Good Reminders

Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 9:54 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Blessed are You.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Timothy 2:11-26 (NIV).

If We (vv. 11-13)

Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

Here is the essence of the gospel of our salvation. When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, it was not merely so we could escape the punishment of hell, and so we could have the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; and that he might redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (1 Pet. 2:24; Tit. 2:14). He didn’t die merely to save us, but to transform us; not merely to give us the hope of eternal life when we leave this earth, but to give us abundant and spiritually fruitful lives while we still walk the face of this earth.

So, when we believe in him, we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, now born from above of the Spirit of God. And, the promise of eternal life is for those who are believing in him, which means we are not saved based on past belief, for true faith is continuous and it endures to the end. It endures because it is a gift from God and it is based, not in humans, but in God, i.e. it is God’s divine persuasion of his will for our lives. In other words, true faith is persuaded (convinced) as to God’s will for our lives, not just intellectually, but in heart, mind and will. It is a spiritual transformation of heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from living for sin and self to walking in Christ’s righteousness.

This does not mean we will now live in sinless perfection (See: 1 Jn. 2:1), but what it does mean is that we no longer conduct our lives on a daily basis (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, but according to the Spirit. Jesus Christ will not reject us every time we commit a sin against him, but if we say we have fellowship with God, and yet we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, wickedness), the Bible says we are liars, and it says, too, that we will die in our sins, i.e. that we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God (See: Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:6). Yet, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity.

Good Reminders (vv. 14-19)

Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

We should not pick fights with others nor should we incite quarrels, especially about things that are of no or little consequence. As well, we must guard our hearts against being easily goaded (or tricked) into arguments which have no value or which would be destructive to ourselves or to our listeners. Yet, this is not to say that we just nod our heads in agreement with everything said or that we don’t challenge what is false or confront what is sinful, or that we don’t involve ourselves in hopefully fruitful discussions on topics which could benefit those who would listen.

Also, we should avoid godless chatter. So, what is “godless chatter”? It is gossip and/or babble (speaking nonsense). Gossip involves saying what is unkind, unnecessary, and/or untruthful about others, often with the intention of destroying another’s reputation, i.e. it can be spiteful. Godless chatter is also worldly and empty (meaningless, purposeless) talk. Worldly chatter involves all conversation which is devoted to the things, values and philosophies of this sinful world, and its pursuits. And, godless chatter is also talk which is disrespectful and irreverent to God, unholy, sacrilegious, and/or impure. Christians should not engage themselves in this kind of talk.

I think that whenever I have read this passage before, about being a workman (or woman) approved of God who is not ashamed, and who correctly handles the word of truth, I thought of it mainly in terms of how we present the Word of God to others, but I believe that is only one half of it. How we handle the Word of God, as far as understanding it correctly, and thus sharing it with others in accord with its appropriate context, and making an honest application of its truths, is essential. And, yet, if we do not put these truths into practice in our own lives, then we are not honorable workmen (and women) who are accurately handling the Word of Truth, because to correctly handle it is not just to spout its truths to others, but it is to do what it says, i.e. it is to live its truths in our daily lives. If we confess the name of the Lord Jesus, we must turn from (repent of) wickedness.

Cleanse Ourselves (vv. 20-21 NASB)

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

The feeling seems to be here that this is speaking of the visible church in the world, i.e. it speaks of the physical gatherings of the church, which may include the people of this world who are not believers in Christ, which also comprises those who make a profession of Christ only, but who have never been born from above of the Spirit of God. We are to cleanse our lives of what is dishonorable, i.e. unbelief, hypocritical belief, profession only, ungodliness, and sinful lifestyles, via God-given repentance. And, we are to embrace what is holy and righteous, i.e. divinely persuaded faith, gifted by God, dead to sin and alive to God and to his righteousness. Then we will be vessels for honor, made holy and useful to our Lord for every good work.

Flee and Pursue (vv. 22-26)

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, he put our sins to death so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Through his resurrection, he conquered sin, death, hell and Satan on our behalf. Through true faith in Jesus Christ, thus, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). What this means for us is that when we were dead in our sins, we were free from the control of righteousness, but now that we have been set free from slavery to sin, we have now become bond-slaves of Christ’s righteousness (Ro. 6:1-23). We are not slaves to sin any longer, so we should stop thinking and living like we are! We need to live like we truly believe Jesus set us free!!

So, how do we do this? Well, first of all, we don’t, at least not on our own or in our own strength and willpower. We can only be successful in conquering sin in our sinful flesh in the power of what Jesus did for us in dying on the cross for our sins. It is by the Spirit that we are putting to death the deeds of our flesh, so that we might live with God for eternity (Ro. 8:1-14). So, in that power, and in the strength of God’s Spirit within us, we flee (run away from) evil desires. And, that is where a lot of Christians get hung up, because they say they want to be free from sinful behaviors, but they are not willing to cut out of their lives what leads them into sin, and they are not actively running away from sinful desires, but they are toying with them. And, then they wonder why they are not gaining victory over sin.

We have to die to sin if we want to live to Christ and to his righteousness. We have to put off lying and tell the truth; put off stealing, and work with our hands and give to others, and put off adultery and put on faithfulness, and the list goes on and on and on. If we are not willing to cut the cords of what leads us into sin, we will never gain victory over sin. We are not running from (fleeing) sin if we are still tempting fate or dabbling in it even a little. So, cut the ties to sin, in the Spirit’s power, and then you can pursue all that is godly and holy.

And, yes, if you truly get radical about sin, and dead serious about walking in holiness, the devil is going to go after you to try to get you back, so he will send all kinds of opposition your way, but do not let it unsettle you. Instead, speak the truth in love to all who oppose you in hopes that they will repent of their sins, and no longer be taken captive to do the devil’s will. Remember, Jesus died to free you from sin, so LIVE IN FREEDOM!

Blessed Are You / An Original Work / August 29, 2012

Based off Luke 6:20-49 NIV 1984

“Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who are poor for God’s kingdom is yours.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who are hungry, you’ll be satisfied.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who weep now, for you will laugh with joy.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
when men hate and reject you because of Christ.”

“Rejoice in that; rejoice in that day
And leap for joy; great your reward.
But I tell you; but I tell you
To love those who hate you; do them good.
Pray for those who; pray for those who
Treat you wrong and say kind things of them.
Do to others; do to others as you would
Have them do; have them do to you.”

“If you love those; if you love those
Who love you, what praise is there for you?
Because Christ is; because Christ is kind,
Be merciful, just like He is.
Forgive others; forgive others
Their offense against you; be ye kind.
Hear My words and; hear My words and
Put them into practice, then you’ll be fulfilled.”

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