The Lord Knoweth Those That Are His

The title is taken from 2Timothy 2:19 "The Lord knoweth those that are his." This quotation points out the all-knowing power of God and the care and concern of God for His servants.

Appreciates

If we look in the center column reference for this verse it gives a synonym for the word knoweth. The synonym it gives is the word appreciates. So we could read the entire verse as follows "Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal. The Lord appreciates those that are His, and let every one that nameth the name of Christ departs from iniquity."
This verse is taken from the last letter from Paul, written from a Roman prison shortly before his death. In this letter, Paul pours forth his last urgent words of counsel to the younger man, Timothy, who must carry on the work after Paul is gone. Apparently Timothy needed encouragement. The whole letter is an exhortation to endurance and boldness in Christ.
Suggestions are given for laboring in the ministry, rightly handling the word of truth, and fulfilling the role of the Lord's servant. Paul makes a strong plea that Timothy be grounded in the scriptures and that he remain faithful to the sound doctrine in the face of false teachers that surround him.

Confidence

Paul was confident that God would appreciate his service. In the fourth chapter of 2Timothy we can read Paul's last testament "For I am now ready to be offered, that is put to death, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, and I have kept the faith. 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 that love his appearing."
Perhaps we feel humbled when we read this testament. How many of us could withstand the trials and persecutions which Paul faced? But Paul did not write these words to elevate himself over other followers of Christ. He wrote it for their encouragement and for our encouragement.

Timothy perhaps also felt humbled when he received this letter from Paul. He may have thought, How can I have the strength and faith of Paul? How can I carry on the work of a man like Paul?
But Timothy, along with the other true followers did carry on the work of the truth in the face of much persecution. They accomplished this feat by having confidence. The key point is that their strength and faith relied on confidence in God rather than confidence in themselves. This is the point that Paul is making in his last testament written in this letter to Timothy.

Paul realized there was no glory in what man could accomplish by himself. This is evident from Romans chapter seven where he writes "For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing, for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

Now we can see how timothy and ourselves could be encouraged by the last testament of Paul when he wrote "For I am now ready to be offered, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

Paul wasn't praising himself in that he had earned a place in the kingdom on his own merits. He was showing belief and confidence in God to fulfill the promises made unto the fathers.
Paul was showing the love and mercy of God, in that a wretched man such as himself, could be freely given a place in the kingdom. If he would but, earnestly seek God, obey the commandments, preserve the truth given unto him, and believe, and trust, in the power of God.

Responsibility

Today the responsibility of preserving the truth and carrying on the work, rest upon our shoulders. It is a blessing beyond measure, which we have received. But we must be careful not to take our duty lightly. "For the Lord knoweth those that are His."

It is an absolute truth that we are known of God in all circumstances. Whether we openly serve God in the face of trial as did Shadrack, Meshech and Abednego. Or whether we try to hide, or even deny, that we are known of God as did Peter after they led Christ away to the crucifixion.
We are very fortunate that we live in a country where we can worship in peace.
But do we take full advantage of this opportunity?
We need to remember the words written in the gospel of Luke. "For whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required."

We are all aware of the signs pointing to the return of Christ to this earth. But are we ready to be offered as Paul was? If this country started a policy to arrest and persecutes all Christians, would we be arrested, or would we be released because of lack of evidence?

These are stern questions, but these are questions we should ask ourselves now while it is still light. While work still can be accomplished.
Every one of us who has been baptized has taken on responsibility. We are commanded to seek first the Kingdom of God.
God realizes our weak nature and His word is filled with words of encouragement. We are to let our light shine before men, that they may see the good works and glorify the Father in heaven.
God has given us hope of eternal life. He has promised, and will bring about, a glorious Kingdom, which will stand forever. We must do our part if we hope to have a place in the Kingdom. We must take advantage of the many opportunities we have to serve and give praise to God.
God is not slack concerning His promises. Likewise the obedience, faith and work of those who inherit the Kingdom will not be lacking.

Accountability

The Bible is filled with warnings for those servants who do not put a full effort into their work for the truth. The parable of the talents teaches us not to be slothful. For the unprofitable servant who hid his talent was cast into outer darkness.
We are not to make excuses why we cannot help in any capacity for the work of the truth. For this is backsliding and the words of Jesus tell us that no man having put his hand to the plough and then looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.
Likewise the words from Matthew chapter 10 "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me and he that taketh not his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me."

We should also remember the warning to the church of Laodicea "I know thy words, that thou are neither hot nor cold. I would thou were hot or cold. So then because thou art lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth."
All of us who have knowledge of the truth are accountable before God. He knows all of our actions and even our thoughts.
We must not be discouraged when we read the warnings in the Bible, but rather we should use them for their intended purpose, to prevent final destruction.

Endurance and Boldness

If any of us become discouraged or neglectful, we hamper the spiritual growth of those in our own household. If this action continues, the efforts of the whole ecclesia are hindered.
We must take counsel in the word. To have endurance and boldness in Christ. To be firmly grounded in the scriptures. Apart from this plan of God, there is no hope given unto mankind.

Finally we must agree with the words of Paul that all of us are wretched men, worthy of nothing but death. But let us also follow Paul's attitude of having confidence in the living merciful God expressed in the following verse, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"."I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
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Bro. Robert Edwards


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