Christians are to act like soldiers of the King, as well as bearing the agape love of our Father in heaven. We are to comfort one another with the comfort we have received from the Holy Comforter. And, we are to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, for the harvest is great, and there will be rejoicing in heaven over the sinner who repents. However, there is still the need for a soldier’s armor in this world of darkness and strife. We are to put on the whole armor of God that we might be able to stand against the evil devices of the devil (Eph. 5:10–12).
To endure hardness means that we must be prepared, through the Word and Spirit, to do battle, to withstand the evil arrows of the unregenerate. A superficial understanding of the Gospel cannot meet this need. We need the wisdom and full counsel of God, and a soul which cries out for the “living God” (Psa. 84:2). “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee: in whose heart are the ways of them. …They go from strength to strength” (Psa. 84:5–7).
Paul encourages Timothy to take action, saying, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2:2). The minister of the Word has a responsibility to teach the truth as revealed in God’s Scriptures, especially to those who are faithful elders or teachers in the congregation, that they should be able to teach others. Sometimes the emphasis has been wrongly put on the gift of teaching rather than on the ability to teach the truth as revealed in God’s Word. As Paul has transmitted the truth to Timothy, Timothy is to transmit this truth to others, and so on and on. This means that there must be much preparation in the Word of God, whether we are teachers, evangelists or parents, etc. Thus, we become faithful disciples of Christ, obeying the commission to make disciples of all nations.
Paul encourages his son in the faith, Timothy, to be strong in his faith and service. Timothy is to remember “that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead, according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bond. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
A Christian is one who has faith, looking unto Jesus as “the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). Joy comes when the task is finished and God’s glory shines. Therefore the Christian is fully convinced that what God has revealed is true, and his faith is confirmed: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it elders obtain a good report” (Heb. 11:1–2). There are those, as in the day of Paul, who would lead believers to doubt the resurrection of Christ, and therefore His saving grace. We are reminded that God’s promise is kept. Christ is the seed of David; His resurrection is true. Though Paul is in bonds because of false accusations, the Word of God is not hindered in its power to redeem. Paul is free to endure all things, even false imprisonment, for the sake Christ’s elect. The elect are delivered from evil because of the efficacy of the Gospel, which is in Christ Jesus.
We can trust the Word of God, for if we die with Christ, we will also live with Him; if we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with Him. We must not deny Him, for He will deny us. We must believe, for even in our weaknesses He is always faithful and cannot deny Himself. This encourages our daily repentance and faith in Christ our Savior. Our faith rests upon the unchangeable Christ and His Word.
Paul urges Timothy to “put in remembrance” to the congregation those things which they were taught of the Lord, “charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” Congregations are easily led astray, thus leading others away from the true Word, when they chitchat about little words of no meaning. Paul gives us this picture in another of his epistles: “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; or they are unprofitable and vain” (Titus 3:9). Matthew Henry gives us this understanding: “Observe, people are very prone to strive about words, and such strifes never answer any other ends than to shake some and subvert others; they are not only useless, but they are very hurtful, and therefore ministers are to charge the people that they do not strive about words, and they are most likely to be regarded when they charge them before the Lord, that is, in his name and from his word.”
The Word of God is to be placed before the congregation, those Scriptures which “principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man” (Shorter Catechism A. 3). Therefore, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” This may be illustrated in the work of a craftsman who has studied and practiced his work and is not ashamed to put his finished product on display for all to see. To ‘study’ means to act speedily, to be diligent in your labor to learn what the Spirit is teaching. To be ‘approved’ means that your study when tested will not be found wanting. ‘Rightly dividing’ is to be correct in knowing and understanding the divine message. Let our prayers be: “Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name forevermore” (Psa. 86:11–12).
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