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DILIGENCE (2)

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.    Last week, we looked at a Christian quality that is not discussed very much, “Diligence.”

 

B.      The focus of that lesson involved the use of the word “diligence” in the Old Testament.

 

C.     In this lesson, we want to look at its use in the New Testament.

 

D.    Let’s remind ourselves of the definition of the word as found in the New Covenant.

1.      Pains, speed, eagerness, haste, earnestness, striving after anything, to make effort, be prompt, exert one’s self

2.      It is also translated as “business, haste, endeavor, labour, and study.”

3.      We summarized the definition as follows:  “the quality of putting eager, prompt, painstaking effort in all that a person does.”

 

I.                   DILIGENT IN RULING (Rom. 12:8)

 

A.    Paul has entered into a section about our spiritual gifts.  “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us…” (Rom. 12:6).

1.      He lists seven gifts in the section.

2.      One of them involves those who rule (Rom. 12:8).

 

Or the that exhorteth, on exhortation:  he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

B.      Ruling is a vital component within the church.

1.      This function has been given to the elders of the local congregation (I Tim. 5:17).

 

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

 

2.      Paul says that those who are involved in ruling need to rule with diligence.

3.      There must be eager, prompt, painstaking effort in carrying out their responsibilities.

a.      They are leaders.  Do it with diligence.

b.      They are overseers.  Do it with diligence.

c.       They are shepherds.  Do it with diligence.

d.      They are teachers.  Do it with diligence.

e.       They are examples.  Do it with diligence.

 

C.     If a man who is ruling can no longer do it with diligence, he needs to step down.

1.      This may be due to disease or sickness or feebleness.

2.      Ruling is to be done with diligence.  If a person can no longer put the effort needed into the position, he should step down.

3.      There is no shame in so doing. 

a.      Leading is a huge responsibility. 

b.      God will hold all leaders accountable for how they lead.

4.      NOTE:  Nowhere in the Bible is it said that being an elder is a lifetime appointment.

 

 

II.                DILIGENT IN KEEPING UNITY (Eph. 4:3)

 

A.    We said that the Greek word for “diligence” is sometimes translated “endeavor.”  It is translated this way in Ephesians 4:3.

 

Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

B.      One of the most precious aspects of the body of Christ is “unity in the bond of peace.”

1.      Unity is oneness.  Unity is likemindedness.

2.      Unity is the opposite of division caused by strife.

 

C.     Every member should be endeavoring to keep this unity.

1.      Unity involves deep study of God’s Word.

2.      Unity involves respect for our brothers and sister in Christ.

3.      Unity involves communication.

4.      Unity involves honesty.

5.      Unity involves forbearance, longsuffering, and forgiveness.

6.      Unity involves our preferring one another.

7.      Unity involves accountability.

8.      Unity involves the display of agape love in all we do.

 

D.    One would think unity is an easy thing to practice.  It is not.  Pride, ignorance, and selfishness often keep individuals from being able to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

E.      For unity to exist, we must want it.  Then, we must work at it!

 

III.             DILIGENCE IN HANDLING THE WORD OF GOD (II Tim. 2:15)

 

A.    Another way the Greek word for diligence is translated in the KJV is “study.” (I Tim 2:15).

 

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

1.      KJV:  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God…”

2.      ASV:  “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God…”

 

B.      As we engage in learning the Word of God, Paul tells us to do so with diligence.

1.      Studying God’s Word is not an easy task (Eccl. 12:12).

2.      When we go into God’s Word, we must do it with earnestness and with painstaking effort. 

 

C.     The end that we seek is to “rightly divide,” or, “handle aright” the word of God.

1.      The Word of God can be mishandled.

2.      The Word of God can be misinterpreted.

3.      The Word of God can be misapplied.

 

D.    It is imperative that we learn “how” to study so we can give due diligence to our labors in God’s Word.

 

 

IV.             DILIGENCE TO ENTER INTO REST (Heb. 4:11)

 

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

 

A.    The word “labour” is diligence again.

 

B.      Entering into eternal rest, requires work, effort, and toil on our part.

1.      We have to fight a good fight.

2.      We have to finish the course.

3.      We have to keep the faith.

4.      We have to endure unto the end.

5.      We have to hold fast our confidence.

6.      We have to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.

7.      We have to be faithful unto death.

 

C.     If we fail to give diligence to enter into the rest beyond, we could fall just as the Israelites fell in with wilderness in the long ago.

 

D.    NOTE:  The concept of once-saved, always-saved is false. 

1.      It goes contrary to the teachings of God’s Word.

2.      It gives false hope.

3.      It removes motivation to labor to enter into the rest God has for us.

 

V.                DILIGENCE TO ADD THE CHRISTIAN GRACES (II Pet. 1:5)

 

And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge…

 

A.    Every individual begins his/her Christian life with faith.

1.      It is a faith that believes in God (Heb. 11:6).

2.      It is a faith that believes in Jesus as the Son of Go (John 8:24).

3.      It is a faith that believes the gospel (Mark 16:16).

 

B.      Just having faith is not enough.  Peter exhorts us to add the other Christian graces to our lives with diligence.

1.      There are seven of them listed in verses 5-7.

2.      He, then, reveals what happens when we have them, and what happens if we do not have them (II Pet. 1:8-9).

 

For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 

 

C.     He, then, exhorts his reader to give diligence again (II Pet. 1:10a).

 

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure…

 

1.      We cannot lazily drift into heaven.

2.      We cannot just add one or two of the Christians graces.

3.      Each one of us is going to have to put for the effort to grow in all of the qualities Peter mentions.

 

D.    Peter concludes with a final reason why we should put forth the painstaking efforts to grow and develop in these grace (II Peter 1:11b-11).

 

…for it ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

VI.             GIVE DILIGENCE TO BE FOUND RIGHT AT THE DAY OF THE LORD (II Pet. 3:14)

 

A.    In II Peter 3:10, Peter affirms that the day of the Lord is coming.

 

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…

 

B.      He notes that some “earth shattering” things will happen at that time (II Pet. 3:10).

1.      The heavens shall pass away with a great noise.

2.      The elements shall melt with fervent heat.

3.      The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

 

C.     He also reveals that a new heavens and a new earth awaits us (II Pet. 3:13).

 

D.    It is at this point that he exhorts his readers to give diligence (II Pet. 3:14).

 

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

 

1.      Peter again admonishes us to live our Christian lives with diligence.

2.      There is an end coming to the things of this world.

3.      When that time comes, we want to be found right in the sight of God.

4.      We proclaim again that once-saved, always saved is a false doctrine. 

a.      When the day of the Lord comes, there will be some who will be shocked.

b.      They will be found stained with sins of omission, commission, or both.

c.       They will be found in rebellion, with spots, and with much blame that day.

d.      There end will be different from those who were diligent in living their Christian lives.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.    We live in a society where diligence is shirked.

1.      Let others take care of us.

2.      Work less, get paid more.

3.      Do as little as we can to get by.

 

B.      These concepts have drifted into the minds of some in the church.

1.      Church attendance is the sum of their efforts in the kingdom, and they don’t want to do that very much.

2.      The work of the church is for others to do.

3.      Individuals seek to do as little as possible to get by.

 

C.     Most who are here tonight are “the diligent.”

1.      We want you to continue in your prompt, eager, earnest, painstaking efforts for your Savior Christ.

2.      “…be diligent that ye may found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (II Pet. 3:14).