Tuesday 25 May 2021

2nd Letter of Paul to Timothy Chapter 2.

This chapter is a call from Paul to Timothy to have endurance in his ministry, emphasizing he should follow the training Paul had given.  He thought of the suffering he had endured and warns Timothy he will face the same.

Being a Christian may lead to a satisfying and worthy life, but it is not an easy life in some instances.  This is more so for a man I think than a woman, because many men, and I mean many, see religion as more a woman’s cause and not consistent with man’s more macho style. A lot of men become disorientated when coming into a Church, and the idea of praying to an anonymous being in the sky is ridiculous, from a book of fiction written by men 2,00 years ago is beyond their limited intelligence.

Paul used analogies to help explain his teaching, and one was that of a soldier, which calls for service, facing danger, obeying orders, and includes dedication.  These commitments face Christians, and William Booth forming what he called ‘the Salvation Army’ was an inspired action, and that organisation has won the hearts and admiration of millions. So let us apply the different calls of Paul, to the Christian life.

Commitment is an essential quality which a Christian man/woman should have. People generally like to have Churches, even though they do not attend very often; if you doubt what I say, try closing a village Church and wait for the outrage from the non-attenders. Where would they have the pointless baptisms, the fancy weddings, quintessential English village scene.

Regular members too often fail to realise, being a Christian is more than just attending Church on a Sunday for a brief hour; it is a way of life, a way set out by God in Holy Scripture. It is fully believing that Jesus Christ died on a Cross in a very painful way, after having been beaten many times with a leather steel studded belt. His death was so that all people who accepted that he died for them, and followed his teaching, would be forgiven by God for their sins and be granted eternal life with him in heaven.

This will incur some suffering, depending on a person’s character. You may find people you thought were your friends now keep a distance, you are omitted from get togethers, you are mocked and ridiculed. But you can be consoled, that Jesus went through so much more for you. Life like a soldier’s, can be one of discomfort as well as being exciting.

A solider has to fight. Whilst we see adverts for people to join the Armed Forces, backed by promises of world travel and exciting life style, fancy uniforms and dinner parties In some foreign exotic scenery, the real life is in some barracks in a foreign backwater with basic facilities.  

We have to fight, the good fight of faith. There are such a lot of people who will want to turn you away from your beliefs, vicious activists, and the many silly people with phobias will be ready to make complaints to employers, or heads of colleges, that you made a remark some years previously and they have seen it and become offended, and the employer or head teacher will be so woke minded and righteous to himself, that he will suspend or dismiss you.  Such activists have their own beliefs, which we properly believe they can hold, even though we might not agree with, but such is their intolerance they do not believe we should hold different thoughts than they hold, which you are expected to approve and accept.

Preachers consequently face three choices when they come to preach, especially if the subject is a controversial one. There are an increasing number of people, usually in he younger age range who are constantly searching for things to complain about, it seems to be part of being in the ‘cool’ crowd.

 This presents a challenge to all preachers. Some are men/women of gentle nature are reluctant to face conflict, and are left with three choices. One can change the Bible passage so that you don’t need to address the issue, or you can go with flow and say what you think will not be questioned, or do the right and honourable thing by telling the bible truth. Paul told Timothy to stand firm.

 As the hymn states, Stand up! stand up for Jesus! Ye soldiers of the cross; Lift high His royal banner,  It must not suffer loss: From victory unto victory  His army shall He lead, Till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed.

And Christ is Lord indeed. Never be afraid to state so.

Paul was a strong Christian for whom there were fundamental truths, no grey areas. And that is how it should be, and if a preacher speaks the truth kindly, there is no cause to be reluctant to do so.  The Bible calls on us to ‘preach the Word’, without fear or Favour; and if anyone challenges you, ask them to explain their reason.(that usually ends the conversation)

The soldier is fitted out with equipment, and Paul took the image of a Roman soldier and applied it to a Christian, he saw a belt around the waist, which was symbolic of that described by Isaiah with his view of the Messiah, as wearing a belt as an indication of binding himself to truth, with a breastplate of righteousness,  sandals fitted with readiness to speak the gospel of peace, a shield to protect shots from the enemy, a sword of the spirit reminding that the battle is spiritual and must be fought in God’s strength, depending on the Word of God, and the helmet to protect the soldier from unexpected blows, enabling his being saved.

Soldiers of Christ, arise, And put your armour on, Strong in the strength which God supplies, Through His eternal Son.
Stand then in His great might, With all His strength endued;
And take, to arm you for the fight, The panoply of God.

A soldier however is forced to obey rules and regulations and lead a way of life different to a civilian, and a Christian has to live a way of life different from a non-Christian, and obey the rules of a Godly life as laid down in the Bible.

A noble feature of a soldier’s life is loyalty to the country he serves, and obey the orders of his Commander in Chief to the letter. He must never communicate with the opposing forces, and very few soldiers would dare doing so. Such is the discipline of an Army that any failure to obey Orders is subject to facing judgement by a senior Officer.

A Christian should obey the Orders of his/her Commander, and follow the teaching given by the Commander to his Apostles once and for all time.  Sadly, the Church does not have a code of loyalty or discipline. We have poor leadership with the Officers regularly advocating ignoring the teaching of Scripture, collaborating with those who want to change our way of life.

A great example of this is at present circulating the air waves with people amazed at the circumstances. Students at a private school advertising a Christian ethos were being taught teaching by an activist from the LGBT , who calls for people ‘to smash’ hetero- moralitivity.  A student asked the chaplain if they were to accept such teaching, and his reply in his address to the class is included at the end of this post.

Someone complained to the head teacher, who astoundingly reported the Chaplain to the Police ANTI TERRORIST unit, and then suspended him.  The Police obviously rejected as not applicable, and subsequently the Chaplain was dismissed from his post. Can you possibly imagine the fear that the Chaplain (and his family) must have had at hearing he was being branded a possible terrorist?

Christian Concern is a legal defence team of Christian lawyers, who are continually defending Christians in the Courts, funded by private donations, against allegations made against them. In the majority of cases there are successful outcomes, although sometimes a magistrate is blind to life in the world outside the law Courts. This team are worthy of your support, and are always there to protect and defend oppressed Christians..

Christian Concern will represent Rev. Dr Randall at a future Court hearing, and asked the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishop of Derby, in whose Diocese this took place, to give their support to the Chaplain, and they each declined. How is that for loyalty to one’s fellow Christian?  I am only surprised they expected support. I can only think such is shameful, but it suggests what they believe.

Dr Randall was dismissed for preaching Christian tolerance; how to be warm to one’s neighbour in a cold climate; how to live in love and faith with someone with whom one disagrees fundamentally."  Here is his statement

So, all in all, if you are at ease with “all this LGBT stuff,” you’re entitled to keep to those ideas; if you are not comfortable with it, for the various especially religious reasons, you should not feel required to change. Whichever side of this conflict of ideas you come down on, or even if you are unsure of some of it, the most important thing is to remember that loving your neighbour as yourself does not mean agreeing with everything he or she says; it means that when we have these discussions there is no excuse for personal attacks or abusive language. We should all respect that people on each side of the debate have deep and strongly held convictions. And because, unlike Brexit, this is not a debate which is subject to a vote, it is an ongoing process, so there should be a shared effort to find out what real truth looks like, and to respect that that effort is made honestly and sincerely by all people, even if not everybody comes up with the same answers for now

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