LUSTS : tas de neoterikas epithumias
(Pr 6:5; 1Co 6:18; 10:14; 1Ti 6:11) (Ps 119:9; Ec 11:9,10; 1Peter 2:11)
Pr 6:5 — Deliver yourself like
a gazelle from the hunter's hand, And like a bird from the hand of the
1Co 6:18 — Flee
command to make it your habit to do so). Every other sin that a man
commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own
As Steven Cole says "Don’t flirt with it. Don’t stand there and
pray about what to do. Don’t get near it. If it comes knocking, run for
your life!" -
The Person God Uses
1Co 10:14 — Therefore, my beloved,
command to make it your habit to do so) from idolatry.
Cole remarks "You may be thinking, “Well, at least that one isn’t
a problem for me! I’m never tempted to set up an idol.” Really? You’re
never tempted to set up anything in the place that rightfully belongs to
God alone? You never allow watching TV or playing computer games to
usurp the time that you should spend alone with God or serving Him? Run
from anything that pulls you away from full devotion to God! -
The Person God Uses
1Ti 6:11 — But
command to make it your habit to do so) from these things, you man of
God; and pursue
imperative = make
it your habit to do so) righteousness, godliness, faith, love,
perseverance and gentleness.
Cole remarks that Paul in
context issues a command to "to flee from the love of money. Are you
tempted to gamble? Run! It’s the love of money that feeds gambling. Do
you look at the rich and think, “I want to live that way”? Run! Are you
tempted to steal or cheat on your taxes or be greedy rather than
generous? Run! Cleansed people flee from sin. -
The Person God Uses
Ec 11:10 — So,
(command) vexation (anger) from your heart and
(command) pain (evil) from your body, because childhood and the prime of
life are fleeting.
1 Peter 2:11 (note)
— Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain (present
continually) from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.
(de) is a marker frequently denoting transition or
conversion, serving to introduce something else in this case with the
implication of some contrast.
[word study]) means to move quickly from a point or area in
order to avoid presumed danger or difficulty. To run away. To seek
safety by flight. To run or move hastily from danger. Don’t entertain
them, rationalize them, negotiate with them, try to challenge them or
try and endure them. If you have the idea that you will just "test
yourself" on this one to see if you can stand against it, beware for
this approach has made many a man or a woman fall into sin.
is a command calling for this action to
be our way of life, to be continual, to be our habitual practice. Now
try to obey this in your own power! You may do "okay" for a while, but
the truth is that in order to flee from bad, we must first flee to the
good. That is to say we must first surrender or yield to the filling of
the Spirit (Eph 5:18-note),
so that we might be enabled to walk by the Spirit and then we will flee
(not carry out the desires of the flesh - Gal 5:16-note).
Now we "work out" what the Spirit "work in" (Php 2:12-note,
We are still fully responsible for all of our moral choices, while at
the same time being fully dependent on the enabling power of the Spirit
to make God pleasing choices. Mysterious? Yes, but thoroughly Biblical.
Notice we are not saying let go and let God, for that in effect lets us
off the hook. Better stated it might be let go, let God and let's go, if
that makes sense to you.
alludes to this same idea in his book
The Bookends of the Christian Life which I
highly recommend (especially if you are "fuzzy" on the role of the Holy
Spirit in your everyday Christian life). Bridges writes "At this point
we need to understand in greater depth how the Holy Spirit works in the
believer’s life. The Bible teaches that the Spirit applies his power to
our lives in two different ways. The first we call his synergistic work,
which refers to occasions that combine our effort with his enabling
power. But this isn’t a pure synergism, as if we and the Spirit each
contributed equal power to the task. Rather, we work as he enables us to
work, so we use the expression qualified synergism. We’re 100
percent dependent on his power in order to participate in the work, as
the psalmist illustrated: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those
who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the
watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Two activities are
mentioned: building a house and watching over a city. The Lord’s
involvement isn’t one of helping but of building the house and watching
over the city. At the same time, the builder builds and the watchman
watches. The verse’s message is that the Lord doesn’t merely help the
builder and the watchman; he’s totally involved with them in this
qualified synergism. He supplies all the enabling power, and they do all
the tangible work. There are many such examples in the New Testament.
We’re to “put to death the deeds of the body” —the sin that
remains in us—yet we do so “by the Spirit” (Romans 8:13-note).
We’re to use the spiritual gifts we’ve received to serve God and other
people, yet we do so “by the strength that God supplies” (1 Peter
Perhaps we see this qualified synergism most clearly in Philippians
2:12–13: “Work out
command to make this your lifestyle - only possible as you reject self
reliance and rely on the Spirit's enablement!)
your own salvation with
fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to
work for his good pleasure.”
In this sentence, Paul refers to work three times. We are to
work—to apply ourselves with utmost seriousness and vigilance. But we’re
to do so with the recognition that God provides us with both the
motivation (the will) and the power (the work) to obey (Ed: Read the
paraphrase - Php 2:13NLT = God gives us both the desire and power).
Toward the end of this letter, after describing how he’d learned to be
content in any and every circumstance, Paul summed up the concept of
qualified synergism with a sweeping, dramatic statement: “I can do all
things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11–13-note).
We’re fully and wholeheartedly engaged in the work as the Spirit’s
enabling power works in us. (The
Bookends of the Christian Life) (Read
this review by popular Christian blogger Tim Challies - he says he has
read it twice to great benefit - not to outdo him I have probably read
it 5-10 times -- probably because I have greater need of this truth to
be kept "fresh!")
The classic example of appropriate flight is Joseph scrambling from the
presence of Potiphar’s wife and her sexual temptations, motivated not by
legalism but by love for God and His glory
How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God? (Genesis
In fact, take note of Joseph's example in (Genesis
39) and contrast it with
Samson's example below...
6 So [Potiphar]
left everything he owned in Joseph's charge; and with him there he did
not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now
Joseph was handsome in form and appearance...12 And [Potiphar's wife
tried to seduce Joseph and] caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with
me!" And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went
outside.) (Note that the Hebrew word "flee" is translated in the
by the same verb pheugo.
reminds us " that as demonstrated by Joseph, we must not linger in the
house of temptation but must make a hasty exit into the golden fields of
uncompromising holiness. The danger of not fleeing so is well described
by Alexander Pope in one of his poems:
Vice is a monster of such terrible mein
That to be hated, needs but to be seen.
Yet seen too often; familiar her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
Here is Samson's example
- "Then Samson
went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of
the Philistines. 2 So he came back and told his father and mother, "I
saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now
therefore, get her for me as a wife." 3 Then his father and his mother
said to him, "Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives,
or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the
uncircumcised Philistines?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her
for me, for she looks good to me."
) (Judges 14:1-3-note)
- Sins of the flesh are never to be reasoned with. It would be like
reasoning with a tornado! Run from it...not see how close you can get to
it. What would you think of the man who went as near as he could to
burning down his house, just to test how much fire it would stand? Or
one who cut himself w/a knife to see how deep he could go without
mortally wounding himself? Or one who experimented as to how large a
quantity of poison he could take? So is the man who tries to see how
much sin he may indulge in & yet be saved.
comments that "Paul continues to describe the areas which the man of God
must stay out of if he is to be a conqueror rather than a casualty in
the fierce battle between good and evil. It is of no small significance
that vs. 22 follows on the heels of vs. 21. If we read no further than
vs. 21, we might easily get the impression that separating from
dishonorable vessels insures that we will be "vessel for honor,
sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work" Yet, all
of us are keenly aware that it takes more than just avoiding wrong
characters to attain the divine status described at the end of vs. 21.
Not only must we flee...
UNGODLY COMPANIONS (v21)
UNGODLY CHARACTER (v22a)
(neoterikos from néos = young) means
pertaining to youth.
We usually associate the term (lusts)
with sexual temptations, but as one older seminary professor told us,
“Men, they aren’t just youthful!” You don’t outgrow sexual temptations.
Where do you think we got the term, “dirty old man”? The word translated
“lusts” may refer to any desires, although it usually refers to sinful
desires. So while sexual temptation may be included in “youthful lusts,”
it’s probably not the primary focus.
Rather, Paul was probably referring to wrong desires that younger men
are more prone to than older men are. Calvin under-stood it as the
propensity of younger men to lose their tempers and rush forward into a
heated argument with more confidence and rashness than men of a riper
age do (Calvin's Commentaries [Baker], on 2Ti 2:22, p. 232).
In the same vein, Gordon Fee (New
International Biblical Commentary [Hendrickson Publishers, 1988], p.
263) says that Paul is speaking of “headstrong passions of youth, who
sometimes love novelties, foolish discussions, and arguments that all
too often lead to quarrels.”
William Barclay related it to the
faults of impatience, self-assertion, love of arguing, and love of
novelty that stem from youthful idealism (2
Timothy 2 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible).
So Paul was telling Timothy that
while it is right to defend the faith against serious errors and to
stand firm on the central doctrines of Scripture, there is a right and a
wrong way to go about it. He will go on (2Ti 2:23, 24, 25, 26) to explain the right
way. Here, he is warning against the wrong way, which is to be arrogant
about how much you know, impatiently to blast those in error, and to be
quarrelsome and self-assertive. The fruits of the Spirit include
patience, kindness, and gentleness, along with self-control (Gal.
Youthful impetuosity is not on the list! Paul says to flee from these
youthful temptations. (2
Timothy 2:20-22 The Person God Uses)
[word study] from epi = upon or intensifier + thumos
= passion) defines a great desire to do
something, a strong longing, drive or passion directed at an object (epi
= toward). Although epithumia can describe "good" desires,
more often in the NT it describes depraved cravings and inner vile
unrestrained desires (out-of-control craving) that emanate from our
fallen flesh or sin nature inherited from Adam. These
cravings are not just for
ice cream... but are for those things which would if pursued and taken hold
of, would in turn take hold of us... for by what a man is overcome by
that is he enslaved. (cf 2Pe 2:19-note) Youthful lusts are lurking reefs that
could damage our ship of faith and constantly war against our redeemed soul
So much of the negative baggage in people’s minds about holiness is a
result of the harsh focus on “fleeing.” Holiness is not living in the
world of “no” but leaving the world of “no” in order to enter the world
THE THREE "P's"
(1). PLEASURE: the
inordinate craving for the satisfaction of the physical appetites:
the “lust” for food and drink, pleasure-madness, uncontrolled
(2). POWER: the
ungoverned passion to shine or be dominant which results in envy,
uncontrolled yearning for material possessions and for the glory
that goes with them
True Biblical separation
If we are
not balanced, then we will be isolated instead of separated. In fact,
God’s man Paul commands us to fellowship w/ those who have pure hearts.
After all, this is the purpose of the ministry of the Word ("But the
goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience
and a sincere faith." 1Ti1:5). It
is sad when true believers are isolated because of a false view of
Not only is Timothy to separate himself from iniquitous men & false
teachings, but he is to separate himself from the lusts of the flesh.
Make it a habit of your life to run away from ''youthful lusts''
those things you did when you were a lost young man.[1Co 6:18 1Ti6:10,11] (foolish & harmful desires in
Why must we continuously flee? Because our flesh is wicked (our
fallen flesh nature inherited from Adam
although made ineffective in believers by the Cross still inhabits our mortal bodies
can spring into action if by the power of the Spirit we do not mortify it's desires), the devil is a
roaring lion, and the world system cries out to satisfy your desire
(witness the Nike commercial "Just Do It!") with the passing
pleasures of sin.
Peter knowing the clear and present danger that lurks in the
mortal body of every blood bought believer exhorted his readers...
Beloved, I urge
you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts (strong
desires that originate from the old Adamic nature still latent in
believers), which wage
- it's not simply one battle but a lifelong war against the residual
flesh nature) against the soul. (see notes on
1 Peter 2:11)
de dikaiosunen: (1Ti
4:12; 6:11; Hebrews 12:14-
Hebrews 12:14 (note)
command to make it your habit to do this) peace with all men, and the
sanctification (holiness =
hagiasmos) without which no one will
see the Lord.
3Jn 1:11 — Beloved,
do not imitate
negative = stop doing this) what is evil, but what is good. The
one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.
(dioko) means to follow or press hard after, pursue with
earnestness and diligence in order to obtain, go after with the desire
of obtaining. It is a picture of one who in a race runs swiftly to reach
the goal. Its the same word Paul used for persecute (see note
2 Timothy 3:12)
and thus the idea is go after these qualities that Paul lists with a
is a command calling for this action to
be our way of life, to be continual, to be our habitual practice. It is
not enough to continually run away from wrong for we must continually
run after what is good. To do this is the only way to escape temptations
to evil (cf. the principle found in Romans 12:21 "Do not be overcome by
evil, but overcome evil with good"). Christianity does not consist
merely of prohibitions, but of positive and powerful actions. See the
comments above regarding the command to
- the same thoughts apply to
wisely notes that "Scripture almost never gives us a
negative command without also giving us a positive command to pursue. If
we will concentrate on hotly pursuing the right things then fleeing the
wrong things will take care of themselves. When David sinned with
Bathsheba, his downfall was not primarily in his failure to flee
fornication, but rather in not following his God-given responsibility. "Now it came to pass in the spring of
the year, at the time when kings go out to battle...David remained in
Jerusalem." (2Sa 11:1) How often we find ourselves
overwhelmed by sin's allurements because we decide to stay in Jerusalem
when God has called us to the battlefront. There is an Italian proverb
which reads, "He that labors is tempted by one devil; he that is idle,
by a thousand." And so it seems to be!
from díke = right, just - see word study of
= righteous) in
simple terms is that which conforms to a standard or norm. In
Christianity righteousness is that which is itself
in keeping with what God is in His holy character.
Righteousness is rightness of character before God and rightness
of actions before men. Both of these qualities are based on truth, which
is conformity to the Word and will of God.
is holy and upright living, in accordance with God’s standard.
Righteousness means to live uprightly, doing good as empowered by
Nelson's Bible Dictionary adds
that "The word “righteousness” comes from a root word that
means “straightness.” It refers to a state that conforms to an
authoritative standard. Righteousness is a moral concept. God’s
character is the definition and source of all righteousness.
Therefore, the righteousness of human beings is defined in terms of
R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Not only is Timothy to flee, but he is also to follow. There is the negative
and the positive. How? As if in a chase. Keep on running swiftly after
righteousness in order to catch it. We must make it a habit to press on
in the race of life...because...
Only one RACE twill soon be past,
Only what's done in Christ will last
As one has wisely written "The exciting of our graces will be the extinguishing of our corruptions;
the more we follow that which is good the sooner and the further we shall
flee from evil. Righteousness, and faith, and love, are excellent
antidotes against youthful lusts. Holy love cures impure lust."
Commentary sums up what we are to pursue as vessels of honor- “Righteousness” is right-ness. It is
integrity, truthfulness, fairness, and justice. “Faith” is a constancy
of trust in God rather than in our own carefully devised securities.
“Love” is acting in the best interests of the other person. “Peace” is
that harmony and unity with those who are brought together in a common
commitment to the Lord. These are the things we are to pursue with a
D. S., & Ogilvie, L. J. The Preacher's Commentary Series. New
Testament. 2003. Thomas Nelson)
Steven Cole writes that...
God’s Word is not vague about how you
should live. It doesn’t offer helpful hints for happy living, if you
feel like giving it a try. It gives us the commandments of God, which
are for our good (Deut. 10:13; 1 John 5:3).
Years ago, an elder in my church in California told me that people like
his wife, who grew up under austere, authoritarian religious fathers,
could not relate to my preaching. When I asked why not, he said,
“Because you preach obedience.” I replied that when-ever I preached
obedience (which seems to be mentioned rather often in the Bible!), I
tried to emphasize God’s love and grace as the motivation to obey. But
he insisted that people such as his wife, who grew up in these
authoritarian homes, could not relate well to my emphasis on obedience.
In fact, I’ve often been called “legalistic” because I teach that we
must obey God.
But obedience to God’s Word is not legalism! Paul commands us, “Pursue
righteousness!” Go after it with everything you’ve got! David exclaimed
(Ps. 40:8), “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my
heart.” Hebrews 10:7 puts those words in Jesus’ mouth. If you’re growing
to be like Jesus, you’re growing in the delight of pursuing
righteousness from the heart. (2
Timothy 2:20-22 The Person God Uses)
FAITH, LOVE PEACE,
: pistin agaphe
: (1Co14:1, Ro 14:17,19;
15:5,6; 1Co 1:10; Heb12:14; 1Pe 3:11)
word study on
pistis) means a firm persuasion, conviction or belief in the truth.
Genuine saving faith is not just mental assent but a firm conviction,
surrender to that truth and conduct emanating from that surrender. In
sum, faith shows itself genuine by a changed life. Faith rests on trust
in God's revelation and character and produces a genuine relationship
William Barclay defines "faith" as
that which "begins with receptivity. It begins when a man is at least willing to
listen to the message of the truth. It goes on to mental assent. A man
first hears and then agrees that this is true. But mental assent need
not issue in action. Many a man knows very well that something is true,
but does not change his actions to meet that knowledge. The final stage
is when this mental assent becomes total surrender. In full-fledged
faith, a man hears the Christian message, agrees that it is true, and
then casts himself upon it in a life of total yieldedness." (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible)
Hiebert defines "faith" as “sincere and dynamic confidence in God.”
Faith equates with
obedience as shown in Hebrews where we read "And to whom did He swear
that they should not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?
And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief."
In these two verses unbelief clearly
parallels disobedience. So conversely, belief should be manifest by
obedience. Don't misunderstand - faith alone saves, but the faith that
saves is not alone.
Steven Cole writes that...
The Greek word here may mean, “faithfulness.”
We should be pursuing faithfulness, which is all too rare! It means that
you are trustworthy or reliable. When someone gives you a job, you can
be counted on to do it.
But the word also means “faith.” We are to pursue faith. Faith is
related to your concept of God. Is He mighty? Does He hear the prayers
of His people and act on their behalf? Do you trust Him to do far more
than you are able to do in your strength?
Many years ago, there was a learned Hebrew professor at Princeton
Seminary named Robert Dick Wilson. He could read, as I remember, more
than 30 Semitic languages! One time about twelve years after Donald Grey
Barnhouse had graduated, he went back to the seminary to preach to the
students. Dr. Wilson sat down near the front. After the message, he went
forward and shook Barnhouse’s hand. He said, “When my boys come back, I
come to see if they are big-godders or little-godders, and then I know
what their ministry will be.”
Barnhouse asked him to explain and he replied, “Well, some men have a
little god and they are always in trouble with him. He can’t do any
miracles. He can’t take care of the inspiration and transmission of the
Scripture to us. He doesn’t intervene on behalf of His people. They have
a little god and I call them little-godders. Then there are those who
have a great God. He speaks and it is done. He commands and it stands
fast. He knows how to show Himself strong on behalf of them that fear
Him.” He went on to tell Barnhouse that he could see that he had a great
God and that God would bless his ministry (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Let Me
Illustrate [Revell, 1967], pp. 132-133). Pursue faith! (2
Timothy 2:20-22 The Person God Uses)
for in depth study) is not the "love" typically used by those in the
world but is defined as unconditional, sacrificial love, that love which
God is. For believers this love is commanded by God, empowered by His
Spirit, activated by personal choice of one's will and is independent of
one's feelings (it is not emotional) toward the object on whom the love
is bestowed. Furthermore, agape love is not just words but is manifest
by by specific actions (see 1Co13:4-8) Agape gives & gives & gives.
Agape takes slaps in the face and still gives even as Jesus did saying
Father forgive them. Agape is not withheld.
Love consists of self-sacrifice, living for the good of others
with caring actions and thus is the badge of discipleship, the
landmark of heaven, for as Jesus declared
"By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love
(agape) one for another." (Jn13:35).
- You say, “Well, I’m just a naturally
loving person!” No, you’re naturally selfish! That’s why Paul commands,
“Pursue love!” That requires getting your focus off of yourself and onto
others, so that you can treat them as you would want to be treated. It
means giving your time to listen to someone who is hurting. It means
befriending someone who is lonely. Sometimes it means having the courage
to talk to a brother (or sister) who is in sin with the aim of restoring
him to the Lord. It means being patient, kind, consider-ate, and not
easily provoked (see the complete list - 1Co 13:4, 5, 6, 7-see notes on
Pursuing love means investing constant effort to love others. (2
Timothy 2:20-22 The Person God Uses)
Tertullian the early disciple wrote,
"It is our care for the
helpless, our practice of lovingkindness, that brands us in the eyes of
many of our opponents. 'Look!' they say, 'How they love one another!'
Look how they are prepared to die for one another."'
Dearly beloved excellent Bible
student always remember that people do not care how much we know until
they know how much we care!
William Barclay describes agape love as
nothing the other person can do will make us seek anything but their
highest good. Though he injure us and insult us, we will never feel
anything but kindness towards him. That quite clearly means that this
Christian love is not an emotional thing. Agape is not only not of the
emotions, but it is of the will. It is the ability to retain
unconquerable goodwill to the unlovely and the unlovable, towards those
who do not love us, and even towards those whom we do not like. Agape is
that quality of mind and heart which compels a Christian never to feel
any bitterness, never to feel any desire for revenge, but always to seek
the highest good of every man no matter what he may be." (Barclay)
Romans 14:17 (note)
(Context - Romans 14:16 Therefore
do not let
what is for you a good thing be
spoken of as evil)
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and
peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:19 (note)
So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the
building up of one another.
Romans 15:5 (note)
Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be
of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus;
that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 1:10 — Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you,
but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1 Peter 3:11 (note)
— "AND LET HIM TURN AWAY
imperative = do it
now!) FROM EVIL AND DO
imperative = do it
now!) GOOD; LET HIM SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.
detailed word study of
eirene) is from the verb eiro
which means to bind or join together what is broken or divided and peace
conveys the idea of that which is set at one again. Peace is confident
and unrestrained access after alienation. Grace is fountain of which
peace is the stream. In classical Greek peace means to “bind together”
and in NT terms reflects the operation of God’s grace in binding the
believing sinner to God and His life again, this operation continued in
bringing that believer in his experience more and more into harmony with
God in his life and service
These are men who
are continually calling upon the Lord, invoking His aid in their lives.
They are not SELF dependent BUT SAVIOR- dependent for their every need!
They are continually in prayer, seeking Him in worship...with a PURE
HEART...their motives for calling out are CLEAN, PURE...they desire
nothing more than to be pleasing to Him and that He be glorified in
WITH THOSE WHO
CALL UPON THE LORD FROM A PURE HEART: meta ton epikaloumenon (PMPMPG) ton kurion ek katharas kardias:
(1Ch 29:17,18; Ps 17:1; 66:18,19; Pr 15:8; Acts 9:14; 1Co 1:2; 1Ti 2:8)
(1Ti 1:5; 4:12)
A REMINDER OF IMPORTANCE
OF GODLY FELLOWSHIP
Call upon (1941)
[word study] from epí = upon + kaléo
= call) means to call upon someone to do something and normally implies
an appeal for aid or help.
[word study]) means free from corrupt desire, sin and guilt
and from admixture of what is false. Katharos
thus means sincere, genuine, blameless, innocent, unstained with the
guilt, clean or pure. Jesus taught that the vine cleansed by pruning was
fitted to bear fruit -
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit,
He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it
may bear more fruit. You are already clean (katharos)
because of the word which I have spoken to you." (Jn 15:2,3)
Not only must we flee ungodly companions, we also must find godly
companions. The servant of the Lord must find some "iron sharpening
iron" relationships (Pr 27:17) if his life is to maintain a cutting edge
for the kingdom. This means that we ought to be very careful who we
chose as our most intimate friends.
Dwight Edwards gives the
following "suggestions" to help us chose our "traveling companions" in
our life journey - Is this person's goal in life
holiness or just happiness? Are they living for the things
that will count for eternity, or for the decaying delicacies of
this fading world? How serious is this person's commitment to
the cause of Christ? Many believers give mental assent to the goal of
Christ-likeness, but relatively few pursue it with a burning passion.
The purpose of true fellowship is to "stimulate (lit. "create
a fever for") one another to love and good works" Heb.
10:24,25 (note); not to huddle around worldly topics with other believers,
under the guise of "Christian fellowship." One of the most moving
illustrations of godly companionship is found in the relationship
cultivated between David and Jonathan. Perhaps the best summation of
their relationship is found in 1Sa 23:16, "So Jonathan, Saul's son,
arose and went to David in the woods, and strengthened his hand in
God." Who do we have to help us "strengthen our hand in God"? To
whom do we do the same?
[word study]) is the seat and center (intellect, volition, and
emotion) of human life , from which thoughts, emotions and affections
flow. Figuratively (and this is only way kardia is used in
the NT) heart commonly refers to the mind as the center of
thinking and reason, but also includes the emotions , the will, and
thus, the whole inner being. The heart is the depository of all wisdom
and the source of whatever affects speech, sight, and conduct.
Solomon instructed us to "Watch
(command, not a suggestion) your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs
of life." (Pr 4:23-see
Psalmist similarly prayed for an undivided heart, writing
"Teach me Thy way, O Lord. I will walk in Thy truth. Unite (verb meaning
to join) my heart to fear Thy name." (Ps 86:11-see
The Psalmist writes "How blessed
are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their
heart." (Ps 119:2-see
A pure heart is one that exhibits single-hearted loyalty
to our Lord and Master.
Peace usually doesn’t just
happen. You have to pursue it deliberately, sometimes with much
effort. It is debatable whether the comma should be inserted after “peace.”
With the comma, the sentence means that you should join with other
believers in the common pursuit of peace. Without the comma, the idea is
that the peace that you should pursue should be with other believers,
here described as those “who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
“Pure” is related to the verb
“cleanses” (2Ti 2:21-note), and
thus refers to a heart that has been cleansed from sin. The implication
of the command is that even though Christians all call upon the name of
the Lord out of hearts that have been cleansed from sin, they still will
have conflicts and misunderstandings with each other. Thus they need to
pursue peace with one another.
The world’s way of dealing with misunderstandings or conflict is to
nurse hurt feelings, to spread gossip, and to stand up for your rights.
God’s way is to go directly to the one who offended and seek to be
reconciled. Jesus said that this is so important that even if you are
worshiping, leave your worship and first be reconciled to your brother
(or sister; Mt 5:23, 24-notes).
Recognizing that it is difficult, Paul said (Ro 12:18-note),
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace (present
tense = as the
habit of your life) with all men.” Pursue peace! (2
Timothy 2:20-22 The Person God Uses)