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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

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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

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Psalms Saturday #9 – Psalms 93 – The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty

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Psalms Saturday #9 – Psalms 93 – The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty – 02/27/2016

Psalm 93:1 (ESV) The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! 5 Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

This Psalm is awesome in its praise to the LORD. I love this because it gives titles that should only be ascribed to the LORD, please enjoy this great Psalm of praise, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching moments. Let’s look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

I love and rejoice when I read these words and I thank you firstly if you are spending your precious weekend reading these words. Let’s look at how the Psalmist refers to his LORD to set out the tone of the Psalm…

  • LORD – He calls him LORD (All Capitals) the name above all names and as rich as our language is, we still do not have the words to describe how majestic God is. The author of the words of this precious book that we read and a constant thread throughout scripture that is never contradictory.
  • Reigns – To the writer of this Psalm, his LORD is ruler in his life, he is in charge and in control he has total devotion to the LORD of all creation.
  • Robed in Majesty – Think of the finest king you can imagine and you are no-where close. The one who alone is worthy of All gory, All honor and All praise, then you are getting closer.
  • Strength – Do you have confidence in your countries foreign policy? Do you have confidence in being a world superpower? What about the defense policy? The Psalmist is using the same confidence that is displayed in Psalm 20…

    Psalm 20:7 (ESV) Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God

    We have moved on a little from using chariots and horses but I am sure you will get the picture that whatever strength you think that your nation has, it is nothing compared to the strength of the LORD.

  • World is established – He is the one who made everything in 6 days! It was established as to his measurements and his criteria, nothing is there that he did not request.
  • Never be moved – It will never be moved except at the LORDs command.

Getting a picture of how big and awesome He is yet? If not then please read on!

V2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.

He is beyond time, he is established before “old” was, he will be established after everlasting is. The prophecies of the Old Testament he could see them happening when the prophets were moved to predict them. He is outside of time but yet he made time. He had the birth of Christ planned when Micah was prophesying what city he would be born in. He established the law as an example to the people of his perfect standard knowing that he would send a redeemer to save them because God’s standards were so much above our own. The Psalmist now gives examples of how big God is…

V3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!

Now we have an example of the power of God, that he can even control the floods and the waves of the sea. He can lift up the floods and make the waters roar. If you have ever stood at a shoreline with a child you will know of the worry that swells up inside of you if a wave comes in that is mightier than you would like. (For me if the water is going to hit her kneecap then I pull her out) and that is nothing compared to the type of wave the LORD can begin to send.

The terms are very descriptive and describe the situation rather well. Terms like “mightier”, “thunders”, “lifted up their voice” and “lifted up their roaring” tell of a God who has the ability to allow the waters cover the earth such as in the days of Noah, but in his benevolent grace he restrains the waters from doing so. This is classic Jewish poetry to demonstrate the point of why the original declaration of the LORD being mighty is in fact correct. The Psalmist speaks greatly about the strength of the LORD but what about the LORD’s character?

V5 Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

The Psalmist talks about the HONESTY of the LORD. His words, his commands, his decrees are very trustworthy. You can trust his words and the words that are written in his name are words you can quite literally build your life upon. Lastly we see the term “holiness befits your house” and that is very apt, God is holiness, he does not lie and his perfect standard is way too perfect for us.

He does not lie and he is that holy that he hates sin, which is why he made provision for you to escape your sins by faith in the messiah Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to heaven and God desires you to be in heaven and as the Psalmist says that is not a temporary state but will be forevermore. There are two ways that you can travel when you die, you can have an eternity without God with eternal death and suffering in the lake of fire or you can choose eternal life with God in heaven. God is that just a God, he allows you to choose for yourself.

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 100 and an awesome Psalm of praise. The Psalmist used such wonderful terms as “mighty”, “majesty”, “everlasting” and “holiness” all words which are very befitting a glorious God. 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

What is the value of circumcision? – Romans 3:1-8

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What is the value of circumcision? – Romans 3:1-8 – 01/24/2016

Romans 3:1 (ESV) Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” 5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

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 1 of chapter 3…

V1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?

Paul asks a series of questions starting with this one and the thought follows from the previous article where we finished chapter two, “here” is the article. Paul debates in that article whether possession of the law would save a Jewish person still in their sins and starts with this question. Paul answers this in verse 2…

V2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

Paul extols the rich history of the Jewish relationship with God, they were given the “oracles of God” his word before the mission of Jesus Christ, they were his chosen people and were meant to be the ones that showed the gentiles the way to communion with God. God made covenants with them, he gave them his supreme law and Paul goes on to talk about the blessings and curses the Jewish people received based on their faithfulness to him…

V3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?

Paul makes provision for the fact that not everyone in the Jewish faith would always be faithful, God is God and God is perfect. An example of this would be when he covenanted with Abraham that he was the one who took the covenant and walked where Abraham could not have. God will continue to be faithful regardless of our personal faithfulness and as a Christian who has been grafted into the family of God and not one of the natural branches I find that incredibly encouraging.

God when he loves us or works in us is not doing a futile work, yes he knows who will accept him and who will not and this is something that we can carry on today in our evangelism efforts we know that there will be those who will reject the promises and faithfulness of God and will go on believing a lie. The gospel will not fail because not everyone will receive it, Our place in the battle (the battle of course belongs to the LORD) is to be ready and willing to be in the place that God places us and ready to be used as a tool in his arsenal.

GOD IS FAITHFUL – Basic John 3:16 stuff here, God does love the world and that was the reason for Jesus sacrifice and regardless of your past you can still have a future and a use in the service of God. As much as I look good on here in the words I type, I wish I was as faithful to the service of God as I want to be. I fail and mess up as much as anyone who is reading this. (And possibly much more)

V4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

And that is the flip side of what we are talking about, for as unfaithful and untruthful and messed up by what we have experienced in this world, God is the reverse, in as much as we are liars God is truth and the simple fact that we are so unrighteous goes to show what a righteous God we serve. We cannot attain the heights of God or even hold a candle to his holiness but God will justify us and that is a brief look at the grace of God.

We cannot earn this or attain it, Jesus scoffed at the very notion of this stating that our “righteousness would have to exceed those of the scribes and Pharisees” meaning that we would have to keep as many standards as they did but do it with the right heart realizing that we are saved by grace as well as works, works should be the fruit of our salvation but completing a checklist will not save us.

V5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)

And Paul goes on to make the point that I was touching on the last paragraph that our unrighteousness shows the righteousness of God, he then goes on to ask if God is unrighteous to inflict wrath upon us? We have to look at it from angles that have been wrongly justified in the past for this passage of scripture

• My sin gives God a job to do – to judge me! – This is incorrect as God does not desire that we sin, he desires obedience more than sacrifice (Read the book of Hosea if you need further clarification on that one!)
• My sin gives him glory, so I should go on sinning in order to be forgiven – God is a loving father who wants the best for his kids and I know that as a father if my child at age six was still making baby mistakes then I would be concerned for her development. We understand this but yet this is how many of us live our Christian lives.
• God cannot conquer xxx sin that I have – How big is your God? Are you serving he same one I am that created all that we see here in six literal days? What is your sin to this Big God? How big is your belief?

Let us get one thing straight here – God is not unrighteous in his wrath, your wickedness is still your wickedness, you have to own that! By our own efforts we are separated from God, if we choose to remain on that path then God is righteous in giving you your “due reward” for your rebellion against him. We have the same choice that Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden to follow Gods plan or not.

Tonight in my bible study we are looking at Genesis 27 and the account of Jacob and the fact that he deceived his father by lying and presenting himself as Esau in order to steal the birthright from his brother Esau. In this scenario Jacob could present himself by stating “I sinned to allow your prophecy to be fulfilled, why would I be judged on this?” but as stated above his sin is still his sin, just because God used it to his glory does not make it any less his sin or less culpable.

V6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world?

Paul uses the world as an example. Make no mistake about it, the world will be judged and Paul knew that a day of judgment was coming where God would judge the evil and restore the good. The Jews knew the difference between righteousness and evil, the difference between being on Gods side and not. Where they erred was they believed that because they were Jewish they would automatically be counted as righteous.

V7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?

Paul states that through his lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, so if what Paul does, even if it is not truthful it increases the glory of God then would it be justified and okay in God’s sight? This may seem odd but Paul gives reason behind this thought process in verse eight…

V8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

Paul’s teachings were misinterpreted and twisted to make it sound like he was trying to pervert the teachings of God. However Paul goes on to explain here (and in the next article God willing) that the purpose of sinning for the sake of sinning or living a life in sin in order to perversely glorify God is not just alien but downright the reverse of what God wants in your life. Paul did not teach this but it is what was reported and accredited that it was said that he was teaching these doctrines.

We have to be careful in our doctrine that we don’t preach “free grace” in that we can live the lives that we want because we know that in the end up God is going to forgive us. That to me at least is not living the Christian life; we are not seeking to be like Christ and looking to grow at a healthy rate in our day to day relationship with Jesus. Paul preached (and we have evidence in the written epistles) that God will forgive our sins and give us salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not a works based check the box Levitical law system.

Paul agrees with them that they would be right to condemn such teachings; we have grace that we will be forgiven but we have to look at the heart of our sin. When we sin with a sin that we keep falling into, be honest and ask yourself “why did I plan to do this?” because we have accepted salvation and the things of this world, although they be appealing is a toilet bowl compared to what we are promised by God. We cannot serve two masters because we will love one and hate the other. If we choose to live such a life in unrepentance mocks the God that you claim to love so much. Looking forward Paul goes to look at how righteous we are in verses nine through twenty, I pray that God willing we get the opportunity to look at this together.

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

The Mystery of Godliness

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This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, 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 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

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 fourteen of the third chapter of First Timothy.

The Mystery of Godliness

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Paul has just finished (in the last two articles) giving Timothy the criteria for the people who were to serve in leadership with him. (I am careful to make sure that you are aware that serving in leadership is serving, not an opportunity to shirk responsibility or delegate opportunities to serve to suit selfish ambitions)

Another level

Some see Pastors, overseers, deacons, bishops or whoever is in leadership as “another level”, yes they are worthy of respect and worthy to be listened to, but they are just like you and me in many ways, they will disappoint, they are human, they won’t always get it right.

I remember visiting a church and hearing a Pastor who has recently gone to be with the LORD! And he stated (at the foundation of a new church, church was maybe about a year old at that point) that in that fledgling church if he was able to please people about 80% of the time he would be doing better than he himself thought he would.

You see, people assume because someone has taken a calling to be a pastor or a deacon that they are somehow enamored with this new ability to not error or make mistake. They are not sinless guys (There was only one of them and he is our Savior Jesus Christ) They will tick you off, they will hurt your feelings and in many cases will not make it good because many folks will not let them know.

I say this because people are leaving churches in droves, most are not meeting with the pastor, some are letting them know by text, email or even a phone call, which dependent on the pastor may be okay, but it is always best to meet with the person and love them enough to share what is going on.

Some of this is good and some of this is not as good as discussing today’s passage. Paul hopes to see Timothy soon, but Paul is fully aware that we are not guaranteed tomorrow (especially someone with as many people who hated him and wanted to see him wiped out as Paul) so he wrote this letter to Timothy, the church in Ephesus and now for us.

How to behave in the household of God

Paul writes to give these guidelines for Timothy so that “you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” Paul wanted the church to be singular; regardless of the city the church was planted in he wanted some things to be constant. Paul gives guidelines to Timothy in order to know how he should set the church up, start it on the right foot and how things should run.

Paul reminds Timothy that it is not Paul’s house, not Timothy’s house; they are merely custodians of the house of God. This is a sobering reminder as I am guilty as anyone at admiring men with awesome ministries and seeing what God has accomplished through them. (As if they had done it themselves) But as Paul states, they are simply custodians, on a temp job if you will – This is God’s house!

Not only is it God’s house, but they are called together under the same purpose to be a “pillar and buttress of the truth” both the buttress (ground, foundation, what the place is built upon) and the pillars (what holds the building up and stops the roof crashing in) is truth. There are some churches that need to revisit this because if we are not giving the full counsel of the gospel, we are not serving our believers well.

The truth and the whole truth

Also, anyone who comes looking for truth, if the church is not giving the whole truth then people may miss out on the salvation message of their Savior Jesus Christ. The church is where the truth should be exalted, held up and defended; if the church is not doing so then there will be no truth as we cannot trust the world to give an accurate account of the gospel.

V16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

And here is the truth! Let us look at the mystery of godliness…

1) Manifested in the flesh – This is the beautiful part of the Immaculate Conception when Jesus was born of a virgin in the City of David, in Bethlehem and became man in order to begin his mission here on earth to atone for our sins. He was no less God, no less the Son in the Trinity, no less due all the honor and glory that his deity demands, but now was manifest in the flesh in the same way all of us were, born of a woman.

2) Vindicated by the Spirit – Jesus was not like the rest of us, as in justified after he had sinned by the Holy Spirit. Jesus never sinned and was he was who he was always supposed to be, completely justified and vindicated by the spirit and in constant communion with the Father God. (Matthew 3:16; 1st Peter 3:18; Acts 2:32-33)

3) Seen by angels – If we look at passages in Matthew Mark and Luke we see that Jesus had contact with angels, they ministered to him and they escorted him home to heaven. (Matthew 28:2-7, Mark 1:13, Luke 22:41-43)

4) Proclaimed among nations – Paul himself did this as did the other apostles (and Timothy also) where they would preach to the Jew first and then once they were unable to do this then they preached to the Gentile, bringing the nations to repentance. If we were not converted from Judaism then we are part of this ongoing process and I thank the LORD for the faithfulness of the apostle Paul.

5) Believed on in the world – As a result of this preaching, men believed having their hearts convicted by the Holy Spirit; we are not here to replace the Jews but to encourage the Jews into faith in their messiah Jesus Christ.

6) Taken up in glory – Jesus when he had completed his mission ascended to heaven (Luke 24:51) He prays and intercedes for us still on behalf of the Father (1 John 2:1) His last words before he died on the cross were “It is finished” which meant he had done what the father had sent him to do.

Jesus = literal fulfillment

Jesus fulfilled this and more and his witnesses when he was resurrected showed the world that this was not just some common criminal who died a common criminal death, but he was who he stated he was. Death could not hold him and he is alive today at the right hand of the father. He is the only one who can save you from your sins. Do you know where you are going if you were to pass away tonight?

Paul gives these six reasons why it is beyond all controversy, even within two generations of Christ’s crucifixion there were still heretics and naysayers stating that the historical fact did not happen. Even today people set out to drive a hole in an infallible bible and inerrant truth. Paul does 1st century apologetics in order to give a reasonable defense for what was believed. Praise God that he did!

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Three – December 23rd

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Three – December 23rd

Thank you for reading our twenty third installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy in the book of Psalms chapter twenty four which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will ascend to heaven…

Who is this King of Glory?

Psalm 24:1 (ESV) The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

I am reminded of a song that we used to sing at Vision Calvary Chapel of Porterville which has the words of verse 8 verbatim. The messiah (Jesus Christ) had been through death and reappeared to his disciples, but there was still one last act to do while on earth and that is to ascend into heaven where he is today.

One of the questions that is asked by those who have not studied the Bible is “Where is Jesus today?” well I would point them towards the following verses in Mark and Luke, these explain better than I ever could where my messiah is today.

One Psalm – Two parts

The 24th Psalm is a wonder to me, like many Psalms it is one in two parts, part one is verses one thru six and part two is seven through to ten. I love that in the beginning of the Psalm in verse one and two he confirms the creation account and in verse three it asks “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?” in verse four he answers “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” and verses six and seven talk about the righteous reward.

Jesus confirms this in the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter five:

Matthew 5:8 (ESV) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Part two speaks of the messiah and asks “Who is this King of glory?” it also mentions the gates of heaven and the ascension of the LORD as well as the invitation for him to come home. Reminds me of the hymn I used to sing at Sunday school:

“This world is not my home; I am just a passing through,
My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue,
The Angels beckon me, from heavens open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore”

Make no mistake about it, heaven was open and willing and waiting for the messiahs return. We read that the messiah gets two distinct names that are befitting his majesty. He is called THE KING OF GLORY and LORD OF HOSTS, two very regal and majestic names that could barely do him and his glory justice. Let’s look at the book of Mark to see how he ascended.

Ascension (Part 1) Mark’s Gospel

Mark 16:14 (ESV) Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

So when Jesus came back it was not all hearts and flowers, like any good teacher he had to deliver a tough lesson to the eleven remaining disciples (twelve minus Judas Iscariot) he had to “rebuke them for their unbelief and hardness of heart”. Can you imagine this? They have spent three years with the best bible teacher ever to walk this earth, they have seen him die and be brought back to life and they still had unbelief?

Suddenly I don’t feel bad about having doubts on occasion about trivial things that happen in my life! Jesus makes sure that they are accountable for believing what they had been taught, don’t get me wrong it is a supernatural thing to hear and unless you had some sort of confirmation that it was correct it would be a tough one to swallow, but these guys had been in Jesus inner circle, they were well warned about what was going to happen.

They are given their (to use a British Army term) “Part one orders” They were to be the beacons of light to the world, they were the new evangelists and go to everyone proclaiming Jesus message. This is still the Christian’s commission today; we are to share Jesus with whoever God puts in our path. We are commanded to make disciples and those who believe will be saved. It is our job to be the tool used by God; the Holy Spirit convicts the heart unto repentance.

Jesus then ascends to heaven and sat at the right hand of God (where he is today) He promised that he was going to prepare a place for us (John 14:3) and to make intercession for us (Romans 8:3) He is in the right hand of the father to show his place in the order of heaven, much higher than the angels. Jesus also ascended leaving the Holy Spirit to minister to us; we are not alone or cut off from God waiting for his return.

The disciples followed Jesus command and “went out and preached everywhere” we do know historically that the gospel was not spread much beyond Jerusalem until after the Christian persecution.

Lastly we read that “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” I love this and this is where we mess up a little today in church, in the original blueprint the preaching came first and then the signs and wonders came after. The stuff that could change people’s lives was allowed to be the foundation and then the supernatural stuff follows to confirm the message.

Ascension (Part 2) Luke’s Gospel

Luke 24:50 (ESV) Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

Luke being a physician is a little more clinical on his witness account of what happened next, he gives the exact location that Jesus left them, (Bethany) he listed what he was doing (lifting his hands and blessing his disciples) and what happened afterwards.

Jesus took his place as his last act on this earth prior to the second coming to assume the role of the disciples High Priest. Jesus spent his life blessing people and with the power and love that came from these hands, this blessing was for real.

As he was blessing them he went home. This was no ET moment, this was the culmination of forty days of intense ministry for the disciples and appearing before witnesses to prove the resurrection, even as he was leaving the earth he was putting the finishing touches on the disciples preparation for ministry without Jesus.

Jesus literally fulfilled the ministry of “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12) what greater example we could have but Jesus himself?

They had great joy knowing that Jesus mission was complete; imagine if Calvary had been the end? There would be no Christianity! They returned to Jerusalem (at least until the persecution) and went to the temple and kept in prayer and praise to God. They really believed that it was true and they now lived as public followers of Jesus. By attending the temple they wanted to be in God’s house, in his ministry and in his service. This is a true example of lives changed by Jesus.

Jesus went through all this so we can join him in heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE