Chris King

Perseverance through Following a Simple Command

Life, relationships, teaching sound doctrine, practicing church discipline, etc. can present complex challenges. Pastors need to maintain the simple practice of remembering Christ as they engage knotty and complicated issues. The glory of Jesus and his resurrection outshines and outweighs the problems of this life. Just one glimpse of Him in glory repays the toils of pastoral ministry. 

Pastors face a myriad of trials and struggles while shepherding the flock. People they love and trust unexpectedly leave the church and cut off communications. Relationships can leave painful scars. Elders must routinely broach difficult topics and engage in uncomfortable conversations. Shepherds often help members address complicated issues in their lives. Exegeting difficult texts and clearly explaining doctrine regularly pose frequent challenges. Moreover, the faithful pastor must maintain his own commitment to family and personal spiritual disciplines. “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor 2:16) can easily become their life verse (it’s a good one!).
This is part of a series of blog posts encouraging pastors to persevere in their labor (please share these posts with your pastors). This entry will highlight a very simple truth from 2 Timothy to help pastors endure. Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy to exhort him to continue in what he had learned and believed (2 Tim 3:14). Throughout this epistle, the apostle gives several instructions and commands to help church leaders persevere in their work. One of the simplest, clearest, and most profound of these commands is, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel” (2 Tim 2:8). Following this simple command keeps pastors grounded in the truth of the gospel as they navigate the challenges of shepherding the flock.
Remember Jesus Christ, Risen from the Dead
A high school football coach I know was invited to watch the Indianapolis Colts workout and practice. He hoped to learn some new drills or special plays from the professionals. In the practice, however, the NFL coaches focused on the fundamentals of stretching, running, blocking, and tackling. He left a bit disappointed, but then realized an important lesson he had already known—even the greatest players at the highest level must practice the fundamentals of the game.
In Timothy’s distress, Paul reminds him of the fundamentals of the gospel and commands him to remember them. “Remember” is a present imperative verb meaning, “continually remember.” We specifically remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. Paul uses the perfect tense of the verb “risen,” which describes a past event with abiding implications for the present. This points to glorious spiritual realities associated with the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus was raised for our justification (Rom 4:25). Jesus’s resurrection fulfilled the Scripture and vindicated his teachings (Luke 24:26–27). His resurrection further identified him as God (John 20:28). His resurrection proved he had overcome the world and was given all authority in heaven and in earth (Matt 28:18). His resurrection gives us powerful truths to meditate upon—weighty realities to remember in the midst of our struggles.
Remembering requires mental exercise (as in the previous verse, 2 Tim 2:7). Thus, we must intentionally remember the resurrection of Jesus and the benefits we receive from him. In his book Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges offers practical means of preaching the gospel to yourself every day.
Read More
Related Posts:

The Importance and Power of Setting an Example in Discipleship

We witness the importance and power of example in the lives of faithful Christians who lived before us. We can consider the practice of their faith to inspire and help us to follow Jesus and make other disciples. Knowing the outcome of their way of life, we can imitate their faith (Heb 13:7).

When I began working in construction, my boss neither offered a book to read, nor gave me a lecture about framing a wall. I was assigned to work with an experienced man. By working alongside him, I learned how to drive a nail and frame a wall. Throughout history people have served as apprentices to others, working in their shadow to learn their craft. People watch examples on YouTube to learn to how do a myriad of tasks—from plumbing to working on a car.
We see the power of example in the way many people pray in church. How do most Christians learn to pray? Most learn by listening to the prayers of others. For this reason, we hear commonly repeated phrases in prayer like, “lead, guide, and direct,” or “we lift up . . .” In the church in which I grew up, one faithful saint always ended his prayer by saying, “and let my daily walk be a testimony to others.” I noticed members in the church began using this same phrase in their prayers.
This post is part four of a practical series on making disciples. The task of discipleship requires and emphasizes faithful teaching (Matt 28:20). Biblical discipleship also recognizes the importance and power of setting an example for those we teach.

The Apostles Appeal to the Example of Jesus

The Apostles point to the example of Jesus as they teach others to live a faithful Christian life. Peter’s first letter emphasizes the theme of suffering as we follow Christ. He points to the example of Jesus for us to emulate as we face suffering. He writes, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet 2:21–23).
Philippians 2:1–5 addresses relationships in the church. Paul calls the Philippians to follow the example of Christ’s humility. He presents the glorious theology of Christ “taking on the form of a servant” (Phil 2:7) as a powerful warrant for Christians to be humble toward one another. He points other Christians to the power and importance of Jesus’s example.

The Importance of Example in Paul’s Discipleship of Timothy

Throughout 1 and 2 Timothy, Paul emphasizes the importance of teaching sound doctrine in the church (1 Tim 1:3; 4:6, 13, 16; 6:20; 2 Tim 1:13–14; 2:15; 3:12–4:5). Timothy was to use healthy doctrine to counter poisonous teachings infecting the church (2 Tim 2:17). The Apostle also highlights the necessity of Timothy setting a Godly example for Christians. He writes, “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim 4:11-12).
Let’s consider the five areas Paul specifies for Timothy’s example in the church:

Set the Believers an Example in Speech: We use speech as a primary way to communicate and interact with others. Paul consistently addresses problems with the speech/words of the false teachers (1 Tim 4:7; 6:4, 20). “In speech” translates the Greek phrase “ἐν λόγῳ” (logos). This example likely refers to what we say to others—the content of our speech. In our conversations with other Christians, or those we are discipling—what are we saying?

Read More
Related Posts:

Christian Visits a Church in America-Land

I hope this story helps people recognize the problems inherent in these approaches to ministry. The danger posed by Mr. Smiley (and teachers like him) is not his exuberant positive attitude, but rather his mishandling of God’s Word. He represents methods which misapply Scripture to affirm and empower people in their pursuit of worldly lusts. Like so many contemporary resources, his Bible study material (Orange-Aid) fails to utilize basic hermeneutical principles and lacks sound theology. His approach to small group ministry fails to address the real needs of struggling Christians seeking/needing sanctification (See Ms. Distressed). I pray this pilgrimage helps readers consider and evaluate the theology and methodologies utilized in their churches. Grab your sword, you’ll need it—the journey gets more perilous.

Christian awoke and knew he had been translated to a different place. He recently passed through the Enchanted Ground on his journey to the Celestial City. Now he found himself sitting on a bench in front of a large, paved lane. Fast moving carriages roared past him making honking noises. He thought it strange that no horses pulled them. The pilgrim slowly arose, staring these strange chariots. A yellow one slowed down, and a man inside said, “Hey buddy, do you need a ride?” Christian replied, “Yea.” He stopped and opened a hatch on the side of the carriage. The burly man said, “Hop in.”
Christian tentatively entered and asked, “What is this place?” Recognizing him as a foreigner, the driver responded, “You’re in America-land. Will this be cash or charge?”  Confused, the pilgrim raised an eye-brow.
Driver: How are you going to pay?
Christian: Will this suffice? (Handing him 5 golden shillings).
Driver: Sure! These are cool, where do you want to go?
Christian: I need to remain on the strait and narrow path. Do you know where I may find it?
Driver: Well, it’s Sunday, so I could take you to a sports bar to catch a game. When I visit a new place, I like to check out the local pubs.
Christian: It’s the Lord’s Day? Then take me to a church!
Driver: Giving Christian an odd look he replied, “You got it.”
Traversing the large city, the driver pointed out many church buildings. Christian was astounded by all the varieties of churches the driver showed him. He saw many names on church signs he didn’t recognize. Christian was astounded by such freedom to worship without government intervention. Pulling up to a massive building, the driver shot him a look of satisfaction.
Driver: My sister goes to this church—and it’s one of the biggest in the city! You should check it out.
Getting out of the taxi, Christian thanked the driver and gazed at the edifice before him. It was a massive building made up of various geometric shapes. A bright multi-colored sign read, “The Quest.” Hundreds of people streamed through the doors in the front. Christian joined them, noticing immediately most of them were not dressed like him. Not knowing what to expect, but being a seasoned Pilgrim, he gripped his sword and joined the crowd.
The inside was dazzling. He was immediately met by a young maiden who introduced herself as Mrs. Chipper. Gliding toward Christian she spoke with bubbly giddiness.
Mrs. Chipper: Welcome to The Quest! Can I help you find your place?
Christian: I’m here to worship the Lord with His people and learn from His Word. I’m on my way to the Celestial City and am always looking for companions who fear the Lord (Psalm 119:63).
Mrs. Chipper: Well you’re here just in time for our Super-Relevant Small Group Sharing Time. Follow me! Would you like a latte, mocha, espresso, or frappe-happy drink?
Christian: Thank you, but I have food to eat that you don’t know about (John 4:32).
The young lady led him through numerous winding corridors and past rooms containing odd things to Christian’s eyes (ping-pong tables, gym equipment, basketball courts, mini-golf courses, etc.). They finally arrived at a small room containing about 20 people sitting in a circle. Most engaged in what appeared to be joyful conversations.
Mrs. Chipper: This is Mr. Smiley, the Conversation Initiator.
Flashing a wide grin, the man (Mr. Smiley) pointed me to an empty chair and said with elation, “Join the conversation!” The people around Christian talked of all manner of things including the weather, sports, games, food, making money, and warranty plans you can buy for your carriage. Christian was befuddled because they did not speak the Language of Zion he had heard in his conversations at The Palace Beautiful.1 This made him long for that place where he might again converse with the likes of Piety, Prudence, Discretion, and Charity. He was roused from his contemplations by a man tapping his shoulder.
Mr. Me-Centered: Hey, would you like to go to the Cosplayer Creative Class? Since you’re wearing that strange armor, you would probably fit in with the role-players and drama team. My wife loves it!
Christian: Well, this is where the young lady led me—I’ll take it as God’s providence I should be here.
Mr. Me-Centered: What is God’s providence?
Christian: It’s the doctrine that God rules over all things directing them to fulfill His will.
Pulling out his scroll, Christian pointed the man to Matthew 10:29, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (ESV). Christian continued to explain how God, “Covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills” (Psalm 147:8, ESV).
Christian: You see good sir, The Lord rules over the death of sparrows and He causes the grass to grow. Or as goodman Calvin explains: The Lord, “governs the vast machinery of the whole world.” Therefore, I trust Him to direct me where He purposes.
Mr. Me-Centered: That’s too deep for me, and what is that scroll you carry with you? We use the Orange-Aid materials here. Orange-Aid is tasty, and that old scroll seems bitter.
Just then, Mr. Smily spoke up addressing the group.
Read More

Scroll to top