Thursday, October 26, 2017, 6:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Broken and Contrite.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Timothy 3 (NASB).
Difficult Times (vv. 1-9)
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.
The last days are the days leading up to Jesus Christ’s return. Although many or all of the sins listed here have always existed, the sense here is that these will increase in severity and volume, and will pervade our societies and even much of the organized church of our time, especially the closer we get to our Lord’s return.
Many men and women, even within the organized church, can be described in this manner. In fact, a large number of pastors today live similarly to this, as well, as numerous ones of them are addicted to pornography, power, fame and/or fortune, and/or are involved in adultery, corruption, swindling, greed, and/or manipulations of people and/or of truth. Many of them, in fact, are being schooled in manipulation (lying) as a way of swaying the people toward a particular direction, and of weeding out undesirables, which may include weeding out those who have close walks with Jesus Christ so that they don’t offend anyone with the truth. I have seen this in multiple congregations, and have read much about it, so I know of what I speak.
A large majority of the church here in America has turned God’s house, the body of Christ, into a marketplace, and they are marketing her just like any other business, which means that they use marketing schemes (tricks, gimmicks) as a way to draw in large crowds of people. In other words, they gear their meetings to give their customer base (the world) what they want so that they will come back, because it is much more about pleasing people than it is about pleasing God. So, they dilute the gospel to make it more appealing to human flesh so that people can believe they have heaven as their eternal destiny while they also believe they can continue in sin and that it is all covered by God’s grace. And, then they try to silence those who are teaching the truth by trying to discredit them and/or their message.
Their folly is now obvious to some, but not yet to all, for many are deceived by their trickery and their deceptions. But, one day everything will be exposed for what it is, and then many eyes will be opened to the truth, “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17).
Continue in Faith (vv. 10-15)
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Instead of being partakers with those who walk in sin and who deny and oppose the truth, we who profess Christ as Savior of our lives should be followers of Christ, i.e. we should be obedient, faithful and committed to Christ and to walking in his ways and in his truth. This is not to say that we will never sin, but that sin should no longer have mastery over our lives so that we continually obey its lustful desires (Ro. 6:1-23; Gal. 5:16-24).
But, we must know that when we do walk in truth, righteousness and holiness, as the pattern of our lives, though not necessarily in sinless perfection, but with sin no longer our master, that we will be hated, rejected, despised, ridiculed, opposed strongly and persecuted for our faith and for our stand on God’s Word, i.e. on his truth. And, a lot of this opposition may come from within the church, not from without, because so much of the church has been deceived by clever enchanters and master manipulators who disguise themselves as servants of righteousness but who inwardly are ferocious wolves whose goal it is to steal, kill and to destroy.
Training in Righteousness (vv. 16-17)
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
So, how do we discern truth from lies? How do we recognize when someone is attempting to manipulate us? Well, first off we have to be in Christ Jesus, by God’s grace, through faith in Him, be born again of the Spirit of God, and have the Holy Spirit living within us. Then, we have to study the scriptures, if they are available to us, so that we know what they teach, but we need to do this in the context in which they are written, for many pull scriptures out of context to make them say what they are not saying. And, we have to go into God’s Word asking for the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts, and we must be willing to hear and to obey the truths God speaks to our hearts.
Then, as we listen to men and women speak (or write), we must examine their teachings against the Word of God, in context, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, to make certain that what they are telling us is indeed truth, and not obvious lies, deceptions, twisted truth or subtle lies inserted inside truth. We must also look for patterns in what they say or in how they say what they do. For instance, I have known at least two pastors who, toward the end of their sermons, would tell a story intended to move people emotionally, and they would get a certain quiver in their voices, one seemingly copying the other, since one once served under the other. It was an obvious manipulation to any discerning spirit. One of the pastors once admitted to his congregation that he knew he had the power to manipulate.
One other thing to look for is what they don’t say, but which is implied. For instance, we once began to take a certain discipleship training course, and we began to read through the training manual. I noticed that on one page, in very large bold letters, was a particular passage of scripture intended to convey a certain message. Then, in smaller letters on that same page was the teaching, which had no reference to that passage, and which wasn’t even biblical, but was created in the minds of humans. Yet, there was a very subtle lie present there, because, by the presence of the scripture passage the reader was to assume a connection, and the connection was that God gave his approval to what was written there, but that was a lie.
So, anyway, know what the Bible teaches, but in context to the whole and to the book you are reading. Don’t pull verses out of context to make them say what they are not saying. Be open to what the Spirit wants to say to your heart, listen to God speak, and then walk in obedience to the truth.
Broken and Contrite / An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.