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Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Soldier, Farmer and Much, Much More

A Spiritual Treasure 


2 Timothy 2

Caree Connolly

In Chapter 1 of 2 Timothy, we learned about Paul being in prison for his faith and having a pure conscience. He reminded Timothy of the things he had learned from Paul and his responsibility and being mindful of them. And we heard about the ones who were a part of the faith, but showed no support of Paul. This next chapter has much more to instruct us about being a teacher. A soldier. A farmer. And much much more.

Steward


2 Timothy 2:1-2
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
God gave us a spiritual treasure; the Word. It's not something we keep for ourselves. We must invest it in and pass on what we learn. Then they can share the Word with others.

Paul tells Timothy to be strong in the grace.  Grace is a gift we don't deserve. One of the definitions in the dictionary is; a act of kind assistance. This grace is free. 

We generally think that to get something, it will cost us. Not here though. In Ephesians 2:8 it says; “For it is by grace you have been saved ,through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God"

God's grace gives us the ability to study His Word, understand what it means, and to teach it. And from that, we can bear fruit in our lives.

Timothy learned from Paul through the Holy Spirit. Now he needs to teach others that are faithful.

In his Blue Letter Bible Commentary, Chuck Smith speaks of when Calvary Chapel was still new, he taught men and their wives throughout a period of two years, a delving into the Word of God. Then he sent them to begin their own Bible studies at home. Within the next couple years, many were saved at those studies. They were able to go and start a Bible study of their own. 

Disciplining others so that they can disciple others. Pretty awesome.

Decisive Soldier


2 Timothy 2:3-5
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules
Paul uses the word soldier here. I once again looked up the definition and found that one of the meanings is: 'militant leader, follower, or worker'. That's what we are for Jesus. 

I know from stories that my brother has mentioned that being a soldier is hard work. I remember when I got to visit him and his family, he didn't just get up and head out the door. He had to prepare himself first. 

We do as well. Ephesians 6:11-17 tells us about putting on the whole armor of God. That’s how we can be a good soldier. 
  • We are in battle. 
  • Fighting for our eternity.
  • Satan is relentless in his attacks. 
  • Stay on guard.

As a soldier, and since we are in battle, our commander in chief tells us to leave behind the mundane things. These might be a hindrance to the spiritual warfare going on.
Luke 21:34 says; "In the last days, be careful lest you at any time be overcharged with gluttony, surfeiting, or with drunkenness, or the cares of this life so that thrunning, just to run, but running to get to the prize. The athlete’s of today train hard. The one's ones training for the Olympics? On the couch, becoming a couch potato? Nope! Working hard for that gold medal. How about us? To tired to read? To pray? To preoccupied to go to church? Lets hope not. Paul wrote in 1Cor. 9:25-27 “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified
Let us be like the soldier or the athlete and be ready, prepared, and on call for Jesus.

Ceaseless Farmer

2 Timothy 2:6-13
The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
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.

Paul first talks of being a soldier. Being in battle against darkness. He also mentions athletes. Using good training to run a race to receive the prize. For us, the crown of glory. Now he speaks of farmers. Unlike the first two, a farmer must wait for his work to show. We as Christians must also learn to wait. We might sow the seeds, and not see a result. Teachers have to spend a year to see progress, and parents, sometimes, a child’s lifetime. It might take a hardship, or a terrible decision for the teachings of God in their youth to come to them. With that, we see the fruit. The farmer works with much patience. And so must a christian teacher and parent. Verse 8 also reminds us that the resurrection of Jesus, is the very heart of the gospel. Especially since without His death and resurrection, we have no gospel story.
That is our grace that he gave us. Jesus was treated as an evildoer. His suffering led to His glory. Paul as a soldier of Christ is being treated as a evil doer. And we see today that Christians are treated as a abomination. Verse 10 calls us 'the elect'. We are God's people. 
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 says; “ But we ought to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ
We can tie it all together with the faithful saying in the verses 11-13  
Some commentators believe this refers to baptism which is a symbol of dying and rising in Christ. In his Blue Letter Bible Commentary Chuck Smith and William Barkley's Daily Study Bible, they feel that Paul is speaking of physical death. He would be execute soon but knew that he would be with Jesus. All throughout history, we can read about martyrs who died for Christ. They all knew where their soul was going. 
Dying the physical death is to be eternally with Jesus. Enduring the suffering. To one day reign with Him. Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
And in the last portion? Can we deny Christ? Many try. But it doesn't change the fact. We are here because of Him. He can't deny himself. Jesus did die for our sins. And rose again. That's a fact, whether believed or not. It does effect us though. Our eternity depends on it. I am so glad to know we know and believe.

Focused Workman

2 Timothy 2:14-19
Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babbling, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
In the letter to James we see how words can do damage. Here Paul is saying the same thing to Timothy. 
Christians can sometimes argue over trivial matters. It can ruin someone who is new to the church into thinking, 'why bother coming here if this is going on'. 
Chuck Smith wrote how one church argued over how many angels can stand on the head of a pin. Who cares? As it says in verse 15; be 'diligent to present yourself approved to God'. We should be showing ourselves honorable regarding the Word of God. 
1Thessalonians. 2:3-4 says; “For our exhortation does not {come} from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts.”
Paul tells us to shun profane and idle babbling. It can just lead to ungodliness. It's false doctrine and dangerous. And it can spread. Paul calls it a cancer. 
It spreads, infects, and kills. In verse 17, we even have a name of a two false teachers. Hymenaeus was named also in 1 Timothy 1:20. These two men teaching contrary to the true gospel. 
We've had men over time tell of the date that Christ is coming. “On this date in the year so in so”. This so wrong and does nothing but turn people away from the truth.
“The Lord knows those who are his”!

Sanctified Vessel

2 Timothy 2:20-23
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife

We just had Paul tell us about two men, who strayed from the truth and were now leading people astray. Men who were members of the church. A great house like verse 20 says. A great house has many vessels: gold and silver, wood and clay. In Warren Weirsbe's commentary; 'Be Faithful' he explains that Paul is not distinguishing between Christians, but making a distinction between true teachers and the false ones. The faithful are like a gold vessel bring honor to Jesus. False teachers have no value at all. 
They are pretty much like wood or clay. Something that would not survive a test of fire.
Paul tells Timothy to distance himself from these false teachers. We should do the same. Jeremiah 23:16 says; “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord”. 
Bringing us back to vessels, we are all a part of this great house. We are a vessel. But what kind of vessels are we? I would like to be an honorable one that is fit for the master's use. Staying away from the impure doctrines. The verse tells us to cleanse ourselves from these. To be vessels for God, we need to be empty, clean, and available. Than He can take us, fill us, and use us for His glory. 
Ephesians 2:10 says; For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. And we also have Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
And 'flee youthful lusts'. There are a few definitions of lust, but the one that seem to fit here was; urgent desire or interest. Chuck Smith used an example of Joseph and Potifer's wife. We all know that story; that she desired him that he ended up having to flee from her. 
I don't know what Timothy may have been desiring, Paul is reminding Timothy to flee from these. The desired goals are: righteousness, faith, love, and peace. This is what God wants for us.

Compassionate Servant

2 Timothy 2:24-26
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
These last couple verses Paul writes of being a servant. In the Greek, this would mean; slave. So, Paul is calling himself a slave for Jesus Christ. A slave in those days and even up intill after the civil war, a slave had no will of their own. 
They were under a master's command. We were slaves to sin, before we were saved. Now we are under a master's command. Jesus. We are instructed to teach His Word. 
Unfortunately, some are more difficult than others to teach. They prefer to argue about unimportant stuff. Paul wants Timothy to ignore the arguments, not ignore the people. Being gentle and patient. Our task is to get them out from under the devils snare, and deliver them into the Lord's hands. 2 Corinthians 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”.
We can teach them in love. Instruct them and bring them the truth which will set them free. With prayer, their eyes will be open. And bind the work of Satan. We can through prayer open their eyes to see the truth. And we can bind that work of Satan that is keeping them from knowing the truth. John 8:32 says “Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"
This chapter has so much to teach us. That we are soldiers engaged in constant battle against the darkness. Having to endure hardness, and fighting the enemy. 
We are farmers. Undergoing patience when we await results of seeds sown. Being a vessel for God to be filled up with the gifts to bring Him honor. And being a servant for Jesus. Gentle, humble, and willing.

Are we willing to be those vessels God has called us to be? 
A Soldier, A Farmer, And Much, Much More?