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.

- IF WE? -

Intro:

I think that the majority of Christian's who have heard that they are to be a peculiar people, think that they are to be peculiar to God. More than not, they resemble things that the scriptures do not describe, for instance:

 

Fence Riders: Many Christian's set high atop a fence, balancing between the things of this world and the perfect will of God. They have not fully conformed to the world, yet seem intent on testing the waters. Although things of the world are not all evil of themselves; when they impede our growth and our understanding of the need to be separate and holy, there lies the evil!

 

Sissies: There is a strange notion among those of the body of Christ that because they obeyed the Gospel's call; everything will always be great (physically). So the moment they are challenged concerning their faith, they buckle and waver. Fear of men and confrontation cause them to hide their faith in a corner and only come out when things are passive and good for them.

 

Igmoes: Yes, I know that this is not an actual word and it made my spell check go crazy, however, in the past my son used this word to describe people who were ignorant to certain facts. I believe that this word describes many Christians, when they are content to allow someone else (men) to know things for them. Because of this; they are assuming, instead of knowing.

 

Twisters: These are Christians that are never content unless turmoil and dissension are the rule of the day. It doesn't matter if they agree or disagree as long as they can keep things mixed up and un-settled.

 

Porcupines: These are Christians that cannot find any joy to live for (because they cannot see it or taste of it), and thus, they always have their quills up. They are grumpy, prejudice, and un-caring towards others. Even though this is contrary to everything a Christian is to stand for, they practice participation because they think they have to; instead of knowing they have been blessed to.

 

This is not what the scriptures had in mind when describing a peculiar people. These people are not peculiar to the world but to God. So what did God have in mind and how do we achieve it? This will be the purpose of this lesson. We will not only examine God's intent in creating His own special people, but how they were to overcome their own destructive nature to become His offspring.

 

Goal:

2 Timothy 2:11-13 “This is a faithful saying:

For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”

This is a little different than other lessons. We are going to look at the finished result, and then go back and look at the illustrations given that help us understand how to achieve the goal. Our text for this lesson will be II Timothy 2:1-13 .

You will notice that in our goal portion of this text; Paul notes four things we are to achieve. Two are positive (these, we are to strive to reach), and two are negative (these, we are to strive to avoid). Within the body of this faithful saying (a saying based on truth) is the fullness of what we as Christians are trying to achieve.

To die and live with Him is given to describe our new life in Christ. This began when we died to our sins; and was buried in the watery grave of baptism, then arose as new creatures with citizenship in a heavenly kingdom.

This was after the very pattern of Jesus Christ our Lord, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the bitter pill of the cross of Calvary , that He might be raised from the dead as proof that He was the Son of God ( Romans 1:4 ). He was then glorified by God to His right hand, where He reigns over His kingdom.

It is for us to understand the privilege of citizenship and thus live as productive citizens, wrapped up in the banner of Christ our Lord ( Colossians 3:1-3 ), until He calls us home. It is this motivation that causes us to be able to seek to endure all things for the sake of the Gospel's message of life in Christ, that by our faithful life we may one day reign with Him. This is described by Paul in the life of Christ and in His own life as the called of Christ for the Gospel, note:

2 Timothy 2:7-10 Consider what I say , and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. 8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer , even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

This is what it means to be faithful. Faith is derived from a knowledge of God's word ( Romans 10:17 ), which teaches us ( Titus 2:12 -14 ) all we need to know to be productive citizens within the kingdom of heaven. This gives us the motivation to then act in the best interest of the One who loved us. We then strive to live in enduring obedience; in order to achieve the goal. If we are so busy doing this, we cannot exhibit the traits we mentioned in the opening.

However, if not; we find ourselves flirting with the last two things we must strive to avoid.

To deny Him does not just take place in word. If we know Him and His expectations and willingly choose to ignore or deny His teaching, He will deny us, note:

Hebrews 10:26 “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins ,”

If we then are faithless or unproductive by the standards of Christ's teaching; He will remain faithful to His word, note:

2 Corinthians 5:10 “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.”

These things are given as our ultimate goal to achieve as a peculiar people to the world, but known to God as His children and productive stewards.

 

Illustrative Instruction:

You may have noticed by now that we have actually examined the text of this lesson in reverse. We are going to continue this by now going to the illustrations that Paul gave young Timothy in order that he may achieve and teach the goals of this faithful saying.

Here is what we must look for in this instruction to Timothy that will enhance our ability to achieve these goals as well. First we must understand that we are examining scripture (heavenly revelation that God has given to guide us), and from this scripture we harvest knowledge. When this knowledge is combined with illustrations and approved examples, we additionally develop wisdom (application of knowledge). Finally, when knowledge is added to practical application and then is enhanced by the privilege to be part of God's great plan for the salvation of man; we have all the tools necessary to overcome ourselves, this world, and bring about necessary changes to achieve our goal.

Knowledge + Wisdom + Motivation = Goal .

Learning this procedure and applying it to this passage of scripture as well as others in our efforts to grow as stewards; is what makes Christians special to God!

 

Illustrations:

Paul notes to young Timothy that at this time in the history of the church; there is a large movement in Asia , where many are turning away from the sound words of the Gospel (the apostasy is already at work, II Thessalonians 2:7 ; II Timothy 1:13 -15 ). Since young Timothy was right in the heart of Asia ( Ephesus ), he was commanded by Paul to hold fast the pattern of sound words; to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Moreover, he was to commit (charge to properly holding the inspired word) these same sound words to faithful men who would also be able in the face of this growing apostasy, to teach others ( 1:13 ; 2:1-2 ).

By learning from the illustrations that Paul would give young Timothy in his fight for the Gospel, we can begin to use our formula for success in an equally perverted world of denominations and apostasy.

 

•  Soldier.

2 Timothy 2:3-4 “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier .”

When we think of a good soldier, we generally think of one who is focused and disciplined to the task at hand. We know that distractions cause defeat, thus these traits must be trained into the first reactions of any good soldier.

This illustration goes strait towards the fence riders and sissies.

The war we are engaged in is against the world (human wisdom, physical lusts, and worldly riches). This is not a physical war! This is a war of separation! That is, we are not be entangled, caught up, or bound by the affairs of this life.

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world , but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

In addition, this is not a fight that it is acceptable to hide from. We are to abhor evil ( Romans 12:9 )! This practice must reign in the lives of all Christians (how we speak, how we vote, and how we live). We must remember the example of the Apostles of Christ ( Acts 5:22 -32 ), who did not take up the sword of the hand, but stood firmly in the sword of the Spirit and said, “ We ought to obey God rather than men ”.

You cannot be a good soldier on behalf of Christ (who enlisted you to salvation through His Gospel), if you are playing both sides of the fence, or are afraid to stand fast in the truth of God's word.

 

•  Athlete.

2 Timothy 2:5 “And also if anyone competes in athletics , he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules .”

Apart from modern day athletics (with few exceptions), a good athlete is not just the one who wants to win the most. He is diligent to compete with his all, but most important with good sportsmanship, and diligence of character (obeying all the rules). This was true in Paul's time. It wasn't the athlete with the greatest desire and zeal, as any violation of the rules of the game constituted forfeiture and disgraceful loss. It was the athlete with the greatest desire to win combined with the un-yielding desire to adhere without wavering to the rules of competition.

This is directed strait at the igmoes, and twisters.

First, you cannot accurately compete, unless you know the rules! We have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness ( II Peter 1:3 – the rules). There is no excuse to trust another with what you should know. In addition, zeal alone is never enough! The “I Thinkers” out there should pay particular attention. “I think it would be alright if we did this”, or “I don't think this would be wrong”, etc… Note what Paul had to say concerning Israel :

Romans 10:1-3 “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God , but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness , and seeking to establish their own righteousness , have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”

This ignorance, whether intentional or indirect has been the birth on hundreds of denominations and the thousands who follow them. Note what Paul would instruct Timothy, and thus instruct us:

2 Timothy 2:14-15 “Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit , to the ruin of the hearers . 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth .”

Secondly, to compete based on the rules is to live by them. To live by them is to be governed by them; thus to submit to them. This is why Paul would give specific instructions towards those who do not wish to submit to the perfect will of God, note:

Romans 16:17 “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses , contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.”

2 Thessalonians 3:6 “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.”

Note how we should compete:

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it . 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown .”

•  Farmer.

2 Timothy 2:6 “The hard-working farmer must be first to partake of the crops.”

Ask yourself this! When does the hard working farmer partake of the crops? How about after everything has been done to bring forth the harvest. Now consider; what farmer works so diligently to bring forth his crop and has no idea of the fruit (value) of his crop.

This is directly to the porcupines.

‘O you poor Christians that have no real appreciation of the blessing that has been delivered you'. ‘O you of little faith, that find no joy in the commandments of the Lord'.

‘What vain thing has been delivered to you?' ‘Has God not given enough on your behalf?' ‘What on this earth can hold any value to you in place of the offering of His Son?'

‘How then can you be un-happy or without joy, even in the face of tribulations in this life?'

The farmer works diligently in the field because he knows with all assurance the value of the fruit that will come forth. Likewise, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, we also have an assurance that we also will live with Him and our labor is not in vain, note:

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord .”

2 Peter 1:3-4 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness , through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue , 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises , that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

2 Peter 1:10-11 “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ .”

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God , that we keep His commandments . And His commandments are not burdensome.”

2 John 5-6 “And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another . 6 This is love , that we walk according to His commandments . This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”

 

Summary:

•  If we endure hardships as a good soldier of Christ, overcoming this world with courage and discipline, we shall reign with Him.

•  If we compete by the rules (which we must know ourselves) and race towards the upward calling of the Gospel we may live with Him.

•  If we work diligently in the fields, motivated by the hope of harvest with all joy and brotherly kindness, He will confess us.

•  If we remember Christ's love, and rely and trust His word, our faith will allow us to overcome.

Remember:

2 Timothy 2:11-13

This is a faithful saying :

 

For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”