Today is the 23rd day of October. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible, I’m Brian. It is great to be here with you today as we continue our journey through the Scriptures and our journey into this, the fourth quarter of the year, the final stretch. It doesn’t seem like it now, but we’ve all been through this before we know how the end of the year speeds up. And, so, yeah, we’re in the final quarter of the year and nearing the end of the 10th month of the year. And as busy as life might get in this final stretch there…the Bible gets busy in this final stretch too. There’s a lot for us. And, so, let’s get to it. We’re reading from the English Standard Version this week. Jeremiah chapter 42 verse 1 through 44. Verse 23.
Okay. So, when we talked about second Timothy we talked about how that we believe this is the last writing of the apostle Paul’s life and because it’s a personal letter, one of the pastoral letters, so written not to a church, but to a person it has many personal thoughts in it, but it’s also instructing Timothy as a pastor, as a spiritual leader, and knowing that this…this is the last thing that Paul’s gonna write down, knowing that this letter was written right around the time of his death, his martyrdom, then we know that what he put in this letter meant something. Like, this mattered to Paul because he was hoping to see Timothy, he was hoping to say all these things, but this letter’s written in case he doesn’t, and he didn’t. So, these instructions matter to Paul and understanding that gives us a sense of the urgency, that Paul is saying something that needs to be paid attention too. So, in our reading today Paul is encouraging Timothy to endure, which means that you’re actively participating in endurance. So, Timothy had proven trustworthy. Like, he was loyal, Paul trusted him, trusted him as he was loyal to Paul but also trusted him that he was loyal to Jesus. And Paul had passed the faith on to Timothy and on to many people. And this passing on of the faith was gonna cost Paul his life. So yes, this needed to matter, Timothy was gonna have to endure because now there’s an Emperor in Rome who hates the Christians. And, so, persecution is breaking out everywhere. So, Timothy was going to need to endure whatever was coming, but he was also going to need to pass on the faith to people who were trustworthy and loyal as he had been, people who could carry it forward because, although the ultimate future was absolute, the interim, right, the in between, what was gonna happen next was unknown. So, like Paul’s in prison. He had taken the gospel all over the known world. So, enduring was pretty much all…all there was left for Paul to do so. So, the Empire was beginning to systematically persecute and root out Christians and Paul was a ringleader of the sect. So, he’s pretty much assured that he’s not gonna make it out alive. Outside of a miracle he’s likely gonna die. And, so, with his own mortality, like constantly on his mind, Paul could see what was coming and what the church at large might be facing. And he knew how difficult that was gonna and he knew that endurance was gonna be something that became essential if the faith were to survive. So, here’s something really interesting from…from what we read today. As he’s talking to Timothy about enduring and being true, Paul quoted an ancient declaration. It might've…might’ve been like put to music, it might be one of the earliest like sets of lyrics that we have from an early worship song that was sung in the early church before the Gospels were written, but maybe it wasn’t a worship song. Like we don’t know, we don’t have the sheet music. It could have been simply like a creed, a declaration. It’s still important though, So, like when Paul wrote this letter, it’s near the end of his life. But we have to understand that when this letter was written there wasn’t anything known as the New Testament. So, as a pastor receiving the letter from Paul, all Timothy could have referred to in church would been the Torah, right, the Hebrew Scriptures, Paul’s other letters that he had sent to Ephesus where Timothy was, maybe copies of other letters that had been sent to other churches and were passed around, and his personal letters. And it it’s a fact, most biblical scholars agree that the gospel of Mark, the first gospel written, was written like right around the time of Paul’s death, which is right around the time of this letter. And the idea of a New Testament that is authoritative scripture, that had not…that…that was in formation that was not a thing yet. So, when Paul quotes this little creed or this…these lyrics to this song of worship, he was giving us a glimpse into what…what the brothers and sisters were declaring before any of the books of the New Testament had been collected together at all. So, it gives us this really brief but potent glimpse at what…what Christians…what people following the way of Jesus in a church that had been established by the apostle Paul, what they felt was important to declare to one another before there was a New Testament for them to refer to. So, this is found in second Timothy 2:11-13. “If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him. If we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will also deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful.” So, it’s fascinating that the earliest believers, like the believers in Jesus who believed in Christ before there was the New Testament, like this is mind-boggling to even think of that and how one would navigate that because we have become so accustomed to turning there first, but just like Paul talked about Abraham preceding the Mosaic law, we have to understand that there were things going on before there was a New Testament and they were Christian things, they were Holy Spirit involved things in the world. So, it’s interesting that as we get this little snippet from Paul, seeing what our brothers and sisters were declaring to one another, endurance is like at the base level, earliest part of the Christian faith. And this is as a good time to point out as any because we’re gonna be talking about it a lot, endurance. The fact that we must endure and remain true, as we will see as we continue the journey through the New Testament is utterly irreplaceable and absolutely essential in this faith walk that we are on. We’ll find that it serves a purpose and we’re supposed to cultivate it and we’re supposed to understand that enduring and staying true to Jesus no matter what…what happens at all, no matter what happens is essential to our faith.
Father, we invite You into that. And it’s been mentioned before, but we understand that this theme of endurance is definitely something that is gonna keep cropping up and popping up and confronting us continually. And we confess and when we think about that word it’s like not something that we sign up for and it’s something that we try to avoid if we possibly can. And yet we’re finding out in the story of the early church that there was no avoiding endurance. It was actually “the” thing that was knitting everything together and that we are commanded to endure. And, so, help us Holy Spirit because we want to avoid that when we actually need to kinda get familiar with the concept. So, we invite Your Holy Spirit into that as we continue our journey forward and we pray that You would help us stay true and endure today. We pray this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.