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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #5955 on: November 04, 2017, 09:12:36 AM »

Root of Bitterness

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15)
 
Bitterness and a bitter spirit should never characterize a person who has experienced the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ. No matter how seriously one may have been wronged, if he has known God’s forgiving grace for his own wrongdoings, he should manifest that same grace in his life toward others, even though they do not merit it (for neither did he merit God’s forgiving grace himself).
 
Bitterness is a characteristic of the ungodly “whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (Romans 3:14). A Christian must never try to rationalize it as “righteous indignation” or to think that certain injustices give him the “right” to be bitter and resentful. “If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish” (James 3:14-15). Rooted bitterness will soon “spring up,” not only robbing the bitter believer of joy and true fruitfulness, but bearing bitter fruit whereby many others will “be defiled.”
 
The antidote, of course, is never to “fail of the grace of God.” That is, we need to be “looking diligently,” moment by moment, at the wonderful grace of God by which we were saved through faith and in which we continue to live each day.
 
Therefore, “let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). Otherwise, we not only hurt both ourselves and others, but we also grieve “the holy Spirit of God” (v. 30). HMM
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« Reply #5956 on: November 05, 2017, 09:19:56 AM »

Ask What Ye Will

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:7)
 
The precious promise in this verse has been an inspiration to the faithful down through the centuries. It becomes even more amazing when attention is paid to the original Greek language in which it was written.
 
Abiding implies a close personal fellowship with someone; in this case, the personal, loving Lord Jesus: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love” (v. 9). Such an abiding on our part will be evidenced by obedience, love for Him and for the brethren, and joy (vv. 10-14). Our minds and hearts will be in total harmony with His, guided by such a walk and His words.
 
“Ye shall ask” does not carry the proper force in English. This is a command in the imperative mode in Greek—a challenge, if you will. He challenges us to “ask what ye will” (literally “whatever ye desire”) and see Him faithful. Desire speaks of something different from need; indeed, it speaks of an “inclination.” He is not afraid we will ask for selfish inclinations, for if we “abide” in Him, our desires are His desires, and we will naturally ask for those things that glorify Him. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (v. 8).
 
Notice the word “done,” which in Greek stems from the word meaning “to come into existence.” God will answer our unselfish prayers, even if He has to transcend natural law or even create something to do so. He even challenges us to “ask” without hesitation, as implied by the Greek construction.
 
If we meet the condition of “abiding” in Him, as a branch “abides” in the vine (vv. 1-5), He will place in us the desire to bring forth much fruit (v. 5) to His glory and to our everlasting delight. JDM
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« Reply #5957 on: November 06, 2017, 09:40:12 AM »

Christ Our Leader

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10)
 
The Lord never asks us to go anywhere that He has not gone before. He is the captain (literally, the “leader”) of our salvation, and we only need follow our divine leader. The same word is used in Hebrews 12:2, where we are exhorted to be “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince [same word] and a Saviour” (Acts 5:31).
 
The same wonderful truth appears under various figures. He is our Shepherd, for instance, and He says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish” (John 10:27-28). He also illumines our path. “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). He guides us along the way by His indwelling Holy Spirit. “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. . . . and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13).
 
With such a dauntless leader, a perfect example, a loving Shepherd, a clear light, and an infallible guide, we are (or should be) happy to follow Him, even if the way sometimes seems steep and hard.
 
He is the goal and prize at the end of the journey. For Him, Paul said, “I have suffered the loss of all things . . . that I may win Christ . . . forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8, 13-14). HMM
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« Reply #5958 on: November 07, 2017, 08:59:45 AM »

Where to Bestow Our Wealth

“And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?” (Luke 12:16-17)
 
God called this rich man “Thou fool” (Luke 12:20) because, rich as he was in his own eyes, he was “not rich toward God” (v. 21). Instead of choosing to bestow his goods on others in need or on any kind of ministry for God, he decided to build more barns and “there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods” (v. 18). The barns did not need them, however, and neither did the rich fool, for he died the very night on which he made this selfish decision.
 
The intensity of his self-centered nature is pointed up by the fact that he used personal pronouns (I, my) no less than 11 times in three verses (vv. 17-19). Furthermore, no counselor advised him on this course of action. He just “thought within himself” (v. 17) to keep it all for his own comfort and pleasure.
 
Jesus told this parable not just to rebuke selfish rich people, however, but to warn all of us against the wicked sin of covetousness “which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). “Beware of covetousness,” He said in introducing the parable, “for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
 
Complaining American Christians (and almost all American Christians are wealthy compared to multitudes in many other nations) need to hear the ancient word of the psalmist still relevant today: “Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. . . . Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:16-17, 20). HMM
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« Reply #5959 on: November 08, 2017, 09:26:39 AM »

For Us

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
 
“Christian” liberals for many generations have scoffed at the biblical doctrine that the death of Christ could serve as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of the whole world. Like all other religions, their form of religion assumes that each person is responsible for his own salvation, which must somehow be earned by his own good deeds and religious observances. Some have a very rigid code of ethics, some talk of mental attitudes that ascend to higher planes through meditation, some emphasize only love, others simply feel that the good must somehow outweigh the bad. All rely on human abilities to gain salvation.
 
Nevertheless, the Bible clearly teaches that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and, as our text emphasizes, “Christ died for us.” This pungent phrase, “for us,” appears repeatedly in the New Testament. Listen to this refrain:
 
“[God] spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity” (Titus 2:14). “Christ also suffered for us” (1 Peter 2:21).
 
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). Hereby we perceive His great love for us! He was delivered up for us, sacrificed for us, made a curse for us; He gave Himself for us, suffered for us, and laid down His life for us. We were helpless, lost in sin, altogether unable to pay for our sins, but “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3), and we are saved! HMM
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« Reply #5960 on: November 09, 2017, 09:51:07 AM »

Never Forsaken

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
 
The promise that God will never leave nor forsake His people occurs often in Scripture. It was given here through Moses to the children of Israel as they were preparing to enter the land promised long ago to Abraham. Two verses later, it was then repeated personally for Joshua, who was to be their leader in the coming battles.
 
Essentially the same promise had been made to Jacob as he began to assume his God-ordained role. “Behold, I am with thee,” God had said, “. . . for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of” (Genesis 28:15). It was again repeated directly to Joshua by God. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5).
 
David passed on the same promise to Solomon as he became responsible for the kingdom and for building the great temple. “[God] will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 28:20). “I the God of Israel will not forsake them” (Isaiah 41:17) was the Lord’s promise still later to the faithful Israelites.
 
And we can rejoice today in this same wonderful promise. “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6). This remarkable verse has five negatives in the Greek, so that it could even be rendered literally as something like: “I will never, never leave thee, and never, never, never forsake thee.” Surely this is one of the greatest of God’s “exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4). HMM
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« Reply #5961 on: November 10, 2017, 09:17:14 AM »

Words of Peace and Truth

“And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth.” (Esther 9:30)
 
The book of Esther is unique in that it contains no explicit mention of God. Yet, the hand of God is more evident in this book than in almost any other. It was after their remarkable deliverance from the genocide that had been contrived for them by Haman that Mordecai wrote his “words of peace and truth” to all the Jews, establishing an annual holiday to commemorate the providential winning of peace with their enemies, with the triumph of truth over evil and deception.
 
This incisive though unusual combination of words (“peace and truth”) was also used by Hezekiah when the Lord promised safety for his kingdom as long as he lived. “Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?” (2 Kings 20:19). Similarly, God promised His people delivery from their Babylonian captors: “I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth” (Jeremiah 33:6). Finally, through Zechariah, God promised His people a future lasting peace that they were to commemorate four times a year with “joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace” (Zechariah 8:19).
 
Men have longed for peace through the centuries, but it continues to elude them. After the so-called “war to end all wars,” Armistice Day was established to celebrate the lasting peace the war supposedly secured. Now, of course, it is called Veterans Day—still a day for honor, but hardly one of light and gladness. Peace can only endure in truth.
 
Although God was never named in Esther, He was there! Mordecai’s “words of peace and truth” implicitly spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ. There will only be real peace when men accept the real truth. HMM
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« Reply #5962 on: November 11, 2017, 09:49:30 AM »

Created to Rule the Day

“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.” (Genesis 1:16)
 
It seems that throughout history, mankind has ignored or distorted the purpose for which God created the sun. Many cultures have even worshiped the sun, teaching that the sun was the source of all being, even human life. Temples were built in its honor, human sacrifices were made to appease it, whole civilizations were dedicated to its worship.
 
The nation Israel, which had lived among sun-worshiping Egyptians for centuries, was warned not to “lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and . . . [see] the sun, and . . . be driven to worship” (Deuteronomy 4:19) under penalty of death, “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24).
 
One of mankind’s primary purposes is to worship God, but the sun was created by God for man’s benefit. He is a God of grace and desires to “freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32).
 
The purpose of the sun is no mystery. Its Creator says that along with the moon and stars it is “to divide the day from the night . . . and . . . be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years . . . to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:14-15).
 
There will come a time, however, when the sun will no longer be needed by God’s people, for in our eternal home “there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light” (Revelation 22:5). “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23). Best of all, we shall be with Him. JDM
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« Reply #5963 on: November 12, 2017, 09:43:42 AM »

The Voice of the Lord

“The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.” (Psalm 29:4)
 
This solemn phrase, “the voice of the LORD,” occurs seven times in Psalm 29, centered especially on the awful judgment of the great Flood in the days of Noah. “The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters” (v. 3). It occurs many other times in the Old Testament as well, with a wide variety of applications and circumstances.
 
The very first time it occurs, however (and this is also the first occurrence of “voice” in the Bible, indicating thereby that it is God’s voice—not man’s—that we must hear if we seek guidance for life), is in the Garden of Eden immediately after man brought sin into the world. “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden. . . . And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:8­­­­-9). Mankind is lost and separated from God, but God calls unto each of us as He did to Adam, and we desperately need to hear His voice if our lives are to be fulfilled and spiritually fruitful.
 
In contrast to this scene of alienation, the final occurrence of a “voice” in the Bible is a beautiful scene of reconciliation when God again speaks to lost mankind, this time in glorious restoration of that broken fellowship. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).
 
To hear His voice then, however, we must first hear His voice now, through His Word. Jesus said, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life. . . . the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5:24-25). HMM
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« Reply #5964 on: November 13, 2017, 09:45:32 AM »

Old Testament Love

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)
 
Many people have mistakenly rejected or neglected the Old Testament on the basis that it speaks about a vindictive God of judgment in contrast to the New Testament God of love manifest in Jesus Christ. This perspective, however, is completely wrong.
 
One day a lawyer asked Jesus, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40).
 
Both of these commandments were recorded, of course, in the Old Testament. The first one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is perhaps the most revered of all passages to the Jews: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” The second great commandment is the one in our text for the day. This law is buried deep in the Pentateuch, in the unlikely heart of the book of Leviticus. In the New Testament it is even called “the royal law” (James 2:8).
 
Thus, the great underlying theme of the Old Testament is love—love for God and love for others—and this truth is stressed by Christ Himself in the New Testament. Even greater is God’s eternal love that was ours from before the world and that will never end. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). HMM
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« Reply #5965 on: November 14, 2017, 09:02:28 AM »

The Definition of Faith

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
 
The marvelous “faith chapter,” Hebrews 11, is an amazing chapter. Here, faith is defined not as some intangible wishfulness but as “substance” and “evidence.” Let us look closely.
 
First of all, faith must have a legitimate object, nothing less than the mighty Creator by whom “the worlds were framed” (v. 3) out of nothing but His omnipotent Word.
 
Beyond this, faith is further defined not by what it is, but by what it does! The man of faith comes to God by “a more excellent sacrifice,” like that of Abel (v. 4), typifying the sacrifice of Christ. Faith will, like Enoch, live to please God (v. 5), and will, like Noah, prepare an Ark (i.e., do whatever necessary out of obedience to God) “to the saving of his house” (v. 7).
 
True faith will, like Abraham, go out as God leads, “not knowing whither he went,” even “dwelling in tabernacles” (literally “tents”) (vv. 8-9) if need be, as he looks for that city with sure “foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (v. 10). Such faith will even, like Abraham, offer up to God the greatest love and joy of his life, knowing that God will keep His Word (vv. 17-19).
 
Like Moses, the man of genuine faith will choose rather “to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (v. 25). Faith is even willing to be “stoned . . . sawn asunder . . . slain with the sword,” if need be, for the promises of God (vv. 37, 39).
 
We are saved by grace through faith, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but since we are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10), our faith should motivate us to action. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). HMM
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« Reply #5966 on: November 15, 2017, 08:40:58 AM »

The Grace of Being Content

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Timothy 6:8)
 
The last of God’s Ten Commandments—and probably the most difficult to obey—deals with the sin of covetousness. “Thou shalt not covet . . . any thing that is thy neighbour’s” (Exodus 20:17). “Take heed, and beware of covetousness” warned the Lord Jesus, “for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). This warning introduced His parable of the rich man whom God called a fool. “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
 
And how does one become rich toward God? “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . . . Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. . . . seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:20, 25, 33).
 
We Christians—especially in an affluent society such as ours—all too easily fall into the trap of being possessed by our possessions and may even think these possessions are somehow God’s reward for our “godliness.” But Paul says those who suppose “that gain is godliness” are “destitute of the truth.” We need to remember that in God’s sight “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:5-6). And with Paul, we should strive to be able to say sincerely that “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).
 
God has promised to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19) if we are faithful stewards of what He has entrusted to us. Therefore, God’s Word commands: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). HMM
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« Reply #5967 on: November 16, 2017, 08:38:26 AM »

Asking and Receiving

“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:8)
 
The tremendous resource of prayer is far too often neglected by far too many Christians. If nothing is standing between us and the Lord to keep us from asking effectively (sin, unbelief, selfish motives, etc.), then God has promised to act when we ask by giving us our request or something better. Note just a few of the many promises to those who ask:
 
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).
 
“Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
 
“How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).
 
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22).
 
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
 
“If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14).
 
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
 
Obviously, there are conditions. These marvelous promises assume that those who ask are abiding in His commandments, truly desiring His will, having His priorities, thinking His thoughts, and are asking in faith and in His name. HMM
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« Reply #5968 on: November 17, 2017, 09:17:19 AM »

Son of God

“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:3-4)
 
It is noteworthy that the identification of Jesus Christ as the Son of God is directly associated with His resurrection from the dead. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26), and since only God Himself can conquer death, Christ’s bodily resurrection is the conclusive affirmation of His unique deity: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Many others have claimed divine sonship, but all are dead—only Christ validated that claim by defeating death. “God . . . hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:33). “Death is swallowed up in victory . . . . through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54, 57).
 
Jesus is explicitly called “the Son of God” about 44 times in the New Testament, only half as often as He is called “Son of man.” Nevertheless, this great truth is clearly taught in numerous other ways than by the use of the title itself. It is so important that there is no salvation for the one who denies it. Jesus said plainly, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
 
Because He lives, we who believe on His name will also live forever! “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? . . . He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:5, 12-13). HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #5969 on: November 18, 2017, 08:25:40 AM »

Jesus Christ, Our Hope

“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.” (1 Timothy 1:18-19)
 
Paul had been entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ by Christ Himself (vv. 1, 12-16), and he did not take this fact lightly when it was time to pass on the job of guarding and propagating the truth to others.
 
In our text, following his praise to God for giving him such a function, Paul now “charges” Timothy to follow in his footsteps. The word “commit” finds usage in banking vocabulary and implies a deposit of something of great value. Timothy was to continue to teach the valuable, life-changing truth of the gospel in love (v. 5) while guarding the flock against the teaching of false teachers (v. 3).
 
Paul had not found such a responsibility to be easy. In our text he reminds Timothy of this fact, encouraging him to “war a good warfare.” Note the two weapons of Timothy’s warfare mentioned here. First, faith, which, while not specified, certainly implies faith in God and Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and faith that this cause is just and right. Second, a good conscience, yielding a life and ministry free from both controlling sin and the guilt of that sin. Such a conscience comes from a lifestyle brought into submission to God’s Word. In fact, this couplet—faith and a good conscience—is said to be “the end of the commandment” (v. 5), along with love.
 
Some (v. 19) had abandoned these vital weapons to the “shipwreck” of their own faith and the faith of their followers. Nevertheless, such weapons, properly used, are “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). JDM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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