New Year Message: Remember Jesus Christ

Welcome to Defender’s Voice. I am Paul Kattupalli. Greetings to everyone in the wonderful name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I hope you are doing well. I wish you a happy new year. Please visit our website to learn more about this ministry. Subscribe to our Youtube channel to watch all our episodes. Download our app into your mobile phone. Send me your prayer requests. I am eager to know what God is doing in your life. Also, consider supporting this ministry with a tax deductible donation. Our evangelism, orphan home and medical missions need your continued support. 

     As we started the new year, today let us see some encouraging truths from the Word of God. Today’s message is entitled ‘The Best is Yet to Come’, ‘The Best is Yet to Come’. For those who believe in Lord Jesus Christ, the best is yet to come. 

     Let us turn to 2 Timothy chapter 2, verse 8. Remember Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus Christ. As we start a new year, let us ponder on this important commandment: Remember Jesus Christ.

When did the beloved apostle pen these words? In AD 64, Roman emperor Nero put the city of Rome to flames. Christians were blamed for this crime. Apostle Paul was put in house arrest. We read about these events in Acts chapter 28. After a few years, Paul was taken into custody again. This time he was given far harsher punishments. Solitary confinement, exposure to cold, beatings, and starvation. During those days, the Apostle wrote this epistle to his beloved spiritual son named Timothy. At this time, Timothy was serving as a shepherd to a church in the city of Ephesus. 

    The wonderful ministry of Apostle Paul was in its final days. He was churning out some great truths from his experience. These are precious diamonds of a lifetime. As you know, Paul became a Christian due to a miraculous revelation of Lord Jesus Christ himself. Once a vicious persecutor of Christianity, Paul became its chief missionary, directly appointed by Lord Jesus. He took the gospel of Christ into every known corner of the world. We can confidently say he was the greatest Christian ever lived. He turned the history of the world around. We can learn a lot from his life and ministry. 

   First note those words: Remember Jesus Christ. Easy to say but hard to practice. Every day we are dragged into so many things. Just take your smartphone. From Facebook to Instagram to Twitter to Youtube to Reddit, social media kills a lot of our precious time. How much time do we take to remember our Lord Jesus Christ? Sadly, not much. Two thousand years ago, Paul was writing these words to Timothy, a Christian leader: Remember Jesus Christ. Even a Christian leader is prone to forget the real Jesus presented to us in the Word of God. 

    Apostle Paul says, Remember Jesus Christ. Every day, every hour – we should remember Jesus Christ. All our activities, our words, our relationships, our decisions should be influenced by Jesus Christ, our Lord. As we move through the ocean of time, Jesus is our anchor. When we say that we are in 2023, we acknowledge that our lives are defined by the life of Jesus Christ. Secular people throw a fit and say, 2023 in the Common Era’. They might change names, but still our calendar is calibrated from the earthly life of Jesus. Every human life is put into a time frame by the life of Christ. So, let us look at our lives with Christ as our center. 

Remembering Jesus In the Past 

First, the Apostle takes a look into his past. There is a divine dimension and a human dimension to his past. Let us read 2 Timothy chapter 1, verses 9 to 10. 

“God has saved us and called us

 to a holy life—not because of anything

 we have done but because of his

 own purpose and grace. This grace was given

 us in Christ Jesus before

 the beginning of time”

           2 Timothy 1:9-10 

    That is Christianity in a nutshell. Even before the beginning of time, God loved you because of his own purpose and grace in Jesus Christ. It is not because of what you have done, or what you have achieved or who you are. It is because of his own purpose and grace. You can always thank God for that when you look into the past. The echoes of his grace must reverberate all around you.  

     He had forgiven all your sins and saved you from eternal damnation. He gave you eternal salvation. No one can steal you from the hand of the Good Shepherd. You can thank God for that. You can thank God for all the blessings He bestowed on your life over the years. 

    Lot of people die even on December 31st. Recently we have seen how Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during a football game. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He was put on a ventilator and a breathing tube. At Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, it was a somber movement. Buffalo Bills players huddled in a prayer circle. They knelt in silence, they bowed their heads, placing hands on each other’s shoulders, with tears streaming down their faces, they were praying for their friend Damar Hamlin. The Bengal fans were reciting the Lord’s Prayer in the stands. Many people were crying for the life of Damar. But some atheists became angry. They said, ‘How dare you pray in a public place?’, ‘How dare you pray in the football stadium?’. Well, get over it. These players and their fans. They love both Jesus and football. The world has seen the bond between football and faith. 

   You may have an athletic physique. You may have millions of dollars in your bank account. Yet, you owe your next heart beat to God. God extended your earthly existence into a new year. You can be thankful for that. So, Apostle Paul was praising God for His eternal purposes fulfilled in his earthly life. 

    Then, there was a human dimension. Let us read verse 15. 

‘You know all those who were

 in Asia have turned against me’. 

   Can you believe that? People turned against the great Apostle of God. Paul was in prison at this time. He was not serving time in prison for murder or rape or robbery. He was there for preaching the gospel of Christ. He was charged with criminal offenses and taken into custody. 

    Paul used to have had many friends in Asia. Now they all left him. They all turned against him. He was in prison. He desperately needed their help. Yet, they left him during a crisis in his life. Only one person went to comfort the apostle in prison. Let us read verse 17. 

    But may the Lord have mercy on the household of Onesiphorus. Many times did that man put fresh heart into me, and he was not in the least ashamed of my being a prisoner in chains. Indeed, when he was in Rome he went to a great deal of trouble to find me—may the Lord grant he finds his mercy in that day!—and you well know in how many ways he helped me at Ephesus as well.

    Onesphorus took a great deal of trouble to find Paul in Rome. He went to his cell and comforted him. Paul enjoyed his visits. He was encouraged in his spirit. 

     When we look into our past, we find our own disappointments like Paul. Still we can be thankful for individuals like Onesiphorus who come to visit us in our distress. We can be a Onesiphorus to other people who are in desperate need. God still has many Onesiphorus in our midst. We should be thankful to God. 

   Remembering Jesus for the Present 

Second, we should remember Jesus for the Present. Even in our present circumstances, there is a human dimension and a divine dimension. First, let us look at the human dimension. 

Chapter 3, verses 1-5 

 But you must realise that in the last days the times will be full of danger. Men will become utterly self-centred, greedy for money, full of big words. They will be proud and contemptuous, without any regard for what their parents taught them. They will be utterly lacking in gratitude, purity and normal human affections. They will be men of unscrupulous speech and have no control of themselves. They will be passionate and unprincipled, treacherous, self-willed and conceited, loving all the time what gives them pleasure instead of loving God. They will maintain a facade of “religion”, but their conduct will deny its validity. You must keep clear of people like this.

  The Apostle paints a depressing picture of our world. People will become utterly self-centered, proud and contemptuous, disobedient to parents, utterly lacking in gratitude; they speak all kinds of filth, they value what gives them pleasure instead of loving God. That is not a pretty picture. 

   When we look at the world, it is more bad news than good news. Turn on the news. What do you hear? The politicians who lie about their past, who are in deep corruption; new variants of Covid bringing the fears of new Pandemics; disrupted supply chains;; thousands of people dying in fentanyl drug overdoses; falling educational standards, rising crime, rising suidice, rising child abuse, rising divorce rates, rising alcoholism, rising starvation; wars and destruction; racial strife, trillions of dollars in government debt. We ask, What is there to celebrate in a new year? If you are depressed about the world around you, you should listen to the words of Apostle Paul: Remember Jesus Christ. 

    Let us read verse 8. 

Remember always, 

as the center of everything,

Jesus Christ, a man of human ancestry, 

yet raised by God from the dead according to my Gospel.

      2 Timothy 2:8 

  Note those words: Jesus Christ, a man of human ancestry, yet raised by God from the dead. There are two precious truths here. Jesus Christ, a man of human ancestry. That is the perfect humanness of our Lord. He came to this world as a human baby. He was raised in the fallen world. He went through human experiences. He suffered. He was even crucified. He was a perfect human being. 

  On the other hand, he was raised by God from the dead. That was His divinity. That was the uniqueness of Lord Jesus Christ. Every human being ever lived on this planet surrendered to death. Only Jesus conquered death and came back to life. Apostle Paul says, we should remember this Living Christ. He is not a dead so-called ‘historical Jesus’. He is the living Lord Jesus Christ. Remember him every day. 

   I often remember my grandfather, my father and my mother. They are dead. Their memories comfort me, encourage me and inspire me. My thoughts of them are precious, yet they are dead. But when I remember Christ, I remember a living Savior. He gives us strength. Let us read chapter 2, verse 1. 

My son, be strong in the grace

 that Jesus Christ gives. 

          2 Timothy 2:1 

    My son, be strong in the grace that Jesus Christ gives you. His Spirit gives us power. 

‘For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’. The Holy Spirit gives us power, love and a sound mind. He gave confidence to Apostle Paul. 

Chapter 1, verse 12. 

 I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed. Paul is not ashamed of Christ and his gospel. He encouraged Timothy to take a stand for Christ. 

‘Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus’ (2:3) 

    That is what millions of believers live around the world. In 2014 Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 Christian girls in Nigeria. It was shocking news. 276 Christian girls kidnapped by Muslim terrorists. They were forced into slavery, oppression, torture, starvation and rape. They were given an ultimatum. ‘Either you convert to Islam and live or stay Christian and die’. They were threatened. ‘Unless you forget Jesus, we will never release you from this bondage’. How are they doing now after 8 years? Author Parkinson wrote a book based on their stories. These girls now teenagers said, ‘We want to live for Jesus’, ‘We will rather suffer for Jesus than become Muslims and live in comfort’. 

     I can’t imagine being imprisoned for my faith. I can’t imagine being starved for my faith. Yet these Nigerian girls took a stand for Jesus. They remembered the living Christ and were empowered. 

Let us read chapter 2, verse 9. 

‘I am suffering even to the point

of being chained like a criminal. 

But God’s word is not chained’. 

                     2 Timothy 2:9 

   Note those words. I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. No one can stop the Word of God. 

All the forces of this world

All the forces of hell 

All the forces of the demonic world – they cannot chain the Word of God because is is living and powerful. So, be thankful that the Word of God is still powerful and preach this word in season and out of season. Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. Don’t fall for what is popular and what is unpopular because people turn to false teachers. Paul told Timothy that many people turn to false teachers because they have itchy ears. This is called populism. What do opinion polls say? What do people love to hear? Christian gospel does not depend on popular opinion. It depends on the Word of God. 

‘Timothy, you follow my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, my faith, patience, love and endurance’ (2 Timothy 3:10). 

    So, when you look into your surroundings, remember Lord Jesus Christ and follow the Word of God. Don’t get disheartened by the depressing news cycles. 

Finally, Remembering Jesus for the Future 

Paul instructs Timothy to remember Jesus for the future. First, look at the human dimension. 

Paul pleads with Timothy to visit him. Verse 9, ‘Do your best to come to me quickly’. Verse 21, ‘Do your best to get here before winter’. Paul is lonely. His future is filled with loneliness. He is desperate for visitors. ‘Please come and visit me’. We can see his vulnerability here. We can identify with him. We have our own phobias. We have our own deficiencies in life. Yet we can be confident if we remember Jesus. 

Verse 2, verse 10. Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 

   Paul is not afraid of death because Jesus destroyed it. He is not afraid of his ministry. He confidently said, ‘I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day’ (2 Timothy 1:12). Let us read chapter 4, verse 6. 

I have fought a good fight

I have finished my course

I have kept the faith

Henceforth there is laid up

 for me a crown of righteousness. 

            2 Timothy 1:12 

In the human dimension, Paul is lonely. But in the divine dimension, he is exuberant. He boldly proclaimed, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course and I have kept the faith. I am going to be crowned with the crown of righteousness’. 

     If you remember Jesus Christ and follow him, your best is yet to come. You haven’t even scratched the surface. God has great things in store for you. 

   So, today, we focused on the life and words of the great Apostle Paul: Remember Jesus Christ. 

Look into your past: there may be disappointments but praise God that He chose you in his grace before the foundation of the universe

Look into your present: there may be cycles of bad news, but you can be strengthened by the power of our great Savior Jesus. 

Look into your future: there may be fears but you can be hopeful that one day you will finish your good fight and be with our blessed Savior in heaven. 

Happy New Year. 

Paul Kattupalli

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