Sermon Options: October 9, 2022

February 20th, 2022


2 TIMOTHY 2:8-15

Phoebe Cary's The Leak in the Dike, tells of Peter, who happily went on an errand for his mother. The task completed, Peter started home, following along the dikes that kept back angry seas. Unexpectedly, Peter hears the trickle of water just now beginning to seep through a small leak in one of the mighty dikes.

To be faithful on a simple errand for his mother was no great thing. But now, with no one there to charge him to his duty, will Peter faithfully take his stand against the sea? Bravely, Peter forces his boyish arm into the small hole. And there he stays throughout the long night calling in vain for help. He endures the hardship because he knows that life itself is at stake. Only the morning brings rescue and a hero's welcome home. The Christian life is a struggle against forces of evil, seen and unseen. Some service to God proves merely a happy errand. But other duties call for enduring hardship.

I. In My Hardship I Am Faithful (vv. 8-10)
The apostle was nearing the end of his time of hardship. He knew that his days on earth, imprisoned in chains, were numbered. Joyfully he testified of his continuing faithfulness. "In my hardship, I am faithful," Paul encouraged his son in the faith.

Paul was faithful because he remembered Jesus Christ. His Lord had endured hardships. Jesus had been put to death to advance God's kingdom. And then, Jesus had been raised from the dead. That resurrection hope kept Paul faithful in hardship.

Paul was faithful because God's Word could never be stopped. Though he was chained, the good news could never be chained. Jesus had started something that could not be stopped and Paul was not about to stop short of faithfulness.

Paul was faithful so that others might share in the salvation that Jesus Christ brings. Through suffering, Jesus had made salvation possible. Through faithful endurance, Paul was making that salvation known to all he could.

II. Through Our Hardship God Is Faithful (vv. 11-13)
The God of salvation is faithful. He knows the hardship that his people endure. He is faithful to reward those who endure hardship for his sake. Those who endure the hardship of identifying with Christ's death to sin will experience the faithfulness of God as they live eternally with Christ. Those who endure the hardship of remaining faithful in earthly suffering will experience the faithfulness of God as they reign eternally with Christ. Even those who are faithless in hardship will experience the faithfulness of God who never disowns his own people.

III. In Your Hardship You Be Faithful (vv. 14-15)
Knowing that he was about to leave this world of hardship, Paul encouraged his protégé, "You be faithful." Timothy was to remain faithful in at least three areas of oversight. First, he was constantly to remind God's people of God's faithfulness. God would never overlook their loyalty or their lapses. Second, Timothy was to warn God's people not to quarrel over nonessentials. They must stay focused on the plain and simple gospel. And finally, Timothy was to present the Scriptures with knowledge, skill, and passion.

Those who live a godly life, a truly Christian life, can expect hardship ( 2 Tim. 3:12) . God's enemies will become their enemies. Christ's persecutions will become their persecutions. Seen and unseen forces will challenge their spiritual endurance. Still, because the apostle could say, "I am faithful," and "God is faithful," so he can say to Timothy and to us, "You be faithful." (Timothy S. Warren)


LUKE 17:11-19

Vision makes the difference. What you see is what you get. This is the essential difference between the vision of the nine Jews who were healed and did not express gratitude to Jesus and the one Samaritan who was healed and did express his gratitude.

I. What Happened?
Jesus met ten lepers, nine Jews and one Samaritan, on the border between Galilee and Samaria. They were outcasts and were not allowed to approach nonleprous people. They were required to stand at a distance (the distance was even greater if they were downwind). When they saw Jesus, they cried out for help and he immediately sent them to the priest who could give them a certificate of cleansing. This would permit them to return to their normal lives. The healing took place along the way as they were obedient. The nine Jews went on with their lives; the one Samaritan returned to express gratitude to Jesus. Jesus seemed surprised that only one, the Samaritan, returned to give thanks.

II. What Did Not Happen?
The nine neglected to express gratitude and there was no other mention of them or this incident in the New Testament. Luke stressed the event because it underscores why Christianity had been carried so directly and quickly to the Gentiles. The Jews had the first chance and had despised the day of gladness.

God's patience is not without limit. If no response is forthcoming from man or group, God seeks among others someone to carry out his bidding and it is usually someone that those who do the rejecting have learned to scorn.

The nine were worse off in their ingratitude. Their ingratitude was a worse leprosy than the leprosy of their skin. They were clean outside but they had not accepted cleansing on the inside.

III. What Needed to Happen?
Healing needs to take place inside as well as outside. We need clean lives as well as clean skin. Many people worship and pray and generally reject the religious life, seeking only the gifts of God and not the person of Christ. This is why there is an inconsistency between talk and walk.

IV. What Was the Difference?
The difference was the vision. The nine saw a healer, the immediate source of help for the problem. The Samaritan saw the answer to all his problems, heart and body. The nine saw a useful healer to remove the barrier to getting along with the old life. The Samaritan saw the end to his quest for healing inside, as well as outside.

The nine sought the blessings of the priest. The Samaritan praised God and saw his blessing. In the end the Samaritan saw a greater vision, the immediate source of help for the world, the door to a new world. He saw a Savior. Vision makes all the difference in the world for the world. (William L. Self)

comments powered by Disqus