TV Transcripts

“Pursue, Fight, and Take Hold” Part One
Broadcast #1617
October 1, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1617 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

Phil: I had a scripture come to me earlier in the week and I just kind of, it has come back a few times and I’ve thought about it and it seems like every time I tried to focus on it, it just kind of the Lord didn’t let me sit there and get it organized. But anyway, I’m just gonna go ahead and start and trust the Lord to make something outta this.

But anyway, Paul was writing to Timothy late in his ministry. Timothy was a young man who had been saved and raised up under Paul’s ministry. And God had specifically given him a gift. And it was by prophetic laying on of hands he was given a gift and he was often the one that was sent by Paul to go help somebody where Paul couldn’t get there.

And so, but now Paul is getting later in his ministry, later in his life, and he is thinking about the future too. And so that plays into this. And so, Paul is wanting to give him instruction that will keep him on course. Because the truth of the matter is a lot of what what Reed said is stuff that I would have to echo. It’s awful easy for us to get in a rut, get in a form, think everything’s... Just all we have to do is just keep doing what we’re doing. Everything’s cool. And that’s not the way it is in God.

And that’s the quickest way to slide backwards. Because the truth is, if we’re not going forward we’re not just sitting still, we’re sliding backwards in many ways. And I believe the Lord has so much more for us and that’s what He’s concerned about here. And so, the verse that came to me is one we’re all familiar with. In fact, I doubt I’m gonna say anything you haven’t heard many times but I suspect that we need it.

Anyway, in 1 Timothy 6, Paul is beginning to wind up his letter of instruction to Timothy. And in verse 12, he says this: “Fight the good fight of the faith, take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” All right, so obviously this young man when he was young he came to the Lord and everybody witnessed this. But now there’s an instruction to him.

Now, the first place it sounds a little kind of crazy because don’t we get eternal life when we come to the Lord? I mean, the answer is yes, if we’re born again, if we’re truly born again of His Spirit, not just a religious profession, not something just as purely religious or self-effort. But if this is a time when God brings us to that point and He imparts His Spirit to us, we have eternal life. Amen. And there is a life that cannot perish.

But here he’s saying, lay hold. That sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? Now also, is eternal life a gift or not? Yeah, it’s a gift. Well, how do you fit that together with having to fight for it?

You know, I believe God wants to give us a deeper picture of what it means to serve Him. And Timothy needed to have a reminder. Evidently the Lord wanted to remind Timothy but because this was recorded for us; it was recorded for me this morning. How about you? Yes.

In the first place, I think we know if we’re honest that the Christian life is a fight. Amen. God has absolutely put us in a place where if we’re gonna serve Him in a world that hates Him the spirit of this world is against Him, things we’ve said many times, but it’s worse than that. That every part of my natural being, my body, this body I gotta live with, until He....

Praise God for what happened to Jackie today, she’s free. How many of you wish you could take her place in a way, but yet God has got us here? And so, part of His order is that we learn to lay hold of what He has given to us and we learn to not just receive it, and then, okay, I just stick a ticket to heaven in my back pocket and go on about my life. But there are things that God wants us to be able to take hold of.

And I thought about so many ways and this is gonna come across certainly as unorganized, and that’s all right. But you think about the picture we have of somebody who has inherited a tremendous amount of money. I’m just gonna say a million dollars. That’s not so much anymore, but anyway, let’s suppose someone inherits a million dollars, but suppose it’s locked away in the bank somewhere and they sit there and they rejoice in their riches and how wonderful it is, but they live homeless.

You know, there’s people like that in this crazy world. But I wonder if we’re honest how much we’re like that. How many times does the Lord emphasize that He has given us everything. He who spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all. How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? But I wonder how many of those all things we actually walk in and experience in a practical sense.

And the reality is we can fall into exactly what Reed was talking about where we just get complacent, we get involved in whatever earthly activities we have. The truth of the matter is we are far more in harmony and in contact, I should say, with the world than we realize. And it affects us more than we realize.

And here’s the Lord looking down and knowing all of this, what’s a God to do when He sees us in the condition that we’re in? He’s got to do something if He’s gonna fulfill His plan. He longs to share all of these, the riches of glory with us. But here we are without realizing it many times we’re just bopping along, leaning on human wisdom, human energy, more in harmony with what the world says and how we feel. It’s an endless list.

You know what Billy just shared is absolutely part of it. Because there are times when in the wisdom of God He wants us to wait on Him. Well, there’s a fight involved in that because we don’t wanna wait, we don’t wanna have to persist in believing God in the face of the absence of a seeming answer to a situation.

The devil is gonna sit there and plop all kinds of junk in our heads about it and we’re going to lean upon our own experience, which may include all kinds of things that aren’t from God. We’re gonna feel our weaknesses. We’re gonna feel bad physically. There’s a 1,000,001 things that absolutely get in our way when we’re trying to serve God. And if we’re gonna make any progress we’re gonna have to fight.

Now, we’re very familiar with the scripture that Paul gives us about our warfare not being with flesh and blood and so forth. And he lists all the articles of armor. The sword of the spirit, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate and so forth, all of those elements of armor.

How many of you notice that most of that is defensive? Yeah, see, in other words, He’s saying, I got you, I got all the protection you’re gonna need so just.... But the Christian life is not meant to be one of hunkering down and being like a turtle, danger is coming, or run to our cave or anything like that. We are meant to live real practical lives in which we need what He has.

And so Paul is encouraging Timothy to lay hold of things and there certainly are two very different extremes. Many of them probably, but one of them certainly is the one where I’m saved, I got the ticket in my back pocket and then life is life and we’re just gonna live it and then go to heaven one day. Surely, we know the Lord has more for us than that. He means for us to grow up in our faith and to lay hold of a lot of things.

But of course, you got folks on the other end that think it’s all about miracles. It’s all about some grand thing. And God wants to give us a cushy life. Well, somewhere in the middle there, God has awesome things for us. He wants His body to grow up. He wants us to be filled with His Spirit. He wants us to have heavenly abilities that we use in harmony with Him and in harmony with the body of Christ. All of those things are real, but how do we get there?

And the truth of the matter is most of us are so hanging on for a dear life much of the time, just trying to get through and deal with our own little issues. And half the time we’re not even dealing with them. We’re just sort of, well, that’s just the way it is. It’s all taken care of.

God’s merciful. I’m glad for all of those truths, aren’t you? But how many of you think the Lord just wants us to sort of give in, go along, sing the songs, do what we’re supposed to do, go through the motions? or how many of you think that God wants us to actually possess the things?

You remember there’s a King James translation of one of the Old Testament prophets. It spoke of a time when God’s people would possess their possessions. And again, doesn’t that sound like a contradiction in terms? It’s my possession, how could I not possess it? But the reality is we don’t possess — well, a small fraction of what God has given to us, what He has promised us.

And here is Paul feeling the need to tell Timothy, you need to fight, you’ve got a fight on your hands. And it’s not just defensive. I don’t want you to be a turtle. There are things that God wants to do in you, yes, but through you and He wants to you to learn how to lay hold of that without which you cannot do those things.

Did not Jesus say in the parable of the... Praise God, help me... the vine of the branches, John 15? Like I said, this is not organized. John 15, and He spoke of the relationship of how dependent we are that the only way we can produce fruit is literally to be connected to Him, right? In other words, what I need to produce fruit doesn’t come from me. It’s not there. Without me, He says, you can do what? Nothing. Nothing! Man, we need to get ahold of that and realize that.

But at the same time we don’t need to be discouraged by that and say, Oh well, I guess there’s nothing I can do then. Because God wants us to be plugged in in such a way that the life of God literally flows in. I need life that I don’t have. It’s out there, praise God!

Just like my physical body: what would happen if I just stopped eating and drinking? See this nourishment that I need to sustain this. Well, I’ll tell you there’s another kinda life though that we got from Adam. And it exists in these bodies and very, very, closely tied to it. But there is a spiritual side to that. And boy, that gets nourished too, doesn’t it?

We’re living in a world that is running as rapidly as it can away from God. I thank God that He has a people. I believe there is a harvest at the end of the age. Part of it is to get some ready for the fire and part of it is to bring others into the kingdom. And I certainly wanna be in harmony with whatever it is He wants to do.

And boy, every natural part of me just wants to stick out my tongue and say, I’m tired. And everybody gets that way. Everybody deals with weariness. Everybody deals with discouragement. Everybody deals with opposition. But here’s Paul saying, I don’t want you to sit here and go into a defensive posture. I want you to absolutely lay hold of something because God has called you to something. God has given you a job.

Has not God given everybody that is a member of the body of Christ a place? Yes. Doesn’t He wanna do stuff not just in you, but through you? How do we do that? First of all is believing that that’s the way it is and seeking Him and looking to Him. But there is a fighting to get that to happen. We’re gonna have to come against the opposition of this. We’re gonna have to come against the opposition of the devil.

And I started to talk about how the life of Adam gets nourished by the spirit of the world. Didn’t Paul say that, We’re to present our bodies, that living sacrifice and allow ourselves to be transformed. How? By the renewing of our mind. All these things, the scriptures we’ve heard so many times, they all play together. But the picture that’s painted here is not just a something where it’s this little quiet thing where we just spend time with the Lord and everything’s great and grand. There is a fight to it.

Think about the conquest of the land of Canaan. I believe Reed mentioned the wilderness and many times we feel like that’s where we’re at. And maybe we are, maybe we need to be to learn His ways and learn how to trust Him. But there comes a time when God says, I have given you the land. Oh, okay Lord, we’ll just move in.

But it didn’t work that way, did it? Everything that God had given them was something for which they had to fight. And even in their fighting, they didn’t do it their own way. They had to seek God and look to God and God gave them victory, told them how to fight, where to fight, and went with them in the battle.

That’s what I need. I mean, what good does it do for God to say, This is what I want you to do. Great. How am I gonna do that? It’s not in me to do any of the things that God has called me to do or be. I have got to go to him. Amen.

You know, one thought I had was about all this was, It sounds exhausting. I’ve just gotta fight. (groans) But you know, the first thing that I need from the Lord when it comes to fighting, I need His strength to fight. You know what we’ve said so many times about commands and promises, everything the Lord tells us to do is really a promise to help us do it if only we’re willing. That’s something to remember, isn’t it? Everything God commands us to do is really a promise to help us do it if only we’re willing.

You know, the first thing many times is just to come and just look to the Lord and draw near to Him and praise Him and thank Him often in the face of opposition from within and from without. Think of what Paul went through to accomplish what God had given Him. And it wasn’t just the stuff out there he had to deal with. Paul had to deal with the same stuff in here that you and I do, this constant warfare, and yet this is what God has called us to do. Somehow this is God’s plan for growing up and developing the character of this new life that He’s given to us.

Boy, that life is like a stream from heaven. It’s pictured in so many ways in the scriptures, the river of life is a picture of God’s life. How many of you need more of that? Yes. Yeah, I do too. I need His life. I need more of Him in me because then I can begin to think like He thinks, I can begin to act and react like He reacts and acts and He can tell me to do stuff and I’m not running ahead like Peter and figuring I can do it on my own. I know I need him and I’m looking to Him. There’s this hand in glove relationship where there’s this like Ricky has talked about in the past, this conversation, this sense of walking with Him.

Jesus is the perfect example. He didn’t do anything based on human wisdom or human energy. He just simply depended on His Father and His Father gave Him everything He needed and it was God’s life manifest in Him. If we’re going to be anything to each other, if we’re gonna be anything to the world and to people that God wants to reach it’s not gonna be us selling people on our religion. God help us. I don’t want a religion that needs to be sold. I want Jesus. Amen. I want Jesus to be living in here in such a way that that’s what they see. Amen. We need him, don’t we? Praise God!

You know I mentioned how so many of the things that people are seeking God in some circles, are seeking God for are really the kind of the same things that the world is after. The prosperity gospel is, is an example of that where, this is what God has for you if you’ll just only believe Him. Well, I thank God that He can bless and He can minister, He can do all kinds of things in the natural realm.

But listen, but back up a verse and in 1 Timothy 6, and let’s find out what Timothy was told to go after. And this comes in the context of people who thought that serving God meant they were gonna get a lot of money. They thought gain was godliness. And he said, Paul said, “Godliness with contentment is great gain,” praise God! We can trust God in those areas.

But here’s one of those buts: it begins in the context of that, of people who their focus in life is on what they can get here. But you man of God flee from all of this, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Praise God! That’s character stuff, isn’t it?

Think about how we live and react. Think about how many times something happens and you say something, something comes out of your spirit. Is it Jesus? See now it’s quiet. How many of us could say that going through every day that all of our feelings, our thoughts, our actions, our reactions to things that happen, things that people say, things that people do, oh, it flows right straight out of the heart of God. We never say a cross word. Never have a bad thought. Never get angry.

You suppose we might need just a little bit more than we got? You think the Lord has more for us than where we’re at right now? Well, here’s Timothy obviously well on into his ministry and what is it that Paul’s encouraging him to do? To seek, pursue righteousness?

Now it’s interesting that word pursue. I looked a couple of these up just to see what the original word was. I don’t even remember. I couldn’t tell you what it is literally but it’s an interesting word in this respect. It’s used in two very different senses. One of the uses is persecute. When Paul was Saul, the Jew, going around trying to arrest Christians and get ahold of them there was a pursuit there, but it was a persecution and literally it meant to pursue somebody to, this is what my life is about. This is a conviction that motivates me to action.

But now here is Paul using the same word to say There’s something else you need to be pursuing. It needs to have that same conviction that drives us to action, is what he’s saying. Pursue this. It’s the same word I believe that he uses in Philippians 3, the scripture we use so many times. I press forward, this is what I’m after. I pursue this one thing, I press.

And again, you have this sense that there’s opposition that God give us the grace to constantly instead of just settling, instead of saying, Where I’m at is okay, to recognize that God is at work to change us and He’s changing us so He can use us.

How can we be what God has called us to be in this hour if we just sleep walk through it and we accept where we’re at right now and we don’t mind getting angry, we don’t mind getting upset. We don’t mind blowing off steam and thinking about this and all engrossed in that and just somehow disconnected from Him when God is wanting us to say Wait a minute, I need him? Yes.

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