Summary: As Paul wrote his last letter, he reminded Timothy of the preeminence of the Gospel in life and ministry. If he accomplished nothing else, he must abide faithful to proclaiming the Gospel.
Faithfulness to the Gospel
2 Timothy 2: 7-13
The benefits of experience and familiarity are difficult to fully appreciate or value. Each of these aid in individual pursuits, providing confidence, while enhancing particular abilities. We have all heard the old adage – practice makes perfect. While these attributes have the ability to enhance performance and quality, they can also serve to create complacency and lack of passion. Those who remain successful keep a proper focus. They never lose sight of the basics – continually engaging in the fundamentals.
Remember, this is the last letter Paul would write. He is writing to his son in the faith, the young pastor, Timothy. While Paul shared much with Timothy in this final letter of exhortation, he did not fail to challenge Timothy regarding the fundamentals of the faith. He wanted Timothy to remember the basics, being faithful to proclaim the Gospel. While other aspects of ministry were important and essential, none exceeded the need for proclaiming the Gospel.
Modern ministry has become quite complex. Denominational leaders are constantly seeking to improve the ministry model, while striving to provide tools and techniques believed to enhance the furtherance of the Gospel. While these are great, we must not lose sight of the fundamentals. Having the latest data, and implementing the latest approaches are great, but we must ensure we are engaging people in the process. Like Timothy, we too must embrace the Gospel, while faithfully proclaiming it to those who have yet to respond.
In our text, Paul deals with the fundamental aspects of the Gospel. He sought to remind Timothy of their importance and the need to share what he had received. As we discuss these aspects, I want to consider: Faithfulness to the Gospel.
I. The Preeminence of the Gospel (7-8) – Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel. Paul emphasized the preeminence of the Gospel in regard to ministry. He urged Timothy to faithfully build his ministry on the Gospel. Consider:
A. The Foundation (8) – Paul urged young Timothy to be mindful of the Person and preeminence of the Gospel. The foundational truth of the Gospel is the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Having fully atoned for sin, as He offered Himself upon the cross, Christ the Lord then conquered sin, death, and hell as He rose triumphant from the grave. Had there been no resurrection, Jesus would have been no different than others who came before Him. He willingly laid down His life, having power to lay it down; and He rose again in victory, having power to raise life up again. While Timothy could rejoice in the humanity of Christ, being the seed of David, and the great sacrifice He made to redeem us from sin, Timothy must never forget the resurrection!
As we examine the underlying text, we discover the significance of the resurrection. Paul did not refer to a “once and done” act of resurrection. The Lord did rise triumphant over death, and He continues to live! He forever conquered death, and did not merely rise from the dead only to succumb to it at another moment in time. Consider the thoughts of William Barclay: "The tense of the Greek verb which Paul uses does not imply one definite act in time, but a continued state which lasts for ever. Paul is not so much saying to Timothy: 'Remember the actual resurrection of Jesus', rather he is saying: 'Remember Jesus for ever risen and for ever present; remember your risen and your ever-present Lord.' Here is the great Christian inspiration. We do not depend on the inspiration of a memory, however great. We enjoy the power of a presence. When a Christian is summoned to a great task, a task that he cannot but feel is beyond him, he must go to it in the certainty that he does not go to it alone, but that there is with him for ever and for ever the presence and the power of his risen Lord. When fears threaten, when doubts assail, when inadequacy depresses, remember the presence of the risen Lord" (i)
B. The Focus (7-8) – Paul challenged Timothy to consider his words, praying the Lord would provide wisdom and understanding. Timothy was urged to remember the resurrection of Christ from the dead. This was not merely a detail of importance – it was the foundation of the Gospel and the cornerstone of his ministry. The death, burial, and glorious resurrection of Christ had the power to transform lives. It was of utmost importance. Timothy must never neglect the Gospel in favor of any other aspect of ministry. He must abide faithful, remembering the Gospel of Christ!