Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:3
I. Many a hero in ancient and modern times is glorified, and many a conquered man is despised, when the so-called hero trusted to his strength of mind or body, and felt confident of escape or victory. This is not bravery. To feel sure that for you there is little or no danger, is not heroic. This was not St. Paul's bravery, when he was a day and a night in the deep, or though no sailor, thrice shipwrecked, and ready to face it all over and over again. He has told us nothing more of it than these words, "a day and a night in the deep." What a proof that is of bravery; it did not dwell in his mind enough to speak of.
II. Again, many will dare really dangerous things when numbers look on, and great praise and shouting thousands cheer them on to their work. This was not St. Paul's kind of bravery. For the sake of Christ he could take pleasure in infirmities, in weakness, in shame, and go from city to city, though beaten here, stoned there, imprisoned, attacked.
III. Christ's army has no room for cowards. Numbers do not hide them, they cannot hide undiscovered in the general wars. In Christ's army Christ requires every one to be brave, whilst He has declared, speaking from heaven, that "the fearful shall have their place in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone." It seems a fatally unexpected sentence at the first sight. But the servants of the Almighty King of Life ought to have some of the life strength of His almightiness in them. True bravery is of the Spirit; it is the life of Christ within the heart; and fears nothing within, or without, so long as the good cause is not betrayed, so long as truth is upheld. It is perfect self-mastery, unselfishly following Christ.
E. Thring, Uppingham Sermons, vol. i., p. 173.
I. If you look at the text you will notice that the Apostle is putting before us a plain exhortation to conduct, based upon a distinct statement of position. The position he states to be this, "as a soldier"—the conduct, "endure hardness"; and when we come to examine into the necessity of such conduct, based upon the exigencies of such a position, we are thrown back upon the old thought of the enemy, with whom we have to contend; we have in fact to fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh. When we speak of fighting with Satan there is this always to be remembered, that the war has to be waged with one possessed of all the three chief faculties which go to make any malignant power oppressive to a struggling heart; for Satan is undoubtedly, possessed, first of all, of natural capacity; secondly, of a wide-reaching science; and thirdly, of a large experience. I would remind you further that Satan, in his fight against us, is seconded by that power within us, which from its intimate connection with our animal organism, and the grovelling direction of all its tendencies, can best be epitomised in its character as "the flesh." If the flesh is a traitor who makes a concordat with Satan, "the world" is an enemy equally fierce and infinitely more subtle. "The world," in a word, we know, means this: the accumulated force of certain principles sinborn, and sin-strengthened, which tend to undermine the spiritual life.
II. The character of the enemy is marked by three features. (1) Craft or unworthy cunning. (2) Patient persistence in recurrent and well-timed attack. (3) A seductiveness in order to overcome suspicion or fear of evil. To disguise from ourselves the reality, or to minimise the strength of the forces opposed to us, lest we become careless and are confident of victory; or, what is equally dangerous, to lose sight of the certainty of recurrent assistance, and so yield to the seductions of evil from a craven fear of ultimate defeat is the utmost folly.
III. How are we to meet an enemy of so formidable a kind? St. Paul says, "Asa soldier." How are we to act as soldiers?
(1) By a life of faith. The illuminative power of faith, and also faith as a dominant faculty must rule. Faith inspires courage.
(2) To act with simplicity. To be one's simple better self; and simplicity is part of the character of God. (3) With patience. Patience is love exerting itself to resistance. You must eventually win your way simply by standing your ground.
IV. If such be some of the features of the soldier's character, what does it all amount to? It amounts, I submit, in practice to precisely what the Apostle said, "enduring hardness"; not that you should be callous, but that such virtues should be exercised by you with unbending resolution, and that you should keep constantly before you the ever-recurring need of determinedly crushing pride and passion. God has Himself entered the arena, and we have also the encouragement of the brotherhood of Christians.
W. J. Knox Little, Characteristics and Motives of the Christian Life, p. 70.
Christianity: a Warfare.
If we are true Christians we are every one of us soldiers. If we really belong to Christ we are every one of us carrying on a daily warfare. The enemy is never out of our sight; the contest is a lifelong contest; the battle ground is our soul; the enemy whom we have to beat down is sin in its ten thousand varying forms; the struggle is often invisible to all but ourselves: alone we have to fight, alone we have to conquer, seen only, aided only, guided only (it may be) by our unseen Chieftain, our great and glorious Leader, who, seated high above the din and turmoil of the contest, watches all the efforts, and controls all the movements of His mighty host.
II. Our text gives us some very necessary, very useful advice on this topic. It bids us remember that it is not an easy thing to be a Christian: it bids us remember that to be a soldier of the Cross requires effort and self-denial and constant endurance. Thou therefore endure hardness," or, as it might be paraphrased, "Thou therefore take thy share of suffering, take thy portion of hardship, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
III. Our army has its great tradition. Through the exertions of the early warriors it is that we are possessed, as we are today, of all the blessings of the Gospel. To their courage, their zeal, and their love for souls, we owe the peace and the happiness which Christianity has brought to us. Let us thank God that He raised up these mighty warriors; let us thank God that they went forth as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and conquered ignorance, conquered superstition, conquered sin. One last word. Do not let us forget that we belong to a victorious army. We are on the conquering side: those of us who love and serve Christ must prevail at last.
E. V. Hall, The Waiting Saviour, p. 37.
There are many obvious reasons for cultivating a more robust and manly earnestness in our religion.
I. It is due to the character of the great Master whom we serve. "No man that warreth." It cannot be doubted that, in the vivid language of the Word of God, every Christian, without exception—man, woman, or child—is called to be a soldier, any more than it can be doubted that conflict, with all its ideas of danger and watchfulness and struggle, enters into the actual personal experience of us all. We look up to the Captain of our salvation, and every imaginable motive which can nerve the human heart combines to inspire us with dauntless courage and unflinching fortitude.
II. A robust earnestness is due to the necessities of the work. God takes every possible precaution in His Word that we should count the cost before we enlist under our Captain's banner. We must conquer or be conquered—for there is no other alternative—live or die. And this endurance of hardship is the more necessary because, not only are habits of personal self-denial and self-restraint, watchful devotion and earnest effort, the conditions of victory, but they are actual parts of the victory themselves.
III. Manly vigour is due to the abundance of the reward. This motive is addressed to the Christian, not to the man of the world; to the converted, not to the unconverted. Salvation itself is not of reward, it is all of grace. It is free sovereign grace, out of the spontaneous love of God, that calls the soul. It is all of grace, not of works. But once let the soul find Christ, let it be accepted within the family circle, let it fairly take service beneath the banner of Christ as the faithful soldier and servant of a crucified Master, and then God deals with it by rewards.
E. Garbett, Experiences of the Inner Life, p. 149.
Fearfulness under a Curse.
These are the words of St. Paul; they express his view of a good man's life and character. The Christian man is a soldier of Christ, and must be brave and enduring. The brave alone enter heaven; the fearful are cast into hell. Bravery, endurance, and victory, are not accidental or wonderful, not matters of chance, to be or not to be, but sober necessities of common life; and fearfulness is not a pardonable weakness, but a deadly sin; and like any other sin must be steadily fought against and overcome. Bravery is Christian, fearfulness is devilish. The good soldier of Christ, man or woman, is brave, and the temper of the Christian is bravery.
II. St. Paul was brave. When he saw the brethren, we are told he thanked God and took courage. The very words "took courage" show how lonely-hearted he must have felt before, as well he might feel; how in his spirit he longed for some human consolation, as he was about at last to see the city of palaces, the stronghold of earthly power, the fairest, grandest sight that eye could see of man's work, the foulest and most poisonous that sin triumphant had ever dwelt in. St. Paul coming up the long straight road, mile after mile, drawing nearer to so vast, so pitiless, so splendid a place, had his human feelings we may be sure; for, when he saw the brethren who had come out to meet him, he took courage. Well he knew the meaning of his own words to his young and faithful friend: "Do thou, therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." A brave man's words they were, and a brave man's heart experiences the freshness of his free spirit, that knew nothing on the wide earth which could make him step back one foot when Christ had work to be done. The brave are of Christ, the doom of hell fire is on the fearful.
E. Thring, Uppingham Sermons, vol. i., p. 167.
I. In the large social life of which we are all members these words come to us as a call to more service. The Church of Christ exists to serve. We do not exist for ourselves; we exist for others. We do not unite to get; we unite to give. We do not come together even for spiritual fellowship: we come together for practical work. Now the Church of Christ can never choose her work: her work is always given her in the providence of God. Each new age brings to her a new task, and surely never was the task more clear to the Church of Christ than it is today. The task of the Church is to restore the inspiration of the Christian faith, and to revive the beauty of Christian love.
II. In our outward public life these words come to us as a call to more sacrifice. If we are true followers of Jesus Christ, somewhere in our life the note must be telling of definite sacrifice. Christ's view of life is not an easy view; it is on the whole a severe view. It does not meanwhile admit of a full-orbed culture; it demands sacrifice. Fear not to make some sacrifice for Christ; pant not so eagerly to have your own ideas of life realised. Have faith in eternity, and meanwhile take bravely your share of the hardness.
III. These words come to us as a call to more strictness. We shrink from the hardship of watching strictly and sternly our inward personal life. When the inner life is not cared for, outward work—even God's work—may be done faithfully, but it has no effectiveness, no glow. Where the inner life is watched strictly and severely there comes over even the simplest life of outward work the spell that attracts, the beauty that wins.
R. S. Simpson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 358.
Enduring Hardness as a Soldier.
The fact that we are Christian soldiers suggests three corresponding duties.
I. The will of the soldier should be wholly absorbed in that of his commander.
II. A soldier must possess true courage.
III. A soldier must be ready to endure hardness.
J. N. Norton, Golden Truths, p. 411.
References: 2 Timothy 2:3.—A. P. Stanley, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 198; Ibid., vol. xiv., p. 364; J. Thain Davidson, The City Youth, p. 183; C. Garrett, Loving Counsels, p. 206; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvi., No. 938; Church of England Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 72; Ibid., vol. viii., p. 163; S. Pearson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 307; H. P. Liddon, Ibid., vol. xxxv., p. 273. 2 Timothy 2:3-6.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 256. 2 Timothy 2:4-10.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 80. 2 Timothy 2:5.—W. Landels, Christian World Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 395. 2 Timothy 2:8.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii., No. 1653; Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 67; Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 376.
2 Timothy 2:9The Word of God here evidently means His Gospel; for the word Gospel occurs in the preceding verse as the subject about which the Apostle is speaking. And the intention of the Apostle in saying this here is to prevent Timothy from being discouraged by the fact that he, Paul, who had been so actively engaged in promoting the Gospel, who was so closely and entirely identified with it, that he, more than any other, represented it to the world, was now in prison on account of it. There were two ways in which this might discourage Timothy. (1) It was the loss to himself of his most powerful coadjutor in the work to which he had given himself, Paul being emphatically the champion of the Gospel, who had done more for its promotion than any other man. (2) There was the encouraging effect which this state of things was likely to have on opponents. In these circumstances Paul calls the attention of Timothy to the fact that the position and prospects of the truth itself were not to be judged by the position and prospects of its promoters.
I. The Gospel is not bound as regards any human necessity. It is prepared for every requirement of human wellbeing properly understood. In promoting the happiness of man it begins so very far down, and has so true an idea of what that happiness consists in, and such resources for removing all poisonous roots—all hindrances whatever, whether relative or moral—that it never comes to a standstill from want of power or want of adaptation, or from not possessing the particular thing which is required.
II. The Gospel is not "bound" by the purpose of God. The opposite of this is quite conceivable; for as everything turns on the will of God, it might so happen that God did not intend it to be offered to every one, so that all its adaptation and sufficiency of merit and grace would go for nothing in so far as some were concerned. In that sense, and to that extent, it would be bound. It would not be a universal remedy for the universal disease. But this is very far from being the case. (1) It is not bound geographically. (2) It is not bound morally. The purpose of God does not say that there are certain classes of sinners so wicked that they do not deserve it, or certain other classes of sinners so comparatively good that they do not require it. It tells us that no one deserves it, and that every one requires it.
III. It is not bound by the Providence of God. The prisons of the saints have often been the scenes of the noblest deeds for Christ; and out of their darkness have come the most striking appeals which have ever thrilled the heart of humanity; not only investing with a new halo the truth which inspired God's servants, but showing that however they might be bound His Word was not bound, but rather from these very circumstances the more surely His, and the more certainly on its way to victory.
A. L. Simpson, Sermons, p. 94.
References: 2 Timothy 2:9.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. i., p. 216. 2 Timothy 2:10.—G. B. Johnson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 286; F. Ferguson, Ibid., vol. xvi., p. 168. 2 Timothy 2:11.—G. Huntington, Sermons for Holy Seasons, p. 223; Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 301. 2 Timothy 2:12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 547; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 186. 2 Timothy 2:13.—Ibid., Sermons, vol. xxv., No. 1453; J. Vaughan, Sermons, 15th series, p. 222. 2 Timothy 2:15.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxi., No. 1217. 2 Timothy 2:16.—J. H. Hitchens, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 328; T. T. Munger, Ibid., vol. xxxiii., p. 88.
2 Timothy 2:19I. The whole of a man's peace, and all his security depend upon this: What is his foundation? It is the plainest of all plain Scriptural truths, that the only foundation of any soul's safety is the Lord Jesus Christ. By which is meant, that the groundwork of a man's salvation is the, Saviour's love for his soul, and the work which the Saviour has begun and finished for him—that righteousness in which the Saviour clothes him; that intercession which the Saviour pleads for him, and that glory which the Saviour has prepared for him. Other foundations may have a momentary peace, but this only can support the superstructure for eternity.
II. Now this truth the Apostle carries a little into more detail. In order to do it, his mind borrows an image from a ceremony common at the commencement of the erection of a public building, when a king, as he lays the foundation stone, sets upon it the impression of the royal seal. In like manner, as if to give to the believer's hope a twofold security, God is said not only to lay the foundation, but to seal it; and when He seals it, He seals it to Himself by the oath with which He confirms it, and to the believer by the spirit in which He gives it.
III. The seal is twofold. There are two fundamental principles which God has placed on it. The one stands out clear, legible and large. "The Lord knoweth them that are His"; and the other is like unto it—"Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." The seal must have been twice stamped; both inscriptions must have been there before the seal is safe, and stands quite sure. The two sides must never be divided. But as the stamp of God's love is laid, so must the stamp of man's obedience be laid. God's love first, to teach that there is no real obedience till there is first a sense of God's love.
J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 2nd series, p. 351.
The Sealed Foundation.
I. The testimony or the declaration of the text. "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure," or, more literally, "the firm foundation of God standeth." Observe the force of the first word, "nevertheless." It obviously refers to the preceding verses, as if the Apostle had said, Whatever error or corruption may spring up, whatever power and influence enemies of the truth may acquire, and whatever defection or apostacy there may be among professing Christians, there is no good reason why Christ's servants should lose heart, or should relax in their prayers and efforts. "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure." (1) What are we to understand by the foundation of God? The whole scope of the verse obviously is to set forth the absolute safety of Christ's Church and people. The Lord Jesus Christ, in His glorious Person, offers atoning death, a finished work of redemption, as the one great foundation; but all who are built on Him by faith, are, in God's judgment, one with Him, one building, one body. (2) What is taught concerning this foundation? "It standeth sure." This is a plain inference from the fact that it is the foundation of God.
II. The Divine seal or confirmation of this testimony. (1) We have, on the one side, a declaration of glorious privilege—"having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His." The Lord knows all things, but in a peculiar and distinguishing sense He knows and marks His people as His own. But God has known His people, and set His love on them from eternity, for they are all elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. (2) "And let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." It is here put in the form of a rule or precept, to teach us that the certainty of God's purpose never interferes with our moral responsibility, nor supersedes the obligation resting on His people, to strive and pray for entire holiness.
R. Elder, The Redeemer's Cry, p. 91.
References: 2 Timothy 2:19.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxi., No. 1854; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 174; R. S. Candlish, Sermons, p. 220; G. E. L. Cotton, Sermons to English Congregations in India, p. 157; Bishop Magee, Church of England Pulpit, vol. xxii., p. 1; H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 201; Ibid., vol. viii., p. 74; L. Abbott, Ibid., vol. xxi., p. 113; Ibid., vol. xxxvi., p. 74.
2 Timothy 2:20The Church Visible and Invisible.
The sight of the united body of Christians has led us to speak of what are called the visible and the invisible Church, in what seems an unscriptural way. The word Church, applied to the body of Christians in this world, means but one thing in Scripture—a visible body invested with invisible privileges. Scripture does not speak of two bodies, one visible, and the other invisible, each with its own complement of members.
I. The Church of Christ, as Scripture teaches, is a visible body, invested with invisible privileges. Take the analogy of the human body by way of illustration. When the soul leaves the body, it ceases to be a body, it becomes a corpse. So the Church would cease to be the Church did the Holy Spirit leave it; and it does not exist at all except in the Spirit. Very various things are said of the Church; sometimes it is spoken of as glorious and holy, sometimes as abounding in offences and sins. It is natural, perhaps, at first sight, to invent, in consequence, the hypothesis of two Churches, as the Jews have dreamed of two Messiahs; but, I say, our Saviour has implied that it is unnecessary; that these opposite descriptions of it are not really incompatible; and, if so, what reason remains for doing violence to the sacred text?
II. Take (1) the objection that bad men are in the visible Church; what does it prove? Is a dead branch part or not part of a tree? You may decide this way or that, but you will never say, because the branch is dead, therefore the tree has no sap. It is a dead branch of a living tree, not a branch of a dead tree. In like manner, irreligious men are dead members of one visible Church, which is living and true, not members of a Church which is dead. Because they are dead it does not follow that the visible Church to which they belong is dead also. (2) Now to consider a second objection that is urged, viz., that "there are good men external to the visible Church, therefore there is a second Church called the invisible." In answer I observe, that as every one who has been duly baptised is, in one sense, in the Church, even though his sins since have hid God's countenance from him; so if a man has not been baptised, be he ever so correct and exemplary in his conduct, this does not prove that he has received regeneration, which is the peculiar and invisible gift of the Church. The essence of regeneration is the communication of a higher and Divine nature; and sinners may have this gift, though it would be a curse to them, not a blessing.
J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. iii., p. 220. 2 Timothy ii., vers. 20, 21
Vessels of Gold and of Earth.
The "great house" is the external institution of the Church, the "vessels" are its members. Some of them are precious, and used for high purposes, some are cheap and common. A man can settle to which of the classes he belongs. If he belong to the one, honour, if he belong to the other, dishonour is his portion.
I. First of all note the two classes. There is gold and silver plate set out upon the high table where the lord of the house sits, or ranged in glittering rows upon some buffet or sideboard. There are pots and pans in the scullery fit only for base uses. And, says Paul, there is as much difference between different sets of people who are joined in the same Christian community, as between these two sets of vessels. Now, of course, we are not to suppose that the distinction which he here draws is the vulgar worldly one, according to natural gifts and capacities. Men put shining faculties and talents in high places, and lowly or moderate ones in the background. That is not the way in which God classifies vessels in His house. The difference points to a thing within our own power, viz., the difference in maturity of Christian character, in fervour and earnestness of Christian devotion. It is this, and only this, and not the vulgar distinctions of temperament or capacity, which lie so little within our own power, that determines the hierarchy of excellence and the aristocracy and nobility in the Church of Christ. The graces of a Christian character are the gold and silver. The "earth" is the tendencies of the desires, or the selfishness of our own nature.
II. Note, again, the possibility and the method of passing from the lower class to the higher. "If a man purify himself from these." The these there evidently means, not ones which the Apostle has been specifying, but the whole class of commoner and viler vessels of which he has been speaking. (1) The cleanness of a man's heart and life determines his place in the Christian Church. (2) It is a man's own business to make himself clean.
III. Note the characteristics of the more precious. The vessel unto honour is (1) sanctified. Consecration is indispensable if we are to be of any use to Jesus, or precious in His sight, (2) "meet for the Master's use," or, as it might perhaps be rendered even more accurately, simply "useful to the Master." You cannot make man-of-war's masts out of crooked sticks, and no man is meet for the Master's use except on condition of devotion and purity. (3) The last characteristic is that of readiness for all sorts of service. The figure of the cup is abandoned here. There should be many-sided alacrity. The calls to "good works" often come suddenly, and if we are not living with our loins girt, the opportunity may pass before we have pulled ourselves together.
IV. Note the honour to the vessel. The true honour is service. Reputation and other consequences of service are desirable, but nothing is greater, more ennobling and blessed, than the service itself. Can any of us have any higher honour than to be of use to Jesus Christ? The King's servants are made nobles by their service, as was the case of old in England.
A. Maclaren, The God of the Amen, p. 198.
Reference: 2 Timothy 2:20, 2 Timothy 2:21.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxiii., No. 1348.
2 Timothy 2:21A Vessel unto Honour.
St. Paul is giving his dying counsels to his dear Timotheus; dictating them, probably, to Luke, in the Roman dungeon, from which he was to be released only by his martyrdom. As ever, as in his earliest discourses and epistles, so here, while the topics are many, the topic is Christ; Christ in His personal and saving glory, and the relation of believing man to Him. On the verge of the eternal state he writes as practically as possible on the holy theme. He leaves behind him, not a rhapsody of farewell, but a grave, tender, last reminder to his beloved disciple how to believe aright in the unchangeable Saviour, and how to serve that Saviour's purposes day by day in trial and in duty. The man who has found Christ, and is found in Him, is not the man to be disturbed, certainly not the man to be bewildered in the prospect of death. He belongs already to both worlds, belonging to Him to whom they both belong. For him the things seen and temporal are just the present field of his Master's work, and the things unseen and eternal are but the extension of that vast field into another climate, but under the same owner and lighted by the same sun. So the dying Apostle is full of the thought of his younger fellow-labourer's continued labour. The Church visible is a great house, and every member of it, every one who is registered under the Christian name, is, in some sense, a vessel, a σκεῦος in it, and used for some purpose by the Master of it. But the qualities and uses of the vessels immensely vary; and there are those which are used only for purposes of dishonour; that is to say, for the whole context makes us sure of this, they are not used for purposes obscure and humble, but for purposes conditioned by evil; purposes, for example, of the warning, of the beacon.
I. What does a vessel to honour mean? The vessel which is hallowed so as to be usable by the master—that is the vessel unto honour. Its capacity may be large or small; its workmanship may be homely or elaborately magnificent.
II. "A vessel unto honour." It is a term glorious with that rare honour which cometh from God only, and which falls impartially, where it falls at all, upon the greatest and the least, as man counts great and little. A vessel is a thing which is altogether not its own. Its idea is that it is a thing for use, for the use of an agent who is not itself. It originates nothing; it only carries, conveys, transmits. It is not its own motor; it is carried; it is for a hand which is not itself to lift, to grasp, to bear away and about where it would and where it would not. It is doubly not its own; it carries what is not itself, the wine or the water, for the sake of which it is employed; and it is carried by what is not itself, the Possessor, who may do what He will with His own, and who knows what the vessel does not know—His plan and aim in all the carrying.
H. C. G. Moule, Christ is All, p. 227.
Reference: 2 Timothy 2:21.—S. A. Tipple, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xv., p. 161.
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.