II Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel

What an amazing directive from the Apostle Paul. Remember Jesus Christ. This is written to Pastor Timothy. Pastor Timothy is going to forget Jesus Christ? Apparently, Timothy needed to be reminded not to forget Jesus as He carried on the work that God had called Him to and that Paul had mentored him to do.

It is possible for Timothy to forget Jesus Christ risen from the dead as he mentors others in following Jesus Christ (verse 2). It is possible for him to forget Jesus Christ as He preaches, teaches, counsels, evangelizes. It is possible for pastors, missionaries, seminary professors, Sunday School teachers, deacons, elders, and the average Christian to forget the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even as they labour in it. They can become so focussed on the preaching that they forget who they are preaching. They can get lost in details and doctrines designed to exalt Christ and put Him to the margins. It is possible to teach and preach in order to be seen as a great teacher/preacher. It is possible to make a point for the point of being seen as a great point maker. It is possible to draw attention to oneself. It is possible to encourage a slap on the back, a good well done or a “good message pastor”. It is possible to try to win debates and prove the rightness of one’s own position. It is possible to become so people focussed in our good works for others that we forget that Jesus is the point of it all. It is more than possible. It is easy.

We need to remember that Satan does not care about us getting up to preach or witness. He does not care about all that we do as leaders or teachers or disciple makers. What he cares about is that Jesus be the focus of the attention. What he cares about is the Gospel being the reason for it all. Do not forget to focus on Jesus Christ risen from the dead. This means that we zero in on the life, death, resurrection, of the Son of God.

Never lose a Gospel centeredness. Massive minds have managed to do that very thing. Big intellects with big ministries have managed to leave the Gospel in the background. Churches that would never deny the Gospel do just that in their attempts to win the culture over to a “Judeo/Christian” focus. Churches who want people to come to faith manage to make the message so appealing that the Gospel is forsaken. The Gospel is not a popular message and if we over value comfort, pain free living, popularity, money, for ourselves, and even the temporal welfare of others, we will forget Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.

We cannot have cultural acceptance and the Gospel. We cannot have popularity and money and pain free living and be faithful to the Gospel at the same time. We can manage to help the poor, be friends to the friendless in some fashion, maintain churches and ministries and make the world a better place to live – and forget Jesus Christ risen from the dead. But we are commanded not to do that. We must always do those things without ever, in any manner, leaving Jesus Christ out of things. Jesus is more important than our ministries and messages that skip over His death and resurrection. He is more important than our popularity and wowing the world with our relief and compassion. Jesus is not opposed to relief and charity and compassion. But we cannot do those things while relegating Him and His work to the sidelines. We cannot do a work for Jesus by putting Jesus in the periphery of what we do and seek to call it a work done for Him. We cannot change the message of the cross and resurrection while seeking to get people to believe the biblical message of the cross and resurrection.

That is what we have become so masterful at doing. It was what Timothy was tempted to do. It is why God, in mercy and love for us and those we would seek to influence, had Paul pen these words and preserved them for us to read.

Remember Jesus Christ.