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The Last Word: Courage in the Cold

Todd WagnerFeb 14, 2021

In This Series (3)
The Last Word: 2 Timothy 1:8-18
Todd WagnerFeb 21, 2021
The Last Word: Courage in the Cold
Todd WagnerFeb 14, 2021
2 Timothy 1:1-7
David LeventhalFeb 7, 2021

Summary

Why would a good and loving God create a world that’s full of tragedy, evil, and suffering? In the second week of The Last Word, Todd Wagner shows us why Christ’s ambassadors desperately need His power, love, and self-control to love and serve others in this broken, hurting world.

Key Takeaways

  • God is eternal. God always has been and always will be. (John 1:1).
  • God is good. All that God created in the Garden of Eden was good (Genesis 1:31). God is and will continue to be good. (1 John 4:8, 16; Psalm 145:9; Mark 10:18; James 1:17)
  • Because God is good, He is not the author of evil. Evil is the absence of good (God) just like cold is the absence of warmth and darkness is the absence of light.
  • God’s creation and creatures are good and perfect (James 1:17), but not every creature acts perfectly (Genesis 2:15-3:24). Evil, death, tragedy, and suffering are the result of man’s choice to leave the goodness of God and go their own way.
  • Why did man choose his own comfort and desires over God’s plan? Because God’s creatures are free creatures – free to love and free to follow God or rebel against Him. God does not force His creation to love him.
  • God gave us the choice to abide with him and enjoy His warmth and beauty. But because all of us, like sheep, have gone our own way (Isaiah 53:6), we have moved away from His marvelous light and into darkness, where sin, death, and suffering entered this world.
  • God did not leave us here to suffer alone in this cold, dark world. Christ entered this world in the form of a bondservant (Philippians 2:1-11) and “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Christ laid down his life (1 John 3:16) on the cross so that our sins would be paid for and we could be reconciled with a good, eternal, and perfect God. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
  • It is through faith in Christ that we may become His ambassadors in an evil and hurting world, speaking “for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’” (1 Corinthians 5:18-21)
  • “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7) so that we might be His ambassadors and influence the world around us with His love, rather than being conformed to the world’s image (Romans 12:2).
  • God ran to us in our timidity, fear, sadness, and trouble. Because He has giving us a spirit of His “love, power, and self-control,” we are able to run to others who are hurting. We have the power, in Christ, to remind them of God’s great love.
  • As we live in this broken world that is not how God designed, we need His courage. In this world, we will have trouble (John 16:33), and we need His power to serve others and trust in the One who will overcome the world.
  • God has given us the power to be disciplined and self-controlled so that we move toward Christ and those we have been called to serve, rather than consistently moving toward comfort and self-interest.
  • Sometimes being Christ’s ambassadors and loving and serving others will be painful, and we will be disappointed, hurt, and discouraged. We need courage and the power of God to love others sacrificially the way God has called us to.
  • We still live in a world where sin and death have not been fully eradicated, but God’s Word assures us that He will return to deal with evil completely (Matthew 26:64, 24:30-31; Acts 17:31; Revelation 3:11, 1:7, 22:12). We remain in this world of sin and death so that we can declare to others the goodness of God and the way out of sin’s devastating path, through His Son, Christ Jesus.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • Where in your life are you prone to doubt God’s goodness?
  • Who do you need to reach out to today, as Christ’s ambassador, and demonstrate and share His love?
  • Who in your life needs to be encouraged by you, as Christ’s ambassador?
  • If a friend asked why God allows evil and suffering in this world, how would you answer?

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