Sunday, October 20, 2013

Reaping In Adversity

Temple Baptist Church - 10-20-2013
2 Timothy 2:5-7
A. The question may be raised: “What do these next two verses have to do with the context?”
1. The context has not changed. Verse 5 begins with the word “And.” The apostle is exhorting a young pastor during trying times when trouble was seemingly on every hand. If you go back and see what Paul suffered for the cause of Christ, you will better understand the times in which these men lived.
2 Corinthians 11:23-28 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. (24) Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. (25) Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; (26) In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; (27) In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (28) Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
2. God wastes no words. These verses are important in the light of Paul’s warning as quitting is not to be an option but it is always a possibility.
3. Verses 5-7 are the culmination of the context. Christianity has never been popular and God’s men have never been loved for preaching the word of God. Paul is speaking of the rewards so often come at the end of the trial instead of at the beginning of it.
Psalms 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
B. It is of great importance that the Holy Ghost gave the analogy of the husbandman when exhorting the soldier. To the farmer, labor always precedes harvest! So it often is in the life of the Christian: spiritual labor normally precedes spiritual harvest; spiritual suffering normally precedes victory!
1. The First Mention of the husbandman is found in Genesis 3:17-19: “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; (18) Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; (19) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Toil and sweat is the way of the husbandman but the harvest and satisfaction will follow. Thus it is with the soldier. Victory comes at a price and too often that price is the blood of the soldier.)
2. The Last Mention is found in James 5:7: “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” (Patience in waiting is the life of the husbandman. Thus it is with the soldier. Victory is often long in coming. The battles hard and long; the enemy resilient and determined.)
2. The husbandman labors hard: tills the ground, plants the seed, waits with patience for the timely rain that is needed for growth, and then reaps the harvest.
C.  So it is with the soldier or “spiritual husbandman!”
1. We live in times when people want to reap the benefit without laboring for it. Just look at our nation: a people who want everything without doing anything to earn it: a “handout” people.
2. Spiritually, I believe that we have the same mentality. Our spiritual forefathers paid a dear price for bringing the Old Paths down to our day and we have had it made here in America. No persecution has touched our generation and we have been blessed.
3. But, I fear that we have become “at ease in Zion” and have no stomach for adversity. We, like the people of America, want the blessing without the blood, sweat, and tears of our forefathers.
D. Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Weariness comes with a long, hard fought battle. Fainting comes from a depletion of either strength, hope, or both. Due season is an unspecified time frame known only to God.)
1. Reaping Comes After Standing – vs. 1 2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (There is a price to be paid for standing before there is a prize to be reaped. Prizes are for those who finish, not those who run!)
2. Reaping Comes After Commitment – vs. 2 2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (We reap workers and teachers only after we teach them and commit “that good thing” to them. Our young people and families MUST step up. I see an older generation dying off and there needs to be replacement.)
3. Reaping Comes After Enduring Hardness – vs. 3 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (The battle must be fought and the enemy must be subdued before the reaping of blessing comes. America has fought too many wars since WWII that have ended in either stalemate or partial victory. Our leadership has no heart to fight. I thank God for Israel who will stand and fight alone if necessary.)

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