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Ephesians; 1:4 – Election of church age believer, part 10. Paul's three metaphors of endurance: soldier, athlete, farmer

length: 65:04 - taught on Nov, 21 2018
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Wednesday November 21, 2018

Ephesians; 1:4 - Election of church age believer, part 10.


3) Passages where election is applied to believers in this age:


3e. The elect endure all things for the sake of one another, which pleases God.


2TI 2:1 You therefore [referring to Paul’s call to faithfulness in chapter 1], my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.


2TI 2:2 And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.


2TI 2:3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.


All the elect will face some hardship. Those who grab hold of election will suffer more things undeservedly. The entreaty is to endure it with Paul.


God came into this world and gave it His love and salvation in the humanity of Jesus Christ. He did not remove that which opposes Him; sin and evil. Therefore, the elect will face hardship if they do not make friends with the world. It is of extreme importance that the elect endure this hardship so that they may reveal to the world the life of Christ, which overcomes all evil. If they do not, the gift within them will grow cold (2TI 1:6).


Paul is going to use three metaphors. First, he uses the military metaphor of a soldier. The Roman legionnaires suffered hardship in the service of the Emperor. Why not the Christian in the service of the King of kings? The soldier endures hardship. He doesn’t quit, go AWOL, or scheme to find a more comfortable way. The Lord will deliver us as we remain silent.


2TI 2:4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.


The elect are active soldiers who are not entangled in the affairs of everyday life (bios), but ready to serve their King.


The next metaphor is a Greek athlete.


2TI 2:5 And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.


“competes as an athlete” is all from one Greek verb = athlei. It means to contend in the games, which were Greek games and occurred in every major city.


The point being made here is if the athlete does not compete lawfully, he is not crowned. “does not win the prize” is all from one verb, stephanoo, which means to crown.


“compete according to the rules” - self-control. We have been given a spirit of discipline (1:7). The athlete in Greek games was not crowned if he didn’t follow all the rules.


The crown the victor received, was a wreath for his head, woven of ivy, laurel, roses, oak leaves, etc. But the victor does not receive it unless he has striven lawfully, that is, unless he has obeyed the regulations governing the contest. The Greek athlete was required to spend ten months in preparatory training before the contest. During this time, he had to engage in the prescribed exercises and live a strictly separated life in regard to the ordinary and lawful pursuits of life, and he was placed on a rigid diet. Should he break training rules, he would be barred from engaging in the contest.


Paul uses this same analogy in 1Co 9 where he writes: Run in such a way that you may win. Who enters a race in the games and doesn’t care to win?


1CO 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.


1CO 9:25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.


Should Greek athletes have more dedication and self-control than the elect of God? We are also engaged in a challenge; a much more important one.


1CO 9:26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;


1CO 9:27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.


What is our aim? What is the target we are trying to hit? It is the Christ-life becoming our every day normal life.


Whereas, Paul used the verb “not crowned” in 2Ti 2, he uses disqualified here (adokimazo) meaning to be cast away or untestable, which in this case would mean that he didn’t qualify to compete in the games.


After the analogy of the soldier (does not entangle himself in the affairs of everyday life), and the analogy of the athlete (exercises self-control in all things), lastly, he uses the analogy of the farmer.


2TI 2:6 The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.


In the third analogy, our minds go straight to the reward. The Greek says that he is to be the partaker of the fruits. Some suggest that this means that he makes his living off the gospel, but that is not here.


Notice that there is reward in the first two metaphors. The soldier serves so that he may please God who enlisted him. The athlete competes according to the rules so that he may be crowned. Pleasing the Lord and crowned are connected. Then thirdly, the farmer receives the fruit. That he receives it “first” doesn’t indicate a contest, for the farmer is always the one to harvest the produce.


What is pointed out in the metaphor of the farmer is that he must labor. The Greek verb means to labor, to toil, or to work hard to the point of weariness.


Spiritually this would mean diligence on a daily basis in the spiritual life. It would mean thirsting and hungering for righteousness and entering into the blessed joy of God’s plan for your life every day.


The elect (soldier, athlete, farmer) doesn’t entangle himself in details of life, lives by the commands (rules), works hard - so that - please God, be crowned, receive fruit.


2TI 2:7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.


Timothy, and each of us, should pause and consider the above. We must understand what the metaphors mean. They are the life of the elect. It is vital that we understand them, so much so, that we need to ask God in prayer for understanding.


Pray for understanding concerning specific passages of scripture.


This is serious business. Take each one and go to God in private, alone, having time to think and receive, and ask about the soldier, what it is to avoid being entangled in the affairs of everyday life, what are those particular affairs for you. Ask Him about pleasing Him. Ask Him about following the rules or the commands and what it means to be crowned spiritually. Ask Him if you labor enough, and what does the labor look like. Ask Him if your labor is properly motivated and what the fruit of the labor would actually be. And with this, as the next verse reveals, remember Jesus as the perfect example.


I am becoming more and more convinced that Christians are not using prayer for this purpose near enough, when it is one of prayer’s key functions. We may run through our prayer list and say “done.” Do we spend time with our Father in private, thanking Him morning and night, and entreating His ministry in giving understanding in everything?


In the end, each of us must come to our own convictions. I have admitted to you all, several times, that I don’t know everything. I can only communicate what I see in the scripture, and my knowledge will increase. However, I refuse to use conjecture or human reasoning to fill in gaps or to connect lines between sound doctrines. I will only use the revelation of the scripture.


2TI 2:7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.


We look to the life of Jesus Christ for the example, leading to more understanding.


2TI 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel,


Raised from the dead, in the context, is more than the fact of it, that He was resurrected, but more so the implication of it. Jesus came to life. The first time from the virgin birth but the second time from resurrection. Who could hurt Him, bruise Him, mock Him, etc.? The humanity of Christ possessed resurrection life and He appeared to believers, the ones who would be elect in Him. His resurrection life is given to us. We live like Him.


Jesus is elect. He is the ideal soldier, athlete, farmer. He has given us His resurrection life. We live like Him.


2TI 2:9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.


2TI 2:10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen [eklektos], that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.


In view of the soldier, athlete, farmer, and the Lord Jesus Christ, the ideal one of each, and Him resurrected, all things must be endured for the sake of the elect.


Paul repeats this sentiment in the prescript of Titus


TIT 1:1

Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,


If we chose, we can water down the plan of God by neglecting some aspects of it and including some aspects of our own plans that accommodate the flesh and the world. If we do this, the world will not persecute us, we will not suffer undeservedly as much, we will not have to exercise as much control over ourselves, and the spiritual work will be easier because there will be far less of it. But the cost of these allowances is too high. The cost is the realization of the fulfillment of the life of Christ in our lives. That price is too dear for some hope of comfort, which actually only calls for the discipline of your Father. 


And with this election to a heavenly life, I want to spend a few moments speaking on thankfulness in the spirit of the coming holiday.


COL 3:12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God [the elect], holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;


Wrap yourself (put on) in a “heart of compassion” - bowels of compassion = a feeling of distress for the ills of others (Vine’s).


Kindness, humility (lowliness of mind), gentleness (meekness, often paired with humility), patience (as applies to people).


COL 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.


COL 3:14 And beyond (epi = upon) all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.


“And upon all these things put on love” which holds all the others together perfectly.


Love is the outer garment that holds all the others together in perfect fashion.


Actually, the word “unity” is not in the original. The Greek reads, “And upon all these, put on divine love which is a binding factor of perfection or completeness.”


Attempt any of the virtues of vs. 13 without love and they will end up becoming selfish and hurtful. Without divine love our best intentions fall apart in selfish desire. Without love, if we seek to do good, we will always look for reward, acknowledgment, or reciprocation. Divine love is what loosens the bonds of self and discards any thought of self so that we may serve others as Christ would have us do.


Agape relies completely on the Lord Jesus Christ, His mind, His power, His heart. Agape has no thought of self and seeks nothing but the life of the Lord and the benefit of the other. Only the elect can love with agape.


1CO 13:3

And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.


COL 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.


“Rule in your hearts” is an athletic term that means “to umpire.” Lightfoot says: "Wherever there is a conflict of motives or impulses or reasons, the peace of Christ must step in and decide which is to prevail."


The previous reference to occasions for meekness, long-suffering, forbearance, forgiveness, etc., indicates a conflict of passions and motives in the heart. The peace of Christ in the heart of the Christian allows him to calmly choose the right course in the midst of these conflicts, and so it becomes our umpire in all situations of conflict.


And, as Paul relates, we are called or elected in one body. God united us in salvation and love. He placed each one of us in the body as He willed. The peace of Christ, given to us by Him through His death and resurrection, gives us the ability to clearly see the right path in the many conflicts we face.




Put it all together, that we wear Christ’s virtue, and all of that virtue is perfectly held together by the wrapping of His love, and His peace in our hearts always shows us the right way and gives us the power to choose that way, and that we were elected in one body to be this way - we should be thankful.  


COL 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.


COL 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.


3f. The believer is elected according to the foreknowledge of God. 


1PE 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen


1PE 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.


God holds man accountable for his decisions all throughout the Bible. Yet, God also is Sovereign. Foreknowledge is more than God knowing something in advance.


Foreknowledge refers to “whom” God knows has a special covenant relationship with Him. The Bible never tells us “what” God foreknew.


God has omniscience and so He knows everything about everyone. Foreknowledge is always used of those who have a special relationship with Him.


He knew us before we were saved, but when we entered into salvation, we entered into a special covenant relationship with Him and so are from then on “known” by Him in a special relationship sense which was not true before salvation.


In the foreknowledge passages, it never says what He foreknew. It always says “whom” He foreknew. It never says that He foreknew their faith. And yet, nothing should be implied from that that is not stated in the Scripture, for instance, that He predestined some to heaven and some to hell, or that the atonement is limited, or that God forced certain men to believe, none of which is stated in the Bible.


Predestination and foreknowledge happen at the same time. When God foreknows something, it has to happen. It not chronological. God foreknows things because He planned out those things and within that plan, He allowed certain human freedoms/choices.


For example, God foreknew that Judas would betray Jesus and that made it certain, however, Judas was not under compunction from God. He chose to do it.


Foreknowledge used as a verb.  


ROM 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;


ROM 11:2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew [Israel].


1PE 1:20 For He [Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you


Foreknowledge used as a noun:


1PE 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen


1PE 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.


ACT 2:23 this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.


Arminianism: salvation is based upon foreseen faith.

Problem: foreknowledge is always connected with God planning.


The problem with this is that the basic usage of the word doesn’t only mean to know something in advance, but to know in advance due to preplanning.


A simple example: You knew you would be here tonight. You knew that because you planned to come. But being finite, any number of things might have gone wrong that would have stopped you from being here, but nothing goes wrong when God plans.


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