Being A Good Soldier Of Christ

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

Please turn with me in your Bibles to 2 Timothy Chapter 2.

We Must Pass On Bible Truth To Others

Unless believers pass on Bible truths to the next generation, the Gospel light cannot continue to burn. The Books of Timothy were written by the Apostle Paul to pass on Biblical truths in a world covered with darkness.

Paul met Timothy (or his Roman name, Timotheus) in Acts 16 during his second missionary journey. We read:

Acts 16:1-3 Then came {Paul} to Derbe and Lystra: {located in Southern Asia Minor & Turkey} and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, {or Timothy} the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, {Eunice} and believed; but his father was a Greek: 2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

Timothy gave his life to the Lord, and committed to following the Apostle Paul as he moved to start new churches. Though Timothy’s mother Eunice and grandmother Lois were believing Jews (see 2 Timothy 1:5), Timothy’s father was a Gentile. Because of this Timothy had never been circumcised. Though the Apostle believed that:

Colossians 3:11 … there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Circumcision is not necessary for salvation. Nonetheless, Paul asked Timothy to be circumcised since he had a Jewish mother, so that his lack of circumcision would not hinder his ministry among the Jews. Many of the Pharisees would not even listen to an uncircumcised person. There’s a principle in this that we need to understand.

The most important thing we do as believers is to win converts to Christ. Timothy was willing to go through the very painful and inconvenient procedure of circumcision to aid in reaching the Jews with the Gospel.

Because Timothy, like Paul, was willing to go the “extra mile” to share the Gospel, Paul had a very close relationship with him. Paul refers to Timothy as:

A Co-worker” (Romans 16:21; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; Philippians 2:22)
A Son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2)
A Brother in the Lord (2 Corinthians 1:1; Colossians 1:1)

Timothy was Paul’s emissary to the local churches:

1 Corinthians 4:17 … I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

The Gospel Driven Christian Is Grace Oriented

What does God expect of the believer in Christ? Paul told Timothy…

2 Timothy 2:1-3 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 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. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Every Christian should strive to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. As Children of God, our strength comes from a perpetual union with Christ. As fallen creatures we sometimes sin, emulating the darkness around us. But this is not the proper place for a Child of Christ. When we fail in holiness, we should not wallow in guilt, nor seek penance as if catholic in faith. We instead should realize that Jesus Christ is our High Priest, and we should approach Him in prayer with empty hands:

Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV) Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We are called to be strong in the Grace of God … but we are also to do all we can to bring others into the Kingdom of God. What we have been taught, we are the same commit thou to faithful men. What we learn, teach others around us as God opens the door. We are also to:

2 Timothy 2:3 endure hardness, as a good soldier
of Jesus Christ

We are in a battle for the souls of men, and this battle is being hard fought by Satan and his forces of darkness. The soldier enjoys times of peace where he trains for battle. But the soldier always realizes that there is a battle coming. That’s why the soldier trains.

What Does Our Battle Ground Look Like?

The Apostle considered the Church Age to be in the beginning of the “Last Days”. Jesus said,

Matthew 24:37 (ESV) For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

In the days of Noah there was widespread wickedness and evil on the earth, so much so that the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart” (Genesis 6:6). Noah stood alone against the evil of his day, preaching the Gospel of salvation, and building an Ark. We are in the last days where the wickedness of man is great on the earth, and every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Paul tells us:

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

Paul wanted Timothy – and us – to know how difficult the battle would be for the Kingdom of God. We read This know also. Paul wanted Timothy to be aware of what comes with ministry. In Chapter 2 the Apostle told Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:23-26 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

The devil will do all that he can to destroy the work of God. Paul encourages us to keep our eyes on the Word of God with the intent of patiently enduring the power of darkness. We are not to become lifted up or proud in what we teach, for we teach the Word of God, not our word. In verse 25 Paul makes an interesting statement:

2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth

Word Study: The word meekness is the Greek πρᾳότης praiótēs, {pronounced prah-ot’-ace}, which means “in humility”. We are not to be arrogant as the Pharisees were in addressing the sinner in their sins, but we are to remember that “there but for the Grace of God go I”. Those who are in sin – that do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, are those that oppose themselves. They are like the proverbial snake eating it’s own tail. Sin is destructive, poisonous, evil. Sin destroys what it touches. The devil often pulls out philosophies and twists the truth by giving an opportunity to foolish and unlearned questions that have nothing to do with the Gospel. If the devil can get us to chasing rabbits, we’ll never do that which God calls us to do – to be the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).

The devil will do anything he can to keep a lost person in a lost state. We must ignore the devil and his plots, while we patiently continue to present the Gospel. No one will recover themselves out of the snare of the devil unless God intervene, speaking to the hearts of the lost. It is God Who will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.

How does the Apostle characterize these “last days” lost people? He says:

2 Timothy 3:2-4 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God..

Is this not our age? People are lovers of their own selves. The mother loves herself more than she loves her baby, and aborts that child because “it’s MY body, and I’ll do as I want to with it”. The father drops his seed without care that a child might be made, then moves on to the next flower, like a wandering bee. People are covetous, another word for greedy and insatiable. The Tenth of the Ten Commandments – the basis of all human law – states:

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

Coveting is what leads to fighting and war. Wanting to take what belongs to another leads mankind to murder. The terrible war going on in the Ukraine today can be attributed to Russian Leadership coveting more land and more power. Coveting destroys natural order. The Child of God is not to covet, nor to fall into sexual sins. We read in:

Ephesians 5:3 But fornication {sexual sin}, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

We who are saved by faith in Christ are saints, that is, a people set apart for God. We belong to Jesus. God is our Father. We should covet God and His Word, not the temporal things around us. The way to blessing in life is to walk with God daily. As that old warrior Joshua said:

Joshua 1:8 (ESV) This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

And God promised through the Prophet:

Isaiah 48:17 (ESV) Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.

With covetousness as the Locomotive pulling the train, the cars that follow are boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. The covetous are vocally and loudly proud, putting themselves first over their neighbor and over civil law. We saw this type of behavior during 2019 as “peaceful but fiery protests” destroyed property and lives in America. These were blasphemers, caring little what God in His Word has said. They were disobedient to parents as children, and ever unthankful and unholy.

As the Apostle describes the latter day human, he says that they are:

2 Timothy 3:3 … Without natural affection …

This is a reference to the deviant pursuits of human sexuality we see so commonly today. Natural affection is the divine design of male and female in marital union. The Apostle tells us in

Romans 1:21-22, 24, 26-27 (ESV) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, … 24 God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, … 26 God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

God meant for us to desire, but we are to
desire according to His design

God made Adam, then made Eve out of Adam’s rib. Man should desire woman as his missing part. But when humanity turned away from God’s design, and in covetousness sought out self pleasure rather than the pleasure of the presence of God, then God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done(Romans 1:28).

When God’s most basic design is rejected, humanity goes into a tailspin from morality. A recent poll by Summit Ministries found that “Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Believe Transgenderism Isn’t Healthy, But One-Third Keep Views to Themselves”. The article further noted that “90% Oppose Gender Alteration Procedures for Minors, and 72% Oppose Gender Identity Curriculum in Classrooms”. Yet few say anything against it. The Christian, however, is called of God to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). This is not a popular thing to do. But if we love others as we should, as Jesus does, we will speak the truth while holding forth “the Word of Life” (Philippians 2:16; 1 John 1:1). It will not be easy, because all around us we see …

2 Timothy 3:3-4 … truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent {ἀκρατής akratḗs, {pronounced ak-rat’-ace}, without self control}, fierce {ἀνήμερος anḗmeros, {pronounced an-ay’-mer-os}, savage}, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high minded {τυφόω typhóō, {pronounced toof-o’-o}, to be wrapped up in smoke or in a mist, clouded in their thinking}, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Several denominations of churches have responded to the darkness in America by compromising Biblical truths. The Gospel has the power to change a soul, no matter how that soul is enslaved. We are not to compromise the truths of the Scripture, but are to rest on them.

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

John Stonestreet of Breakpoint Daily notes:

What can we do if a civilization is disintegrating around us? … rather than withdraw from the challenges around us, we continue to give whatever good we can to the world. William Wilberforce, for example, not only lobbied against the slave trade but also fought to advance moral values in a corrupt nation. Our best efforts may not succeed, but that’s not why we do it. We do it out of love for God and neighbor. … we must reject small compromises. Hannah Arendt wrote about the “banality of evil,” how in certain cultural moments, evil advances in mundane and seemingly harmless ways. … We must be faithful to what {God} asks us to do, to what {God} asks us to believe, and to how {God} instructs us to live. In all of these things, we take up life at this moment as part of our calling. We are here because it is the time and place He ordained for us. And so, we move forward, keeping our eyes on the One who perfects and finishes our faith, Who will bring history to its final culmination.”

We Must Not Be False Prophets

No matter how enticing it may be, we as believers must not be false prophets, kowtowing to the whims of our age. Jesus was most critical of the …

Matthew 7:15 … false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

True Children of God have love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith(1 Timothy 1:5). The false prophet serves neither God nor their neighbor, but their own belly, their own fame. Paul indicts the false prophets of his day, saying …

2 Timothy 3:6-8 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

False prophets always stand in the way of the growth of God’s Kingdom. When Moses went to Pharaoh with the message, “let the people of Israel go out of his land” (Exodus 6:11), Pharaoh refused to hear Moses because he had false prophets at his side. When Aaron threw down his staff so that it became a snake, Pharaoh called for the false prophets Jannes and Jambres”. They threw down their staffs, which in turn became snakes. But Aaron’s staff turned snake ate the snakes of Jannes and Jambres. God’s power is forever superior to the powers of darkness! Paul said:

2 Timothy 3:9-11 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. 10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

Though the false prophets may appear to win for a time, in the end God and His people will stand victorious. Consider the Apostle Paul’s life. He ministered faithfully for God, and saw many local Churches established to the glory of God. But Paul suffered persecutions and afflictions throughout his ministry. Paul told the Church at Corinth:

2 Corinthians 11:24-27 (NIV) Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

Outwardly Paul’s ministry looked like a failure. He ended up in Rome, and was ordered beheaded by the Roman Caesar. Yet in the end God used Paul to do great things for the Kingdom of God. Evil cannot win this battle, for evil and godlessness eventually spins downward into rot and destruction. The Apostle ends with these words:

2 Timothy 3:12-17 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

That which brings blessing to us, and to this world, is the Word of God. Let us stand firm on its teachings, trusting in the God Who wrote the text through 40 different Prophets and Apostles. It is faith in the teachings of the Word of God that brings salvation to a soul. It is faith in the teachings of the Word of God that brings light and blessing into this world. May God draw us close to Him through His Spirit and 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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