The main text for this morning’s church service was II Timothy 2:1-9:
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. 7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. 8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.” (KJV)
Here, Paul exhorts Timothy to remember Jesus amidst challenges.
Here are some items:
A. The youth pastor talked about the times when we need to remember Jesus. When people reject us and make fun of us, we can remember that people rejected and made fun of Jesus, too, yet Jesus did not retaliate against them with hatred. When we are annoyed with other people, we can remember that God made them, too, and Jesus loves them.
B. The pastor talked about remembering Jesus amidst challenges. When Paul said “remember,” he did not mean “Oh yeah, I recall that,” but rather bringing oneself to the foot of the cross. Similarly, the Old Testament Israelites and the Jews remembered the Exodus every year at the Passover, in the sense of re-experiencing it through ritual. Paul brings Timothy back to Jesus because, otherwise, his exhortations to persevere would amount to discouraging laws that Timothy cannot live up to.
C. Paul in v 4 states that warriors do not entangle themselves in earthly affairs. The pastor remarked that Roman soldiers were not expected to be involved in politics, even though many of them were. It compromised their loyalty to their commanding officer.
In Sunday school, we wrapped up the class on death.
A. The teacher went into afterlife beliefs of non-Christian religions and so-called “cults.” He covered Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, and Christian Science. He went rather quickly, so I could not keep up with what he was saying in my notetaking. A more detailed handout would have been helpful. I was unclear about how some things hold together. He said, for example, that Scientologists believe in cleansing one’s soul of bad experiences through intense spiritual exercise, yet he also said that they think spiritual advancement simply happens, without hard work.
B. The video that we watched said that we would all be able to recognize each other in heaven. The disciples at the Transfiguration recognized Moses and Elijah, even though Moses and Elijah had been dead for centuries and the disciples had never seen them before. Would we recognize every believer throughout history? The teacher responded that we would.
C. There was some discussion of near-death experiences. The teacher said that his soul left his body a couple times when he was asleep. He saw his sleeping body below him, and he felt lighter. A doctor told about a person who had a near-death experience and said that where he was before returning was filled with intense color.