Times of Difficulty
2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
I think as we look around us today that we can see plenty of evidence of the fulfillment of what this is talking about. But the sad reality of it all is that this describes many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, including many pastors of what are called “churches,” most of which have become businesses of men being marketed to the people of the world. So there is not much of a distinction between the church and the world anymore. The majority of what is called “church” appears godly but denies its power.
So many people are liars. They lie in practice, by habit, and/or they are being taught to lie. Even some pastors are being trained in lying and conniving and manipulating and in trickery in order to get their people to do what they want them to do or in order to sell them on an idea that is of man and not of God. We have so many charlatans and wolves in sheep’s clothing serving as pastors of congregations who are leading the people astray, and who are leading them to follow after a gospel of men, not of God.
Many professing Christians are living in sin just like those who make no profession of faith in Christ, or worse, only they do profess faith in Christ, so that makes them hypocrites. Now I am not saying here that if we are followers of Jesus that we will never sin (see 1 John 2:1-2), but that true followers of Christ are to be those who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and who have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Sin is to no longer have mastery over our lives to where we obey sin instead of obeying our Lord. We are to no longer be sold as slaves to sin but as slaves to God and to his righteousness now that Jesus has delivered us from our slavery to sin. For being under God’s grace is NOT free license to continue in deliberate and habitual sin without conscience and without remorse. For God’s grace trains us to renounce ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we await our Lord.
But even if you confront these liars and manipulators and hypocrites – who deny Jesus by their actions while they profess him with their lips – with their sins, and even if you point them to the Scriptures which teach what it means to be “in Christ,” and what it means if they are still living in open rebellion against the Lord by their sinful lifestyles, it appears that the majority remain where they are because they want to, and so they ignore or they fight against what they don’t want to hear, and what they don’t want to accept.
[Rom 6:1-23; Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-14; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Who Oppose the Truth
2 Timothy 3:6-9 ESV
“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.”
Now this doesn’t apply to just weak women. This includes men, too. And this isn’t just about creeping into people’s households, but this is about creeping into the gatherings of the household of God, his body, his church. We have many charlatans and wolves in sheep’s clothing who have crept in among the body of believers in Jesus Christ (or those giving lip service to God only) who are teaching the people a gospel which is giving the people permission to continue living in sin, telling them they do not have to obey our Lord.
And they are standing in opposition to the truth of the gospel, not just by their lifestyles, but by what they are teaching the people. For they are not only teaching them a false gospel of the flesh of man but they are strongly opposing and teaching against the true gospel of grace that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught. For Satan is not content with just spreading his lies and his false gospel but he is on the all out attack against the true gospel because he does not want people repenting and obeying Jesus Christ.
And so these charlatans who serve Satan are attacking the true gospel of grace and they are calling it “works salvation” and “legalism” and “negative” and “judgmental” and “intolerant” and “unloving,” etc. And so they are convincing many people to reject the true gospel, as though it is the lie, and to embrace the false gospel, as though it is the truth. But the gospel they are teaching feeds the flesh and it denies the working of the Holy Spirit in people’s hearts and lives in conviction of sin and calls to obedience to God.
[Matthew 7:15-23; Matthew 24:11-14; John 10:1-15; 2 Peter 2:1-22; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 1 Timothy 6:3-10; 1 John 4:1-6; Jude 1:3-23]
You Will Be Persecuted
2 Timothy 3:12-14 ESV
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.”
Now many people who are the liars, and who are promoting and following after the lies, are not only on the attack against the truth of the gospel, but they are on the attack against those of us who are living and who are teaching the truth of the gospel. So if we are living godly lives, and if righteousness, holiness, and obedience to our Lord are what we practice, though not necessarily in sinless perfection, we are going to be persecuted, even by others who call themselves Christians and even by pastors.
And some of them are doing this because they are being trained in the cheap grace gospel, and so they are also being trained in how to oppose and how to fight off the truth of the gospel and its messengers. So there are some of them who do so naively because they have bought into the lies, while others do so knowingly and deliberately, fully being aware that what they are opposing is the truth and that what they are spreading are lies, and they do so in order to build their earthly kingdoms, i.e. because of greed.
But we are not to let their attacks against us shake us. We are not to fear their opposition and their lies against us, provided that we are indeed those who are following the Lord Jesus in truth and in righteousness. We are to stay the course, and keep on doing what is right, and keep on speaking the truth of the gospel, and we are to keep on exposing the lies, too, because many people are being led astray by the lies and so they are rejecting the truth. So put on that armor of God and keep doing what Jesus says to do.
[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]
How Long Till the Morning
Scripture: I Thessalonians 4:17
By C. E. Couchman
Consider the mornings of this mortal land,
Each a new beginning from the Maker’s hand.
While the storms may gather ‘gainst the evening sky,
The day breaks cloudless in the morning.
Rise up to the battle, for the skies dawn clear.
Let us gather courage while the foe draws near.
Though the night falls weary, saints of God, march on!
And He’ll raise our banner in the morning.
When the trumpet sounds to signal Heaven’s day,
Resurrection Morning when the dead shall wake,
What a glorious gath’ring when the Lord descends
And we rise to meet him in the morning.
How long, my Lord? Till we see the morning?
How long, O, my Lord, till we see your face?
O my Lord, guide us through our troubles
Till we rise above them in the morning.
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