Dallas Burdette April 11, 1998

Thrust Statement: The resurrection of Jesus guarantees endurance now and final conquest in the hour of death.

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-10

INTRODUCTION

Today is a time that the world is thinking about the One who rose from the dead to die no more. Yes, today is a time that the world is thinking about the One who triumphed over death. You are here because of your consciousness of this One who is called Jesus Messiah. You are here because of your desire to pay homage to Him who is also called King of kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16). Hopefully, this message—in the face of temptation, persecutions, and death—will cause us to reflect upon the resurrection of Jesus for endurance and comfort in the hour of temptation, persecution, or death. It is also my desire that this resurrection message will cause each of us to reflect upon the question that Pilate asked the crowd: "What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:22).

If you have not yet responded to Jesus as Lord, I plead with you to accept Jesus as your savior. I encourage you to accept God’s point of view about Jesus as revealed to Joseph by an angel of the Lord: "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:20-21). Again, one hears God’s point of view following the baptism of Jesus: "And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’" (Matthew 3:17). Once more, I now invite you to approach the Mount of Transfiguration to hear God’s testimony about Jesus: "A voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’" (Matthew 3:5).

Following this startling scene, Jesus tells His disciples not to make known the events that they had just witnessed until after His resurrection. Matthew informs us that: "As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, ‘Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead’" (Matthew 17:9). As you reflect upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, God’s saving action requires a response from you. God’s saving action does not take place automatically in the human sphere, but it requires a response from every human being. Following the baptism of Jesus, Matthew says, "From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near’" (Matthew 4:17). After the resurrection of Jesus, Luke informs us that on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection, that "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day" (Acts 2:41).

No one can read the New Testament without observing the passion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Messiah. The passion and resurrection of Jesus are cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith. The historical fact of the resurrection is the very basis for the truth of Christianity. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and Christianity stand or fall together. The resurrection was the one thing that declared Jesus to be the Son of God. Paul writes, "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 1:1-4). In the Gospels, we have the redemptive event; in the books of Acts, we have the redemptive experience; and in the Epistles, we have the redemptive explanation of the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. In the epistles of Paul, he sets forth the scheme of redemption through faith in Jesus and insists that this redemption is the basis of our salvation and, at the same time, the goal of our sanctification and service.

This exhortation to remembrance and faithfulness is clearly set forth in the passage before us (2 Timothy 2:1-10). Paul did not want Timothy to waver or fall short under the anxieties of preaching or of ill-treatment; thus, he strongly advises him to "Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David" (2 Timothy 2:8). In other words, Paul reminds Timothy that what ever comes to pass, Jesus is alive! It is this fact of Jesus’ resurrection that guarantees endurance now and final conquest in the hour of death. This understanding that Jesus is alive is declared to be the Gospel by Paul: "This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory" (2 Timothy 2:8-10).

What Paul is saying to Timothy is the ultimate message for you and me. For Christians to know that Jesus is alive is what really matters, for in our risen Lord we find the courage to live and the comfort to die. This fact of Jesus’ persecution called forth the admonition to "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:2-3).

WE ARE TO REMEMBER THE FACT OF THE RESURRECTION

"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel" (2 Timothy 2:8). Paul is stating a fact that has the support of prophetic, historic and dynamic evidence. It is still helpful for Christians in this age of doubt to reexamine and reevaluate the evidence that Paul sets before us.

There Is the Fact of the Prophetic Evidence

"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David" (2 Timothy 2:8). The phrase "descended from David" shifts our focus back to the prophetic utterances of the Old Testament. Matthew begins his Gospel: "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1). "Son of David" appears to be a messianic title prevalent in Matthew’s day. Matthew also reports that two blind men attributed this title to Jesus: "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" (9:27). On another occasion, following the healing of a man born both blind and mute, the crowds were so amazed that they said, "Could this be the Son of David?" (12:23).

The title "Son of David" was a popular title for the Messiah (Matthew 9:27). It refers especially to the prophecies of Isaiah where the virgin-born Son (Isaiah 7:14) is the Child who is born. Again, the "Son of David" is also the Son who is given (9:6). This "Son of David" is also the Rod or Shoot out of the stem of David’s father, Jesse. In other words, Jesus, the "Son of David" is the new Branch out of his roots (11:1). Also, the Davidic Covenant appears to be in mind in 2 Samuel 7:11-16. Paul, in his sermons, often cited the Old Testament to substantiate his defense of Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of David and His resurrection. When Paul was in Pisidian Antioch, he proclaimed:

We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

‘You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.’

The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words:

‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised
to David.’ So it is stated elsewhere:
‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’

"For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

‘Look, you scoffers,
wonder and perish,
for I am going to do something in your days
that you would never believe,
even if someone told you’" (Acts 13:32-41).

There Is the Fact of the Historic Evidence

"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David" (2 Timothy 2:8). The four Gospels are united in their testimony that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The book of Luke, like the book of Matthew and Mark, closes with Christ’s appearance before all the disciples. There were many eyewitness accounts of the resurrection (Acts 1:1-3; Luke 1:1-4). The accounts of the appearances of Christ were not fleeting glimpses of a stranger in a dark alley; these appearances occurred over a period of forty days. He appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Matthew 28:1-7). He also appeared to the eleven (28:16-20). Luke also gives the account of the two men’s conversation with Jesus as they were on their way to a village called Emmaus (Luke 24:13-27). Thomas, one of the apostles who was not present when Jesus appeared to the eleven, later witnessed the presence of Jesus (John 20:19-20). Peter, on the day of Pentecost, gives the following testimony as to the veracity of the resurrection: "God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact" (Acts 2:32). On another occasion, Peter addressed a crowd concerning the resurrection.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this (Acts 3:13-15).

Paul also mentions that "he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:6).

WE ARE TO CONSIDER THE FORCE OF THE RESURRECTION

"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel" (2 Timothy 2:8). These words constitute the threefold encouragement Paul gives to Timothy. First, he encourages him to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2:1). But this admonition is also true of us. It is true of every Christian. Second, we have the power to stand: "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer" (2:3-4). It is in this same vein that Paul told the Corinthians: "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). Yes, "we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37). Third, we have the power to strive for Christ: "Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules," writes Paul (2 Timothy 2:5). As Christians, we have a race to run, a course to finish. Thus, Paul turns our attention from the scene of the battle to the Olympic arena. And fourth, we have the power to serve Christ: "The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops" (2:6). Every Christian has a job to do, and that calls for faithfulness.

WE ARE TO DELIVER THE FAITH OF THE RESURRECTION

"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 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 " (2 Timothy 2:8-10). If we are convinced of the fact and force of the resurrection, then, we cannot be silent. This steadfastness in proclamation of the good news is what Paul is telling Timothy to continue to proclaim. For Paul the Lord Jesus was a living reality. For us Jesus should be a living reality. Paul was prepared to preach the gospel, no matter what the cost. This is what he wanted Timothy to do, and this is what he wants us to do. We must preach the gospel whatever the cost.

The message of Easter is that Jesus is alive! This is the fact that we must see. This is the faith that we must share. Are you sharing your faith in Jesus? Are you willing to suffer because of your faith in the resurrection of Jesus? Are you producing fruit in your life because of your belief in the resurrection of Jesus Messiah? Where do you stand today? I wonder if you know that Jesus is alive right now. I wonder if you have ever asked Him to forgive you of your sins. If not, why not ask Him to do that for you right now. Why not respond in the same way that 3000 did on the day of Pentecost when they inquired about what to do to be saved. You recall the words of Peter don’t you? In response to the crowd, Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).


Preached: Grassy Church of Christ, Arab, AL, April 12, 1998