ITERO 2020 – The Christian Life – Week 7
Fighting the Good Fight, Finishing the Course,
and Loving the Lord’s Appearing
1 Tim. 1:3-4, 18
3 Even as I exhorted you, when I was going into Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things
4 Nor to give heed to myths and unending genealogies, which produce questionings rather than God’s economy, which is in faith.
18 This charge I commit to you, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you might war the good warfare,
32 This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness
15 And having shod your feet with the firm foundation of the gospel of peace;
16 Besides all these, having taken up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.
17 And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God,
18 By means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints,
To war the good warfare is to war against the differing teachings of the dissenters and to carry out God’s dispensation (v. 4) according to the apostle’s ministry concerning the gospel of grace and eternal life for the glory of the blessed God (vv. 11-16).
During Paul’s first imprisonment, the churches were tested. This test showed that decline and degradation had set in. This decline was altogether due to differing teachings, teachings that were different from the ministry. This was the reason Paul charged Timothy to war a good warfare [v. 18]. (Life-study of 2 Timothy, pp. 18-19)
Throughout the centuries, the degradation and decline of the church has had one source: teachings which differ from the ministry of the apostles. In Acts 2:42 we see that at the beginning of the church life, the believers continued in the teachings of the apostles. These teachings were the ministry. What the apostles taught and preached was nothing other than Christ and the church. They preached a Christ who had been incarnated, crucified, resurrected, and ascended in order that, as resurrection life, He might be imparted into His believers to produce the church. This is the focal point of the teaching of the apostles, and it is crucial for us to see it. No doubt, in the Bible there are teachings concerning many things. However, the focus of the ministry of the apostles was the incarnated, crucified, resurrected, ascended, and glorified Christ to be our Savior, our life, and everything to us so that we may become His Body, the church. This is the vital focus of the New Testament revelation, and this is God’s economy.
We need to contact the Word and receive God by the Spirit through the Word. Then we shall have faith. By coming to the Word, we are infused with God, and spontaneously faith operates within us to bring us into an organic union with God. The more we enjoy God’s infusion, the more we become one with Him. However, this vital matter has been lost for centuries. Knowing the importance of this, Paul charged Timothy to fight a good fight, to war a good warfare.
On the one hand, Timothy was to war against the differing teachings of the dissenters. On the other hand, he was to carry out God’s dispensation according to the apostle’s ministry. If we wish to carry out God’s dispensation, we must do it not according to the teachings of traditional Christianity nor according to systematic theology, but according to the apostle’s ministry.
Today we also must be on the alert for differing teachings. Throughout the centuries, the church has been poisoned and corrupted by such teachings. If we are not on guard, differing teachings may also cause damage to the Lord’s recovery. In the past we have seen the damage caused by differing teachings propagated in a subtle, hidden way. This has helped the leading ones in many churches to learn the important lesson of being watchful for differing teachings. We must not allow any differing teachings to come into the Lord’s recovery. The recovery is strictly for the carrying on of the ministry. By this I do not mean my ministry, but the ministry of the apostles, which began with Peter and is still being carried on today. All true apostles teach and preach the same thing, even the one thing—God’s New Testament economy. The focus of our preaching and teaching is Christ and the church. To teach and preach God’s economy concerning Christ and the church is to war a good warfare. (Life-study of 2 Timothy, pp. 19-21)
Further Reading: HWMR The Christian Life, the Church Life, the Consummation of the Age, and the Coming of the Lord – Week 7, Day 2
Corporate Reading of “The Basic Revelation in the Holy Scriptures” Chapter 2 – Sections: Releasing the Divine Life; Resurrected; Glorified in the Divine Life; Becoming the Firstborn Son of God with Many Brothers
© Living Stream Ministry, 2016, used by permission