ITERO 2020 – The Christian Life – Week 7
Fighting the Good Fight, Finishing the Course,
and Loving the Lord’s Appearing
2 Tim. 4:1, 8, 18, 2, 5
1 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, with which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will recompense me in that day, and not only me but also all those who have loved His appearing.
18 The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and will save me into His heavenly kingdom, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
2 Proclaim the word; be ready in season and out of season; convict, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and teaching.
5 But you, be sober in all things, suffer evil, do the work of an evangelist, fully accomplish your ministry.
1 Cor. 2:9-12
9 But as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart; things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But to us God has revealed them through the Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
11 For who among men knows the things of man, except the spirit of man which is in him? In the same way, the things of God also no one has known except the Spirit of God.
12 But we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is from God, that we may know the things which have been graciously given to us by God;
14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and they who are with Him, the called and chosen and faithful, will also overcome them.
To love the Lord’s appearing and to love the Lord Himself are inseparable. If we truly love the Lord, we will love His appearing. All those who love the Lord and forsake everything for Him love also His appearing, that they may receive His reward; those who do not love the Lord, but love the world or love sin, are afraid of the Lord’s coming. Therefore, loving the Lord’s appearing is a proof that we love the Lord and live for Him today; hence, it also becomes a condition for us to receive His reward. (Truth Lessons—Level Two, vol. 1, p. 157)
The crown is a symbol of glory given as a prize, in addition to the Lord’s salvation, to the triumphant runner of the race (1 Cor. 9:25). This prize is neither of grace nor by faith as salvation is (Eph. 2:5, 8-9), but of righteousness through works (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 22:12; 2 Cor. 5:10)….Hence, it is the crown of righteousness. The One who awards it is the Lord as the righteous Judge, not as the merciful God or the gracious Redeemer. Paul was assured that such a prize was reserved, laid up, for him and would be awarded to him at the day of the Lord’s second appearing.
Paul says that such an award will be given to all who love the Lord’s appearing. The Lord’s appearing, His coming back, is a warning, an encouragement, and an incentive to us. We should love it and look forward to it with earnest expectation and joy. By it, the apostle charged Timothy to fulfill his ministry (2 Tim. 4:1-2, 5).
The crown of righteousness of which Paul was assured is the incentive to the inoculator. If we are faithful to the healthy word of the truth and if we are faithful inoculators to dispense the ingredients of the divine inoculation [against the decline of the church] into Christians today that they may return to the full knowledge of the truth, this reward will be given to us at the time of the Lord’s appearing. This means that if we are faithful to the Lord’s ministry, we shall receive the crown of righteousness as our reward.
There is a great deal of talk among Christians today concerning the Lord’s second coming. But not many believers realize that when the Lord Jesus comes back, He will not come as the merciful God or as the gracious Savior, but as the righteous Judge. Christians should be warned and encouraged to prepare themselves to stand before this Judge. I hope that many among us will take up the burden in this dark age to bring such a solemn charge to the Lord’s people. We all need to receive this charge before God and before the Lord Jesus, the One who will judge the living and the dead. We must declare the fact that when the Lord comes back, He will be the Judge of all, both believers and unbelievers. According to Matthew 25, all of the Lord’s servants will have to give an account to Him. The Lord will either say, “Well done, good and faithful slave” (v. 21), or, “Evil and slothful slave” (v. 26). In His righteousness the Lord will decide whether or not we receive a reward.
We should not think that the Lord’s appearing will merely be a time of rapture and excitement. It will also be a time of great solemnity for every believer in Christ. This was the reason Paul charged Timothy by the Lord’s appearing and His kingdom. May we all give heed to this solemn warning. (Life-study of 2 Timothy, pp. 62-63)
Further Reading: HWMR The Christian Life, the Church Life, the Consummation of the Age, and the Coming of the Lord – Week 7, Day 5
Corporate Reading of “The Basic Revelation in the Holy Scriptures” Chapter 3 – Sections: The Spirit Throughout The Word; The Spirit of God; The Spirit of Jehovah; The Holy Spirit; The Spirit Being Not Yet
© Living Stream Ministry, 2016, used by permission