Remain Faithful
Study Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 12- 4:5
Lesson
12

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Key Verse

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 

2 Timothy 4:5

Introduction

The Apostle Paul, that strong warrior for God, in this last letter he wrote before his execution, exhorted Timothy to behave in a matter befitting: a true son of God, a good soldier of the Cross, a good athlete who strove according to the rules, always aiming to be crowned on completion of his race, and as a planter of good seed, that would bring forth good fruit. 

He had urged Timothy to unceasingly study the word of God, so that he could rightly divide the word of truth, and so not be ashamed when he stood before God on the Day of Judgment. 

He warned Timothy that in every great house there were different classes of people, some described as vessels of gold and silver, vessels of honor, while others were described as of wood and earth, vessels of dishonor. 

Men could be purged or cleansed to become vessels of honor, separated and spiritually prepared by the Lord God, capable and ready to do every good work. 

Timothy, as a servant of the Lord, would have to know how to be gentle, patient, avoid strife and with meekness instruct those that were in opposition to God, always aiming to bring them to repentance . 

He should always aim to snatch men out of the spiritual bondage of the Devil, for the Devil was so powerful and had such great powers of seduction, that he had brought many people into captivity and ensnared them at his will.

Sadly this ability of the Devil to snare men and take them captive at His will is one of his many monstrous abilities which believers take all too lightly.  

They do not seem to understand the implications of the words that indicate the Devil is the Prince of this world ( John 12:31, 14:30),  the Prince of the power of the air, the expression that those that are not in God are children of their father the Devil, as well as statements in passages like Acts 26:18 and 2 Corinthians 4:3,4 . 

The Apostle Paul has not left us in the dark, but explains the implications of these  words in our lesson today.  

 THE TEXT

 2 Timothy 3

Verse 1.   Paul begins with a reminder of the knowledge that all Christians should have. Christians should not be surprised to know that preceding Christ’s second coming, times will be difficult for them. 

In the last two thousand years many have wondered whether or not they were living in the last days. There have been many extremely difficult periods for believers but so far the days of peril have come and gone and some degree of peace and prosperity has returned.  Still we know that there is going to be a period called the “ last days” and the Apostles Peter, Jude, James and others have referred to the grievous or hard times that would come. 

How many days shall these ‘hard times’ stretch over?  There is no exact reference to a specific number of days, but nevertheless it is sure to come and we are warned, that we must be prepared to deal with them.  Here, we are given details as to why is it will be so perilous for Christians, as we are warned about the times.  The extent of sin will make the times perilous. 

At the time before Jesus’ return, the hearts of men will be desperately wicked, just as in the time of Noah. This trend will continue, and the level of wickedness demonstrated by men under the guise of holiness or religion will increase.  Christians then should spend the time to strengthen our members and ourselves against this deluge, so that we may stand.  

Perilous times are times of stress and danger, when faith is pushed to its limits. Note that these terrible conditions will be found existing in people in the church who sow bad seed, as well as being found in the outside world, where the harshness of life, and a lack of goods and services extend to and affect all men.  Evil men seeking their own ends by their own means will cause markets to go bad, wars to break out, and will incite uprisings against governments and people.  Evil words, and lies will spread against Christians. 

These actions will no doubt weigh on many Christians to the point of vexing their spirit as it did Lot’s, Isaiah and others in God’s service. They continued strong in the Lord, so why should we not  continue strong in the Lord? 

There are eighteen words or phrases that describe this troubled, difficult and stressful time, before the consummation of this age. 

We get a clear indication that men are given over to sin, even while they are cloaking themselves in religious respectability. 

One must not get the idea that these descriptions only apply to men in the last days, for we know that men have always played the vilest hypocrite without any feeling or conscience.  It is clear that these  abominable sins of men, will be especially evident in the last days.  Their corruption will be especially evident.

 

Verse 2.   First, and likely the primary cause of these cycles of stress, trouble and danger, is the fact that there will be widespread hypocrisy in the lives of  seemingly Christians, for they will cover up the evil of their nature by an outward veneer of piety, devotion but false religion. 

 Men shall be ‘lovers of their own selves’, looking out for themselves only, not taking any regard for any other person, be it of God or otherwise.  Their love of God and for the people of God is false.  They pretend, only to gain some advantage for personal goals. 

Note that “ love of self” is the basic sin of humanity, for it is the worship of the vilest form of idolatry, that of self. The self is on the throne, and a rival god is enthroned. Thus, even though they are  in the church, they are really largely idolaters. 

This advantage comes at the expense of Christians and it also tends to alienate this person from God and his people, but this person really does not care at all for the things of God, for though they are in the church, they are not a part of the body of Christ. 

This is happening because the salt which was losing and has lost its savor.  The light which the church should have shown will have become dim, with the result that the whole world will sink into darkness and ignorance.  

The people who should have been working to bring the world to repentance through the salvation of Jesus Christ, will have adopted the way of life of the world. This will leave the world to follow the deadly path of increased immorality and the demonstration of godless attitudes.  

Because they are lovers of their own selves this is expressed primarily in being “lovers of money”. This leads the long list of characteristics which individuals like this will exhibit. 

Covetous’ literally means lovers of money. We note that Christians today are increasingly materialist, constantly seeking a higher standard of living and an increasingly luxurious lifestyle. 

The biblical idea is to delight in using our wealth primarily to meet the needs of others, and help the needy, but instead we find that Christians generally use their excess money for their own delight, adding to their own enjoyment of life, and increasing their possessions. 

We well know from church history, that it is prosperity that destroys a church.  It is not persecution that destroys a church. We  see that the churches of Western Europe have been destroyed by the love of money and materialism, and North America is moving in the same direction.  Vibrant Christianity has therefore moved into the poorer countries of the world. 

Covetous individuals are simply jealous.  They are jealous of the things that others possess.  It might be money they desire, it might be power, fame or something else.  They zealously give their souls away, just to obtain something that will not last, and really has no substance. 

Next men are described as “boasters”, braggarts, swaggerers. The people of God like to brag about how much they have, how much they spend, how many members they have. This does not really impress the world much, for the world, who are themselves boasters, know that the Christians are simply trying to draw attention to themselves, instead of drawing attention to the Lord. 

They often find, when their backs are against the wall, that their wealth and perceived power means little to the world.  To really have any influence in the world, they have to play the game according to the rules of the world.  The Christians are therefore shown up as being just like the world.  They are ensnared. 

They may possess some wealth or power, or have some status, but to God it means nothing, since He is no respecter of persons.  They still use this advantage over others, and move themselves far from the things of God.  What is disturbing, is that it is easy nowadays to find people like this in the church, and entire churches like this.  The situation is steadily worsening. 

Next, they are quite logically described as proud or haughty.  We all know that once pride gets into the hearts of individuals, it can bring them down.  The people in this time are overflowing with pride.  So much so, that they put themselves before and in the place of God.  Their concern is for no one but themselves, and they will do whatever it takes to maintain their dominance and prominence over others. 

Next they are described as blasphemers or railers.  Since their hearts are full of pride, nothing stops them from saying and doing things against God and Jesus.  They will make themselves equal with God, and even above Him.  

Their actions here allow them the freedom to act as Christ’s vicar on earth, which means they believe that they have Christ’s authority and power to make new laws according to their own pleasures.  Needless to say, they act according to their own desires, not giving any regard to God or His will. 

They are in fact arrogant and have secret contempt for others.  They think that they are righteous and have the right to be regarded as better and more holy than others.  Jesus spoke very harshly to people in his day with this attitude.  We call this the attitude of the Pharisees. 

The next set of terms show how these hypocritical Christians behave with respect to family life. These terms describe primarily how younger Christians behave. 

Note that if the professing people of God behave like this, the behavior in the rest of the world will be even worse. 

Disobedient to parents” will be a prominent characteristic. They are this way to parents who they can see and touch.   How much more will they be to the Heavenly Father who they cannot see, and hence know. It demonstrates a lack of wisdom on their part.  They have broken a commandment set by God.  

It shows at this stage of development, they have given themselves over to the Satan.  The Devil works to destroy the family of God, and these people just give into that.  

Disobedience to parents shows no love to God. 

Unthankful” or “ungrateful” comes next.  All men have an obligation of gratitude to God who provides for us all, in things such as the breath we breathe, wealth and health.  Once pride and disobedience take hold, we could see that they do not wish to be part of God’s family.  All good things that have come their way, they think it is a result of their actions, a thought farthest from the truth. 

Unholy” means to be profane or common, unwilling to adhere to even basic decencies. They flaunt ungodly actions, and are shameless. 

Holiness is an attribute of God.  The so-called people of God and in the world today and in the future, will show no respect to God, His laws or His people.  Disdain is all that is witnessed.  They no longer fear the Lord God, which can be seen in their actions and conversations. 

It follows logically, that in the area of interpersonal relationships we will find a horrible expression of sin.

 

Verse 3.   Without natural affections” follows logically. They are into abnormal relationships. This applies to children not regarding their parents or guardians, or husbands not regarding their wives or vice-versa, or sibling not regarding one another.  All familial relationships are broken.  There is no regard, no loyalty, no honour, no respect, and no love to one another in the family unit.  

Children are pushed into sundry institutions because they can be no longer tolerated.  It is done against their wills, so parents can follow their own desires.  

Children will do what they wish, not even taking the time to get permission from their parents before they act. 

The leadership themselves leave their wives or put them away without just cause.  Their children are illegitimate, relating back to their actions.  This is the future. 

Some will be “trucebreakers”, which means that they will never be reconcilable.  Any covenant made with these people is soon broken.  All they do is cause dissension with allies and enemies alike.  It does not end here.  All other oaths, contracts, agreements, in the world of men are made void because of their actions to one another.

It easily follows that they will be “false accusers”.  Just as Satan accused Job before the Lord God, we know that he also accuses us.  His children will follow him and act like him.  They utter slanderous statements to discredit individuals.  Their motivations are their own. Whether or not there is any truth in their statements, it doesn’t matter, they spin tales to achieve their own objectives and that is all. 

They will be “incontinent”.   Incontinent is defined as being uncontrolled, not restrained, and especially relating to sexual matters.  This is just another level of depravity.  First conceived in the mind, then manifested in the body, showing just how far man has and will move away from God.  

Some are not only incontinent, but are fierce or savage.  This implies a hard approach to the way in which they carry on their behaviour.  

They “despise all those that are good”. They hate good. Like the Pharisees they are morally respectable but they really always oppose God and hate the good that comes from God, and people which follow after God. 

They care not for the things of God by their actions.  They know that the children of God will not participate or side with them in any of their shady dealings and so take to hating them, because it is convenient to destroy them as easily as they breathe, instead of repenting of their actions.

 

Verse 4.   If one does know the Lord, then true loyalty escapes such a person.  Their actions will show, they are only able to serve their own desires. Too often people do things they claim they do not want to do, but they do it anyway, in order to achieve some other objective.  After they have what they want, then they will move on, even if it means hurting those who they have worked with for an extended period of time.  Some purposely get into situations to bring down others, to take what they have or to gain some pleasure from gaining their trust, then betraying them.  They are traitors or betrayers. They are like Judas. 

With this goes the description of “heady” or reckless. Heady refers more to someone who is impetuous, rash, domineering, and overbearing, unconcerned with what happens, acting impulsively, without fearing the consequences.  Which means these types of individuals are vile. 

Once these characteristics are observed in an individual, to say that they are high-minded, or stuck up is not too much of an exaggeration.  They are full of themselves, vain, blinded by pride, literally swollen- headed.  This means they justify their actions simply because it makes sense to them. 

These people finally are described as great pretenders. They have great pretensions. They are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.  These individuals seek after evil.  God has no part of them and they have no part of him.  None of God’s ways work in the life they wish to live.  Again, it just leads to whatever desires and indulgences.  What ever they wish, they proceed with, especially without regard to future consequences.

 

Verse 5.   Many have left God, but still cling to the idea of worshipping something larger than themselves.  No matter what evidence is brought before them, to show them how futile that is.  They take on the form of Christianity or godliness, but refuse to accept the parts of substances, that we should obey and serve the Lord God Almighty.  They refuse to accept the sacrifice made by Jesus, His atoning blood, His regenerative power, and His cleansing influence. 

They would just rather take on false piety and be lost, never to know true life. These types of individuals are not edifying.  All that should be done is that we, Christians should remove ourselves from these types of individuals.

They do this because they lack a life and do not understand reality. They in fact deny the power. 

1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us what the power is.  We are told that it is when people deny the word of the Cross, that they are in fact denying the power.  The word of the Cross is that truth which puts to death self, denies self, for it puts the death the natural life.  When one experiences the effect of the Cross, they will have experienced and realized the released power of God in their life. 

Jesus told us clearly that if any man would come after him, and be his disciple, he would have to deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow him. See Mark 8:34, Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23.  One writer puts it this way: 

“ It is the denial of the word of the cross that constitutes this kind of Christianity without Christ, godliness without God, spirituality without the Spirit…

This is saying that until we are willing, as Christians, to say “No” to what the cross has denied, what it has put to death within us, we cannot enter into that eternal life that is available to us now.  Unwilling to deny self means that we are unable to experience life from God.  That is the problem.” 

Jesus has set the example for the type of Christian we should strive to be.  Others have followed the example to show us that it can be done. A godly life can only be done through the power of Christ. Trying to lead a Godly life, bereft of the presence of God,

just gives birth to the type of character mentioned in verses one to five.  These people have rejected God outright.  It is not that they haven’t been introduced to God, but they do not see any delight in the Lord, and so God must given them over to a reprobate mind. Let them enjoy this life, because it is all that they have. 

Let us note carefully in the following two verses that the Apostle Paul tells us of the tactics that those led by the Devil employ. 

They use infiltration, attacking vulnerable people, those  with a strong sense of guilt, who will believe anything that they are told, overburdened with real or imagined sin.. 

Then the next tactic that is used is imitation or counterfeit faith. 

He names the magicians in Pharaohs court, who, when Moses threw down his rod and it turned into a snake, they imitated the miracle of the Living God, threw down their rod and their rods too turned into snakes.  But the snake that Moses’ rod produced simply swallowed up those that the magicians had produced, showing that Moses' God was infinitely more powerful than their false gods. 

Note carefully therefore that the Devil can give power to his followers to do miracles.  But also note that they could not imitate all the miracles that Moses did.  They eventually had to admit that the God of Moses was absolutely superior to them and their gods. 

This kind of corrupt, counterfeit faith always grows strong when times of stress and danger face the people of God. 

When times of stress comes many cults and false preachers and teachers spring up in abundance to offer riches, health, peace of mind, and untroubled heart, a sense of purpose in life, and many other goodies. 

Unfortunately many fall for them and are bewitched by the testimonies of those who follow them.  But sadly the benefits to them if any are temporary. 

We cannot fool God simply by coming to church, singing hymns, attending Bible studies, donating to the church, but not allowing the word of God to change our self- indulgent and materialism driven lives.

 

Verse 12.   From this one must conclude that being a Christian entails suffering, suffering to the point that it can even lead to death.  One  writer comments:

“ That godliness and persecution go together is an axiom of the Christian life.  There is no escaping.” 

As a Christian this is our mandate from Jesus Christ, and the will of God that we shall suffer persecution.  

Firstly, the decision must be made whether or not it is worthwhile to follow God.  I assure you it is worth the while.  

Secondly, when persecution does find us we accept it.  Jesus Christ himself was persecuted even to death.  If the head suffered this treatment, then as Christians how can we suffer any less, if we profess to serve Him!.  

The next part of this is that there is no godliness outside of Christ.  If we truly are in Christ, then we are also given strength to endure the persecution and at times are even shown our way out of persecution.  Just because trials come our way, does not mean we sit by idly.  No we ask God to strengthen us during that time, so His will, will be done. If it is at all possible then we can ask Him to remove us from that situation.  

The world will never understand why a Christian might endure such hardship or where they derive the strength to endure, while still being able to give God praise for whatever situation it is, that they are in.  

The truth in the minds and hearts of believers is that this life really holds nothing for us.  We are travelers in a strange land. We are only ambassadors.  The prize we seek is in a land far away, and secured from any thief.  No other religion states the assurances that Christianity can.  One writer comments:

“There is a phony “ folk Christianity” around today that will enable you to apparently escape all these persecutions.  In every church there are people who are trying to put on a Christian front.  Paul spoke about them.. .. describing them as, “ having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof,” (2 Timothy 3:5).  They act like Christians, they read the Book, and sing the hymns, but they have no reality of Christ in their lives.  That kind of Christianity does escape a lot of persecution because it never stands for anything.  But, in the end, it perishes along with the world; it is destroyed in the judgments of God.

That kind of Christianity is worthless.  It does nothing to stem the tide of corruption and disaster toward which the human race is headed.

God knows that things are going to get worse and worse-- he intended them to-- but he has planted within that decaying, corrupting, morally imperfect civilization men and woman like you and me who are given the privilege of standing for truth and righteousness in a day of declension.  May God grant that we will be such people.” 

Another writer observes rightly that this kind of promise in verse 12 is not a promise that is claimed in many “Precious Promises” books.

 

Verse 13.   The men mentioned here do not love God, that much is clear.  The term “Evil men” from verses 1 to 5 leads us to understand what kind of character must be manifested in them.  

The other group of men who do not acknowledge God are called seducers, and this word can be translated ‘sorcerers’ or ‘imposters’. They deceive or lead astray. 

They will spin tales, tell fables in order to lead us away from the truth of God.  Men like this will only grow more evil as we move into the last days.  Heresies and deeds will manifest themselves more and more, and it can only be if God has moved away from these people, since they have rejected him.  They will tell themselves and believe the lies and look forward to separating others from the love of God.  The reference to evil men also highlights the point that apart form other men and along the theme of the passage, these men have the appearance of godliness, but their actions are otherwise suspect. 

To spot who they really are, we can compare their actions with the actions of true godly men and see the clear and distinct differences between them.  With that persecution must intensify towards the children of God, but again our strength lies in Jesus.

 

Verse 14.   The exhortation or encouragement here as a Christian, and child of God, is to continue in what was taught and confirmed to us.  

Now Paul was talking to Timothy, but how many of us were taught or shown the Scriptures by someone else.   When we were lost, God saved us out of sin by his grace, and God became our teacher.  With each day our knowledge and understanding of God grows.  

We cannot lose sight of that by distractions like malice or persecutions, the trickery of men, whose goal is to deceive us, which we know is a ploy of the devil to separate us from the love of God.  

Paul refers to himself as one of Timothy’s teachers who taught him about Christ, but there was also Lois and Eunice, his godly parents, who ensured that Timothy learned about God. These godly parents wanted to see him inherit the kingdom of God.  The influence of godly parents, who bring up children in a godly home cannot be overestimated. 

Our teachers before us likewise want the same thing for us.  God wants this for us.

 

Verse 15.   This verse goes into the history of Timothy.  From a young age he was taught the things of God.  Which tells us as guardians, and some as parents, we should secure yourselves in the knowledge of God and teach our children the will of God. If taught at an early age, it ensures that the knowledge of God and the fear of God will be with them throughout their lives.  

With that understanding salvation is not far behind.   We should raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  

The Scriptures are Holy.  They were not just written by holy men, but truthfully they were a direct production of the Holy Spirit.  He “controlled” or absolutely inspired the men who wrote the words down, so that there was no personal additions by them.  The Holy Ghost through them wrote the bible.  

There are no greater writings out there, than that given to us by God.  Men are not wise in themselves, and hence men will never move towards salvation on their own.  

To spiritually discern, to know the things of God, we need God and His wisdom.  Through the scriptures many men come to know God and understand His ways.  It leads us to the Gospel of Christ and towards redemption and our salvation.  The focus of the Scriptures is on Christ as our Saviour.  It details a person who is able to save us, that is, who has the power and authority to do it.  

This person is willing to love us even before receiving love from us.  He also sees the value in us, even when it might be hard to see it in ourselves.  This person is suitable to fulfill the role of a redeemer.  This is to say that He is not tainted with sin, so is a perfect substitute for us by way of sacrifice.  He is in every way complete as the Saviour and perfect sacrifice.  

Salvation can only be through him and this is what the Scriptures reveal to us.  With this knowledge and with God guiding us, he gives us the gift of salvation. 

It is only when God saves us, that the veil of sin will be removed from our eyes, and the truth, justice, love and Holiness of God truly be witnessed.  It is all due to Christ. Our faith and salvation begins and ends with him.  It is because of him that we have eternal life.

 

Verse 16.   The Scriptures given to us by God are holy.  They themselves are different from any other writings that exist.  The message they contain, the knowledge contained within, the ability to lead men to salvation, and understand to a certain degree a being who is the creator of all things, is truly unique and marvelous.  

What is holy about the Scriptures or to what does the term holy Scriptures refer?  It refers to the entire scriptures known as the Old and the New Testament.  

These texts were inspired by God, or are literally “breathed out” by the Lord.  

The significance of this, is that the men who wrote these words, though fallible themselves, and some extremely educated, some not so much, some from different regions, and status, were all irrelevant, as the Holy Spirit moved these men to write down what God wanted men to know.  

The writers, whether they knew the full meaning of what they were writing or not, were compelled or led to write it down.  This being the case then, the original texts, or the original manuscripts would contain no error whatsoever, since written by God, even though men’s hand were used.   Such is the power of God.  

With this idea firmly established then, the statement that the Scriptures or Holy Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, is wholly adequate.  Doctrines’ purpose is for discovery, for

“illustration, and confirming the doctrine concerning God, the being, persons, and perfections of God; concerning the creation and fall of man; concerning the person and offices of Christ, redemption by him, justification by his righteousness, pardon by his blood, reconciliation, and atonement by his sacrifice, and eternal life through him”. 

All that is needed to secure salvation for God’s creation, and for His creation to know Him is present therein.  

Because God does not change, his words are true regardless of the age we live in.  So the Holy Scriptures are timeless.  The Holy Scriptures are there to convict men.  It is there to  let them know when they have erred, so that they can find redemption, find the way they must repent to get back to God.  This is given to them in the Scriptures. Everything needed for salvation is present.  

Any error in doctrine, or any other incorrect idea concerning God, can be refuted using the Scriptures. 

The servant of God has as his purpose, to correct that erring person or persons, and lead them to righteousness. That is why God gave us the Scriptures.  The “scriptures are a perfect rule of faith and practice”. 

 

Verse 17.   Every one  who has that special relation to God, chosen of the Father, redeemed by the Son and called by the Spirit, now can truly be called a child of God.  With that adoption, eternal life is granted.   Led there by the Scriptures, by the special revelation of God, we are now ministers of the Gospel.  

From the design of the Scriptures, preachers of the word and hearers of the word might have a perfect knowledge of the will of God.  

The design of the Scriptures was also set for the work of the ministry, which is a good one.  It provides information concerning the kingdom of heaven, so the ministers can expound and deliver things new and old, both for delight and profit to new and old believers.  

Also, direction is present in them, and strength to show all, how to achieve those things. 

The Bible will instruct us about the things that no one on earth knows or can know.  It tells us everything we need to know about ourselves, what can happen to us, and what will happen to us.  Only the Scriptures will teach us the correct information about the other world, the world to come. 

The Scriptures have the power to reprove, make one aware what one really need to change and to be free and it will point out the areas in our life that need to be changed.  

It will send us on the right path, correct us, help us to walk in the way that leads to life.  It leads us away from degradation, enslavement, false hopes and dreams, and death. 

It is sufficient for all our needs. 

Let us note the emphasis on the Word of God.  It is given by God, and meant to be understood, that is, to be interpreted literally. 

Paul directs and commends Timothy to read the written Word of God, to read it repeatedly, and to get frequent exposure to it.  Since we know that the Scriptures reflect the mind of God, and thoughts of God about human life, we know that it is something that has to be carefully and often read and meditated on. 

The Scriptures will drastically alter our personal way of thinking, and one cannot but be changed by it. 

The Scriptures will also drastically alter the way we behave.  It will help us to adjust to true reality, detect the confusion and illusions of the world, and correct the things that are inimical or harmful to human life.

It will transform us and stop the slide in our lives.  One writer warns us though:

“ Many people study the Bible and they focus on all the details of the Book and fail to see the one will the Book reveals.  They fail to look through the window to the great ocean of Jesus Christ himself, the Son of the living God, the Saviour of men.  They fail to understand who he is, that he has come to dwell within us, to fill us, to strengthen us, and to deliver us, to forgive us and guide us through life, that all power in heaven and Earth is given unto him.  There is no point in the reading The Bible unless you see who it points to. “I know”, Paul says in Chapter 1:12 of this letter, “ whom I have believed”-- not what I have believed.  The glory of this Book is that it brings us face to face with Jesus Christ himself.”

 

 2 Timothy 4

 

Verse 1.   Paul writing under the inspiration of God, solemnly charges Timothy, with all that he has learned from Lois, Eunice, other teachers, and himself; to continue strong in the ways of the Lord and as a minister to use the Scriptures and the knowledge of God to help redeem men.  

He is henceforth accountable for all his actions before God, just as we today who profess to be Christians, are accountable to each other and to the Lord God.  

The Lord Jesus Christ, who is equal to God, will bestow gifts on men like Timothy, for the purpose of his ministerial duties; so the gospel may be preached at all times.  It is Christ who shall judge the quick (those who are alive at this time of his coming), and the dead (those who are sleeping at this time of his coming).  Jesus is ordained as the Judge of all men.  

He has the power to save and He has proven Himself aptly qualified.  Since Jesus is God, he is both omniscient and omnipotent, and hence will execute the most righteous and impartial judgments.  

With that, at his appearance, He will appear in glory.  Few have seen Jesus after his death, but at that time the whole world will look upon it’s King, who they once rejected, but is now glorified.  With Him, He will have His kingdom, which will move from something invisible to something actual and corporal. 

This is the most serious charge possible. 

Verse 2.   The word to be preached is the Word of God, as revealed in the Scriptures.  The message is that of Christ, “who is the sum and substance of the Gospel ministry; or the word of truth and faith; the Gospel of salvation, the word of righteousness, peace, and reconciliation by Christ”.  This is to be done constantly and zealously. 

We must be ready to proclaim and deliver the Word, and for that to have its full effectiveness, we need to ensure we are listening to the Lord closely.  The times may be joyous or grievous, the word must go out, and such is our instruction.  

As mentioned previously, the purpose of the Scriptures is to reprove, rebuke, exhort, instill patience, and to teach doctrine.  

Regarding reproof--  There are errors taught purposely by men, and others that exist due to a lack of knowledge and wisdom.  It is with Scripture and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we correct these misconceptions of the Gospel and every related erroneous idea with the purpose of making the faith of men sound. 

Regarding rebuking.  To correct those in error of the word, publicly of privately, but to prevent Satan from getting a hold of them and ensuring their salvation and those around them.  

To exhort, because at times love, kindness and strength must be shared between believers to encourage them to continue on the path of righteousness that they have chosen, because we know the road is usually challenging. 

We should be longsuffering (or patience) because sometimes our timetable for certain actions is not the Lord’s timetable.  The Lord is longsuffering, so should we.  

Lastly, doctrine is instructive and useful in teaching and is profitable for that purpose.

 

Verse 3.   This is the reason for the charge previously given.  The words of the Scriptures are true. It contains the truth of Christ and presents sound doctrine, which is inerrant, and thus useful for redeeming souls.  Men will tend to move towards a state of depravity, in both principles and practice.  The truth will cause them to run and hide.  Since they do not wish to hear the truth, they will express their indignation for it, the messenger and the Source.  They will treat it with neglect, ridicule and contempt.  

Further, they will seek out lies and move towards people speaking lies and blasphemies.  It is done all to satisfy or justify their own lusts.  With each passing moment, they will desire to hear new tales, moving further away from the truth of God and the salvation of Jesus.  Since we know this will happen, it should strengthen our resolve to stay close to God and to preach the gospel more fervently seeing that it is only God and not our words that can redeem them. 

Note that according to the Apostle Paul, it is foolish for us to look at the perceived needs of people as the starting point for the proclamation of the gospel. 

We are charged to proclaim the truth of Scripture.  We are not to scratch itching ears.  We are not supposed to be proclaiming psychology, or massaging people's egos.

 

Verse 4.   After they have turned away from God, and the truth, there is nothing left for these people.  Unfortunately, men because of his depraved nature, would prefer to hear what he wants to hear. Unable to bear the truth, they will do anything to move away from God.  They will seek after fables, follow false theologies, and entertain themselves with myths that will only leave their lives empty and senseless.   At this point God will grant them the desire to give them over to a reprobate mind, so that they enjoy their delusions.

 

Verse 5.   Paul instructs Timothy that at some point he, Timothy must take charge for his own growth in God.  He is to do what ever is necessary to prepare fully to preach the Word of God. He is to be fully committed and passionate in proclaiming the word.  He is to proclaim the Word like a trumpet, being unfailing in patience and in teaching.  He is to use different approaches in proclaiming the gospel, so that he reaches everyone possible.  He should remember that he will be persecuted but he should make the truth clear, so that the power of God would change the weaknesses of men, and foil the plots of the many false teachers.

 

CONCLUSION

Every Christian must strive to reach a point where they are not drinking milk, but can eat meat.  They must prepare to be able to handle strong doctrine concerning God and his kingdom.  Also, with this increased maturity, they will be able to handle the wiles of the Devil a lot better and be able to lead others better. All these responsibilities  Paul says that Timothy has inherited.  He must pass the blessing of one saint on to another. 

Paul commands him to be sober, vigilant in every matter, for it doesn’t really take much to make a servant of God fall.  Even though hardship might come around him, Paul instructs Timothy to endure it because the reward is true. 

It is our job to diligently and constantly attend to the work of God, not to seek our own things, but the things of Christ cheerfully and patiently as Christ did and to suffer for Christ and the Gospel, because it is good. 

Led us remember that our life as a Christian counts tremendously.  Do not let the Devil tell us otherwise.  We are called on to advance the work of God and that is done effectively when we preach the Word, announce the truth clearly and tell people what reality is. 

Our work is the most significant work taking place on earth today.  It is more important, commendable, and significant than any welfare program, any act of Parliament or any decision made by the rulers of this world.  God has commanded us and we must be faithful to his command.