Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: James

Avoid irreverent babble to avoid more ungodliness – 2nd Timothy 2:16-19

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Avoid irreverent babble to avoid more ungodliness – 2nd Timothy 2:16-19 – August 31st 2016

This is a series in the book of 2nd Timothy, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of 2nd Timothy as the LORD wills.

2nd Timothy 2:16 (ESV) But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Paul encourages Timothy to be focused; perhaps it is because of his youth or perhaps it is a personal observation but we see that Paul lasers in on avoiding irreverent babble. We see so many ministries today lose their effectiveness because the believer does not heed the warning in the book of James chapter 3…

James 3:1 (ESV) Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

As I read that I start to disqualify myself because I know my own heart and my own failings. I know none of us are perfect but what Paul is stating here (as well as James) is that profane babblings are not to come from the mouth of a teacher because like it or not he has a greater responsibility not to stumble others. If the leadership has dropped standards in this area it will encourage others to do so and will create a culture of ungodliness.

This is confirmed in verse 17 where Paul states that “it will spread like gangrene” and I know that this is a very graphic picture where it will be like a cancer and be like a degenerating illness when we allow the profanity of man, whether that be his opinions, his ideas or his ways although they tickle the fancy of those you wish to reach and be very popular, if it is contrary to the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ then those things are exactly what Paul is speaking of.

Some of the most lampooned heretics started off on the correct path so we have to be on our guard. They did not all start off like Hymenaeus and Philetus. (Do you remember Hymenaeus from 1st Timothy 1) Their message was profane to the correct Word of God and it was popular because we hear that it was spreading quickly and we even know what error they were preaching.

They taught that “the resurrection has already happened” and due to the heresy they were causing others to believe in something that was contrary to the Word of God. Whilst it was terrible that this happened I do love the lesson here that we have to line up what we are being taught with how well it lines up with the Word of God that will not contradict itself. They were trying to remove the hope from Christianity by stating that Christ was not coming back and the fruit of their labors is that they were upsetting the faith of some, should they remained in this error without repentance we have the words of Christ in the gospel of Matthew 18…

Matthew 18:1 (ESV) At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Sounds harsh huh? That is why I quoted that “not many should become teachers” as it is a much greater responsibility. We have to stand on the solid foundation of God as we read in verse 19. Despite Paul being on the defensive he states quite clearly that the defense of the Gospel that he is defending would not be touched by such minuscule attacks. Guys like Hymenaeus and Philetus and even modern day heretics would not be enough to pull down the kingdom of God. They may misrepresent it or cause it scandal but the Lords firm foundation stands.

Paul speaks of two seals and we see these below…

The Lord knows those who are his – Is a direct quotation from the book of Numbers which in context reads as follows…

Numbers 16:1 (ESV) Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. 2 And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” 4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, 5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the LORD will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him.

And we are reminded that the Lord knows who are his, we don’t always do and although we can see small evidences of spiritual fruit in people’s lives we will be surprised when we get to heaven by who made it and who didn’t. This is a great witnessing strategy too because Jesus died for us all so who are we to judge who deserves or not His saving gospel.

Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity – We are called as Christians to flee from our sin! Who is perfect in that area huh? I am not being facetious when I say that as we all have different hurdles and stumble in different ways but if we still act like we are in the world then how will we effectively witness to those we want to save for Jesus Christ? How salty are you?

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at the verses twenty through twenty six of chapter two where Paul encourages Timothy to “be an honorable vessel” having read ahead I love these scriptures and I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Are you “Naked and afraid” before God? – Job 1:20-22

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Are you “Naked and afraid” before God? – Job 1:20-22 – 07/07/2016

Job 1:20 (ESV) Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” 22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Those of you who follow popular culture will be aware of the show “Naked and afraid” and the impact that it has on ratings. For a Christian it is quite an interesting premise as we were all without clothing prior to the fall in Genesis. I do not have satellite television so I am not always as up to date with the latest trends or fashions as far as television watching is concerned.

The idea of the show is that the contestants are in the wild somewhere, allowed to be in a dangerous situation with no clothes on and have to hunt, catch food and live off what they find in the wild. Several people I know would have watched it but were put off with the idea that he participants were naked.

What does this have to do with Job?

Not a lot really apart from the word “naked” but let us look at Job for a second… We know that Job was a wealthy man, he had offspring, he had lands, he had livestock, he had more than one property and he had servants. We know all of this because in the first three verses of the book of Job (which has 42 chapters) we see a catalogue of his wealth and in the first nineteen chapters he loses the lot when his sheep are destroyed, his camels are killed, he is attacked by two different enemies and his offspring are killed when they house they are in falls on them.

This is where we read from, if you do not have a bible check out the verses at this link and Job does something that shows his true heart and shows why God calls him “blameless and upright” because he knew the heart of the man. What would he say about your heart? He responds with what is in his heart “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

How would you be in that situation? I can be honest and say I would be mad at losing a fourth of what Job did and I have nowhere near the wealth he has. We all have our hot buttons that start our rage-emotion, for some it is someone holding you up on the freeway by driving dangerously slow, for others it is when the temporary things in your home break, some have a lower price than others to question whether God is truly blessing us and often times it is based on our “things” or stuff” that fills our lives.

Was Job right?

Yes of course he was, he had the attitude to bless and praise the name of God despite losing more than many of us will lose in ten lifetimes. I have never had a day where I have lost all that I had including by offspring so I have no idea what he was going through, however I do admire the heart of Job to leave the results up to God.

The Christian life is not easy and Job is even used as an example in the epistles in the book of James as one of steadfastness and one who endures…

James 5:11 (ESV) Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

We all have our things that we stake our value upon, for some it is your job or career; you may be proud or ashamed of what you do to pay the mortgage. For some it would be an idol for you as you slave away at the God or being a workaholic because that is the only place that you see worth in yourself. For some it is ministry and the ministry is about as much as getting your name out there as Gods.

I am not saying that God cannot use these things for his glory but know this; he knows your attitude, heart and motivation behind all that you do. He sees the “naked you” and knows your fears and loves you. He wants you to align your heart to his, your will to his, your gifts and talents to him and surrender the parts of your life to him that you are still holding onto by the skin of your fingertips and leave the results up to him. You may be naked before him but there is no need to be afraid, you have a good good father who loves you and wants to bless you far more than you would ever be able to achieve on your own.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Does God give only good gifts? – Matthew 7:7-11

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Pic – Daddy daughter date circa 2014

Does God give only good gifts? – Matthew 7:7-11 – 07/01/2016

Where am I going with this?

This is top of my mind this week due to my child having her birthday; it is a bookmark of a reminder of another year of blessings with the cutest kid I know and lamentations that I see some of me in her. It also reminded me of a teachable moment that happened at a birthday party five years ago. I want also to look at the gospel of Matthew as the text for this verse…

Matthew 7:7 (ESV) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Imagine the scene…

You are at a birthday party for a toddler who appears not to be enjoying the birthday party and especially seems not to be enjoying getting gifts, now as someone who is older this puzzles you because at your parties that is the highlight. Let’s look at it from the toddler’s point of view…

You are now the toddler and this party has been a stressful affair, everyone your parents know has handled you, cuddled you, loved on you and despite the highlight of having ice cream and cake they are now playing this weird game with you where they all sit around you in a circle, take pictures of you, your dad is milling around with a video camera and now you mother and grandmother are playing this weird game with you where they make you rip off the paper of toys and once it is unwrapped they take it off you and make you unwrap another toy, which they again take away from you, you feel frustrated and have no other option but to scream and cry.

Was I really abusing my child?

Before someone calls CWS on me, the child was unwrapping birthday presents and they were all played with at some point in the shelf life of the toy. But from the child’s perspective this was torture, she saw something fun that seemed appropriate for her to touch and then her parents didn’t allow her to do what she wanted and in some cases blocked her from carrying out her will so she vented her frustration at her father and mother.

Of course we had a plan and we could see more than she could in her situation and we would restore these gifts to her and after the unwrapping was over she asked in her own way and we let her play with stuff.

Have you ever felt like that with God? Never? Well you are better than me then because I will be honest and say I am a whiner! How many times have you went to God first and asked in faith expecting an answer, now it may not be an answer you like but I like to know why or at least know the reason what is happening to me. I know and I trust in God however I do like to complain!

God is the giver of all things, our finances, our possessions all that we have set up as our “mini idols” it is all his and we are simply custodians of what he has trusted us with, Jesus introduces us to the giving nature of God and shows us that his gifts are much greater than the gifts that we would give each other and he uses the purity of heart as a good contrast. We have to also understand though that God will not allow things to happen that are our rampant heart’s desire because they would ruin us. (Do we ask for serpent like things that really would not help us or glorify God? Could that an example of how close or far away our hearts are to God’s will) The gifts that he gives to us are always good as God wants the best for us.

How good is that gift?

The answer to that question is confirmed in a scripture in the epistle of James…

James 1:17 (ESV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Again we have confirmation that God grants good gifts only, please don’t take from that I don’t mean that we are exempt from bad things happening to us because I have certainly had “teachable moments” but many have been caused due to paths I have started on. Does that mean we will all win the National Lottery or all have Ferrari’s? If it would corrupt us and ruin us then I doubt God would allow that as a “gift”. He may allow financial pressure to be released on you but there is no guarantee of “free money”.

James describes it as not just a good gift but also a perfect gift and we see that God is only interested in gifting us with things that will be good for us. I liken it to fast food where I know that a cheeseburger tastes good but I also know that if I eat the same unhealthy thing three times a day for the rest of my life I will harm myself. How many cheeseburgers are you praying for? Maybe time for an assessment of your wants and needs in your prayer life?

Are you grateful for what you receive? I know many (I am in that number) who will have a 911 prayer request that God has granted me and then later I forget to be grateful to God in prayer, he does not require that and he sees my heart and knows that I am grateful but in the same manner I would consider it good manners to than someone who has blessed me how much more should I thank Him to whom all blessings flow?

James concludes with the idea that God is constant, never changing, no variation and you know where you stand with God, there is no “gifting’s based on whether God is having a good day” God is already more mature or all-knowing and wiser than we will ever be, there is no need to change and another thing that is constant is the good nature and giving nature of God, it is something that is assured because he is that good, good father!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved – 2nd Timothy 2:14-19

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Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved – 2nd Timothy 2:14-19 – 05/13/2016

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Timothy, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to Timothy who was in the Ephesian church. This is called a Pastoral Epistle and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure and also for choosing leaders in the church. For other bible studies on other epistles please see our main epistle page or for others in 2nd Timothy please click on this link.

2 Timothy 2:14 (ESV) Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the second chapter of Second Timothy.

V14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

In true Pauline fashion we see that Paul instructs the younger man to not get distracted with things that would take him away from the word of God. That is the basic job of the pastor is to keep his “sheep” focused on God and I do lament that we have moved away from doing life together as Christians. Paul was reminding Timothy to keep the things that were spoken of in the last blog article first and foremost and then follows a command.

He tells them to not quarrel about words, to not get into unprofitable arguments and in this election year I see that we do that more and more as Christians, we get mad about things that really ae not worth getting heat up about. It is not worth it to cause contention in the church of Jesus Christ over things that do not matter. As Paul states, it does no good and only ruins the hearers.

Paul touches on a little of what we find problematic in our relationships today in that we are to not strive or quarrel about words and there is nothing wrong with standing up for the truth however the issue comes when we wish to debate points that are irrelevant n the great scheme of things and we care more about defending our own small theological point than the greater work of the Lord. That then causes harm in relationships because often times these exchanges are not done in love.

V15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

This is the most famous part of this scripture but I prefer to quote it with the verse behind and often times the verse in front in order to get the context of what Paul is saying. People have oft quoted this verse as a badge of honor to show how much they study the word and this verse being the reasoning why. It is good to study the word and that is commendable but it should not be a “kudos point” in our Christian walk. Let’s look at this the way Paul intended.

  1. Do your best – Sometimes this is translated as “be diligent” and much as we looked at when we looked at Psalm 123, God looks for us to be diligent, to be studying when we are not feeling it and in season and out of season. (2 Timothy 4:2) If we are not enduring then it may be time to check out motivation. If it is for us and not for the Lord then we have our reward already! (Matthew 6)
  2. To present yourself to God as one approved – And God’s opinion is the only one that matters, people will come and go and popularity is a fleeting fad of a swaying opinion that will either be in your favor or not. Pastors will often times not be the most popular people in the building (especially if they are doing their job right) and what Paul states here is true on this level.

    Like much of 1st Timothy Paul exhorts Timothy to get himself approved and get his doctrinal ducks in a row as he wasn’t called to get others approved, which will come as he is equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. (Ephesians 4) But as a leader he needs to make sure he is being refreshed as much as possible, that is why I try to get to at least one conference a year that has sound biblical teaching from men I trust.

  3. A worker who has no need to be ashamed – Have you ever done a job where the boss is watching and suddenly your “work rate” improves, so how many of you feel sad now that you have admitted that to yourself. Remember you have a heavenly boss that sees everything you do, so how holy do you feel now? Is there anything in your life that you wouldn’t want shown on a big screen cinema for all your family and friends to see?

    Yes we are saved by grace and not by works but it is encouragement to be diligent as we have that natural reaction of shame to our sin that stems back to the Garden of Eden because let’s face it, it is embarrassing when your work is examined and it is shown to be deficient.

  4. Rightly handling the word of truth – and this is the roof on the house, the topping on the cake and quite frankly the reason for the diligence. As a leader he had to know what it said the reason why it said it and be able to explain it to someone who either had a strong Jewish background in the law or no religious background whatsoever. He had to be able to explain the gospel truths to everyone who would receive it. It is tremendously important that the Pastor understands the correct meaning and application to the scripture before he teaches it. We see why in the book of James…

James 3:1 (ESV) Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

That scares me, even just teaching or preaching on a bible study or writing these articles means that I would be called a “teacher” and if ever a title was placed on someone who was more undeserving it is here. I see myself not as a teacher but more as someone who wants to make the scriptures more accessible to as many as possible.

V16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

We need to be careful if we are seen as a teacher to not lead people away from the word of God. As leaders and by default we will have people looking up to us, it is not something that I chase or desire but it happens a lot. One thing we need to be careful is to not lead people astray with our actions. If you are a leader in authority you will be looked at and scrutinized. Let me give an example of this…

At a youth group I attended when I was much younger I was invited (along with the rest of the group) to the leader’s apartment building where we had youth group that evening because the church was unavailable. Where I was sitting in that guys living room I saw his CD collection and then started to think, if he likes these bands then they must be okay. I never saw his DVD/VHS collection but if I had then I might have used that to justify bad choices in my life based on what he had. Do you see where I am going with that?

We need to avoid vanity in our preaching also and avoid anything that promotes us. I find it a lot when I am speaking to fellow bloggers or pastors who have written a book that they can be very “promoting” of their own works. (I have been guilty of that also in the past too so I am speaking as much to me as anyone else!) There really is nothing as holy as the word of God and despite any good or relevant points that I make on these articles I pray that I always point you to the word of God first.

Teaching that is in place or dilutes the word of God may be popular for a season but it is not a substitute for the real thing. It is what will lead people further away from Godliness and the cancer will spread like gangrene and Paul gives two examples of this by naming two offenders to show Timothy what type of people he was meaning. We see our old friend Hymenaeus from 1st Timothy 1:20 but he appears to have a new partner in crime in this letter.

What were Hymenaeus and Philetus teaching? Well according to Paul they were teaching that the “saying that the resurrection has already happened” and were teaching incorrect doctrines regarding the End times and despite having started in the correct position they allowed themselves to become incorrect in their doctrine stating that Jesus had already returned. We have to base our faith on sound doctrine and not man’s opinions in order to be correct scripturally. Due to this incorrect doctrine they were causing others to have problems in their faith.

Some people may be okay with some unconventional teaching and methods and I am all for reaching people for the gospel, however if we stray into heresy and teaching that is not consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ then I will have an issue with that. People start to believe a version of Jesus that is not the Jesus of the bible and that is not okay. Also it the heresy does not have to affect everyone, if they are upsetting the faith of some that is bad enough.

V19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

In typical Jewish writing style we see that Paul goes from the negative to the positive and he states quite boldly that despite the attacks on the faithful word of God, He has a firm foundation and that foundation will stand up to the scrutiny of skepticism and false religion. That is a good question to ask yourself is that do you stand on that firm foundation when under attack by those who wish to trash your faith? Or do you stand on that firm foundation that cannot be shaken?

Paul takes his thoughts from Numbers 16 verses 5, 26 & 27

Numbers 16:4 (ESV) When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, 5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the LORD will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him.

And

Numbers 16:26 (ESV) And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” 27 So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones.

Because the Lord knows who are his, notice that it says the Lord knows, not us! I genuinely think that we will be surprised by who we see in heaven and who we don’t because many of us will not be our true selves when we are with other believers. We are called to be his and we are also called to true repentance and a life change when we enter that relationship with Jesus. We need to turn from our sins and depart our iniquity as Paul states. That is my MO here at TTE is to either help you into a relationship with Jesus, help you find a decent bible teaching church and partner with you in growing in Christ and if you are a believer I pray these studies help you grow deeper in Christ because let’s face it! It is all about Jesus!

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at the verses eight through thirteen of chapter two where Paul talks being a worker approved by God, having read ahead I love these scriptures and I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 5:1-11

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Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 5:1-11 – 05/01/2016

Romans 5:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

Let’s start in verse one of chapter five…

V1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul has spent chapters 1-4 showing us the reasons that we are justified by faith now we have established that we see that Paul moves on to teaching more theology but at the same time explaining what he means by his past statements and showing correct teaching. He states that we are “justified by faith” harks back to Romans 1-3 where we were shown to be guilty before God and Paul showed the need for a savior. That is important because if you do not recognize your need for salvation then you may have issues accepting Jesus as your messiah. Even although we are guilty, God never meant for that to always be the case and we are “justified by faith” in Christa and what he has done for us on the cross.

This is why Paul states we “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” to quote the hymn writer “Jesus paid it all” on the cross. Paul evaluates this claim and shows how great that sacrifice was. Can you imagine that God would want communion with you so much that he would send to you the most precious in his eyes to die in your place in order that justice be served on your sins and that you can have peace with God?

“Peace with God” is a wonderful phrase showing that we are no longer against God or at odds with him due to sin. This is not a “catch all state” and we are still required to have faith and we are required to actually want salvation as God will not force himself upon those who do not wish to serve him. Like most peace treaties there is a negotiation and winners and losers, in this battle however both man and God win because God gets his beloved creation back and man has a way to be reconciled to God.

V2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Paul shows us that we have this position with God not through our own will, our own merits, skills or attributes; we have it entirely through God’s grace. None of us are favored by God and we are all there through grace, it is by grace that we are saved and we see that in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians…

Ephesians 2:4 (ESV) 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

That explains it way better than I ever could, we were dead in our sins before we were redeemed and our redemption is secured by our faith, talk about finding a precious jewel in a dollar store! That is reason alone to hope in the glory of God. We have an all access pass to the maker of heaven and earth, what a joy!

V3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Paul mirrors what is said in the book of James when he talks of “rejoicing on ones trials” let’s be honest, who does that?

Paul uses a great word for “sufferings” and he states that we can rejoice in them, I am sure that in your life you have had times that you would rather not talk about and trials that have flamed you to within an inch of your spiritual life and you have been tested. Perhaps you would rather just close that door to that part of your life and forget about it. What if God had a plan for that suffering in your life? What if you were to be used in the same way that this test became a testimony and you were able to ‘save someone else’s life” just because you have been through those things. Paul states that testing does the following…

  • suffering produces endurance
  • endurance produces character
  • character produces hope
  • hope does not put us to shame

James 1:2 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

So instead of begging God and saying “why me?” instead say “why not?” and I know that this is easy to put down in paper and when you are in the trenches it is a whole different story. I know that I would much rather not go through what God has me go through and just have the character and hope but that is not God’s way and Paul states why below.

Isn’t that the way with God? I cannot count the amount of times I have asked in faith in prayer for more money and rather than God just dropping me a check in the mail (that has happened too) he will often times give me the opportunity to earn money through overtime or a second job will come through.

Paul writes that “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Paul rounds that reasoning by stating that hope will not disappoint us and put us to shame because of God’s love. God when he created the heavens and earth created everything “good” and has intention to make it good again. Paul states this with great clarity but not having a cold theological feel to it. Paul realized this was life changing but also people lived their lives through this and by this.

God will pour out his love, it is not rationed and Paul desires us to have experience of this part of God. God desires us to know the Holy Spirit in its fullness. We have the Holy Spirit in our lives, but we have to ask ourselves if we are living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and walk day by day dependent on the Holy Spirit?

V6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God came and rescued us while we were weak, not strong! This is very God, that he would come to the most undeserving, to the weakest, to the ungodly and the wicked. Basically us! The very ones that Jesus was drawn to because he and the father are on the same mission. To heal the sick and to redeem those who wish redeemed. That is why Christ died for the ungodly and he did so at the right time. God knew what he was doing and his timing is always better than ours. (This is also reconfirmed in Galatians 4:4)

Think about it, God waited for an Empire to come along that would have an open border system all through their Empire, for a stable economy, for the right time for prophecies to be fulfilled. History may say that the gospel was hampered by the Roman Empire through persecution, but the ability to have it spread to three continents was enabled by the easy passage throughout the Empire.

If you had any doubt that God loved you then verses seven and eight will really open your eyes. God loved us so much that even although we were still against God, God showed that amazing love to send Jesus to the cross to be our substitute and give us that opportunity to be with him in heaven. God loves us much more than human love because even personally, there are not many I would gladly lay my life down for even although I am assured of heaven once I pass from this earth and I know that I am quite literally justified by the blood of Jesus.

V9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

We are saved from the judgment of God for our sins; we are saved from the penalty of what our error had condemned us to. We are saved by the love of God against the wrath of God, if the wrath of God was great how much greater will the love of God be? God literally reached out to his enemy, offered his own son, the firstborn without spot, blemish or sin and not only reconciled but adopted us into his family. What love and what saving grace being saved through the life of Jesus!

V11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Jesus is the key to Salvation, this much is true, there is no longer a need to cling to a holy law that you could never keep in the first place because our reconciliation with God was through Jesus. Jesus states this more clearly than I ever could in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John…

John 10:7 (ESV) So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Lord willing, in our next article in Romans we will look at verses twelve through twenty one in chapter five when we look at the second part of Paul’s explanation where he looks at the death of Adams sin and the new life in Jesus Christ. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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The Devil (didn’t) make me do it – Matthew 4:1-11

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The Devil (didn’t) make me do it – Matthew 4:1-11 – 03/29/2016

Matthew 4:1 (ESV) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Let’s start our bible study in verse one of chapter four.

V1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

We go straight from God being very pleased at Jesus and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove to Jesus being tempted by the very adversary of God. (The Devil) I entitled this the way I did to try and poke fun at the idea that is somewhat popular that when we sin we say “The Devil made me do it” and often times we give the Devil way to much credit, I would put it no higher than our sinful nature made us do it.

Jesus volunteered for this mission so he knew at some point he was going to have to face the rebellious one and when he did it would have to be mano a mano, one on one. Jesus went from those soothing cool waters in the Jordan to the wasteland of the Middle Eastern desert which is described as wilderness, so no-one goes there and it is not regularly tended or farmed.

He goes from being blessed by the Father to being attacked by the tempter and I love this passage of scripture as Jesus did not have to do this because he was sinless, however he chose this to identify with the temptations that man would go through. There is some discussion among bible skeptics whether this verse is contradictory to a verse in James so let’s look at that…

James 1:12 (ESV) Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

The verse that is often questioned is verse 13, but even looking at it in context with the rest of the verses it is quite easy to see what James is referring to. Jesus was not being tempted by God, but the Holy Spirit was leading to a place that temptation could occur. Paul states that Jesus overcame these temptations to identify with man. Let’s look at two verses…

Hebrews 2:17 (ESV) Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

And also

Hebrews 4:14 (ESV) Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

How awesome is that! We have a great high priest that has suffered when tempted (or tested) directly from the Devil, the dark side brought out their biggest guns against him but yet Jesus emerged victorious. How much more does that strengthen your faith that greater is he that is in you than the one who tempts you?

V2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

Talk about testing someone to their limits? How would you be after forty days and forty nights with no-one but the devil for company? He was beyond simple hunger pains and was at the end of what a human body could handle. If the devil was ever going to get him then it would be now.

The idea of a forty day fast is not an unusual one in the Bible. Both Moses and Isaiah fasted in the Old Testament…

Exodus 34:27 (ESV) And the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments

and also

1st Kings 19:4 (ESV) But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.

This was not done for personal pride or just to show that the person going through the fast could in fact do that, it was done as a period of drawing closer to God the Father and learning dependence on him. Much like the modern day festival of “Lent” was supposed to be like but if the heart is not correct then it can just be a ritual. (Learn more about that in this blog article) Jesus overcame everything that was put in front of him because he WAS God. All others who did this had to rely on or come closer to God.

V3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Thus comes the first temptation, the Devil knew his body was weak so he attempted to show him what the flesh cried out for and that is often times how the Devil will try to tempt us. Some translations have the words “When the tempter came” and it is important to remember it is not a case of if the tempter will come but when. He desires nothing more than to seek and destroy and cause doubt in the heart of even the strongest believer. He desires to tear ministries down by using people’s weak spots and will do what it takes to push people’s hot buttons to entice them into sin.

We have to be careful most often when we have our “mountaintop experiences” because we can be sure that the Devil is trying his upmost to tunnel under us and bring us down. Personally, I have had some of my hardest times as a Christian just after some of my greatest spiritual victories and I caution ALL believers to be watchful during those times that we do not believe the hype about ourselves as humility is often a lesson learned after the fact!

Jesus answers him, not just simply palms him off or slightly disagrees but actually answers himself with the following scripture…

Deuteromony 8:3 (ESV) And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Jesus used the word of God correctly and in context to do battle with the Devil. The Devil might have known the word but Jesus was the correct application of the Word. He was “the Word became flesh” (John 1:1) and this was not going to work with Jesus as he was sinless and could resist the devil and everything he was about to offer and as we see in the next few verses that the Devil kept upping the ante to see if the Holy One could be corrupted…

V5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Make no mistake about it, the Devil can quote scripture until the cows come home and he can manipulate and twist the very holy words of God to suit his own ends. This time he buffeted Jesus to see if “the pride of life” was in him at all.

He suggested that Jesus throw himself off the tallest building in the region and speculated that God would save Jesus if he was to do such a public show of God’s power. He stated that in scripture “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” To suit his own ends he misquotes Psalm 91 which reads…

Psalms 91:9 (ESV) Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge — 10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

There is no mention of the end of the sentence in verse 11 and as you can read the whole verse is said in a manner to prove a point it was never intended to. That is often the case when scripture is used to stretch a point. Jesus responds with …

Deuteronomy 6:16 (ESV) “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.

Jesus correctly applies this scripture against Him. Satan continues one last time…

V8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”

He decides to test the loyalty of Jesus to the Father by trying to go for the tri-unity of God, this is his big pitch and he knows that if this is successful this is a game changer. He waits until the last test and offers his all that he can for the patronage and worship of Jesus. I am sure he understands why Jesus is there and it shows something of the arrogance and pride of Satan that he thinks that this will be successful.

You will notice that Jesus does not dispute ownership of all the kingdoms of the world. Satan proposed a swap, Jesus worship for the world to be returned because in the psyche of Satan he desires to be worshipped as God is. And if the Son of God, who is God himself was to worship him…That would be off the charts for him! Of course Jesus is the Son of God and part of the tri-une God and he sends him away stating the basic tenants of the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:1 (ESV) And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Jesus was not going to miss the cross to bow down to Satan, yes he would have redeemed the world but he stuck to God the Fathers plan for his mission and he handled temptation and gave us a great example how to deal with temptation because we see in the last verse of the passage that we are studying how Satan reacted after being denied by Jesus and using all that he had against him.

For me the real sobering thought was the thought about how my actions mirrored either Jesus and the devil and I think of ways that the devil could have “knobbled me” and it is certainly points that require prayer. I pray that it does likewise for you dear reader.

V11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Jesus was more than up to the task, we only read of those three temptations but Jesus stayed pure and fulfilled those forty days and forty nights being attacked by the devil Jesus fulfilled what is written in the book of James when it is written…

James 4:7 (ESV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

And as true as the word of God is, that is what happened, Jesus knew that the devil would use manipulation, lies and deception to try and turn him from God’s plan for his life and as his followers we can expect nothing less from the “father of lies” and I know that the further I stick my neck out for God the larger the target on my back becomes. We should use the same weapons that Jesus used against Him, God’s word rightly divided. That is the only truth that can stand against his lies.

God sends the angels promised in Psalm 91 but only after Jesus had defeated the devil. Angels came and supplied the needs that Jesus required; they are there as messengers as opposed to any other application of ministered. Jesus dealt with the devil with no outside help and it makes me think of the final battle in Revelation where we will watch Jesus take on all comers and defeat them all. What a day that will be!

Lord willing, in our next article in Matthew we will start in verses twelve through seventeen of chapter four studying the beginning of the adult ministry of Jesus. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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You will also share in our comfort – 2nd Corinthians 1:1-7

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You will also share in our comfort – 2nd Corinthians 1:1-7 – 03/24/2016

2nd Corinthians 1:1 (ESV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Corinthians, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. This is a great letter of exhortation and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure today. For other bible studies in 2nd Corinthians please click here and for other epistles please see our main epistle page.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse one of the first chapter of Second Corinthians.

V1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul starts with the fairly standard Pauline greeting introducing himself as an “apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” and for me there are a few points that are worth going more in depth…

  • Paul – The name needs no introduction, the man who was introduced to us as Rabbi Saul of Tarsus who was famous throughout the Romans Empire for his desire to quash this new religion of people of “The Way”. Who had a life changing experience on the road to Damascus and was now the “apostle to the nations/Gentiles”
  • An apostle – From the Greek word “apostolos” which meant messenger as well as apostle, being an apostle in those days was dangerous work and many died for their faith. It was not so much a title as a calling because often times it was a one way ticket to becoming posthumous.
  • Of Christ Jesus – Paul is clear to tell the church in Corinth that the message that he has is the same message that Jesus preached and his words are words of correction from God. Paul is keen to advise that he is doing the will of Jesus Christ.
  • By the will of God – And by doing the will of Christ he is also doing the will of God that sent Christ to be the sacrifice for our sins. Paul is writing in the will of God also because Paul was not an apostle by man’s direction or will but Gods. It was not as if Paul chose this life of sacrifice and service. There is a good lesson in there for us that even the ones who are not held in high regard in our churches may still be used mightily by God.

Historically we learn that Paul was not revered in Corinth the way that we do today. However in heaven he was highly regarded as a man who was willing to sacrifice for the sake of furthering the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul also states that he is with Timothy, who he later writes two epistles to and Paul addresses the letter not just to the church at Corinth but the “saints who are in the whole of Achaia”

The word “saint” has gathered some controversy over the years because certain denominations like to canonize dead believers of great worth and call them “saints”, but this is not to what Paul was referring to here, he simply means those who have been set apart in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul meant this letter to be widely read for doctrine and reproof.

Paul uses the words “grace” and “peace” and you have to wonder how they went over if he was not seen favorably in the area. For me that showed Paul never held grudges or was unfavorable to those who did not greet him well, he served them all in the love of Christ and he genuinely wished the grace of God and peace in their fellowship. Do we do likewise? How about your relationship with other fellowships in your city? Do you have warmth towards them despite minor theological differences?

The grace and peace did not just come from the pen of Paul but it came from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” and that reminds us that in the church we are a family of families in unified fellowship to praise God and to be followers of Jesus Christ, we are all at that same starting point. A question for you readers would be do we treat our extended church family in the same favor as we do our actual blood family? Are our feelings ones of “grace” and “peace”?

V3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

And now we have done with the niceties of the greeting we get to the meat and bones of why was caused to write in the first place. From the first word “blessed” we see that Paul had the right attitude towards God. God is described as a father and it is important to recognize that God is a loving father. One that desires communion with his kids! Yes, he is holy but he is also loving above all else and Paul goes on to call him the father of all mercies and God of all comfort and I have to ask you as a reader how often do you think of God in these terms?

Paul uses the Greek word paraklesis which is more of a soothing sympathy, a comfort that is not just providing comfort but of sustaining, strengthening of a comfort that is designed to strengthen and help you into restoration. What a benevolent God we serve! When was the last time you allowed yourself to be comforted by God?

Paul also wished to make that comfort known so that the believers could begin to share the blessings and comfort others too. Imagine a church that was like a hospital? That the ones who were wounded by the world could be comforted by the living God and be served by those who wished to serve him, a place where love radiated throughout the building, a place where you could come as you were and not be judged, but loved and helped. That’s the type of church that Paul wanted and that is the type of church I would love to be involved in, one that comforts one another, sustains one another, builds up one another and mentors one another where the victory of the downtrodden is everyone’s victory and where a victory for another church in the city is a victory for the body of Christ (that’s a sore one huh?)

V5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

And that is why we are talking in such terms, take it from a guy who was familiar with suffering (Paul not me) Let’s have a look at some of the ways he suffered for Christ…

2nd Corinthians 11:23 (ESV) Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

So do you think this guy knows what it means to suffer for the faith? But yet Paul does not call anything he has endured “his sufferings” he calls it “Christ’s sufferings” because he saw himself subject to whatever punishment he was to face as a part of his faith. Would we have as many dynamic Christians today if we were being persecuted for our faith? I certainly believe that we would find out who the real ones were.

But in the sufferings of Christ that Paul was going through, JESUS WAS THERE! This is a constant message of Jesus ministry, let us look at two accounts from the Gospels where Jesus had compassion on those whom society had forgotten or cast aside…

  1.  The woman at the well – John 4:1 (ESV) Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” 27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him. 31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
  2. The woman with the issue of blood – Mark 5:24 (ESV) And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

What I love about the ministry of Jesus and also what Paul is telling us is that Jesus see’s your afflictions, he sees the downtrodden, he sees the poor in spirit, there is no-one who was too gross to be helped and delivered from their sins, there was no-one who had sunk too far, the woman who had had five husbands was a social pariah but Jesus desired to help her despite cultural limitations. Likewise the woman with the issue of blood was also a social outcast for twelve years and had such faith that if she could just touch the hem of his garment she knew that she could be healed. But after she was healed she realized there was no way to explain it after Jesus asked “who touched me” and she rightly fell at Jesus feet and Jesus treated her with compassion and comfort. (See a pattern yet?)

V6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

Paul goes on to say that the afflictions endured would be for your comfort and salvation. Paul was all about getting people saved into a relationship with their messiah. We are looking at two people who suffered more than we will ever suffer (Jesus and Paul) and I find it mind blowing that Paul, with a death sentence hanging over him every single day would spend his time telling people about Jesus and comforting those who had a dim view of him.

One of the things I know about suffering is that it helps me to rely on God more, my darkest times I can now use as fuel to help others and Paul did likewise. Paul also advised that this is a double edged sword that if he suffers then it will happen also that they will suffer and that they should patiently endure and comfort one another as he was them.

V7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

And Paul sums it up by stating that their hope for them was unshaken, that even although suffering was going to happen that they would also have the same comfort that Paul had in Christ and also the same closeness to God that Paul had in his trials and sufferings. I will close with this text in James.

James 1:2 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

And that is the truth! Trials produce what is underneath the surface and exposes the true person. Questions to ask from this lesson would be

In trials do we cling to God or rely on ourselves?
Do our trials produce patience?
Where is the comfort of God in our lives?

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Corinthians we will look at verses eight through eleven where Paul explains the peril that he was under and describes the desperate trouble he was in for the faith. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord nor of me his prisoner – 2nd Timothy 1:8-14

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Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord nor of me his prisoner – 2nd Timothy 1:8-14 – 03/18/2016

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Timothy, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to Timothy who was in the Ephesian church. This is called a Pastoral Epistle and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure and also for choosing leaders in the church. For other bible studies on other epistles please see our main epistle page or for others in 2nd Timothy please click on this link.

2nd Timothy 1:8 (ESV) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the first chapter of Second Timothy.

V8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,

Paul had just finished (in the last article) describing a spirit of power, love and sound mind and now Paul moves on to courage and encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord. We have it easy these days in following Jesus as Christianity is an established religion of nearly 2000 years but back then he was following someone who the critics stated was crucified.

It is quite a common emotion to be ashamed of the gospel as the Christian message does not always follow the patterns of this world and often times it is very contrary to the standards of this world. It is not a popular message but a lifesaving one. It was a message so important that Paul was willing to have his liberty stripped from him in order to save souls.

When we become Christians we should not expect our lives to be easy, often times we will be tried and James tells us that we should count it all joy…

James 1:2 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We have to get away from our “Western Christianity” that promotes the message that if life is hard then you are not doing your faith correctly. We have lost our edge and become as comfortable in the world as Lot was when he pitched his tent near Sodom. Let’s be honest here and ask “who does rejoice when they have stresses and trials? Yes we can sometimes cause our own issues and trials but we should not expect life to be easy.

Paul sees his imprisonment in a way that shows his heart, he is not the prisoner of Rome, of the ruling authorities but of “his prisoner” and this is the mark of a man who has his life immersed in his mission. If he is jailed he is jailed for the Lord, if he is free he is free for the Lord and if that wasn’t enough he invites Timothy to take a share in that ministry. Who would apply for that ministry post? With the knowledge that your mentor is in jail and you are invited to follow the same path and that would be a good application question – Would you do it?

V9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

And this is why you do it…Paul was sitting there incarcerated due to a “holy calling” and he submitted to the purpose of God and was submissive to the grace of God also. So with God on his side should he be in such difficulty? Well he was! Just because someone is working in the will of God does not mean there will not be difficulties, sometimes God’s grace is what sees us through the difficulties.

I love this because here was Paul, and if you were not looking at his situation through “theological glasses” you would see him as a political prisoner, he was a prisoner of Rome, the largest empire of man at that time. If he was talking of power and might then people would automatically think of those who held the earthly power, however God allows people power for a season and as we know the Sun has set on the Roman Empire, let’s look at what the bible says about earthly power…

Romans 13:1 (ESV) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

We all have our opinions regarding Governments, Parliaments and ruling people such as Prime Ministers and Presidents and to air them here would only cause discord, however we are called to be subject to the governing authorities as God is the one who gives authority. Whilst I may not agree with policy decisions I trust God who knows how it will pan out. Paul also sees this by stating that this power is fleeting compared to the power of Jesus Christ who has been there since the beginning.

V10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

We all have a common savior in Jesus Christ, we have responded to a call in our hearts. Jesus came to manifest light unto the world and Jesus told us this would be the case…

John 8:12 (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Jesus abolished death! He came to reconcile man to God and be that spotless lamb without blemish that would replace the Passover lamb. Death is not death anymore, there is hope through Christ Jesus that we can be saved and rejoined in communion with a loving Father God I don’t see death as the sting I once did but merely a matriculation to glory. Yes I certainly will miss the ones who have touched my heart down here but apart from a mission to have as many souls as the Lord will allow me to join me, this world holds very little for me now.

Paul goes on to say this is why he was appointed a preacher, to tell that good news, that gospel! He considers it a privilege and not a course for shame; he is honored to suffer for the sake of the gospel. I just wish that I had that resolve because in all honesty I am keen to be through trials as quickly as possible and I do wonder in hindsight what valuable lessons I could have learned if I had just been patient. He calls himself three titles which he is more than worthy…

  • Preacher – Think of the sermons he has taught, the lessons he has shown people face to face and the advocate he has been for Jesus Christ.
  • Apostle – The churches he has been a messenger to (apostolos in Greek also means messenger) and has planted.
  • Teacher – Paul was given the task, despite his Jewish pedigree of being the “Teacher to the Nations/Gentiles” and we are reading fruit of that in his epistles to strengthen others.

This is why Paul was content to suffer, because he understood the majesty and honor due to the person he served. We have to realize who it is we are serving but we have to also be as committed as Paul who was committed to serving him with everything he had until the day that he would see him. (Paul calls it that Day) and this may be a question you can ask yourself… Are you all in? Do you serve the Lord with all that you have? Or Are you going through the motions? If the answer is less favorable than you would like then it is not a situation that cannot be remedied, I would suggest discussing with your Pastor or leaders how you could use your gifts more. I don’t teach at the church I attend so I use my gift for teaching on this blog, there may be more than one way to be of use to the Lord.

V13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Just as it is important to know WHO we are serving it is just as vitally important to know your doctrine (know the sound words) as we are all called to be faithful to the truth. We are to follow that pattern, to hold fast in the midst of friction, it will require inner strength as well as a firm footing in the doctrinal truths that you already know, to give you an example in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesian church…

Ephesians 4:11 (ESV) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

I see this in the church today where sketchy doctrines become popular that has precious little biblical basis but they are accepted because people who are trusted endorse them. I worry and wish to keep myself and my family (and those the Lord has allowed be to be Spiritual mentors to) free from being tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine.

Paul states that Timothy must follow his example in sound teaching and Paul is not being proud when he states this but merely giving a tangible example of someone he can relate to, we all have folks that we trust for doctrine and Paul advises Timothy to remain faithful and guard that good deposit within us by the Holy Spirit and God has supplied that helper and he desires from us more than we can do on our own and is it good to be obedient and rely on the help that we are given.

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at how Paul gives a good example of what he is teaching Timothy by giving examples of faithful and unfaithful men in the faith. It truly is a challenging study from an introspective point of view. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Teach sound doctrine – Titus 2:1-10

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Teach sound doctrine – Titus 2:1-10 – 01/14/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 2:1 (ESV) But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Titus begins the reason for his letter after the earlier salutation (see previous blog article) and outlines the reasons for initially writing and set out what the mission for Titus should be in chapter one. It is both a mission and a challenge because Titus would have to be very discerning in who he chose and he would require wisdom to ensure that the correct type of people were installed to help these churches to be strong. Let’s start in verse one of chapter two and my aim (God willing) is to go through the letter to Titus on a verse by verse format.

V1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

Paul states God’s plan for Titus life and these few words show that Titus was set apart for a task that was not for everyone. His task was to teach what accords with sound doctrine, he was given a responsibility that I think we take too lightly today in today’s church. Ask yourself a question, should everyone be allowed to teach in the church? James answers this quite clearly in his epistle…

James 3:1 (ESV) Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

Those who teach will be judged with greater strictness…Now you see why it is called a calling and not simply a job or an occupation. Often times Paul in his ministry was bi-vocational, he made tents and preached the gospel, I know many pastors who ministry is not their “day jobs” and it is very much a western mindset that we have teachers of the bible as a career choice.

What had he to teach? He is told to teach what accords with sound doctrine, not just an action, going through the motions type deal, but a living example of what the right things are. We read all through chapter one some of the incorrect doctrines that he was being told to correct and we see here that Paul is only interested in him being a teacher of what is sound.

It is an example to us even today, to stand up for what is right and correct and represents Christianity in a true light. The world is good at distorting Christ and his followers and many of the myths I used to spread myself and have heard about Christians are simply stereotypes and are not true. Yes we have the Bible and it is a manual to advise us doctrinally how to live and we do believe that it is the inerrant, infallible word of God. Paul goes on to explain and categorizes the different groups within the assembly.

Older men

V2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

Titus was a younger man so it is important that when you are teaching these men that it is done with respect and love with a liberal amount of wisdom, it is obvious why because you do not want to cause offense and cause stumbling by things that are not biblical. Despite the fact that these men may be older in physical age, it is more likely that they would not be as advanced and as spiritually mature as Titus.

Despite their lack of spiritual maturity Titus was to teach these men certain standards that they had to adhere to. Titus is commanded to teach these things that might not have come with their life experience so far. If you are saved later in life you have a far bigger past that a new believe who gets saved in his teens, you may not have the following characteristics…

• Sober minded – not a lack of a sense of humor but simply someone who knows when to be serious and when to be called upon as an “elder head”
• Dignified – If dignity did not automatically come with age or if you were undignified in your previous life, then this may have to be “taught”
• Self-controlled – Titus had to teach them to be self-controlled in order to be a good example, they had to be sober, reverent and temperate.
• Sound in faith – They had to get their doctrinal “ducks in a row” in order to be effectively used in the ministry. They had to have good knowledge and be diligent in their studies
• Sound in love – They had to have a genuine love for people, this may have been an issue as I know myself as we get older we get more stuck in our grooves and we will have pre-conceived notions more than someone who is not as advanced in age.
• Steadfast – Unmovable, a word often used for an anchor, someone that is dependable. If you think of the really good elders or spiritual mentors you have had in your lives you will see that they had most of these characteristics.

Quiet a list huh? I am not really confident in which ones I should share about that I am still working on! I would imagine that due to the age difference this may have been met with some resistance however the purpose of this was to do what we should be doing more of in our churches, Titus was equipping his saints for the work of the ministry, once Titus was done with these men he would have them teach these principles to others. They would automatically have people’s ears due to their age but Titus was to make sure that the very people that could influence people are influencing them correctly and in a sound manner. Let’s look at what he had to teach the older women…

Older women

V3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Like the older men the older ladies are given their own expectations, from the text we glean that they were expected to be the following…

• Reverent in behavior – Like the older men they were to show reverence, be that example of reverence, being a woman for all the people that they would be reliant on in any situation and not disqualified due to external behaviors.
• Not slanderers – The woman of God is expected to use her tongue wisely, not to be tripped up by speaking evil of others, they must be able to be trusted to not be flippant in speech and would you confess your deepest darkest sins to one who would spread them around the church?
• Slaves to much wine – She must be sober, you notice that it says “not slaves to much wine” and the culture then, as it is today expressed that alcohol was okay. I have no actual issue with the partaking of alcohol but merely the abuse of it. If the lady was drunk consistently or lived her life according to the bottle and replaced the Spirit of God in her life with a slavery or addiction to wine.
• Teach what is good – The woman of God has to be able to teach appropriate doctrine to establish a legacy in her ministry. She is to be the living example in that she would practice what she preached and preached only sound doctrine and be a mentor to those who are looking to her for instruction.
• Able to train the young women – Again she is looking to train the young women in the precepts and doctrines of her faith, being that example and being a valuable resource in the mentoring and maturing of the young women. In many cases supporting the parents by being a spiritual parent to the younger women.
• Self-controlled – Self-control is a must, I know this is starting to sound like the perfect lady but she will have her faults and I am sure that there will have been people that will have been chosen for ministry that will have been a work in progress, so please if you are reading this do not get down hearted that you are a few categories off. God will work on you should you invite and desire that to happen. I urge you to charge on and not get discouraged!
• Pure – It goes without saying that she would be pure, with no scandal or examples that would lead the younger believer astray, yes she will have her challenges but she will be showing to have overcome them and use the challenges as a testimony to her faith.
• Working at home – In that day the women were expected to work at home and if your finances allow for that then that is wonderful, however there are many reasons why a woman would not be working at home and sometimes you have to do what is best for your family.
• Kind – She is to be kind, able to be kind in situations that warrant a gentle hand, you will notice that there is no category for the younger ladies and they are expected to get their mentoring from the older ladies, that is not to say that they would not learn from Titus, but their principle instruction would be with their husbands and the older ladies.
• Submissive to their own husbands – Those of you who think this is a “blind submission”, “submission to the dictator husband” or “forced servitude” do not have a full understanding of God’s design for marriage, the woman is expected to be submissive and be under the headship of her husband as the keeper of his home but many do not understand the dynamic that is explained in the book of Ephesians chapter 5…

Ephesians 5:22 (ESV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Yes she is meant to submit, but the husband is to love her as Christ loved the church, remember that whole “love. honor and cherish” deal on the wedding day?

And this is enveloped in the last sentence “that the word of God may not be reviled” that is beautiful and it shows that they had to be a living example for the generation coming up and the generations to follow of what was expected of a Godly woman. Blessed are the churches that follow this pattern for women’s ministry. It is important that older does not always mean age, spiritual maturity is as vital as life experience and many effective women’s leaders would be regarded as “young”.

Younger men

V6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Young men are to be the following…

• Self-controlled – Like the older men that are teaching them, they are expected to be self-controlled and be examples to be used for the ministry of God when they are spiritually mature. The Christian faith is a journey, a day by day relationship and often times people transition and you could be called at any time, so you have to be ready to go when you are called.
• Model of good works – If you wished a scriptural example of this I would urge you to read the third chapter of the book of Colossians, the young men are called to diligence, called to be mature, called to be an example of good works to all around them. Show them that despite your youth you are an example to others. Titus had to be more than a mentor, more than a teacher; he had to be an example to these people.
• In teaching show integrity, dignity and sound speech that cannot be condemned – Here is the meat and bones of the text, the mission had to stand up to scrutiny, it had to be permeated in integrity, he had to be dignified and everything that came out of his mouth had to be sound doctrine. This was the legacy he was leaving to the younger people.
• Leave opponents with nothing evil to say about you – Be “above reproach” remember that from earlier? Leave no arguments about you, what you teach or just as dangerously your character.

Servants

V9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Bondservants are to be as following…

• Submissive to their own masters in everything – The church was the one place that servants could mingle with their masters on a somewhat equal footing, this was a culture shock to many as servants sometimes had positions in the church and their masters did not. However the servants had obligations as part of their servitude and they were to fulfill them with all of their heart.
• Well pleasing and not argumentative – Paul goes into a greater detail into the heart of how they were to serve and the heart behind of how they were to serve, they were to be pleasing and not argumentative in spirit or in speech, it wasn’t simply good enough to do the “bare minimum” or simply to “tick the boxes” they were called to exceed and succeed in all that they did (See Colossians 3:23)
• Not pilfering – They were not to steal and that was obvious, but ponder this, what about stealing time, wasting time or loitering so that they are not as efficient as they could be. Another common practice would be that the servants would run errands and this states that they should not profit by keeping change or property from their masters.
• Showing all good faith – Titus must show the servants that they must be an example of their faith in all that they do, they must be markedly different to those who are not of the same faith, they must be honest, trustworthy and a good example.
• They may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior – And here is the reason why, to give a good report to others of the doctrine they possess. What greater testimony than someone who is in servitude living out their life as a Christian and being the best servant he could be? Talk about the ultimate dead end job with no career prospects and they must have a Christ like attitude and work at it with all their endeavors.

We are not bondservants ourselves nor do any of us have servants or slaves so a modern day application is difficult but think on this, many of us are employed or employ others and in our daily employ do we have the above credentials? I am not trying to shame you but merely make you think and imagine what a witness we could be if we were like this. Should the Lord spare us until next time I plan to look at verses 11-15 next time in chapter two.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law – Romans 2:25-29

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Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law – Romans 2:25-29 – 01/10/2016

Romans 2:25 (ESV) For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code  and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills. Let’s start in verse 25…

V25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.

Paul draws a close to the second chapter of the book of Romans by stating that if you break one little aspect of the law, the rest of it becomes irrelevant. He gives both sides of the conversation in the above verse; the argument from the Jew will be that he is justified by the Law. That his salvation is based on the very fact that he is a child of Abraham and a follower of the precepts and creeds of his forefathers.

Then we see the counter argument, if this is the case then you have to keep ALL of the commandments, this is also backed up by the words of Christ when he states in the gospel of Matthew…

Matthew 5:17 (ESV) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

And again in the Epistle of James…

James 2:8 (ESV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Convinced yet? We are not saved by our works because like it or not we are fallen creatures, we may have the best intentions in the world but we have weak fleshes and despite a spirit that may be willing we will not always follow through in what we know is right and correct. I know for sure I could not keep 613 rules and regulations. (I struggle to keep New year’s resolutions more than 5 minutes) so what we are looking at is a matter of the heart, what is your core? Where is your heart? Are you righteous in your outward appearance or are you cleansed within? This all seems rather complicated but please read on.

V26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

And Paul writes here and plays on their prejudices by stating if that is the level playing field we are on then would the Gentile not be judged by the same rules as the Jew? If there was a Gentile proselyte so devoted to the things of God that his righteousness far exceeded those who were “of the law” would he not be as justified?

A ceremony will not save you, having a Godly father, grandfather or relation who is praying for you will not save you, you have to make that choice for yourself. My greatest desire in life is to see my daughter and my brother walk in the life giving faith that I have found in Christ Jesus but they have to make their own choice. I pray that they pour into the Word of God and have a desire to grow in a day to day relationship with their Messiah Jesus Christ and have them know that if they were the only ones on the earth, Jesus would have died for just them.

I have grouped the last four verses together because they are simply one thought and as stated a ceremony will not save you, simply by having what is in the country I have adopted as my own a standard medical procedure. We read here that the heart is the most important part of the day to day relationship with Jesus Christ and you can all be a Jew inwardly because of that circumcision of the heart. And believers in Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit as a helper, we were promised by Jesus that we would have a helper and he keeps his promises.

We have to be careful that we heed the warning at the end of this passage that we are not doing the work of the Lord for the praises of men. We must be careful that we are not doing it with a boastful heart or a wish or desire to appear holy. We must be searching for the praises of God and not the praises of men. We see the evidence in what type of fruit is in our hearts, Jesus warns of these types of people in the gospel of Matthew chapter six …

Matthew 6:1 (ESV) “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Basically, run away, flee from any type of “look at me” thoughts that may come across your mind when you are doing ministry. It is always the people who you least expect it, but it may very well be you if that is something you struggle with. If you get peeved because you did not get kudos for a job well done then it may well be you.

These verses that talk about the circumcision of the heart and the simplicity of the gospel make me feel all evangelical and make me want to go spread the word with an increased fervency in my neighborhood. I want to see my neighbors get saved, I want to see the street I live on get saved and I want them all to be mentored by God honoring, God fearing men and women and go out and reach others in their sphere of influence. I want to move the needle in my city for Jesus Christ and pack the churches in my town with people on fore for Jesus Christ.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG