My dear son in the faith,
I am so grateful for you. I delight in what God is doing in you and through your life. I rejoice in the people being influence by your life and testimony. I regularly pray for you, that you will consistently open your heart to God’s way, and that your heart and life will be shaped more and more to reflect that of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
My strong encouragement to you is to keep the main thing the main thing. Never get distracted from it. Do not waiver. Remain steadfast. Never be ashamed to testify about the salvation found in Christ Jesus and Him alone. There is no other name under heaven by which men must be saved. Always be prepared and even eager to do so. Faithfully guard this trust that has been given you. The Church and the world are depending on you to clearly and boldly proclaim this simple message.
Be assured, you will be tempted to get distracted. The tyranny of the urgent will battle for your attention. Be on your guard. Others may tempt you to become consumed with senseless arguments, quarrels, squabbles, gossip, and self-centered ambitions and agendas, which will be urgently and forcefully advanced by people who claim to be godly. There probably won’t be a day during which you won’t be tempted or coerced into pursuing lesser, worldly, temporal “priorities.” Such preoccupation will ruin your life and ministry. The gospel is your priority, and you will be held accountable before the judgment seat of Jesus for this precious trust God has entrusted to you. Be encouraged and emboldened by this truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Your labor in the Lord is never in vain. It will accomplish His intended purpose.
Yes, you may have to endure hardship and be patient through affliction. But, like the Apostle Paul, we endure for the benefit of others, so that through the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, “they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” Therefore, with the confidence that comes from the gospel, and the priority of the gospel, you will be able to gently instruct those who may oppose you. And there will be people who will oppose you and your stance for Jesus, his gospel, and his mission.
Remember the grace of God. Be strong in it. Both your identity and your ministry have been given to you by the grace of God. No one is worthy of such a precious and high calling; only the Lord has made you worthy of it. There is no room for arrogance or boasting, unless you boast in Christ and his grace. God has saved you by this grace, he has called you by this grace, and he will keep you in his grace by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So watch your life and your doctrine closely. Be diligent. Make sure what you believe aligns with how you behave. Then others will trust you as an ambassador and proclaimer of the word of truth. Preach it consistently. Handle it correctly. Apply it persistently. Challenge with it compassionately. Respect it always. After all, it is God’s inspired revelation. Without it, you will never be fruitful in your calling to make disciples who will also influence others in Christ. While methods, strategies, models and paradigms are useful – they certainly have their place – they are useless without the foundation of the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Only the word of God can bring wisdom for salvation, and only the Spirit of God can transform a life. And transformed lives are the fruit of your ministry.
I have much more I’d like to tell you. Hopefully my life and my ministry have been a letter from which, by the grace of God, you may be able to gain some profit. But most importantly, may God grant me the reward of having pointed you to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and the One in whose grace we now stand. Never forget Jesus. May His grace and peace be yours.