Monday, August 14, 2023

The Train


I love it when the Bible lays out things in a particular order.  It is always for a reason and when I start to try and uncover that reason, God’s Word takes on a whole new dimension.  In today’s study, the word picture is of a train with eight cars, each in its proper place, on the way to The Eternal Kingdom.  All aboard!


2 Peter 1:5-7 - For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge,

self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 


Things to think about:

·       The idea is of a train on its way to The Eternal Kingdom of Jesus

o    2 Peter 1:11 – “For if you do these things, you will never stumble,  and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

o   Each of the cars is in a very specific order.  Each one connects perfectly to the one before it and the one after it.  Getting them out of order would lead to a derailment!

·       Car 1 – FAITH

o   The first quality mentioned is faith - “make every effort to add to your faith…”

o   The first step in becoming a follower of Jesus is to step out in faith, faith leads the way to everything else

o   Hebrews 11:16 - Without faith it is impossible to please God

o   Why do you think this train is led by faith?

·       Car 2 – GOODNESS

o   We come to God in faith because we know we aren’t good in and of ourselves.

o   The impetus for faith is the conviction we aren’t good and need a savior

o   Romans 3:23 - All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

o   Through faith, God imputes Jesus’ goodness on our behalf

§  Romans 3:22 - This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

·       Car 3 – KNOWLEDGE

o   Through faith we understand we fall short of God’s standard.  By His grace, He counts us as righteous.  But we are still babes in the faith and must now learn from Him.

o   2 Timothy 3:16-17 - "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

o   Before our conversion we grew up learning the world’s instruction.  We need to not just want to do better, we need to learn how to be better and that can only come from the divine revelation found in God’s Word.

·       Car 4 – SELF-DISCIPLINE

o   Now that we are beginning to understand what God would have us do (and NOT do), we need to put it into practice.   

o   James 1:22-25 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

o   Titus 2:11-12 - For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 

·       Car 5 – PERSEVERANCE

o   We can all be motivated for a while to try and do better, just look at dieting, working out, or even reading the Bible. It’s when we are weak or tempted to indulge in sin that reveals the measure of a man.

o   Galatians 6:9 – Let us not weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

·       Car 6 – GODLINESS

o   It is said that character is really the sum total of many small decisions over time.   

o   1 Timothy 4:7 – Train yourself for godliness.

o   All of the steps thus far have focused on getting ourselves right with God and preparing ourselves to be of use in His service

·       Car 7 – MUTUAL AFFECTION

o   Now we are ready to show and share God’s love with others in a consistent way that will stand the test of time.

o   Matthew 13:3-8 - Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 

o   John 17:22-23 - I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

·       Car 8 – LOVE

o   John 13:35 - By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

o   John 15:12-17 - My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other.

This world is not our final destination, just a country we are passing through on the way to the Eternal Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  

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