’s household and over the whole of Egypt. Moses went from a slave to prince of Egypt. Esther, David, and Daniel progressed from vagrant to leadership and ruling status in Babylon, Israel, and Persia. The pattern illustrates God’s purpose of elevating ordinary believers to rise to power and rule, to control and direct as godly leaders. For us, today, that means focusing on Jesus promise that faithful believers will sit with Him on His throne (Revelation 3:21) and together they shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:5).

 

Preparation through endurance

There are two key words used for “endure” in the Bible. One means to stand and bear up against something that is happening. The other means to stand one’s ground, hold out and remain while experiencing something.

At least three times it says to endure all things.

·         In 1 Corinthians 9:12 Paul bears up against all things for the sake of the gospel not wanting to hinder the response of anyone to it. The all things in this case is not exercising his right as an apostle to be supported by the Corinthians. The reason was so that none would presume he was simply in it for the money.

·         In 1 Corinthians 13:7 Paul described love as standing one’s ground, holding out and remaining while experiencing all things. Love is not something that shifts with the wind or waffles when facing something that requires holding out, standing and remaining. Love never fails.

·         In 2 Timothy 2:10 Paul states that enduring all things was essential for the gospel to be heard through his ministry so those destined to believe would be saved ending in eternal glory. If this process required suffering for Paul, so be it.

So, what is the all things to be endured? Persecution (1 Corinthians 4:12); Temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13); Persecution and affliction (2 Thessalonians 1:4); Hardship (2 Timothy 4:5); great conflict of suffering (Hebrews 10:32); Ill treatment (Hebrews 11:25); Discipline (Hebrews 12:7); and Injustice (1 Peter 2:20). We often misconstrue ministry as extracting people from hard times. We often pray that God would bring relief and deliverance from difficulty, persecution, and affliction. However, ministry often involves enduring since that’s God’s desire in order to reign with Christ. Maturity comes by way of endurance not deliverance.

NB: So endurance is hanging in when facing hardship because you agree with God about what is right in the situation. If you do, and if you continue to move that in a righteous direction, then you are enduring whether the situation improves or not. This, Paul says, will qualify you to reign with Christ.

Enduring to reign

The enduring disciple is promised special reward in Christ’s future kingdom because of his faithfulness to God during hardship. These fundamental truths are proclaimed by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 2:11–13. Paul got this idea from Jesus who connected it to Genesis 1:26-28 our ruling over creation. In these verses Paul maintained that a believer in Christ is secure in his ownership of eternal life, yet his Christian life will be scrutinized by the Lord and special privilege and reward will be conferred on him, only if one endures. In this passage enduring is necessary in order to reign in Christ’s Kingdom.

Verse 11: If we died with Him, we shall also live with Him…

Every believer who has eternal life died with Him and is destined to live with Christ (Romans 6:3-11).

Verse 13: If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful. He cannot deny Himself…

Since Christ will always be faithful to that which He promised, all believers, even unfaithful ones, will live with Christ forever. Our eternal security is based on what Christ promises not on our performance.

Verse 12a: If we endure, we will reign with Him…

While all believers have eternal life v 11, even unfaithful ones’ v 13, only believers who endured in this life will be part of His kingdom administration. Notice it does not say ‘if you are saved died with Him you will reign’. Believers must endure if they are going to reign with Christ. Endure the all things already mentioned. Life is filled with stuff that will need to be endured because we aren’t delivered from everything. Many times we are delivered through them—like Noah and the flood.

Verse 12b: If we deny Him, He also will deny us

To deny Christ is to fail to endure in the Christian life and to be denied by Him is to be refused the privilege of ruling with Him. So denial of Christ is being unfaithful to Him. There is no endurance needed in heaven.

 

The reward for faithful service in the parable of the Minas (Luke 19:11-21) was receiving positions of rulership within the kingdom of the nobleman. In Matthew 19:28 Jesus promised the apostles they would rule over Israel. Jesus taught this often enough that even the mother of Zebedee’s sons (James and John) requested that Jesus have each of them rule with Him on his right and left hands (Matthew 20:20-23). Jesus tells the apostles and the mother that if they wanted that kind of position, to rule at that level, they would have to suffer v 22-23, because ruling was conditioned on their faithfulness through trial. Jesus could not promise positions of authority carte blanche. This had to be earned through endurance. Hebrews 10:35-36 indicate that not throw[ing] away your confidence is essential so to receive a great reward. For you have need of endurance so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. Believers sanctification includes endurance that will be rewarded by Christ to rule.

Some implications

1. Enduring in the Christian life has eternal consequences, specifically the right to rule with Christ.

2. Increased opportunity to serve Him should be something which is extremely desirable.

3. Believers are secure in their salvation but their endurance will be analyzed by Christ.

4. The goal of discipleship is to prepare believers to rule with Jesus Christ to endure hardship.

5. The biblical evidence of ruling with Christ should spark our imagination to realign our priorities.

6. Believers must not be content to ‘get into heaven’ but preparing for heaven by enduring. You can receive no reward, or a reward, or a full reward. Your choice!

7. Ministry is not attempting to eliminate suffering in life but to disciple believers to learn endurance.

8. The motivation for endurance is the eternal benefit of reigning with Christ.

9. This life is training time for reigning time.

So What?

·         Bad life situations are Gods laboratory of spiritual growth (health, marriage, money, family, career, persecution). These will require endurance by applying biblical standards in faith knowing that endurance through and not extraction from these is often God’s agenda.

·         If one is content not to rule with Christ it means one’s desires do not align with God’s and are wrong. It is not a sign of humility to not want to rule, but of disobedience. He did not say if one gets in that one will reign, but only if one endures will he reign. Why not want that?

·         Relief contributes to one’s immaturity. Endurance contributes to one’s maturity. Basically a relief mentality in ministry plays against God’s desire for enduring hardship in order to reign.

·         Apparently God knows a whole lot more about how profitable it is for his people to endure. He has embedded this perspective of enduring into His Word to motivate us to pursue our eternal welfare by endurance. Don’t escape sinfully but endure righteously.

·         God is not a socialist nor avoids inequality. He encourages his people to live in such a way that they profit eternally knowing that each will profit differently.

·         The greater the investment the greater the reward. John says we should live in such a way as to

            receive a full reward 2 John 1:8.