Read the whole sermon here: He cannot Deny Himself, at DesiringGod.org
He Cannot Deny Himself
2 Timothy 2:8–19
“8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. 14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
Piper makes 5 points:
Foundation stone #1: Jesus Christ, the son of David, is risen from the dead and reigns over the world forever.
In other words, “Remember Jesus and think about Him a lot; and think about His resurrection from the dead and His roots of Messiahship as a descendent of David, who was King over Israel. “
Foundation stone #2: Preachers may be bound. The word of God is not.
Foundation stone #3: God has his elect in this world, and your ministry will be the instrument that brings them to eternal glory.
Foundation stone #4: God cannot deny himself. Trust him and your salvation is as sure as his commitment to his name.
Foundation stone #5: This divine seal, “The Lord knows those who are his.” And the evidence you are his: “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
Excerpt from Foundation Stone # 3:
Foundation Stone #3
Verse 10: “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
You might think Paul is simply building on the previous foundation stone here, but look carefully at the words he uses, and ask why? He could have said, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the church.” Or, “I endure everything for the lost.” But he chose the word “elect”. Why? “I endure everything for the sake of the elect.” Because the tone of this text is one of triumph and confidence and certainty. That is how he is trying to help Timothy. The word elect means: God has a people. He has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Timothy, in this ministry we cannot fail. God will call his elect.
We must be so careful when handling weighty doctrines like election. And Paul shows us how right here. He guards from two mistakes. One is the mistake of saying, “Well, if there are people chosen before the foundation of the world, then we don’t need to risk our lives to save them.” Paul says just the opposite: “I endure everything for the sake of the elect that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus.” The certainty that there are elect does not make me stop preaching or stop suffering, it makes me confident that my preaching and my suffering will not be in vain. The elect will obtain salvation (see Acts 13:48; 18:10).
And the other mistake he guards us against is saying: “Well if Paul must preach and suffer to persuade lost people to believe in Jesus and be saved, then there can be no eternal election. All there is is people’s own choice.” But Paul says the opposite: “I endure everything for the sake of the elect that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus.” My commitment to suffer for the gospel does not mean no one has been chosen to believe it. It means I am God’s instrument to save those who are.
And then he adds one more phrase to encourage Timothy to press on in his work: “. . . that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” Remember, Timothy, you are leading the elect to eternal glory. And you are one of them. And therefore you too will have eternal glory. Or as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Don’t begrudge your short suffering in this life. It is preparing for you an eternal weight of glory.
So foundation stone #3 is that the victory of the gospel is sure not only because Christ is risen as the eternal king, and not only because the word of God is not bound, but also because, from all the undeserving sinners in the world, God has chosen a people for eternal glory. Endure everything, Timothy, and you will be the instrument of their salvation.
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