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Archive for March, 2013


Study to show thyself Approved unto God

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What does that title mean? Why do so many Christians quote those verses? Are they trying to get approval of God or man? I will endeavor to expound upon the following verses in the full context.

 

2Timothy 2:14 ¶ Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

 

First of all Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, is writing this to young Timothy who was struggling. By reading both letters you will understand that some must have been giving Timothy a hard time. As a Pastor, Timothy was more than likely Discouraged by “Christians” who were critical of his age. So Paul writes to him and to us about putting them to remembrance and charging (to attest or protest earnestly) them before the Lord Jesus to stop playing “word” games because they were “subverting” (an overturn (“catastrophe”), i.e. demolition; figuratively, apostasy) those who listen! So Paul was telling Timothy to rebuke those who were playing word games that was actually leading people away from the faith and truth! That is the context. So many still do this today and cause much confusion within the Body of Christ!

 

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

With the context now in focus let us look at verse where the title is derived. The word “study” means (to use speed, i.e. to make effort, be prompt or earnest:–do (give) diligence, be diligent) which is different from the English definition of the word “study.” The English definition of the word “study” means (The devotion of time and attention to acquiring knowledge on an academic subject, esp. by means of books.) What the Apostle Paul was actually telling Timothy was to be Diligent not to “get in the Word of God and study” as most Christians like to tell other Christians who may not agree with them on any given topic. Paul was telling Timothy that he needed to be diligent to show himself “approved” to God, not other people! The definition to the word approved means ( properly, acceptable (current after assayal), i.e. approved:–approved, tried) So in context we could bring in a passage in James. 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, (the word “tried is the same Greek word that is used for “approved” in our topic Scripture lesson.) he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Paul was telling Timothy to endure the pressure to please God rather than men! Now, the phrase “ needeth not to be ashamed” is defined by the word irreprehensible. This word literally means Blameless or innocent before God! Now for the phrase “rightly dividing.” To define from the Greek the following is rendered; to make a straight cut, i.e. (figuratively) to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message). So Paul was saying “dissect” or “expound” the Divine Message! Which is the Word of Truth! So why do so many Christians throw these verses at other Christians when the Truth is we are to be “Diligent” to be “accepted or tried” before God, as one who “expounds” or “dissects” the Divine Message! This passage is not designed to be thrown around as a way to “condescend” or “discourage” another believer! That is exactly what others were doing to young Timothy! Let us now continue.

 

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: (Gangrene) of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

 

Remember, Paul is writing to young Timothy concerning these fellows who were twisting or playing games with words. Paul says their words are like gangrene! Eating away at peoples faith! Leading to more ungodliness! Infecting the “Body” of believers! This is very much the case for today!

 

18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

 

Paul is stating plainly that these “word games” and ungodly men were “eating away” at the Faith with their “twisted truth” by saying that the Resurrection has already come to pass! Paul then states they are “overthrowing” or “subverting” others in the Faith! Be careful who you listen too and you MUST be “diligent” to be “approved” to God and not men! You MUST “rightly Divide” the Word of Truth. Again, not to be arrogant, or “condescending” to others but to be Strong in Your Faith!

 

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I would like to expound a few verses of Scripture that contain some teaching that will throw many “Christians” of today in a tail spin at best, at worse a spiritual temper tantrum! So many today in the Christian Faith talk and act as if Salvation cost them nothing! On the contrary, salvation may cost you greatly! Let this Scripture penetrate our hearts and minds! Jesus is teaching about Salvation. He should know the Way for He is Our Salvation!

 

Matthew 19:16 ¶ Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

 

Notice the question closely, it concerns salvation or Eternal Life! “what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Now let us consider Jesus’ answer!

 

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

 

Notice Jesus responds with a question in the first part of verse 17. Jesus was telling the rich young man that His Father is the One that is Good! Now listen to the second half of verse 17 Jesus tells him to keep, obey, the Commandments and he will “enter into life.” Fascinating when you consider the majority of today’s Christians mock the word “obey” or at best tell you that you are a Pharisee! But yet it is JESUS who is teaching!

 

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’

19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”

 

Clearly Jesus is referring to the 10 Commandments! Now I am sure many reading this will say that I am teaching salvation by works of the Law! Nothing could be farther from the truth! However, we cannot be Saved to DISOBEY either! So what is the connection? Let us continue….

 

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

 

Notice the young man said he has obeyed the Commandments Jesus mentioned and was still empty and searching for fulfillment! “What do I still lack?”

 

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

 

Perfect here in this context means complete or of full age, which implies maturity!Jesus said go and sell and give to the poor and you will have treasures in Heaven, which is Faith in action! Most importantly is the phrase “come, follow Me.” It is never going to change. If we who are called after the Name of Christ do not come and follow after Jesus we are frauds at best! It does cost us something to follow after Christ, doesn’t it? YES, Jesus paid our sin debt and washed away our sins on His Bloody Cross and we must Trust only in His Redeeming Blood! It is often mentioned by Jesus that if we would come after Him it will cost us! “Take up your Cross and follow me!” Deny yourself was Jesus message! In fact as we continue in the story it cost His disciples more than most five and dime Christians of today would even consider!

 

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 ¶ Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

24 “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

 

So the young man had some possessions that he was not willing to depart from in order to gain “treasure in Heaven?” The young man was “sorrowful” which in the Greek means he was in “distress!” Many a Christians in America have a great number of possessions and would find themselves in “distress” if Jesus told them to sell them and give to the poor! It is noteworthy in verses 23 and 24 is an awesome illustration that most have never heard. The “eye of a needle” is actually a small door or passage way in the walls around Jerusalem. In order for a camel to go through the doorway it would have to get on its knees and crawl in order to enter! Which in many ways refers to Humility! It would be Humbling for the rich young man to give up some of his possessions in order to gain treasures in heaven! The same could be said of us today in Christendom! It would not be to harsh for me to suggest that no one can be saved unless they first “Humble themselves” first!

 

25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”

 

The astonishment of the disciples is understandable. They then ask an important question; “Who then can be saved?” Very important to hear how the Savior replies to the question!

 

26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Well amen Jesus! Men are Lost and can’t even perceive the state of separated form God because of their sins! But God has made Salvation Possible for any and all! It is through Jesus Sacrificial Death on the Cross and His Miraculous Resurrection that men may receive Salvation through Repentance and Faith in His Work! Still, is there a cost to us who receive salvation? Let us continue!

 

27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”

 

Notice Peter’s desperate plea to Jesus concerning all he and the other Disciples “left” in order to “Follow” Christ the Savior! What has it cost you dear Christian? So many today would not even forsake a small thing to follow Jesus, let alone the bigger things in their lives! So important is the next few verses of Scripture as Jesus shows us how much it may Cost anyone who wants to be His Disciple!

 

28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

 

Verse 28 is speaking to the near future when Jesus Comes back to Rule and Reign here on Earth! Notice this word “regeneration” is in future tense and the meaning of the word means; “Messianic restoration” where Jesus will “restore” what was lost by those who followed Him! In this particular verse the Disciples would have the honor, given by Jesus, to “sit on thrones” “judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” But now Jesus includes others who would “give up” something to follow Him!

 

29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

 

Sounds like there is a cost to following Jesus! The Church today does not reflect this teaching. The Disciples lived harsh lives. They put their “lives” in the hands of Jesus and Rightly so! They left their homes, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, wives, children and lands to Follow Jesus and to Advance His Kingdom! So what has it cost you to follow Jesus? What is holding you back from being used by the Savior of your soul? Jesus said in some other passages about what it will cost to be His Disciple. Let us look at a few to ponder.

 

Luke 9:57 ¶ Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”

58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Jesus said He had no place to lay His Head which indicates also we may not have a home to lay our head if we Follow Him! That is a cost! Are you willing to pay the cost for following Jesus? Let us not think that it could never happen to us! It just may! What are you going to do, Deny Him?

 

59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”

 

Seems that Jesus was harsh! Well, what is your excuse of not following Jesus? What is stopping you from preaching the “kingdom of God” to a lost and dying world? Chances are the fellow was using his sick father as an excuse to not follow Jesus! It was a cost that he was not willing to sacrifice for the Kingdom of God to advance!

 

61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”

62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

 

Wow! What does Jesus mean? “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Here is a quote from Adam Clark that summarizes what Jesus is saying; “Can any person properly discharge the work of the ministry who is engaged in secular employments? Example; A farmer and a minister of the Gospel are incompatible characters. As a person who holds the plow cannot keep on a straight furrow if he looks behind him; so he who is employed in full time secular work cannot do the work of an evangelist, if he turn his desires to worldly profits. A good man has said: “He who thinks it necessary to cultivate the favor of the world is not far from betraying the interests of God and his Church.”

 

Now back to our previous passage. Mathew 19:29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” Jesus is God in the Flesh and He is a Just God and the Restorer! It COST Him everything to Redeem us! He Freely died on a Cross for all mankind to offer the forgiveness of sins to everyone who would turn from their sins and Follow Him!

 

30 “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

 

So many forget this simple teaching. We who want to be first, selfishness, will actually be last and those who only want to serve and Follow Jesus will be first! You want to be great? Be a servant to all! That is the Way of the Master! That too is a cost many are not willing to pay for the Kingdom of God! I pray that is not you! I would like to finish with a quote from Charles Spurgeon. “In faith of this we look forward to the reign of the saints, when even here they shall inherit the earth, and rejoice themselves in the abundance of peace. Beyond this, when time ceases, there remains endless bliss; for we shall inherit everlasting life. Oh, that we may never hesitate to be glad losers for Jesus! They who lose all for Christ will find all in Christ, and receive all with Christ!”

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