2 Timothy 2

2 Timothy 2: Eternal Glory for the Elect

                Paul writes to Timothy and explains that Timothy will need to “…endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3) Everyone who follows Jesus Christ needs to know that as followers, it is possible to experience or endure hardness. Persecution can and will happen!

Paul explains that “…if a man strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Timothy 2:5) – In other words, if someone wants to master something, they must follow the rules of that something. For example: Someone who competes in a sporting event must follow the rules of that event in order to have the chance of becoming victorious. If someone competing breaks the rules, they usually become disqualified for the prize. This is the same as our lives on earth, we are here to learn and prove ourselves worthy to live with our Heavenly Father again.

Just as the farmer must labor to obtain fruit, so must we also labor to obtain the fruit (the reward) or eternal life! “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” (2 Timothy 2:6)

Paul explains that Jesus Christ was the seed of David and was raised from the dead, Paul says that he endures all things for His sake; for if “…we deny him, he also will deny us.” (2 Timothy 2:12) Paul urges the followers of Christ to “…strive not about words to no profit, but… Study to shew thyself approved unto God…” (2 Timothy 2:14-15) We should not waste our time with things that have no profit to us, instead we should be well studied, so that we can obtain as much knowledge in this life.

Paul leaves us with some very good advice;

“Flee… youthful lusts; but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace… 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…” (2 Timothy 2:22; 24-25)

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1 Corinthians 2

1 Corinthians 2: “The Mormons” – We have the Mind of Christ

                When I was serving a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Honduras, I was often ridiculed for my faith. I would run into people that would tell me that I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ. I would point out to them that the Church has the NAME of Jesus Christ in it. But usually that wouldn’t be enough. For those who are reading this now… I testify that Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.ka. “Mormons”) absolutely believe in Jesus Christ. He is central to the Plan of Happiness and ONLY through Jesus Christ can we be saved. I know He is my redeemer, He is MY Savior and He is YOUR Savior. For this purpose, I always called this chapter of 1 Corinthians “The Mormons” – We have the Mind of Christ. Because we do, we believe on Him.

                Paul comes to the Corinthians and explains that he is not perfect, but that through the Spirit and through the Power of God, he came to them as an Apostle of the Lord;

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

                Even in during this time, False teachers had come forth… enticing men by the slight of their words. Paul explained that he was a simple man, called of God to preach the Gospel. He knew that he was flawed, but knew that God was there for him. He came demonstrating the Power of God, not of Men.

Sometimes when we think of God and His dealings with us, we sell ourselves short. The bottom line is that, GOD LOVES US! We are His children and He would do ANYTHING for us. When we are sad, He is sad! When we are happy, He rejoices with us. Paul reminds us that; “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

                Paul goes on to explain that we can receive the Spirit of God, which is FREELY given to us. With this power we can have the ability to speak with the wisdom that comes from the Holy Ghost and not from the wisdom taught of men. Paul explains that Spiritual matters need to be compared, understood and taught I a Spiritual manner. Those who have the natural man, do not receive the Spiritual things of God, for they are foolishness to them!

                “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-15)

                Essentially Paul is saying that if you want to know if something is of God, you must come to that knowledge not through the wisdom of God, but through the wisdom of the Holy Ghost, the Spiritual Wisdom.

Paul closes by saying that the Church has the mind of Christ; “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Romans 10

Romans 10: Salvation and God’s Servants

                Paul explains that it is his “…heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” (Romans 10:1) Israel has gone about to seek and “…establish their own righteousness…” (Romans 10:3), by creating their own sense of what righteousness is, they “…have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3) This means that you could have every good intent to worship God and to follow His commandments, and still do it wrong. This doesn’t mean that their can’t be different ways to worship God, however there is only one authority to baptize and perform saving ordinances.

We read further that; “…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9) So does this mean that we can just confess the name of Jesus Christ and accept Him in our hearts and be saved? No. Why? If we believe, but do not follow the commandments nor get baptized we are only saved from a Physical death, but not from a Spiritual death. While Peter was teaching when the group he was teaching said “…what shall we do? …Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized everyone one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:37-38) So, not only do we have to believe, but by believing means we have faith and by having faith means we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. So if we believe on Him, we will also put forth good works. Remember that Jesus said; “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) – So just by saying the name of Jesus is not enough, we must also do the will of the Father. What is the will? Its work, its following the commandments and doing good.

“…how shall they preach, except they be sent? …How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15) – Mormon missionaries are called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the globe. They are called and sent by a modern day prophet to preach the glad tidings of good things!

Matthew 20

Matthew 20:

Parable of the Laborers 

                  Jesus addresses his disciples and gives them the Parable of the Laborers:

The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man that hired laborers, who he agreed to pay 1 penny per day. Three hours after the original laborers had started the work, he found more idle workers in the market place and agreed to pay them 1 penny per day for their labor. Into the 6th hour he finds more laborers and gives them the offer for 1 penny per day for their labor. Then finally in the 11th hour he finds more laborers and offers them the same deal, 1 penny per day for their labor.

At the end of the day the man tells the steward to call the laborers and give them their pay for their labors of that day, from last to the first. Each laborer received 1 penny for their laborers, which caused the laborers who had worked longer to murmur against the man of the house. The man of the house explains to one of the murmuring laborers; “…Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?” (Matthew 20:13)

Even though the workers were murmuring the man of the house had made a deal with them and was being fair according to the deal that he made with each individual laborer.  The man of the vineyard asks the laborer who was murmuring; “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:15-16)

                  Jesus then addresses the group gathered and foretells about his crucifixion and resurrection. “…the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

Proverbs 23-24

Proverbs 23-24

Chapter 23: Labor not to be Rich

“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.” (Proverbs 23:4)

                We should never focus on work as only a means for us to become wealthy. If we become wealthy by our work, then so be it, but it should not be our main focus.

                “…as he thinketh with his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7)

                If a man lusts after sex, drugs or alcohol then that is what the man is. This is similar to the idea of “you are what you eat”, we are what we do in private and public.

                “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.” (Proverbs 23:9)

                Fools will not listen.

                “Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)

                Does this mean we should be children? NO! But we shouldn’t be too easy going either… we need to put some tough love into parenting.

                “…despise not thy mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:22)

                When our parents get old, we should still respect them. We should always look out for them, as they have looked after us.

Chapter 24: Listen to Counsel

In a multitude of counselors there is safety. We need to learn to take advice from others! A wise man is strong, and a man of understanding increases that strength daily.

“Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.” (Proverbs 24:29)

Here we see that we are judged on our works and are not just saved by the grace of God alone. We need to remember that if someone has wronged us we cannot always get revenge by doing the same thing to them. Let’s say someone cut off your arm, would it make sense to cut off the arm of the offender? No. This is what the scripture is talking about.