On 21st October 2016 the Welsh mining village of Aberfan remembered the terrible disaster that overwhelmed it fifty years earlier when a slag heap collapsed in heavy rain. The mining debris landed on the village school killing 116 children and 28 adults. The National Coal Board had received repeated urgent warnings of a disaster waiting to happen. A tribunal found that repeated warnings of an imminent disaster had been ignored, resulting in tragedy.
In our text for today, Paul urges Timothy to fulfil God’s calling on his life in God’s way, and to never lose his sense of urgency. The New Testament is full of urgent messages to believers. Of the forty or so prayers it contains, all but three are for the urgent growth of believers and the text repeatedly urges them to respond to what it says. The following are three examples:
Firstly, ‘We urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain’ (2 Corinthians 6:1). In the New Testament world it was a challenge to be distinctly different to the culture, as it is today. The Corinthian Christians were turning to false teachers, who gave them false hope, instead of turning their backs on the world, its values and compromising life style. To receive God’s grace in vain is to live for yourself, so that your faith doesn’t affect your lifestyle.
Secondly, ‘I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received’ (Ephesians 4:1). God has chosen us to be His representatives on earth. The calling we have received is to be Christ’s very own, to model Him in character and actions – an enormous privilege. Each one of us is called to live a life worthy of the Lord – something we cannot do in our own strength. We are called to live as children of the perfect Father in intimate relationship with Him; called to live under the lordship of Jesus in every area of our lives; called to be daily filled with the Holy Spirit, who enables each one of us to be witnesses in the world. This is the way to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Thirdly, ‘We ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus to live a life in order to please the Lord’ (1 Thessalonians 4:1). To live a life pleasing to the Lord was totally against the culture in Ephesus, where drunkenness and sexual immorality were rampant, and part of idol worship. These two issues were pertinent for new converts, as they are today. Paul is urging them to renounce their old pagan way of life, in exchange for a life pleasing the Lord, honouring Jesus with distinctly different values, hopes, motives and goals.
Do we live with a sense of urgency, valuing the grace we have received, living lives worthy of the Lord, and lives pleasing to Him? ‘Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last’.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your grace that saved me, and for enabling grace for every passing day. Please show me the urgent things on Your heart, and give me the willingness and commitment to do the things which You urge me to do in Your word. I am not my own, I have been bought with a price. Therefore I desire to honour You with my body and my spirit, which belong to You. I pray for the honour of the Lord Jesus. Amen.
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