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 (Showers of Blessing 6B)
The Succession of Faith
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ASAPH said in his psalm: "Listen, 0 my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but to tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments" (Psalm 78:1ff). The passing down of God's word from one generation to another has been fundamental' in God's blessing of the offspring of Abraham and the restoration of Israel in 1948, after 2000 years of destruction.

When the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind, Elisha closely followed him.  His sincerity touched Elijah immensely, who granted his wish "let a double portion of your spirit be upon me".  He became the successor of Elijah (2 Kgs 2:1ff).

Timothy had not only inherited the sincere faith of his grandmother and mother (2 Tim 1:5), he also received careful instructions from his mother.  For this reason, he knew the Scriptures from young (2 Tim 3:15).  The brethren in Derbe and Lystra spoke well of Timothy, whom Paul took with him to preach the gospel, at the same time teaching and molding him.

In the years 66 to 67 AD, Paul was put behind bars and was to be martyred for God.  He wrote the second epistle to Timothy, to instruct him to accomplish the following counts:

            "Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me" (2 Tim 1: 13).

            "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15).

            "And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others" (2 Tim 2:1).

Paul's instruction was to enable Timothy to be his successor, to continue in the ministry of the gospel to build up the body of Christ (Eph 4:11f).

The gospel that Paul preached did not come through man, but was the direct revelation of God (Gal 1:11f). Though he had not been with Jesus physically, as the apostles had, his preaching did not in any way contradict the gospel of Christ. Instead, what he preached was of more depth (cf 2 Pet 3:15f).  For this reason, he boldly told Timothy that what he preached was the pattern of the sound word (2 Tim 1:13f).

When a shepherd handles accurately the word of God, he pleases God and is truly a worker without blemish.  To handle accurately the word of God, he must base all doctrinal issues of salvation on:

The teachings of the apostles, prophets and Jesus (Mt 28:20; Eph 2:19f; 2 Jn 9). The well-established foundation is Jesus, apart from whom no one can lay another foundation (1 Cor 3:11)


Interpretation of verses adopted in preaching must conform to the sound word (Tit 2:1; 2 Pet 3:16).  Misinterpreting or misconstruing God's word is disastrous to the listeners, and brings curses upon the interpreter himself (Gal 1:8f).

The way of salvation must be clearly explained; for the word of God is the absolute truth, as in God there is no yes and no (2 Cor 1:18f).

What is not in the Bible can not be added to it; what is clearly established in the Bible cannot be taken away from it (Deut 4:2; Rev 22:18f).  Only when the above are faithfully observed, can we bring others perfect before the Lord (Col 1:25, 28).

The approved workers, who are pleasing to God and handle accurately the word of God, must heartily impart knowledge to and train others.  Imparting the word of God from one generation to another will deepen the study of the truth, by which the church will continue to grow and prosper.  This was why Paul instructed Timothy to impart the word which he heard from him to faithful men.  Paul was the first generation who received the truth directly from God.  Timothy was the second, who received it from Paul.  The faithful man was the third who received it from Timothy.  The fourth generation was those whom the faithful men taught.  This was the chain of imparting the truth.  We must humbly accept the teachings from our predecessors, so that we can teach the generation to come.  In this way, the spreading of God's word would continue till the church is lifted up to heaven (1 Cor 15:24; 1 Thess 4:15ff).

The True Jesus Church has been preaching the doctrines of salvation for many decades.  These doctrines were revealed directly by God, which are clearly documented in the Bible and conform neatly to the teachings of the apostles.  They are the pattern of sound word of the ancient church.  If we can adhere to what Paul had instructed Timothy, then surely the truth will be spread throughout the world at the close of the 21st century.