Paul could rightfully speak of afflictions because he endured many by the hands of the enemies of the Gospel of God. With Paul these afflictions took the form of beatings, imprisonments, shipwreck; dangers in the city, the wilderness, at sea; and among false brethren; also hunger, thirst, cold and nakedness. In Western civilization today our afflictions are of a different nature. But in most of the world our brothers suffer the same as then. Paul writes to Timothy, and Christians everywhere; “Accept your suffering in the strength of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of the Gospel.” Paul was writing during a time of great persecution, and Timothy would suffer greatly as a Christian. God’s Word teaches us that we must also experience affliction; and by it, we will learn Christian discipline. The seed of God’s Word has been planted in us, but that seed must grow. And the best soil for spiritual growth is affliction. Accept it with the power of God, and share the Gospel with those who persecute you.
We evangelical Christians need make no apology for our beliefs. They come in a direct line from the apostles. We can check the tenets of our faith against the beliefs of all of the church fathers, and they will check out one by one. Then check them all with Holy Scripture, and again they will prove solid. What then is the trouble that lies over the church? The answer is we are too relaxed, and too comfortable. We hold the faith of our fathers, but it does not hold us. Are we spiritually blind? God has committed the most precious of all treasures to us, but we are not committed to it. God has set eternity in our hearts, and we have chosen earthly things instead. Jesus wants us to be attracted to a glorious tomorrow, but we settle for a dull today. We improvise and muddle along, hoping for heaven, but not eager to get there. We are correct in doctrine but weary of prayer, and bored with God. Oh Lord give us ears to hear & eyes to see!
Paul was giving a very serious charge to Timothy. He said “I charge you before God,” and if that wasn’t enough, “the Lord Jesus Christ,” and finally, “the elect angels.” What was this charge? “That you observe these things without prejudice!” The exhortation was against showing favoritism to some. (1 Tim.5) Every person is equal in the eyes of God. So if a servant of God shows favoritism than they are misrepresenting God. It is important that we understand that everyone is of equal importance in the eyes of the Lord. God loves us all, He doesn’t have any favorites. We should follow Christ’ example. Christians should treat everyone, regardless of their position in life, with respect. To do any less is to offend our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
God has provided salvation for all mankind. When Christ died, He died for the sins of the world. His offer is open to all; “Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev.22). But most people reject Christ and refuse God’s gift of salvation. So although Christ died for all and makes the offer to all, only those who accept Jesus Christ receive the benefit. So He “Is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe”(1 Tim.4). In other words, He died for everyone, but it takes acceptance by faith to really know Jesus as your personal Savior. Christ’ death doesn’t do you any good unless you receive His forgiveness.