The Crown of Righteousness (Part 2 of 2)2 Timothy 4:8
Did you know that only bad people go to heaven? Find out why when you study along with Alistair as he takes a closer look at an urgent warning and an undeserved reward. That’s our focus on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.
Past, Present, Future
‘Do you want to go away as well?’John 6:67
Many have forsaken Christ and have walked no more with Him; but what reason do you have to make a change? Has there been any reason for it in the past? Has Jesus not proved Himself all-sufficient? He asks you this morning, “Have I been a wilderness to you?” When your soul has simply trusted Jesus, have you ever been defeated? Have you not until now found your Lord to be a compassionate and generous friend to you, and has simple faith in Him not given you all the peace your spirit could desire? Can you even dream of a better friend than He has been to you? Then do not change the old and tried for the new and false.
As for the present, can that compel you to leave Christ? When we are hard-pressed with this world or with the severer trials within the church, we find it a most blessed thing to rest our head upon the shoulder of our Savior. This is the joy we have today—that we are saved in Him; and if this joy is satisfying, why would we think of changing? Who trades gold for dross? We will not renounce the sun until we find a better light, nor leave our Lord until a brighter lover shall appear; and since this can never be, we will hold Him with an immortal grasp and bind His name as a seal upon our arm.
As for the future, can you suggest anything that can arise that will render it necessary for you to mutiny or desert the old flag to serve under another captain? We think not. If life be long, He doesn’t change. If we are poor, what better than to have Christ who can make us rich? When we are sick, what more do we want than Jesus to comfort and to heal? When we die, is it not written that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”1 And so we say with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”2
1) Romans 8:38-39
2) John 6:68
Elisha and the Widow's Oil
1Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 3Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” 5So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
Elisha and the Shunammite Woman
8One day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to eat some food. So whenever he passed that way, he would turn in there to eat food. 9And she said to her husband, “Behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God who is continually passing our way. 10Let us make a small room on the roof with walls and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there.”
11One day he came there, and he turned into the chamber and rested there. 12And he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.” When he had called her, she stood before him. 13And he said to him, “Say now to her, ‘See, you have taken all this trouble for us; what is to be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’” She answered, “I dwell among my own people.” 14And he said, “What then is to be done for her?” Gehazi answered, “Well, she has no son, and her husband is old.” 15He said, “Call her.” And when he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16And he said, “At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your servant.” 17But the woman conceived, and she bore a son about that time the following spring, as Elisha had said to her.
Elisha Raises the Shunammite's Son
18When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. 19And he said to his father, “Oh, my head, my head!” The father said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20And when he had lifted him and brought him to his mother, the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died. 21And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God and shut the door behind him and went out. 22Then she called to her husband and said, “Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may quickly go to the man of God and come back again.” 23And he said, “Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.” She said, “All is well.” 24Then she saddled the donkey, and she said to her servant, “Urge the animal on; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there is the Shunammite. 26Run at once to meet her and say to her, ‘Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?’” And she answered, “All is well.” 27And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, “Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me.” 28Then she said, “Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me?’” 29He said to Gehazi, “Tie up your garment and take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not reply. And lay my staff on the face of the child.” 30Then the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. 31Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. Therefore he returned to meet him and told him, “The child has not awakened.”
32When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33So he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. 35Then he got up again and walked once back and forth in the house, and went up and stretched himself upon him. The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36Then he summoned Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground. Then she picked up her son and went out.
Elisha Purifies the Deadly Stew
38And Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land. And as the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Set on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. 40And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it. 41He said, “Then bring flour.” And he threw it into the pot and said, “Pour some out for the men, that they may eat.” And there was no harm in the pot.
42A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” 43But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’” 44So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2To Timothy, my true child in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Warning Against False Teachers
3As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship1 from God that is by faith. 5The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
8Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,2 liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound3 doctrine, 11in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners
12I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.4 Amen.
18This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Daniel's Vision of the Ram and the Goat
1In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. 2And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal. 3I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. 4I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.
5As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. 6He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath. 7I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power. 8Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
9Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. 10It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some1 of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. 11It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. 12And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression,2 and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper. 13Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” 14And he said to me,3 “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”
The Interpretation of the Vision
15When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. 16And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” 17So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.”
18And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up. 19He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21And the goat4 is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king. 22As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his5 nation, but not with his power. 23And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise. 24His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. 25By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. 26The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”
27And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king's business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.
I Love the Lord
1I love the Lord, because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
2Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
4Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”
5Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
6The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
8For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
9I will walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
10I believed, even when1 I spoke:
“I am greatly afflicted”;
11I said in my alarm,
“All mankind are liars.”
12What shall I render to the Lord
for all his benefits to me?
13I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
14I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
15Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.
16O Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds.
17I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.
18I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!
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