Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

13 October 2019

Pentecost 18 Sermon: If

Preached on 2 Timothy 2:1–13
18th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 23C
13 October AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of If.

2 Timothy 2:13 Summary: As Paul nurtured Timothy in the Gospel, so the apostle encourages Timothy to do the same for the next generation of pastors. Yet even though this is a pastoral epistle, Paul writes much that holds for all Christians. After all, the pastors must know the Word in order to preach the Word and must believe the same Word in order to be saved.

So here, as the section concludes, we have a series of “if” statements. The first connects us with baptism, in which we died with Christ in order to live with Him. Second is the promise that those who endure will enter His eternal reign. Even now, God moves us to reign over our own thoughts and passions, directing them in faithful pursuits.

Next comes the warning to avoid apostasy and rejection of the Gospel. We sometimes call this the “sin against the Holy Spirit,” for it is a rejection of the God-given faith and salvation we have through the Spirit’s working. We dare not tell Him that we don’t want or need Jesus’ suffering and death.

Yet Paul realizes that even our best intentions and holiest desires fall short and he comforts us with the reminder that God cannot deny His love and forgiveness any more than He can deny Himself, for His nature is love. No matter how weak we are or how many times we stumble, He continues to receive His penitent children into His gracious presence.

Text: You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:

   If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
   if we endure, we will also reign with him;
   if we deny him, he also will deny us;
   if we are faithless, he remains faithful —

for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:1-13

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of If.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 111; Ruth 1:1-19a; Luke 17:11-19

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