What is pastoral ministry really about, at its core? The four-fold directive that the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy provides a clear perspective: always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry. In this message, Alistair Begg explores these timeless imperatives and encourages Christian ministers to persevere in preaching the Gospel even in the middle of a challenging culture.
Are our lives determined by fate or chance? Did God create the universe and then step aside to watch history unfold from a distance? In this message, Alistair Begg challenges us to consider that according to the Bible, the details of our lives actually unfold within the providence of God. He is working in every circumstance – good and bad – for His glory. The Christian can take comfort in the knowledge that all of our days unfold in the care of our loving Father.
What do Christians mean when we say that the Bible is “profitable” for life? Alistair Begg challenges us to consider that because when the Bible speaks, God speaks, His Word is both powerful and beneficial. Scripture brings the light of the Gospel to dark minds, empowers God’s people to battle sin, and strengthens the afflicted in times of need.
Whether it is the overt hostility faced by Christians in other parts of the world or subtle clashes with our own society’s ungodly mindset, all true believers experience some form of the “persecution” about which Paul warned Timothy. Beginning with these verses from 2 Timothy 3, Alistair Begg helps us consider the practical cost of living a godly life. As we learn to think biblically, we can respond to our circumstances in a Christlike manner.
When we consider what it might look like to live a life that is committed to the cause of the Gospel, the Apostle Paul is an excellent example.
As Alistair Begg explains, what set Paul apart was not that he didn’t value the ordinary experiences of life, but that he viewed them all in relationship to the purposes and care of God. When we live with the Gospel in view, we learn that the greatest value is in a life lived well for God’s glory.
Some things are easy to understand. Other things require some thinking on our part before we grasp what we’re reading or hearing. In his final letter, the Apostle Paul called Timothy to this kind of reflection with regard to suffering for the sake of the Gospel. Alistair Begg points out how we can come to a correct understanding of suffering in our own lives: as we think biblically and focus on Jesus, we can learn to face difficulties in the strength and wisdom that He provides.
Though he was imprisoned and facing death, Paul's highest concern in his second letter to Timothy was for the gospel - that the message of grace and redemption would be passed to future generations. His roles, first as an apostle of Jesus Christ, and then as a preacher and teacher of the Gospel opened the door for his own suffering, but his confidence in the faithfulness of God sustained and nurtured his own faith under persecution.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ can be difficult to talk about; its message is foreign to others - even offensive. In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul exhorted him to not be ashamed, but to be willing to suffer for preaching the truth. Suffering for the gospel in this way exposes our own weakness, but provides an opportunity for God’s power to be displayed through us.
Life can seem fragile and unbearable without the confidence that our times are in God’s hands. Whether we prosper or face uncertainty or adversity, the Christian response should not include pride, panic, or self-pity, but gratitude and faith in God. While there is great security found when we rest in God’s providence, Alistair Begg clarifies the responsibilities that remain ours as we humbly submit to the Lord’s will.
Series: Lessons For Life, Volume 3
As a student of history knows, wars fought over the centuries had start and end dates. As the sober-minded Christian knows, however, we are in a continual war that will not end on this side of eternity. Alistair Begg explains that our enemy is powerful and the danger is real, but God has equipped us with all of the weapons and defenses we need for this long and grueling fight.
Series: Encore 2014