2 Timothy 1:1-8
(vs. 8) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”
I want to talk to you for a few minutes about those few words “The Afflictions of The Gospel”. I would love to tell you serving God is all good. Don’t get me wrong, serving God is great, but Im not going to lie to you and paint a cartoon that doesn’t exist. Life in the Gospel has its rough spots. God is good, God is right and I’m not trying to discourage anyone, but if you think serving God is peaches and crème, you have another thing coming. Paul knew a lot about the Afflictions of the Gospel.
2 Corinthians 11:23-25 “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
Paul understood that when he accepted the call of God upon his life on the road to Damascus, he wasn’t signing up to play games and have fun all of the time. He knew there were going to be some afflictions.
2 Corinthians 11:29 “Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?”
Let me share some of those afflictions with you today:
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
He is waiting to trip you up with sin, worldliness, fornication, bitterness, hatred. The Devil attacks us on a daily basis. The more I do, the more I read, the more I pray, the more I sow, and the more I study, the more of an attack the Devil is preparing for me. You better buckle up, because he’s coming for you. The Devil hates you. He wants you to fail. He cant stand you. He is not playing games. He is playing for keeps. The Devil knows that if he can take you down, your teenagers will be wide open to his attacks. If he can get rid of the shepherd, the sheep are easy prey. So youth pastor, for your teenagers, for your wife, for your family, and for your God; resist the Devil and his attack on your life. The Devil is seeking for the precious life, not just the people with much potential, but for the people that are doing the most damage to his kingdom. Stay faithful to your calling and rest assured in the power that God has promised to you if you claim it.
Ecclesiastes 4 talks about the danger of loneliness… verse 10 says woe to him that is alone! Ever feel alone? Elijah did. In I Kings 19, Elijah told God “I’m the only one.. I’m all by myself….” Truth was, he wasn’t alone. Truth is we are not alone, but we feel like it sometimes. An affliction of the ministry is we feel alienated. Lonely because of my look, lonely because of my book, and lonely because of the world I shook. Get used to it future Preacher, Pastor’s wife, and full time ministry worker. It gets lonely, better get you a walk with God!
Sometimes we desire love and affection from our people or teenagers, but we cannot let this desire become our goal in life or ministry. We must remember the purpose of our existence as youth pastors. our purpose is to take the teenagers where they are and bring them to maturity physically, spiritually, and mentally. This our goal and purpose. If this ceases to be our purpose and our purpose becomes friendship and seeming loyalty then we have lost our purpose of existence as youth pastors.
John 1:11 “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”
Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
Jesus knew this affliction all too well, and still does to this day. He loves us with an everlasting love, yet we often reject his love for a temporal pleasure. One of the most painful afflictions of the Gospel is that of loving and being hurt. Friends, leaders, preachers, converts, bus kids, teenagers, and church members. This affliction is real and it hurts very much.
What did Elisha want more than anything? Double Portion… NOPE He wanted to stay with Elijah.
What did David want more than anything? To Kill Goliath… NOPE To be an obedient Son.
What did Moses want more than anything? To see Promised Land.. NOPE For Israel to Get There.
What did Paul want more than anything? To Be Famous Preacher… NOPE For Israel To Be Saved.
What is that one thing you want more than anything? I mean the thing that you would trade anything you have right now.
Some preachers desire to have a comfortable financial situation, others desire to own the fancy cars they see at the dealerships, still others desire large crowds in church for the sake of recognition by other preachers, and others desire to have children. No matter what the longing is in your life, these longings must be conquered by the passion for the will of God. Only then will you have fulfillment of that desire in the relationship with Jesus. As preachers of the Bible, we often preach about earnestly seeking the will of God and having that sweet fellowship with God. Yet we do not seek with the same passion the will of God or run to Jesus when our heart is filled with longing. Youth Pastor, some things we have desires for are not wrong to desire, but not everything is within the will of God for our lives. We must accept the will of God and when our hearts are overwhelmed with burning desire for the flashy items or even for good things, we must submit our will to the will of the Father.
What if God in His will, chooses not to give you that item that you desire. What will you do?
Is It Really Worth It All?
Heaven Is Worth It All
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
One day we will stand on the golden streets of Heaven and look back on our life. What seemed like such a long time, will then seem so small in the light of eternity. We will then lift our eyes to the marvelous sights that surround us and the struggles and difficulties that we faced in our ministries, families, and lives will then seem so small and light. Heaven is made for you, Youth Pastor. Enjoy the fact that all the blessing in the Bible are just as much yours as they are anyone else’s. God loves you and is stockpiling rewards for you in Heaven.
He is Worth It All
Through the afflictions that enter our life, there is something, rather someone that grows sweeter. Often families will take for granted the wonderful relationship that they could have until there is a time of difficulty. At the time of difficulty, even though there may be some pain, the love of that family become strong. This is the relationship that we can experience as men of God. Jesus is worth any difficulty, pain, or heartache that we may go through. When we get to Heaven, yes it will be amazing, yes it will be beautiful, but the thing in Heaven that will be more astounding than the sights of Heaven will be our Savior who we have dedicated our lives to serve. Yes, Jesus is worth the afflictions.
Youth | Assistant Pastor
Clays Mill Baptist Church