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Strong Grace, Hard Word, Good Memories

Introduction

Be strong. Suffer hardship. Remember Jesus Christ. These are Paul's words of counsel to Timothy in a fallen world and imperfect church. Timothy is facing persecution and many dangers, toils, and snares as he lives and ministers among the people of God. Paul's words are not only inspired words of counsel suitable for a minister of the gospel, but also for all the people in the Ephesian church who are living the Christian life. These are suitable words for us.

Be strong. Suffer hardship. Remember Jesus Christ. These are Paul's words of counsel to Timothy in a fallen world and imperfect church. Timothy is facing persecution and many dangers, toils, and snares as he lives and ministers among the people of God. Paul's words are not only inspired words of counsel suitable for a minister of the gospel, but also for all the people in the Ephesian church who are living the Christian life. These are suitable words for us.

The Christian life requires strength through God's grace.

First of all, Paul says, "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." The very first thing that Paul tells Timothy is that Christian life and ministry is characterized by dependent responsibility.

When you first hear those words, you may sense a contradiction. On the one hand, Timothy is being exhorted to strengthen himself, to be ready for vigorous, active service for the Lord. We could picture a cowboy in an old Western movie telling his apprentice to "cowboy up"—to be strong, ready to take on the hardships of service. It's a call to personal exertion. It's a call to personal strength in the service of God. But Paul says, "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." He's calling on Timothy to be ready to work vigorously, but to do ...

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Ligon Duncan is senior minister of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi.

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Introduction

Be strong. Suffer hardship. Remember Jesus Christ. These are Paul's words of counsel to Timothy in a fallen world and imperfect church.

I. The Christian life requires strength through God's grace.

II. The Christian life requires hardship.

III. The Christian life requires remembering the truth about Jesus.