Archive for the ‘Grace’ Category


Christ reveals the Light and Love of God as Grace and Truth

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

John revealed in his Gospel the “grace and truth” of Jesus Christ. The true light entered the world…

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9)

This light was revealed to men as “grace and truth.”

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Why is this? Because light in God, when brought to men, becomes truth; love in God, when brought to men, becomes grace. Truth and grace are here on earth, light and love back there with God. This is how John reveals Christ in his Epistles. Jesus is revealed as being with His Father as light and love.

What is truth in the Gospel is light in the Epistles. What is grace in the Gospel is love in the Epistles.

Grace & Truth will bring us into the Light & Love of God

The grace and truth of Jesus Christ will always bring believer’s into the light and love of God. Grace and truth will always develop the justice and righteousness in your life that God loves. His grace and truth is never bestowed lightly or in a whimsical manner. God’s grace and truth must be received by a heart willing to embrace the light and love of God. His light will always bring you to repentance and his love will always develop righteousness in you!

The problem we have is that anything that touches man can be corrupted by man. Man can misuse grace and corrupt truth for his own selfish purposes. This is why we must always preach Jesus Christ coupled with the light and love of God. Man cannot climb up to heaven and corrupt God. He is beyond mishandling. John takes us back to the throne to behold the Son with the Father. Such a vision of the light and love of God will always purify us and produce His righteousness. We can only recover the grace and truth of Jesus as we behold the light and love of the Almighty and Holy God. If, in our walk, we separate the grace of Jesus from the Holy light of God, our life will fall short of God’s Glory and we will become mired in false truth and false religion.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6)

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 “How to Make God’s Word Attractive”

And now the shift from the protection of sound doctrine to the practice of sound doctrine.

This connection between belief & behavior must be grasped by all Christians if we’re to be in the world but not of the world! Christians are called to engage the culture around them. We are to be culture changers, and that requires credible lives that have been transformed to the point that they are engaging and inviting. Christians will never impact the culture around them through distance and withdrawal. (JT)

Making God’s word Attractive! & Living differently in the Power of Grace!

Titus 2:1-3 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,

Verse one in other translations:„

  • Phillips – Titus 2:1 Now you must tell them the sort of character which should spring from sound teaching.
  • KJV Teach that which becomes sound doctrine…
  • „ NASB Teach that which is fitting with sound doctrine…

Accords or fitting is the Greek word “prépō” – To be eminent, distinguished, to excel. In the NT usually in the impersonal form prépei, it means becoming, proper.[1]

Paul describes “sound doctrine” as becoming, fitting, excellent, distinguished and I might add “elegant.” He wants Titus to teach and practice that which expresses the elegance and beauty of sound doctrine.

So Chapter two has some insights in how we are to make the Word of God Attractive to the culture around us.

I. Top down elegance (1-3)

(1)  The Older men and women set the mark for elegance of the Word.
    • Whether young or old, married or single, we are all needed in the local church.
    • Older believers are especially important
(2) Your Influence is greater than you think!
(3) The churches impact on the culture depends upon the beauty of the Older believers!

 Regardless of age, gender, occupation, or any other classification, God calls us to live differently in whatever environment we find ourselves! “All true believers are expected to have faith reflected in their conduct & to have their conduct affirm their faith!” (Kent Hughes)

A. Older Men!

(2 – Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.)

(1)  Older Men should be distinguished with the beauty of the Gospel
      • Zechariah (80) and Paul (50’s) were called ‘old man’ in Scriptures
      • This is Top down Body Life
      • Top Down Body Life is sustainable and produces Godly Impact.
(2) Sober – abstain from wine or at least from its immoderate use (always clear –headed)

“Sober” is nēphalios, “abstaining from wine, either entirely or at least from its immoderate use.”Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 190.

(3) Dignified – noble, respected and admired. They have majestic and awe-inspiring qualities that do not repel but attract people. The presence of Christ is seen.

“Grave” is semnos, “august noble, venerable, reverent.” Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 190. Semnós represents not only earthly dignity, but that which is derived from a higher citizenship, a heavenly one, which is the possession of all believers. There lies something of majestic and awe-inspiring qualities in semnós which does not repel but rather invites and attracts Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “σεμνός”.

(4) Self-controlled-self-restrained, his passions and desires are all under the cross.

self-disciplined in one’s freedom, self-restrained in all passions and desires. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “σώφρων”.

(5) Sound (Vitality) in Faith (personal relationship w/God); (You know He sees God in every circumstance)
(6) Sound in Love (relationship w/others);
(7) Sound in Steadfastness (bear up well under the stress, endurance as to things or circumstances) –Go to guy when your world is falling apart.

Q: Where are the older men? Step up to the plate!

„ The Older Men establish the benchmark for everyone in the church to attain to.

„ God always works TOP DOWN when He wants to impact the church and the community!

B. Older Women! (3)

Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

(1)  Reverent in behavior – Becoming for they act like sacred people.
(2)  Avoiding the ugliness of gossip & drunkenness.
(3)  Teachers of Good (Phillips-examples of the good life)-training and schooling the younger (neo) mom’s and wives.
      • They should channel their energy into mentoring the new wives and mom’s.
      • Train the new moms and wives by bringing them to their right minds and
      • To know the way to love their husbands and children.
(4) Pure – not defiled
(5) Caring for the home
(6) To be under the leadership of their husbands.
(7) So that people will not treat the Word of God with irreverence or regard it as nothing of God.

1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Q: Where are the older Women?

  • „ Older women get involved in discipling younger women.
  • „ Discipling young moms in matters of family & Christian lifestyle.
  • „ Focus on their responsibilities to live out the Word of God toward their husband and their children, and bringing the power of the Word of God into their home.
  • „ You have a command to be “Titus Two-ing!”

Where have we gone wrong in the 21st century church? The same way they went wrong in the 1st century church. When each one became self-focused instead of body-focused, the church declined in spiritual power, families broke up and churches became divided. The culture looks at the church as says, “you have nothing for me.” Your families are messed up, your children are just like mine, your full of strife and worry and stress, just like me.

Church becomes a show, a form of godliness, a feel-good assembly, but there is no community, no power to build Godly marriages  and families.

So discipleship and community and mentorship become foreign phrases, and we focus on the speaker of the music or the facilities or the children’s ministries. Church becomes a convenience that we fit into our busy, hectic, stressful lives.

For a church to be set in order and effective according to Paul, there must be leadership from men and women who pour their lives into the young people who will follow them. There should be a personal investment in regular fellowship, disciplined worship, & church community life! The Older Christians are to make the Word of God ATTRACTIVE through inviting lives! (Not judgmental lives)

 C. THE YOUNGER SAINTS! (4-8)

(1) Younger Women! (4,5) (READ)

a.  They should learn how to love their families & live godly lives.

b.  Paul says to young wives make family your highest priority!

(2)  Younger Men! (6-8)

Titus 2:6-8 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

URGE is Parakaleo – come alongside them and work with them on being sound-minded, in touch with the realities of life, the importance of family. Life is not about money!

a.  They should display sensibility.

Sober-minded – sound-minded, to exercise self-control, to have one’s total life under control of the mind.

b.    They should be a positive role model! People are watching their lives

One pagan said after receiving a gospel tract from a zealous missionary, “Thank you for this tract, now I will watch your tracks and decide about becoming a Christian.”

Years ago the communist government in China commissioned an author to write a biography of Hudson Taylor with the purpose of distorting the facts and presenting him in a bad light. They wanted to discredit the name of this consecrated missionary of the gospel. As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor’s saintly character and godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience. Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Savior.

c.   Teaching must be with integrity (not for gain or position, but with genuine concern)

d.  Demonstrate dignity

e.  Sound Speech (that cannot be condemned)

f.    No one opposed to the Gospel can say anything evil about you.

D. All four groups have this same word – self-control!

(1) Freedom in Christ doesn’t give believers the liberty to cast off all moral restraint.
(2) Nor does it call for a withdrawal from life & its temptations.
(3) It calls for a self-disciplined life following Christ’s example of being in the world but not of the world.
(4) It calls for Christians to live sensibly & reasonably!

a.   The Christian Church effects the community only as it functions as a caring, discipling community of growth into the reality of the Life of Jesus Christ

b.  Our actions must be considered in light of their effects upon others!

c.   Seek the others good!

E. THE BONDSERVANT SAINTS! (9-10) (EMPLOYEES)

Titus 2:9-10 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

(1)  Slaves were to be examples
      • They should not revolt but submit to their masters, work hard to please them, avoid arguing with them, resist stealing from them(“I deserve this since he isn’t paying me enough!”)
(2) They adorn the Gospel through their behavior
      • They must work in good faith so that, “so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive”(NIV).

It was a custom among the Greeks as well as the Jews not only to erect, but also to repair and adorn the monuments of those who had merited them or who had suffered an undeserved death[2]  – ADORN THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST WITH YOUR LIFE

Q: Do you adorn the doctrine of God our Savior? (i.e. make it attractive with your life?)

(3) (vs 10) Not pilfering – thieving, to embezzle.
(4) What happens here? – Paul doesn’t tell them to rebel??? No, but he does remind them now that they have salvation & their Master doesn’t…
      • they are master of their superiors future!
      • This is how lowly slaves can impact their culture!

F. (5,8,10) “That”

Each occurrence begins a clause that expresses the goal or purpose of the behavior that is encouraged.

(1) Vs 5 – (that the Word) Proper Christian behavior has a significant impact on pagan attitudes toward Christianity!
(2) Vs 8 – (That as opponents) It silences its opponents by correct Christian teaching.
(3) Vs 10 – (so that you may adorn) It attracts a lost world to Christianity.

Poor Testimony – During the Spanish conquest of Mexico under Hernando Cortez in the early 1500s, a resistance leader named Hatney was captured after a fierce battle and sentenced to be burned alive. After tying him to the stake, his captors urged him to become a Christian so that at his death his soul might be given an entrance into heaven. He asked his tormentors if they expected to go to this place. On being told that they did, he cried out, “Then I will not be a Christian, for I would not again go to a place where I would find men so cruel!” – H.V.L. Our Daily Bread, June 18

  • How we live either blasphemes the word (vs 5) or beatifies it!
  • Adorn = your life is decoration and tribute to the crucified Son of God. You can be an enticement to folks sick of the culture.

Back in 1985 a 40’, 45-ton, Humpback whale made a wrong turn during his migration along the California coast. Well-wishing friends affectionately named the humpback whale Humphrey. The wayward mammal became a national celebrity when he turned into San Francisco Bay, swam under the Golden Gate Bridge, and managed to navigate 70 miles up river. For more than 3 weeks, Humphrey defied all efforts to get him back to salt water. Finally, marine biologists tried to lure him with the recorded sounds of feeding humpbacks. It worked. Humphrey responded to the “happy humpbacks” and followed “them” back to the Pacific.

  • Everyone has the role of making God real to someone else!

II. LIVING DIFFERENTLY, IN THE POWER OF GRACE! (11-15)

A. The Grace of God not only saves us but also teaches us how to live the Christian life.

Jesus saved us not only so we’d belong to Him, but also so we would live like we belong to Him!

(1) Vs.11 & 14 show what God has done for us!
(2) Vs.12 & 13 show what we should do for God!
      • We should live for Him & look for him!
(3) The Grace appeared in Jesus so that we can bring His Grace to our friends and neighbors.

B. Why We Are Different? – (PAST!-11) – because Grace has Appeared

Rom.5:10 “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

“Only as we grasp the significance of God’s grace can we eagerly do what is pleasing to Him!”[3]

C. Our PRESENT is different (12)

Q: What reasons does Paul give on why a Christian should live differently?

  1. What he should give up
  2. How he should now live.
(1) Say NO to ungodliness!
(2) Say YES to setting God before you in everything!
  • We are surrounded by a world that doesn’t say “no” to anything!
  • In fact, this world says yes to everything

A story is told of a young girl who accepted Christ as her Savior and applied for membership in a local church. “Were you a sinner before you received the Lord Jesus into your life?” inquired an old deacon. “Yes, sir,” she replied. “Well, are you still a sinner?” “To tell you the truth, I feel I’m a greater sinner than ever.” “Then what real change have you experienced?” “I don’t quite know how to explain it,” she said, “except I used to be a sinner running AFTER sin, but now that I am saved I’m a sinner running FROM sin!”

  • „ Godlessness – Ignoring God’s authority over your life and decisions.

So what will ultimately make us holy?…not willpower, not guilt, not an inspiring message, but deep apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ.

The Puritans taught this truth w/the image of the live oak, a variety of trees whose leaves – though dead – stuck to their branches through the winter. What eventually forced the leaves from the tree was not the abuse of the cold or the beating of the wind, but the new life of springtime welling up w/in the branches & forcing out what was dead.

We are the same!

Our evil affections are replaced by Jesus Christ and all that He is. We don’t just talk about Him, we live with Him, through Him and because of Him. Just as the Ark of Testimony was not simply talked about, but was carried with you. It was at the center of the community. As the Grace of Christ works in your life it will bring Christ into your life.

D. LOOK AT OUR FUTURE! (13)

  • What begins with grace will always lead to glory!

The return of Christ for His people is more than a blessed hope…

  • „ it is a joyful hope(Rom.5:2);
  • „ it is a unifying hope(Ep.4:4);
  • „ it is a living hope(1 Pet.1:3);
  • „ it is a stabilizing hope(Heb.6:19);
  • „ it is a purifying hope(1 Jn.3:3).[4]

Glorious appearing – to appear suddenly upon the scene.

A tourist who visited an exquisite garden on a lovely estate in Italy spoke to the caretaker: “How long have you been here?” he asked. “25 years.”
“And how often has the owner been to see the estate?” “4 times.”
“When did he come last?” “12 years ago.”
“Who comes then to look after things?” “I am left pretty much alone.”
“Yet you keep the garden so beautiful and spotless that one would think you were expecting the owner tomorrow.”
“Today, sir, today! replied the caretaker.”

E. THE REDEEMED! (14,15)

The highest & purest motivation for Christian behavior is not based on what we can do for God, but upon what God has done for us…& will yet do!
(15) Again Paul tells Titus to declare these things, to exhort and rebuke.

Let no one disregard you, “think around” you, act as if what you are saying is not important.

In all your ways make Christ known, and you will never be ignored or though past.

With Jesus Christ as your life, you are not one whom people can disregard.

SAMSON

Samson made a mess of his life. He took His eyes off God and so God took his eyes. But Samson once again set God before him and impacted the culture.

Judges 16:28 Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

They could not ignore the power within Samson through God! You must not allow people to disregard the Power of Christ living in you!


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “prepo”.

[2]. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “kosméō.”

[3] Ibid; pg.77

[4] Warren Wiersbe; With the Word; pg. 807,808.


Consider the Importance of Clothes

Exodus 28:1-2 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. And thou shalt make holy[1] garments for Aaron thy brother for glory[2] and for beauty[3].

God wanted to establish a relationship with His chosen people. That relationship was governed by God’s holiness and righteousness. God could not relate to His people without a representative, someone who would reflect God’s nature to His people.

God designed the office of Priest to enable this relationship. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was designated the priest, along with his sons.

Priests were nothing new to the Israelites. Melchizedek was a priest in Abraham’s day (Genesis 14:8). Joseph’s sons Manasseh and Ephraim were from his wife Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Even Moses father-in-law, Jethro, was the priest of Midian.

With the beginning of the Nation of Israel in view, God directed Moses to begin God’s priestly order, founded upon the Commandments which God delivered to Moses. With the earthly Priest Hood, God always had His Son, Jesus Christ in view. Everything about the priesthood, the Tabernacle, the offerings and sacrifices were a shadow of the Heavenly reality (Hebrews 8:5). It was important that the priests reflect God, and in view of the future, the nature of His Son. For Jesus Christ was the substance of all they did.

Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

While the priests were seen as the “go between” for the Jews with God, this was never His intention. Always in His heart, He wanted an intimate relationship with all of His children. From the beginning God revealed His intention:

Exodus 19:5-6 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

God desired His people to realize they could be a kingdom of priests, each possessing that special relationship with God. The link between God and His priests has always been two-fold: believe in God, and obey His Word. The priests were to be living personifications of the reality of Jehovah God, and the power of His Word. As the priests reflected this power to the Jewish people, the words of Malachi would come to pass:

Malachi 2:7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”

This is why Exodus 28:1-2 is significant. The garments of the priest are important only as far as the priests follow their intention-for the garments were designed to set the priest apart from that which was common.

What made the priesthood “weighty” to the people, was the perception that they were set apart unto God. The priests had restrictions upon land ownership, because the Lord was their inheritance. The priests were not to be entangled in the business affairs of the world. They were to depend upon the Lord for their sustenance and provisions. The people went to the priests to enquire of the Lord God, for the priests were set apart unto Him. This is what the garments represented, for they were sacred garments, and set the wearer apart from that which was common. The priestly garments were never used for washing the dishes, or cutting wood. The priests were always to respect the Holiness of Jehovah as they administered their office.

This is the reason for God’s scourging of the priesthood in Malachi. They had accepted “common” sacrifices, blind animals, unclean animals, and in so doing had profaned the name of Jehovah before the people. They had “polluted” God by despising the table of the Lord (Malachi 1:6-8). Instead of setting God apart before the people, the priesthood had brought God down to where man could regard Him as nothing special. Honoring Jehovah required nothing special. No real sacrifice was involved. God had become “comfortable” to the people. The priesthood had lost the touch of God by accepting that which was common. The priests had despised the name of God!

Their garments looked glorious and beautiful like normal, but there was no power behind them. God withdraws His power when our worship and service becomes man-centered. As 2nd Timothy 3:5 states, they have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. When you fail to follow the design of God, you reveal your heart, a heart that despises God’s authority over your life.

Our lives are to reflect a heart that has been set apart unto God. A heart that loves God completely. As we walk in love, we are clothed in glory and beauty. The priesthood was to present that reality to God’s children, just as contemporary ministers are to their flock.

Ministers, pastors, preachers and associates are to be set apart unto God. They must spend time before the throne. They must believe in His power. They must long for His Word. No part of their life must be kept from obedience to His Word. Disobedience, no matter how small, reflects a heart that despises the name of God.

Those who serve the Living God do so with an obligation to guard the deposit of God’s Word given to them.

2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Disobedience and/or neglect of God’s Word reveals an unbelieving heart. You are snorting, “What a weariness this is!” (Malachi 1:14). God’s name will be exalted throughout the nations, regardless of your obedience or belief.

The cry to everyone who seeks the Lord is found in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Remember, God desired a nation of priests. He wanted all of His chosen ones to enjoy Him. This became reality through Jesus Christ, whose eternal sacrifice on the cross tore open the veil which stood between sinful man and Holy God. Through faith in the work of Christ, His righteousness and justification are imputed to us, enabling us to have relations with Abba Father.

However, the visual image of Aaron’s priestly garments reveals several insights into our relationship with Holy God.

1. There is no relationship unless we agree to be set apart unto Him.

This is the wisdom of the Cross, whereby all those who humble themselves before the cross find salvation and righteousness in Christ. Our relationship with God begins at the cross of Christ. Jesus is the way!

Any attempt to come to God by bringing Him down to our level will be wasted. If our coming to God is man-centered and polluted by our pride, the way to God will be closed to us. The intimacy of Abba, Father will be impossible due to our flesh (Romans 8:8).

2. Our relationship with God is always on the basis of His Glory and Beauty.

We have no glory or beauty of our own. There is nothing intrinsic within us that makes us attractive and winsome to God. The priest stood before the people clothed in the special garments to reflect God’s glory and beauty, not his own. There were no TV personalities on display. God’s glory and beauty took center stage.

A. The Imagery of the Priestly Garments

1. The garments were to set apart the priests from that which was common to that which was sacred.

The Priests were the connection between man and God.

  • Ministers of God are always set apart for God’s use. They are not to be “common” in the true sense of the word. They are always living with the presence of God! God in us makes us sacred!
  • The garments were masculine and feminine in nature. Ministers reflect all of God upon all of God’s people

2.  They were to reflect the ‘weighty’ glory of God which Moses desired to see.

The word “glory” is derived from a Hebrew root that may mean “heavy,” “weighty,” or “numerous, severe” in a physical sense[4]

  • God bestows His glory on man- Psalm 8:5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
  • Glory is a weighty term-refers to wealth, possessions, honor, prestige.
  • Joseph told his brothers to tell Jacob of all his “glory”
  • The Glory of God brings substance, wealth, purpose, pre-eminence and “weight”.
  • The glory of God is never taken lightly; neither should the minister of God.

Exodus 16:7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD…

  • God told the complaining Israelites they would see His glory in the morning. When they awoke, they saw the manna falling from heaven, lying on the ground.
  • The manna is a picture of God’s bread of life-the Word of God. In the Word there is glory as we minister it!

Psalm 57:11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the Lord; that is My name! And My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

The Bible places emphasis on glory in the present and future tenses based upon the possibility of a relationship with the God of glory.

 The priests were to minister on the basis of glory because they enjoyed a “heavy” relationship with God, whereby His glory became their glory through the ministry of the Word!

John 1:14 And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.

Jesus is the Glory of God!

Jesus in your life opens the Glory of God upon your life!

3.  They were to reflect the beauty bestowed upon man and upon objects that elevate them to the presence of the divine.

Isaiah 55:5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

God has beautified you. His Glory is revealed in our beauty (that He bestows upon us in Christ)!

God bestows His beauty upon His people, upon their sanctuary, upon those things dedicated to Him!

The basic meaning of pāʾar in the Piel is “to beautify/glorify.” In the six instances of this, the subject of the verb is always God. The recipient is his child(ren), for example, Isaiah 55:5; Psalm 149:4, or his sanctuary (Ezra 7:27; Isaiah 60:7, 13). This thought is carried into the use of pāʾar in the Hithpael (Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:3; Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 61:3). An additional meaning in this stem is “to boast” as seen in Judges 7:2; Isaiah 10:15. Exodus 8:5,[5]

God is our crown of glory and diadem of beauty!

Isaiah 28:5 In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,

We are to boast only in His beauty upon us.

Psalm 96:6 Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

The danger comes in thinking the beauty is ours.

Isaiah 20:5 And they shall be dismayed and confounded because of Ethiopia their hope and expectation and Egypt their glory and boast (same word for beauty).

B.  Jesus Christ is our Beauty and Glory

2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Jude 1:25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

1. We are to put on Christ!

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

He is our beauty!

      • He is the Rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star!
      • John 17:22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
      • John 17:10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

His Word is our Glory

      • His Word set us apart!
      • John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

His Word in us brings Glory to God

      • John 15:7-8 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

2. The Word of God makes us beautiful and crowns us with His Glory!

Isaiah 62:2-3 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Zechariah saw a vision of a priest named Joshua in Zechariah 3. Joshua was clothed in filthy rags, and Satan was at his side, accusing him before Holy God. Joshua was not wearing the garments of glory and beauty. He was not fit to serve according to Satan. And Satan was right, but next we see the grace of God. An angel commands those around Joshua to remove the filthy garments, and clothe him in the holy priestly garments of glory and beauty. His iniquity has been removed by the grace of God. In addition, he is given a holy diadem or turban to wear upon his head. The significance of this turban is revealed in chapter 14, verse 20, for on the turban is symbolic of the priest being “Holiness unto the Lord,” for in that day even the horses will be holiness unto the Lord. Exodus 28:36 records that a gold plate inscribed with “Holiness unto the Lord” was placed upon the turban which the priest wore.

So God’s Grace restores the standing of the priest through cleansing and the right clothing. But God’s grace does not end there. Zechariah has another vision in chapter 4, and now he sees the power and provision of God for the rebuilding of the Temple. The Holy Spirit is poured out upon the priesthood, so that “not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts!” The Grace of God enables those who once were covered in filthiness to have an intimate relationship with their Creator God, and to be clothed in power from on high, such that they are to build the very dwelling place of God on the earth, His Temple! Verse seven presents a beautiful picture of the mountains (obstacles) becoming a plain such that Zerubbabel is able to hoist the final headstone of the Temple and cry out “Grace Grace!”

We live and breathe and build in the Grace of God! One day we will rejoice in heaven and cry Grace, Grace, for we will praise Christ “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:5-6)

 

 

 

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[1] qōdeš: A masculine noun meaning a holy thing, holiness, and sacredness. The word indicates something consecrated and set aside for sacred use only; it was not to be put into common use, for if it was, it became profaned and common (ḥôl), not holy. Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[2] kābôd, ‏כָּבֹד‎ kābōd: A masculine singular noun meaning honor, glory, majesty, wealth. This term is commonly used of God (Ex. 33:18; Ps. 72:19; Isa. 3:8; Ezek. 1:28); humans (Gen. 45:13; Job 19:9; Ps. 8:5[6]; 21:5[6]); and objects (1 Sam. 2:8; Esth. 1:4; Isa. 10:18), particularly of the ark of the covenant (1 Sam. 4:21, 22).Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[3] tiphʾārāh: A feminine noun meaning beauty, glory. Isaiah used the word to denote the so-called beauty of finery that would be snatched away by the Lord (Isa. 3:18). The word was used in a similar manner in Ezekiel to denote that which the people trusted in other than God, in addition to what would be stripped away (Ezek. 16:17; 23:26). The making of priestly garments and other apparel brought glory to Aaron and his sons, giving them dignity and honor (Ex. 28:2, 40). Wisdom was portrayed as giving a garland of grace and a crown of splendor in Proverbs (Prov. 4:9); Zion was told that it will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand (Isa. 62:3); and in the book of Jeremiah, the king and queen were told that the crowns would fall from their heads (Jer. 13:18). The word was used in Deuteronomy to describe how God would recognize His people (Deut. 26:19). In Lamentations, it was used in an opposite manner to describe the splendor of Israel that was thrown down from heaven to earth in the Lord’s anger (Lam. 2:1). Deborah used the word to describe the honor or glory of a warrior which would not be Barak’s because he handled the situation wrongly (Judg. 4:9).Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[4] Carpenter Eugene E. and Comfort Philip W., Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew Words Defined and Explained, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2000), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 72.

[5] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “1726: ‏פָּאַר‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 713.


2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

In 2 Timothy One we see the Power of God in view.

(1) Verse 1: The promise of God

(2) Verse 6: The gift of God

(3) Verse 7: God has given us the spirit of power

(4)  Verse 8: Be a partaker of the Gospel according to the power of God.

(5)  Verse 9: We have a holy calling according to His purpose and grace

(6)  Verse 10: He has abolished death

(7)   Verse 11: He appoints us

(8)  Verse 12: He is able to keep

Our salvation, our ministry, our service and our discipleship is all from a position of God’s Power at work in us!

In 2 Timothy Two we have our responsibilities as disciples in view.

Here Paul is placing demands upon Timothy as if it was left up to him to minister the Gospel. The two chapters seem to be against each other, for if God is the Doer, how could Timothy, or you or I for that matter, be the Doer?

When we are assembled in Heaven, not one of us will sing a song containing the words, “Glory be to the Father, to the Son, to the Holy Spirit and to me!”

I think our eyes will be opened up to see all that the Grace of our Lord has accomplished. But, we must accept the words of Paul as to our commitment and accountability.

When you are given a priceless deposit as a trust, you have a tremendous and serious responsibility to take care of that deposit.

We have each been entrusted with the Word of truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we must accept that one day we will be held accountable for how we have handled that trust.

The truth is that while Christ has provided the gospel –(vs 8) “Remember Jesus Christ …” (2:8) — He has also committed to us a responsibility for the gospel, a ministry that involves more than a casual commitment. (v. 10) “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus …”

The eternal plans of God are brought to pass through the sacrificial labors of His servants. It is the work of God to bring the elect to eternal salvation and glory (1:9) but Paul claimed that he was working and travailing in order that the elect might obtain salvation.

Six Pictures of a Disciple

(1)  A Soldier (vv.3-4)

(2)  An Athlete (v.5)

(3)  A Farmer (v.6)

(4)  A Workman (v.15)

(5)  A Vessel (v.21)

(6)  A Servant (v.24).

We already looked at the first three, but I want to point out something which will relate to what we talk about today.

1.   The Good Soldier (vv.3-4)

a. The soldier is looks upward.

b. His whole desire is “to please him who has enrolled him“.

We need the upward look. We need always to be seeking to please Him who has called us to be His soldiers.

Pleasing our Savior in all we do is the picture of the soldier.

2.   The Athlete Contending in the Games (v.5)

a. The athlete looks inward

      • To have himself in the peak of fitness,
      • In full control of his powers,
      • In complete readiness for the race

b. Self-discipline governed by obedience

Paul goes on to say that he must contend lawfully if he is to be crowned so, while the athlete looks inward, he must also be governed by obedience to the rules.

Self-discipline expressed in obedience is the picture of the athlete.

3.   The Farmer (v.6)

a. His look is outward (upon the fields)

      • The field is the world, which needs the seed of the Word of God.
      • Requires work, mud on your boots, back ache, rough hands, dirt under your nails.
      • First to enjoy the crop

That which costs nothing earns nothing: where there are no pains there will be no gains. So this picture of the farmer represents the outward look.

b. Effort leading to Reward is the picture of the farmer.

4.   The Unashamed Workman (vv.14-17)

a. The upward look

      •  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved” (v.15)
      •  Looking at his boss to gauge his performance

b. Self-care (not to be ashamed)

c. Fulfilling his responsibility (charge them in the sight of the Lord 14)

d. What does God think of this?

e. Your service is always before the sight of God.

2 Timothy 2:15 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Your regard for the Word of God is the standard of your “worth” before God.

Now we can’t all be scholars, but we should all know how to rightly handle the Word of Truth. We can all be grounded in the basics of the Bible, grounded to the point of being a “DISCIPLE” Discipleship is simply that, a commitment to a basic grounding in the Word of God, whereby you are built up into Jesus Christ. In Christ we are approved, but if you do not know the basics of Jesus, who He is to you, what He does for you, what He promises you, how can you even consider calling yourself a workman.

With God, you are either “approved” or “not approved”.

The standard for either is not whether you clean up on Sunday and go to church, not whether you listen to rock n roll or KLUV, not whether you hoard your money or give it generously. God looks at the way you regard His Word, and whether His Word has impacted your life in an “everyday” kind of way.

God will test your mettle

met·tle  (mtl)n.

1. Courage and fortitude; spirit: troops who showed their mettle in combat.

2. Inherent quality of character and temperament.

He uses the Word of God to build your mettle-Joshua 1:8-every word. Why is the Word the test of the “mettle”?

We see this in:

Romans 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

The word for depraved or reprobate is “Adokimos”. It is the antonym of “Dokimos”. One who does not acknowledge God in their life is ADOKIMOS, or rejected after examination. The basic meaning of adokimos is that not standing the test or failing to meet the test and hence worthless, base or unqualified.

  • „ a counterfeit coin that fell below the standard weight,
  • „ a cowardly soldier who failed the test in the hour of battle,
  • „ a candidate for office who the citizens regarded as useless
  • „ a sword or knife, that once the blacksmith had completed, would place it on his anvil and hit it with his hammer to test whether it was tempered correctly.
  • „ a stone rejected by builders because of a flaw which made it unfit for construction,
  • „ the rejected stone being clearly marked by a capital “A”.

The end result is: ”they refused to have God in their knowledge (ASV) so God gave them up to a reprobate, or depraved mind. They did not acknowledge the Word of God for their lives, so God rejected them and gave them up to an unfit mind, or a mind devoid of God’s presence or influence.

„ Paul is saying that the mind that finds God worthless becomes worthless itself.

„ The rejecting mind becomes a rejected mind and thereby becomes spiritually depraved, worthless and useless!

f.    An unapproved Workman ministers catastrophe to the hearers

If we do not maintain a mind engaged upon the Word of God, then we will deal in words that are a catastrophe to the hearers: (v 14)remind them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers and (v 17) will spread like gangrene.

katastrophé; gen. katastropés, fem. noun from katastréphō <G2690>, to overthrow, overturn, ruin. A catastrophe, overthrow, destruction, as of cities (2 Pet. 2:6). [1]

What a tremendous responsibility we have! When we stray from this precious deposit of the  Word of God, these three forces will go into operation:

      • Words to no profit
      • Words that are a catastrophe to those who hear
      • Words that eat like a cancer.

The only safeguard from this is rightly handling “the word of truth “

      • „ Must have diligence.
      • „ Will be unashamed, regardless of what happens

The Dokimos Workman “handles aright” the word of truth.

The word means ‘holding a straight course’ or ‘making a straight road’ and suggests a sort of Roman road that went like an arrow to its goal. That is the picture given of how God’s workman handles His Word, he takes that Word in its plain straightforward meaning, driving, as it were, a straight highway from one end of it to the other, so that the simple Word of God is plainly and directly driven into the hearer’s heart.

From ὀρθός straight and τέμνειν to cut. Hence, to cut straight, as paths; to hold a straight course; generally, to make straight; to handle rightly. Vulg. recte tractare. The thought is that the minister of the gospel is to present the truth rightly, not abridging it, not handling it as a charlatan (see on 2 Corinthians 2:17), not making it a matter of wordy strife (verse 14), but treating it honestly and fully, in a straightforward manner. Various homiletic fancies have been founded on the word, as, to divide the word of truth, giving to each hearer what he needs: or, to separate it into its proper parts: or, to separate it from error: or, to cut straight through it, so that its inmost contents may be laid bare. Others, again, have found in it the figure of dividing the bread, which is the office of the household steward; or of dividing the sacrificial victims; or of cutting a straight furrow with the plow.[2]

Do not sugar coat it, do not bend it to be easy in the ears, do not selectively handle just the good verses…

5.   The Vessel unto Honour (vv.20-21)

As the athlete was disciplined and purged of unhealthy things, so is the vessel of honor. Once again we are:

a.    The Vessel looks inward

    • What must be purged
    • Then the vessel can be used by the Master for His honor
    • Know your Name-Name of the Lord

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.”

b.     Know where you are-the Great House of God

20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.

  • Remember the Example of Abraham and his men

When Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan.” Genesis 14:14

“His trained men, born in his house.” The reference is really to a household, and it is in this connection that the word is used in the New Testament with regard to God’s house. We have been born into a household (Hebrews 3:6), and this household is meant, above all other things, to be a place of spiritual training and education.

Whatever else Abram’s men were trained in, they were certainly trained for war. We also have to learn that the House of God is the place of training for spiritual conflict. The household of God is the relationship and fellowship of believers: it is not a place, but the relationship in the Holy Spirit into which we are born again. It is the sphere of our training, so that we do not live our lives in the realm of mere theories, but are subject to the disciplining work of the Holy Spirit.

According to Paul, one of the great purposes of the Scriptures is that we may know “how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15)

c. Do House Cleaning

21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

We are “in a great house” (2 Timothy 2:20-21). Let us so respond to the Spirit’s training and sanctifying work that we may be vessels unto honour, sanctified, meet for the master’s use, prepared unto every good work.

We must place our stake in the holiness that God wants for our life

The Holy Spirit can’t do for us what we are unwilling to do ourselves

      • If  you constantly surround yourselves with pigs, or eat pig slop, or play in pig filth, don’t count on the Holy Spirit to magically transform you into Cinderella or Cinderfella Christian
      • The prodigal at least had to step out of the pig sty and make his way for home
      • There is no box of instant holiness
      • There is only the daily call to mortify the deeds of the flesh
      • Then we can grow in holiness by daily depending upon the righteousness of Christ.

d.  Holiness fits us for service.

      • „ We must be willing to be set apart for His use.
      • 2 Timothy 2:21 set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

Here is Paul’s exercise plan for Godliness

Paul now gives us four items in a program of practical holiness:

1. There is something to set behind us.
“flee youthful passions”

The word for passion or lust (KJV) simply means “desires”. It can be wrong desires, or good desires. With youthful attached we think of teenagers and their fleshly desires. But the verse actually means “childish desires.” We must constantly put those things behind us that belong to immaturity. As a mature believer, you leave behind childish indulgences or immature ways. Godliness requires us to grow up and seek maturity.

2. There is something to set before us.
“pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace”

Paul lists these virtues as a “holy string of pearls”, strung together without conjunctions between them. They present a beautiful cluster.

1) Righteousness means all that is right in the sight of God.

2) We must pursue that righteousness in a spirit of absolute belief (faith) in the promises of God.

If God has given us a command, then it is right to obey it; if He has given us a promise it is right to believe it. These first two speak directly to us about ourselves.

3) The next two, love and peace, indicate our behavior towards others;

We must pursue the aim of loving one another. It must not be a case of sometimes loving and sometimes hating; not half-loving nor barely tolerating or being satisfied provided we do not actually fall out or speak harshly.

In addition to love, we must live in peace with others, even those who would be our enemy.

  • Love and peace should be ever before us.
3. There is something to set alongside us.
“along with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (v.22).

Godliness is never achieved in isolation. Nor is it achieved without others praying for you. We are called to pursue Godliness with a praying fellowship.

4. There is something to avoid entirely
V 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

6.  The Servant of the Lord (vv.24-26)

a. The servant looks outward and moves toward people around him.

      • He must not strive but be gentle to all.
      • He must be “apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves”.
      • He is after a crop.

Because, “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.” He is going out to those who have not yet repented in order that they may be rescued from the snare of Satan and be brought home to God.

This title “The Servant of the Lord” is precious because it was the one which Isaiah chose as he looked forward to the Lord Jesus.

Isaiah 42:1 1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

Here, then, we are called to model ourselves upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are six things said here about the Lord’s servant:

1.    How he Acts & Reacts to others

                    1) (24) He does not strive, or He is not quarrelsome (RSV). The Greek is very dramatic — “He does not go to war”.

The Lord’s servant must not be a person spoiling for a fight, anxious to pick a quarrel; he is not a controversial person, he does not go to war.

4) He is “patient or forbearing”.

If the first tells us how he acts this word describes how he reacts: he is tolerant and takes everything that is thrown at him. The word seems to have a basic meaning of acceptance of hostility. He accepts it. He obviously does not run from it; he does not give ground; but neither does he hit back.

2.     His Attitude to others and himself

2) He is gentle, and this matches up with

5) which speaks of his meekness.

Both of these concern our attitude. The first is towards others, to whom he maintains an attitude of gentleness and kindness, ever seeking the other’s welfare.

The second speaks of his attitude about himself. It is an attitude of meekness. He will always put the other person first and himself second. I can only express this idea of meekness by inventing a word, which is ‘unselfassertive’. That is what meekness really means. So the servant of the Lord will assert the rights of others in kindness and gentleness but maintain a non-assertive attitude towards himself.

3.    His Methods with others

3) He is apt to teach ( a concerned teacher) and he

6) correcting his opponents

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

He also corrects hose whom he serves. He is devoted to the task of communicating the truth. His sole and over-riding preoccupation is to share the truth with others. He is apt to teach. The word “correcting” relates to the bringing up of a child and suggests the sharing of the truth appropriately to the condition of the person to whom the testimony is being made.

7.   Conclusion

So is it the work of the Lord or is discipleship up to the servants of the Lord?

Here in Chapter 2 we find the answer, for the chapter which has begun with grace, now ends also with grace.

a. There is grace received (v.1)

2 Timothy 2:1 1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,

b. There is grace bestowed (v.26).

While there is considerable doubt as to what in fact is the correct detailed translation of verse 26, there can be no doubt about the main meaning, which is that as the servant of the Lord reaches out with the truth to the unconverted, these receive the grace of repentance and so are recovered out of the snare of the devil.

If  we empower ourselves with the grace that is in Christ Jesus and so become fashioned in His likeness, we then become the people through whom that grace may be bestowed on the needy and unconverted.


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 845.

[2] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2 Timothy 2:15″.


What makes you distinctive?

Anthony Davis has a distinctive unibrow that he’s proud of. In fact, he has a unibrow patent.

The dictionary defines distinctive as a “noun. 1. A distinguishing mark or quality; a characteristic.”[1]

In his book The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms, Walter B. Shurden identifies four freedoms that have characterized Baptists through the centuries:  Bible freedom soul freedom, church freedom, and religious freedom[2]

These are Baptist “distinctives”. You thought it was mainly ‘baptism by immersion’, but no, these are the distinguishing marks of Baptist churches.

1. Bible freedom is the historic Baptist affirmation that the Bible, under the Lordship of Christ, must be central in the life of the individual and church and that Christians, with the best and most scholarly tools of inquiry, are both free and obligated to study and obey the Scripture.

2. Soul freedom is defined as the inalienable right and responsibility of every person to deal with God without the imposition of creed, the interference of clergy, or the intervention of civil government.

Also known as the priesthood of all believers, soul freedom implies that all believers share as equals in Christ’s Body, the church, and have a priestly role toward God and each other.  Soul freedom affirms our core belief in individual choice.  We believe that each person was created in the image of God, and therefore, is able and responsible, under God, to make moral, spiritual, and religious decisions.[3]

3. Church freedom is the historic Baptist affirmation that local churches are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain whom they perceive as gifted for ministry, male or female, and to participate in the larger Body of Christ.

4. Religious freedom is the historic Baptist affirmation of freedom OF religion, freedom FOR religion, and freedom FROM religion, insisting that Caesar is not Christ and Christ is not Caesar.

Now, whether these distinctives characterized the New Testament church are a matter of discussion as we determine what kind of church we want to be. From the consensus that I am gathering, we want to be a Christ-centered, Word-centered church, one which follows the teaching and example of the New Testament. I believe that the number one distinctive we should have is that we are a disciple-making church.

What Distinctives make a Disciple Making Church?

Let’s look at our text and see what God’s Word says our “distinctives” should be:

What are the Distinctives of Ministry Paul imparted to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1-16?

A.  Dependence on the Holy Spirit to protect against the flesh.

  • The Wisdom of Man exalts itself against the Wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is the Cross and the expression of the Cross throughout the Word.

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

  1. Religious people will depart from true faith.
  2. Devote themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons: i.e. Satan in the garden – it is ok to do this. (Not demon possessed, but influenced because they exalt their own wisdom above God’s Word.)
  3. People whose conscience has become seared (they have resisted the Holy Spirit and failed the grace of God – bitterness, moral impurity, temporal values)
  4. Determine certain “rules” that you must follow to be ‘sanctified’.
  5. Create barriers to God’s creation, for everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if received with thanksgiving – no barriers to people or things.
  6. Results in an inward focused, fleshly ministry, opposed to the Work of the Holy Spirit.
  7. Man’s philosophy and traditions guides ministry. (Why do we do it this way? Because we have always done it this way)

B.  Honesty with the Word

vs 2: through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared

We don’t close our minds to what the Scriptures really says. We don’t twist it to mean something that is more pleasing to our ideas. We submit our lives to the authority of the Word, not having our consciences seared by resistance or wrong values.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Scripture is exalted and obeyed, taught, used for reproof and correction and training in righteousness, so that we might be competent and equipped for good works.

We do not sear our consciences to permit laziness and apathy in following Christ. You can usually tell that is what is going on in a typical church because the people are not in the Word.

C. Priority of Grace

vs 4: For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

Grace is for the weak, the sinful, the unlovely. If we are honest with each other about our needs and sins, we will avoid false piety and false holiness. We will welcome all into our fellowship, and count on God’s Grace to move us towards Him.

2 Corinthians 4:15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

D. Devotion to the Word and Prayer

vs 5: for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer

We will develop a community centered around the Word and prayer together. Each one of us will know he Word. Each one of us will be praying. This is not limited to the Pastor or Elders or Deacons. Every Member is a priest. No saying “I can’t”, and living with a seared conscience. We are made holy by the Word and prayer!

E. Servants trained in the Word and Doctrine

vs 6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.

Our church will be about training every member to be ‘good servants’ of Jesus, trained in the power of God’s word!

F. Trained for Godliness

vs 7: Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Amplified Version puts it this way:

1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse and avoid irreverent legends (profane and impure and godless fictions, mere grandmothers’ tales) and silly myths, and express your disapproval of them. Train yourself toward godliness (piety), [keeping yourself spiritually fit].

Avoid anything that sidetracks you from training in Godliness. Avoid doing things just because someone says you should to be a good Christian. Do not follow myths or “old wive’s tales.”

My Granny watched over her granddaughters with great care. She taught us what ladies did and did not do. She had a network of neighbors and cousins watching our every move. Finally, she guarded our future fertility-or at least she thought she did. Granny taught us that if we lifted heavy things, we would “rupture ourselves” and be unable to have children.

Any time we were moving, she insisted that many hands make light work. No girl was to show off how strong she was by picking up a really heavy box. The men were supposed to move the heavy items. (Men were apparently not as prone to rupture?) When a friend’s teenage daughter picked up a television set and loaded it on a moving truck by herself, Granny shook her head while we cheered our friend for being so strong.

How do you train for godliness? Does it mean you wear a suit to church, stop going to movies, stop hanging around certain people, do this or that…No those are just outward cleansings, sometimes motivated by some tradition or old wives tale. Godliness is the presence of God in your life. Training for Godliness is exercising faith to see God daily, working on diligently seeking Him (because God rewards those who diligently seek Him-Hebrews 11:6).

Now, if changes in your habits and lifestyle occur because God brings it about, great! But don’t follow what amounts to “old wives tales” about how you should dress and act.

Godliness has value in every way – for today and for eternity.

  • 1 Timothy 4:9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.

G.  Hope set on the Living God

  • 1 Timothy 4:10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Our goal is to be Godly, because our hope is set on the living God. Your hope is usually what drives you. You work hard and save so that one day you hope you can retire. You watch what you eat and exercise because you hope to stay healthy. A wives tale is that you go to church because you hope it gives you a better chance of heaven.

No, if we set our hope on God who lives, who rewards, who loves, who works in our lives, then we will train for godliness. We will be disciples. We will grow in Jesus Christ.

H. We command and teach these things.

  • vs 11: Command and teach these things.

The word for teach implies word of mouth instruction from one person to another. This is relational teaching and commanding. This is discipleship. This is one follower instructing another follower. We are to instruct our people these things.

I. Examples in speech, conduct, love, faith purity

  • vs 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

This is the heart of disciple-making. You don’t just instruct and command, but you demonstrate with your life. Your speech, your conduct, the way you love others, your faith, and your purity of heart and life. When you are making disciples, you spend time together. Your speech will reveal the state of your heart. What you talk about, what you don’t talk about.

Regardless of your age or knowledge or wisdom. When you train for godliness, you will demonstrate the example that God desires.

J. Disciple making requires devotion

  • vs 13:  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

K. Stir up your spiritual gift

  • vs 14:  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.

2 Timothy 1:6 6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

L. Immersed in Discipleship

  • vs 15: Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

M. Keep a close watch on each other and our teaching

  • vs 16: Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them:

N. We will be overcomers.

  • vs 16b: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

So Should our Church be committed to being a Disciple-Making Church?

  • DO we owe it to Christ?
  • DO we want to reach Sinners with the Power of Christ for their lives?
  • DO we want Grace to overflow in our lives?
  • DO we want to be Overcomers?
  • Do we want to be spiritually FIT?
  • Do we want to know the power of Christ for our every-day lives?

[1] Oxford English Dictionary

[2] Walter B. Shurden,  The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishers, 1993)5.  Shurden arrived at these distinctives by studying historic documents such as denominational documents from the Northern, Southern, American and National Baptist Conventions, the Alliance of Baptists, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and a diversity of European Baptist groups as well as sermons and addresses given at meetings of the Baptist World Alliance from 1905 to 1980.

[3] Ibid, 24.