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Thursday, February 9, 2017, 8:55 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Teach Them.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Timothy 3:1-4:5 (NASB).

Difficult Times (3:1-9)

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

There are generally three types of people in this world – the ones who truly believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, the ones who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ at all, and those who make a profession of faith in Christ, but don’t really know him at all, because they have not truly been born from above of the Spirit of God.

The latter claims to know Christ, and they may even be preachers or teachers of the Word, but by their lives, character and conversations they deny him. Their faith is human faith and it is in outward form only, but the Holy Spirit is not living within them, and there has been no transformation of heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from living in sin to living to God and to his righteousness. Much of their behavior, in fact, fits more with the description in the passage above than with any biblical description of what a Christian or a godly leader should look like in character, words and in action.

The Bible says that we, as the body of Christ, should avoid having fellowship with those who profess Christ but who knowingly and willfully live in direct opposition to him and to his teachings, and who are unwilling to repent of their sins. I believe one of the reasons for this is so that they do not bring us down with them, i.e. so they don’t infect the whole body with their poison.

Training in Righteousness (3:10-17)

Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

So, we need to exercise godly wisdom in choosing the people we mostly spend our time with. We should not make as close friends those who are hot tempered, who are liars, who are gossipers, who are porn addicts, who tell off-color jokes, who are pleasure-driven and who are worldly, etc., even if they claim to be, or especially if they claim to be fellow believers in Jesus Christ. Yet, this does not mean we write these people off as hopeless, because we don’t know what God yet intends to do in their hearts and lives.

The Bible teaches us to love one another, and even to love our enemies, and to pray for them, and to do good to them, and to want what is best for them. So, we should pray for these people, and we should show Christ-like love to them, but we need to not make these the people we regularly fellowship with or spend time with, because evil is a very strong influence, and we might be overtaken by them and fall back into sin.

Instead, we should have close fellowship with other believers who are walking the talk instead of just talking the walk. We need to be around people who are godly influences on our lives, who encourage us in our walks of faith in Christ, who share with us regularly about their own spiritual walks, and who work toward building us up in our faith and in leading us in the right direction, instead of leading us astray from our purity to Christ.

For, we live in a time where the saints of God (his church) are under attack for living what they believe and what the Bible teaches, so we need one another to help strengthen us in our faith so that we can persevere, and continue, and have the courage to stand strong even in the face of great opposition. But, if we are in a situation where we don’t have much in the way of this kind of fellowship, we should not let that discourage us, for we always have our Lord. He will never leave us or forsake us, and he will give us all the strength and courage we need to keep on keeping on in his name.

Wanting Ears Tickled (4:1-5)

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

One of the reasons that the saints of God are under such severe attack is because so much of the church has gone the way of the world and is teaching what people want to hear, not what they need to hear. They have turned the church into big business, and so they are marketing it to the world just like they would any other human-based business (corporation). “Worship” services are oftentimes nothing more than just cleaned up versions of entertainment for the world, i.e. cleverly orchestrated stage productions intended to attract the world to the “church.” Bible studies are being replaced by books written by modern-day authors who may or may not be handling the Word of God accurately, and the gospel message is diluted to make it more acceptable and appealing to the world of sin.

So, serious followers of Christ are being ostracized, rejected, pushed aside, persecuted, abandoned, and falsely accused, because the modern church movement has no place for them in their marketing schemes. They don’t want anyone who might offend the people of the world with the truth. And, so they find ways to make serious Christians look bad, or they invite them to “go someplace else” where they will be a “better fit.” Then, the leaders are free to give the people what their itching ears want to hear, unhindered.

Yet, we need to not let this unsettle us or to get us to compromise our faith and convictions in order to be accepted. If we have to stand alone, then we have to stand alone, but we are never alone. God is on our side, if we are on his side, and he will never abandon us, but will give us all we need to endure persecution and to keep holding on to the truths of scripture, even if we lose friends, or even if our family members reject or abandon us, or even if the modern worldly church wants nothing to do with us. We need to remain faithful to God and to his Word and to the ministry to which we have been called and for which God has prepared us and equipped us. Amen!

Teach Them / An Original Work / May 24, 2012

Based off various scriptures

Open up the blinded eyes of
Those who walk in sin’s darkness.
Turn them to the light of Christ
And to His righteousness.
Turn them from the pow’r of Satan.
Turn them to the peace of Christ,
So they may receive forgiveness
And eternal life.

Teach them to put off their old selves
And their former way of life,
And to put on their new self,
Reborn to be like Christ;
To not copy worldly customs;
Be transformed in life and mind;
Obey freely His word in them,
Pleasing unto God.

Teach them how to love their neighbors
Truly as they love themselves;
Be a witness; share the gospel;
Satan’s lies dispel;
Comfort all who mourn in sadness;
Share Christ’s love and joy today.
Do this through your life and witness
For your Lord always.