2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
When we share (teach, preach) the gospel of Jesus Christ, in its fullness, we are not going to have many people who will agree with us, or who will like us, for that matter, at least not in America.
In fact, it appears that most people will not endure sound teaching, although many may claim Christianity as their religion, or they may profess some type of faith in Jesus Christ. For, they do have itching ears, and so they are accumulating for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. They are turning away from listening to the truth and are wandering off into myths.
So, what are their passions that keep them from obeying the truth, and that lead them to seek after those who will say to them what they want to hear?
In general, it is basically just lust for sin. Those who walk in the darkness will not come into the light for fear their evil deeds may be exposed. People love darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil (John 3).
But, the most captivating of sins in this generation appears to be sexual idolatry and addiction. So many are trapped in sexual addiction. Thus, the easy way out for them appears to be just to change the gospel message to make it fit their lifestyles rather than them having changes of heart.
And, we are not talking about just the people out in the world here. We are talking here that this kind of thinking is permeating most of today’s institutional churches here in America, where the cheap grace gospel has run rampant. And, thus, the church is largely on a massive spiritual and moral decline, because they believe they can live in sin and still be saved from sin.
Hypocritical and Double-Minded
Many of these people, though, want to hold on to their religion. They want to give the appearance of righteousness and godliness. So, they will claim that they are saved from their sins and that they are guaranteed heaven as their eternal destiny. Yet, they are still living in sin, addicted to lust, habitually, willfully, knowingly, defiantly and premeditatively giving in to the lusts of their flesh, committing adultery, and engaged in the willful harm of others.
Thus, they put on an outward appearance which says that all is well, and that they love God, and that they are following him with their lives, but it is appearance only. For on the inside they are filled up with all kinds of wickedness, evil, lust, immorality and adulteries, and the like. And, their hearts are filled with hatred, anger, and bitterness against God, and against those who are preaching/teaching the whole counsel of God, too.
Thus, these are double-minded people who are two-faced who are hypocritical liars, pretending to be one thing on the outside while they are just the opposite on the inside, and when they think no one else can see. They don’t love God because they oppose him and they oppose his gospel, and they will not submit to Christ as Lord and obey his teachings.
Persecution of Christ’s Messengers
So, if they are presented with the truth of the gospel, with the narrow road, which is the way that is hard and restricted, but which leads to life, while they are traveling the broad road which is easy, but which leads to destruction, they may go on the all-out attack against anyone teaching the true gospel, with the attempt to discredit them and to bring them into disrepute, in hopes that it will silence them and that they will back off from teaching the truth.
And, the thing now seems to be that there are those in high places who are trying to paint a picture of those sharing the full counsel of God as them being unloving, unkind, intolerant, and divisive. Thus, the push right now is for the people of the world to break down everything which divides us so that we can all join together as one people, with one mind, one heart, and with one voice. And, since the gospel divides us, it will have to go.
So, this is leading to severe persecution of those of us who are holding on to the truth. We are eventually going to be robbed of our freedom of speech. And, we are going to be verbally abused, which is already happening, because we continue to hold on to biblical and moral standards. And, we will be made to look like we are the enemy, when truly what we are sharing has the upmost love and concern for those trapped in sin.
But, we are to endure suffering for the sake of the name of Jesus, and for the sake of his gospel, for to this we were called, that we might share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and so become like him in his death.
And we are to keep on keeping on in sharing the truth of the gospel, even if the backlash gets even more severe, which it will, for Satan is behind it, and he is out to destroy us any which way that he can. But we must not let that deter us from our calling to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Pet. 2:9).
The Gospel of Christ
The whole point of why Jesus died on that cross was to free us from our enslavement to sin so that we would now be slaves (bond-servants) of Christ and of his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
For, we are slaves of the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness. For, when we were slaves of sin, we were free in regard to righteousness. Thus, the finality of enslavement (addiction, bondage) to sin is death. But, the fruit of being slaves of God leads to sanctification, and its end result is eternal life (See: Rom. 6:1-23; cf. Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26).
Banner of the Cross
By Maj. Daniel Whittle, 1884
There’s a royal banner given for display
To the soldiers of the King;
As an ensign fair we lift it up today,
While as ransomed ones we sing.
Though the foe may rage and gather as the flood,
Let the standard be displayed;
And beneath its folds, as soldiers of the Lord,
For the truth be not dismayed!
Over land and sea, wherever man may dwell,
Make the glorious tidings known;
Of the crimson banner now the story tell,
While the Lord shall claim His own!
When the glory dawns—’tis drawing very near,
It is hast’ning day by day—
Then before our King the foe shall disappear,
And the cross the world shall sway!
Marching on, marching on,
For Christ count everything but loss!
And to crown Him King, we’ll toil and sing,
Beneath the banner of the cross!
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