Be Strong – Grow In Grace

Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to 2 Timothy chapter 2. A few weeks ago we studied the “faithful sayings” of the Apostle Paul, pistos logos, “faithful is the Word”. We looked at:

2 Timothy 2:11-13 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

I noted then that, if as believers we deny Jesus, that is, to allow that there are other ways to be saved apart from Jesus, or if we affirm that anyone but Jesus is the Messiah, then He will deny us. We can have a crisis of faith – we have all experienced that at times. But we cannot deny Him, or we will be denied.

Look at verse 1:

2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Paul exhorts Timothy – a missionary he left at Ephesus – to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. It is GRACE that saves a person. If we are saved BY GRACE, then our salvation is not of WORKS, otherwise GRACE is no more GRACE (Romans 11:6).

We are not saved by:

religious ritual, by bead counting, by praying to a saint or to Mary.
We are not saved by animal sacrifices, nor by holy water, nor by
ceremonial baptism (which is but a like figure of salvation – 1 Peter 3:21). We are not saved by genuflection, by a human priest’s blessing,
by last rites, by institutions, by human efforts.

We are saved by Grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by GRACE are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; and THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast. It is the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross that saves me. When I received Jesus as Lord and Savior, believing Him to be the one and only Messiah, the Savior, and believed He died for my salvation, and rose from the grave for my justification – then God the Holy Spirit saves me. It is the Spirit of God that causes the Christian to be “born again”. Not as we were, but as children of God.

It is GRACE that brings us to the new birth. It is GRACE that makes the new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Rituals do nothing. The Apostle said:

Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

But Grace Is Not A Temporal Thing

The Christian is SAVED by GRACE (Ephesians 2:5), but GRACE is also what we live in. The Bible tells us to:

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Grace is something we GROW in. Our focal text says:

2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

We are strong in the grace when we – when afflicted or placed in the crucible of life – run to the arms of Jesus rather than relying on our strength. Blessed is the one whose strength is in God” (Psalm 84:5). Blessed is the one who trusteth in God” (Psalm 84:12). Blessed is the one that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. But cursed is the one who trusts in man, who makes flesh his arm, whose heart departs from the Lord (Jeremiah 17:5-8). Oh Beloved, we need to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

How do we grow in Grace?
How do we get STRONGER in Grace?

We rely upon the Word of God. We rely upon the teaching of the Prophets and the Apostles, this thing we call the Holy Bible. The Apostle tells Timothy (and Timothy is helping establish local churches in Ephesus):

2 Timothy 2:2 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.

Paul says, the things that thou hast heard of me, the truths that Paul wrote in the Bible, Timothy was to heed that Word. Timothy was also to teach what he had been taught by the Apostle to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. The Church and it’s power is derived from the teachings of the Apostles and Prophets found in this Bible.

There was a time when Baptists were called “people of the Book”. When we came together as a Church, every Christian would bring their Bible. We believed the Bible to be the Word of God, inspired of God, and written by holy men as they were “moved by the Holy Spirit(2 Peter 1:21). When Jesus was in the Upper Room, teaching His disciples just before His crucifixion, He told them:

John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

The Holy Spirit would come to the Apostles first to teach them the truth of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit would minister to the Apostles first,

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

In the Old Testament, God moved on the Prophets to write the Word of God, the Bible. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit of God moved on the Apostles, causing them to write the sacred scriptures. The Southern Baptist Faith and Message states that the Scriptures are:

… written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21. (Section I, Baptist Faith & Message, 2000)

The Church and the Christian have lost their power in this present age because we do not believe the Scripture necessary nor sufficient. Consider how few come to our Wednesday night and Sunday night services. If our people believed the Scripture to be sufficient, they would come to hear it and apply it to their lives. Listen Beloved:

You are only STRONG in GRACE and GROWING in GRACE when you feast on the truths of God’s Word.

The early Church grew because …

Acts 2:42 … they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, that is, the writings the Apostles made that we today call the New Testament. These men wrote as empowered by God the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul told Timothy to heed HIS WORDS, and to TEACH THESE WORDS to other people of faith.

Timothy helped local Churches organize in Ephesus. When Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus, not how he described the Church:

Ephesians 2:19-22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; {20} And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; {21} In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: {22} In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

The Church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Paul is speaking of the Bible you have. The FOUNDATION of the Church is not strange and worldly philosophies, but the Holy Scripture, rightly read, studied, and understood.

Illustrate: Recently in USA TODAY I read:

Penn swimmer Lia Thomas becomes first
trans woman to win NCAA swimming championship”

This biological man beat the women with the best time. The liberal world cheers this. Yet the “Washington Examiner” noted:

Thomas, formerly known as Will Thomas, competed on the University of Pennsylvania’s men’s swimming team for the first half of his collegiate career before deciding to transition and join the women’s swimming team. When he made the switch, Thomas went from ranking #462 as a male to #1 as a female. He went on to break multiple records at the national level this season. In one December race, he beat the girls swimming against him by nearly 40 seconds. On Thursday, he finished the 500-yard freestyle two seconds ahead of every other swimmer, two of whom were Olympians.”

This is what happens when people depart from the Word of God. The Scripture defines God’s design, whereas Americans today are defying God’s design. What God has established as true and proper are found in this Scripture, this Holy Book. We read:

2 Timothy 2:3-5 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

We as Christians are in a battle for the souls of mankind. On our side is the Holy Scripture, a Scripture that the world, and much of the Church, does not believe. This is why there is mass confusion in America today, because we have as a nation and as a Church departed from the sufficiency of the Scripture. So many professing Christians sit watching hours of television, flooding their souls with the word of man, while ignoring the Word of God.

If you love and adhere to God’s Word, you are going to be in the minority. You will be ridiculed by the enemy. You perhaps will be banned from social media, or even imprisoned for what you believe. Yet we are to continue our allegiance to Jesus Christ and this Word of God – even unto the death.

2 Timothy 2:7-10 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. 8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Our cause is right, and just. If we are saved by Grace, the Holy Spirit indwells us:

Romans 8:9 ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

You are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19), and the Spirit of God inhabits you. The Apostle Paul was imprisoned for preaching the Scripture, that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead. Paul said, I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. The Word of God cannot be bound, though we can be. God’s Word is sufficient. God’s Word is sure. It is God’s Word that leads us to Grace and salvation. It is God’s Word that strengthens our faith daily.

We Are To Avoid The Word Of The World,
While Embracing The Word Of God

2 Timothy 2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

We are not called to strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. These are the words of the world, the words of Satan. As early as the Book of Genesis – in the Garden of Eden – Satan attacked the Word of God. Satan will always attack the Word of God. What did the devil, that old serpent, say to Eve?

Genesis 3:1 … Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

His accusation – though left handed – was that God was withholding something good from Adam and Eve. Then Satan directly attacks the Word of God:

Genesis 3:4-5 … Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

This is what the devil and the world does. It contradicts the Word of God. It makes God out to be a liar, or a Simon Legree, or Someone worst. As soon as Satan got Eve to suspect the Scripture, it was very little time before she ate the forbidden, and gave also to her husband with her. This is what the devil and the lost world does. They promote a word that causes subverting of the hearers, not blessing. If the devil can get you to receive the word of the world over the Word of God, then he can effectually destroy your walk with God. The Apostle told the Church at Thessalonica:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

When the words of the Bible are received as the word of God, then these words effectually work{s} in our lives. The New Testament scriptures are not the words of men, but are the Word of God. The Apostle said in another place:

1 Corinthians 14:37-38 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. {38} But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant …

We are to empty our hearts of the word of the world, and trust the Word of God. The Great Evangelist D.L. Moody wrote:

I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled.”

Human opinion may or may not be right. Human philosophies lead to mass confusion. But God’s Word, the Bible, is true and reliable. Solomon wrote:

Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. {6} Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

We cannot compromise with the world.

Christians Are To Study The Scriptures,
In Partnership With God

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

How does one know if they are a genuine Christian? We Study the Scriptures. The word Studyis the Greek spoudazo {pronounced spoo-dad’-zo}, “be diligent to study, apply oneself toward, to focus on and apply to the life”. The word approvedis the Greek dokimos {pronounced dok’-ee-mos}, which means “genuine, true, of good value”. How does one know you are a Christian? By studying the Word of God. By not just reading it, but applying it’s teachings to your life. If your Christian walk is in accordance to the Word of God, then you are where you need to be.

The Pharisees often attacked Jesus, believing themselves to be genuinely saved and anointed of God. Yet Jesus often chastised the Pharisees because they turned away from the Word of God, twisting it by their traditions. Jesus indicted them, saying:

Mark 7:9-13 … Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. {10} For Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: {11} But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. {12} And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; {13} Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Jesus declared that the Pharisees were charlatans, pretenders to faith, because they did not adhere to the Scripture. The Scripture commands that we “honor our father and mother” (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Matthew 15:4). We are to take care of our families. The Pharisees developed a system called Corban, and dedicated moneys that they wanted to preserve as Corban or dedicated to God. When their parents needed help, the Pharisee would say, “The only free money I have is Corban, dedicated to God”. By their man made laws and customs, the Pharisees violated the Word of God.

The Lord orders us to study Scripture but not human opinion. Human opinion comes from a sinful source, and ultimately does not profit the user. What does Paul tell us:

2 Timothy 2:16-18 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

We are to study and revere the Word of God, but are to shun profane and vain babblings. We are to reject the liberal agenda. The liberal, progressive nonsense that television is pushing as normative is destroying the family in America – which is what Satan loves to do. These things are profane and vain babblings”. “Profane is the Greek βέβηλος bébēlos, {pronounced beb’-ay-los}, which means “wicked, unlawful, unholy”. The words vain babblings is but one word in the Greek κενοφωνία kenophōnía, {pronounced ken-of-o-nee’-ah}, which means “empty discussions, words that are useless and fruitless”. As Christians, we are NOT to engage in the false teachings of this world. We are to SHUN the PROFANE, the WICKED, the EVIL. We are to SHUN the empty things the world promotes as truth. Why? Because these things do nothing to build UP our faith. They, on the other hand, tear down our faith. In short,

Turn off the Television, and open the Book!

You prove yourself a genuine believer by measuring up to the Word of God. Let us assume you say:

I am a Christian going to Heaven. I am also living in a sexual relationship outside of Biblical marriage.”

What does the Scripture say? We read in Scripture of those who live in sexual sin in:

Romans 1:21-32 … when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

A cursory reading of this Scripture tells us that the person who says,

I am a Christian going to Heaven. I am also living
in a sexual relationship outside of Biblical marriage.”

is not true. The Christian’s lifestyle will adhere to the standard of this Book. We learn of Christ from this Book. We learn of salvation from this Book. We learn how a child of God is to live from this Book. Profane and vain babblings” always lead to “more ungodliness. We are not to allow this nonsense into our midst.

The Apostle very rarely names people in his writings, but here he speaks of two men:

2 Timothy 2:17-18 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

The word of the world eats like a canker, a cancer. There are many churches today infected with the cancer of the word of this world. Paul refers to two men, Hymenaeus and Philetus, who brought the word of the world into the local Church. Paul talks about Hymenaeus here, as well as in:

1 Timothy 1:18-20 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.

Hymenaeus and Alexander” were blasphemers, speaking untruths against God. They might have been the first among those who preach an “all faiths inclusive” doctrine, or what gibberish I often hear, “there are many ways to Heaven”. This is blasphemy. Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No one comes to the Father BUT BY ME” (John 14:6). False teaching and false teachers always lead people away from the faith, and away from Grace. This is why we are to reject it.

God’s Word is true.

Let us end with these words:

2 Timothy 2:19-20 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.

The Lord knows who are His children. If you are a Child of God, you are to “depart from iniquity”. The Family of God is a GREAT HOUSE, a fantastic dynasty ordered with Christ at its Head, and believers – built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets (the Bible). In any GREAT HOUSE there are many different containers. Some containers are “vessels of gold and of silver”, whereas others are “vessels of wood and of earth”. Some vessels contain honorable things, but others dishonorable.

We are to strive to be vessels of honorable things. We do this by studying and applying God’s Word to our lives. We believe what the Apostles and Prophets believe. We adhere to the truths of Scripture, though none go with us. The Apostle says,

2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

The Lord will not use you unless your view is HIS view. Your mind must be HIS mind. We are to follow His Word. The days are short – judgment is coming. Jesus could come any day. May God move on us to cherish His Word. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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