The Christian Life, the Church Life, the Consummation of the Age, and the Coming of the Lord
Fighting the Good Fight, Finishing the Course, and Loving the Lord’s Appearing
OPENING WORD OF THE PROPHESYING MEETING
Reading the verses in each day.
Reading the main points in the outlines.
Pray-reading the verses:
2 Tim. 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, with which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will recompense me in that day, and not only me but also all those who have loved His appearing.
Word of Appetizer
What three items does a proper Christian life involve?
In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul mentions three items: fighting the good fight, finishing the course, and keeping the faith. A proper Christian life is threefold. It involves fighting the good fight against Satan and his kingdom of darkness for the interests of God’s kingdom (1 Tim. 6:12), running the course for the carrying out of God’s economy according to His eternal purpose (Heb. 12:1), and keeping the faith for participation in the divine riches in God’s dispensation (Gal. 3:22). To fight the good fight of the faith means to fight for God’s New Testament economy; in particular, it is to fight for Christ as the embodiment of God and for the church as the Body of Christ.
A proper Christian life involves fighting the good fight against Satan and his kingdom of darkness and for the interests of God’s kingdom.
A proper Christian life involves running the course, the race, for the carrying out of God’s economy according to His eternal purpose; the journey that the Lord has ordained for us is the race that we all must run; we need to “run with endurance the race which is set before us”.
Loving the Lord’s appearing is a proof that we love the Lord and live for Him today; hence, it also becomes a condition for us to receive His reward.
CONCLUDING WORD OF THE PROPHESYING MEETING
The Revelation of the Truth
“I have fought the good fight”; a proper Christian life involves fighting the good fight against Satan and his kingdom of darkness and for the interests of God’s kingdom.
“I have finished the course”; a proper Christian life involves running the course, the race, for the carrying out of God’s economy according to His eternal purpose.
If the Lord’s second coming is precious to us, we will love His appearing; the Lord’s appearing, His coming back, is a warning, an encouragement, and an incentive to us; loving the Lord’s appearing is a proof that we love the Lord and live for Him today; hence, it also becomes a condition for us to receive His reward.
The Experience of Life
We run the Christian race by “looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith”; when we look away unto Jesus, He as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b) transfuses us with Himself, with His believing element; when we look away unto Him, He ministers heaven, life, and strength to us, transfusing and infusing us with all that He is so that we may be able to run the heavenly race and live the heavenly life on earth.
Practice and Application
To fight the good fight for God’s interests on earth, we need to clear away all earthly entanglements; We fight the good fight of the faith not only objectively but also subjectively by laying hold on the eternal life.
We need to seek out the journey that the Lord has ordained and faithfully walk on it, paying any price to wholeheartedly continue on our journey until we reach the end; we need to run the race with endurance, suffering the opposition with endurance and never growing weary or fainting in our souls.
We should have a living that loves the Lord’s appearing; in Romans 12:2 Paul exhorts us to not be fashioned according to this age but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind.
TWELVE TOPICS PER WEEK
T1: A proper Christian life is threefold (2 Tim. 4:7).
(Which three items did Paul mention in 2 Timothy?)
T2: To fight the good fight of the faith (2 Tim. 4:7).
(Please explain that to fight the good fight of the faith in the Christian life, we need to lay hold on the divine life.)
T1: The degradation and decline of the church has had one source: teachings which differ from the ministry of the apostles (1 Tim. 1:3-4).
(What is the focus of the ministry of the apostles?)
T2: To preach God’s economy concerning Christ and the church is to war a good warfare (1 Tim. 1:3-4; Eph. 5:32).
(Please explain why we should be on the alert for differing teachings.)
T1: The entire Christian life is a race (1 Tim. 4:7; 1 Cor. 9:24).
(Please explain that this race is not for obtaining eternal life, but for receiving the crown.)
T2: Before reaching the end, we cannot guarantee that we will win the prize (Heb. 12:1).
(According to Heb. 12:1, which two things are crucial in running a race?)
T1: Looking away unto Jesus (Heb. 12:2).
(What does the phrase “looking away unto” mean?)
T2: It is by being attracted by His charming beauty that we look away from all things other than Him (Heb. 12:2).
(In the book of Hebrews, what items does the being of the heavenly Christ include?)
T1: The Lord’s coming back is a warning and an encouragement to us (2 Tim. 4:1, 8).
(Please explain that if we truly love the Lord, we will love His appearing; if we do not love the Lord, we will be afraid of the Lord’s coming.)
T2: When the Lord comes back, He will be the Judge of all, both believers and unbelievers (Matt. 25:21).
(Please explain that christians should be warned and encouraged to prepare themselves to stand before this Judge.)
T1: The living of the apostles was in preparation for the Lord’s return (1 Thes. 1:10).
(Please explain that when the apostles wrote the New Testament, to them the Lord was coming soon.)
T2: Come, Lord Jesus! (Phil. 3:20; Rev. 22:20).
(Please explain that as long as we have today, we should love the Lord and His appearing, await the Lord’s coming.)