Sufficiency of the Word (Part 1 of 2)2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
The early church’s stability was threatened by external persecution as well as internal confusion about what to believe and how to behave. Today’s church faces similar challenges. What’s our safeguard? Hear the answer on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg,
The Body of Divinity in Miniature
I will love them freely.Hosea 14:4
This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. Whoever grasps its meaning is a theologian, and whoever is able to dive into its fullness is a learned professor! It is a summary of the glorious message of salvation that was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer.
The sense hinges upon the word “freely.” This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing out to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are.
The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness: “I will love them freely.”
Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then He would not love us freely; at least, this would be a hindrance and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands: “I will love them freely.”
We complain, “Lord, my heart is so hard.”
“I will love them freely.”
“But I do not feel my need of Christ as I ought to.”
“I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely.”
“But I do not feel that softening of spirit that I should desire.”
Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever. So we without any fitness may rest upon the promise of God that was made to us in Christ Jesus when He said, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned.”1 It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price!
“I will love them freely.” These words invite apostates to return: Indeed, the text was specially written for such—“I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely.”
Apostate, surely the generosity of the promise will immediately break your heart, and you will return and seek your injured Father’s face.
1) John 3:18
Moab Rebels Against Israel
1In the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned twelve years. 2He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, though not like his father and mother, for he put away the pillar of Baal that his father had made. 3Nevertheless, he clung to the sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from it.
4Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. 5But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6So King Jehoram marched out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. 7And he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?” And he said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” 8Then he said, “By which way shall we march?” Jehoram answered, “By the way of the wilderness of Edom.”
9So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. And when they had made a circuitous march of seven days, there was no water for the army or for the animals that followed them. 10Then the king of Israel said, “Alas! The Lord has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.” 11And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” Then one of the king of Israel's servants answered, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.” 12And Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
13And Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother.” But the king of Israel said to him, “No; it is the Lord who has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.” 14And Elisha said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you. 15But now bring me a musician.” And when the musician played, the hand of the Lord came upon him. 16And he said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘I will make this dry streambed full of pools.’ 17For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind or rain, but that streambed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.’ 18This is a light thing in the sight of the Lord. He will also give the Moabites into your hand, 19and you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree and stop up all springs of water and ruin every good piece of land with stones.” 20The next morning, about the time of offering the sacrifice, behold, water came from the direction of Edom, till the country was filled with water.
21When all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them, all who were able to put on armor, from the youngest to the oldest, were called out and were drawn up at the border. 22And when they rose early in the morning and the sun shone on the water, the Moabites saw the water opposite them as red as blood. 23And they said, “This is blood; the kings have surely fought together and struck one another down. Now then, Moab, to the spoil!” 24But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose and struck the Moabites, till they fled before them. And they went forward, striking the Moabites as they went.1 25And they overthrew the cities, and on every good piece of land every man threw a stone until it was covered. They stopped every spring of water and felled all the good trees, till only its stones were left in Kir-hareseth, and the slingers surrounded and attacked it. 26When the king of Moab saw that the battle was going against him, he took with him 700 swordsmen to break through, opposite the king of Edom, but they could not. 27Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they withdrew from him and returned to their own land.
Pray for Us
1Finally, brothers,1 pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored,2 as happened among you, 2and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.3 4And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
Warning Against Idleness
6Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.4
13As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 14If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
16Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.
17I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Daniel's Vision of the Four Beasts
1In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. 2Daniel declared,1 “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. 4The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. 5And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ 6After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.
The Ancient of Days Reigns
9“As I looked,
thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.
11“I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
The Son of Man Is Given Dominion
13“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.
Daniel's Vision Interpreted
15“As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me2 was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’
19“Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. 21As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.
23“Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,
there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
25He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
26But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’3
28“Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”
Tremble at the Presence of the Lord
1When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2Judah became his sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
3The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
5What ails you, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
6O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?
7Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.
To Your Name Give Glory
1Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
2Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
4Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
5They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
6They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
7They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
8Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.
9O Israel,1 trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
10O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
11You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
12The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us;
he will bless the house of Israel;
he will bless the house of Aaron;
13he will bless those who fear the Lord,
both the small and the great.
14May the Lord give you increase,
you and your children!
15May you be blessed by the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
16The heavens are the Lord's heavens,
but the earth he has given to the children of man.
17The dead do not praise the Lord,
nor do any who go down into silence.
18But we will bless the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the Lord!
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