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People tend to gravitate towards things that are upbeat and positive; that’s the way we like our friends., that’s the way we like our politics, and that’s the way we like our theology. Maybe that’s why the following first century worship hymn has been so completely overlooked by today’s churches.
Here is 2 Tim 2:11-13
“This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.
If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.”
The symmetrical form, and rhythmical balance of the lines above, makes it very likely that these words formed part of an early Church hymn or an accepted theological formula. Therefore, this little poem is a unique and exceptional portion of the New Testament.
So then… how come I wanted to skip it this morning? How come this little passage is not a favorite among believers today? It’s short. It’s concise and easy to memorize. It’s Biblical. Shouldn’t this be a very popular and widely quoted section of the New Testament? Why haven’t the words of this ancient ditty been filling worship choruses in recent decades? Why haven’t we slapped this thing on a bumper sticker or Christian greeting card?
I’ll tell you why – It’s that one line right in the middle of an otherwise happy stanza. “If we deny Him, He will also deny us”.
We are ok with that type of language when it comes to some wicked unbeliever, but right in the middle of a poem meant for the church – no thank you!
We want to keep things encouraging. We like to keep it positive. But, come on people; let’s keep it real – Biblical truth is not always popular EVEN IN THE CHURCH (even among those who do consistent morning devotions!).
IF we love positive scriptural truth, then we should love this one; If we, the folks in the pews, the people in the service, deny the Lord Jesus by the way we live - He will deny us. The apostle Paul seems very positive about that.
So, you can bust out the bumper stickers and strike up the band, but I don’t think this first century pop song has any hope of being popular in today’s church. I’m pretty positive about that.