The Holy Spirit used the apostle Paul while he was in a Roman prison to intercede with Philemon on behalf of Onesimus. This is a beautiful example of intercession, and a great picture of how Christ Jesus intercedes before the Father on our behalf. Paul said, “Receive him as you would me” in other words; “I will stand in his place.” Then Paul said, “If he has wronged you or owes you anything, put that on my account” (Philemon). Satan accuses Christians before God day and night (Rev.12). But Christ took our sins upon Himself, paying the penalty on our behalf. He is at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. (Heb.7) “Jesus said: put their sins on My account”.
The Holy Spirit is in the process of transforming each one of His children from what we used to be into what God wants us to be – (Titus 3). I’m not yet complete, as far as my progress is concerned, but the process of renewal is underway, to conform me into the image of Jesus Christ. I’m not yet what I should be, but thank God, I’m not what I used to be. And I know that since God has begun a good work in me, He promised to finish it (Phil.1:6). God is in the process of making me a new creation”. Pastor Chuck 1927-2013 – He is complete
Christians should be living and looking for the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ just as He promised. We are to live and look for “The glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2). When we live our life believing that Jesus could come back at any time, it gives us a sense of urgency to share the Gospel with anyone who will listen, because time is short. This also gives us a right perspective on the material world, and ‘building bigger barns’ like the rich fool of Luke 12. Living & Looking for Christ also has a purifying effect on our lives, because we don’t want to be caught in sin when Christ returns. We know our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ could come at any moment, and that anticipation will make all the difference in the way we live day to day.
Titus had to confront deluded people who believed that nothing is pure. They denied the new Christians in Crete basic & Godly pleasures that were not sin. (Titus 1) Timothy had to deal with the same kind of people. Paul wrote Timothy about those “forbidding Christians to marry, and commanding them to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe, and know the truth” (1 Tim 4:3). Paul knew that if a Christian walked in the purity of Christ, all these things were pure to him. But to legalists (defiled & unbelieving), nothing is pure. The problem was with their defiled minds, not with the things. When Paul says “all things are pure” he does not mean pornography, illicit drugs, etc. are pure. Paul means those things which are permitted by Scripture, but forbidden by the defiled minds of legalists. “To the pure all things are pure, and they will be kept in purity. To the impure, and defiled every one of them may be seen as an act of impurity.” Morgan
The Bible tells us that in the Last Days people will only listen to teachers who will tell them what they want to hear. This perfectly describes the “seeker friendly” movement today. They send 10,000 letters out into a community asking people what they want in a church. They may receive 5,000 responses, & out of the 5,000 they may get 500 to commit to coming for a period of time, if the church can give them what they want. And so the church entertains the people, telling them what they want to hear (2 Tim.4). But it is like cotton candy; sweet, but without substance, and it will make you sick & weak. We need a healthy variety in our spiritual diet to be strong enough to finish the Race & win the Battle. Only the Bible gives us everything we need for a strong, Spiritual Life (Act 2:42 & 2 Peter 1:3). God warned against the day theater would take the place of Bible teaching. If the message to the church is dictated by the “felt needs” of those who attend, no one will ever be transformed, and made spiritually strong enough to finish the Spiritual Race and win the Spiritual War
The Bible says that in the Last Days people will have a form of godliness but deny its power. (2 Tim.3) That describes much of the church today. They observe religious rituals to look like they fear God, but they have no Spiritual power. Churches often just become social centers, where people can go, and hear some motivational speakers, and maybe some inspirational music, but the power of the Living God is not there. You may be motivated to live ‘Your Best Life Now’, or learn about raising your children or investing your money. And sometimes it is good advice; but the Power of the Holy Spirit of God is not there. Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15). Christians must realize we need the power of God’s Spirit working in our lives. To ignore that only teaches us how to get along without God, and without Him we cannot do anything righteous & meaningful.
In the Old King James Version of the Bible, 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God..” In the New King James Version it says “Be diligent”, both phrases convey the message that we are to make a sincere effort to please our Lord, Jesus Christ. Studying God’s Word will take our time and effort if we sincerely desire to “rightly divide the Word of Truth.” Distractions to our studying and Spiritual growth must be recognized and avoided. And know this; that when we read the Word of God and study it, Jesus is pleased, because we are growing spiritually. He can bless our lives when we work on knowing and practicing His Word.
Paul could rightfully speak of afflictions because he endured many by the hands of the enemies of the Gospel of God. With Paul these afflictions took the form of beatings, imprisonments, shipwreck; dangers in the city, the wilderness, at sea; and among false brethren; also hunger, thirst, cold and nakedness. In Western civilization today our afflictions are of a different nature. But in most of the world our brothers suffer the same as then. Paul writes to Timothy, and Christians everywhere; “Accept your suffering in the strength of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of the Gospel.” Paul was writing during a time of great persecution, and Timothy would suffer greatly as a Christian. God’s Word teaches us that we must also experience affliction; and by it, we will learn Christian discipline. The seed of God’s Word has been planted in us, but that seed must grow. And the best soil for spiritual growth is affliction. Accept it with the power of God, and share the Gospel with those who persecute you.
We evangelical Christians need make no apology for our beliefs. They come in a direct line from the apostles. We can check the tenets of our faith against the beliefs of all of the church fathers, and they will check out one by one. Then check them all with Holy Scripture, and again they will prove solid. What then is the trouble that lies over the church? The answer is we are too relaxed, and too comfortable. We hold the faith of our fathers, but it does not hold us. Are we spiritually blind? God has committed the most precious of all treasures to us, but we are not committed to it. God has set eternity in our hearts, and we have chosen earthly things instead. Jesus wants us to be attracted to a glorious tomorrow, but we settle for a dull today. We improvise and muddle along, hoping for heaven, but not eager to get there. We are correct in doctrine but weary of prayer, and bored with God. Oh Lord give us ears to hear & eyes to see!
Paul was giving a very serious charge to Timothy. He said “I charge you before God,” and if that wasn’t enough, “the Lord Jesus Christ,” and finally, “the elect angels.” What was this charge? “That you observe these things without prejudice!” The exhortation was against showing favoritism to some. (1 Tim.5) Every person is equal in the eyes of God. So if a servant of God shows favoritism than they are misrepresenting God. It is important that we understand that everyone is of equal importance in the eyes of the Lord. God loves us all, He doesn’t have any favorites. We should follow Christ’ example. Christians should treat everyone, regardless of their position in life, with respect. To do any less is to offend our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.