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An Approved Servant of the Lord: One Who Fulfills His Ministry

by Larry Miles

LarryMiles2015In 2 Timothy 4, Paul  gives what  some  have  called  his  “Last Will and Testament.” He wants to encourage  Timothy to stay  faithful to the Word of God.  He tells him and  us that we  need to be in the  “Lord’s Army” for the “duration.”  We   need to be  faithful to the  end.  Paul  wanted to  impress on Timothy that the  Christian life consists, not only of  privileges, but  responsibilities.

In 2 Timothy 4:5-8 Paul  tells  Timothy  he  must  fulfill his ministry.  I think that  primarily  Paul is  referring  to  Timothy’s  work as a  preacher of the  Gospel.  But  we all can  make  application to our lives in Christ.  All of  us have a  ministry to fulfill.  The Lord has “called us out of a  kingdom of darkness and conveyed us  into the  kingdom of the  Son of His love.” (Col.1:13-14).

To fulfill our  ministry  means  to do whatever God wants you to do. Each of our ministries for the Lord  are  different, though grounded in the same  Lord and based  upon the Word of God.  In 2 Timothy 4:5 Timothy is told to “be sober in all things.” This  means  he must  carry on his ministry with seriousness of purpose. We must do the  same.

In  2 Tim. 4:6-8, Paul contrasts  some of the   things in his life to encourage  Timothy in his  responsibilities  to the Lord and His Church.  He  gives    his own personal testimony to the  Lord’s faithfulness. He  says that:

I  want to take  each of these   and  show  how “An Approved  Servant of the  Lord”  will  incorporate the  principles in his or  her  life.

One Who Reflects on His Ministry

The Apostle Paul, writing in 2 Tim. 4:6-8 reflects  on  his life in Christ as  he seeks to  encourage  Timothy.  He reflects  on his present, past, and future with regard to living out his  faith. If one  seeks to be  “An Approved  Servant of the Lord,”  he or she  will do the same.

Paul is in  prison in Rome, awaiting  execution.  Paul  knows that he will be with the Lord he has  loved and served. Paul says “The  time of my  departure has come.” (2 Tim. 4:6) The  word “departure” means “the releasing of a  ship from its moorings or a soldier releasing the stakes of his tent.”  The  believer  never really  dies, he just departs.  Paul told the Philippians, “I have a desire to depart and be  with Christ” (Phil. 1:23) He said it was   “far better.”

Charles Spurgeon wrote: “To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging  storm, to come to rest after long labor, to come to the  goal of my desire and the summit of my wishes.”

Secondly,  Paul had  a  backward look of his ministry.  We all  must have this desire. We must look back and  reflect on how the Lord has blessed us and  used us in His Church.  In 2 Tim. 4:7 he uses  three words associated  with  victory.  We can have  victory  in the Risen Lord.

It is  heartening to look back and have no regrets.  Warren Wiersbe wrote the  following, “Two of the  images  here are athletic: like a determined wrestler or   boxer, he had fought a good fight; and like a  runner, he had finished his lifelong race victoriously. He had  kept the  rules and deserved a prize. The  third image is that of a steward who had faithfully  guarded his boss’s  deposit.”

Thirdly, Paul had a  future  reflection on his life in the Lord. Paul  says that  he, and us today, because  of  faithful living,  will  receive “The  Crown of Righteousness.”   This  crown (reward)  is given to all faithful Christians  who live their lives in expectation of the  Lord’s coming. Do you love His appearing? If  so, this  “crown” will  be yours. Unbelievers dread Christ’s  coming, but as believers we  long  for it.  Jesus is our “blessed hope.” (Titus 2:13)

If we  keep on running the race, fighting  the  fight and  living in expectation of  Jesus’ return we will see Him as  He is. (1 John 3:2).   On that  day you will not regret fighting, running and  enduring  for  His Name’s sake.

One Who Seeks the Will of God

The Christian who seeks to be  “An  Approved Servant of the Lord Jesus”  must  be one whose  aim is to always  be in the  will of  God.  In  Colossians 1:9, Paul  tells the  Christians there  that  he  is praying for them to “… be  filled with the  knowledge of  His  will in all wisdom and  spiritual understanding.”

What  does it mean to seek the  will of God?  All Christians should  pray this  prayer.   God wants  all  of us  to seek  His  will and live  lives that reflect that  will.   First  of all, he  wants  us  to present ourselves  to Him completely.  Romans 12:1 reads as  follows: “I  beseech you therefore, brethren, by the  mercies of God, to  present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and  acceptable to God, which is your  reasonable service.”

It is  because of  what the Lord has  done for us that we should want to serve  Him!  We  need to be a  people  of thankfulness and  gratitude.   One of the  reasons a  Christian needs to seek God’s will is  that we  live in a  “mindless society”  permeated  by Satan. We  need to make sure that we  base our  foundations  upon the Lord and His Word.

The  nearer we draw to the Lord and His Word the more we  will learn about His  will.   It  is in the  Word of God, the Bible, that  we read and learn about God’s  will for each and everyone  of us.  As  we seek God’s will He will equip us in our pilgrimage  for  Him in this  life and prepare us for an  eternity  with Him.

As  we  seek His will, and   strive to live in that  will on a day to day  basis, we  will grow in the  grace and  knowledge of the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3:18). We will also be  better equipped to help others. First of  all, we  will be  able to help them come  out of the domain of darkness and  enter the marvelous light of the  Gospel. Then we  will be able  to  help them as  they seek to grow spiritually.  We all have a  place  in taking the  Gospel to those  who are lost. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark  16:15-16)

So, let’s seek His will, and then when we  find His will in the Word, live out  our  faith with the  help of the Holy  Spirit!

One Who Walks Worthy of the Lord

Is  anyone ever  “worthy” of the Lord? On a  human standpoint, no one has  been or ever  will be worthy.  We do  not  deserve salvation.  We always  fall short of the   glory of God.  All of  us are  sinners. The   Christian  is one  who is a  sinner saved  by grace.  Outside of  the   redemptive  work of the Lord Jesus Christ, we   are  doomed  to a  “devil’s  hell.” But, praise the  Lord that  God  so loved  us that he  had a  plan that  would  redeem fallen  mankind.

What  does   Paul mean in Colossians  1:10 where   he writes: “that  you may walk worthy of the  Lord…?”   Perhaps a   better way  of saying it is that we are  to walk in a worthy  manner. We  are admonished in God’s Word  to look to  Jesus as  our  example in all things.  The  realization that we are  “in Christ,” and therefore redeemed  by the blood of the Lamb should  not  make us  haughty and  proud.  We  should never think we are  better than  anyone else.

In  Col. 1:10 and  in Ephesians  4:1 we get   some  explanation of  what  it means  to walk  worthy of the  Lord.  The Colossian passage   says that the  goal of  walking   worthy of the  Lord is that we are  to live  lives that are  pleasing to Him. The result of that kind of a life is one that is a fruitful and  abounding  life of   loving service.

In Eph. 4:1 we read: “I, therefore the prisoner of the  Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which  you were called.”  If we  just had  verse  1 we would not know  how to  “walk worthy.”  But  we have Eph. 4:2-3  to  give  some insight on  what  it means  for  “An  Approved Servant of the Lord”  to walk in  a worthy manner for the   Lord Jesus.

We are  to be a people  who are  not  haughty; a people who do  not think  we are  better than others. We  must be  those  who are  humble and gentle in our  dealings  with others. Most of all, we are to  bear  with  others in love.  We must  also strive  to “keep the  unity of the  Spirit in the bond of  peace.”

Remember,  we are called  out of a  domain of darkness into the  marvelous light of the  Gospel. We must practice  what we  preach. We must live out our  lives  daily as  we seek to draw near to the Lord Jesus.

- Larry Miles is Co-Editor of Word and Work

This is a compilation of four articles from the series ‘An Approved Servant of the Lord’ from http://larryslines.com

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4