An Approved Servant Of The Lord Is One Who Endures For The Gospel – The Hard Working Farmer

In this passage in 2 Timothy 2:3-7, Paul has used the examples of soldiers and athletes to show us how Christians need to endure for the Gospel if they want to be “An Approved Servant of the Lord.” The third example in this passage is that of a hard working farmer.

Farmers must toil everyday if they are going to be successful in farming. John MacArthur writes the following, “Hardworking is from a Gr. verb meaning ‘to labor to the point of exhaustion.’ Paul is urging Timothy not to be lazy or indolent, but to labor intensely with a view to the harvest.” Paul also reminded the Colossians that he, along with us, need to be striving in the Lord’s work (Col. 1:28-29)

The farmer, as well as the soldier and the athlete must not take any shortcuts in their labor. Just like the farmer we must be laboring in the Lord’s harvest. We must be found sowing, planting, plowing and monitoring our work. The farmer is one who is devoted to his work at all times. So it is with the Christian.

Paul told the Galatians “we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9) We must put all our efforts into learning more about God’s Word and not be lazy in our study of the Bible. We must work hard and believe that God will help us. We must have a heart of humility in our lives. If we labor like a “hardworking farmer,” we will see the results in our lives that the Lord wants. We will be ones who know what we believe and why.

#an-approved-servant-of-the-lord

Thought # 3 – In Him We Have Redemption Through His Blood

Text: Ephesians 1:7-10

There are many reasons why Christians should praise God. One of the reasons is for the work of the Son of God in redemption. In Eph. 1:7-10, Paul expresses his praise for the great redemption through the Lord Jesus.

We all need the forgiveness of our sins! All of us are in spiritual bondage and imprisonment, whether we know it or not. Paul wrote in Col. 1:13-14, “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.”

Most of us, I’m quite sure, prefer light to darkness. Without Jesus, all of us were in darkness, members, although we may not have known it, in the kingdom of Satan. Our heavenly Father desired that we all come to a saving knowledge and has provided the means through His Son, the Lord Jesus. We are glad that we can share in the inheritance He has for us (Col. 1:12).

The Word of God describes this transformation as changing kingdoms. We have been brought out of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel. The terminology used here by Paul is a military illustration. It pictures Rome going into a free country and as a result of waging war and winning they subdue that nation and take them into captivity. But in the spiritual realm, we are the ones in bondage and when we accept The Lord Jesus and obey the Gospel, we are “transferred” (NASV) or “translated” (KJV) or are “conveyed” (NKJV) out of that bondage into the light of the Gospel. But it does not end there.

Paul tells the Galatians that we were bought with a price (Gal. 3:13). Our freedom cost Jesus His life. What should be our response to His redemptive work? We should pour out our hearts in praise. We should love Him greatly because of what He did for us. The Psalmist said in Psalm 1:30:3-4, “Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness.” (NLT)

Jesus lavished grace on us. “O, the love that drew salvations’s plan, O the grace that brought it down to man. O the mighty gulf that god did span—at Calvary” ! It is truly amazing grace. We do not have the words to express His grace.

Since we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins (Col. 1:14) we must put our new found faith to the test. We have been called out of that dark kingdom, changed by the light of the Gospel and now have the privilege to go back into that kingdom, now empowered by the Holy Spirit and utilizing the Whole Armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) to help others find their way out. We can never work our way to heaven, but upon salvation, we are to be the best workers the Lord has. Let’s be found letting our light shine for Jesus (1 Peter 2:10)!

-Larry Miles, April 18, 2015

#bible, #ephesians, #new-testament, #paul, #thoughts-form-ephesians, #word-of-god

An Approved Servant Of The Lord Is One Who Endures For The Gospel – The Disciplined Athlete

If one wants to be “An Approved Servant of the Lord,” he or she will need to practice faithfulness in their Christian life. We have all be called out of a “kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His Love.” (Col. 1:12-14) We must be ones who put a premium on faithfulness. We must realize that we are in “for the duration.” The Lord takes us from where we were and, if we are willing to grow, He will provide the resources we need to be equipped for service. This process will involve “endurance.”

The Disciplined Athlete: (2 Tim. 2:5-6. One of the descriptions of a Christian in the New Testament is that of an athlete. The Apostle Paul uses this terminology often. We read in 2 Tim. 2:5: ”An athlete is not crowned unless he com­petes according to the rules.” Paul writing in 2 Tim 4:7 says that “I have finished the race.” In I Cor. 9:25-27 we read of one who is running a race. John MacArthur writes the following: “The Gr. Verb (athleo) expresses the effort and determination needed to compete successfully in an athletic event.”

During the time of Paul the Greek Games (Olympics) were very prominent and many particip­ated or at least had an interest. Paul used words and phrases that talked about how an athlete pre­pares himself for his “sport.” Then he makes an application for the Christian.

To participate in the Greek games, one had to be a citizen of the city he lived in. Paul talked about “Christian Citizenship” in Phil. 3:20. The person would have pride in his city or country and would seek to bring honor to it. He would be willing to put in all the training so that he would be at a peak performance state when the games began.

So it is with the Christian. The participants in the Games were competing for a physical crown, but we, an imperishable or incorruptible crown. Paul wrote in I Cor. 9:25: “Every athlete ex­ercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperish­able.”

The athlete would put all he had into training and would not let anything hinder him in that area. The Christian must be the same. He or she must equip themselves with every thing the Lord has for us. Jesus said he came to give us “the abundant life.” We must keep our eyes on Jesus and according to Titus 2:12 “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”

The Christian life is not a bed of roses, rather it is an on going life of commitment and steadfastness. In I Cor. 15:58 we read: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Let’s run with endurance the race set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus at all times (Heb. 12:1-2). If we will do that, concentrating on improving our spiritual life daily, we will draw nearer to Jesus! Being a Christian “athlete” will mean you are “growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus!” (2nd Peter 3:18)

#an-approved-servant-of-the-lord

Thought #2: We Have Been Blessed With Every Spiritual Blessing

Text: Eph. 1:3

The Apostle Paul is writing this epistle to the Christians in the city of Ephesus. He has talked about grace and peace in Eph. 1:2. We know that the “grace of God” was manifested in the person of the Lord Jesus. That grace was also an action, whereby God showed forth His love for lost mankind and the Lord Jesus was the Redeemer who came down to Earth to die for the sins of man­kind. Since we are now “in Christ,” we can claim the blessings in the letter also.

In Eph 1:3, Paul stresses first of all that we need to praising the Heavenly Father above all things. God wants to bestow, yea, even lavish his love and blessings on His children. He is not up there in Heaven blessing us sparingly. Jesus said that He came that we might have an abundant life in Him. We must desire all that He has for us. We must want to live the Christian life to the fullest, learning more about Jesus every day. We strive for this because we want to “grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus,” as well as encouraging our fellow believers in their walk and reaching the lost with the message of salvation.

He has blessed us “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places IN CHRIST.” The same Greek words rendered here “heavenly places” are translated heavenly things” in James 3:12. Since we are “citizens of Heaven,” (Phil. 3:20) we must look to the things above and not things on the earth. Our spiritual mindset must be honed in on Jesus at all times. We are but pilgrims and strangers here on earth. We sing “this world is not my home…,” and rightly so. But we are as John says in I John 2:15-17 “in the world but not of the world,” we have to have a heavenly perspective in life. That perspective comes from believing the words of Paul here in Eph. 1:3.

Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and worships with the Cherry St Church of Christ in New Albany, IN

#bible, #ephesians, #new-testament, #paul, #thoughts-from-ephesians, #word-of-god

An Approved Servant Of The Lord Is One Who Endures For The Gospel – The Dedicated Soldier

If one wants to be “An Approved Servant of the Lord,” he or she will need to practice faithfulness in their Christian life. We have all be called out of a “kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His Love.” (Col. 1:12-14) We must be ones who put a premium on faithfulness. We must realize that we are in “for the duration.” The Lord takes us from where we were and, if we are willing to grow, He will provide the resources we need to be equipped for service. This process will involve “endurance.”

In 2 Timothy 2:3-7, Paul uses three simple but powerful images; the soldier, the athlete, and the farmer. He uses them to illustrate some important truths. This first article will center on the “Soldier of Christ.”

The Dedicated Soldier (2 Tim. 2:3-4). One of the many “pictures” of the Church in the New Testament is that of a “soldier.” The writers of the New Testament, especially the Apostle Paul, used that terminology. Paul and his readers were very familiar with the military concept in their lives. There were various degrees of military occupation in the provinces of the Roman Empire in the First Century. Some provinces required more military presence than others. Palestine was one of the most volatile places in the Empire so there was a large military presence there.

The Christian “soldier” must, like the Roman soldier avail himself of all the equipment needed to be effective as a soldier. Because of our faith in, and obedience to the Gospel, we are now in the Lord’s Army! Jesus expects us to “let our light shine” and use the training we receive to not only help us be better soldiers for Him, but to help others in the same manner.

Charles Wesley wrote, “Stand then in his great might, with all his strength endured, and take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God.” If we will do this we will fulfill the words of Paul in 2 Tim 2:3-3. Because we have our eyes on Jesus at all times (Heb. 12:1-2), we will not as Paul says, “get entangled in civilian pursuits.” One of the songs we sing goes like this: “More about Jesus I would know, More of His grace to others show; More of His saving fullness see, More of His love who died for me.”

Christians must strive to be the best soldiers we can be. We can rest assured that our Commander, the Lord Jesus, is leading us by example and is out in the forefront of the battle. He has provided all that we need to fight the spiritual battle. We only need to be willing to “take up the whole armor of God.”Bible, Word of God,

#an-approved-servant-of-the-lord, #bible, #word-of-god

Restoration Digital Library

I am helping Dr. Barry Jones with web site called The Restoration Digital Library: http://restorationdigitallibrary.com I am asking that you check out the web site and tell others–
Dr. Barry Jones mailto:drbarryjones1991@gmail.com

The Restoration Digital Library: Goals

The best way to do research in history is to find all the books, articles and journals you need and study them for as long as it takes. This means sacrificing time, money and life to follow your passion. However, many of us don’t live close to a world-class Restoration History library, or have enough money to buy all the books and journals we need to follow our passion. Preserving these primary research items is our goal… in pdf files for now. Making them accessible is our aim… one dollar a book or one dollar for a year of a journal.

We will be offering free downloadable sample PDFs of journals and books. If you are interested in more, please send your request to Dr. Barry Jones.

Thoughts From The Book of Ephesians (Thought #1)

I have  been  working on  a  new series of   articles based on the  book of Ephesians– I have  12 “Thoughts”  done so far.  These  will take the  reader  through Eph. 2:10

 

Thought # 1: The Writer and the Recipients

Text: Eph. 1:1
When people wrote letters back in Biblical times they put their name at the beginning of the letter. We do just the opposite. This is called the “salutation.” The Apostle Paul, at the beginning of this epistle, lets his readers know who he is, what his credentials are for writing the letter and to whom he is writing the letter.

All of this is included in Eph. 1:1. Verse 2 is his greeting. Paul was not one of the original 12 Apostles. His Apostleship is by special appointment from the Lord Jesus. He received this as­signment to be an apostle to the Gentiles. Thank the Lord that he took this privilege and honor seri­ously. If he and others whom he reached with the Gospel had not, then we would not be here today en­joying the blessings of salvation.

“…By the will of God.” It was and is God’s will that all mankind be saved and He has provided a way through His Son that all may be saved. But we all know that the majority of mankind, both past, present and future will not accept that way of salvation. Paul was faithful in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:6-8).

Those whom Paul is writing to are named in the latter part of Eph. 1:1. The primary audi­ence of the writers of the Word of God was locally those in the first century, but we can share in these titles that Paul used for the Ephesian Christians on the basis of our faith and obedience to the Gospel.

The recipients of Paul’s letter were the Christians in Ephesus. Ephesus was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. Paul gives at least 2 names, perhaps 3, for Christians in verse 1. He calls them (1) “Saints; (2) faithful, and (3) in Christ Jesus.”

A “saint” in the New Testament, is not a sinless person, but a saved sinner. Faithfulness to the Lord is required if one wants to enjoy all that God has for him or her. Paul stresses that Christians are “in Christ.” As I said earlier in this devotion: Christians are saved by grace, through faith, in bap­tism, for good works. Let all of us strive to dedicate our lives to the Lord and His Church and help others find their way out of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel.

-Larry Miles

Louisville, KY

http://larryslines.com

#articles-by-larry-miles, #bible, #ephesians, #faithfulness, #new-testament, #paul, #thoughts-from-ephesians, #word-of-god