2 Timothy 3:1-5 NASB
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.
Not everyone who calls himself or herself a Christian is one. And, not everyone who is a Christian, by faith in Jesus Christ, is walking by faith and not according to the flesh. For, even those who are believers in Jesus can wander off from their pure devotion to Jesus Christ, for a time, and be caught up in the ways of this sinful world once again, and be in need of revival – to be brought back into pure fellowship with God.
But, there are many who fake their Christianity. Some do this for political reasons, because it gains them votes or financial support. Or, it gets people to trust them, and then they can deceive them and manipulate them for evil purposes. Or, maybe they fake their Christianity in order to have people think well of them, or maybe they believe they are really fooling God. But, the point is, there are many pretenders out there, so be careful.
We are told to test the spirits, and this is not just speaking of angels or demons, but the spirits of human beings. People’s spirits are their inner being, their character, the real them, the core of who they are and what they think and believe and do. And, this is what reveals who they really are, not what they profess that they are, for actions speak louder than words.
Not one of us is absolutely perfect, though, so a profession of faith in Jesus Christ does not mean we profess to be perfect in every way. But, if we truly believe in Jesus Christ, it should be evident by how we live our lives. We should no longer be living unholy and immoral lives, but our lives should now be given over to God, to be lived for his pleasure and according to His will.
So, before we join in with others who call themselves Christians, thinking that they are followers of Jesus, we should observe their characters and how they live their lives. And, if they fit the description given in the passage of scripture above, we should not join in with them, for they may drag us down with them, or they may influence us away from Christ to follow after the flesh once again. So, choose your friends wisely!
2 Timothy 3:10-13 NASB
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.
First and foremost, we must be followers of Jesus Christ and those who obey his teachings. And, if we follow other human beings, let us make certain first of all that they are truly followers of Christ, and that they are not fakers and those who have an appearance of godliness while by their lifestyles they deny Christ at every turn.
But, even then, everything should be examined against the Word of God (in context). Never should we put other humans high up on pedestals or they might come crashing down. Never should our faith rest in what other humans do or don’t do, either, for humans are bound to fail us, but God will never fail us.
So, if we follow the teachings, conduct, purpose, and faith of other humans, let us do so prayerfully and carefully, always examining what is said and done against God’s Word and in prayer. This is so that we are not led astray from our pure devotion to Christ by clever enchanters who seem good, but who are not good, but who are imposters out to deceive us.
For, if someone is a true follower of Jesus Christ, not only will his or her lifestyle support that profession of faith, but there should be evidence that this person is suffering persecution for his or her walk of faith with Jesus. For, all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But, persecution alone is not necessarily an indication that someone is a true follower of Jesus Christ.
The point is, though, that if we are truly following Jesus Christ, and we are walking in obedience to his Word, and we are sharing the truth of the gospel with others, and we are exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness, and we are calling people out of that darkness into God’s wonderful light, we will be hated, and we will be persecuted. It is a given!
So, if you are being told that following Jesus is just going around blessing everyone with hugs and bottles of water and never stepping on anyone’s toes, then you are being deceived.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 NASB
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. 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.
No matter what other people do, though, we are responsible for our own lives, for how we live them. And, we are to continue in the truth that is revealed to us in God’s Holy Word, as is applicable to our lives under the New Covenant Relationship God has with us, his people. Yet, we can learn even from the teachings under the Old Covenant in how to live righteously in the fear of the Lord, living our lives for his pleasure and for his will.
And, this truth teaches us that we must leave our lives of sin behind us and we must follow Jesus in obedience if we want forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God. This truth teaches us that we are to live our lives according to the Spirit of God and not according to our sinful flesh. And, it teaches us that we must walk in holiness, godliness, and uprightness and with self-control.
And, this is what we are to continue in. This is what we are to walk in. For, we are not saved at some point in our lives and that is the end of it all until we go to heaven one day. We are saved from our sins that we might live for God and for his praise and his glory. And, we are delivered out of our bondage to sin that we might walk in freedom from the control sin once had over our lives.
Jesus Christ must be our only Lord (master). His Word must be our only rule book for godly living. His Spirit must be our counselor, first and foremost, before all other counsel. And, our Lord must be the one to give direction, meaning and purpose to our lives, and our trust should be in him alone.
So, be careful who you follow and what you follow to make certain it is of God and that it is consistent with the words of Jesus and those of his NT apostles. And, test what you hear against the Word of God (in context) to make certain that it is the truth before you sink your teeth into it. And, don’t go for what merely sounds good, but make certain that it is good.
Listen to the truth, then, and do what it says, for it is the truth which will set you free.
Only in Him
An Original Work / February 19, 2014
Based off Isaiah 30
Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.
Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.
Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.
Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.
Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.
Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.
Friday, October 26, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for the wisdom to discern truth from error and to be able to discern good from evil. Help us to walk in your ways always and to not be led astray from our pure devotion to you.