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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

A GOOD SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST

2 Tim 2:1-4 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 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.

What Timothy needed, at this point in his life as a Christian, was wisdom and encouragement, to use his talents and abilities to their fullest extent - to be strong and steadfastly carry out the will of his Heavenly Father, by preaching and teaching, to all he can possibly reach, God's plan of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. Encouraging strength is exactly what Timothy needed, and that is exactly what the apostle Paul gave him, as recorded in this lesson text. And by divine example, Paul gives this same encouraging strength to every faithful Christian in all ages of time. All need strength to faithfully, and constantly, do the will of God.

Strength, as referred to here, is not what we normally think of as muscle-power. It is not the energetic force by which we are able to overpower the physical toughness of another person, another team, or another army. It is not the might required to run faster, jump higher, jump longer, throw further, or the stamina to last longer in physical sporting contests. As used here, it is spiritual strength - that inward determination that is necessary to do that which God has commanded us to do. And, also here, Paul tells us godly strength can be found only in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. From this we know that we must be in Christ Jesus in order to obtain, and keep, this spiritual strength. We must obey God's call to repent, and be baptized ...in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), and the Lord will add us to the church (Acts 2:47), which is the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:12).

In a like manner, Paul told the church of Christ in Ephesus to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might (Eph. 6:10). Spiritual strength is found only in Jesus Christ. And to the body of Christ in Corinth Paul wrote: watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong (1 Cor. 16:13). To be strong in the Lord does not require physical strength, rather one must stand fast in the faith found only in Jesus. This is exactly the meaning of Paul's teaching to the Christians at Philippi. He told them: I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me (Phil. 4:13). Indeed, spiritual strength has been made available to every faithful Christian by God, and can only be found in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Here was Paul's admonition to the young preacher, Timothy: 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. Teaching others, to teach others, to teach others, ...to proclaim the gospel of Christ, is the only scriptural method of establishing, maintaining, and spreading God's plan of eternal salvation to the world. It was preached first on the Day of Pentecost. The same message given through the Holy Spirit of God on that day is to be taught continually in its simple purity, untainted by the covetous self-will of men and women, throughout all ages of mankind.

All preachers, like Timothy, in order to teach only the truthful doctrine of God given by inspiration on the Day of Pentecost, must endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. A good soldier of the cross must, not only be committed to teaching the pure gospel of Christ, but also they must be dedicated to protecting that, which was given by the wisdom of God, from all evil influences of the world; it must be protected from being conpromised by the erring wisdom of man. War must be waged against the evil of worldliness, which Satan uses to corrupt the minds of men and women in today's society. Good soldiers of Christ are necessary to fulfill this mission.

Jesus tells us that faithful Christians cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13). In order to be engaged in service to the Master, a soldier of the cross must disengage himself from serving mammon. That is, he must not entangleth himself with the affairs of this life,by serving the "false god" of worldly pleasure and covetous greed. In order to support and defend the gospel message of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, a Christian must become, and remain,a good soldier of Jesus Christ. The influence of Satan must be defeated in order to please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier in the army of God.