Monday, July 16, 2012

Loosed Away

By Graham Print (15th July 2012)

2 Timothy 4:1-8, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, 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 also that love his appearing."

This letter was written to Timothy, the second time Paul was in prison - just before his death. Notice that in these verses "his appearing" is written two times reminding us that Christ is coming back.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are all students of the Bible (including preachers) and are we are called to be students, everyone of us. We are called to look for treasure buried in the Bible and search for those nuggets of gold.

After riding a horse, you must brush the horse down and when it is time to let the horse go to be free in their paddock, as you reach up to take off the bridal, the horse knows and starts to lean it’s head forward in preparation to run to where it belongs, to run to its home in the paddock. They are “loosed”.

We as Christians are also being loosed: to be freed to go where we belong and no one knows when our departure time is.

In the verses above it uses the term “departure” to refer to Paul's impending death as he was in prison under the Emperor Nero who was persecuting Christians at that time and killing them so Paul knew he would die.

The Greek word for departure means "loosed away" and is used as a military or as a shipping term. In the military it means a loosening of the tent pegs because the battle is over. The soldier may now head home to where he belongs. Paul had fought the good fight and he knew the battle was over and was ready to go home to Jesus where he belonged. In the shipping industry it meant to loose up the anchor off the mud from the bottom of the sea so the ship can go where it belongs on the sea.

“Loosed” in NT also used:
Philippians 1:21-26, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I want not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart [loosed] and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again."

This letter is written during the first time Paul is imprisoned and he knows that there is more work yet to be done for the Lord so isn’t ready yet to go home to Christ.

We are pilgrims in progress in this world. We are in the world but not of it.

Hebrews 11:11-15, "Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."

Hebrews 13:12-14, "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come."

Where we are now is not an enduring city. This earth is not forever. We are meant to be in the state of mind looking for eternal city.

1 Peter 2:11-12, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."

Our good deeds don't contribute to our salvation but it communicates to others about our salvation and our actions lead them to Jesus. Our love and kindness is what draws them in.

We have to walk the tight rope of being in the world but not of it. With the power of the Holy Spirit and seeking His will until He comes. Live in a manner that honors God and remember Jesus Christ is coming back and we must be getting ready to be loosed away. Am I looking forward to being with Christ? Am I ready for His return? Do I love the fact He is coming soon? Am I waiting like the horse with my neck in the right direction just waiting to be set free so I can go home (the Kingdom of God) to where I belong?

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