Suffering as a Good Soldier
2 Timothy 2:1-3 ESV
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
All believers in Jesus Christ should be sharing the gospel, and we should be participating in the making of disciples of Jesus Christ of people. For we are the light of the world that shines the light in the darkness, and we are the salt of the earth which preserves the Word of God and imparts it to others.
And we are to be encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ in their walks of obedient faith in Jesus Christ. And we should be building them up in the faith to maturity in Christ via speaking the truth in love to them for their good and for their instruction in holy living.
For this is the purpose of the body of Christ, to be Christ to the world around us and to one another, and to be empowered of God’s Spirit in utilizing the spiritual gifts we have been given in the roles God assigned each one of us in the body of Christ for our mutual encouragement.
And “encouragement” isn’t just saying “nice” things to people to make them feel good about themselves. But biblical encouragement involves urging, persuading, inspiring, cheering, nurturing, helping, and aiding our fellow believers to be diligent in walking in the Spirit and not by the flesh.
But we can’t do this in the flesh. We must be doing this in the power and working of the Holy Spirit living within us. He will guide us in all that we should do and say, if we are listening to him, and if we are obeying him as a matter of practice, and if we are not quenching the Spirit’s work in us.
And then we must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in what the Lord wants us to do with our lives, and in how he wants to use us within the body of Christ to help others to grow in him, as they mutually encourage us in our walks of faith.
But when we do this, and we follow the leading of the Spirit, and we do what he says, and we do and say the kinds of things Jesus did and said, not everyone is going to like us, for not everyone liked Jesus. Most didn’t. But we can do what the Lord says in his strength.
No Soldier Gets Entangled
2 Timothy 2:4-7 ESV
“No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are part of his spiritual army, only our weapons are not the weapons of this world. We don’t fight with guns and knives and bombs. We fight our enemy Satan with truth, righteousness, the word of God, our salvation from sin, prayer, and the sharing of the gospel.
So, we aren’t supposed to get entangled in civilian pursuits, not that we can’t have a job to pay bills and feed our families, but that the things of this world should not be what we are pursuing and going after, but we should be aiming to please our Lord in all that we do.
But let me say this. Many Christians in America are pursuing politicians, thinking that they are the answer to what ails our nation, and that if we only had this or that person in office that things would be better for us, but they never are, and then we are missing the mark.
The ONLY thing that is going to save this nation or any other nation or people is faith in Jesus Christ. So, why are so many Christians talking politics and even fighting with each other over what candidate or politician is better, when what they need to be doing is sharing the gospel with people?
And then so many Christians are just sharing junk, like jokes, funny memes, and stuff that adds no value to our lives. Christians shouldn’t be sounding just like non-Christians, talking about all the same things in all the same ways but not talking about Jesus for it might offend people.
Do you know that we have a huge opportunity to share the gospel in our world today unlike anything before? We can talk about Jesus and his gospel on Facebook, on Twitter, on other social media platforms, in the blogging world, on Christian discussion sites, and/or on YouTube, et al.
So, don’t be wasting this opportunity that is wide open right now, because it won’t be wide open forever. If you haven’t been, stop sharing junk and start sharing what the Lord is teaching you from his Word each day in order to encourage others to come to know him or to walk with him in obedience.
Remember Jesus Christ
2 Timothy 2:8-13 ESV
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:
“If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.”
So, we need to keep our focus on Jesus, and on pleasing him, and on doing what he says, and being like him, and being him to the world around us. We need to remember how he gave his life up for us on that cross so that we can be free from our slavery to sin and be empowered to live holy lives.
We need to get our eyes off of this sinful world except in order to share with them the truth of the gospel so that they can be turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus.
And we need to be encouraged in our walks of faith when we are suffering mistreatment for teaching the truths of God’s Word that most people don’t want to hear. Oh, they like to hear about the blessings, but they don’t like to hear about what God requires of us in the way of surrender to him.
And we have here one of these “hard truths” that most people don’t want to hear. For, we are not saved “past tense,” and then we live however we want, and then one day we die, and we go to heaven. Most people do NOT go to heaven, so not all our loved ones who have died are in heaven.
And here is the TRUTH: IF we died with him, we will also live with him. We will NOT live with him, therefore, IF we don’t first die with him to sin, and IF we don’t continue dying daily to sin and self and walking in obedience to our Lord in living to him and to his righteousness (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23).
IF we endure (persist, continue, carry on) in our walks of obedient faith in Jesus Christ, we will also reign with him. Therefore, IF we don’t endure, and we shrink back from following our Lord in obedience, then we won’t reign with him. And IF we deny him, not just with our lips, but by our lifestyles (our practices, habits), he will also deny us. We will not be welcomed into his eternal home no matter what faith in Jesus we profess.
But IF we are faithless, still he will remain faithful to who he is and to all that he said he would do, for he cannot deny himself. He can’t be less than who he is. And so, when he says IF we walk (in practice) according to the flesh that we will not inherit eternal life with God, he means what he says.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:7; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]
His Tender Mercies
An Original Work / January 26, 2014
Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.
Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.
Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.