See the power of transforming words.
It is not always the message or the messenger, rather the delivery.
See the power of transforming words.
It is not always the message or the messenger, rather the delivery.
In today’s passage, Paul gives Titus guidelines for selecting church elders. At the end of a list of desirable conduct and character traits is an essential qualification that applies to every believer: holding fast to Scripture. It is necessary that we, like the first-century elders, demonstrate an unwavering commitment to God’s Word in order to nurture and guard the church.
We can’t use the Bible to defend our faith and assist others unless we study. And knowing its truths isn’t enough; for them to be effective, we must apply them.
Christians appreciate Scripture’s power to encourage, comfort, and heal, but too often we keep our knowledge to ourselves. We may feel uncertain about sharing, but God provides courage and brings to mind pertinent verses when we’re willing to speak. As we practice His ways, our wisdom will increase. We’ll begin to recognize hurting people and will learn how to exhort them in sound doctrine, as Paul suggests. The apostle also bids believers to confront those who contradict true faith—this requires courage and discernment. When we study and live out sound biblical principles, we will quickly recognize false doctrine. And the better we know God’s Word, the more readily we will be able to find passages that challenge counterfeit teachings and support our own beliefs.
We can’t all be elders in the local congregation. But each Christian is a member of God’s church and responsible to gain biblical knowledge. In that way, we can discern correct doctrine, defend our faith, and encourage the downhearted.
Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. —Mark 10:45
Last summer, our church invited a young man to join the staff. As Caleb shared how he grew up in Costa Rica while his family was serving Christ there, he reflected on the words of 2 Timothy 3:14-17. From his childhood, he reminisced, he had known the Bible. His mother and father had taught him the truths of the Scriptures that were “able to make [him] wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (v.15). He acknowledged that his preparation to be a pastor had begun when he was still a child.
Our congregation had the opportunity to “meet” his family in Costa Rica via a video-conferencing call. Caleb’s dad challenged his son using the words of Jesus about Himself in Mark 10:45. He said, “Caleb, remember our family motto, ‘We are here to serve, not to be served.’” It was easy to understand how this young man had developed his maturity of faith.
The children God has entrusted to us are precious gifts. A good foundation will help them to develop into mature believers who are “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). With God’s help we can pass on the baton of faith to future generations. What a great privilege to be servants like Jesus. by Cindy Hess Kasper
Begin to train them early
To fear and love the Lord,
To carry on life’s pathway
God’s lamp, His holy Word. —Fennema
Children are God’s precious jewels— help them shine for Christ.
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure.” (2 Timothy 2:19)
The preceding verses of this section of 2 Timothy are replete with warnings about the damage that could be done through “babblings” and cancerous words. But God is unshaken by whatever man might do. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
“I am the LORD, and there is none else,” Isaiah joyfully quotes (Isaiah 45:6). “I am the LORD, I change not,” the prophet Malachi is told (Malachi 3:6), and there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17) in the God of creation. God’s sovereign will is absolute: “The word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10).
We who are the twice-born, and thus the children of God, can stand firm and steadfast in the knowledge that He who is “sure” is the One who is working in us “to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). He has adopted us as His children “by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:5).
It is no random act of capricious fate that has secured us. It is the sure foundation of the great Creator God. It is His divine power that has “given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” That calling rests on “exceeding great and precious promises” that enable us to participate in the “divine nature” and escape the awful “corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4). HMM III
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they spake the word of God with boldness. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection.” (Acts 4:31, 33.)
CHRISTMAS EVANS tells us in his diary that one Sunday afternoon he was traveling a very lonely road to attend an appointment, and he was convicted of a cold heart. He says, “I tethered my horse and went to a sequestered spot, where I walked to and fro in an agony as I reviewed my life. I waited three hours before God, broken with sorrow, until there broke over me a sweet sense of His forgiving love. I received from God a new baptism of the Holy Ghost. As the sun was westering, I went back to the road, found my horse, mounted it and went to my appointment. On the following day I preached with such new power to a vast concourse of people gathered on the hillside, that a revival broke out that day and spread through all Wales.”
The greatest question that can be asked of the “twice born” ones is, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” This was the password into the early Church.
“O the Spirit filled life; is it thine, is it thine?
Is thy soul wholly filled with the Spirit Divine?
O thou child of the King, has He fallen on thee?
Does He reign in thy soul, so that all men may see
The dear Savior’s blest image reflected in thee?
“Has He swept through thy soul like the waves of the sea?
Does the Spirit of God daily rest upon thee?
Does He sweeten thy life, does He keep thee from care?
Does He guide thee and bless thee in answer to prayer?
Is it joy to be led of the Lord anywhere?
“Is He near thee each hour, does He stand at thy side?
Does He gird thee with strength, has He come to abide?
Does He give thee to know that all things may be done
Through the grace and the power of the Crucified One?
Does He witness to thee of the glorified Son?
“Has He purged thee of dross with the fire from above?
Is He first in thy thoughts, has He all of thy love?
Is His service thy choice, and is sacrifice sweet?
Is the doing His will both thy drink and thy meat?
Dost thou run at His bidding with glad eager feet?
“Has He freed thee from self and from all of thy greed?
Dost thou hasten to succor thy brother in need?
As a soldier of Christ dost thou hardness endure?
Is thy hope in the Lord everlasting and sure?
Hast thou patience and meekness, art tender and pure?
“O the Spirit filled life may be thine, may be thine,
In thy soul evermore the Shekinah may shine;
It is thine to live with the tempests all stilled,
It is thine with the blessed Holy Ghost to be filled;
It is thine, even thine, for thy Lord has so willed.”
“Satan hindered us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:18
Since the first hour in which goodness came into conflict with evil, it has never ceased to be true in spiritual experience, that Satan hinders us. From all points of the compass, all along the line of battle, in the vanguard and in the rear, at the dawn of day and in the midnight hour, Satan hinders us. If we toil in the field, he seeks to break the ploughshare; if we build the wall, he labours to cast down the stones; if we would serve God in suffering or in conflict—everywhere Satan hinders us. He hinders us when we are first coming to Jesus Christ.
Fierce conflicts we had with Satan when we first looked to the cross and lived. Now that we are saved, he endeavours to hinder the completeness of our personal character. You may be congratulating yourself, “I have hitherto walked consistently; no man can challenge my integrity.” Beware of boasting, for your virtue will yet be tried; Satan will direct his engines against that very virtue for which you are the most famous. If you have been hitherto a firm believer, your faith will ere long be attacked; if you have been meek as Moses, expect to be tempted to speak unadvisedly with your lips.
The birds will peck at your ripest fruit, and the wild boar will dash his tusks at your choicest vines. Satan is sure to hinder us when we are earnest in prayer. He checks our importunity, and weakens our faith in order that, if possible, we may miss the blessing. Nor is Satan less vigilant in obstructing Christian effort. There was never a revival of religion without a revival of his opposition. As soon as Ezra and Nehemiah begin to labour, Sanballat and Tobiah are stirred up to hinder them.
What then? We are not alarmed because Satan hindereth us, for it is a proof that we are on the Lord’s side, and are doing the Lord’s work, and in His strength we shall win the victory, and triumph over our adversary.
“The upright love Thee” Song 1:4
Believers love Jesus with a deeper affection then they dare to give to any other being. They would sooner lose father and mother then part with Christ. They hold all earthly comforts with a loose hand, but they carry Him fast locked in their bosoms. They voluntarily deny themselves for His sake, but they are not to be driven to deny Him. It is scant love which the fire of persecution can dry up; the true believer’s love is a deeper stream than this. Men have laboured to divide the faithful from their Master, but their attempts have been fruitless in every age.
Neither crowns of honour, now frowns of anger, have untied this more than Gordian knot. This is no every-day attachment which the world’s power may at length dissolve. Neither man nor devil have found a key which opens this lock. Never has the craft of Satan been more at fault than when he has exercised it in seeking to rend in sunder this union of two divinely welded hearts. It is written, and nothing can blot out the sentence, “The upright love Thee.” The intensity of the love of the upright, however, is not so much to be judged by what it appears as by what the upright long for.
It is our daily lament that we cannot love enough. Would that our hearts were capable of holding more, and reaching further. Like Samuel Rutherford, we sigh and cry, “Oh, for as much love as would go round about the earth, and over heaven—yea, the heaven of heavens, and ten thousand worlds—that I might let all out upon fair, fair, only fair Christ.” Alas! our longest reach is but a span of love, and our affection is but as a drop of a bucket compared with His deserts. Measure our love by our intentions, and it is high indeed; ’tis thus, we trust, our Lord doth judge of it. Oh, that we could give all the love in all hearts in one great mass, a gathering together of all loves to Him who is altogether lovely!