If we all followed these instructions, our world would be a much better and happier place. We need to treat everyone with respect and love, particularly those that are less fortunate than we are. If each of us practiced this and handed down a tradition of helping to our children, God would be much more pleased with our lifestyles. Jesus said that not feeding the hungry, not clothing the naked, not giving drink to the thirsty, not visiting the sick and in prison, was the same as not doing it for Him. The only way that we can show love and kindness to Jesus is to show love and kindness to those around us.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
We should not only teach the Word, we should live the Word, so that those around us will want to know Jesus. Our age, be it young or old chronologically, should not be a handicap to our living a Holy lifestyle. There are people who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior but they make little or no progress from that point. We are to focus on studying the Scriptures and using the spiritual gifts that God has given to each one of us. If any of us refuse to do our part as a member of Christ’s body, then the body is not whole and it is weak. As Paul told Timothy “give your complete attention to these things and throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see our growth”. For our own sake and the sake of those around us, we must stay true to what we know to be the truth. Our walk and our talk should be holy. As Francis of Assisi said “Preach the Gospel, even if you have to use words.”
As time passes and the return of Jesus gets closer and closer, we can expect that satan will increase his efforts to turn people away from the Gospel of Jesus. He will do this by increasing persecution, deception, and false teachings. We see these things increasing all over the world each day. More and more of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being imprisoned and martyred each day. We even read of things here in our country that earlier generations would have thought impossible. There are so many people whose consciences have become”seared” over. This speaks to a condition where people have gotten to the point that they feel no remorse for the wrongs that they do. Everything God created is good, but some of those things can be used for evil. Money. power, authority, sex were created to be used for good, but in the hands of some, they become evil. We must be very careful not to require more for a person to be saved than what Jesus requires. Believe that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified on a cross, was buried, arose after 3 days and later ascended to heaven where He sits at the right hand of God. That is all that is necessary for salvation. Anything else, is doctrine or works, which may or not be good, but they certainly can’t save you. We need to spend time with Jesus each day so that we are not easily deceived.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul instructs and encourages us to pray for all people continuously. We should intercede for family, friends, neighbors, and enemies that God would draw them to Himself through the Holy Spirit that they may be saved. We should especially pray for those in authority over us. Not just governmental authorities, but we should also pray for those in authority over us in our family, church, and workplace. Because it is God’s desire for everyone to be saved, it should also be our desire and our prayer. Jesus is the only Mediator between us and God because He loved us enough to be obedient, even to death on the Cross. This plan was put into place before the foundations of the world were laid. God was never surprised at the evil of humanity and knew even when He created us that He would have to give His only Son for our redemption. How magnificent and awesome is the love of God toward us! Our lips should be a source of constant praise for His goodness and mercy!
Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus to continue teaching and mentoring the new converts there. Paul did not want the new converts to be swayed by those who taught false doctrines. These were the people who based their standing on religious traditions and their heritage. As Paul tells Timothy, we are to edify one another in our new faith. We do this by showing love, and having a pure heart that keeps us from straying from our belief in Jesus Christ. People desire to be teachers when they have a need for instruction themselves. They become jealous of new leaders and try to sway people from the truth with their false doctrines. Be sure to check everything that you are taught and be sure it aligns with Scripture. Test every spirit to be sure it is coming from God and not satan.
Paul warns the new converts about idle minds and idle hands. We should show others the love of Jesus Christ by being a good example to them. Paul worked as a tentmaker to buy his own food. He admonishes us to always be a help and not a burden to those around us. We should encourage each other in doing good deeds and helping unbelievers. If there are those among us who are unable to work either permanently or temporarily, we need to help provide their needs. Jesus tells us that when we do this for others here on earth, it is the same as doing it for Him. We should always be working for our Lord and Savior. James tells us:
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.-James 4:17 (NKJV)
When we see a need, we need to meet that need to the best of our ability. Doing good works here on earth is how we lay up rewards in heaven.
None of us have reached perfection and we won’t as long as we inhabit these tents of flesh. Therefore, we need the prayers of our Christian brothers and sisters just as they need us to pray for them. We need Spiritual and physical strength to carry on God’s Kingdom work here on earth. “The harvest is great, but the workers are few” so we need to pray and ask God to send laborers into the fields.(Matt 9:37,38 paraphrased). We need to ask God to guard our thoughts because the mind is the spiritual battlefield where our personal battles are won or lost. The Lord is faithful. He has promised that we will not be tempted above our ability to resist and that He will always provide a way out for us. We don’t always find the way out because the flesh gets great pleasure from wallowing in its old sinful ways. We need to pray for each other that we will continue to do the things that God has commanded us to do. When we practice doing the right things, we receive more understanding and patience which allows us to better show sinners the greatness of God’s love toward us and them.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
One of the reasons I love Paul’s letters is the fact that right in the middle of telling us how bad it is and how much worse it could be, he suddenly stops, (and I believe) he just shouts it out. REJOICE! If our laboring for the Lord does not bring us joy, we need to realign our priorities. One of the ways we quench the Spirit is to refuse to be joyful in our walk with God. We should test everything we hear, Does your pastor’s sermons always line up with the Word of God? You should check every comment I make and see if it really fits with the Scriptures. The more we study God’s Word, the more we will see why Paul was always content regardless of his situation. God will give us His peace, and we are blameless in God’s eyes because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Fear not, God is faithful, He will do what He says He will do. If we remain faithful, we will reap our crowns (rewards) in heaven.
Most Christians in the Western World have not experienced the kind of persecution to which Paul is referring. Probably the worst persecution that we receive is losing (temporarily, hopefully) the friendship of someone close to us because of our belief in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul is talking about those early Christians who gave their lives for the Gospel. I would guess that most of us have wondered, at some time or other, how far we would go for the Gospel. Would I really lay down my life for Jesus? Paul tells us that we should consider our physical bodies as dead already.
3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.– Col. 3:3 NKJV
Since this is true, we should consider our physical bodies already dead. But our Spirit will always be alive because of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. So, if we are attempting to live the lifestyle that Jesus wants us to, isn’t the decision already made? We agreed to die with Christ and mortify (put to death) our fleshly desires so that we will be raised with Christ in our new immortal bodies. It is all about faith and trust. Will God do what He said or not? The answer is “Yes, of course, He will.” In His mercy, He will protect and perfect us and in His justice, He will repay the persecutors.
We must remain humble where God has put us. We need to learn “to bloom where we are planted”. In other words, we should work diligently where we are until God moves us. Be obedient to those He has ordained to be over us. Since we are all parts of one body, we must work together in unity and unison to accomplish the work God has for us. If it is truly God’s work, it is not just “busy” work. If we do our part, God will certainly do His part. Work well and willingly with others. Encourage and help others with patience and love. We must always seek to do good to others and let God take care of the rest. Even though we may never see what becomes of the other person, the one thing that we can be sure of is this: God will not be mocked, each of us will reap what we sow.