Last Wednesday evening we studied Paul’s pastoral epistles — his letters to Timothy and Titus. As the pastor was giving an overview of the three letters, I found myself distracted by the content of the letters! (Being distracted by the Word of God — what a great thing!)

What caught my attention is that the Apostle Paul presented the Gospel in nine of the thirteen chapters of these three books. I was amazed by this. Remember the setting. Paul is writing to leaders of churches, men he had discipled and set in place as pastors. Paul calls both Timothy and Titus “my true son” in the faith (1 Tim 1:2, Titus 1:4). Undoubtedly these men know the Gospel message. Undoubtedly Paul knows that these men know it. Yet Paul repeats it ten times in thirteen chapters.

The question I have to ask is “Why?”

  • To encourage himself? (Remember, he was in prison and soon to be executed)
  • To encourage Timothy and Titus? (They were young and had their share of struggles)
  • To reinforce the many facets of the Gospel? (watch for a future post on this)
  • Because he was consumed by it — it was what he lived and breathed?

It was probably a combination of all of these, but as we discussed this discovery at the end of the study, we concluded that the most prominent reason was probably because he was consumed by it. Paul lived and breathed the Gospel.

I love to watch interviews between secular media and Billy Graham. He very naturally includes the Gospel message in almost every answer. I watch amazed that he can do it so frequently without coming across as preachy or avoiding the questions. Politicians put forth the same message but it’s often at the expense of answering the question. Billy Graham was able to answer questions while including the Gospel.

The same was true of the Apostle Paul. I want to say “it’s their gift.” But I think that’s a copout. I think it’s much more like that they were/are more consumed with the Gospel than I am. I want my passion to be as Paul’s:

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11, NIV

Paul says he considers everything in this life that he might otherwise have considered of value rubbish! And that what he wants is only to know Christ. I’m not there. I am not consumed with Christ as I’d like to be. There’s still way too much rubbish in my life!

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