Summary: There are people who form the tip of the spear, taking the gospel into very dark places. But what about the rest of us? What is the task for the shaft of the spear?
Passage: 2 Timothy 1:8-18
Intro: “You’ve got to walk that lonesome valley. You’ve got to walk it by yourself. Oh, nobody else can walk it for you. You’ve got to walk it by yourself.”
1. that may be what we will experience, but it is not what is supposed to happen.
2. there is a poignancy in this passage; in this whole book.
3. Paul is writing from prison, where during Nero’s reign, he is on trial for his life.
4. he has suffered like few have suffered before or since.
5. so he writes to Timothy, his son in the faith, and asks for his support.
6. but this is more than a personal plea
7. Paul is giving principles that guide every person who is part of God’s mighty spear, taking the life-saving gospel to the world.
8. and this very personal instruction is incredibly applicable to every one of us, no matter what part of the spear we may be.
I. Be An Active Part of God’s Spear
1. Paul was in jail, alone and essentially friendless.
2. his instruction to Timothy was really quite simple: don’t be ashamed of the Lord or Paul.
3. clearly Paul’s persistent preaching of the gospel had gotten him into trouble.
4. in the “divine emperor cult” of Rome, proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ was going to land a person in trouble.
5. so the temptation was to hide, to keep quiet, to be anonymous.
PP Fan with a bag over his head.
6. here is what Paul is asking Timothy to remember.
7. we are part of an invasion force, completing the work that Jesus began.
8. that work is the proclamation of the gospel that has saved us.
9. but it includes a call to live a holy life
10. we like to think of holiness as “keeping our nose clean”, not doing bad things.
11. but it is also being part of the army that proclaims the gospel. We have been rescued to rescue others.
12. that gospel and those who proclaim it will always be opposed by the world; it will consistently be rejected.
13. Paul is calling Timothy and us to stand with those who form the point of the spear.
14. v8, “join me in suffering” does not mean Timothy had to go to jail too.
15. but it meant he was to stand with Paul, identify with Paul, visit Paul, and not give in to the temptation to desert Paul.
Il) story about trapped miners working together.
16. it is one of the most striking images in all the Bible, when Jesus told his disciples that he needed their support in the Garden of Gethsemane.
17. they failed, and later Peter actually denied that he knew Jesus at all.
18. the point of God’s spear needs the support of the rest, because resistance to the gospel will be constant.
II. Not Everyone is the Point of the Spear
1. Paul is a tremendous example to follow, but also specifically called by God.
2. after this wonderful recital of the gospel, Paul makes a statement characteristic of him.
3. v11, “appointed a herald, apostle,
4. no every person has such a call.
5. we may be heralds, we may be teachers, but we are not apostles.
6. Paul was a missionary, he was the chief theologian of the early church whose
books are the standard today, and an
apostle in the the early church.
7. and in v12, he establishes a cause and effect relationship between his calling and his suffering.
8. but this situation had been promised.
PP Acts 9:15-16
9. this has been the case throughout history.
10. some are called to be the tip of the spear, the one who penetrates the world with the gospel, and receives the brunt of the resistance.
11. Paul accepted that suffering because he knew he was on the side of righteousness and truth. V12b
12. but those on the tip of the spear need the support of the “delivery system”, the shaft of the spear.
PP big gun
13. the penetration of the gospel to a lost world is a war! And war has casualties.
III. How to Support the Point of the Spear
1. One of the most encouraging things we can do is to embrace the gospel.
2. v13, “keep the pattern of sound teaching”
3. people have suffered greatly to pass on this message to us, and Jesus has suffered greatly to give salvation to us.
4. the gospel is the life-changing truth, and to change it is to remove it’s life- changing power.
5. the only people who are going to support the speartip are those whose lives have been changed by the gospel.
6. so we guard it and we teach it, because it is the very power of God.