Profitable Things --Part 5

Profitable Things
Part 5

Alfred P. Gibbs

The Word of God is not only profitable to give instruction and to develop Christian maturity but to equip the believer.

(7) To fully furnish the man of God: God wants His people to be fully furnished with all those things essential to “life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). An unfurnished flat, room or house is a cold proposition. There it stands, with its bare floor and walls, with nothing to sit on, lie on, or eat on. The Lord deliver us from having lives like this: blank, colorless, barren and bare of the spiritual furniture needed to make it livable to ourselves, glorifying to God and attractive to others.

The great woman of Shunem can supply us with a hint as to necessary articles by which to fully furnish the man of God. See 2 Kings 4. First, she provided a bed on which Elisha could rest. This surely indicates the necessity for each Christian to “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psa. 37:7). In this busy work-a-day world we need to heed the injunction of the Lord when He said: “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:29).

She next supplied him with a table at which he might sit and partake of her provision for his needs. This illustrates the bounteous provision of the God of all grace for His people. David could testify that the Lord had prepared a table for him in the wilderness, at which all his needs were abundantly met. The table speaks also of the fellowship into which every child of God has been brought, for we have been seated at the table of the Lord and “Blessed… with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:3).

Then she supplied a stool on which he might sit. This speaks of instruction. It will be recalled that Paul speaks of being instructed at the feet of the great teacher, Gamaliel. Mary also knew the value of the stool, for she sat at the feet of the Lord Jesus and drank in His wonderful words of life. For this she received the commendation of the Lord who declared she had chosen the good part (Luke 10:39-42). In a magnificent passage in Deuteronomy 33, God’s people are described as sitting down at God’s feet to receive of His words. Thus the stool of instruction is an important article of furniture for the Christian.

The last thing she placed in the room was a candlestick. This, of course, speaks of the spiritual illumination each Christian needs as he journeys to his home in Heaven. David could testify: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path… The entrance of Thy Word giveth light” (Psa. 119:105 and 130). In a world characterized by darkness, the child of God has, in the Word of God, all needed light for guidance. As he follows the light of the Word, he will be led on to walk in ways pleasing to the One who has saved him by His matchless grace, for “light accepted bringeth light.” It is written: “Then shall we know as we follow on to know the Lord” (Hos. 6:3).

May it be ours to make good use of the bed, the table, the stool and the candlestick, so that we may be thoroughly furnished to live for and serve the One who has made us forever His at such tremendous cost, and who desires to glorify Himself through those He has redeemed by His precious blood. By this means, His desire for our spiritual profit will be fulfilled, and we, in turn, shall so live that our “profiting may appear to all” (1 Tim. 4:15).

The next profitable thing we shall consider is:

Godliness Of Life (1 Tim. 4:8)

Paul, writing to Timothy, his son in the faith, declared: “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

The words: “Godly,” and “godliness,” are frequently found in the New Testament. The word is “eusebeia,” from “eu” meaning “well,” and “sebomai” meaning to “be devout.” Thus it carries the meaning of that piety and reverence for God which should characterize every child of God. In other words, godliness implies God-likeness. Just as the physical likeness of earthly parents is often reproduced in their children; so the spiritually regenerated children of God should reproduce, in some measure, the spiritual likeness of their Father in Heaven. By this they demonstrate that they are, in verity and truth, “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). All the exhortations to holiness of life, in the Word of God, are based on the existence of this relationship of the believer to his Father in Heaven. We read: “As He that hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written: Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16).

A good illustration of this physical resemblance is found in Judges 8:13-19. Here Gideon is described as asking Zeba and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian, whom he had defeated in battle: “What manner of men were they whom ye slew at Tabor?” The kings answered: “As thou art, so were they, each one resembled the children of a king.” At this, Gideon exclaimed: “They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother!” Just as these heathen kings could discern in Gideon, a likeness to the men they had slain, so the worldlings, with whom the Christian must rub shoulders day by day, should see, in his godly manner of life, some moral likeness to the God whom he claims to be his Father, and into whose family he has been spiritually born.

When Peter and John were arrested by the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem and brought before them for trial, they so courageously testified for their Lord and Master that these Jewish leaders, we are told, “took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:1-13). Thus these disciples reflected, both in their character and conduct, some of the moral and spiritual qualities of the One whom they loved, and with whom they had companied for over three years.

This surely should have a voice for all who profess to know, love and serve the Lord Jesus, and who claim to be walking with Him on Heaven’s highway. Surely both our fellow believers and our unsaved neighbors should perceive an ever increasing likeness to Christ in our lives that shall bring glory to the One, whose we are, and whom we serve” (Acts 27:23). The poet has expressed it thus:

“Not merely in the words you say,
Not merely in your deeds confessed;
But in the most unconscious way
Is Christ expressed.

For me, ‘twas not the truth you taught,
To you so clear, to me so dim;
But when you came to me you brought
A sense of Him.

And from your eyes He beckons me
And, from your heart His love is shed;
‘Till I lose sight of you and see
The Christ instead.”

It is said that in Italy, a woman who is a devotee at the shrine of some particular saint, and before whose image she constantly bows and prays, will unconsciously reflect in her own countenance, the facial appearance of the image she looks upon so often. Attention has also been drawn to the fact that many old married couples who have lived together in harmony for many years, have gradually grown similar in appearance to each other. Their constant occupation and communion with each other has brought about a similarity to each other.

This is certainly true of the believer. The measure of his transformation into the moral likeness of his Saviour and Lord is dependent entirely upon the measure of his occupation and communion with Him. 2 Corinthians 3:18 sums it up thus: “We all, with open face beholding (or reflecting) as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are (being) changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

The poet has beautifully expressed it in these well known words:

“Yet sure, if in Thy presence
My soul more constant were,
Mine eye would more familiar
Its brighter glories bear.
And thus Thy deep perfections
Much better should I know,
And, with adoring fervour,
Should in Thy likeness grow.”

(J. N. Darby)