finish line

Fighting the Good Fight

A guest post by Randy Teller

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (II Timothy 4:7-8).

finish line

Living the Christian life is the best fight we will be in.

Paul uses metaphors throughout his letters to Timothy, talking about athletes, training, winning, and awards. I’m sure this was a common subject in New Testament times because of Olympic games, just as it is common today.

Our life is a battle against sin and Satan. Everyday we must arm ourselves with the tools of battle (Ephesians 6:13-18). Just as an athlete must train regularly to compete for their gold medal, we, too, must train regularly to compete for our gold medal, Heaven.

As it is with all types of training, you must constantly push yourself to do better than the day before. When we become complacent with our spiritual lives we are no longer growing closer to God.

Do you pray?

Can you pray a little more?

Do you give?

Can you give a little more?

Do you serve others?

Can you serve a little more?

Physical training is important for physical well being and spiritual training is important for spiritual well being (I Timothy 4:8).

As we train and develop our bodies for this contest, it is also normal to train longer and harder than the actual race or contest. A wrestling match is only 6 minutes long. A wrestler will train for hours every day to prepare for those few minutes.

He does it for one reason: to go the distance.

It does no good to be ahead, only to stop short of the finish line. There is little respect for the athlete who is ahead the entire race only to quit just before the end of the race.

We are in that type of event. It is of no value to lead a spiritual life only to fall away just before reaching the finish line…Heaven.

The Christian’s race is different because it doesn’t matter when you start; just make sure you finish the race. There are many runners in a long distance race and while winning it is a special privilege, finishing the race is the mark of true character (Philippians 3:13-14).

Yes, physical and spiritual training are both vitally important. However, as with all contests, there are rules and regulations that must be followed. This ensures that all contestants will be judged fairly.

Personally, I cannot tell the difference between a double toe loop and a double axel. To the judge it is as obvious as night and day.

As Christians, we, too, have a judge, but we have two advantages.

First, our judge is honest and righteous at all times.

Second, if we don’t get it right the first time, we can ask for and receive a second chance; God does give us rules to live by each day (II Timothy 2:5).

The apostle Paul was a spiritual champion. It is not to say he had a perfect, easy life (II Corinthians 11:23-27). He did, however, have a most precious goal in sight: the crown of righteousness, the gift of eternal life in Heaven.

In his last days he was at peace because of three things: he had fought the fight, finished the race, and had kept the faith.

May God bless you with the desire and ability to say the same.

Advertisements
one of a kind

The Humanity of Christ (Part Two)

“Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three,

One lived and died for self; one died for you and me.

The Greek died on the throne; the Jew died on a cross

One’s life a triumph seemed; the other but a loss.

One led vast armies forth; the other walked alone;

One shed a whole wold’s blood; the other gave His own.

One won the world in life and lost it all in death.

The other lost His life to win the whole world’s faith.

Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three,

One died in Babylon; and one on Calvary.

One gained all for self; and one Himself He gave.

One conquered every throne; the other every grave.

The one made himself God; the God made Himself less;

The one lived but to blast, the other but to bless.

When died the Greek, forever fell his throne of swords;

But Jesus died to live forever Lord of lords.

Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three.

The Greek made all men slaves; the Jew made all men free.

One built a throne on blood; the other on love,

The one was born of earth; the other from above.

One won all this earth, to lose all earth and heaven.

The other gave up all, that all to Him be given.

The Greek forever died; the Jew forever lives.

He loses all who gets, and wins all things who gives.”

(Charles Ross Weede, “The Perfect Example”)

one of a kind

The Humanity of Christ (Part One)

“Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, and that a despised one.

He worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30, and for three years, He was an itinerant preacher.

He never held an office.

He never owned a house.

He never wrote a book.

He never went to college.

He never put His foot inside a big city.

He never traveled 200 miles from the place where He was born.

He had no credentials but Himself.

While He was a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him.

His friends ran away. One of them betrayed Him.

He was turned over to His enemies.

He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.

While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth, and that was His seamless robe.

When He was dead, He was laid in a private grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone, and today He is the masterpiece of the human race and the leader of all progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as that One Solitary Life.”

(Writer Unknown)

Spiritual Fraud

A guest post written by Judy Tedder

The elder, to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth … I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. 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. This is love, that we walk according to His commandments, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (II John 1:4-11).

These verses made me more aware than ever [of] our responsibility to read and study the Bible daily so that we will know what the scriptures say on all issues. We can then talk intelligently and not mislead anyone.

Many people think that just as long as you go to any church, then you will be saved. According to these verses, if anyone comes to you and does not bring the teachings of Christ, it says, “…he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”

When we do not take a stand, regarding major issues, such as sexual immorality, including the life style of the homosexual, unscriptural divorce, baptism by sprinkling instead of immersion for the remission of sins, communion weekly, instead of at our convenience and many other issues, then we do not care enough about people’s souls to make sure they are saved.

We are making light of Christ’s teachings.

He did not say it would be easy. I have been in church all my life, but I did not read my Bible as often as I should have until the past year, when I started trying to read it daily.

I find His word exciting and so practical. I have found that if you pray for opportunities to share your faith, they will come. I have read a scripture one day and the next day that particular subject comes up.

It makes you feel good to be able to answer questions with scriptures on the spur of the moment. You can learn something new every time you re-read the Bible. The only book we need is the Bible.

 

Exactly How Was Jesus Divine?

Exactly How Was Jesus Divine?

Lots of individuals are accepting that Jesus was God’s son but less clear on his divinity. Actually, the two phrases do not teach different things. Even while Jesus is called the “son of God” it does not mean He is not divine. So, how was Jesus divine? Let’s look at two solutions to what some think is a big problem.

First, there are many passages that clearly state that Jesus was divine (i.e. God in the flesh). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Verse fourteen portrays who “the Word” was when it says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word was Jesus Christ and John 1:1-4 obviously shows that “the Word” was “God.”

Second, Paul in the Philippian letter reconfirmed this truth. He wrote, by the power of the Holy Spirit, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7). Christ existed in the form of God before He decided to lay that off and come to earth. He did not take the mindset that being divine was something that He was to grasp and continue to hold onto.

Again, Paul stated very clearly that while Christ was on earth He was divine. “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). The Greek word for “Deity” means “the state of being God” (Bauer 452). It was not that He had some features or characteristics of God. No, He was the very essence of God. We can have characteristics, but we simply cannot have the essence of God.

The uncertainty comes when we think about the phrase “son of” in human terms. In human relationships “son of” means one who is younger than the one who is the father. But, the phrase “son of” carries with it one “who has the nature of.” To illustrate, Barnabas was called “Son of Encouragement.” This doesn’t mean that his father was “encouragement.” But rather, Barnabas had the nature of being an encourager. So it is with Jesus Christ. How was Jesus divine? When He is spoken of as the “son of God” it just conveys that He had the nature of God —the essence of God (Colossians 2:9).

(Bauer, Walter. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd Edition. Ed. Fredrick Danker, W. Arndt, and F. Gingrich. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000. Print.)

——————————

This article was written by Wayne Burger. Wayne is a local preacher in Conifer, Colorado and an instructor at the Bear Valley Bible Institute with over 30 years of preaching experience. Wayne holds a B.A. in Bible from Abilene Christian University and a M.B.S. from the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. Wayne’s methods have published four books, and he is a regular writer for the Rocky Mountain Christian Newspaper. If you’d like to learn more about how to be saved and other similar Bible topics, please check out www.alivewithchrist.com.