In October 16,2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic – part of the Japanese manga turned animation was released as a movie with the title – Demon Slayer: Infinity Train. It narrates the story of young demon slayer apprentices, if you’re familiar with Star Wars, they’re young Padawans, and one Hashira, in their terms, their Jedis (which meant one of the highest-ranking combatants in the Demon Slayer Corps). And they embarked on a mission to defeat a monster who has infiltrated a train, while defending 200 passengers. In the end, the slayers were able to save all the passengers, but another enemy appeared, stronger than the one before. The Hashira bravely fought with it until sunrise (syempre, kasi takot yung monster sa sunrise), protecting them all at the cost of his life.
And this event became one of the life-changing events for the protagonists of that story; simply because they were weak and helpless against the enemy. However, the one who protected them left them with a great encouragement by his brave example and parting words: “If you are feeling disheartened that you are somehow not enough. "Set your heart ablaze." Dry your eyes and look ahead. You may feel like digging your heels in. But the flow of time waits for no one. It won't patiently stand by as you grieve. Don't feel bad that I'm going to die. As a Hashira... It's natural I'd protect you all. The young buds must be allowed to bloom. Any other Hashira would have done the same as I.”
Like the helpless slayers, Christians are in a battle. They are in a battle to kill their sin. And encouragement is needed to continue fighting this daily battles of the Christian life. And believers find them not on something that is temporary, but something that is eternal, rather Someone that is eternal. Our Faithful Encourager, Jesus Christ, who sets our hearts ablaze not only by His Word and faithful example, but also in His person and work for everything hinges on who He is and what He has done.
Turn with me to our passage this morning – 2nd Timothy chapter 2, verses 8 to 13.. 2nd Timothy chapter 2, verses 8 to 13. I’ll be reading from the English Standard Version. 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.
May the Lord add blessing to the reading of His Word.
Paul has been hammering encouragements and warnings all throughout the studies that we have within the past few weeks building up from his encouragement to join with him, Paul wants Timothy to join him in suffering for the gospel by God’s power. That’s 2nd Timothy chapter 1 verse 8. Last week, verses 1 to 7, we saw there that Paul reminds Timothy again of his duty being strengthened in grace that is in Christ Jesus, he must entrust the apostolic teachings to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. He then follows it up with illustrations concerning the needed attitude for his task. Considering the discouragements along the way, he must exercise the soldier’s singlemindedness aiming to reject distractions and focus only on pleasing His commander. With regards to service, he must exercise the athlete’s discipline, practicing self-denial to train himself in godliness that he may gain the victor’s crown. Sabi nga ni Paul, kailangan mong makipabaka according to the rules. He must also embody the farmer’s diligence, or hard-working farmer, yung definition sa ating ESV, giving himself to God’s work fully and painfully, buo at may pagpapagal because the harvest comes only after doing the hard work. And in this morning’s text, Paul transitions from illustrations to human examples. He wants Timothy not only to see how they embodied the traits he previously illustrated but also to give him more encouragements and reason to share in suffering for the gospel. Kumbaga, nasa centerpiece sya ng encouragements, fourther reasons, and then more encouragements on the latter verses. This leads us to this morning’s message - that is “God's faithfulness motivates us to persevere in a life of devotion and service to Him.” “God's faithfulness motivates us to persevere in a life of devotion and service to Him.” Sa tagalog, Ang katapatan ng Dios ay naghihimok satin na magpursige sa buhay ng debosyon at paglilingkod sa Kanya. And to expound on this message, we’ll tackle two things:
- Firstly, how does the result of Christ’s faithfulness encourage us? That’s my 1st point - Risen Savior, Ruling King [Muling Nabuhay na Tagapagligtas at Naghaharing Hari].
- Secondly, how does Christ’s faithfulness affect those who are in Him and those who are not in Him? That’s my last point – Immutable God, Irrevocable Word [Di Nagbabagong Dios, Di Nababawing Salita].
Let’s consider the first point. Risen Savior, Ruling King. Muling Nabuhay na Tagapagligtas at Naghaharing Hari
You see that from analogies by illustrations, Paul directs Timothy to human examples, specifically, Christ’s and Paul’s suffering. Galing sa mga paglalarawan, itinuro ni Paul si Timothy sa mga taong dapat niyang tularan – si Kristo at si Paul.
Both Christ and Paul embodied the singlemindedness of a soldier, the dedication of the athlete and the diligence of the farmer. In Christ’s humanity, sabi ni Paul doon, qinuote nya, being a descendant of David, he suffered humiliation from his birth to his death. This is concisely summarized in the Westminster Shorter Catechism Question number 27. Sabi doon Wherein did Christ's humiliation consist? Answer: Christ's humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time. Kasama na doon pati yung three days nya huh sa kanyang himlayan. We see there that Christ endured humiliation and suffering to give glory to the Father and to redeem His people foreloved before the foundation of the world. They were unconditionally elected not because they have anything on their own, not because of anything good in their own, that they have accomplished something on their own, no! It’s because of God’s grace. And because of Christ’s faithfulness, His sacrifice was accepted and rewarded in His resurrection and His enthronement. On the other hand, Paul endured suffering from his new birth to his death. He suffered humiliation, rejection, persecution from the Jews, sometimes from other believers and those whom he reached-out for the gospel. He endured these things to please His Master by building-up those who are already in Christ and calling sinners to repentance and faith that they may have salvation, ang sabi Nya doon eternal glory in Christ.
The question is how can Paul endure? Bakit sya nagttyaga? Pwede naman nyang iwanan lahat. Our passage tells us why – it is because his faithful endurance is rooted and motivated by the reality of Christ’s resurrection and rule. Bakit sya nagttyaga? Kasi alam nya, totoo sa kanya na nabuhay muli si Kristo at sa ngayon ay naghaharing Hari. This shows us how Christ’s resurrection and enthronement encourages us in our labor for Him. Ang muling pagkabuhay at pagkaluklok sa trono ni Kristo ay nagpapasigla sa ating pagsisilbi para sa Kanya.
His resurrection confirms that what He has said according to Himself is true. Sabi nya sa “I Am’s”.. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me. I Am the Ressurection and the Life. I Am the Door…ayan. It proves that He is the Messiah and at the same time it assures the coming of His heavenly kingdom. Dahil Sya ay nabuhay muli, alam natin na sigurado na babalik Syang muli at maghahari talaga Sya nang buo na, consummation na. His life, suffering, death establishes the new covenant, which has the power to redeem unworthy sinners if they repent and believe in the gospel. Also, it is this very reason that we celebrate every Lord’s day the Lord’s supper. That is the promise. Kumbaga, yung pinakahihintay nating mangyari that we will be together with Him in heaven, celebrating the consummation of all things.
However, it did not stop with the resurrection because Christ ascended to heaven and was enthroned. He was seated at the Father’s right hand of the Father. Now, all authority has been given to Him in heaven and on earth. He is now ruling as a King, sabi nga ng homiletical point natin, but also as exercising His other offices as our Great Prophet and also as our Great High Priest. Kaya masasabi ni Paul na the Word of God cannot be bound! Ikulong na nilang lahat ng mensahero ng gospel, ng mabuting Balita, hindi nila makukulong yung Mensahe ng Diyos.
How does this affect His people? As a King, He rules eternally over everything causing all things to work for our good of His people. He is with His people, He can never die, no one can stand against His church. As our Prophet, He gives us God’s Word to assure us and to warn us that we may live in light of the Truth. At the same time, He sends to us His Holy Spirit, enabling us to understand His Word, enabling us to conquer our sins, persevere in the christian life. As our Priest, He is our Advocate, in other terms, our Defender against the accusation of Satan and also our Intercessor, pinagdarasal Nya tayo that our faith may not fail. Dun pa lang, kumbaga sa buffet, busog ka na. What then does it secure? These secures not only encouragement to persevere but also the security of one’s salvation. No one can snatch those who are in Christ from His hands. Those who are in Christ will be sustained to the end.
It also assures us of our future resurrection. Sabi ni Thomas Watson sa kanyang libro na Body of Practical Divinity: “Christ did not rise from the dead as a private person but the public head of the church, and the head being raised, the rest of the body shall not always lie in the grave. Christ’s rising is a pledge of our resurrection.” At the same time, it also secures the result in faithfully partaking in the work of the gospel. Though people abandon Paul or even if he is persecuted, even if he suffers hunger, torture, imprisonment, or death, he can boldly proclaim that the gospel knowing that it is the power of God unto salvation! And God will continue to save people. God will continue to save sinners, unworthy sinners as the gospel is continually proclaimed.
You seem in November 25, 1895, a cornerstone of ice was laid in Leadville, Colorado—it is the beginning of the largest ice palace ever built in America. In an effort to bolster the town’s sagging economy, bumabagsak na yung ekonomiya nila, the citizens staged a winter carnival which is on their end, it is from December to March.
So on New Year’s Day of 1896, the town turned out for the grand opening. So, meron silang castle na binayaran nila para magpagawa. $40,000 yung binayad nila and measured 450 x 320 feet. The towers that flanked the entrance were 90 feet high. Inside was 16,000-square-foot skating rink..sobrang grandiose. But by the end of March the palace was melting away, along with the hopes of the people of Leadville.
Their effort to build a castle to save their town was in vain. Their investment and hard work all melted away as summer came without even solving the problem. This is not the case with God and anything that is done for Him. Since Christ is our Risen Savior and Ruling King, we must ignite your hearts with the reality of Christ’s reign. Pag-alabin natin ang ating mga puso sa pamamagitan ng realidad ng paghahari ni Kristo.
The question is are you afraid of the troubles that lies ahead? The uncertainties of life? Take comfort that Christ is risen and reigning. Be assured that Christ doesn’t lead you where He hasn’t gone before and that throughout everything, He will not leave you. Even as He is managing all that is happening in the whole universe, which none of us can understand. He works all things together for the good of His people. What discouragement/trouble then can diminish such great promise? Wala. Nothing. Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present or things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created things, will be able to separate us form the love of God. As long as Christ lives and reigns, this promise stands!
Are you afraid of suffering? Didn’t Christ suffered before He was glorified? God is faithful also in appointing suffering to His people. This must not be seen as punishment but out of His great love, He refines us in our suffering. Kailangan nating tandaan na justified na tayo kay Christ. So yung mga paghihirap natin ditosa mundo, hindi yan meaningless; hindi yan coincident lang. It’s planned to refine us. And if you would recall your sufferings are the time of greatest growth in grace wherein God has utilized to make you trust Him more, to reveal His grace to you and to use you as an instrument for His kingdom. Often, we say in times of suffering – Why me? Bakit ako? But in light of Christ’s reign – we should ask ourselves – bakit hindi ako? Why not me?
If our life can be used to give hope to other struggling believers, why not me? Bakit hindi ako? If our weakness reveals the power of God in this chaotic, sinful world, why not me? If in my suffering God proves that He forgives and sustains His people, Why not me?
Consider Ann Hasseltine Judson (Nancy) - the wife of Adoniram Judson. As husband and wife, they served as missionaries to Burma. And by their work, several locals were converted. But the life of the Judsons if you were going to read their book, it’s full of suffering.
She wrote a book, Nancy wrote a book titled - An Account of the American Baptist Mission to the Burman Empire, which was widely circulated in the United States and Britain, resulting in an enormous interest in and funding for overseas missions. She also, because she saw the women in Burma were not being educated, she advocated in advance for education of women, teaching women to read and write, and starting schools for women everywhere her travels took her.
But in 1824, the Burmese emperor imprisoned nearly all Western men as presumed spies for the British government. So sabi ng Burmese emperor, yun mga Englishmen na yan, spies yan; ikulong natin silang lahat. Anf this included Adoniram, her husband. Adoniram Judson spent nineteen months in two different prisons, including one overseen by convicted murderers who had been spared death in exchange for serving as jailers!
And many prisoners died, but Nancy’s devotion kept Adoniram alive. She pestered and begged and sometimes bribed the guards. Pag sobrang..ang gagawin nya, magbbribe sya ng guard tapos pag gabi na, gagapang sya dun sa cell ni Adoniram tapos sasabihin nya laht ng assuring promises galing sa Word and then bibigyan nya ng pagkain si Adoniram Judson. She even managed to give Adoniram his personal pillow, into which was sewn his translation of the Burmese Bible. So sa isang pillow, andun yung bible kasi bawal ibigay sa kanila. All the while, Nancy was nursing an infant raising two orphaned Burmese girls.
Ann Judson was quoted in her biography saying this: “A little while and we are in eternity. Before we find ourselves there, let us do much for Christ.”
In his life story we see that it is indeed a worthy and high calling to drink from our cup of suffering again and again and again. In marriage or missions, in service and in times of affliction, it is our great privilege, a great Christian privilege to give all that we have that God may be glorified.
Now, the question is: Is this all the encouragement that we have in Christ? Ang sagot ko doon, hindi pa.. kasi hindi pa tapos ang sermon. Do we have further encouragement in Him? Let us consider my last point...
Immutable God, Irrevocable Word.. Di Nagbabagong Dios, Di Nababawing Salita.
Paul gives Timothy further basis for enduring through a hymn. Binibigyan lalo ni Paul si Timothy ng basehan para lalo syang magpursige sa pamamagitan ng isang himno. The first pair of lines tells us of a Christian’s destiny from conversion to glorification.
Firstly, it tells us of our new life in Christ – Sabi dun, “If we died with Him, then we will also live with Him.” Since believers are united to Christ, when Christ died to sin, we also died to sin. When He rose from the dead, we also rose with Him.
However, there is an “already but not yet” sense to it. We are saved from the penalty of sin through Christ’s redeeming work, we are being saved from the power of sin through the spiritual blessings we have in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is first basis – God’s people possess life in Christ and are able to live in the power of the Spirit. Sabi. Nga ni Paul kay Timothy sa kanyang unang introduction, it is the spirit of power, of love and self-control, not a spirit of fear. And the hymn continues to the second line. Yung first line, ung second line, in-expound nya kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng first line. Sabi nya dun - if we indeed have life in Christ, If we indeed live with Him, sabi nya, “ then, if we endure, we will also reign with Him.” That is if we persevere to the end, then we will reign with Him, we will be in our glorified body, now saved from the presence of sin forever. And this is the second basis – as believers, we live in the power of the Spirit, and we must endure and persevere to the end that we may possess this reward.
The next pair warns hearers of the consequence of denying Him. The third line warns us against the severe consequence of denying Christ - “if we deny Him, then He will also deny us. This may talk about rejection of Christ due to unbelief. That is they reject the gospel message or rejection of Christ by apostasy, that is abandoning or renouncing the faith. And ito yung ikatlong basehan ni Paul para kay Timothy – that those who deny Christ will be punished, He will deny them of eternal life as He denies them before the Father, Matthew 10:33 and before the angels of God, Luke 12:9. And same with the statement earlier, expounding the fourth line, expounds to the third line, sabi nga doon - “if we are faithless, He remains faithful” and then with an additional comment stating the reason why He remains faithful – “for He cannot deny Himself”. To be faithless meant to betray a trust, that is - to be unfaithful. The hymn tells us that if even if we are unfaithful, God remains faithful to do what He has said in His promises and His warnings for He cannot deny himself. Man’s faithlessness does not disprove or affect or diminish God’s faithfulness.
Sabi ni John Calvin sa kanyang commentary sinummarise nya itong last two lines: “Our faithlessness cannot in any way detract from the Son of God and His Glory. Being all sufficient in Himself He has no need of our confession. It is as if he said, ‘Let all who will desert Christ, for they deprive Him of nothing; when they perish, He remains unchanged.’”
In other words, Paul reminds Timothy of the promises he has in Christ and the warnings of Christ that he may continue with the work of the gospel and this passage shows us that Christ’s faithfulness both assures and warns us. Ang katapatan ni Hesus ay nagpapalakas or nagpapasigla at nagbibigay babala sa atin.
One of the famous stories for children is “The boy who cried wolf.” The boy being a shepherd would often play a prank by crying out that wolves are attacking the sheep. Siguro kasi bored sya. Because of this the villagers would come to his rescue but will often find that there is no wolf, walang umaatakeng lobo. When the time came, that the prank became real, nung naging totoo na yung mga umaatakeng lobo, the villagers didn’t trust the boy, so they didn’t help him. His unfaithfulness made him unworthy of help and trust. But what if someone who is faithful gives us a warning or hindi lang warning, bigyan pa tayo ng pangako, a promise?
In the Old Testament, Moses prophesied that God would raise up a prophet like him from the line of Israel, and His people should listen to Him. That’s Deuteronomy chapter 18 verse 15. However, the book of Deuteronomy ends with this passage: Deuteronomy 34 verses 10 to 12 sabi doon – “And there was not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” Walang dumating. The prophet like Moses.
In the book of Isaiah further prophesied the coming of this great prophet, who was called “My Servant” katulad ni Moses, David and Job. And one who was given “the tongue of those who are taught, that he may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.” Isaiah 50 verse 4. And this prophet does not only proclaim a warning of judgment but also a promise of salvation. This promise finds its fulfillment in none other than, surprise! Christ. He is the prophet like Moses. The Father affirmed this during a voice from the heavens, during the transfiguration. Kaya yung book ni Mark, in a sense, sinasabi nya na eto na yung prophet like Moses na hinihintay nyo! Sabi ng voice from the clouds, from the heavens – “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” Echoing the promise found in the book of Deuteronomy. What Moses did literally, Christ did, Christ does and continually does to His people. He led God’s people out of slavery and bondage of sin. He sweetens their bitter waters, cures their diseases, He supplies the wants and needs of His people. Like Moses He fasted for forty days resisting temptations of the devil by God’s Word. Though, in the fasting of Moses, it was more of him, right, give, being given the Word of God in the Temptation of Christ, the fasting of Christ. It is Christ saying, stating again and again standing on the Word of God in order to repel the temptation of satan. Like Moses, He died at God’s command, but not as punishment but as an atonement for sin.
Christ is a prophet like Moses indeed, but He is greater than Moses because although He is man, hundred percent man, He is also hundred percent God – He is God in the flesh. That’s why He is the Preeminent Prophet, for “No one has seen God at any time, the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” John 1 verse 18. Because He is God, He does not change, sabi sa Hebrews 13 5 – “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
And since He is God, He cannot lie, and His words has weight for it is the Truth. Unbelievers would hear God’s promise and warnings and will treat it as nothing but a joke, but it is not the same with God’s people. We believe that He does what He says, and He says what He’ll do. When God tells us of His promise – it is a sure promise. We can stand on that promise, finding comfort and encouragement throughout life’s challenges, throughout our struggles with sin, throughout our struggles with discouragement. That is why we can profess with conviction that the Lord is our Rock.
The same goes with His warnings, there’s a twin. Kumbaga hindi mo pwedeng, hindi mo pwedeng tanggalin yung promises, yung assurance ng promises sa warnings nya – it is a sure warning rooted in His faithfulness. It is an act of love to show concern to those whom you hold dear and to warn them that they may do good. Kung tunay na mahal mo ang isang tao, at sya ay masasagasaan na ng kotse, hindi mo sasabihing: “Uy! May promise ako sayo kanina!” At sasabihin mo: “Umalis ka dyan, masasagasaan ka!”
God uses these warnings, to awaken His people from the corrupting deceitfulness of sin, to correct their practices wherein they may have compromised with the world, to kindle afresh the flame of their love, to save them from being lukewarm in their faith and service that they may persevere in faith. If we’re going to look at the rebukes and reminders in the Book of Revelation, that is where those warnings can be seen as I stated earlier. For this reason, we must listen to Him to persevere in holiness and godly service. Makinig sa Kanya nang magpursige sa kabanalan at serbisyong para sa Dios.
Brothers and sisters, dear guests, if you are not in Christ, His Word proclaims a warning – you will be punished eternally in hell if you don’t repent and believe in the gospel. What is this gospel? That because we are sinners, we are condemned eternity to hell but by His grace, by His goodness and grace, God provided a saviour for us, that is Jesus Christ. He is fully God and fully man. He lived, suffered, and died but He didn’t sin. And again, earlier, we said His sacrifice was accepted and rewarded by His resurrection and enthronement. Because of that, we can say, we can boldly proclaim to anyone who is not in Christ: Come, humble, yourself and be reconciled to God. If you hear His Word, do not harden your heart. Repent and believe in the gospel that you may share in the promises of Christ.
Now, if you are in Him, if you know that you are in Christ, then listen not to the accusations of the devil, nor the encouragements of the world, nor the lies that your mind creates. Listen to God who has saved you and is sustaining you. He speaks to you now by His Word!
Do you feel guilty and ashamed of your sinful past or weighed down by your struggle with sin? When the devil and your conscience accuse you, find forgiveness and encouragement in the promise of Christ which was magnified in the cross and affirmed in His resurrection. You, who are in Christ, you are now a new creation, if you have repented and believed in the gospel. Stand in the truths of God’s Word and pursue holiness by the enabling of His Spirit but at the same time, since you are in Christ, listen to His warnings…heed His warnings
Do you think that the world’s encouragement can make you holy? Surely the world can offer great things, but those things are only temporary. The world can offer practical wisdom, and some of it has much help for us but there is no greater treasure and wisdom other than in Christ. If you love other things than Christ, anong mangyayari sa iyo? You will care more about gaining them, keeping them and yung masama dun, pag nawala sya sa iyo, mas maggrieve ang iyong soul. And this is dangerous to you. But the encouragement in His Word, gives us life, makes us wise, makes us rejoice at the same time, we are warned. And when we are warned, when we obey that warning, we are rewarded. Psalm 19 verse 7 to 11. What then should we do? We are to stand in His promises and heed His warnings!
Consider Peter, the most zealous in everything became most zealous in running away and even denied Christ wherein he invoked a curse to himself. Because he felt guilty, ang ginawa nya he went back to his old life as a fisherman to which, anong ginawa ni Christ? He sought Him and He restored him. He preached one of the greatest sermons at Pentecost. But He too stumbled by trying to go back to Judaism with Christianity, trying to mix Judaism with Christianity to which Paul rebuked him. And this faithful rebuke coming from Paul, reminding him of the gospel. And according to tradition, Peter repented. Peter died by martyrdom. He was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Jesus Christ. Kung meron man tayong tao na makaka-relate, siguro si Peter yun. Kasi minsan sobrang zealous natin pero at the same time, sobrang palpak natin.
Indeed, God remains faithful despite our faithlessness. Yung mga heroes of faith natin, they were all sinners; they were all jars of clay who experienced the transforming grace of Christ. They continually repented, they listened to the Word of God and heeded His warnings, persevered to the end. We can say in a sense that the work of salvation is a work of grace from beginning to end. In the beginning, the Father elected and then He sent the Son to atone for us then when the Son has risen and enthroned, He sent His Holy Spirit, to sustain us, to persevere us by His Word. In conclusion, the Triune God - our faithful encourager gives us faithful encouragements and warnings which enables us to persevere. It is by it that we engage in the gospel ministry despite affliction - building up one another in Christ, calling sinners to repentance and faith, as we are to be transformed unto Christlikeness in preparation for glory in the life to come. What an amazing promise and work of grace.
May the understanding of these truths, help us to live a life of devotion in service to Him. Let us pray.
Our gracious God and Father, we praise You Lord God for Your faithfulness that if left alone by ourselves, we cannot live a single second of the Christian life. But because of Your sustaining grace, Your electing grace, we can stand in the promise and we can heed Your warnings. We are enabled to persevere in faith. Help us Lord God to live in the reality of Your rule that we may persevere to the end. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Transcribed by: Janette Bautista