Monday, January 25, 2021

Waging The Worthy War 1 Timothy #1 Counted Faithful - 1 Tim 1:3-20

Waging The Worthy War 1 Timothy #1
Counted Faithful

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 Text 1Timothy 1:3-20

Key verse 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.


We starting a short series on the Book of 1 Timothy and in the first chapter of Paul’s letter to his son in the faith, the theme is faithfulness. I want to introduce that theme with this challenge.

Almost as Good as your Dog.

Consider this...If you can start the day without caffeine, If you can get going without coffee or pills, If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches & pains, If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles, If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it, If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time, If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you, when though no fault of your own, something goes wrong, If you can take criticism and blame without resentment, If you can ignore a friends limited education and never correct him/her, If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend, If you can face the world without lies and deceit, If you can conquer tension without medical help, If you can relax without liquor, If you can sleep without the aid of drugs, If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion, or politics, Then, my friend, You are will be ALMOST as good as your dog.

Now with that great example to inspire us, let’s go to 1 Timothy 1 as Paul inspires and charges Timothy to be “Counted Faithful.”

Date. The first letter to Timothy and the letter to Titus were written during the period of travel and missionary work between Paul's two Roman imprisonments, somewhere between A.D. 61 and 63.

Here is the probable order of Paul’s epistles.

1 Thessalonians 49-53 AD
2 Thessalonians
Galatians             56 AD

1 Corinthians   
2 Corinthians   
Romans   58 AD

Philemon   62 AD Prison Epistles

1 Timothy 64 AD Pastoral Epistles
2 Timothy 66 AD Paul’s Final Epistle before his execution in 66 or 67 AD in Rome

Purpose of the Book: Paul gives the charge to Timothy and Titus and with them all the churches they were overseeing and all the churches that have sprung from those earliest plants including our today.


1 Timothy 1:1-2

1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; 2  Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.


Faithful in Truth  - 1 Timothy 1: 3-11

As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Charge For The Truth

The Orders of the Charge vs 3

Charge means "to give strict orders from a superior officer."  The word is also translated commandment or command in other places, Paul used this word eight times in his two letters to Timothy (1 Tim. 1:3, 5, 18; 4:11; 5:7; 6:13, 17; 2 Tim. 4:1). It was not an accident that he chose this word. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul was telling Timothy, “Yes, you the pastor of the church but you are also a soldier of the Lord, under orders from your captain and King.”

Timothy was charged and was himself to charge those in the church he was pastoring with these 2 specific actions.

Teach No Other Doctrine that the truth that Paul had taught to Timothy, the truth that Paul had received from his own time with the Lord and through the study of God’s Word.

Do Not Heed Fables (myths) and genealogies. There was a tendency among the new Christians to get caught up in peripheral things that led away from the true purpose of their calling and salvation.

The Goal of the Charge

Paul then told Timothy here is the end, the goal of the charge, in vs. 5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.

Paul clearly cuts through the unnecessary, unprofitable and unfruitful by products of the fables and genealogies and poits to the ultimate goal of a Christian soldier.

The goal of the Christian soldier is to have three true things. First is charity, agape love our of a true heart. Second is a good conscience and third is genuine faith. A true heart, a true mind and a true faith.

The Truth of the Law

Paul tells Timothy that he must deal with those on the churches who have turned from the true purpose of the Christian life, turned from love, good lives and true faith to “vain jangling.” (Do you need the Greek on that? I didn’t think so.” I did look at some other translations on this word. There was vain discussion, discourse, fruitless discussion. But none of those really hit the spot quite like vain jangling. Like somebody rattling and shaking their car keys, its just a worthless, irritating noise. Yeah I like the word jangling.)

Paul says the point at which these vain janglers trip into their vain jangling is at the point of the law. He says they want to be teacher of the law but they don’t understand what they say or where they make their claims. And what Paul tells to Timothy about the law needs to be emphasized even more today because we still have a lot of vain janglers in our pulpits and pews.

And here is the point about the Law that tripped up those in Paul’s day and is still tripping up people in this day. It is right here in vss 8-9 8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, 1 Timothy 1:8-9

To make sure his point is clear Paul list the people that the Law was created by God to deal with. Paul lists fourteen kinds of people that the law must deal with, “the lawless the disobedient, the ungodly, sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for homosexuals, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. 1 Timothy 1:9-10

Paul says this is the law being used lawfully and that is how it works according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God. The law convicts, condemns, and kills but the glorious Gospel saves, sanctifies and sends to glory. You can’t understand why the Gospel is good news until the law shows you how bad the news for you is. The law and the Gospel are intricately tied together but they must never be mixed or else both will lose their purpose and power.

Warrren Wiersbe said this, “The Law is not Gospel, but the Gospel is not lawless”  
Bible Exposition Commentary - Be Faithful (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon).

The Charge To Us

Timothy’s charge is our charge. As he was a Soldier of the Lord so also are we and our marching order are the same,

Teach No Other Doctrine. You need to know the truth as it is given to us from the hand of God, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the confirmation of the Word. Anything else and especially anyone else is false and dangerous.

Don’t Get Sidetracked with Fables or Meaningless Details. Keep the main thing the main thing do it as you share God’s word, teach, preach or live. The main thing is not numerology, genealogies, or the latest religious goofyology. The main thing is the truth of the Gospel.

Understand the Law. One of the most dangerous sidetracks Christians can get detoured to is the misuse of the law. We don’t live our Christian life by the law, we live our life by the a true love, a true mind and a true faith. The Christian soldier isn’t under the direction of the law, else all they can do is condemn. The Christian soldier is under the direction of God’s grace, seen in the power of the Savior love. Let the law do what only it can do, but let grace do what only grace can do. Don’t mix the two or you’ll never be the soldier God has called. Romans 11:6  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

And most important know that everything should be according to the Glorious Gospel of God. Everything we do is subordinate to the Glorious Gospel of God, everything.

Illustration: What Must We Do?

In John 6:27 The crowd, the mob came seeking Jesus because He had fed them the day before and Jesus has some words for them.

27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. John 6:27-29

When they asked Jesus, “What must we do to work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (John 6:29) Of all the things that Jesus could have said would be “the works” of God, he chose only one. Believe on me.

Transition: Paul continues in his charge to Timothy in vs.12 after charging him to be faithful In the Gospel, he then speaks to Timothy about faithfulness in ministry.

 Faithful in the Ministry  - 1 Timothy 1:12-17

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;  Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Charge For Service

Paul gives Timothy an example of faithfulness in the ministry using himself as the example. This would come naturally to Paul’s mind because he never forgot nor diminished his experience that day on the Damascus Road when he saw the light of Jesus Christ.

His words to Timothy as he recall what Jesus has done are filled with awe, reverence and thanksgiving.

He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and I hurt people: but I obtained mercy. The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. He tells Timothy pay attention to this amazing truth, This is a faithful saying, and everyone should believe it, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:12-15

Can’t you still hear after 2 thousand years the wonder of Paul saying, Isn’t God’s Grace amazing? He saved a wretch like me!”

In 1 Corinthians 15:10  Paul says that Grace was the reason for everything he did, He just could never get over it. “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Paul would suffer beatings, imprisonment, stonings and shipwrecks and much more, all for the cause of Christ because he could never forget or get accept as ordinary the love, mercy and grace of God.

He is so enraptured at this point in his letter that Paul in vs 17  breaks into and writes a song, a hymn of praise, a doxology, that captures his joy and wonder at being saved and called to serve Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Doxology of Praise - 1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Faithful Following

Why do we remain faithful in our service to the Lord? Why are some of you still here, still giving, still praying, still sharing after 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 even 60 or more years? Isn’t it for the same reason that Paul gave in his testimony?

Paul would always be faithful and he knew that Timothy would be faithful in their service to God because grace was overwhelmingly amazing and it would overwhelm every obstacle and every sorrow so that as we leave this world we like Paul will be singing praises to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, Honor and glory for ever. Amen!

I can't walk away. I can’t quit though there are times I wish I could have, but I can’t. I just can’t. Not when I consider what I would have been if not for God’s grace. When I think about my what my sin would have done to me, if God had not gotten a hold of me.

When I think of all He has blessed me with in this life as part of His love and mercy.  I see LeeOra, who did not marry a preacher, but God have grace, (lots of grace, over and over and over grace) I think of my children who could have walked away from the restrains and frustrations of being a pastor’s kids. I think of the churches I’ve pastored, the people who have become like family. I think of this wonderful church and how God at this late stage in a 40 year ministry has blessed me with all of you. I’m overwhelmed by these earthly blessings and I haven’t even begun to experience the heavenly ones yet to come.  I don’t deserve anything from God’s hand, yet he bestows blessing on top of blessing.

When I’m tired and wore out, when I grow disappointed in people or the ministry, I think of God’s grace and mercy and like Paul, I just can’t get over it.  I can’t quit because I’m still in awe of the glorious Gospel of God and the amazing grace I’ve found.

Remember David’s words of awe about God’s caring for him in Psalms 8 1 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. …3  When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. … 9  O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Illustration:  Livingstone thinks it no sacrifice.

“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward of healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter?

 “Away with such a word, such a view, and such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering or danger now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us.”

Transition: After charging Timothy by word and example to be faithful in the Truth and faithful in the Ministry, Paul give the next charge in this trinity of Faithfulness. Timothy be faithful in the War.


Faithful in Warfare - 1 Timothy 1:17-20

18  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; 19  Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20  Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Charge For War

Paul gets very personal and very emphatic, “this charger I commit to you, my son, Timothy. It is the charge that will define all of Paul’s letter to Timothy and Paul emphasizes it by reminding Timothy of the prophecies and expectations that have been spoken about him. Paul says by these things, war a good warfare. Later in his second letter paul will say of himself, “I have fought a good fight.” Here he is laying that charge to Timothy, “My son in the faith, fight the good fight, wage the worthy war.”

And Paul tells his son in the faith, that waging that worthy war must be done by holding faith and a good conscience. The repeats the charge that Paul began the letter with and it also looks forward to that final letter of Paul that would also be written to Timothy. At the end of his life and looking forward only to death and heaven as his reward Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing

The war that Timothy was fighting as a soldier of The Lord was worthy of his service and because it was a worthy cause it must be fought in a worthy manner by keeping the fait and a good conscience. This is how Paul began and it would be how Paul and Timothy would end. Holding on to the truth, the doctrine of THE faith of Jesus Christ and holding on to their own conscience in following that faith. They knew the truth and they followed the truth, the learned the truth and they lived the truth. They held on to the faith and to their conscience.               

 Our Final Charge

And we come to our final charge, not just in the sense of our message but in the sense of the ultimate command of being a Christian and a soldier in God’s Army. Wage a worthy war, don’t be like others, like Hymenaeus and Alexander, who had put away faith and were shipwrecked in their conscience. Our charge, our command is to hold the faith, the truth, the doctrine of Jesus Christ and the Gospel like an anchor for our souls and then set our course to live our lives with a clear conscience that we talked the talked and walked the walk, that we knew the truth and that we lived the truth. This is our charge as it was Timothy’s as it is every child of God who has heard that glorious Gospel of Grace. Make this commitment with Paul, Timothy and all those who have gone before us. Fight the Good fight, wage the worthy war until the Lord calls us home. Be faithful and serve with a good conscience as a true and faithful soldier of God.


Conclusion: "I Am A Soldier"


I am a soldier.

I am a soldier in the army of my God;

The Lord Jesus Christ is my commanding Officer. The Holy Bible is my code of conduct. Faith, prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare. I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this army, and I have enlisted for eternity.

I will either retire from this army at the rapture or die in this army; but I will not get out, sell out, be talked out or pushed out. I am faithful, reliable and dependable.

If my God needs me, I am there. If He needs me in Sunday School to teach children, work with youth, help with adults or just sit and learn. He can use me, because I am there.

If He needs me in church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday, revival or special services, I am there. I am there to preach, teach, sing, play, pray, work or worship. God can use me because I am there.

I am a Soldier. I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up or pepped up. I am a Soldier. no one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me or lure me.

I am a Soldier. I am not a wimp. I am in place saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name and serving in His Kingdom. No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy or give me handouts.

I am a soldier. I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for or catered to. I am a Soldier, and I am committed. I cannot have my feelings hurt badly enough to turn me around. I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside. I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

I am a Soldier, I am committed, and I will win.My God will supply all my needs. I am more than a conqueror; I will always triumph. I can do all things through Christ.

 Devils cannot defeat me. People cannot disillusion me. Weather cannot weary me. Sickness cannot stop me. Battles cannot beat me. Money cannot buy me. Governments cannot silence me, and Hell cannot handle me.

 I am a soldier. I am committed. Even death cannot destroy me. When my commander calls me from this battlefield, He will promote me and then bring me back to rule this world with Him.

 I am a Soldier in the army of my God, and I am marching, claiming victory. I will not give up. I will not turn around. I am a soldier marching Heaven bound.

 I Am A Soldier. Will you serve with me?

Friday, January 22, 2021

Don't Just Sit There 2 Kings 7:3-16

 Don't Just Sit There

Text: 2 Kings 7:3-16

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Sometimes we as Christians think that we can reach a certain place and just stay there, remain still and unchanging, don't rock the boat or just hang on until something changes around us, but as children of God we really don't have that option. To remain inactive, to remain still, to decide not to move is not living long it is simply dying long.  We have go, we have to move, we have to move forward.  It is a life or death matter not just to us but to those who have still yet to hear the gospel if we do not go forward who will reach them.

We are now in the northern Kingdom of Samaria, which has been at war for decades against their own brothers and sisters in the southern kingdom of Judah. After the rebellion of Jeroboam against Solomon’s son Rehoboam, the two peoples never come back together and become bitter enemies. This animosity can even be seen in the New Testament when the Bible tells us the story of the Samaritan women at the well. The Jews had nothing to do with the Samaritans.

Turn with me to 2 Kings 7:3 and look at this reality in a story which makes it very clear.

Hopelessness of Standing Still

Lepers At the Gate.

The Siege and the Famine

King Benhadad of Syria had been attacking the northern kingdom of Israel for many years. At first he sent raiding parties into Israel, but Elisha has asked God to strike them blind and after taking them to the King of Samaria their sight was restored were released back to Syria. This stopped the raiding partys but in chapter 7 Ben-hadad, sends his entire army to conquer Samaria.

He besieges the capital city and the siege lasts so long that a terrible famine is within the walls of the city as we read in 2 Kings 6. This famine went on so long that the people were forced to eat donkey’s heads and doves droppings and for these they paid exorbitant prices, two pounds of silver for the head of a donkey and two ounces of silver for the bird droppings.

King Joram, the son of evil Ahab and Jezebel blames Elisha, who had struck the raiders with blindness but now is doing nothing, in 2 Kings 6:31 Joram said, “God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.”

The king sends a servant to get Elisha, but God warns the prophet and Elisha and those in his house with him hold the door against the king’s messenger, until the king also arrives. When he gets to the locked door, which really couldn’t have helped his mood any, he calls out 2 Kings 6:33 “Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?” The king had not learned anything from the fate of his parents, nor had he called out for the people to repent of their sin and pray to God as Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah had done in the Southern Kingdom. Instead of praying and repenting, Joram blames the God and refuses to trust Him.

Elisha then gives a prophecy, 2 Kings 7:1 From behind the closed door he calls out, “Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, Tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.” These were pre-famine prices and it was impossible.

One of the kings advisers mocks Elisha, 2 Kings 7:2 “Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” Then Elisha in response to the mocking and denial of God’s promise says, “Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.”

That gives us the setting for our story in 2 Kings 7:3-20. And like a play or a drama, opening its second act we find ourselves huddled outside the city gates and looking at four men, who are in far worse shape than the people inside the city.

The four lepers. 2 Kings 7:3-4

And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?  If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.

The lepers were dependent upon their family or charity from the people of the city, but with a famine they were no longer being fed. They realize that they must do something. They had 3 courses of action.

They could stay where they were. They could complain and wail and wish things hadn’t changed for the worse, and they could do that until they simply died.

Or they could try and go to another city, but the Syrians invasion had cut off any travel.

Or they could go into the camp of the Syrians!  Now that was a radical idea and that was the course of action they chose. They said, “Why sit here until we die?” They understood, that to remain where they were was a death, but to move, to take action was a chance and it could even be their deliverance.

I don’t think any of us will ever find ourselves in the same horrific place that these four men found themselves but their decision and their actions that day can be a very strong and important lesson for us as Christians. Here is the lesson…

Be Decisive

As Christians sometimes we aren’t as decisive as these 4 lepers. We see that our society, our nation, our family and even my own life has taken a change for the worse and we don’t like it. But unlike the lepers, caught up in the terrible changes in their life, we don’t take action. We can if we are not cognizant and alert, literally sit until we die.

Here is a the principle from Gods word “Doing Nothing Means Dying Slowly.”

It’s true in our life and its true in the Lords work. We all need 2 Kings 7:3 written in large letter on the wall of my office. “Why sit we here till we die?” I need to remember it and practice the truth of it in all areas of my life, ministry and relationships.

I need to think of it when I’m trying to get out and exercise. I need to think of it when I’m trying to eat right or make plans for the future. I need to be motivated by the question, “Why sit here until I die?” when it comes to my broken relationships with family and friends. I need to remember it when I have an opportunity to share the love of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are commanded in God’s Word to grow, to change, to not stand still

2 Peter 3:18  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 5: 12-14  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Philippians 3:13-14  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, 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.

In our physical life or our spiritual, you can’t stand still in your life or in your relationship and service to God.  Life is flying by us. Change is taking place everywhere we look.  Some of the changes are good, some are neutral and some I destructive, but ignoring them and standing still is not an option. If I ignore what is happening around me and do nothing about it then it is a sure death, just like the lepers outside the gate faced.

Illustration: The Dedication of Ezra’s Temple

The older people wept at the completion of the temple because they remembered the glory of the old.

Ezra 3:12-13  But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.

That day some wept at the changes, wept at the loss, but more important were the people who shouted for joy at the start of a new work for God. They could have left the Temple in ruins, but instead they rebuilt, they went forward, they made a choice to grow and the future had hope because they chose to act.


As terrible as it would have been to stand still and die there was an even a greater sin that could have taken place and that was staying silent while others died.

Harm of Staying Silent  2 Kings 7:5-9

Lepers at the Camp

They lepers move into the camp of the invading Syrian army and there, amazingly, they find the camp deserted. 2 Kings 7:5-7 And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.  For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.  Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.

God had caused the Syrian army, many who had been blinded in a previous raid, to hear the sound of a great host of chariots, cavalry and marching men and they fled, believing Joram had somehow hired armies and mercenaries to come to the defense of the city. 

The lepers go from tent to tent taking treasure and food. 2 Kings 7:8 And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it.

They begin to hoard God’s blessings, to keep them to themselves and they forgot all about those starving back in the city. Finally, though they realize to not share the good news, is to invite punishment into their own lives.  2 Kings 7:9 Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household.

God had chosen these men to go and discover the empty Syrian camp but He also chose these men to carry the news of the promise, back to the besieged city. If they failed, they knew God would deal with them.

Be A Blessing

If you were in the place of the lepers wouldn’t go back to the city?  Wouldn’t you take the good news to your family and friends, even to your enemies? There was so much of God’s promise to go around, how could anyone not share it.

Can you imagine what joy it was for these men to run back to the city and say, “Come and see, God has driven away the enemy.  You only have to come accept the promise He has provided.”

Ah but what is a camp filled with spoils compared to heaven filled with the promise of eternal life?  We must not keep it to ourselves.

Paul Harvey once said, "Too many Christians are no longer fishers of men but keepers of the aquarium."

Like the lepers, we must realize not only that God has blessed us, but that He has also chosen us to tell others what we have experience. Like the lepers we have to know that there is a price to pay if we hoard the promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Scripture: Ezekiel 33:7-9  So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Some teach that one day in heaven we will stand before the Lord and see blood on our hands for the people we did not witness to. Of course, nothing like that is repeated in the New Testament when we actually read about the Judgment seat of Christ. There the Bible says we are rewarded, or we suffer the loss of reward. There is nothing about literal bloody hands, no matter how many times you’ve heard that preached.

So what is this passage teaching and what can I apply from that interpretation into my life? The context of course is God calling Ezekiel as a prophet to the exiled Israelites and it is easy to see that God is telling Ezekiel, if you don’t preach and warn the wicked then they will die in their sins and you will suffer my punishment for not warning them. The punishment is right there in the verse, thou hast delivered thy soul. If Ezekiel didn’t do as God commanded, he would be guilty of the blood of other men and God will take his life.

But you and I aren’t prophets in that OT sense. Instead we are commissioned by our savior, Jesus Christ to Go, Disciple, Baptize and Teach. If we fail to do this then yes, we will be guilty of disobeying our Savior and we will lose our reward, a reward that was set aside for me, a reward that I would have lain at the feet of Jesus Christ one day. The principle though, is the same, obey God and tell others of His promises of eternal life and yes also of eternal death. If you choose to disobey then just like the lepers understood, and just like God told Elijah, there will be a price to pay. It won’t be literal blood on our hands, it many ways it will be worse. People who didn’t hear the gospel because you did not tell them, died and then suffered the wrath of God for eternity. We knew this and yet we did nothing.

We didn’t tell anyone about God’s promises, we didn’t give to missions so a missionary could tell them, we didn’t support the church so the church could tell the community. We sat here until they died!

Illustration: Dead Sea Christians

The Dead Sea receives the same fresh, life giving water that the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan river receives.  Yet it does not live.  No fisherman can fish it’s waters, no crops can be grown from on its shores.  The Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River pass on the life giving water but the Dead Sea holds all the water that come to it.  Ultimately the very lifegiving water it hoards destroys it. 

Don’t be a “Dead Sea Christian.” Don’t hoarded the blessings and promises of God and not share them with others. Part of experiencing God’s promise is passing it on so that others will experience them as well. There is no limited supply, you can’t run out of God’s blessings, you can’t exhaust God’s promises. Don’t let your life become a dead,  spiritual wasteland. Experience the promise of God all over again by passing them on to others.


Don’t you love the characters of the lepers? They are dying but they choose to act and, by that decision, they go from helpless to heroes. What a great story.

Heroics of Shouting Strong  2 Kings 7:10-11, 14-16

Lepers at Salvation Celebration

The lepers return to the dying city, stand outside the gate and shout the good news. 2 Kings 7:10-11 So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were.  And he called the porters; and they told it to the king's house within.

Joram, the unbelieving and unfaithful King believes they are being tricked by the Syrians and he sends a team to investigate. 2 Kings 7:12, 14 And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, I will now shew you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city…They took therefore two chariot horses; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, Go and see.

After the scouts return and tell the King that the Syrians have fled, the people of the city rush out to the camp and are saved by the promise of God. 2 Kings 7:16 “And the messengers returned, and told the king.  And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD.”

The city was saved, not because the lepers were influential, nor because they were persuasive, but because they brought back the simple truth that God’s promise was real.

Be A Hero

It’s time for some heroes in God’s work. From this story you know that you don’t have to be important, these were lepers, the lowest of the low in their society.  You don’t need to be influential, persuasive or educated.

All you need to do is act and tell people the truth of God’s word, the reality of God’s promises. Tell them…

God will save.  He saved me. God will forgive, I know because I have been forgiven. God will bless, He has more blessing right now than we can describe and more blessing in eternity than we can imagine.

It is up to us to be the heroes that tell our experience of the Promise of God. It is up the those we tell to accept and expererience those promises for themselves.

The Samaritans had to go to the camp of the enemy and see that God had defeated the Syrians. Those we tell have to go to the empty tomb and see that Jesus has defeated our enemy, death.

Illustration: Sergeant York.

Let me close by telling you about a another hero, Sargent Alvin York. Sargent York was the most decorated hero of WW1.  In a battle where half of his 17 man patrol was wiped out and his commanding officer killed, York, then a corporal, took command.  While the rest of his men were pinned down by enemy machine gun fire, he risked his life by running in plain view of the machine guns to a good firing position.  Then completely by himself with only his rifle and a pistol, York stormed 9 machine gun bunkers, killed 25 enemy soldiers and forced the others to surrender. On his way back to the American lies he captured another 130 enemy troops. When asked why he did it, he replied, “Well those machine guns were picking off my buddies and I realized that if I didn’t do something a lot of people were going to die.”

You know what it takes to be a hero, not intelligence, or ability but just the realization that if we don’t do something people are going to die.  Sin will slay them, They will die physically by drugs, alcohol, violence or immoral lifestyle. They will die emotionally by bitterness, anger or betrayal. But worst of all they will die spiritually because choose to sit, instead of go or we choose to be silent instead of shouting the Good news of Jesus Christ.


There is one last unresolved detail in this story.

Let me share it with you in our conclusion. Do you remember the King’s advisor who mocked when he heard the promise of God’s salvation? He said, If the windows of heaven were opened and food poured down like rain, this still couldn’t be true.”

We pick up his story in 2 Kings 7:17 And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him.

As the starving people ran out to experience the promise of God this man was crushed under the feet of a human stampede. He rejected the promise of God, he rejected the message of God from God’s servant, but he still experienced the promise of God, for Elisha had told him, “your eyes shall see it but your mouth will not taste it.”

You may be here today and you don’t think of yourself as mocking God’s promise or God’s messenger and yet you reject the promise of God’s salvation and forgiveness. In a sense you are right here standing at the gate while others have trusted you just stand there and watch them go by.

There are other promises that await those who refuse to accept the blessing of God. Do I need to repeat them? I don’t think so. You already know them. The Holy Spirit can speak to your heart better than I can. Which promise will you choose this morning? What action should all of us decide to take, so that we and others can experience the wonderful blessing and promises of God?

Monday, January 18, 2021

Christ, My Master: Colossians 4

 Christ, My Master: Colossians 4

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In chapter 4 Paul continues in the practical section of his letter to the church at Colossi. In chapter 3 he reminded the church that Christ was their life and as Christ was their life, then the life they lived should show Christ.

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

 He told them that their life, both inwardly, outwardly and in the home should reflect the One who died for them, forgave their sin and gave them hope for eternity.

Then in chapter 4:1 he writes, Colossians 4:1 1  Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

Right after he tells wives, husbands, children and servants the life they should show because of Jesus Christ, he uses the last statement to transition his last words on how to live the Christian life, because “You have a Master in heaven.” 

 Pray – Colossians 4:2-4

2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

Paul’s Primary Instruction for The Church, Pray

Here is how they were to pray. They were to pray…

Faithfully, “Continue in Prayer.” Keep on Praying On!

Expectantly, “Watch in the same”

Thankfully, “With Thanksgiving”

Purposely, “Withal praying also for us, that God would open a door of utterance.”

Servants of Christ Pray

The first action that Paul is inspired to tell the Colossians to do as servants of the Lord is to pray. He doesn’t begin with giving or preaching or any of the other equally important life actions that servants of God should always do, instead he begins with prayer.

Perhaps prayer is uppermost on his mind because He is writing from prison, or because he is so concerned about the seeds of apostasy he fear could be growing in the churches he helped to start or perhaps because Paul just knew that so much of everything all Christians do is only possible when first started in prayer, reinforced daily by prayer and focused on the future by prayer.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 he simply wrote “Pray without ceasing.”

I think in our own Christian service to our Lord we often forget about the primacy of prayer. We want our to live as we should, we want our families to be saved, we want our nation to remember God, we want our church to grow and people to be saved, but all too often we forget to prepare the ground first by faithful, expectant, thankful, purposeful prayer.

Quotes: The Importance of a Servant’s Prayer

Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work! – Oswald Chambers.

God loves importunate prayer so much that He will not give us much blessing without it.” -Adoniram Judson


After Paul tells the church to pray, he then tells them in vs 5 to show, much that same as the previous chapter he moves from the secret to public living, from their prayer closet to their streets of their city.


Proclaim – Colossians 4:5-6

5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Paul’s Second Set of Instruction for the Church, Proclaim

This outward showing of the Christian life, the proclaiming is done not be word as much as by actions and lifestyle.

He tell the Colossians, to “Walk In wisdom, toward them that are without: Their way of walking, the biblical way of saying your lifestyle, was to proclaim the wisdom of a servant of the Lord.

They were also to Proclaim who they were by Redeeming the Time. This meant to make the most use of the limited time they had been given by God, to accomplish the greatest good.

Redeem meant to buy back something back, or to pay for something now but claim it later. I believe that you redeem time by spending our lives on earth in service to the Lord and then redeeming that time in Heaven through the eternal crown that will be given us by our Master one day.

In Ephesians 5:15-17, which Paul wrote at this same time, in a longer letter he told the church there, 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly (carefully), not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Seasoned Speech Then Paul does tell them to actually proclaim in vs. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

To Paul, speech should be always be with grace seasoned with salt. Isn’t that a interesting turn of a phrase? Grace seasoned with salt. We know what grace is, it is undeserved favor, kindness and affection.

Again we see this thought echoed in Ephesians 4:29 29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

It is easy to see that our words should reflect the same kind of grace that we experienced when the Lord spoke to us, but what does it mean to be seasoned with salt?

You all know that salt was a preservative and a seasoning in Paul’s time. Jesus told his followers during the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5:13 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Salt was also used in the sacrifices both pagan and Jewish, the sacrifice given to God would be seasoned with salt.

Salt to our food adds flavor, it prevents if from being bland and tasteless. I believe that Paul is telling the Colossians, when you proclaim Christ, make sure you show him as the wonderful, exciting, glorious savior that He truly is. Christianity is the most fulfilling and exciting lifestyle that anyone can live, just read the Bible and see if for yourself. Don’t let your speech settle on the dull duty but let it rightly reflect the glory that is a part of knowing Christ.

This is the “Know how to answer every man:” Let everything we say, show the grace of God and seasoned richly in the Glory of God! That is the right kind of speech.

Servants of Christ, Proclaim.

We as servants of the Lord are to proclaim Jesus Christ in a dark, dying world, first by our lifestyle and secondly by our words. We are to redeem the time, by investing time in the lives around us, planting the seeds of the Gospel and looking for a redemption of our investment one day in Heaven.

Quote: Warren Wiesbe said this in his commentary on this section of Colossians, “When character, conduct, and conversation are all working together, it makes for a powerful witness.” – Warren Wiesbe, Bible Exposition Commentary - Be Complete (Colossians).


Dr. Will H. Houghton, who pastored the Calvary Baptist Church in New York City and later served as president of Chicago's Moody Bible Institute till his death in 1946. When Dr. Houghton became pastor of the Baptist Tabernacle in Atlanta, a man in that city hired a private detective to follow Dr. Houghton and report on his conduct. After a few weeks, the detective was able to report to the man that Dr. Houghton's life matched his preaching. As a result, that man became a Christian. - Bible Exposition Commentary - Be Complete (Colossians).


Finally, as Paul close this epistle, he mentions several people with him as he wrote the letter. To Him it was a way to close the letter, but there is also something more for us to see, a pattern of Christian Servants that we can learn from.

Pattern – Colossians 4:7-17

7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: 8  Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;9  With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.10  Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)11  And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.12  Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.13  For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.14  Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.15  Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16  And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17  And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

Paul’s Fellowservants of Christ

Tychicus, a Jewish name which means fateful. He stayed with Paul while he was in prison and then along with Onesimus delivered the letters that Paul had written. He was one who say his fate, his destiny as a faithful servant both to Paul and to the Lord.

Onesimus, was the young Greek slave who had fled from Colossae as a runaway slave and then found Paul and Paul sent him back with ta plea to Philemon, to put the offenses of Onesimus on Paul’s own account. Onesimus means profitable servant and that was how Paul reintroduces him to his master, in the hopes that he would free him. There is some evidence that Philemon did just as Paul requested and that Onesimus became a pastor of the church as Ephusus, year later. From a servant to a man to a servant for the Lord.

Aristarchus, also a Jewish name. He was from Thessalonica and his name meant “the best ruler.” He had willingly risked his life in Ephesian riot (Acts 19:28-41). Later he sailed with Paul to Rome (Acts 27:2), where he went through the storm and shipwreck, along with Paul and Luke (Acts 27) Now he is also a prisoner with Paul, perhaps voluntarily shared a cell with the apostle to be a companion, and a friend. Keeping him company, comforting him during the dark days just like friends should.

There is Marcus (aka. John Mark), the nephew of Barnabus, who wrote the Gospel of Mark. His name means “a defense.” On the first missionary trip he had deserted Paul and Barnabus, Acts 15:36-39, but now thanks to Barnabus’ faith in forgiveness, here he is serving again with Paul and commended by him. In his last letter Paul wrote to Timothy asking for him to come and to bring Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11  Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

John Mark’s life shows us that God never gives up on us, therefore we should never give up on one another.

There is a man name Jesus, his Jewish name but called Justus, a Roman name which means “just.” It was common for the Jews to have two name both Jewish and Latin, like Timothy/ Timotheus, John Mark or Jesus Justus, but what a name to bear for a belever and a servant of the Lord, Jesus, Jehovah is salvation and Justice. To proclaim everytime one called you that God’s saves and justifies.

Then there is Epaphras, whose coming to Paul was the reason he wrote the epistle. He was a Gentile and his full name Epaphroditus name means devoted to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, when used it was understood as hearing the word “lovely.”

From a pagan devoted to a goddess, he was now a pastor to devoted to the one true God. He probably started the churches in Colossi, Laodicea and Hierapolis (Col 4:13) Paul gave him his highest honor when he calls him “A servant of Christ” He was a serving the Lord by serving the Lord’s people,  “Always laboring for you in prayer.” And with “great zeal for you.”

Then of course there is always faithful, Luke, the Gentile, “beloved physician.” Luke’ s name means "light-giving." And that is what he did through his recording the most words of any writer of the New Testament, the light of the Lord’s Gospel and then the light of the Lord’s Churches.

There is also Demas which is short for Demetrius. He is a Gentile and his name means “governor of the people" Demas is famous as the anti-Luke, he later deserts the apostle when he was a prisoner at Rome the second time and returns to Thessalonica. 2 Timothy 4:10  For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;

Finally, Paul mentions the names of people in the churches he is writing to, Nymphas, His name means “bridegroom. He appears to be a man wealthy enough to have a large enough house to host the church.

The last name is Archippus, another Gentile whose his name means "master of the horse.” He is the pastor of the church of Colossi and as such Paul has special words for him. He tells him to “take heed to your ministry” literally it means“keep an eye on” your ministry. “Fulfill your calling.” Literally it says,"that thou keep on filling it full." Archippus shows us that we all have a calling as Servants of God.  Keep an eye on our ministries, guard them as the thing most precious and valuable ever given to you.  We must “keep on filling it full.”  It is the calling of a lifetime and our life should be devoted to fulfilling our calling as Servants of Christ.



About a hundred years later in A.D. 155, Christianity was threatening the Roman Empire a movement of servants was displacing an empire of Warriors. Because of this, persecution against Christians swept across the Empire and came to the city of Smyrna. The proconsul of Symrna, put out an order that the Pastor of the church of Symrna, a man named Polycarp, was to be found, arrested, and brought to the public arena for execution. The soldiers captured him and then brought him before thousands of spectators screaming for blood. Christians were being blamed for every calamity that had begun to affect the decaying empire. But the proconsul had compassion as he look down on this nearly one hundred year old man. Who was a former disciple of the last apostle John. The governor signaled the crowd to silence, then addressing Polycarp he said, "Curse the Christ and live." The crowd waited for the old man to answer. In an amazingly strong voice, he said, "Eighty and six years have I served him, and he has done me no wrong. How dare I blaspheme the name of my king and Lord!" With that final statement of faith, Polycarp was killed, faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. (edited original by Leith Anderson, "Can Jesus Trust Us?" Preaching Today, Tape No. 126.)

That should be our goal to live our lives and finish our lives as servants of Jesus Christ. Christ, my master deserves nothing less for all that He has done and given to me.