I was recently reminded, convicted, and encouraged as I spent time in 2 Timothy, and I hope to do the same for you. Three points pop out to me as I look at this passage, there are many more, but I want to focus on just three for you and me today.
The first thing that comes through is that in the Christian walk, suffering will come. Paul uses three images to tell us something about what we are called to for the Gospel. He talks about a soldier and how he shouldn't get distracted by things that are unessential to the mission. What is our mission? To be disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ. The following picture is that an athlete, which I am not the best physical representation of, but it's a reminder for you and me that there is a "rule" when it comes to following Jesus. That rule is that there needs to be a willingness to suffer for him (Matthew 16:24). Anyone who doesn't want to go through that for Jesus cannot be disciples of Jesus, but if you have been called, you are disciples of Jesus. No one can receive the crown of victory if you are not willing to be faithful in suffering. The following picture is of a farmer, which I am not, but I have a brother-in-law who is a farmer. I even have family here in the London area who have been farmers for generations. When we look at this picture, I'm reminded that being a disciple of Jesus is hard work. It takes work to grow in the grace and knowledge of God. It can be hard to give up leaser things for the greater person of Jesus. If someone is to follow Jesus, that person needs to have a dedicated work ethic, a commitment to the task at hand. To be a disciple who makes disciples of Jesus Christ. So that's the first thing that comes through in this passage.
In verse 9, after the Apostle Paul talks about suffering for the Gospel by literally being in chains, he says, "BUT the word of God is not bound!" The gospel word is alive and active and can't be restrained by prisons or chains: "The word of God is not bound." The verb here is in the perfect tense; it tells you and me that the Gospel has not been bound in the past and is not bound now. The gospel word is the power of God unto salvation, and it is not subject to the weaknesses and limitations of the ones carrying it. You and I, we can be imprisoned; God's word can't be.
The last point that I want to point out is in verse 11 to 13, "If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful." It's verse 13 that gets me: "Faithless" is not a condition of settled unbelief but talking about a temporary unfaithfulness after which one might be renewed again to repentance. Here, Paul is talking about God's faithfulness to his unwillingness to give up on his people even though their holiness is not as consistent as it should be. In that sense, God is faithful even when his people are not.
When I think about Knollwood, we have such a rich history. It's not perfect. We know that. We know that we haven't been faithful, and what that requires is repentance. We should respond to those times in corporate and individual repentance. But do you see that even in our unfaithfulness, God remains faithful? His promises remain true. We are called to be of a single focus as soldiers, or athletes, or farmers to the task of being disciples who make disciples. We don't always get it right. We often like to be more comfortable than not, we get distracted by lesser issues, or whatever it may be. His Gospel is never defeated. It is never chained. And even though we may not be the faithful soldier, or athlete, or farmer, God remains faithful. When I look back at 80 years of history at Knollwood, that is what I see. God's faithfulness. Is that not a reason to celebrate? There have been lots of ups and downs, but there's been one constant. One thing that we can always be praising God for: his faithfulness. Will you join me as we do that? Will you remember all the times that God has been faithful to us in all the circumstances we have been through? God is Good. He is Good all the time. He remains faithful even when we don't.
As we celebrate God's faithfulness over 80 years, we want to celebrate. I know that we are limited in that way as many things are in the air. As I write this, we are currently in a lockdown with many unknowns of the future. God is still the same yesterday and today, and we want to celebrate and praise him. As we celebrate God's faithfulness over 80 years, we want to do a to honour God. We can do that by caring for the building that allows us to gather, and we could use a bit of a facelift. As a church, we are the temple of God gathered; we form the temple of God as we gather. Doesn't that change how we look at our space? We want to better facilitate the gathering of our building, and there are a few things we need to upgrade our sound needs and video needs and the overall room we use to gather together as the Church. Over the last three years, we have been able to do a few things, but we continue to push forward in that. Will you help us celebrate God's faithfulness to us over 80 years? Will you help us honour God?
We are raising this money for three reasons: all tied to our Pulpit, Table, Square vision. In Pulpit: Our building is a reflection of how we view God. We seek excellence in every aspect of us gathering together. The technology upgrade will allow us to "feed the sheep" of those who cannot gather on a Sunday and even those who are online. Table: Renovating the auditorium will allow for multiple uses of the space, especially where our cameras and live streaming equipment are. For example, it would be nice to have a place to eat and have a good sound to hear everyone. This facelift will help brings a sense of community as we gather as a church. The technology upgrade will also allow us to stream classes for those who are unable to make it. Square: The technology upgrade will allow us to proclaim the Gospel on the internet. This gives us access to what churches use to do with radio or television. This is a rich history we have at Knollwood, and we want to continue to do it.
We have such a rich history. It's not perfect. But our God has been. Join me as we celebrate the many ways that God has been faithful to us. There have been lots of ups and downs, but there's been one constant. One thing that we can always be praising God for his faithfulness. Will you join me as we do that? Will you remember all the times that God has been faithful to us in all the circumstances we have been through? God is Good. He is Good all the time. He remains faithful even when we don't. Share with us your memories over the 80 years and join with us as we seek to honour God through caring for our building.