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Monday, August 15, 2022

PREACH THE WORD!

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: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 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, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry. “ 
2 Timothy 4:1-5



The closing of this 2nd letter to Timothy is a farewell. Paul’s final words to his beloved Timothy bring tears to my eyes because I don’t like goodbyes.  Paul concludes this letter by stressing to Timothy the need to be steadfast in the faith during difficult times. He urges Timothy and us to endure and finish the race well. 
 
In the final chapter of Paul’s letter to Timothy, he charges him to continue steadfast in his work as an evangelist (1 Timothy 5:21).  Perhaps, Paul is encouraging Timothy to continue doing what God called him to do because he had stopped preaching and teaching the Gospel.  Paul warned Timothy that difficult times would come shortly because of false teachers, wicked doctrines, and ungodliness  (2 Tim. 3:1-7, 9, 13). These erring men would reach the point that they would not tolerate sound doctrine or healthy teaching.  Paul used the term “sound doctrine” in his two letters to Timothy to point out how men would not bear what is healthy because it exposes their error and ungodliness (1 Tim. 1:10; 6:3; 2 Tim. 1:13;  4:3). They wanted to continue living in sin.  Such brethren prefer to feel good about their sinful ways instead of the shame and guilt they should rightly feel.  They seek out those preachers and teachers who make them feel good about their sins (2 Timothy 3:6).  

Isaiah, the prophet, warned the people of his time, saying,
“For they are a rebellious people,  lying children, children unwilling to hear  the instruction of the Lord; 10 who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things,  prophesy illusions, eave the way, turn aside from the path,  let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.’ 12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word  and trust in oppression and perverseness  and rely on them, 13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you  like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse,  whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; 14 and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel  that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found  with which to take fire from the hearth,  or to dip up water out of the cistern.”’ (Isa. 30:9-14). 

These people had “itching ears” to hear something other than the Truth, so they could never come to a knowledge of the Truth. Though they were always learning, they did not love the Truth because it was not what they wanted. They “turn away their ears from the truth.”  Today is no different, for we have the same heart and mindset among brethren. 
  1. They reject the Truth because it condemns their lifestyle. 
  2. They are hard-hearted and want to continue living in sin and error. 

Men’s philosophies and manufactured doctrines do not condemn and bring shame.  They do not compel us to change or repent.  They can only comfort us for a while.  

In chapter 3 of this letter, Paul contrasts false teachers and those who oppose the Truth with Timothy.  
  1. He urges Timothy to preach the Word of God in all its purity, even though it would bring hardship to his life.  
  2. That same urgent message applies to us today.  
  3. Paul reminded Timothy about the value and power of the Scriptures.  All Scriptures are God’s breath and are profitable for reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.  
  4. Paul charged Timothy to preach the Word because Jesus will judge the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1-2).  

Can you understand now why preaching and teaching the Word of God is so important?   

He charged Timothy to preach the Word despite opposition and difficult times. Paul took that charge very seriously because he loved the souls of men and feared for their eternal destiny.  Thus he compelled Timothy and us to be ready to preach God’s message all the time, in season and out of season, with longsuffering! Are we doing that?  


I.   PAUL’S CHARGE TO TIMOTHY:
“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: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 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, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

  • Jesus Will Judge The Living And The Dead:  
“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.”  (2 Timothy 4:1)

The word “charge” (diamarturomai) is the same word found in 1 Timothy 5:21.   It is defined as “to make a solemn (of a serious nature) affirmation; to make a solemn and earnest charge (to entrust with a duty, responsibility, or obligation).” 
    1. Paul’s first charge to Timothy is to do the work of a sound and faithful evangelist without fail because Christ will judge the living and the dead just as sure as when Jesus came in the flesh and established His kingdom (John 5:28-29; Acts 17:30-31).  
    2. That judgment will take place when Christ appears again for the final time (2 Thessalonians 2:8;  1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10;  Titus 2:13).  
    3. Paul lived in the hope of Christ’s imminent return.  
    4. Paul knew that when Christ returned, all humanity would see the majesty and glory of Christ’s kingdom.  
    5. Every knee shall bow to Him, and every tongue shall confess Him (Romans 14:11). 

That’s why Paul charged Timothy to “preach the word” despite opposition.  
  1. We cannot teach or preach only when it is convenient, safe, or favorable.   
  2. We must correct, rebuke, and encourage with longsuffering when we teach.  
  3. We must be willing to preach or teach the Gospel even when it is difficult.  
  4. We must not bend to our culture or government’s pressure that might prevent us from sharing the Gospel Message or the good news of Jesus. 
  5. We must not shrink back during difficult times.  
  6. Many souls need to hear the Gospel to be saved because God will judge them on the last day (John 12:48; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

  • Preach The Word:
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

Paul’s second charge to Timothy is to preach the Word and be ready in season and out of season. Timothy’s preaching was to be “urgent in season.” 
    1. He must be ready to preach anytime and everywhere (Romans 12:12).  
    2. He must be willing to preach when it is not convenient for him.  

When we love our Lord, His Word, and the souls of men, we fix our minds on preaching and teaching the Gospel. Nothing will prevent us from preaching the Truth to people, even when some do not want to hear it. There is no need to apologize for teaching the Truth, for that would be an attempt to bind God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:9, 13, 19). God’s Truth must be preached no matter the circumstances.  We must not change the standards of God’s Word because we are afraid we might hurt someone’s feelings, shame them or expose their religious practices as errors.
    1. Timothy must “reprove” people. To “reprove” (elegzon) is “to put to proof, to test; to convict... to detect, lay bare, expose.” “To find fault with, correct; to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove; show one his fault, demand an explanation” (Thayer 203). He must reprove to make sinners feel the prick of their hearts.  Timothy must convince people of the Truth of the Scriptures and let them see their need for it (John 20:30-31;  2 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:15).
    2. Timothy must “rebuke” (epitimeson) - “to tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, reprove, censure severely” (Thayer 245).  Paul charged him to reprove sharply, to reprimand with authority.  He must rebuke those Christians living in sin (Matthew 8:26; 1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15;  Jude 1:9).  Preachers and teachers must never forget they are preaching and teaching God’s Word to others.  They must revere God’s Word.
    3. Timothy must have no fear or the favor of men to perform this charge.  
    4. Timothy must “exhort” (parakaleson) - “a calling upon... beseech, entreat, implore... incitement, persuasion...”  Paul charged Timothy to encourage those who were struggling in their Christian walk (Romans 12:8).  Struggling Christians can be uplifted when they are encouraged by the Word of God (1 Timothy 4:13).  Timothy must persuade people to live godly in Christ Jesus.
    5. Timothy must preach with “all longsuffering” (makrothumia) - “patient enduring of evil, fortitude... slowness of avenging injuries, forbearance, clemency.” He must do all things with great patience and careful instruction.  Every preacher and teacher must be patient and careful when teaching if they want to change people’s behavior and beliefs, especially our opponents (Romans 2:4;  Romans 9:22;  2 Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:2; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 1:11;  Colossians 3:12; 1 Timothy 1:16; 2 Timothy 2:25).
    6. Timothy must be patient and endure the evil and sufferings of the wicked. Why?  Because some might come to repentance or change their sinful ways and wrong teaching.
    7. Timothy must be given to “teaching” (didaxe) - “instruction, the giving of instruction, teaching.” Those who teach the Gospel must instruct or teach all, confronting error.  
    8. We must remember that the power is in God’s Word, not the preacher or the teacher (Hebrews 4:12).

  • Sound Teaching Is Not What Itching Ears Want to Hear:
“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.” (2 Timothy 4:3)

In chapter 3, Paul warned Timothy of difficult times to happen in the near future because of false teachers and evildoers (2 Tim. 3:1-7, 9, 13).  This is most likely the time Paul spoke in 2 Timothy 3:1 as “the last days.” This would be a time when many would not be content listening to God’s Word (1 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:13).  There would come a time when they “will not endure the sound doctrine.” Why?  Because they would have “itching ears” (knethomenoi).  
    1. They would rather feel good about their ungodliness than feel the shame and the guilt of sin. 
    2. They would not tolerate sound teaching. 
    3. Instead, they would accumulate teachers who agree with them and teach what they want to hear to accomplish their desires or passions.   

However, Paul commanded Timothy and us to teach the Truth from the Scriptures because people will want to hear what satisfies their own desires. Sadly, this is one of the prevalent reasons we have so many different kinds of churches today.  Often, people do not leave the church because of doctrinal error or false teaching but because they want to hear what suits their sinful lifestyle.  They want teachers who give them what they want!  Paul urged Timothy to preach the Word and not surrender to these passions or desires.  The solution is more of God’s Word and not less. When people have itching ears, they seek teachers who will provide entertainment, coffee, donuts, meals, and emotional experience. Their main focus is carnal and not spiritual.  

In the Gospel of John, Jesus showed us this very problem.  After Jesus fed the 5,000, the crowds sought Him and found Him on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. But listen carefully to what Jesus told the crowd when they found Him. 
“Truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.” (John 6:26–27

Jesus knows the intentions of our hearts.  He knew why they had come to Him.  
    1. They came to Him for the wrong reasons.  
    2. They did not seek Jesus because they wanted to accept the signs they saw.  
    3. They were seeking Jesus to feed them again!  

Often, people claim to believe in Jesus, but what they really want is to find someone who will satisfy their physical desiresThey seek teachers who will give them what they want.  They are not hungry and thirsty for God’s Truth.


  • They Will Turn Away From The Truth:
“And will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:4)

    1. These brethren will turn away from God’s Word because they want to listen to preachers and teachers who say things they want to hear.  
    2. They teach and preach only those things that suit the desires of their hearers (Isaiah 30:10; Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18; 2 Timothy 3:7-8; Hebrews 5:11).  
    3. These brethren will turn away from the Truth and turn to myths or fables (1 Timothy 1:4-6; Titus 1:14).   Why?  Because they have given up the Truth to satisfy their futile minds with senseless arguments about anything that is not from God’s Word.  Paul was not talking about the myths of the Greeks or anything like that, but rather about anything that is not the Truth of God’s Word.  In a few words, Paul was talking about false teaching or fabrication.  

As Paul said, these men are always learning but cannot come to the knowledge of the Truth because they don’t want to hear it, and it is not what they want in their lives.  They “turn away their ears from the truth.” 

    1. They reject the Truth and refuse to hear it because it condemns their sinful ways and actions.  
    2. These brethren are hard-hearted, fixed, and determined to have it their way.  
    3. Of course, their ways of error and wrongdoing:  the path of unrighteousness, the broad path that leads to destruction.   
    4. They are comfortable listening to fables, stories, tales, and the like instead of looking to the Truth of God.  
    5. Paul associated these myths or fables earlier with endless genealogies and profane or irreverent wives’ fables that promote empty speculations rather than God’s Truth (1 Timothy 1:3-4, 4: 7).  
    6. You see, these untruths do not condemn, cause shame or call for repentance.  They comfort where God does not.  

Sadly, many churches are buying into this carnal mindset.  
    1. They are not interested in hearing sound preaching and teaching.  
    2. They only care about numbers and people coming back.  
    3. Their preaching and teaching have no substance because they focus on making people feel good with their empty words.  
    4. Today it is rare to hear preaching about hell, repentance, and judgment.  They are just too offensive to the audience.  
    5. They are afraid of being rejected for preaching and teaching the Truth (Mark 7:1-9). 
    6. They sell the Truth and compromise it!  Think about it! 
    7. So what you get is just crumbs and nothing else.

  • Be Sober-Minded And Endure Suffering or Hardship:
“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)

In verse 5 of our text, Paul urges Timothy to “be sober-minded.” That is, Timothy must be watchful against any false teaching and sinHe must be faithful in his work as an evangelist or teacher of the Word of God (Matthew 25:13; 1 Corinthians 16:13).  Paul repeatedly contrasted false teachers and those who oppose the Truth to Timothy and us.  Preaching and teaching the Word of God in all its purity will likely bring hardship in our lives. We have been warned. Paul warned and reminded Timothy of three things:
    1. Timothy must be “sober” (nepse).  It means "to be calm, and collected in spirit; to be temperate, dispassionate, and circumspect" (Thayer 425).  "Circumspect" is "to be self-possessed under all circumstances” (AG 538). “Heedful of circumstances or consequences” (AHD 275).  Timothy must allow people to get under his skin to the point of being discouraged or defeated. It is good and wise to be calm and collected when dealing with the erring, for it is easier to declare the Truth of the Word of God. Preachers and teachers must realize that the problem that people have is not with the messenger but with hearing and obeying the Truth.  Those who hold the Truth have nothing to fear from the erring.  As messengers of God, we must thicken our skin to be effective preachers and teachers!  
    2. Timothy must “suffer hardship or suffering” (Acts 9:16; Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 1:18;  2 Timothy 2:3).  Paul had warned Timothy earlier of hardship and persecutions as part of our walk of faith.  Why?  Because people were not going to put up with it or tolerate sound doctrine anymore.  You see, sound doctrine shames them and makes them feel guilty and in need of the Truth to repent (2 Tim. 3:12).  It is a fact that those who preach and teach the Truth will face plenty of opposition and hardship.  Timothy, as Paul said, must suffer rather than seek a way to avoid conflict, hardship, and suffering (Gal. 6:12-13). 
    3. Timothy must “do the work of an evangelist.” The word “evangelist” (euaggelistou) means one who announces glad tidings; an evangelist, preacher of the Gospel, teacher of the Gospel. The work of the Gospel preacher or evangelist has been Paul’s main focus to Timothy in his two letters to him.  
      • A good preacher and teacher studies the Word of God with diligence to present it in all its purity (1 Tim. 1:5-7; 4:13; 2 Tim. 2:15). 
      • He fights the good fight of faith.  He fights against those who teach error and false doctrines that oppose the Truth of God (1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12). 
      • He warns the brethren of the dangers of false doctrines and worldliness (1Tim. 4:6). 
      • He is a sound teacher of the Truth, for he loves the Truth (1 Tim. 4:11). 
      • He is not a hypocrite, for he lives what he preaches (1 Tim. 6:13-14). 
      • He is ready to expose error and sin, for he rebukes, corrects, and encourages with great patience and teaching (2 Tim. 4:2). 
      • He promotes godliness through his teachings (2 Tim. 4:2).
      • He is longsuffering, slow to anger, and always exercises self-control (2 Tim. 4:2). 

By doing these things, he would fulfill his ministry. The word “ministry” means service. Timothy would fulfill his ministry by teaching the Truth no matter the outcome. All preachers and teachers must fulfill this task for the Truth to remain pure and truthful. 


II.   PAUL’S EXAMPLE OF FINISHING WELL:
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

  • Paul is Ready For His Departure:
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.” (2 Timothy 4:6)

In verse 6, Paul is ready to depart from this world. The time had come for Paul’s departure from this world.  He is aware that his life is coming to an end and that his time to die is near.  
  1. Paul looked toward this moment, for he said to die is gain (Philippians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:14).  
  2. Paul was ready to be poured out like a "drink offering"(Philippians 1:23; Philippians 2:17; 2 Peter 1:14). He describes his life as being poured out as a drink offering.  
  3. He compared himself to the wine that was poured out beside the altar in the Jewish sacrifices (Numbers 15:1-10). 

Paul’s farewell words in this verse moved me deeply!  I have seen very dear loved ones breathe their last breath.  It is hard to say goodbye, even when you know they’ll be with the Lord.  Paul is near death not because of old age but because of his work in proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord and Savior. Paul’s time of death was probably around A.D. 67From tradition, we know that Paul was beheaded in Roman imprisonment during the reign of Nero.

  • Paul Fought The Good Fight of Faith Victoriously:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Paul was ready and aware of what was waiting for him and us.  He confidently declared that in verse 7.  
    1. Paul looked at his life and said with confidence and satisfaction that he had run the race well and kept the faith. Such words move me and encourage me! Paul’s charge to Timothy was to “fight the good fight of faith...” (1 Tim. 6:12; 1 Tim. 1:18). 
    2. That fight of faith was against false teachers and evildoers and the persecution against the saints.  Paul waged war against these men, and now it was time to pass the baton to faithful and fearless men who would put pressure on the ungodly (1 Cor. 15:12; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:16; 1 Tim. 1:19- 20, etc.). 
    3. Paul’s days of warfare had come to an end as his death was approaching.  He would no longer suffer at the hands of wicked men (2 Cor. 11:22ff).  He would no longer be looked upon as a “spectacle among men... a fool... weak... suffer hunger, thirst, nakedness, and no place to sleep... defamed and counted as the filth of the world” (1 Cor. 4:9-13). 
    4. He had remained faithful to the Lord through all his trials. 
    5. Through it all, Paul was never ashamed of the Gospel message (Rom. 1:16). 

Paul’s exemplary life of service and devotion to the Lord is an inspiration to my walk with my Lord!

  • A Crown of Righteousness Awaits Paul:
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

Paul knew what would lay ahead for him when he departed from this life.  
    1. He knew he would receive a crown of righteousness. The crown was a metaphor.  The literal crown in his time was a laurel wreath placed upon the head of a conquering king.  This was the physical victory crown that conquering kings wore when they returned from battle.   
    2. The spiritual victory crown was reserved for Paul (1 Corinthians 9:25;  James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10). 
    3. Paul remained faithful to the work God had entrusted him to do and to his faith.  
    4. Thus, Paul was confident he would receive his “crown of righteousness” from Jesus Himself when Christ returns (2 Timothy 1:12).  
    5. This is Judgment Day (2 Peter 3:13).  
      • The day which all Christians look forward to and hope for.  
      • The day they hope to be rewarded with their own “crown of righteousness” if they remain faithful as Paul did (Revelation 1:7;  Revelation 22:20).  
      • That must be our most important goal in life!

There was no glorious crown upon Paul’s head, nor will there be upon ours while living in this world.  Paul suffered as a mad man, for the world viewed him that way (2 Cor. 5:13), inept (2 Cor. 11:5), and cowardly (2 Cor. 10:10). Despite this terrible treatment from others, the time of his glorification had now come.  
    1. This glorious crown would never be taken away by evildoers (1 Pet. 5:4). 
    2. He would now be exalted rather than debased because he had been faithful to our Lord Jesus (1 Pet. 5:6). 
    3. This crown of righteousness, exaltation, and glory would be given not only to Paul but also to all faithful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Those who have suffered because of persecution and evildoers as they presented the Truth and lived it out. 

Don’t we all anticipate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ anxiously to bring us home with Him and to eternal glory?!


III.   PAUL’S FINAL REQUEST TO TIMOTHY:
“Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.” (2 Timothy 4:9-12)

  • Alone:
“Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia."  (2 Timothy 4:10)

Paul’s final words to Timothy are an urgent request.  Why?  Because Paul urges Timothy to come to Rome quickly to see him before he dies. 
  1. Paul wants to spend his last hours with his beloved friend and traveling companion.  Perhaps, Paul felt lonely and distressed because brethren were falling away from the faith to avoid persecution.  
  2. Demas, mentioned in our text, deserted Paul when he needed him and went to Thessalonica, for he loved this world (Matthew 6:19-34; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; 1 John 2:15). 
  3. Demas was once a faithful brother in Christ (Colossians 4:14;  Philemon 24).  He was with Paul during his first Roman imprisonment (Col. 4:14; Phile. 24).  
  4. Demas went back to the pleasures of this world because they were more dear to him than suffering for the cause of Christ.  

Titus was a Gentile (Galatians 2:1-4), who Paul led to faith in Christ (Titus 1:4). He worked side by side with Paul preaching the Gospel (Acts 15:2;  2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:16-17;  2 Corinthians 2:12-13;  2 Corinthians 7:6-7; 2 Corinthians 7:13-14;  2 Corinthians 8:10; 2 Corinthians 8:17;  2 Corinthians 8:24).  Titus was left behind in Crete to continue and strengthen the work when he and Paul went there (Titus 1:5; Titus 3:12).  Paul stated in verse 10 that Titus had gone to Dalmatia, although, just like Crescens, we’re not told why he went there.  

Since all of Paul’s companions had left for various reasons, it is easy to understand why Paul wants Timothy to come quickly to see him. Demas is the only one who deserted Paul in our context.  That implies that Crescens and Titus left Paul to carry on the work of sharing the Gospel.

In verses 11-12, Paul said, 
“Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.”  

  1. Luke was the only one that was with Paul.  
  2. Luke was a Physician.  
  3. He was with Paul during his first arrest in Judea and his first imprisonment when he went to Rome.  
  4. For a considerable part of Paul’s ministry, Luke was his traveling companion (Acts 16:10;  Acts 27:1).  
  5. Luke, “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14), continued with Paul in his times of distress.  

It is interesting that Paul asked Timothy to bring Mark with him.  Why?  Because on his first missionary journey, when both Paul and Barnabas left Antioch, both got into a sharp disagreement over Mark, and both Barnabas and Mark left for Cyprus (Acts 13:13; Acts 15:36-41).  However, it is remarkable that Paul asked Timothy to bring him to Rome because he was useful to him.  It implies that now Mark has grown and matured as a Christian, and the two have reconciled their differences and become close companions.  

As mentioned in verse 12, Tychicus was Paul’s beloved brother in Christ and a faithful evangelist in the Lord.  He worked sharing the Gospel in Asia Minor (Acts 20:4;  Ephesians 6:21;  Colossians 4:7;  Titus 3:12). No one knows why he sent him to Ephesus, although some suggest that Paul was "in the process of sending him to Ephesus," where he could deliver this letter to Timothy.

In verse 13, Paul makes one more final request to Timothy.
“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.” (2 Timothy 4:13)

  1. Paul had left behind his coat when he went to Troas (Acts 16:8) and was now in need of it to keep him warm in the colder months of winter ( 2 Timothy 4:21).  
  2. Paul also asked Timothy to bring the “books” (biblia) or scrolls and the “parchments” (membranas).  
    • The scrolls were rolls of paper made from the papyrus plant.  Perhaps Paul was referring to portions of the Old Testament Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15) or scrolls written by himself.  We are not told.  
    • The “parchments” that Paul needed were made of tanned animal skins.  They were used to write on them.  They were also called “vellum.” 
    • The “parchments” were different from the scrolls; perhaps they were Paul’s writings from the New Testament.  Some Bible students have suggested that these “parchments” were unfinished letters or letters written from churches.  Again we are not told much.

  • Hurt:
“Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.” (2 Timothy 4:14-15)

Alexander stabbed Paul in the back.  Paul mentions that Alexander did great harm to him. We are not told exactly what Alexander did to harm Paul.  The Scriptures mention four Alexanders in connection with Paul’s work.   Alexander, the coppersmith, is most likely the same person Paul mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:20 and Acts 19:33.  
  1. Alexander, the kindred of the High Priest (Acts 4:6).
  2. Alexander, the town clerk of Ephesus (Acts 19:33ff).
  3. Alexanderwho refused to repent, and Paul delivered his soul to Satan (1 Tim. 1:20).
  4. Alexander of 2 Tim. 4:14who did much evil and harm to Paul and his work (2 Tim. 4:14-15). 

This brother in Christ is another example of those Paul mentioned earlier in chapter three of this same letter who claimed to be a follower of Christ but opposed Paul, his teachings, and his work (2 Timothy 2:17-18).  When someone harms us for teaching and proclaiming the Gospel, he is actually harming God’s work.  Because this man had harmed Paul’s work of proclaiming the Gospel, God was going to judge him or repay him for the damage he caused Paul and his work (Deuteronomy 32:35; Acts 19:33; Romans 12:19; 1 Timothy 1:20; Hebrews 10:30).  Paul warned Timothy to be aware or on guard against him because he strongly opposed the Gospel message.  He was an unrepentant brother who had no respect for God’s authority.  Paul firmly said to Timothy, “beware” of this man.  In a few words, Timothy must keep watch and keep guard.  

  • Deserted But Rescued:
“At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:16-18)

    • Paul’s First Defense in His Roman Trial: 
“At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!” (2 Timothy 4:16

Paul speaks in verse 16 about his initial trial before Nero’s court.  He was no stranger to giving defense in a trial setting (Acts 24:10; 25:8, 16; 26:2, 24). He said no one supported or stood by him at his first defense as a sympathizer, and everyone had deserted him.  It looks like even Luke was not with him during his first defense.  It was a time of high stress and distress for Paul and those few who were with him.  How sad that Paul was abandoned by almost everyone when he needed them the most, just because they were afraid to suffer the same afflictions and persecutions! It reminds me of Job (Job 19:13-17).  That had to be painful!   

Imagine feeling forsaken and forgotten when you’re going through high stress and affliction, and no one is there to encourage and strengthen you! 

Yet, this is precisely what our Lord and Savior experienced during his darkest and final moments here on earth. Everyone deserted our Lord and ran away!  

Those who claim to be Jesus’ followers and Paul’s supporters hurt them with their actions.  Despite this, Paul said, 
“May it not be charged (counted) against them!”  

  1. Although they hurt Paul and had wronged him, he did not speak ill of them and instead asked the Lord to forgive them for their wrong decisions.  
  2. He did not hold that against them!  
  3. It reminds me of Stephen and our Lord Jesus (Luke 23:43; Acts 7:59-60).  
  4. Paul understood why they deserted him.  
  5. He also acknowledged that he was not completely alone and forsaken, for the Lord stood by him, by his side (Deuteronomy 32:6; Psalm 27:10; Job 5:17-19; Isaiah 14:1-2).

In verse 17, Paul said that the Lord strengthened him even though everyone had deserted him.  
“But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.“

I love this verse!  

It is uplifting and speaks of God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness during our trials and difficulties.
    1. Paul acknowledged that the Lord stood by his side and strengthened him though all had forsaken him in his hour of intense trial.  
    2. He knew he could do all things through Jesus’ strength (Phil. 4:13).  
    3. It is remarkable that though Paul was on trial for his life before Nero, he had the right presence of mind to take advantage and preach the Gospel to the Gentile audience that was present. 
    4. God’s strength helped him preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15-16; Romans 1:10; Phil. 1:12).  
    5. Paul was well-known for taking advantage of every open door or opportunity to preach the Gospel (Acts chapters 22, 24, 26).   
    6. He never gave up because the Lord was beside him and strengthened him.  
    7. The Lord had not only strengthened Paul to preach the Gospel, but He also rescued him “from the lion’s mouth.” That is the verdict of death by Roman judgment from Nero.  
    8. Paul encouraged Timothy previously to keep pressing forward without fear because the Lord would rescue him from evildoers or wicked men (2 Timothy 3:10-11).  
    9. He also reminded Timothy and us that God knows how to protect His children and bring them home to Him even in death.   

IV.   FINAL GREETINGS:
“Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. 21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.  22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” (2 timothy 4:19-22)

In verses 19-22, Paul begins with a final doxology as he contemplates the gracious and glorious heavenly Father. 
 “Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus” (2 Timothy 4:19). 

Priscilla and Aquila (husband and wife) worked closely with Paul on many of his evangelistic journeys.  
  1. They helped Paul establish a new church and were instrumental in their edification (Acts 18:2; Acts 18:18-20; Romans 16:3-5; 1 Corinthians 16:19). 
  2. Paul greeted both Priscilla and Aquila because they dedicated themselves to the preaching of the Gospel with others (Acts 8:4).   
  3. They also shared the same trade as tentmakers with Paul (Acts 18:2).  

Onesiphorus had apparently spent time with Paul in prison and had moved on (2 Tim. 1:16). We are not told much about Onesiphorus.  However, Paul describes him well in 2 Timothy 1:16.
  1. Onesiphorus means “profit bringer” or “help bringer,” and that’s precisely what he was doing with Paul. 
  2. Onesiphorus was a continual blessing to Paul and his work (Philemon 20). 
  3. He often refreshed Paul
  4. He looked after Paul’s needs as Paul continued to preach the Gospel to the lost. 
  5. He wasn’t ashamed of Paul’s chains.  
  6. Onesiphorus was not ashamed to have a friend and brother in Christ in prison and be associated with Paul (Acts 28:20; Philippians 1:15-18;  Colossians 4:3; Colossians 4:18; Philemon 1:10; Philemon 1:13-14; Philemon 1:16).
  7. He searched for Paul until he found him.  And though Rome was a huge city, Onesiphorus went from place to place to find Paul (Matthew 25:36).

 

“Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.” (2 Timothy 4:20)

Erastus was the treasurer of the city of Corinth (Rom. 16:23). 
  1. When Paul preached in Ephesus for over two years, every Jew and Greek who lived in Asia heard the Word (Acts 19:10).  
  2. When Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, he passed through Macedonia, where he saw an open door to preach the Gospel.  He sent Erastus and Timothy to Macedonia to preach the Gospel in Macedonia (Acts 19:22).  Paul mentions him here in this verse. 
  3. It appears that Erastus had returned home sick and was there at the time of this letter. 

Trophimus was a man of Asia who accompanied Paul on his third preaching journey at some point (Acts 20:4; Acts 21:29). 
  1. He is the Ephesian Gentile that was with Paul in Jerusalem.  
  2. The Jews accused Paul of bringing him unlawfully into the temple (Acts 21:29).   
  3. They raised a tumult that resulted in Paul’s imprisonment.  

 

“Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.  22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”  (2 Timothy 4:21-22)


Paul ends this letter by reminding and urging Timothy to do his best to come to him before winter arrives (2 Timothy 4:9).  Paul didn’t have much time left to live. Apparently, he wanted his long-time companion and beloved friend Timothy with him.  And though there is little known about Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia, they and all other brethren from Rome sent their greetings to Timothy.  They were not ashamed to be associated with Paul as a preacher of the Gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:12-18).  

Paul’s final words to Timothy are from his heart,
“The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” (2 Timothy 4:22)
  1. Paul, more than anyone, understood the need for the Grace of God because he had received it himself. 
  2. Paul’s hope is that Timothy and we would always walk in Truth to receive God’s glorious and gracious promises.  
  3. Paul had finished his race of faith and had fulfilled his ministry well.  
  4. He was ready to die and receive his reward.  
  5. He wanted Timothy and all of us to do the same.  

So, how will you finish? Will you finish like Paul? 


CONCLUSION:

The study of this second letter to Timothy from Paul has been uplifting and refreshing to my soul.  I have benefited immensely from Paul’s written wordsThey have strengthened my faith and my walk with my Lord.  In this letter, Paul reminds us of the race that God has set before us and that we must finish well.  To finish that race well, we must proclaim the Word, for they are the sacred Scriptures that can make us wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15).  They can also make us complete, lacking nothing (2 Timothy 3:17).  Our teaching and instruction must come from the Word.  We cannot finish the race victoriously unless we learn and grow in that Word and teach that Word to others.  The Word must be taught because we will face the judgment of God, both the living and the dead.  We all must appear in judgment (2 Cor. 5:9-11).  The Word must be proclaimed in season and out of seasonThe Word must be proclaimed whether it is convenient or not.  

Paul warned Timothy about the need for diligence in preaching the Word of God at all times.  Why?  
  1. Because people will not endure sound doctrine.  
  2. They were going to gather themselves teachers according to their own desires.  
  3. They were going to have tickling or itching ears.  
  4. They were going to turn their ears away from the Truth and be turned aside to fables or myths.  

They will turn away from the Truth to find their own teachers to tell them what they want to hear, like Ahab in 2 Chronicles 18:7Nothing has changed today.  Why?  
  1. Because we have many, who desire to do what feels good and right to them without regard to the Truth.  
  2. Because they are enslaved to sin (John 8:34).  
  3. Sadly, they will miss heaven.  

Throughout this letter, Paul contrasts the evil false teachers and Timothy several times.  Paul has charged Timothy to do the serious work of an evangelist, though Paul knew the heartaches and pain that came with such work.  He exhorted Timothy to be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist and fulfill his ministry.  As Paul looked back on his life, he found satisfaction because he had faithfully served the Lord and accomplished what He had entrusted him to do.  Paul was confident as he looked forward to Judgment Day and the heavenly kingdom.  He could joyfully proclaim, “I am already being offered.” In other translations, it reads, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering.” As a drink offering poured upon the altar of God, Paul suffered for proclaiming the Gospel and for doing precisely the same work that he had charged Timothy to do.  Paul poured out his soul to Timothy to encourage Timothy to take his mantle and continue doing Paul’s work.  

Paul fought the good fight of faith.  He won his spiritual warfare as a good soldier of Christ.  He finished the task the Lord had given to him: to testify to the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 9:15-16; Acts 20:23-24; Acts 21:12-14; 1 Timothy 6:12).  He finished the race, that is, the work of proclaiming the Gospel was complete (Philippians 3:14). The Christian race allows everyone who wants to take part to be winners if they finish the race well (Matthew 20:8; 2 Timothy 4:8).  Paul finished well because he kept the faith, that is, he remained faithful to the teachings of the Scriptures and defended them with all his heart and soul (Jude 3).  

Paul was confident that because of his godly life and faithful service to God, a crown of righteousness would be reserved for him and given to him on that day.  Paul also knew what was waiting for him and us, for he said, “…and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing.” However, that crown of righteousness and glory can only be awarded to us if we fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.  It demands great endurance.  Paul had accomplished this in his life and was ready for the Lord’s appearing
  1.  Paul fought the good fight because he did not walk out of the ring.
  2. He did not stop fighting Satan’s work. 
  3. Paul finished the race well because he did not sit down during that race and give up.
  4. He endured and continued steadfastly in that race until he finished. 
  5. Paul kept the faith. 
  6. He did not let go of his faith when life became difficult because he held on to his faith and put his hope in that faith until his last breath.

The crown of life and glory demands great endurance and that we fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.  Paul ends this letter with some painful words.  Demas had deserted him because he loved this present world more than the world to come.  Demas labored with Paul in the preaching of the Gospel.  The pleasures of this world broke him.  We cannot finish the race if we love this world.  We cannot keep the faith, fight the good fight, and receive the crown at His appearing if we love this world. Listen to the apostle John’s words.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. "  (1 John 2:15–17)

The love of the Father is not in us when we love this world.  When we love this world, we are going to failSatan will take our love for this world and press us to abandon the Lord.  You can rest assured of that!  Loving the world makes us weak and defenseless against the attacks of our adversary. Paul is writing this down about Demas to remind and warn us! 

In this letter, Paul also mentions Alexander. Alexander claimed to be a follower of Jesus but opposed Paul and his work, the preaching of the Gospel. Alexander stabbed Paul in the back. Alexander did great harm to him. As Paul stated earlier in chapter 3Alexander was one of those Paul described as lovers of self, only having an appearance of godliness.  That is why Paul urged Timothy to watch out for Alexander, just like he said earlier about all those false Christians Timothy must avoid (2 Timothy 3:5).

In Paul’s first defense, no one stood by him. Everyone deserted him. How painful this must have been!  They abandoned Paul when he needed them to strengthen him and be with himJesus experienced the same during his darkest moments on this earth.  Everyone deserted Him and ran away!  Yet Paul’s words in verse 16 were. “May it not be counted against them.” The brethren hurt Paul through their actions.  Although they wronged Paul, he asked the Lord to forgive them and not count it against them.  Paul was alone and hurt. How did he finish the race? Let us read 2 Timothy 4:17.
“But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.” 

The Lord stood with Paul and gave him strength so he could preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15-16;  Romans 1:10;  Philippians 1:12).  Paul praised the Lord for rescuing him from every evil work and bringing him safely into the heavenly kingdom.  Despite all this forsaking and betrayal, it is remarkable that Paul kept his faith in God and trusted Him to help him carry him through.  It is a fact that everyone will let us down at some point!  

Indeed, our walk of faith is difficult, especially when we are persecuted for living a godly life in Christ Jesus.  However, Paul reminded Timothy and us to be faithful and loyal in serving the Lord until our last breath.  He urged Timothy to have self-control and endure hardship.  That same principle applies to us today.  So we must do the work God wants us to do and endure hardship.  God will not let us down, for He is faithful.  The Lord gave Paul the strength he needed. Paul reminded Timothy of what the Lord had done for him amid hurt and hardships so that he would be strong also.  The Lord will strengthen us also to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.

Paul wants to remind us that we are not alone even when we feel hurt, betrayed, and alone.  Paul reminds us of God’s steadfast love and protection even in death, for He wants to bring us home to Him.  We need Paul’s confidence in God.   
       
Thus, how will you finish? Will you finish like Paul? Although Paul was abandoned, alone, had no one to encourage him, and had great harm done to him, he did not allow those things to keep him from finishing the race of his faith. We must not stop fighting the fight but finish the race well when others hurt us, abandon us and let us down.  We must not fail, for we will lose what is waiting for us,  the crown of righteousness. We must not give in and let them take our reward away from us. We must not turn back and love this world, for we will lose what is laid up for us.  We must stand up in the faith, proclaim the Gospel, endure hardship and finish the race victoriously.  Let us stand up for Christ and His righteousness when it is convenient and when it is inconvenient!

May we finish our race of faith well, proclaim the Word, for they are the sacred Scriptures that can make us wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus.  May we grow in God's Word to teach it to others and finish victoriously.   May we be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, and proclaim the Gospel to others to save them.  May we look back at the end of our lives and find satisfaction as Paul did because we have faithfully served our Lord.  May we keep the faith, remain faithful to the teachings of the Scriptures, and defend them with all our hearts and soul.  May we never love this world but rather fight our good fight of faith and keep our faith to finish well and receive our crown of righteousness reserved for us in heaven.


~Luci


Saturday, July 30, 2022

"THE LAST DAYS"

 

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."   
2 Timothy 3:1-5



As Paul wrote Timothy these words, there were churches throughout the Roman empire.  Everywhere, the unbelieving Jews grew more hostile and cunning, entering churches pretending to be believers and wreaking great havoc. The end of the Jerusalem Temple drew near, and the great persecution was growing stronger. These were "end-times" for them.

There is a lot of confusion in the "religious world" concerning the "last days." Many speculate, looking for signs to prove we are in the "last days." They claim there will be wars and terrors that would point to the end of the world and that Jesus is coming. It is amazing how many books have been sold on the subject of "The Last Days!" They have posters that say, "The End Is Near! We are in the last days!" I wonder if they really study their Bible to find out what the Bible actually teaches concerning "the last days." I want to stress that "the last days" Paul is talking about began two thousand years ago and will continue until Christ comes again (1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; Jam. 5:3; 1 Pet. 1:20; 2 Pet. 3:3; 1 John 2:18; Jude 18).  When Christ comes again, it will not be the beginning of "the last days." Why?  Because it will be the end of the "last days" when the last enemy, death, is destroyed (1 Cor. 15:23-26), at the very last trumpet (1 Cor. 15: 51-57), on the very last day (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24; 12:48).  

We must understand that our Lord Jesus will not come again to reign on earth for another thousand years or even one day!  

We have been living in the "last days" since Jesus came to earth.  The "last days" are the days of the Messiah, not the end of the world. You see, several centuries before the birth of Christ, the prophet Joel foretold that the Spirit of God would be poured out in the "last days."  

“And it shall come to pass afterward,  that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,  your old men shall dream dreams,  and your young men shall see visions.  29 Even on the male and female servants  in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” (Joel 2:28-29)  


In Acts 2:17, Peter quoted from Joel 2 to describe the days in which they were living at that time ("the last days").  Notice what Peter said at that point in time as living in "the last days."

“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,  and your young men shall see visions,  and your old men shall dream dreams.” 


Paul begins chapter 3 of this letter to Timothy by reminding him of the great apostasy which was to occur in the church in the "last days." Timothy was living in "the last days." Paul warns  Timothy about the moral decline that would occur in "the last days" (times of difficulty or terrible times), describing the characteristics or conditions of the people during those times.  Timothy had to turn away from such people.  Paul urged Timothy to follow the sound doctrine he had learned from him and his manner of life.  Likewise, he pressed Timothy to be aware of the persecution that will befall those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus.  It would be hard to live as godly Christians during the "last days." There would be terrible times for those who are trying to follow Jesus.  However, Paul urged  Timothy to continue steadfast in his faith despite all these terrible things that were about to take place.  He reminded Timothy of those things he had learned since childhood to make him wise, complete, and thoroughly equipped for every good work.  

We cannot deny that we all need encouragement during difficult times, especially amid persecution and fearful times. We all need encouragement to continue steadfast in our faith. Paul's purpose in this letter to Timothy is to strengthen his faith and to make him aware of life as a faithful disciple of Jesus. Paul encouraged Timothy not to be ashamed but rather to use his gifts or talents as a good soldier and vessel of honor in God's house.  

I am enjoying my studies of Paul's second letter to Timothy.  It strengthens my faith and gives me joy and hope during difficult times, especially persecution. God's breathed Word can accomplish this like no other written book!    

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). 


The Word of God warns us that those who want to live godly will encounter difficult times. Yet, at the same time, that same Word teaches us we can overcome trouble in life through faith in Jesus.  

God called Timothy to turn away from false teachers and to stand alone.  Timothy was to remain faithful to Jesus even in times of persecution.  We must embrace persecution! (2 Timothy 3:11–12).  We must persevere in our faith despite our circumstances. To persevere is challenging when we are enduring persecution.  It is easy to give up!   However, we must read and study the Word of God to allow His message to help and strengthen us. God's breathed Word points to our need for faith in Jesus, our Lord. His Word helps us live out our faith.  Part of living out our faith is experiencing suffering for the cause of Christ. 

Indeed, Jesus suffered.  If Jesus faced suffering, so must we (Matthew 10:24-25). As strong as Paul's faith in God was, he still needed encouragement. However, we do not have to experience suffering alone. Jesus promised to be with us in the midst of our suffering (2 Timothy 4:16-17).  We must be willing to endure sufferings for the cause of Christ and share in His sufferings and the sufferings of those who stand up for the Gospel of Christ. 


I.   DIFFICULT TIMES WILL COME: 

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

  • A Description of These Difficult Times:    
    • They Will Come in "The Last Days":

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.” (2 Timothy 3:1


The word "But" connects chapter 3 with the previous chapters.  Paul depicts an understandable picture of God's trustworthy Truth. Despite how men might try to suppress or disregard the Truth, that Truth will remain a firm foundation.  

 Often in the Bible, the "last days" refer to the time of Christ and the time that followed. The writer of Hebrews states that he was living in the "last days."

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1–2)


The Hebrew writer declares without a doubt the existence of God (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1). Notice what he said in Hebrews 1:1.

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets.”


The writer simply states, "At many times in many ways." What do you think that implies?  It implies that God had more to say and that each prophet did not convey the final message.  Why?  Because God's whole Truth was not revealed yet. God's revelation was not complete yet.  We know from the Word of God that He spoke to the patriarchs, and later, He spoke through the prophets, dreams, and visionsHowever, God was not done revealing His Word.  

In Hebrews 1:2, the writer starts this verse with the word "But," saying,

“2 But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”


It is a Messianic reference. The Hebrew writer uses the word "But" to stress the contrast between how God spoke His revealed Word to us in the past and how He spoke His final and complete revelation through His Son Jesus.  So, why am I saying all this?  Because many of our friends use the term "last days" to speak of the end of the worldIt does not mean the end of the world!  Did you know the phrase in the "last days" was used in the Greek Septuagint in Genesis  49:1 in the exact same way to mean at some point in the future (1 Tim. 4:1)?   Many have been proclaiming the end of the world since 66 A.D Take for instance the Jehovah's Witnesses who have tried to predict the end of the world at least three times. 

There are other different and new predictions made all the time.  They all predict and warn us, saying that we are living in "the last days." They give us all kinds of predictions and signs past and present to affirm what they're saying. And though their claim is false, it is true that we Christians are living in "the last days." The only difference is that we have been living in the last days for the last two thousand years.  So when Paul tells Timothy about trouble and difficulty in "the last days," he is not speaking of a future time of more than 2,000 years away. Rather, Timothy and Paul were living in "the last days." We will continue to live in the last days until Jesus' return.   

The apostles understood they were living in the last days.  In Matthew 24:1-35, Jesus used the same language when speaking of those days.  In our context, Jesus' disciples came privately to Him and asked Him, 

“When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?' And so, Jesus answered their questions. 'And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!”' (Matthew 24:19).  


In our passage, Jesus used the words "those days" to describe the destruction of Jerusalem.  However, in Matthew 24:36 through Matthew 26:46, Jesus used the words "that day" to describe what will occur at the end of the world. "The last days" was that time the prophets looked forward when they spoke, saying, "In those days and at that time."

Even if the world continues to exist for another thousand years, we still would be living in the last days (Hebrews 1:1-2).  Notice that when Paul spoke of these "difficult times" that were to take place, he said, "in the last days." In other words, Paul at no point is saying these things that were to take place would happen just before Jesus' second coming.  When he spoke of "the last days," he was saying they were already occurring in Paul and Timothy's lifetime. Paul stresses to Timothy that he must understand that there will be difficult times in the last days. Things were going to get very difficult for the saints! The saints would have to deal with difficult circumstances because of those who opposed the will of God.  

There will be difficult times because of the ungodliness of men.  Paul then goes on to list many non-Christ-like attitudesHowever, Paul urged Timothy to have nothing to do with such people but rather avoid them.  Again, Timothy was living in "the last days," the days of the great apostasy.  

  1. Such apostasy was at hand (Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 1:2;  2 Peter 3:3;  1 John 2:18; Jude 17-18).
  2. Such days were to be terrible or difficult times.  
  3. There were going to be times of danger, persecution, suffering, and many trials (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3)


  • The  Characteristics of Those in "The Last Days":  

“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

  • False Followers (Carnal-minded Brethren):

This would be happening during the days of Paul and Timothy. In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, Paul describes the characteristics of those followers of Jesus during these "last days." And though Paul describes these traits among these brethren, nothing has changed, for we can find the same kind of heart today.  

    1. Lovers of self (Philippians 2:21;  2 Timothy 3:5).  They claim to love God but do not love Him because they love themselves.
    2. Lovers of money (Luke 6:14;  2 Peter 2:3).
    3. Proud and arrogant (Romans 1:30; Jude 16; 1 Timothy 4:6).
    4. Abusive (1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:20).
    5. Disobedient to their parents (Romans 1:30; Ephesians 6:1-4).
    6. Ungrateful (Proverbs 17:13; 1 Corinthians 4:7).
    7. Unholy (1 Timothy 1:9).
    8. Without love or heartless (Romans 1:31).
    9. Unappeasable and unforgiving (Matthew 18:23-35).  
    10. Slanderers (Romans 1:29-30).
    11. Without self-control (Proverbs 25:28).
    12. Brutal and cruel (Judges 1:7).
    13. Not lovers of good (Romans 1:31).
    14. Treacherous and disloyal (2 Peter 2:10).  They betray their friends.
    15. Rash and reckless (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
    16. Conceited (1 Corinthians 4:18).  They are puffed up with pride.
    17. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (Philippians 3:19;  2 Peter 2:13)
    18. Having the appearance of godliness but denying its power (1 Timothy 5:8; Titus 1:16).  They claim to be religious within the church, having some form of godliness (appearance of devotion to God). They are hypocrites who claim to have some connection to God, yet they live blasphemous and sinful lives contrary to Jesus and His Teaching.  

After Paul had finished warning Timothy about these false followers, notice the strong words he told Timothy.

“Avoid such people.”


Why must they be avoided? 

Because fake Christians (false followers) are dangerous in the church.  Consider Paul's warning to Timothy concerning these false brethren.
Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” (2 Timothy 3:5-9


Timothy must avoid those who are false Christians (deceivers), and so must we!  
    1. They win others with their erroneous way of thinking and will go to any length to do it.   
    2. They pretend they want to help but have alternative motives. 
    3. They take advantage of gullible women, that is, women weak in the faith.  
    4. The apostasy is seen as they led these women into immoral behavior (2 Thessalonians 2:7; Revelation 2:20-23). 
    5. These weak women were already "burned with sin," that is, they were already struggling with sin and thus were easy prey for these deceivers.  
    6. Sadly, these weak women (gullible women) put themselves under the care of these religious teachers and fake Christians (deceivers).  
    7. Although these deceivers were learning, they never obtained the true knowledge of the way of salvation. They might have learned some things but never learned how to walk the narrow way of the Christian faith (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).  It sounds very familiar, doesn't it!

Why would God's saints be facing difficult and dangerous times?  

The answer is evident in 2 Timothy 3:2-9.  Paul explained the reasons.   I must stress that Paul was not talking about the condition of the sinful or nonbelievers when he listed the sins that the followers of Jesus would be committing.  However, this list of sins will always be true for nonbelievers.   Those who do not belong to Jesus. Paul's warning to Timothy was going to happen within the church (2 John 1:10-11; 2 Corinthians 6:17).  Timothy must have nothing to do with these fake or false followers (deceivers and impostors, Matthew 23:3; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Timothy 6:5).

Nothing is surprising about these characteristics mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:2-5 among sinful and carnal-minded brethrenThey are evident among those who defy Jesus.  Paul declared that these would be difficult times because those who claim to be followers of Christ would be practicing such sinful things. They would behave just like nonbelievers.  Today is no different, for we will always have faithful and unfaithful followers of Christ. 

For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” (2 Timothy 3:6-9)


Verses 6-9 tell us why they are dangerous. In verse 6,  
    1. We see that they take advantage of others, especially the weak. 
    2. They worm their way into relationships and homes.  
    3. They target the guilty and those who are weighed down by sin, taking advantage of the circumstances.  

Paul warned Timothy about these false and carnal-minded brethren
(deceivers).  He also warns us today to avoid these people because they are dangerous! 

In verse 7, Paul stops and tells us something about these deceivers (false, carnal brethren).  Notice what Paul said.

“7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”

    1. These weak and carnal-minded brethren are always learning, as Paul said, but are not able to take a stand in their faith or draw the correct conclusion from what they're reading in the Scriptures.   
    2. Sadly, their supposed knowledge does not help them or do any good in their lives and way of thinking. Why?  Because they never do what they learn.  You see, false and carnal-minded brethren (deceivers) are not doers of the Word.  And though they might hear the Word over and over, the Word cannot penetrate their hearts to transform or change their bad habits and sinful behavior.  
    3. They allow the flesh to rule them, and they oppose the Truth.  
    4. Again, God calls us to avoid them, for they are corrupted in their mind, and thus, their faith is worthless.  

These false brethren or false teachers cannot thrive and flourish because their folly and carnality will be evident to everyone (verses 8-9).

“8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth,  men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” 


Jannes and Jambres opposed the miracles God was doing through Moses and Aaron and resisted God's designated leadership (Exodus 7:8-13; Exodus 7:19-23; Exodus 8:5-7; Exodus 8:16-19).  Jannes and Jambres worked miracles by the power of darkness, not God's power.  One of the distinct characteristics Paul warned Timothy in "the last days" of those false brethren and false teachers was the apparent ability to perform miracles by the power of darkness and the willingness of other brethren to receive them as authentic (2 Corinthians 11:15:  2 Thessalonians 2:9: Revelation 13:13-15).  Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed the Truth regarding God and His authority, these false teachers among the brethren will oppose the Truth about Christ and His authority.  Does that not sound familiar? 

The minds of these false brethren and false teachers are depraved and focused on evil (1 Timothy 6:5).  They teach false doctrine and disagree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus.  They do not promote godliness.  God commands us to reject false teachers (their carnal mindset and falsehood).  He commands us to expose them and avoid them. (John 12:48; Romans 1:28; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5).  Jannes and Jambre were eventually exposed before all.  Their ungodliness and falsehood were exposed before everyone (Exodus 7:11-12; Exodus 8:18; Exodus 9:11).  Those who oppose the Truth and are corrupted in mind must be disqualified regarding the faith.  

  1. Time eventually will reveal or expose their carnality and falsehood.  
  2. We cannot pretend to be something we are not for too long.  
  3. Our carnality and sins will find us out sooner or later.  
  4. They will come out to the light.  


Paul lists these carnal and false brethren's behavior in 2 Timothy 3:2-5. Sadly, the consequences of these brethren's behavior become evident.   The world and the church will see and understand what they are and what they teach. And though they might hide and deceive many for a while, the truth about them will eventually become evident to those with an honest and sincere heart.  


II.   A REMINDER AND FINAL CHARGE TO TIMOTHY:

“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:10-13)


  • Paul's Example:

Paul's life and faithful service to God is such an inspiration to me!! 

Timothy knew Paul's teachings, sound doctrine, life manner, purpose, love, faithfulness, and perseverance (verses 10-11). Timothy was like a son to PaulPaul spent several years teaching Timothy.  They served the Lord together (Philippians 2:20; Philippians 2:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Timothy 4:6). Timothy knew Paul's faithfulness and longsuffering for the sake of the Gospel.  He knew Paul could endure everything for the sake of the elect of God. Paul was longsuffering even with those who opposed him. Indeed,  Paul is an excellent example of longsuffering and endurance, for he loved others just as Jesus our Lord (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Romans 5:3-4).  


    • Do Not Be Shaken And Embrace Persecution:

Why is Paul telling Timothy these things quoted in 2 Timothy 3:10-13?  Because Paul wanted to make Timothy aware of how he had lived a godly life despite his sufferings and persecution.  Everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted. That is a truth that the faithful of God must embrace!  Paul told Timothy these things to warn him of false brethren and false teachers who would hurt him shortly.  Timothy needed to watch out for them and avoid them. Isn't it something that these false brethren, deceivers, and false teachers were also the reason for Paul's suffering!  How sad that our worst persecutors come from within, our brethren!  Again, this persecution that Paul is warning Timothy about would come from those who claimed to be followers of Jesus.  It would be coming from those he trusted because they claimed to be followers of Jesus, his brethren.  

Paul suffered great persecution in the cities of Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra (Acts 13:44-52; Acts 14:1-20; Acts 16:1).  He praised God for rescuing him from his persecution.  Paul assured Timothy that persecutions and trials were to be expected by all who wanted to live godly and holy lives.  Any faithful Christian must expect opposition, suffering, and persecution (Psalm 34:19; John 15:19;  Matthew 10:22;  Matthew 10:38-39; Acts 14:22).  

Paul urges Timothy and us not to let evil persecutors shake our faith (verses 11-12).  Notice what Paul says in verse 13,

“13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”


It is a fact that evildoers and imposters will go from bad to worse, as in Paul's and Timothy's days.   It is sure to happen to us today!  Evildoers and imposters go from bad to worse.  The persecution these Christians endured went from bad to worse (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).  Today, God's faithful children will have to endure the same.  Notice that Paul declared that these evildoers and impostors will deceive others and be deceived at the same time.  They will deceive others into believing that they are true and righteous when, in fact, they are false and unrighteous.   

Sadly, evil will continue, and things will not get better.  Evil will not stop. Why?  

    1. Because evildoers and impostors will never stop coming along.  
    2. They will go on from bad to worse.  
    3. They will continue deceiving and being deceived because they do not love the Truth. 
    4. They are very dangerous! Thus we must avoid them, for they are like gangrene that spreads, causing a lot of harm and destruction.  


In Today's world, we have many so-called Christians who claim to be prophets, perform miracles and heal othersThey are nothing but deceivers and impostors!  They deceive many into believing that they are truthful and sincere as they claim to be from GodThey end up deceiving themselves with their own dangerous deceptions, for they do not love the Truth of God (1 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; 1 Timothy 4:1; Titus 3:3; 1 John 1:8; 1 John 2:26).  We must not go by the motives of others, we must test them by God's Truth! (1 John 4:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:21).


III.    THE POWER AND VALUE OF THE SCRIPTURES

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17)


In 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Paull encourages Timothy to continue steadfast in what he has firmly believed.  Those things he had been assured of, knowing from who he had learned them (verse 14). Paul reminds Timothy of what he learned from his childhood in the Holy Scriptures.  I can relate to this since I had a wonderful and God-fearing mother who instilled in me the value and those principles found in the Scriptures! Timothy was taught the power, the value, and instruction of the Scriptures (Romans 15:4).

    1. Timothy's grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice had done a great job raising him in the instruction of the Word of God (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5).  
    2. Timothy had learned the inspired Truth of God, which made him wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3-5; Colossians 1:9; Colossians 3:16).  
    3. The wisdom that Timothy learned from the Old Testament Scriptures would prepare him to endure and face all persecution and suffering  (John 15:10;  Romans 8:18;  2 Timothy 1:13;  John 8:31; Titus 1:9).
    • So what was Timothy to do in the last days he was living?  
    • Like Timothy, what must we do?   
    • How must we continue steadfast in our faith when facing difficult days that we must expect to happen? 

The answer is given in verses 14-17 of our text.  Consider how we can continue steadfast in our faith in the face of suffering and persecution.
    1. Continue steadfastly in the teachings we have heard and learned (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
    2. Depend only on the teachings from the Scriptures as we walk through these difficult times. 
    3. Listen to Pau's words in verse 15. "The sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." The teachings of the faithful Word of God will make us wise for every good work and unto salvation.
    4. Do not be shaken by false teachers, evildoers, and impostors. 
    5. Do not give up your faith because of the false or fake faith of others. 
 
And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)


When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy around  A.D. 66/67, almost all the New Testament Scriptures had been written.  The term "Scripture" in verse 16 refers to all the books of our Bible today (2 Peter 3:15-16).  The term "the sacred writings," in 2 Timothy 3:15, refers to the Hebrew Scriptures.  When Paul wrote to Timothy, the sacred writings would have been the Hebrew Scriptures. The sacred writings would have been Genesis through Malachi, The Old Testament. But notice that Paul says that those books can make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus. Are you aware that every book in the Old Testament is not just stories about people in the past or the nation of Israel?  Every book in the Old Testament can make us wise for salvation and draw us to faith in Jesus.  Sadly, those 39 books in the Bible are often neglected!  Those books in the Old and New Testament have as much saving power to help us grow and strengthen our faith.  Personally, the Psalms and Proverbs help and strengthen me in my daily walk with God.  

All scripture is breathed out by God (verses 16-17). "Breathed out" is what the word "inspired" means. 

  1. Every word from every book in the Bible comes out of God's mouth.  
  2. Like the apostles and prophets, those who were moved or carried along by the Holy Spirit wrote down God's breathed words (2 Peter 1:20-21). 
  3. God spoke through the Holy Spirit to the writers of the Old and New Testaments
  4. They were inspired to write down God's words which help us to live out our faith.  
  5. Inspiration is God's self-revelation of His own purpose and will. 
  6. God's Word is beneficial for teaching, rebuke, correction, and for training in righteousness. 
  7. The Scriptures give us wisdom unto eternal life.  
  8. We must allow the Word of God to transform our lives (Romans 12:2; Hebrews 4:12).  


Second Timothy 3:16-17 further affirms the purpose of that inspiration. 
    "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

  1. When we read and study the Word Of God, we allow that Word to teach, rebuke, correct and train us in righteousness.  
  2. God's Word exposes our sins. 
  3. God's Word corrects our path. 
  4. God's Word trains us in righteous living. 
  5. God's Word can cleanse us and make us vessels for honorable use, set apart, useful to the Master, and prepared for every good work.

Therefore, study and love that Word with all your heart, mind, and soul!
 

When we apply God's Word correctly, it will lead us to salvation and help us live righteously and holy before God and those around us (Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; John 12:48; 2 Peter 1:3).  We have everything we need to help us through life through the inspired Word of God, no matter what our circumstances might be (2 Timothy 2:21; Hebrews 13:21).  The Scriptures can help us become mature or complete through its instructionThus we must start being grounded in God's Word to remain strong and faithful and be approved by God. 


CONCLUSION:

From the days of Sinai, God has given a body of instruction (His Law) by which His people can know how to live and please Him. For Israel, that body of instruction was found in the Law of Moses, the Old CovenantThat covenant was only for Israel and not the Gentiles (Deut 5:1-3). When God sent His Son, He established a new covenant that included Jew and Gentile (Hebrews 8; Eph 2:11-22). Though all the Bible is inspired, only the New Covenant (or New Testament) is authoritative for men today.  The New Testament is the perfect law of liberty.  Those who continue steadfast in their faith will be blessed in what they do (James 1:25; Colossians 3:17). It means that we must do everything within the scope of the Lord's authority as given in the New Covenant. 

The Bible claims to be inspired (2 Timothy 2:16-17).  All Scripture is "God-breathed" (Genesis 2:7: John 20:22).  It is the Greek word, "Theopneustos," which means God-inspired.  It is the only time this word is used in the New Testament. One of the most essential functions of the Holy Spirit's work deals with God's divine revelation and how men were able to know God's mind.  

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20, 21). 


God's Sacred Book did not come through man's wisdom but by God's revelation. When Paul spoke of inspiration, he used a Greek compound word meaning "God-breathed." Paul believed that in reading the Scriptures, one must hear the voice of God as though God were speaking directly to him.

“For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. 12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ."  (Galatians 1:11, 12)


God's Word passed from His mind to man's mind through inspiration and revelation.  To inspire means "to breathe into." God "breathed into" men the things that they wrote down
  1. God's Word is inerrant (incapable of error, 1 Corinthians 14:33).  
  2. It is also infallible (a perfect, certain, and sure guide or instruction, Luke 1:4). 
  3. It is our sword of offense and defense (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).  
  4. It is sufficient for all man's needs (2 Peter 1:11).  
  5. It can save men's souls (Romans 1:16).  
  6. The Word of God leads, directs, and instructs us to God's path of righteousness. 

God's Divine Word is the only medium through which the Holy Spirit works today.  The Holy Spirit does not give us latter-day revelations, personal conversations and delivers no textual changes or amendments. Why would there be a need for any other work of the Spirit? 
  1. God's revealed Word gives men everything that pertains to life and godliness.  
  2. The Divine Word, already delivered, leads men to every good work (2 Peter 1:3).  
  3. It is the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25).  
  4. It was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).  
  5. The only way to hear and be led by the Spirit is to open and study God's Sacred Book.  

All Christians must use the teaching or instruction of the Scriptures to teach (Romans 4:23; Romans 15:4; 1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 4:13, 16).  The Scriptures are also useful for rebuking, for they can convince people of their sins, the Truth, and the faith to lead them to repentance (John 16:8; Hebrews 4:12).  The Scriptures are also useful for correcting, for they lead to correction or change of life.  They will keep us from going in the wrong direction (James 1:22–25).  The Scriptures are also useful for training in righteousness, for they will help us do what is right (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11).

The Scriptures will help us maintain our faith amid persecution and difficult times.  The only way to energize our faith amid persecution and difficult times is by holding on to the teachings of God's Word.  Thus we must ground our life and spend time in God's Word.  There is no other way.  We need God's Word like oxygen in our lungs so that God may approve us.  

Paul gave Timothy instructions and warnings to keep him from abandoning his faith.  

  1. He had to be godly, devout, and sincere in his faith (1 Timothy 4:7-8).  Not just go through the motions.  
  2. Timothy had to trust in God (1 Timothy 4:10).
  3. He had to be a faithful example to others in all areas of life (1 Timothy 4:12).
  4. He had to be completely dedicated in faith, not half-hearted (1 Timothy 4:13-15). 
  5. Take heed to himself and sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
  6. He had to practice what he preached (1 Timothy 4:16).
  7. He had to flee sin and follow after righteousness and godliness (1 Timothy 6:11).
  8. He had to keep God's commandments until the day of the Lord (1 Timothy 6:14).
  9. Not be ashamed of his faith or the Gospel.  He had to be bold (2 Timothy 1:8; 11-14).
  10. He had to be diligent to be approved by God (2 Tim. 2:15).


Today Christians must hear and heed these things.   There is a real danger when one's faith is not genuine.  Genuine faith comes when one hears, believes, and obeys these words unto salvation (Romans 10:17). The Bible warns us that one can fall from Grace.  Many fail to study God's Word and grow in grace and knowledge.  Christians must "long for spiritual milk..." (1 Peter 2:2), so they may grow in faith.  We must examine ourselves by the standard of God's Word (2 Corinthians 13:5).  We must serve God faithfully and continue steadfast in our spiritual growth (2 Peter 1:5-10).

Paul warned Timothy of those who have the appearance of holiness and devotion to God but deny the power of godliness. Their words and actions contradict God's Word. God commands us to turn away from them so that we may not be influenced by them (1 Cor. 15:33).  Those who deny the power of godliness represent those who creep into the hearts of faithful brethren. But they are erring brethren, like the prophets of old who proclaimed "peace, peace, when there is no peace" (Jer. 6:14).  False brethren pervert the Truth because they are never able to come to an understanding of the Truth.  Godliness leads to reverence and respect for the authority of God's divine revelation. Truth takes diligence and interest on the part of the student or disciple ( 2 Tim. 2:15). These erring, and false brethren never learn Truth because they are not genuinely interested in God's Truth (John. 14:17; Rom. 8:7; 1 Tim. 6:4-5). They are interested in strife, conflict, and selfish ambition

To resist or oppose the Truth (the Gospel, Eph. 1:13) is to reject the authority of God (Acts 7:51).  Those who oppose the Truth show themselves to have a "corrupt mind, reprobate concerning the faith." Their thinking is polluted and delusional by self-interest.  However, the true elect of God (His faithful followers) will not allow false teachers (impostors) to go any further because they look for Bible authority in all they do.  Their lack of understanding of the Scriptures makes them foolish.  Those who give diligence to God's Truth and wisdom can spot them.  When our words and actions do not measure up to divine revelation, the faithful of God know because they have put their doctrines to the test (Gal. 1:8-9; 1 Jn 4:1ff).  These men are foolish because they refuse the whole counsel of God.  The faithful of God must expose them for their error and folly.  

Paul reminded Timothy of his apostolic example (Phil. 4:9).  Paul compared these false brethren to the ungodly who do not respect the authorized words of God yet claim to be pious or godly.  Paul compelled Timothy not to follow his own opinions or man's teachings but rather Paul's teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, persecutions, and sufferings.  Timothy followed Paul's conduct, doctrine, and consequential treatment (i.e., persecution). Timothy was persecuted for his faith. Paul endured persecutions at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra (Acts 13:50; 14:5-7, 19). Nevertheless, the Lord delivered Paul out of all these persecutions.  Paul encouraged Timothy to fight the good fight of faith, knowing that the Lord would also deliver him.   He wanted Timothy to be aware that he was not the only one who suffered for the Truth, but everyone who wants to teach and live the Truth will certainly suffer.  You see, evildoers hate to have their sins exposed.  Persecution is inevitable for the child of God who wants to be godly and righteous (Jn. 15:18ff; Phil. 1:29; 1 Thess. 3:1-4).

Paul warned Timothy that the days ahead for him and the church would be difficult and grievous because of evildoers and impostors from within (2 Timothy 3:1,13). Wicked men persecute the righteous of God for their unwavering stand in Truth.  They will make things more and more difficult for the godly children of God (Hebrews 10:32ff).  Evildoers and false teachers not only deceive others with their error but also deceive themselves. When one clings to error or false teaching, he will likely be deceived, believing it is truth. When one abides in the doctrine of Christ, there is salvation (1 Jn. 9).   

In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Paul warned Timothy about those brethren who would reject the Truth.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 


Bible study and the correct application of its truth are vital to maintain our faith, our spiritual survival, and salvation. Please take Peter's words to heart in his letter to the brethren in 2 Peter 3:17, 18.  

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”


May we follow the excellent example of Paul's life and devotion to God.  May we follow his teachings of sound doctrine, purpose, love, faithfulness, and perseverance. May we handle the Word of God with awe and reverence because it comes from His mouth. May we never allow our faith and hope to be shaken even amid persecution and grievous times.  May we continue steadfast in what we have firmly believed.  May we study God's Word diligently to grow in Grace and knowledge.  May we long for spiritual milk to help us grow in our faith and understanding of the Truth.  May we examine ourselves by the standard of God's Word.  May we serve God faithfully and continue steadfast in our spiritual growth. May we never take for granted the value and instruction of the Scriptures.  May we apply ourselves to Bible study to correctly handle the Word of Truth. And finally,  may we never be carried away by false teaching and lose our own stability.  


~Luci