The Importance of Tears in Our Ministry

Three vital issues should characterize the servant of God: a broken heart, mourning, sin.

“A broken and contrite heart God will not despise.” God can only use broken things. Jesus took the lad’s bread and broke it and fed the multitude. The alabaster box was broken, only then did its fragrance fill the house and the world. Jesus said, “This is my body which is broken for you.” Only then did salvation come into the world.

Next, there is mourning for sin and the sinner. Jeremiah cried, “Oh, that my head were waters.” The Psalmist says, “Rivers run down my eyes continually.” Dear brethren, our eyes are dry, because our hearts are dry.

William Booth advised two of his officers to “try tears” when everything else had failed. Revival broke out. David Livingstone cried with a breaking heart, “Lord, when will the wounds of this world’s sin be healed?” John Welch soaked his pillow as he travailed for souls. George Whitefield spent days and weeks prostrate on the floor in silent and vocal prayer.

Many of us know only a tearless, passionless, soulless ministry.

2 Timothy 1 from V. 8

V. 8- The sufferings for the Gospel. A Gospel worth suffering for. It is inevitable that loyalty to the Gospel will bring persecution in some form. Timothy was urged to be loyal to two things. They that live godly shall suffer 1) to the gospel 2) To Paul a preacher of the gospel. He was not to be ashamed of the Gospel or of Paul. Paul was claimed by the authorities as a criminal, in fact at this time he was in prison in Rome. He was despised by the authorities, and forsaken by many of his brothers (Phygelus and Hermogenes, V. 15).

He exhorts Timothy no matter the cost, not to be ashamed of the Gospel (Rom 1-16) nor of him as a prisoner of Rome (of Jesus Christ) – The prisoner of the hand, “Onesiphorus.”

In verses 8 thru 11 Paul sets forth the Gospel in, all its glory. By implication and by direct statement he brings out element after element of the Gospel’s unique glory. There are few passages in the NT which present so vividly the sheer grandeur of the Gospel.

1. V. 8 It is the gospel of power. “The Gospel which is the power of God.” The suffering involved in the preaching of the gospel is to be borne in the power of God. To the first believers the gospel was the power to live, and die. Paul uses the same expression in Rom 1-16. The gospel is “the power of God.” Describe some of its power. Fear of hell – Ferguson.

2. It is the gospel of salvation. (2 Corinth 1-10 “god through the Gospel hath saved us.”) “Who hath saved us” V. 9 Salvation is in three spheres: Salvation from the penalty of sin, Salvation from the “power of sin”, Salvation from the presence of sin. The Gospel rescues from sin…not just from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. (Eph 2 thru 4 – see note) It not only saves a person eternally, it save presently. Its power can liberate one from habits and sins which were unbreakable.

3. It is the gospel of consecration “Called us with a holy calling” (through the gospel) V. 9. The gospel not only delivers us from the consequences of sin, and liberates us from the chains of sin, but urges us to live a holy life in deepest consecration. (sequence in Romans). To every born-again believer Paul says “present your body as a holy, living sacrifice.” “Be not conformed to the world”…”be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Believing, receiving and obeying the gospel changes a person’s life, habits, pleasures and character. It sends such a one on the Calvary road, the road of consecration, the road of holiness. “Called with a holy calling” – personal holiness – describe the sanctified man.

4. It is also the gospel of grace. “Not according to our works” (Eph 2:8-9). The gospel and its blessings are not something that we achieve by works. Blessings – it is something we accept by faith. “Faith cometh by hearing” etc. God did not call us because we were holy (or deserving)…He called us to make us holy. The blessing of the Gospel is the free gift of God’s grace.

5. It is the gospel of God’s eternal purpose and grace (V. 9) “given us in Christ before the world began” It was planned before time began. In the dateless part God conceived of such a plan. (1 Peter 18-20). In time He brought it to fruition through the Cross, then revealed the blessings of believing through the Gospel.

6. It is the Gospel of life and immediately Christ hath abolished death “and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” V. 10. The OT saints knowledge of life after death was limited (Job’s question – “Where shall I find Him?...How can a man be justified?...If a man dies shall he live?”) The ancient world feared death and regarded it as extinction. It is Paul’s conviction that Jesus Christ brought to light, through His death and resurrection, the truth of eternal life and the immortality of the soul. This astonishing truth is preached to men through the Gospel.

7. It is a gospel of service (Quote V. 11). Paul was the herald – apostle – and teacher of “the Gospel.” On him was laid the inescapable task of serving God and his fellow man. The Gospel laid these necessities on Paul.

    A. It made him a herald. – Preacher-evangelist to the regions beyond.

      1. He brought the message of the Gospel to his fellow man

      2. He brought men into peace with God.

      3. He called upon his fellow men to accept the rich offer God was making to them.

    B. It made him an apostle. He was one who was sent by God. He was God’s ambassador to the church – he was a true pastor. Believers are the ambassadors of Christ – they speak for Him, and represent Him before men.

    C. It made him a teacher. Paul was a teacher. Teaching the fundamentals of the faith, and the Biblical concept of the spiritual, holy life of the believer is probably the most important task entrusted to an individual within the Church.

A person may receive Christ under the ministry of the Evangelist, but the long road to maturity lies ahead. The flame of evangelism must be followed by the steady glow of Christian teaching. The reason for so many failures among us is that the new coverts have not been taught the fundamentals of Christian living.

“Neglect not the gift which is in thee.”

“Stir up the gift of God.”

V. 12 “For which cause I also suffer these things.” Because he was a preacher, apostle and teacher he suffered these things. Survey Paul’s life and his suffering for Christ (2 Corinth 11). Note the outward sufferings and the inward – “The care of all the churches.” Despite these sufferings he is not ashamed – I do not regret my circumstances. Paul writing to the Philippians said “That I might know Him.” He cannot be know without sacrifice. Here he writes “I know Him” etc. Paul has perfect confidence in God in the present circumstances and so in his future state. “Keep secure by the spirit and teach fearlessly in the spirit the pure unadulterated Word.” (see sheet)

V. 13 “Hold fast the form of sound words” (Describe Timothy’s adventures – the need for this today. – Jesus Christ is Lord) We must return to the Book – we must know the fundamentals of our faith – we must submit to them, obey them and live by them. “Strengthen the things that remain” The “holding fast” has to be done in “faith” and “love.”

V. 14 Paul urges Timothy to guard the fine deposit of truth that God had entrusted him with. Timothy was also God’s chosen vessel to build and edify the Church. He was to do this with the help of the Holy Spirit who lived in him.

V. 15 Is a sad reflection on man in the early church. Paul experienced the same thing that happened to the Lord, his Master. Many of these who lived in the Roman province of the western part of Asia Minor of which Ephesus was the capital, had abandoned him. At his trial no one stood with him. What deep disappointment was tremendous hurt was Paul’s, as his friends failed him in his time of need.

Two men are singled out for special mention – we know nothing of them, they probably could have helped but were ashamed. They could not stand the disdain of their fellow men by being associated with Paul and the Gospel

V. 16 In contrast to the faithfulness of many there is the faithfulness of Onesiphorus. At great risk to himself he sought Paul out, and them at greater risk, he continued to visit and minister to God’s weary servant.

V. 17 Paul prays that this brave beloved brother will be abundantly rewarded for the sacrifice he made and the comfort he brought to him.

The Gospel

The Gospel in a nutshell John 3:16. In this verse you have the dearest and fullest exposition of it. In this verse you have Love – God – mankind – Christ – sin – death – atonement – and eternal life held together in one mighty proclamation.

1. The Gospel is a fact – therefore tell it simply

2. It is a joyful fact – therefore tell it cheerfully

3. It is an entrusted fact – therefore tell it faithfully

4. It is a fact of infinite moment – therefore tell it earnestly

5. It is a fact of infinite love – therefore tell it pathetically

6. It is a fact difficult of comprehension to many – therefore tell it with illustration

7. It is a fact about a Person – therefore preach Christ

Isaiah’s vision (Isa 6) It took place “the year Uzziah died”

It was a vision in three dimensions.

Verse 5- Woe – a word of confession

Verse 7- Lo – a word of cleansing

Verse 9- Go – a word of commission

It was an upward vision – he saw the Lord

It was an inward vision – he saw himself

It was an outward vision – he saw the world

It was a vision of height – he saw the Lord high and lifted up

It was a vision of depth – he saw the recesses of his own heart

It was a vision of breadth – he saw the world

“Where there is no vision the people perish.”

“I know whom I have believed” etc. V. 12

Paul knew Him historically. He knew Him spiritually – He had sacrificed everything to know Him (Phil 3:8-9). He knew Him deeply and dearly as his Life, Way and End. He knew Him as the perfect and absolutely satisfying Christ of his love and worship. He knew Him as the bearer of his sins and the consequences of his death. He was filled to his utmost capacity with the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord.

Knowing Him so well, he had, and was trusting Him completely, to be kept, ruled and guided. This One he was confident, was able to keep him in life and in death until “that day.”