Summary: Defining and utilizing God's gift's of the Body of Christ, the Word of God and the indwelling Spirit.

“As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” [1]

Someone has noted, accurately in my estimate, that conservative Christians are sprinters. Professing Christians who espouse a liberal Christianity appear to be running marathons. Christians who are committed to ardent pursuit of the Faith burst out of the blocks, but tire quickly. It would be easy to conclude that consistency is in short supply among the faithful. However, I suggest the greater problem for us who are committed to Christ is that we tire easily. We need encouragement to keep on keeping on.

As followers of the Christ, one thing grips us firmly, enabling us to run the race with confidence—we are assured of the veracity of the One who redeemed us. Because He is always true, we are confident of the salvation He provides and which we now possess. We are certain that the Word which He has given is truth—and we have read the end of the Book. We are equipped to live without fear in the midst of a broken, fallen world. We know that in Christ we have not only an ultimate victory—we now have victory.

While victory is ours now, it is distressingly easy for the child of God to be distracted by this dying world. Like Peter walking on the sea, our eyes cannot help but see the raging maelstrom, the turmoil and the restless nature of mankind. Though we are redeemed, we are susceptible to the world’s constant appeal for our attention.

For instance, it is almost impossible not to compare our worth by how much of this world’s goods we have amassed. We are inundated with the message that only those with great wealth or those who are known by name throughout the world are of worth. Thus, we often feel as if we are failures because we aren’t part of some noble profession. We berate ourselves because we are just housewives, or because we work with our tools, or because we don’t have a great portfolio of stocks and bonds representing the great companies of our nation.

Again, it is almost impossible not to be bombarded with the rawest forms of sexual titillation. One need not look for pornography—it invades our homes through television, through music, through literature and at every turn on the Internet. We are susceptible to the siren allure of forbidden fruit. Consequently, both men and women are engaged in a strange dance of moving toward just peeking at the faux beauty of airbrushed models engaged in the most private activities and seeking forgiveness because we know it contaminates our souls, destroys our marriages and dishonours God.

From time-to-time it is necessary for us to be reminded that we have a sure foundation for the Faith we possess. We need one another to encourage us to fix our gaze on the Master who has led the way into the glory. We have been given three great gifts to equip us for eternity—the Spirit of God, the Word of God and the people of God.

I haven’t time to explore these gifts in the depth they deserve. By God’s mercies, I pray we can provide some understanding and practical help for each Christian longing to gain victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. We know the bonds which once held us in thralldom, the condition of our lives described by the Apostle as he wrote the Ephesian saints. “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” [EPHESIANS 2:1-3]. What I can say with confidence is that each Christian is now engaged in a great conflict; and though the outcome for the Christian is certain, individual battles will continue to be won or lost on the basis of what we do with the gifts God has provided each one.

A SOLID FOUNDATION — “As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Paul begins by drawing a contrast for Timothy. As we have seen in previous messages, Paul has been exposing the nefarious work of false teachers. [2] The passage begins in the identical manner than Paul began the tenth verse—“Sú dé”; “you however,” and the “you” is in an emphatic position.

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