August 16th

Stick to the Truth

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.  10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra--what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:1-16 NKJV 

Paul wrote this passage to Timothy, who was then working in the church at Ephesus. Ephesus was awash in sexual idolatry, pagan worship and false teaching, and the church was being corrupted by the society’s influences.  Paul’s description of what Timothy could expect bears a sobering resemblance to the destructive influences that are trying to tear the body of Christ apart today.  Note the symptoms that Paul mentioned:

·        Loving self, but not loving others

·        Loving money

·        Loving pleasure instead of God

·        Blasphemy (speaking irreverently or rebelliously about God or the things of God)

·        Disobedience to parents

·        Unthankfulness

·        No self-control

·        Pride & boasting

·        Slander

·        Unforgiveness

·        Despising what is good

·        Betrayal

·        Having a form of godliness but denying its power 

We need not look any further than the television set or the front page of the newspaper to see such influences at work in our society and the church.  Sadly, many church leaders are leading their flocks away from the truth of scripture to embrace a more world-friendly message.  For example, we see things such as homosexuality being condoned and even encouraged, while the institution of marriage is devalued and dishonored.  In the name of tolerance, people are ignoring or writing off scripture as being obsolete, while they pursue their own lusts, ambitions and the praise of man.  

If we look carefully at what is going on, we’ll find many if not all of the above “fruits” evident in those who are departing from the truth of scripture.  Paul told Timothy to turn away from the Christians who were embracing these things.  He was to keep himself pure and to continue sharing the truth that would set people free from the enemy’s deceptive lies.  The foundation of that truth was the scriptures, which would never become obsolete. We too can benefit from Paul’s timeless advice.  Specifically:

·        Don’t keep company with Christian believers who are openly indulging in sin (5)

·        Carefully follow the Bible’s instructions for living (10) and apply it to the practical issues of life (13-14,16)

·        Continue in the wisdom of the scriptures, using the Bible as your plumb line for discerning the truth and encouraging others in their faith (16-17) 

Applying these principals will be much easier for us if we’re plugged into a church that stands on the authority and inerrancy of the Bible.  It’s hard to stand in faith without a pastor/ministry team supporting you, teaching you and encouraging you in the truth.  If you’re not in such a church, I encourage you to ask the Lord to help you find the church that is best for you.  It may take some time and effort to search for such a church, but the benefits will be worth it.  Too many people give up after getting emotionally burned in a few churches, and conclude that there are no good churches out there. Please don’t let that be you!   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord God, maker of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, I praise you for your word, which is the truth that sets me free.  I embrace your word and commit myself to studying the scriptures daily.  If I have departed from the truth of scripture in any way, I confess that now and repent from it.  Please forgive me and cleanse me from my sin.  Please lead me in discovering and learning the foundations of truth that will help me discern the lies of the enemy.  I pray for connection with other committed believers such that I can be encouraged in my faith and also encourage them in their faith.  Please guide me in finding the best place to plug-in to the body of Christ.  Thank you, Lord! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”