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Being a Husbandman

By: Scott Morton

2Timothy 2:6

The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

In this letter to Timothy, Paul discusses the fact that he wants him to stand fast to the Word of God (2 Timothy 1:13). He also talks about how he needed to be able to keep the Word that had been committed unto him (2 Timothy 2:2). He also goes through some pictures of how the minister of the Word should act. He uses the idea of a soldier (verses 3 and 4), an athlete (verse 5), and the husbandman (verse 6). The one thing that all three of these have in common is the idea of work (2 Timothy 2:15). God would not have us afraid to do a little hard work, even though some people do not believe that this is so.

It is clear from reading some passages in Paul�s epistles that work is something that a believer should be doing. For example, Paul commends the church at Thessalonica for the labor of love they had (1 Thessalonians 1:3). Paul indicates we are laborers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9). He also reports that our labor is not in vain in the eyes of God (1 Corinthians 15:58). It is clear from these passages that labor is important.

When we think of a farmer, it is hard to picture a person that does not work hard. Everything that is produced by the farmer is a result of the hard work put in. This work needs to be done on a daily basis if there is going to be any fruit from this labor. We should view our work in the Word in the same way. It should be a daily task for us to work in the Word, just like the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). As a farmer does his work, there are a few steps that are followed. It is important that all of these steps are followed in order for the work to be successful. We are going to look at these steps and see how this relates to our work with the Word.

Planting the Seed

In order for there to be a start to growing crops, the seed must be planted. The farmer works on the ground to prepare the seed to be placed into the ground. Once this has been accomplished, the seed can be put into the ground and the process of growing a plant can start to take place.

Now think about this in the life of a believer. There is a start to everything that is accomplished in the believer's life through the Word. The seed has to be planted in the believer to start the growth. Now before anyone thinks this is outside of what God�s Word says, take a look at the following verses:

1Corinthians 3:5-7

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? [6] I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. [7] So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Paul states there is a growth that comes about through God. However, he also acknowledges the fact of a planting, as he identifies the fact that he was the one who had planted in Corinth. It was Paul who had given them the basics in order to understand right division, the message of the dispensation of the grace of God. It was Paul that had laid the foundation (1 Corinthians 3:10) and had given them this information. The foundation is Christ and since the information came to Paul from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11-12), it has to deal with principles of right division.

The seed planted is the Word of God. If the parable in Luke 8:4-8 is looked at, we can see Jesus Christ talking about the planting of a seed. This seed is planted among different types of ground. It does not produce fruit until it hits the right type of ground. When the disciples ask for some help in being able to interpret this parable, Jesus Christ starts to give them the information they need in order to understand what is being said. He states that the seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). It is the Word of God that works in an individual, no matter what dispensation they are a part of. It is the Word of God that can produce faith in an individual (Romans 10:17). There is nothing else that can produce this faith in an individual and start to be able to produce the fruit.

This is why Paul states the following:

2Corinthians 5:18-21

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The goal of a believer is to be an ambassador for Christ. An ambassador is the representative of someone that is carrying the message to others. In this case, we are carrying the message of Christ to the world. We are to be carrying the word of reconciliation (the gospel message- 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) to the lost who have not accepted this message. This is the planting of the seed that is needed in order to start the process.

Watering the plant

In order for a plant to grow, the next step for a farmer to do is to water the crops. This can be done through several different methods, such as irrigation, hoses and sprinklers, or just using rain. The main idea is this will start to cause the seed to grow into a plant that hopefully will produce fruit one day. Water, therefore, becomes a source of life.

Paul had made a reference in 1 Corinthians 3 (a passage we had already looked at), stating Apollos had gone in and watered after Paul had laid down the seed. This means Apollos had started to teach saved people and was helping to establish them in the faith. This is something we can see Paul making a reference to in Acts 14:21-23, where they went back to churches that had been established and were checking to see what progress had been made.

The issue is the edification process within the believer. The Word rightly divided is taught to a person and is starts to establish doctrine within them. This doctrine should lead to changes being evident in the life of a believer:

Titus 2:11-13

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

The doctrine taught in the Word helps to bring about a change in the way a person lives. They are able to distinguish between right and wrong, according the standard laid out by God, and this helps a person to determine what they should be doing.

There is also a process of exhortation that comes about through the Word. Paul talks in 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 of some things he is exhorting the believers to be doing in their life. To exhort means to urge someone strongly to do something. Paul is urging the believers to make these necessary changes and start having some of these things happening for them.

Weeding

In order to grow plants, especially outside, there is a process of weeding that is necessary. A person needs to remove the �other plants� that start to grow in the area, as these plants will destroy the plant a person is trying to grow.

Just as there are weeds that destroy plants, there are things that will attempt to destroy the spiritual life of a believer. This is where the weeding is necessary, as it helps to keep a person focused on the truth of God's Word.

The weeds that start to grow are the 'bad doctrine' that can start to be established. Most people who start to rightly divide the Word after being in a denominational church for years have some doctrine in their life already. This is where the Word has to come in and start to have an impact, as it will show what the truth is. Bad doctrine turns people away from the truth (2 Timothy 4:4-5, 1 Timothy 4:1-5). In order to prevent problems from happening, a person needs to hold fast the form of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13-14).

One thing to note is there are some people who are studying the Word who have an understanding of right division that start to come to a different outlook on some passages. The tendency of some is to almost attack them immediately for this, as the feeling is they are �contending for the faith�. This is being done even when they do not understand what the person may be looking at. This does not edify anyone and is often detrimental to what is attempting to be done in working together as members of the Body.

If there are disagreements, there are certain things that need to be done. First, the discussion needs to be centered on what the Word of God says. The discussion should never leave this and should never get to the point of where one (or both) sides are starting to raise their voices in anger. It is also important to remember that there are some things where it is okay to disagree on, as we are all members of the Body and are teaching the same thing for salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Fruit

After all of the hard work, there is a reward. When a person is growing a plant, it eventually grows up to the point the person was intending it to have. This is what all the work was meant to accomplish.

The same thing relates to the life of a believer. The end result of the doctrine being established is there is some fruit that comes out.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The fruit comes about from the doctrine being established. This is the ultimate goal in the life of a believer. May we all strive to have this fruit evident in our life.



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