SHARPER THAN A SWORD

SERMONS

Hebrews 4:12-13 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE!

2 Timothy 4:7

- I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH -

As we enter into this, the last lesson from Paul’s closing words to His dear son in the faith, Timothy, we want to look at three very important points; starting with something that has been present in each of these lessons; “I”.


Individual Responsibility -

Paul states that “I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7. He is literally saying, me, an individual, and a committee of one!

Where has Individual Responsibility Gone?

We have become a society of, [it’s not my fault]; [it’s not my responsibility]; and [I’m a victim]. Well my dear brethren, we are not guided by the whims and trends of society!

The “I Have” declares loudly for all of us, a lesson in personal responsibility!

This is not only something Paul stated at the close of his life, but something he continually demonstrated and taught the saints.

1 Thessalonians 2:10You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe”

1 Corinthians 4:1-2Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”

1 Corinthians 4:6Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.”

2 Corinthians 5:9-11Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.”

Ephesians 4:16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

Paul did not blame those around him in order to fail (2 Timothy 2:17), he did not complain about being forsaken as a reason to fail (2 Timothy 4:10), nor did he use the mistreatment he received to toss off his responsibility (2 Timothy 4:14). It was in spite of all this that he was able to say “I have kept the faith”.

Nothing should ever be done to diminish or minimize the individual’s responsibility in their service to the Lord! This is one of the greatest lessons we can learn for a proper “Christian Life”. 1 Corinthians 13:13, instead of faith, hope, and love; there are far too many Christians, who are practicing faith, hope, and LUCK!!!


The Faith

Now, I don’t want to make light of a very serious subject; however, based on today’s standards for this particular subject, there is no telling what Paul has kept! There seem to be as many non-biblical applications for the subject of faith as there are stars in the sky.

Rather than look at all the misapplied versions of this subject, we want to draw our attention to a couple of very specific Biblical understandings.

God’s word creates for all who are trained by it, an extremely unique vernacular (a standard native language). This is a language of unity, and of singularity, after the nature of God Himself, note:

Ephesians 4:3-6endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Just as all the ‘Ones’ listed by the Apostle Paul, there cannot be many faiths, but a singular one! This same rule is used to describe ‘Doctrine’ (always in the singular when referring to that which comes from God – Doctrine of Christ, 2 John 9; Doctrine of the Apostles, Acts 2:42; the plural form of doctrine is only used in scripture associated with that which comes from men or ungodly sources, Colossians 2:22; 1 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 13:9), and to describe the ‘Gospel’ (also always used in the singular, when referring to the Gospel of Christ, Romans 1:16; anything apart from the singular use of this term is designated as such, Galatians 1:6; “Different Gospel”).

Now, since we now know that there is only [one faith], and Hebrews 11:6, tells us that we have to have it in order to please God, how do we do away with the nonsense and come to an understanding of the ONE FAITH?

Exercise –

Galatians 1:11But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.”

Paul states here to the brethren in Galatia that the Gospel (singular) is what Paul preached and that it was not of human origin.

Galatians 1:16to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood”

Here Paul identifies beyond a shadow of a doubt the singular subject of the Gospel is God’s Son. This corresponds with the subject that Paul opened his letter to the Roman Christians with: see – Romans 1:1-6; which also states that the Gospel could not be preached without preaching obedience to [the faith]; Romans 1:5.

Galatians 1:23But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.”

Finally, as Paul relates to the Christians in the churches of Galatia, the circumstances surrounding his conversion, commission, and then the attempts to join brethren; he reveals the words of those who remembered him when he was guilty of persecuting them. Note what these early Christians recognized the Gospel to be; “The Faith”.

The Good News, the Gospel, is The Faith!

It is the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ that Paul, at the end of his life, states he has kept. Every command given by God for our benefit (1 John 5:3), every transformational bit of knowledge given through the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and every good work he was created in Christ Jesus to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10). There is nothing in ‘The Faith’ that describes anything passive, everything is active; which becomes a segue to the final point.


Kept the Faith –

We now know what [the faith] is; but Paul also wants us to comprehend in his own demonstrated life, which having the faith is only a part, there is the expectation that one keeps it as well! This establishes the difference in Christians in word and Christians in practice!!! See: James 1:22.

It can easily be said that the greatest detriment to the cause of Christ, is that of hypocrisy. This is true in every facet of our service to the Lord; note the words of John concerning the practice of Christian love:

1 John 3:18My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

Since we now know for sure that ‘The Faith’ is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we must also appreciate that it contains a comprehensive system unto salvation. It comes to all men in two distinct portions:

The Gospel of Jesus Christ was that which was to be brought to every man and every nation for the purpose of creating out of them, disciples – Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 26:17-18.

Jesus commanded His chosen that as they taught, then baptized, they were to continue to teach all that they had been commanded by Him (The Doctrine of Christ) – Matthew 28:20; Romans 6:17-18; 2 John 9.

With this clear understanding of the internal workings of ‘The Faith’, we can go to the instruction of the Apostle Paul to see just how he kept ‘The Faith’.

Romans 10:9-10that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Three important things come out of this vital instruction!

1.      Heart –

The Bible understanding of the heart is not the blood pump we know the word to represent; it was the essence of an individual, their center, and where everything they are originates (the inner man). To this, we learn that centered in that place of origin, God is expected to be sanctified (a created holy of holies in our heart, where God is supreme), 1 Peter 3:15.

2.     Vocation –

We, as servants of the Lord are taught to make our “calling” an election sure, 2 Peter 1:10. The word calling comes from the Greek understanding of a vocation. To literally be known by what you do! Here in our text it is confirmed that soul saving obedience is demonstrated in righteousness (being right with God, as demonstrated), thus the servant of God’s vocation!

3.     Vocalization –

Noticeably and purposefully, the last of the instructions in souls saving obedience is the vocalization of whom we are and whom we serve. In other words, if the first two points are not in order, it does not matter what we may state orally; however, if the first two are in order, they speak as loudly as our words.


What We Learn –

Our valediction is being written every day we draw breath. We know, as we have known since obeying the Gospel, what it is we are to keep! This is the epitome of individual responsibility.

We were converted to ‘The Faith’; we are to be devoted to ‘The Faith’!

Paul’s own life is an illustration of the importance of using every tool at our disposal (Ephesians 6:10-20; 2 Peter 1:5-11), in order to truly ‘Keep The Faith’.

The Christian life is one spent in preparation for this same day as Paul has also prepared for. Live to say:

2 Timothy 4:7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”