Jul 19th, 2020
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 87 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes, or so, we are going to be talking about serving the Lord.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 CSB Paul writes to Timothy, “ All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correction, for training in righteousness,  so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” The word “man” there in the original language isn’t exclusively male, but more literally “human being.” The phrase, “man of God” was historically used to refer to those serving as prophets but could loosely refer to anyone serving the Lord. So if you’re planning on serving the Lord then listen up.
When Paul writes this to Timothy he’s calling back to a point that he made earlier in chapter 2, 2 Timothy 2:20-21 CSB, “ Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also those of wood and clay; some for honorable use and some for dishonorable.  So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” In chapter 3 Paul is bringing Timothy back around to this idea that in order to be useful for the work of the Lord we have to be set apart – purified, and the way to approach this is to immerse ourselves in the teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness found in the scripture.
But all that teaching, rebuking, correction, and training doesn’t amount to a hill of beans until it’s put into action. Or as James puts it in the book of James 2:17 CSB, “ In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.” True faith leads to works. Or more specifically, if we back up to verse 14 James says, “ What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him?  If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food  and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,’ but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it?” He wasn’t saying that works is required to achieve salvation. But the other way around, he questions if you aren’t producing good works then were you ever really saved to begin with.
Luke 3:11 CSB says, “ (John The Baptist) told them, ‘The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.’” That would be a work. In 1 John 3:16-18 CSB the Revelator writes, “ This how we have come to know love: (Christ) laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him – how does God’s love reside in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth.” Similarly, but with a harsh tone towards religion, Paul writes in Galatians 5:6 CSB, “ For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.”
James didn’t seem to be very happy about religion either, at the end of writing about “putting your money where your mouth is” in relation to scripture, in James 1:26-27 CSB he wrote, “ If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceived himself.  Pure and undefiled religion before God the father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
It’s not enough to just say you’re a Christian, or share one off scriptures on social media. It’s not enough to make videos explaining your doctrinally based theological beliefs, especially when it leads to arguments with other Christians over semantics. It’s not a good thing to argue why your sect of Christianity is valid, or that another’s isn’t. It’s not profitable to spend your time pointing out heretical teachers and exposing their heresies. Standing on a street corner yelling about sin, is not sharing the Gospel. All of these things when James says that if you can’t control your tongue, you’ve deceived yourself into thinking that you’re a Christian. These would also fall under the “word or speech,” from 1 John 3:18 we read earlier as ways that we aren’t supposed to “love.” Were supposed to love in action and truth, when we see the hungry were supposed to give them something to eat, and the thirsty something to drink. When we see strangers down on their luck, we’re supposed to invite them in. When we see those who are naked, were supposed to clothe them. We’re supposed to take care of the sick and visit those in prison. We’re supposed to provide for and defend orphans. We’re supposed to look after widows, but honestly anyone whose lost a spouse or child and is struggling could probably use a friend. Were supposed to be like the good Samaritan, who came across someone who was supposed to be their enemy. Beaten and broken on the side of the rode, he took him to the inn and paid for them to stay there until they got better. That is the kind of love we are supposed to be showing. That is the action that were supposed to be taking.
In the end you won’t be remembered for the arguments or feuds that you were in, those are worthless. You might be remembered for something you wrote or some piece of entertainment you appeared in, but that too is probably worthless. You certainly won’t be remembered for your time bent over backwards for your employer trying to earn favor or a few extra dollars. Strive to be someone who we can honestly quote 1 Thessalonians 1:3 about at your funeral. Someone whose work was produced by faith, whose labor was motivated by love, and whose endurance was inspired by hope in Jesus.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”