You therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
I. THE NEED OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."
1. Strength was necessary to meet the difficulties and dangers of his official life at Ephesus.
2. The admonition was probably needed on account of the discouragements which Timothy himself must have felt at the conduct of the Asiatic deserters.
3. Strength is the spring of happy activity in any sphere. "The joy of the Lord shall be your strength."
II. THE SOURCE OF THIS SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. "The grace that is in Christ Jesus." It seems strange to say, "Be strong," to a spiritually discouraged man, as it would be strange to say the same thing to a physically weak man. The injunction is reasonable, however, when we consider that the source of our renewed power is at hand. The grace of Christ is the inward power which enables us "to will and to do of his good pleasure." "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" (Ephesians 6:10). Here lies the true source of our strength. The apostle declared he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. - T.C.
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.Οὐν points back to the defection of others, contrasting it with what St. Paul is satisfied will prove The faithfulness of Timothy.
(H. R. Reynolds, D. D.)
(H. D. M. Spence, M. A.)Christians strong in Christ Jesus: —
I. CONSIDER THE DUTY INCUMBENT ON ALL WHO HAVE A MIND FOR HEAVEN, NAMELY, TO BE STRONG. What is it to be strong in the sense of the text? It presupposeth one thing, namely, they must be spiritually alive. To be strong imports three things.
1. To be ready for action, according to the difficulties you may meet with in your way.
2. That you be resolved. Thus David exhorts Solomon, "Take heed now," said he, "for the Lord hath chosen thee, to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong and do it." That is, be fully resolved and peremptory, so as not to be diverted by any emerging difficulties.
3. That you be of good courage.What need is there to be strong?
1. You have much work before you. The work of your own salvation is upon your hand (Philippians 2:12). You have also to serve your generation, by the will of God.
2. You will meet with much opposition in your work. I now proceed —
II. TO CONSIDER THE DIRECTION, NAMELY, THAT THOSE WHO WOULD BE STRONG, MUST BE STRONG IN THE GRACE THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS. What is the grace that is in Christ Jesus?
1. Relative grace, that is the free favour of God to poor sinners, by which they are embraced in the arms of His love unto salvation.
2. Real grace, that is the fulness of the Spirit, and His graces, lodged in Jesus Christ, as the fountain and head of influences, from which they are to be derived, into all His members. "For it hath pleased the Father, that in Him should all fulness dwell. And out of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace."What is it to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus?
1. It is to be animated to duty by the faith of that grace that is in Christ Jesus for us, both relative and real.
2. It is to be strengthened to duty by supplies of grace derived from Christ Jesus by faith.Why must those that would be strong be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus?
1. Because all those that would be strong must be strong as members of Christ, as branches of the vine.
2. Because the grace that is in Christ Jesus is only sufficient to bear us through.
(H. Boston, D. D.)I. MULTIPLICITY OF ARGUMENTS SHOULD PROVOKE TO OBEDIENCE. "Thou, therefore."
II. MEN REGARD THOSE MOST WHO ARE THE LIKEST MINDED TO THEMSELVES. "My son."
III. STRENGTH OF GRACE IS NECESSARY FOR A CHRISTIAN.
1. Comeliness pleads for it. For is not Christ the root, we the branches? He the foundation, we the building? Our head, and we His members? And betwixt these ought there not to be an analogy, a just proportion, otherwise, would it not be unseemly? Should one finger stand still, would we not repute it a blemish? and shall we not do the same in this mystical body?
2. Necessity requires it. We must fast, watch, and pray, fight with principalities, powers, and spiritual enemies, which are in high places. And will not crosses come, thick and threefold — temptations, desertions, sickness, and death, too? What can or will do these, suffer these things, anything but strength of grace, spiritual power? What manner of men ought ministers to be, thundering in preaching, fervent in prayer, shining in life, burning in spirit? And what is necessary for a preacher is required of every Christian, strength of grace. Strength is tried —(1) In prosperity: art thou humble in thine own eyes? Is thy heart, with the remembrance of the Lord's mercies, made hot? and is it thy greatest care, how to promote his glory? When the rain falls, the waters swell: the sun shines, the sweetest flowers smell the spring approacheth, all creatures revive. So when grace grows, our joy is full; our mouths are trumpets sounding aloud, and every member of the body is an active instrument, a never-wearied agent to fight the battles, and finish the great works of our Lord and Master. A willow bows with a small blast: an oak endures, stands upright in a storm.(2) In adversity: art thou patient? etc. The horse neighs at the trumpet; the leviathan laughs at the spear: so a strong man in grace, slights crosses, etc.Helps to grow strong in grace.
1. Hast thou, in thy apprehension some seed of sanctification? then seriously think of it, highly esteem of it, and bless thou the Lord for it.
2. Resolve with thyself the highest period of grace, whereof a created nature is capable. Scholars aim at the highest degree; citizens, at the most honourable office; and all tradesmen, at the increase of goods: so should weak Christians to be rich in the grace of God: strong in the Lord.
3. Add to these two, practice: exercise thy talent; put it forth, for Thy own, and thy Master's advantage. Is it not written that many acts produce an habit, and to him that hath shall be given?
4. Neglect no means whereby grace is begun, or increased.
IV. ALL GRACE IS FROM CHRIST JESUS. Whether we consider the beginning, kinds, or degrees; all grace is in Him, and by Him. Is it not written, that Christ ascended on high; gave gifts unto men? Of His fulness, are we not said to receive grace for grace? that is of all the kinds which are in the Head, the same be derived to His members.
(J. Barlow, D. D.)I. MORAL ENERGY A DIVINE GIFT. This verse deals with the great motive power of the Christian religion, what imparts inward strength to frail humanity. Much besides is, so to speak, machinery, and this — the grace of Christ, is the steam, the driving force, without which the most perfect machinery is useless. Paul enjoins Timothy to obtain this force, this inward energy of the soul; and by calling it "grace" the apostle teaches that it is not like the unconscious forces of nature — the power of wind, or water, or fire, or gravity-which human skill can have at command and direct; but a power of a different, a spiritual order, and bestowed on other conditions. For it flows from the grace or kindness of God, and it is, therefore, called "grace," just as an act prompted by kindness is called a kindness, and the same with a favour.
II. CHRIST THE SOURCE OF MORAL ENERGY. The Christian faith is that the Lord Jesus Christ is the fountain of all power, and the tire of all love, dwelling in the heart, as well as in heaven: "Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." That is the faith of Christ; and it cannot be said of it that it is a weak, unsubstantial, and merely sentimental religion. It is based on the most sublime facts, for which it offers appropriate evidence; and the power of those facts to arrest, attract, rivet, and renew the hearts of weak and sinful men, and awaken in them an enthusiasm of trust, and gratitude, and devotion — the history of our religion for eighteen hundred years must declare, for no mere language can.
III. THE COMMAND TO BE STRONG IN CHRIST. It is very characteristic of Scripture, and of its close conformity to human nature, even in its problems, that this great central thought, of the Divine source of moral energy, should be put into the form of a command to be obeyed — an injunction, for the observance of which man is responsible. It is not said to us, "Lie helpless till the Divine energy of Christ flows into your soul"; but, "Be inwardly strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." "I charge you to become empowered with that energy." Such is our strange life, our mysterious nature. Dependent on God yet responsible to Him! "It is God that worketh in you." "Work out your own salvation." "I, yet not I," says Paul. "By grace ye are saved" and healed; and this grace has its centre and fount in Christ. But it is your duty to have much of it.
(T. M. Herbert, M. A.)
(J. L. Nye.)
(T. R. Stevenson.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
(A. C. Price, B. A.)
(J. C. Harrison.)
I. THE APOSTLE ENUMERATING THE SORT OF LABOURS AND SUFFERINGS WHICH HIS YOUNG DISCIPLE TIMOTHY WOULD HAVE TO ENDURE.
II. THE GRACE WHICH IS SUGGESTED TO TIMOTHY AS SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT HIM.
(D. Wilson, M. A.)I. THE EXTENT OF THIS CALLING (vers. 1-7). Presented under figures
1. Of the soldier.
2. Of the athlete.
3. Of the husbandman.
II. MOTIVES FOR THE EXERCISE OF THIS CALLING (vers. 8-13).
1. A look backwards (ver. 8).
2. A look around about one (vers. 9, 10).
3. A look orwards (vers. 11-13).
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