Your Role In Rescuing The Ensnared
" 'The Lord's servant must not strive.' He must meet contradiction, opposition, gainsaying, with gentleness, meekness, and love." - Pulpit Commentary - New Testament
"The servant of the Lord, must never despair of any one, never throw an additional obstacle in any one's way by roughness or hard speech, and never allow unkind feelings to be roused in his own breast by the perverseness or unreasonableness of them that oppose themselves to him." - Pulpit Commentary - New Testament
"That which ministers must have in their eyes, in instructing those who oppose themselves, must be their recovery." - Matthew Henry
"Gentleness becometh a minister. He must not be a fighter, quarreler; but meek, quiet, easy to be entreated: for such are fathers, nurses, surgeons, physicians. Oh, how much pity, tenderness of affection is required of them! Lambs, sucking babes, bones out of joint, stand in need of a gentle heart and finger to feed, nourish, and rightly to place them. To be fierce, cruel, outrageous, better befits a dog than a shepherd."
- Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
"The Lord's bondservant must exercise meekness and humility in dealing with opposition. A person wrongs his own soul by refusing to bow to the word of God. Such people need to be corrected lest they ignorantly go on with the mistaken notion that their view is in accordance with the Scriptures."
- Believer's Bible Commentary
"After all our care in teaching others the truth, our only dependency is on God for its success. We cannot be absolutely certain that they will see their error; we cannot rely certainly on any power which argument will have; we can only hope that God may show them their error and enable them to see and embrace the truth..."
- Barnes' Notes
2 Timothy 2:24-26 says - "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
In this message, we would like to study three subjects - striving servants, God's work of repentance, and the devil's snare. Many people right now are in the "hold" of the devil. Many of these are your family members, friends, coworkers, or even former ministers. They have eaten the "fruit of lies" (Hosea 10:13) - so to speak - and it seems that no words on your part have helped to awaken them to the error of their ways or thinking.
Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will impart hope to you as you read this message, and that you will see your role in bringing the "prodigal" back to his spiritual senses.
1. Striving Servants
2 Timothy 2:24-25 says - "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves..."
The "servant of the Lord" - the teacher, minister, or average Christian - must not fight...make war...or contend with the one who is opposing the truth of God's Word. On the contrary, he is to have a kind spirit and mild temper...be a man of peace...and not indulge in feelings which give rise to contention. He is to be meek and mild toward those who have troubled minds and wounded consciences...bring forth solid teaching and display ease in his teaching...demonstrate forbearance under evils and injuries - bearing up against ill treatment and putting up with evil in respect to his adversaries...and gently, kindly, and humbly teach and correct those who have embraced error and have arrayed themselves against the truth.
2. God's Work Of Repentance
2 Timothy 2:25 says - "...if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth."
God is the Only One Who can turn a backslider around. He is the Only One Who can give him such a view of the error that he has embraced...give him a regret for having embraced it...and then be willing to admit the truth. No matter how far this individual has drifted into error or into believing the lies of the devil, he is not out of the reach of God's mercy and love. The Lord Jesus is well able to impart to the "resister of truth" a change of mind that will then lead him to receive the full knowledge of the truth.
3. The Devil's Snare
2 Timothy 2:26 says - "And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
First of all, it is very necessary to read this verse in connection to the one preceding it which says - "...if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." No one can "recover themselves out of the snare of the devil" without God's intervention or grace. He grants them "repentance" and they - in turn - are enabled to return to soberness.
Let's look - for a minute - at these are who are held captive by the devil. As already mentioned, they are the ones who oppose the authority of "the servant of the Lord." They have either fallen into Satan's snare through carnal lusts and pleasures or through errors and heresies. They have "bit into" one of the following lies: sin is pleasant and carries no awful consequences...God's Word cannot be trusted...God is only a God of mercy and not judgment...repentance is an easy work and can be done at any "convenient" time...or Satan is simply an object of ridicule and not a ferocious lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
While under the influence of the lies of the devil, these deceived ones are comparable to a man intoxicated or in a deep slumber. They can be likened to one who is under the fatal influence of some stupefying potion. Satan has place in their life and, consequently, works powerfully in them - while they readily comply with him and obey his lusts. Every effort must be taken to rescue them from this perilous condition or they will die and go to Hell for all eternity.
It is interesting to note that a fowler is known to scatter seeds that have been impregnated with some intoxicating drug. His intention is to lay the birds asleep and then draw the snare securely over them. This is how the devil - "the spiritual fowler" - ensnares his "catch." He feeds some individual "poisoned seeds" - lies concerning himself, life in general, God, Christianity, preachers, the Bible, church, the devil or evil, etc. This person "feeds on lies" for a period of time - not knowing that he is being "drugged" by the devil for the "kill." When the appropriate time comes, the enemy throws the trap and pulls this person into a bondage that seemingly "screams" of no escape. This individual becomes the "robot" of Satan to do his will or bidding.
The Lord Jesus is the Only One Who can awaken this drunken soul and bring him to his right mind.
Do you know someone who is - at this very moment - in the "snare of the fowler"?
Perhaps you have tried to talk to him or her - until you have become almost "blue in the face."
Be encouraged! This message is meant to offer you hope. Your work has not been in vain. It is not for you to get angry or impatient with this deceived one. Your role is to patiently speak the Word as the Holy Spirit directs. God's Word will not return void. It will accomplish that for which it is sent (Isaiah 55:11).
Know this - you cannot turn people away from the error of their ways. No amount of arguing or debate will do it. Only God can give "repentance" here. He can and He will!
Psalm 91:3 promises - "Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler..." Jesus and Jesus alone can save from the evil purposes of the wicked one.
Remember - don't argue or fight! Instruct and correct in gentleness and meekness every time the Holy Spirit offers you a Divine Appointment to do so. He has the gift of "repentance" that will rescue the ensnared from Satan's trap.
It is not His will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
May God Bless His Word.