Sunday, March 8, 2015

Reflection - 'I know whom I have believed'

Source Website: http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-2-timothy-1-8-12.htm - Paul's statement "I know whom I have believed"
Source (book): "Faithful to the end"
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


'Faithful to the end', A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon
PHOTO: 'Faithful to the end', A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon
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Reflect on Paul's statement "I know whom I have believed". Write down a list of ways in which you know Jesus personally and reasons why you trust Him. Is it true that what you believe is built on whom you believe? Share how this has been in your own experience.


Paul's statement "I know whom I have believed" [1]
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." - 2 Timothy 1:8-12 [1]

Knowing and Believing [2]
Paul uses two verbs: know and believe. We can use these verbs for a body of knowledge, or to refer to someone. It is one thing to say that you believe in the theory of gravity: That if you threw a ball upwards, it will eventually fall to the ground. It is another thing to say that you believe your uncle or your sister. The first is knowing a fact; the other is knowing a person. The latter has to do with personal knowledge arising from a relationship. Here, Paul makes it clear that his knowledge and faith is in the person of Christ. He began to believe in Jesus after the risen Christ encountered him on the road to Damascus. Paul stumbled and fell when he was blinded by the light of Jesus.



When Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul was blinded by His glory.
PHOTO: When Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul was blinded by His glory. Paul was converted and filled with the Holy Spirit. Not only was his physical sight restored, but he also received spiritual vision.
Posted by U.B. David & I'll B. Jonathan, Inc.
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http://ubdavid.org/advanced/greatsalvation/great-salvation_04.html


The brash young man on his way to exterminate the fledgling (inexperienced) Christian faith by persecuting and arresting its followers was reduced to asking "Who are you, Lord?" (Acts 9:5), Jesus revealed His identity and told Paul, "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." (Acts 9:6). From that moment, Paul put his trust in Jesus. He believed Jesus and staked his entire life on the Christ who encountered him on that dry and dusty road.

In Paul's own words in 1 Timothy, we see a description of his condition before his conversion: "I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief" (1 Timothy 1:13, emphasis added). Paul's problem was unbelief due to his ignorance, in that he heard about Jesus but did not know him personally. However God took pity on Paul and showered His grace and love on him by enabling him to have faith in Jesus (1 Timothy 1:14). Paul thus become an example of "those who would believe in him [Jesus] and receive eternal life" (1 Timothy 1:16, emphasis added). Paul reiterated that our belief is essentially in the person of Christ. When the trembling Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, "Sir, what must I do to be saved?", their ready reply was: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household" (Acts 16:30-31, emphasis added). Paul could say that he knew whom he had believed. We too are called to place our trust in Jesus. Paul's faith was built on a trusting relationship with Jesus that he developed over the years as a disciple and apostle. He showed that he trusted Jesus by bringing his plans and purposes, his desires and aspirations, and all that he had, under the lordship of Jesus. As he walk with Jesus, he developed a growing knowledge of the person of Christ - His nature, character, will, purpose and love. All of which Paul came to experience personally and understand more deeply. [2]



Walking with Jesus


PHOTO: Walking with Jesus
He was with me quiet, invisible,
And I've always trusted him.
Posted by Sergey Proskura on 23 January 2015 at 2:06 am
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List of ways we know Jesus personally [3]
1. Read the Bible every day to know Christ better.
2. Talk to God in prayer every day.
3. Tell others about Christ.
4. Worship, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached.
5. As Christ's representative in a needy world, demonstrate the new life by our love and concern for others. [3]



Jesus loves us


PHOTO: Jesus loves us
Who are you sweet light that fills me and illuminates the darkness of my heart ....
Created by dionisiosparacio on 26 July 2010
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http://blog.libero.it/Apostolica/commenti.php?msgid=11777819



Reasons why we trust Him
We have no other choice.
[4]
Christianity is based largely on trust. We have been given exceedingly great and precious promises, but for the most part they remain as promises. We have eternal life, we are told, but we still die. We will be raised incorruptible, but in this life our bodies still degenerate. We have fellowship with the Father, we are assured, but sometimes he seems terribly distant.

How can we be sure it is all true? Although we have evidence in nature and in Scripture, we must still have a large component of trust. We have to take God’s word for it, to trust him to be faithful. We have no other choice.

We have no tangible proof that we will get the salvation that we look for. What we have are promises. Jesus says: “Yes, you are forgiven. Yes, you have the Holy Spirit living in you. Yes, you have eternal life. Yes, you are qualified for the kingdom. Yes, I will see to it.

We do not have proof—we have promises, and we have to trust in him. Yes, he has paid for all our sins. Yes, salvation is by grace, a free gift even to the worst of sinners. Yes, he has done what we need. We can trust in him. We can trust him for eternal salvation; we can also trust him in day-to-day life. [4]

The existence of the universe. [5]
Something unbelievable has happened.

Somehow a universe has come into being — with millions of 100,000 light-years wide galaxies, quantum particles, tomatoes growing in my backyard, and you reading and understanding these words.

Design in the universe.
Not only is there a universe, but it looks like it’s been designed — from the earth’s being the exact distance from the sun so it’s not too warm or cold, to the fact that the oatmeal I ate 2 hours ago is being processed into fuel without me even thinking about it.

I’ve never seen things like this arise by chance — they always come from an intelligent designer.

The reality of personhood.
You know that you are not just a blob of random chemical actions and reactions.  You are a personal being who meaningfully chooses, communicates, loves, works, and feels.

So here we are in a universe with Design and Personhood.  What can explain this?

To me the best explanation is that an intelligent, personal, all-powerful God created everything.

So — can we know anything about this God?

Do we have any reason to think He has communicated with us?



The Baptism of the Lord.


PHOTO: The Baptism of the Lord. This is what John the Baptist proclaimed: ...
Posted by Pope Francis on 11 January 2015
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https://www.facebook.com/PopeFrancisPage/photos/a.167342480085634.1073741826.167339613419254/435719093247970/?type=1&theater


The historical evidence for Jesus.
We have four eye-witness documents describing Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection — one written by a tax collector (Matthew), one by a young man (Mark), one by a medical doctor (Luke), and one by a fisherman (John).

These documents agree that God came to earth in the person of Jesus — that Jesus the man was also fully God.

We can see this in how Jesus lived — with perfect integrity (Mat 22:16), matchless wisdom (Luke 20:39- 40), passionate justice (John 2:15-16), and overflowing compassion (Luke 7:13-15).

We can see this in how Jesus worked miracles only God could do — healing a blind man’s eyes (Mark 10:51-52), commanding a storm to stop (Mark 4:39), multiplying five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000 (Luke 9:16-17), and raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43-44).

We can see this in how Jesus said He would be crucified and then rise from the dead three days later (Mark 8:31).  And just as He said — He was crucified (John 19:18), three days later the tomb was empty (John 20:2), and over 500 eyewitnesses saw him physically alive from the dead (1Cor 15:6).

So there’s massive historical evidence confirming that Jesus the man was also fully God.

Which would mean that in Jesus we see what God is like, and we learn what God wants us to know.

My experience of God in Christ.
If you met God, you would have no doubt that it was Him.

You would not ask for His credentials — because God is a being like no other — with infinite power, perfect goodness, blazing glory.

God is self-authenticating.

That’s important, because if we are trusting Jesus Christ, God will give us tastes of His self-authenticating presence.  This happens as we pray, read the Bible, worship, or talk with others (Hos 6:3; John 4:13-14; John 7:37-38; 2Cor 4:6).

This is the most powerful reason to trust Christ.

So it’s helpful to remember times when I have had a first-hand experience of God —
when I experienced His love pouring in to my heart (Rom 5:5).
when I felt His living water quenching my heart-thirsts (John 7:37-38).
when I sensed His glory revealed in Christ (2Cor 4:6). [5]



'The Departure of the Soul' by  Louis Janmot (1814-1892)


PHOTO: 'The Departure of the Soul' by  Louis Janmot (1814-1892)
(DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini/Getty)
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http://www.stufftoblowyourmind.com/podcasts/how-much-does-the-soul-weigh/?mkcpgn=em2&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sysknewsletter



Is it true that what you believe is built on whom you believe? Share how this has been in your own experience.
It is true that what we believe is built on whom we believe. When met with a difficult problem, and are unable to make the decision, we would seek the one whom we believed in for help. We then make our decision based on the solution suggested. If someone else (especially unfriendly strangers) whom we do not know were to offer their help, we may be doubtful and unwilling to accept.

For example, while studying in school, we would find our teacher for help when met with theoretical problems. Our teachers were the ones whom we believed can best help us. Their answers most probably would be used for other similar problems. That were because we believed that our teachers would provide us with the correct answers. If the same answers were provided by others whom we did not known, we would have hestitated to accept. We believed that the answers were correct because they were provided by teachers whom we knew and believed in.

I was stressed when I have to transit from a comfortable lifestyle to an undesirable one. After a happy school holiday, and then to became a recruit for Basic Military Training (BMT), is still an unforgettable experience. I remembered I asked my older relatives who have already entered the army, for information. At that time PC and the Internet were not available. They were very helpful. They told me a lot of things, from BMT's expectations to physical punishments. After hearing from them I believed that the army was a tough place to be in. I tried my best to remember everything, and did the physical exercises to train myself up. Because of them and their helpful information, I concluded that it was necessary to be physically fit in order to survive in the army. I believed my army-trained relatives because we had very close relationship from since my tot-days.

I have a nephew who has been staying with us since the time he was born. Everyday we brought him to the gardens around our house to play and to meet other children. Then when he grew up, we brought him to the kindergarten and to schools. That was how we developed our close relationship. Time passed by and soon he graduated from the junior college. It was time for him to do his National Service. He has to go into the army to do his BMT, just like what I had to do 40 years ago. Now it was the opposite, my nephew believed what I have to tell him about the army's ethics. He prepared physically and mentally to face the tough training. He chose to believe what I told him instead of listening to some of his ex-girl classmates. Among what they told him were; to relax, to take things easy, to continue enjoying the school holiday, and doing nothing. He knew that I went through the BMT before, and he also knew me since he was born. Naturally he believed me, and my advice carried weight.

In the working world, there were instances when we were told to perform tasks that were beyond our ability to handle. It was logical to seek the help of those colleagues and superiors who have encountered similar tasks before. We would consider their methodology as they were the ones whom we believed to have the workable methods. If the same methods were suggested by an unknown person, we would be skeptical and might even seek an alternative opinion.

we thus reiterate that what we believe is built on whom we believe.



Jesus is also a being who meaningfully chooses, communicates, loves, works, and feels.
PHOTO: Jesus is also a being who meaningfully chooses, communicates, loves, works, and feels.
..... Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, [7]
and he said to his disciples,
“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,
and began to feel sorrow and distress.
Then he said to them,
“My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch with me.”
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying,
“My Father, if it is possible,
let this cup pass from me;
yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
...........
Posted by Pope Francis on 13 April 2014 [7]


Lets share a story: Two brothers lived together in the same apartment. The elder brother was an honest, hard working and God-fearing man and the younger a dishonest, gun-totting substance-abusing rogue. Many a night the younger man would come back into the apartment late, drunk and with a lot of cash and the elder brother would spend hours pleading with him to mend his ways and live a decent life. But the young man would have none of it. One night the junior brother runs into the house with a smoking gun and blood-stained clothes. "I killed a man," he announced. In a few minutes the house was surrounded by police and the two brothers knew there was no escape. "I did not mean to kill him," stammered the young brother, "I don't want to die." By now police were knocking at the door. The senior brother had an idea. He exchanged his clothes with the blood-stained clothes of his killer brother. The police arrested him, tried him and condemned him to death for murder. He was killed and his junior brother lived. He died for his brother.............Can we see that this story of crime and death is basically a story of love....? Similarly the story of the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ which we heard in the Passion is basically a story of love - God's love for us. How should we respond it....? Well, how would you expect the junior brother to respond to the death of the senior brother....? We would expect him to respond with GRATITUDE. Gratitude to his generous brother should make him turn a new leaf and never go back to a life of crime. He would be a most ungrateful idiot if he should continue living the sort of life that made his brother die. Gratitude should make him keep the memory of his brother alive. No day should pass that he should not remember his brother who died for him. Finally, if the dead brother has got a wife and children we should expect the saved brother, out of gratitude, to love and care for them. What God expects from us today is gratitude - gratitude strong enough to make us hate sin of every shade and color; strong enough to make us translate our love of God into love of all God's people. Amen
Posted by Maricel Pepito on 13 April 2014 at 3:44pm

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 Salvation


PHOTO: Salvation [6] 
Romans 10:9-10. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Sinner’s Prayer:
Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.

I believe that your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.
You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.

Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.

Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.

Amen.

If you just said this prayer and you meant it with all your heart, we believe that there is a great possibility that you just got saved and are born again. You may ask, “Now that I am saved, what is next?” First of all, you need to get into a bible-based church, and study God’s Word. Once you have found a church home, you will want to become water-baptized. By accepting Christ you are baptized in the spirit, but it is through water-baptism that you show your obedience to the Lord. Water baptism is a symbol of your salvation from the dead. You were dead but now you live, for the Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed you for a price! The price was His death on the cross. May God Bless You!
[6]
Posted by solaj72 in Evangelism & Soul Winning, on 21 January 2015
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https://rapturewatcher.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/are-you-still-a-rapture-watcher-or-rapture-scoffer-decide-wisely-rapture-day-is-inevitable/




Reference

[1] http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-2-timothy-1-8-12.htm, The Gospel In 2 Timothy 1:8-12, by Warren E. Berkley, From Expository Files 10.5, May  2003.

[2] From "Faithful to the end" A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, Copyright © 2014 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-241-0, PART ONE: UNITED WITH CHRIST, Chapter 2 "I know whom I have believed" (2 Timothy 1:1-18), Page 14-15.

[3] http://www.truthnet.org/Friendship-Evangelism/2-How-to-lead-someone-to-Christ/, Friendship-Evangelism: (2) How to lead someone to Christ (Salvation), from truthnet.org.

[4] https://www.gci.org/gospel/trustchrist, In Christ We Trust, by Joseph Tkach in 2002 and updated in 2014, © 2015 Grace Communion International.

[5] http://livingbyfaithblog.com/2012/03/19/why-trust-jesus-christ/, Why Trust Jesus Christ?, by Steve Fuller,  © 2011-2014 LivingByFaithBlog, published on 19 March 2012.

[6] https://rapturewatcher.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/are-you-still-a-rapture-watcher-or-rapture-scoffer-decide-wisely-rapture-day-is-inevitable/, MARANATHA TRUMPETER, Rapture: The Blessed Hope, Posted by solaj72 in Evangelism & Soul Winning, on 21 January 2015.

[7] https://www.facebook.com/PopeFrancisPage/photos/pb.167339613419254.-2207520000.1425779652./304522799700934/?type=3&theater, Daily Readings for Sunday, Posted by Pope Francis on 13 April 2014.

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