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.

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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)

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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,

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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)

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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!

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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.

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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.

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