Paul warns Timothy against materialism and teaches, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." Paul gives a word of exhortation for the rich: Do you possess the wealth or does the wealth possess you? Between the first appearing of Christ when salvation came and the second appearing when Christ returns, there is the appearing of God through you and through me, His peculiar people. The emphasis of Pauls letter to Titus is that godly oversight means godly overseers.
Philemon is the fourth of Pauls prison epistles, a brief and dynamic letter Onesimus took in his hand when he went back to his master, a wealthy believer. Although a short letter, it is long on its social application and its social implications. The fact that God has made us creatures of choice who make deliberate choices seems to be very important to Paul. Jesus Christ is the only Solution we have to our personnel or relational problems.
In this session we survey the last letter of the Apostle Paul. As Paul writes his second letter to Timothy he knows his days are numbered. Paul uses illustrations of a soldier, athlete and a farmer to emphasize the disciplined, difficult and patient work of living out the Gospel as disciples of Jesus Christ. There are rules for the life in Christ, and one of them is you must pick up your cross and be willing to follow and suffer for Him.
In Second Timothy, Paul is reminding Timothy of instruction already received. Paul instructs that God has a unique plan as to who, what and where we should be. Scripture is a living power, brings new birth and builds up those who have been born again. Paul says, I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith and, I have stayed true to Him. I have won the fight and the victor's crown.
Hebrews, The Mysterious Masterpiece, more than any other book in the Bible, ties the Old and New Testaments together. The Book of Hebrews presents Jesus Christ as the Messiah Who was prophesied in the Old Testament, as the Lord Who was revealed in the New Testament and as the coming King of kings Who is going to come again. Faith is one of its themes and there are three key words: better, believe and beware that guide our study.
The Book of Hebrews is filled with exhortations and warnings about the subtlety of apostasy. The mission of the book is also to strip false assurance from those who had not yet made a commitment of faith. Exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. His exhortation throughout is directed to professing believers who have not yet been born again because they stop short of saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Hebrews says to discouraged, persecuted people, Do not throw away your faith because a great cloud of witnesses surrounds us! Hebrews chapter eleven is known as the "faith chapter", and gives reasons why we should hold on to our faith. Faith saves and gives substance to our hope. We must live by faith. The author gives many examples of what faith can mean and what faith can do. The author closes with an exhortation to obey those who are our spiritual shepherds.
The intensely practical Epistle of James has been referred to by some as The Proverbs of the New Testament. It is like a running commentary on the teachings of Jesus Christ, especially the Sermon on the Mount. James tells us about the sources and the sequences of salvation. James addresses suffering and tells you to "count it all joy" when you experience these temptations. We are to welcome our trials as friends because they can produce mature, spiritual character.
James tells us about the sources and the sequences of sanctification. Jesus and James teach that the solution for the problem of sin, even sexual sin, is Scripture because the Word of God is alive and powerful. James emphasizes the importance of obeying and applying Gods Word to our lives. James focuses the sources of discipline and that the tongue absolutely must be disciplined. We are to bring our life under the control of the wisdom of God, not earthly wisdom.
The theme of the epistle written by James the brother of Jesus, is sanctification that drives life and ministry. What you really believe, you do. All the rest is just religious talk. Works are as vital a part of a living faith as breath is to a living body. James tells us the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be the ultimate solution to all of the problems we have here on earth. James tells us to take our masks off and be honest with each other.
The first four books of the New Testament are called gospels, which means good news. They are central to revealing Gods eternal plan: to redeem and save lost mankind. They are often referred to as biographies: Through them we gain a comprehensive insight into the life of a Man who only lived for 33 years, but who impacted the history of our world more than anyone who ever lived. The gospels declare Jesus the Christ, Gods greatest revelation of truth.
We live in a competitive world. Sometimes our relationship with competitors, or adversaries, becomes hostile, and they are determined to sue us or even put us in prison. Disciples who are peacemakers do not get angry or try to get even with their enemies. Instead, they determine never to be the source of conflict with adversarial people. Jesus also taught us how to relate to the opposite sex. As with other sins, Jesus goes to the source: our hearts. If we really want to be part of the solution as salt and light, we must learn how to control our sexual desires.
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the key teachings of the Bible. Jesus preached this sermon on a mountaintop in Galilee when He challenged people who professed to be His disciples to be strategically placed between the love of God and the pain of the hurting people in the world. He challenged His disciples to partner with Him and be conduits of His love. He concluded His sermon with a call to commitment. It changed the lives of many who heard it.
The word mercy means unconditional love. When David writes in Psalm 23:6 that mercy will follow him all the days of his life, the word he uses for follow actually means pursue. Gods unconditional love will pursue David all of his life. This is the kind of love for others that we must have too, if we are to be like God.
Salt is a preservative that keeps meat from spoiling, and Christians with the attitudes of Jesus are like salt to the world. When disciples with Christ-like attitudes are rubbed into the people of the world as salt is rubbed into meat, their influence will keep the world from total corruption. They become a valuable commodity Jesus uses to revolutionize the culture. The second metaphor indicates that Christians are the only source of light for multitudes living in darkness. As with the first metaphor, Jesus words literally mean that you and you alone are salt and light. If His disciples do not fulfill their role as salt and light, no one else is left to fulfill it. The people who have Jesus attitudes are sent into the world as Gods solution in order to shine for all to see.