When Paul writes about his appointment as a preacher, apostle and teacher in 2 Timothy 1:11 he mentions his suffering in verse 12. We get a picture of this suffering in 2 Corinthians 11 as Paul writes about his imprisonments and beatings and lashings and stoning and shipwrecks. Some of us may think Paul willingly suffered because of his love for the church and the ministry. As we read further in 2 Timothy 1:12 we get the real reason behind Paul’s willingness to suffer in the ministry. He writes, “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what I have entrusted to Him”. Paul uses the word “I” six times in verse 12. Why? Because His endurance in the ministry…his willingness to suffer for the Gospel, was based on His salvation and his salvation was based on knowledge, conviction and trust in Christ alone. Paul says in verse 12, “I know, I’m convinced, and I have entrusted myself to Him.”
Last time we were exhorted to remember our past; we briefly connected with our past looked at five characteristics of our church in her early days. In Revelation 2:5 Jesus tells the church at Ephesus to “Remember therefore from where you have fallen.” As we looked to our past we may have discovered some things in our past that we would have rather left forgotten because what was unearthed were things that were done wrong and people that we have offended, which means that our church is in need of repentance. When a church is willing to repent of past sins, it presents an opportunity for God to do something new and exciting in the church. When a church recognizes that they have sinned against God and others and then go through the process of repentance and humbling themselves and prayer, then the blessings God may have been withholding will be released; the windows of heaven that were once shut will be opened and God’s grace will be poured out in an extraordinary measure.
Many churches that think they’re friendly because they greet guests at church with a smile and a handshake, but the Scriptures teach us that rather than having programs to be nice or to invite people to church we should be taking the love of Christ to hundreds throughout our community and being involved in the ministry of turning the world upside down one relationship at a time.
The church needs to know that people aren’t just looking for a “friendly church,” they’re hungry for friends.
Today we are going to look at the topic of Relational Intentionality. Throughout the Bible we find this being taught, commanded and encouraged.
David had a strong confidence in the Lord because of God’s track record of deliverance.He knew what the Lord could do. He had the record of Scripture that testified of God’s ability to confound his enemies and cause them to stammer, stutter and stumble! Commenting on Psalm 27:2 Spurgeon says, “God’s breath blew them off their legs!”
As with David, God can cause your enemies to stumble and to fall. He can bring confusion into your enemy’s camp…you and I can be confident in that!