Hold Fast

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We’ve reached the end of a study that for me has been incredibly rewarding. It was a challenge that came out of the blue, so to speak, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to consider this topic and stand in amazement at the depth and richness of the Word of God. Each word has meaning, and each word was breathed out by God Himself, through the pen of each individual writer. Using their unique style and their own unique personalities that God caused to say exactly what He wants us to know.

I must ask you a very simple but hard hitting question. Do you believe that about the Bible? Do you believe that it is the inerrant, infallible, all sufficient, breath of God? Do you believe that it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that they man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work? And it is the only means by which God saves? Get this wrong and you miss the whole thing? Because then you’ve strayed from sound teaching. You’ve done just what Paul warned Timothy against.

Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. – 2 Timothy 1:13-14

Paul is telling us to hold on with dear life to these words, to cling to them, as if to let go would certainly mean death. Imagine being on the deck of a ship in a big storm and the huge waves will wash you overboard. You must cling to the railing or surely you will be lost at sea. This is the imagery that comes to my mind when I think of holding fast.

However, what do you cling to? If you cling to the wrong thing it might certainly break and give way, the importance of dearly holding on is secondarily important to what we cling to and we must hold onto something solid. Something that is immovable. We must cling to dear life to the sound words committed to Timothy by Paul.

Notice here that Paul asserts his authority. Imagine the arrogance of this man claiming that his words are sound. Have you ever had a discussion or an argument with someone that wants to dismiss Paul as a notch below Jesus? “Well those words are not in red”, they might say. No, let’s put that argument in the ground very quickly… “All” Scripture is breathed out by God… Paul says so himself right here, this is the Word of God and the “words” of God.

And he goes onto proclaim that they are in Christ Jesus. Jesus appointed Paul to be a minister of the gospel, not some lesser known author, or irrelevant part of what God’s Word says. Paul is authoritative, and his words carry the full weight of God. This is a slippery slope and you will quickly descend into apostasy if you believe this lie.

Finally, hold onto the good thing which was committed to you.

Is salvation a good thing?

In this day and age we have so much going for us. Most of us live in homes that are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. We rarely if ever miss a meal. We have plenty of resources to entertain ourselves. We enjoy vacations and time for leisure. There is seldom a day that goes by that we don’t flop down on a comfortable chair and we have the opportunity to read a book or watch television. We really don’t think about eternity on a daily basis. We really don’t spend a lot of time considering the eternal souls of those around us. We seldom if ever tell someone they are in danger, and standing at the edge of a cliff being supported only by a very thin thread of life.

So is salvation a good thing? We think so little of it, because we are so arrogantly walking around as if God does not really exist. I realize this doesn’t apply to all of us. I also realize this doesn’t apply to all of us all the time. It does apply to all of us sometimes. And I would like to us think about having it apply to us less of the time.

Paul lays it out quite clearly, that the only way we grow in this grace, and that we recognize our condition is through the power of the Spirit of God. He is the “Helper”, and for God’s people, we have the ability that others don’t have. We have the Holy Spirit living inside us, sustaining our salvation, preserving us to live in His power; to do the work that we were created for. He is there to sustain, to chasten, to convict, and for some to save.

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight – if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. – Colossians 21-23

We are kept by the power of the Holy Spirit, to do the work, for which we have been called. Today, we have an opportunity to proclaim His name. We have the privilege to call on a power that is unknown to most of the world, and use that to bring Him glory. This is your purpose if you are a believer. If you are not a believer, then your purpose is to repent and turn from your sin, or you will perish in your sin. This mission is not complex. In fact it’s quite simple.

The only question that remains; will you be faithful?

Kevin

Hope?

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For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. – 2 Timothy 1:12

We’ve turned a slight corner in looking at 2 Timothy 1:5-14, but yet we have so much more to see.

Paul has told us much, and he’s given us much encouragement. He wanted to stir up Timothy to continue in his work. He has reminded him of his need for boldness, for his ability to suffer, and to not be ashamed of the gospel. He has reminded young Timothy of the holy calling by which he was called and that all of this was planned in time past. Paul has declared authoritatively his role as an apostle and a teacher and that all his authority has been ordained by Jesus Christ Himself and proved Himself the Christ through His death and resurrection.

There is so much hope in Christ, and Paul doesn’t want Timothy to forget this. Have you ever wanted to encourage a friend, or a loved one? You remind them of the difficult things they’ve been through, and the things they’ve accomplished, and how they have so much more potential? Yes, this is what Paul wants to remind Timothy. This is not a Joel Osteen pep talk, no; it’s a call to action. It’s an exhortation to press on…

Well, Paul once again reminds Timothy of his sufferings, and why he is not ashamed. We’ve previously discussed the suffering aspect of the gospel, Jesus certainly suffered and we as Christians are told we will suffer, but today that is certainly different than it was then. But yet a day is on the horizon that this will change. I’d like to have the true believer consider this for a moment. Are you prepared? Are you preparing your family for the day that is coming? My children will suffer for the gospel, should the Lord save them, much more than I ever will. They will be minimized, they will be reduced, and they will certainly be persecuted. Will the next generation by martyred? It’s a possibility.

So where’s the hope in all this, so far, it’s mostly depressing?

The hope is just around the corner, look at what Paul then says “For I know whom I have believed…”

What an absolutely incredible statement of Jesus Christ. There is Paul’s hope. There is Timothy’s hope, and there is your hope and my hope. Jesus Christ, in all His incredible glory, is the hope for believers.

It is a real hope right? I mean it’s not a false hope like Buddha, or Muhammad? It’s not “hoping” that everything will turn out okay, its real hope. It’s something we can actually place our faith and our hope in. It’s real, it’s tangible.

And He is risen…

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. – 1 Corinthians 15:1-6

Paul had confidence in his hope, because he had confidence in the Word of God. Paul believed in the authority of Scripture. He believed that God’s Word stood the test of time, that God’s Word foretold the coming of Christ, His life, His death and His resurrection.

According to the Scriptures…

Paul believed the eye witness accounts, he knew they were accurate, he had talked with these people, and not only that; Paul himself had seen the risen Lord.

Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. – 1 Corinthians 15:8

This was a lock for Paul. This is the reason he had the confidence he had. This is why Paul would willingly and happily suffer. He knew…he had first hand, intimate knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and he was confident that for which he was called.

Lastly, Paul knew that the promises were true. He knew that what had been committed would be kept. The saints would persevere. They would persevere because God keeps His promises. He is not slack concerning His promises, He is not a liar, and He is incapable of lying. So either it was true or it wasn’t and there are no other options.

Paul believed. Do you believe?

Do you believe what the Scriptures say and do you believe the promises that God has in store for those that serve Him out of a pure heart; a pure heart that only He can give? Yes, we all want eternal life, but do you also believe the promises that He makes to the unrighteous? Because that is terrifying, and if you have some head knowledge of Him, without an intimate knowledge, a saving knowledge of Him you must also believe His promises. His promise that says He will punish the unrighteous. Those without faith will perish. The wrath of God will be poured out upon them for eternity.

But today there is still hope for you. Today you can turn to Him and be saved. That’s a promise you can count on.

However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. – 1 Timothy 1:16

Kevin

Money

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On a recent trip to Seattle I walked into a coffee shop and they had a tip jar with a clever version of a very familiar bible verse. It was slightly altered to meet their intended goals.

It said “Money is the root of all evil. Cleanse yourself here”, I’m not sure they ever read the verse in Paul’s second letter to Timothy where he instructs him to rightly divide the scripture, but that’s a topic for another day.

Money of course itself is not evil, how can it be, it’s an inanimate object. The “love” of money is the object of the verse as Paul is teaching his son, in the faith, Timothy how to pastor a church. Our relationship to money is the point of which Paul is addressing.

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What you think about “your” money reveals the condition of your heart, and is critical to your relationship with God, because it’s really not your money it’s God’s and He has entrusted you to steward it faithfully.

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack; Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Mark 10:21-22

The rich young ruler did all the religious things… He followed all the rules, but when push came to shove it was about his money. Jesus exposes his sinful, idolatrous, greedy, covetous heart and shows him that he is unworthy to follow Him.

Is your money a stumbling block to your relationship with God?

Don’t just pass over this question; your very life may hang in the balance. I can’t possibly know the condition of your heart, but Jesus does, just has He did with the rich young ruler. We all like money, and we all need money but how much is enough and for what reason do you need it?

Acts 2:44-45 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

Am I telling you to sell all your stuff and give it to the elders of your church for distribution? No, but are you willing? What is your heart in the matter, do you bristle at the thought of this verse?

Jesus spoke much about money and material possessions and if we have somehow missed the significance then it’s time to reexamine our relationship with mammon (our stuff) because it’s at the heart of the matter you desire to serve.

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:25

What does your life consist of? Does it merely revolve around finances, or do you set your mind on the things of God? Do you really trust Him with your life?

…For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:32-33

I urge you to examine your relationship to your money and how that relates to your relationship with God. This is a topic that must be discussed and exposed.   It must be exposed not because I say so, but because the Lord said so. Are you storing up for yourself treasures on earth, or treasures in heaven?

By God’s grace we can grow in this very challenging area of life, that it may bring Him glory.

Kevin