Summary: Salvation is only the beginning. Seven features of a mature faith.
Call to Completion:
After salvation what’s next?
Once we have accepted Jesus as our Christ, what then?
Now that we are in Christ…
What do we do next?
Turn we me to II Timothy, Chapter 2.
In these verses, we get a succinct picture of what we should be doing.
Here, the Apostle Paul describes Timothy seven different ways.
Seven, you know… is a biblical number of completion.
First, Paul calls Timothy “a son.”
Then Paul refers to him as a soldier… an athlete…a farmer … a workman… a vessel… and a servant.
Total up the discerning qualities of each of these descriptions… and we begin to understand how many ways we need to “grow up” in our faith.
And Jesus expects us to grow up—to mature in our faith… so that we will be worth something to him… and to us, ourselves.
This is especially true now that Islam has declared war on all non-Islamic people—and they have.
As a nation… we have taken casualties in this war.
· Islamic fundamentalists blew up nearly 300 Marines on peacekeeping duty in Lebanon several years ago.
· Islamic terrorists held U. S. citizens hostage in several airline highjackings during the past several years.
· Islamic terrorists shot an American Jew while in his wheel chair and dumped his body into the sea off a highjacked cruise ship.
· Employees and neighbors of U.S. Embassies were killed and maimed in two Islamic terrorist attacks in Africa.
· Islamic extremist brutalized and killed Army rangers, who were in Mogadishu in support of relief efforts. They dragged their bullet-riddled bodies through the streets.
· Then came the twin towers and the Pentagon.
· And, the Islamic highjackers who were overpowered… and crashed another airliner in a Pennsylvania woodland.
It is both timely and important… that we understand all seven of the labels… and how each of them contribute to the completion of our faith… and for service to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Every since the devil beguiled Eve in the Garden… God’s people have had to contend with those who are influenced … and empowered by Satan, himself.
Paul told the Ephesians in Chapter 6: Verse 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
When God put mankind on this earth… he put us in the midst of an ongoing angelic conflict.
Satan immediately targeted all of mankind… because we are created in God’s own image… to be the primary object of his love and blessing.
Lucifer—the anointed cherub…the angel second only to God, himself, in wisdom and power—rebelled and was cast out of heaven.
He has played havoc on earth ever since.
Once known as the “morning Star,” he became Satan… the deceiver.
Jesus called him the “father of lies,” because “the truth is not in him.”
Ours is a struggle in the Spirit… not in the flesh. It requires the fortitude of a completed faith… and not the mere wisdom of men to settle it.
The completion of our faith begins with our Spiritual birth.
Paul first calls Timothy… SON!
1 "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
This is why Paul called Timothy “my son.”
He referred both to his own relationship with Timothy… and to our sonship in Christ.
He referred to our Spiritual birth… that occurs when we accept Jesus as our Christ.
Remember… Jesus once told Nichodemus that we must be born again!
He said we must be born of the Spirit… just as we were once born in the flesh.
Timothy was Paul’s son in the faith.
Together, they…and we…became “Joint heirs with Jesus.”
We are Spiritual sons and daughters of whomever brought us to a saving knowledge of Jesus as our Christ.
And, in Christ, we are the family of God.
We are citizens of Heaven, FIRST… and then citizens of these United States.
What we know in Christ… we are to share with those who don’t know Jesus as their Christ.
Our first loyalty is to our Heavenly Father… through his Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
3 "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus."
Not only a son… but also we are soldiers.
A soldier must be mature… grown up… disciplined to a higher authority.
4 "No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer."
Paul is talking about loyalty and devotion here.