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

An Approved Servant of the Lord – One Who Guards The Gospel

In 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul reminds us that  God, Himself, is the ultimate guardian of the  Gospel.  he also  tells him that all Christians  have a  responsibility  to “guard the Gospel.” What   does it  mean to “guard the Gospel?”  The  word for  ”guard” is a  military term used of a soldier on watch.   Paul  reminds Timothy and us to trust the  security of God.

Paul charges  Timothy in 2 Tim. 1:13-14 to build upon the  rock-solid confidence he  has in the unchanging  gospel to “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”  The  word “follow” is  also translated “hold on to.” 

The  word for “sound”  means “healthy.” The gospel makes  spiritually sick people whole in Christ. Timothy  is  told to give God’s people healthy teaching (doctrine)  so that they can  “grow in the  grace and  knowledge of the  Lord Jesus.” (2 Peter 3:18)  

The  gospel is not just  healthy words and the  outline for our teaching, but  it may be thought of as the “good deposit. ” (2 Tim. 1:14, ESV) The  Greek word for “good” can be translated as “beautiful.”  That means that  the  gospel is beautiful, and it is to be  ”guarded” with such care that it is not damaged. Timothy experienced the  presence of  heretics  in his ministry in Ephesus.  It is no  different  in our day. It is  because if this that we must “guard” the  precious  gospel.

Paul stopped at Miletus in Acts 20:28-30  to see the  Ephesian elders. he  told them that the  Holy Spirit had made them “overseers” to care for the church of God.”  he  told them  that there  would be treats to the   church  from  within.  In light of that, they. as well as us today have a  responsibility to completely  stand upon the  Word of God because it is  there that we  find the resources  to live the Christian  life. Paul wrote in Eph. 6:11 that  we must “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” 

If we do this, we  will be faithfully  “guarding the Gospel,”  and “contending earnestly for the  faith that was once for all delivered to the  saints.” (Jude 3)

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

An Approved Servant of the Lord-One Living in Expectation of the Lord’s Return

If   a  Christian desires  to be  “An  Approved Servant of the Lord” he  will be  one who believes that   the Lord  Jesus will one  day keep His word and  come back for His Church.  We do  not  know  when that will be.  Each  generation of believers since the  first  century has had those  who believed in the  imminent  coming  of the Lord. By that   I  mean  that  He could  come at  any moment.  Believing that and practicing  that should  motivate us  to greater  service to our Lord and His Church.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 the Christians at Thessalonica and we today are told to “wait for His Son from Heaven.” In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul tells us that ‘the Lord HIMSELF” will come back for us! We have the same admonition in Titus 2:13 to. Be looking for the return of the Blessed Hope.

But while we are admonished to be a people who are always on the alert and looking for His coming, we must also be a people who are active in His service. We must be waiting and watching every day but also we must be a people who, because we are saved, are working for the Lord in His Kingdom. We must be thankful to have been called out of kingdom of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel. (Col. 1:13-14)

Since we are now in the light of the Gospel we must be seeking to help the lost find their way into the light of the Gospel. We must also be found seeking to strengthen the saved.

Keep Looking Up!  Jesus  may come  today!

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

An Approved Servant of The Lord is a Faithful Teacher of God’s Word

One of the ways one can be ‘An Approved Servant of the Lord” is to be a faithful teacher of God’s Word. What does it mean to be “a faithful teacher of God’s Word?’ In 2 Timothy 2:2 we read, 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.”We must have the proper attitude toward God’s Word. We must believe it, we must obey it, and we must teach it to others.

The reason that you and I are Christians today is that someone put the admonition by Paul to Timothy into practice. That is how the teachings of the Word of God are passed on down to subsequent generations. We must teach God’s Word in a away that will impress on our students the importance of following it and making it a part of their own lives. We must all teach them that they, in turn, must not keep its precious promises to themselves, but must have enough love for others that they want them to experience the promises of God.

In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) Christians are commanded to teach converts the teachings of the Word of God. Since the Scriptures are inspired (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and profitable we should desire to learn more about the Word of God ourselves in order to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” (2 Peter 3:18) If we have that attitude toward God’s inspired Word, we will seek to be “An Approved Servant of God” by teaching others to be teachers of the Word and seek to inspire them to carry on this noble practice.

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

An Approved Servant of the Lord – Part 4

Putting Into Practice Our  Attitude Toward God’s Word

The  Christian who has the  right  attitude about the Word of  God, that is, that  it is from  God and  is authoritative will  want  to apply the teachings in our  daily  lives.

One  who wants  to  be  “An Approved Servant of God” will put  into  practice the teaching of Paul in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be  diligent to  present yourself approved  to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  Whenever we hire  someone  to  do some repair on our  homes, we expect that he or  she   is very  qualified and will do the  work  right, that they are  very  diligent about  it.  How  much more should we  be  diligent  in our  approach to God’s Word. We must make the  effort read it, study it, meditate upon  it, and tell others  about it.

An  example  of  this  attitude is found in the Old Testament character of Joshua. He was the  successor  to Moses and led the  people in the  conquest of  Canaan.   In Joshua 1:6-9 we have  God  speaking to Joshua as  he was  commissioning  him in his  new role.  God said to  him that  he  must  be  strong and of good courage.  He  is told to meditate on  the  Word and observe it and make it  a part of his daily routine.

Another  way that we  put into practice our  attitude toward God’s Word  is to use  it to help others  grow in the grace and  knowledge of Jesus.  Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things  you have  heard from me among many witnesses, commit  these to faithful men who will be  able to reach others also.”  It is  because  of this  principle that  you and I are  Christians.  Ever since the  first  century men and  women have  been teaching  God’s Word and sharing it with others.  We must not let that admonition go by the wayside.  We must be willing  and eager to teach others  the  Word of God.

We, further, show our faithfulness to God’s Word by being  consistent and staying true  to it.  We  must know why  we  believe the  Bible.  Paul writes to those  who will preach the Word of God in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, instructing them.  Although this is  primarily for   those  who preach, the   principles therein can  apply  to all believers.  We  must never  waver in our teaching. We must always   preach and teach the Word of God faithfully wherever we are. We must  not let circumstances dictate our faith and practice.  We must  teach the  Word of  God with  patience. We must teach it in love.

These are  only  a few of the  ways that “An Approved Servant of The Lord” can show their fidelity to God’s Word.

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

Standing Firm In The Lord Jesus – Following The Old Paths (Intro)

Introduction:  The  thoughts  for this proposed new series  of articles  came from an old  sermon outline  I found yesterday while  cleaning out some  boxes.  It  was the  message I  preached on  September 29, 1991. It was the  last  service at Shawnee Church of Christ in Louisville, KY.  In the  next paragraph is a  summary of the  lesson I gave  that  day.  I want to  take the  “points” I  had that  day and use them to  show how Christians can “Stand Firm In The Lord Jesus.”

“We need to be  strong in the Lord. We need to be  looking  to serve God wherever we go. The importance of gathering  together (Heb. 10:25). We gather together to encourage one another (Rom. 1:11-12). Where do we go from here? In our  new place of worship we are to “keep on, keeping on” – staying on the right road for the Lord.  Continue to put into practice what we  believe and  preach. Living out your faith. If we are steadfast, we will seek the “old paths.”

In  I Corinthians 15:58, the  Apostle Paul penned these words: “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.” (ESV)  He was  stressing to the Corinthian  church and to us the  necessity of Christians having a foundation for  of  faith that is based  on the  Word of  God.

Song  #  243 in  “Great Songs of the Church,”  sums  up what  should be the  Christian’s everyday  attitude and  conviction.  The  song, written  by James DeForrest Murch, is called  “I’ll Put Jesus First in My  Life.”   The  Chorus  reads  as  follows: “In ALL that  I say, In ALL that I do, throughout the world of toil and  strife; by  day and by night, through trust  in His might, I’ll  put Jesus first in my  life.”

If  we  do  that, we will stand   on the firm  foundation of God’s Word and we will seek the “old paths” as we  strive to serve in the  here and now as  we  live  in expectation of His coming for His  Church (I Thess. 4:13-18).

-Larry Miles,  September 2, 2013

#standing-firm-in-the-lord-jesus

An Approved Servant of The Lord – Part 3

Putting Into Practice Our  Attitude Toward God’s Word

The  Christian who has the  right  attitude about the Word of  God, that is, that  it is from  God and  is authoritative will  want  to apply the teachings in our  daily  lives.

One  who wants  to  be  “An Approved Servant of God” will put  into  practice the teaching of Paul in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be  diligent to  present yourself approved  to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  Whenever we hire  someone  to  do some repair on our  homes, we expect that he or  she   is very  qualified and will do the  work  right, that they are  very  diligent about  it.  How  much more should we  be  diligent  in our  approach to God’s Word. We must make the  effort read it, study it, meditate upon  it, and tell others  about it.

An  example  of  this  attitude is found in the Old Testament character of Joshua. He was the  successor  to Moses and led the  people in the  conquest of  Canaan.   In Joshua 1:6-9 we have  God  speaking to Joshua as  he was  commissioning  him in his  new role.  God said to  him that  he  must  be  strong and of good courage.  He  is told to meditate on  the  Word and observe it and make it  a part of his daily routine.

Another  way that we  put into practice our  attitude toward God’s Word  is to use  it to help others  grow in the grace and  knowledge of Jesus.  Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things  you have  heard from me among many witnesses, commit  these to faithful men who will be  able to reach others also.”  It is  because  of this  principle that  you and I are  Christians.  Ever since the  first  century men and  women have  been teaching  God’s Word and sharing it with others.  We must not let that admonition go by the wayside.  We must be willing  and eager to teach others  the  Word of God.

We, further, show our faithfulness to God’s Word by being  consistent and staying true  to it.  We  must know why  we  believe the  Bible.  Paul writes to those  who will preach the Word of God in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, instructing them.  Although this is  primarily for   those  who preach, the   principles therein can  apply  to all believers.  We  must never  waver in our teaching. We must always   preach and teach the Word of God faithfully wherever we are. We must  not let circumstances dictate our faith and practice.  We must  teach the  Word of  God with  patience. We must teach it in love.

These are  only  a few of the  ways that “An Approved Servant of The Lord” can show their fidelity to God’s Word.

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

An Approved Servant of The Lord (Part 2)

The Right Attitude Toward God’s Word

The  Apostle Paul, wring in 2 Timothy 3:16 tells  us  that “ALL Scripture  is given by inspiration of God…” The  Christian  who desires to be “An Approved Servant of God”  must  hold this  view of God’s Word.

We have  been  blessed and  privileged  by our Creator to know  His  very thoughts  and desire for us.  The Word of God is His “love-letter” to us, His children.  Just as  we would cherish a letter from a loved one, especially one  who  is away from us, whether at  school, in the service, or just  living  so far away it  is  hard to see each other too often; we  will want to  refer to that letter often.

Today we have  the  means  to  stay “in touch”  via  e-mail and  social networks, such as  Facebook and Twitter.  We  also can see our  loved ones and friends  via Skype and Face Time.  But  it is  not the  same as seeing  each  other in person.

We  have not  seen our  Heavenly  Father, the  Lord Jesus and the  Holy  Spirit, and will not  until we  meet Jesus “in the  air” (1 Thes. 4:16-18) or when  He calls us  home via death. The  Word of God promises us that if  we are Christians who have accepted Jesus and been  baptized into Christ, we can and do share, together with  fellow believers,  the assurance that one day we will live eternally with the Lord.

If we accept God’s Word as True and authoritative we will have  have the  right  attitude  toward the Word of God.  We will want to  learn more of it  ourselves, as  well as help others in their pilgrimage.

Timothy is  commended by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:14-15 because of his love for, and dedication to the Old Testament Scriptures. Paul tells him and  all Christians that we must have the  right  attitude when it  comes  to God’s Word.

In  2 Timothy 3:16-18, Paul sets forth some guidelines for our  approach to studying the Word of God.  He  assumes that we will be reading the Bible on a  regular basis, not  just to say that we  have fulfilled our requirement to read a  certain number of verses or chapters today, although  it is good to be  on a  regular reading schedule.

A few months  ago, I was   privileged to listen  to the  podcast of the  Bear Valley Church of Christ in Denver, CO.  They  had a Wednseday  evening  class on Bible Exegesis, taught by Denny Petrillo and  Michael Hite.  It was  about  2 quarters long. They taught these  principles in a way that all could  understand and in a way that we could apply them in way to “dig  deeper” into God’s Word. The  key concept that Paul is endeavoring to get  across to  Timothy and us is that the “key word” in this  passage is  “Scripture.”

What was  Paul trying to get across about  Scripture?  The  text  gives us 2  observations. The  first   being that it is given by  inspiration and  the  second that it is  profitable.

Paul gives us  4  points  about the profitability of Scripture. He  does  this by  using  the word  “for” before  each one.  His  aim is that Christians  may be  fully  equipped for service.   The  Christian  with the  Bible in his or her hands is ready for service.

Paul assumes that we  accept the  fact that the Word of God  is inspired. So, what is  Scripture  profitable for.  It is  profitable for:

  1. Doctrine
  2. Reproof
  3. Correction
  4. Instruction in righteousness

If we  will utilize the  principles  here in 2 Timothy 3:15-16 we will have the  proper attitude  toward God’s Word and be equipped to be “An Approved  Servant  of the Lord”  We need to remember that we must  desire and want to grow in the Lord and in His Word.  He will not  force us to, but  if we avail ourselves of all the  resources  He has for us, we can and will “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus…” (2 Peter 3:18)

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

What Does It Mean To be Called “An Approved Servant of the Lord?”

(Introduction)

What  does it  mean  to be called  “An Approved Servant of the Lord?” Christians are  called “bond-servants” in the  New Testament.  A  bond  servant  is one  who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own. The Greek  word  “doulos”  is used with the highest dignity in the New Testament – namely, of believers who willingly live under Christ’s authority as His devoted followers. Some  examples are  found in  Titus 1:1,  2 Peter 1:1, and in Jude 1:1.

The  Christian who desire to be an “approved  servant” of his Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, will strive to be one who  puts the Master’s will and teachings into practice in his own life. He or she will want to be  as  close to Jesus as they can, ever learning  more about Him. One  hymn writer wrote, “More About Jesus Would I  Know…”

There are  many things and ways a  “approved servant” of the  Lord can be  involved in. These  will  always  be  done with the view of maturing in the Lord himself and helping others mature also.  Paul told  Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:17 that the  Scriptures  were given “that the  man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every  good work.” There  is  room in the Church of the Lord for all of us to use the  talents the  Lord has  so abundantly bestowed upon us. Paul, writing  in Ephesians 1:3 tells us our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus have “blessed  us with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

So, let’s  strive to use our talents to the glory of God. Let’s let our  light  shine so that our  heavenly  Father  may be  glorified (Matthew 5:14-16).  In the  next few  articles  I will be  giving  some examples of  how you and I can be “approved servant” of the  Lord Jesus Christ.

#approved-servant-of-the-lord