Monday, March 21, 2011

Which Crown(s) Would You Like?

I continue to be amazed by the Word of God. 2 Timothy chapter 2 is on of those chapters you need to read, re-read, re-read, get the idea. It reminds me of John 3, Romans 1 & 8, Colossians 3, Ephesians 4, etc. There are those chapters that leave you blown away and 2 Timothy chapter 2 is one them; as such, I am going to spend a couple days on it.
Paul instructs Timothy to teach faithful men everything that he has preached. Paul also makes it clear that the instruction he gave to Timothy is the same message he preached to “many witnesses”. If there was any chance of the clear concise Gospel message would have been corrupted in any way, there would be plenty of people around to rebuke the false gospel. There are men out there trying to twist the Gospel for selfish gain, which is why faithful men need to press on with the Truth. Faithful men are not only to press on with the Truth, they are also to rebuke false teaching. This is not coming from a screen printer in Minnesota....this is from our big brother Paul over and over again in The Word!

2Timothy 2:2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Not only did Paul command Timothy to encourage others to teach and preach the Gospel, he also commanded him something else:

2Timothy 2:3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Next time you hear a “health-wealth and prosperity pimp” suggest to you how you can “have your best life now”; ask him how that fits in to 2 Timothy 2:3.

Do you think it is only Timothy, Paul, John, Peter, James, Stephen, Thomas, etc. that are to suffer for Christ Jesus? If that is the case lets tell all our brothers and sisters suffering for Christ across the globe to deny Jesus, after all, the preachers here in America don't think you should suffer. Obviously I am being sarcastic. These directives to suffer for Christ are just as relevant today as they were in the first century.

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

1Peter 5:10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

1Peter 4:16-19 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now "IF THE RIGHTEOUS ONE IS SCARCELY SAVED, WHERE WILL THE UNGODLY AND THE SINNER APPEAR?" 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

In every military around the world soldiers are committed to their oath of service. Very view times will you find a soldier rise through the ranks that is not willing to follow orders and get the job done at all cost. There is no doubt that some orders that come down from the “brass” are wrong, and in some cases flat out evil; however, as a “good soldier” they are committed to their oath. That is the exact picture Paul is giving those of us that are soldiers for Christ, only all our directives from Him are perfect, righteous and holy. Just like a Marine isn't going to take a directive from the “average Joe” on the street, neither are we to get entangled by the affairs of this world. We are not to be swayed by the lusts of this world, and we are not to be deterred by the discouragement and abuse of this world; instead, we are to set our sites on Jesus and glorifying Our King:

2Timlothy 2:4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

Paul keeps rolling with this same point, but swings in to another area many of us can relate to; sports. Our prize is eternal life and any crowns The Lord decides we might “earn”; but this prize only comes through His rules: love, faith, trust, repentance, surrender and obedience to Him:

2Timothy 2:5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

2Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

James 1:12 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.

1Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Revelation 2:9-10 "I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

If you seek to please your King, if you press on for the prize as that of a disciplined athlete, if you suffer as a good soldier, if you keep the faith, you will be able to make a statement similar to that of Paul:

2Timothy 4:6-7 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

And Jesus will say:

Matthew 25:21b 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'

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