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2 Timothy 3

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Introduction

Paul was preparing for his departure … he knew that he was near the end of his race.

And so he was communicating to Timothy things that he figured to be very important for him to carry on Paul’s ministry.

In chapter 1, Paul told Timothy to:
2 Timothy 1:13 NKJV
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1
That is, cling to solid doctrine … that deposit which was passed down from Paul and the other Apostles.
In chapter 2, Paul instructed Timothy to teach others the same sound doctrine he had received.
Paul said:
2 Timothy 2:2 NKJV
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
2 Timothy 2

He reminded Timothy that in order for him to do this, he needed to be focused on that good work.

He also needed to make sure that he was first partaking of God’s Word for himself.
AND Paul reminded him that one who ministers sound doctrine has a hard row to hoe and will endure hardship even as Paul has.
But also that the Word of God is not chained.
Isaiah 55:10–11 NKJV
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
is
Some people use this verse to justify unbiblical teaching, saying that even though the teaching was wrong … “Well, God’s Word will not return void.”
But when we take God’s Word and twist it and change it according to our own liking, is it God’s Word?
Of course not.
If I ask someone to communicate something very important to someone else and they give a slightly different message, are they communicating my word?
No.
At that point it’s their word … their version of what I said.
And Paul tells us just how important it is that we believe the core doctrines of the faith exactly as scripture gives them to us.
He says:
2 Timothy 2:10 NKJV
Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Paul was no man-pleaser, but taught the pure Word of God, and suffered chains, beatings and the death penalty for it.
In fact, he wrote to the Galatians:
Galatians 1:10 NKJV
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 NKJV
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Galatians
Why would he not altar God’s Word in the least in order to have a large ministry with less opposition?
Why would he not altar God’s Word in the least in order to have a large ministry with less opposition?
Why would he not altar God’s Word in the least in order to have a large ministry with less opposition?
Because the very salvation of others depended on it.
But when it comes to remembering
One guard against the improper handling of scripture are the creeds … easy to memorize statements containing core truths of God’s Word.
And in chapter 2, Paul presented Timothy with one of those creeds in verses 11-13.
It is a creed that reminded Timothy that there are great things to look forward to in the Christian experience even if we must presently endure hardship.
AND it is a great reminder of the faithfulness of God.
He is faithful to His Word … He will perform all that He has said, and our own unbelief cannot hinder the faithfulness of God.
----

What we believe affects what we do.

The apostle now turns his attention to the future and describes a time of general moral decadence. There appears to be a definite connection between the heresy referred to in the last chapter and elsewhere in the Pastorals, and the disastrous corruption of society so vividly described here.
The apostle now turns his attention to the future and describes a time of general moral decadence. There appears to be a definite connection between the heresy referred to in the last chapter and elsewhere in the Pastorals, and the disastrous corruption of society so vividly described here.

True teaching promotes righteousness … but where “sound doctrine” is ignored, sin flourishes.

And so, in chapter 3 we’ll talk even more about sound doctrine and what we see happening today compared to what Paul said would happen.
Some people use part of chapter 3 as license for unbiblical behaviors in the church.
Even though Paul is clearly speaking against those things.
Here in chapter 3, Paul describes a time of general moral decadence.
The apostle now turns his attention to the future and describes a time of general moral decadence. There appears to be a definite connection between the heresy referred to in the last chapter and elsewhere in the Pastorals, and the disastrous corruption of society so vividly described here.
There is a definite connection between the false teachers and their false doctrines referred to in the last chapter and elsewhere in the Pastoral Epistles, and the corruption Paul describes here.
Judaism generally characterized the end time as one of turmoil, apostasy, and increased sin and oppression.
Judaism generally characterized the end time as one of turmoil, apostasy, and increased sin and oppression. This view was widespread despite the common expectation that all Israel would return to greater standards of holiness, ushering in the end and the restoration of Israel; others (see the Dead Sea Scrolls) believed that only the righteous Israelites would remain after these judgments. Like most Jewish writers, Paul does not anticipate a complete renewal of righteousness in the world until the day of God.
There was the expectation that all Israel would be restored into holiness ushering in the end times, but first unholiness and apostasy would increase.
Extra Biblical writings found among the Dead Sea Scrolls state the same.
And like most Jewish writers, Paul says that there will not be a complete renewal of righteousness in the world until the day of God.
Paul informed Timothy about the character of the last days, and then instructed him how to respond.
And so we must ask the question, “If Paul considered the last days to be in the far distance, why would he instruct Timothy on how to respond to the apostasy of those days?”
The answer must be that Paul did not consider “The Last Days” to be in the far distant future.
In fact, Paul includes the time in which he is living.
There was a Jewish concept called “The Messianic Woes” which was a period of great suffering of the Jewish people preceding the last days.
“These last days” began with the ministry of Jesus Christ and will continue until He returns.
Paul is pointing out to Timothy that they are in the last days and there are things that need to be recognized and confronted.
Paul informed Timothy about the character of the last days, and then instructed him how to respond. Action must be based on knowledge. Too many Christians are like the pilot who informed his passengers, “We are lost, but we are making very good time.”
Action must be based on knowledge.
Too many Christians are like the pilot who informed his passengers, “We are lost, but we are making very good time.”
“These last days” began with the ministry of Jesus Christ and will continue until He returns.
This is something that the author of Hebrews recognized saying:
Hebrews 1:1–2 NKJV
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
They are called the “last days” not because the end is coming, but because God is using these days to complete His purposes.
Judaism generally characterized the end time as one of turmoil, apostasy, and increased sin and oppression. This view was widespread despite the common expectation that all Israel would return to greater standards of holiness, ushering in the end and the restoration of Israel; others (see the Dead Sea Scrolls) believed that only the righteous Israelites would remain after these judgments. Like most Jewish writers, Paul does not anticipate a complete renewal of righteousness in the world until the day of God.
Yet some people will say, “Last days? What last days? Things are as they always have been and they will continue on.”
Even some Christians.
If they don’t say it … they live like it.
And unbelievers mock at His return just as they mocked at His first coming.
Peter wrote that they are wilful in their rejection of Him, nonetheless, the witness of the Word is that He will return to judge the world.
Peter says:
2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Because the Lord has delayed His return, some people scoff at the promise of His coming, but He will come as He promised.
Because our Lord has delayed His return, some people scoff at the promise of His coming, but He will come as He promised.
And in the last days in which God is working out His purposes there will be perilous times … especially as times draw to a close.
The Greek word for perilous in verse 1 is χαλεπός Chalepos (HALAH-pose) and means dangerous, hard to deal with … even violent.
This word means “dangerous, hard to deal with, savage.” This is the same Greek word that is used to describe the two violent demoniacs of Gadara (). This suggests that the violence of the last times will be energized by demons ().
When seeking to understand the vocabulary of the Greek or Hebrew, it is wise to see how a word is used elsewhere in scripture.
It happens that Chalepos is used only in where it is used to describe the two violent demoniacs of Gadara.
Do not read below:
This is the same Greek word that is used to describe the two violent demoniacs of Gadara ().
Matthew 8:28 NKJV
When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.
This is the same Greek word that is used to describe the two violent demoniacs of Gadara ().
The suggestion then is that the peril of the last times will be motivated by demons.
This is the same Greek word that is used to describe the two violent demoniacs of Gadara (). This suggests that the violence of the last times will be energized by demons ().
In fact, Paul had made this very observation back in 1 Timothy:
1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
1 Timothy

These things were appearing in Paul’s day, and with each passing generation they have increased in intensity.

There is no doubt that these characteristics started to appear in Paul’s day, and now they have increased in intensity. It is not simply that we have more people in the world, or better news coverage. It appears that evil is deeper and of greater intensity, and that it is being accepted and promoted by society in a bolder way. It is not that we have small pockets of rebellion here and there. All of society seems to be in ferment and rebellion. We are indeed in “terrible times” (, niv).

Yet of course some would say it just seems that way because today we know nearly instantly what is going on anywhere in the world, and news concentrates on the sensational.

Others would say it is because there are more people today.
And those things certainly can’t be denied … but there are other things at work here.
Evil is deeper and of greater intensity, AND it is being accepted and promoted by THE WORLD in a bolder way … even as being “good.”
It appears that evil is deeper and of greater intensity, and that it is being accepted and promoted by society in a bolder way. It is not that we have small pockets of rebellion here and there. All of society seems to be in ferment and rebellion. We are indeed in “terrible times” (, niv).
However, we need to understand that as Paul was doing earlier, he is still confronting problems in the church.
Opening Up 2 Timothy Chapter 6: Terrible Times (3:1–9)

wickedness and opposition to God’s truth will continue to persist and will even get worse as the age progresses.

Wickedness and opposition to God’s truth will continue and will even get worse as the age progresses … but that’s not limited to the world.
wickedness and opposition to God’s truth will continue to persist and will even get worse as the age progresses.
The list of horrible things we will see in the first half of this chapter are expressed in the world, and increasingly so in the church.
All of society seems to be in ferment and rebellion. We are indeed in “terrible times” (, niv).
Yes, the list of horrible things we will see in the first half of this chapter are expressed in the world, but increasingly so in the church.
Now, of course that sounds like the right thing to do … the unsaved need to be reached.
But the church was for the equipping of the saints.
Those Christians would then be the ones to go out and reach the unsaved.
Paul is warning of the demise of sound doctrine in the church and the state this puts believers in.
This is why he ends this chapter saying that scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for maturing and equipping the believer, after which Paul says in chapter 4, “I charge you … preach THE WORD!”
How could Timothy and us as well, be effective under the circumstances of such evil in the world and such apostasy in the church?
I can better explain this as we get into the chapter, so let’s bow our heads in prayer:
Prayer: Lord, as we embark on this study today we ask that You would prepare our hearts to receive Your Word which declares itself to be "A lamp to guide [our] feet and a light for [our] path." We gather together to learn, to grow and to change. Help us to move into a deeper understanding of Your truth. We lay our lives down before You and ask that You do a work in us today. We pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

v1

Some understand “last days” to mean the final period immediately before the return of the Lord Jesus to establish his kingdom.

In fact, the Greek word for “last” here is ἔσχατος Eschatos where we get the term Eschatology from … that is the study of End Times.
We usually think of the great issues of Eschatology like The Rapture, The Tribulation, The Antichrist, The 2nd Coming of Christ, The Millennial Reign, and of course Israel.
But what we might fail to realize is that according to the Bible, the ‘last days’ includes everything from the 1st Advent of Christ to His return.
Another instance where we see this phrase used to apply to the current time is by Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost.
From other passages in the New Testament, it is clear that by the ‘last days’ is meant the whole Christian dispensation from the first advent of Christ to his second advent at the winding up of history. For example, Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost, uses this expression in his quotation from the book of Joel. ‘In the last days, God says, “I will pour out my spirit on all people” ’ (). Peter could not have applied that quotation to what was happening at Pentecost if it meant the days immediately before Christ’s return. Similarly in Hebrews the writer, speaking of God’s revelation says, ‘… but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son’ ().
Peter quoted from Joel, saying:
Acts 2:17 NKJV
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.
He COULD NOT HAVE applied that quotation to what was happening on that day at Pentecost if it meant the days immediately before Christ’s 2nd coming.
Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost, uses this expression in his quotation from the book of Joel. ‘In the last days, God says, “I will pour out my spirit on all people” ’ (). Peter could not have applied that quotation to what was happening at Pentecost if it meant the days immediately before Christ’s return. Similarly in Hebrews the writer, speaking of God’s revelation says, ‘… but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son’ ().
Additionally, the full context here leads us to understand that Paul is not speaking of latter times.
But if we look carefully at this passage it cannot possibly mean that, since Paul warns Timothy to ‘have nothing to do with them’, meaning the kind of wicked people he mentions in verses 1–5.
In verse 5, Paul says to Timothy, “From such people turn away.”
So, Paul is writing into Timothy’s current situation, which carries over into our day today.

And he says that perilous times will come.

When?

In the last days which Timothy was in and that we are in today.

satirists like Juvenal … the last days that Timothy was in and that we are in today.
Perilous times … difficulty, hardship, violence … even demonically influenced.
And Paul is not pointing to the future … he’s saying, “In THESE last days, there will be times of difficulty and trouble.”
Okay, so troubled times … what will be the characteristics of those times of trouble?
Well, Paul tells us … so let’s look at verse 2 and see.

v2-5

A faithful believer should have nothing to do with the people that Paul describes here.

A faithful believer should have nothing to do with the people Paul described in this section. It is important to note that these people operate under the guise of religion:“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (). They are “religious” but rebellious! Paul discussed three facts about these people.

And where does Paul say that these people are in operation today?

Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition com
Well, Paul says in verse 5, “Having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
In other words, these people operate under the guise of Christianity.
They are found in the church … where they “Resist the truth” as verse 8 will say.
These are the disapproved workers of the last chapter … whose message spreads like gangrene and overthrows the faith of some.
Like Hymenaeus and Philetus, they have shipwrecked their own faith and seek to do the same to other believers.
Paul reveals some important facts about them.
First of all, while many may be pastors, teachers, deacons, deaconesses, or other church leaders, they may also be laypersons in the church.
They are simply “men.”
The Greek word that is here translated “men” does not single out any group or type of people, but is ἄνθρωπος Anthrōpos, simply meaning “people.”
There is no mark mentioned or physical characteristics that gives them away.
So, if, as Paul says we are to turn away from them … how are they to be recognized?
Well, this is the 2nd important fact about them.
They display certain characteristics.
In these verses there are at least 18 different characteristics listed.
At least eighteen different characteristics are listed here, and Paul probably could have listed more. There is an emphasis on love: “lovers of their own selves,” lovers of money (“covetous”), “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” The heart of every problem is a problem in the heart. God commands us to love Him supremely, and our neighbors as ourselves (); but if we love ourselves supremely, we will not love God or our neighbors.
Notice the emphasis on love:
In verse 2, “Lovers of their own selves,” and “Lovers of money.”
“Lovers of themselves” here is Philautos from the word for brotherly love and a pronoun pointing back to oneself.
Likewise “lovers of money” is Philargyros also from the word for brotherly love and Argos which means silver and speaks of loving riches.
In verse 3, “Unloving.”
“Unloving” is Astorgos meaning hard-hearted.
And in verse 4, “Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
“Lovers of Pleasure” is Philēdonos from the word for brotherly love and hēdonē which means pleasures.
“Lovers of God” is Philotheos from the word for brotherly love and Theos which means God.
It’s been said that, “The heart of every problem is a problem in the heart.”
Jesus said in :
Matthew 22:37–39 NKJV
Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Matthew 22:37-
God commands us to love HIM above all else, … and our neighbors as ourselves.
God commands us to love Him supremely, and our neighbors as ourselves (); but if we love ourselves supremely, we will not love God or our neighbors.
When we love ourselves above all else, WE WILL NOT love God or our neighbors.

There is God, and then there are people and things.

We should worship God, love people, and use things.
In this universe there is God, and there are people and things. We should worship God, love people, and use things. But if we start worshiping ourselves, we will ignore God and start loving things and using people. This is the formula for a miserable life; yet it characterizes many people today. The worldwide craving for things is just one evidence that people’s hearts have turned away from God.
But if we worship ourselves … then we will ignore God.
We will start loving things and using people.
This characterizes many people today.
The craving for things is one evidence that people’s hearts have turned away from God.
And it’s something we might expect to find in the world … but it’s also something that we find increasingly in the church.

There are teachers who say that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for his children.

I guess someone should have told Paul and Peter and the other Apostles.

Many in the church today teach that if you are financially poor or in poor health, then you are lacking faith.

They teach that faith, positive speech, and donations to the church will increase one's material wealth and guard your health.
But they go even further than that … Prosperity theology is part of a movement called the New Apostolic Reformation which claims to be the re-discovery of true doctrine.
Proponents say that it is part of a path to Christian dominion over secular society, which will lead to a world of peace and prosperity, ushering in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Prosperity theology casts itself as the reclamation of true doctrine and thus part of a path to Christian dominion over secular society.
It’s connected to Dominionist theology.
Nowhere does the Bible teach these thingsrather, these things are a twisting of what the Bible says.
that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one's material wealth.
The New Apostolic Reformation, was founded by C. Peter Wagner, and includes Mike Bickle of IHOP, Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, Brian Houston of Hillsong, Chuck Pierce, Lou Engle and many more very popular pastors and teachers.
But few people are aware of the problems with the doctrine they hold to.
holds to
They are spiritual fakes, phony religionists masquerading as representatives of God's truth when in fact they are not … they preach a paganized Christianity that worships self rather than God.
In fact, “Word-faith” and dominionism (NAR) make the claim that we are or can be “little gods.”
Spiritual fakes, phony religionists masquerading as representatives of God's truth when in fact they are not. May I say theirs is a paganized Christianity.
“Word-faith” or “positive confession” teachers often make the claim that we are “little gods.”
Word-Faith argues that since believers are called “the sons of god” and because like begets like, we must somehow have the same nature as God.
NAR teaches that Jesus won His divinity by living in right relationship with God.
They then say that if we live in right relationship with God, like Jesus did, through the inheritance of being born again we can become little gods.
if we live in right relationship with God, like Jesus did, we can also, through the inheritance of being born again become little gods.
These are blatantly unbiblical and heretical teachings.
“You shall be as gods” was Satan’s offer to Eve ().
The result was that people “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than [rather than] the Creator” ().
Do not read below:
Genesis 3:5 NKJV
For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Romans 1:25 NKJV
who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Through prosperity doctrine and by extension dominionism, man becomes his own god.
The creature becomes the creator.

This stuff snuck into the church and has now become a large and influential movement despite the fact that it is unbiblical.

And the preachers who teach this stuff are just as Paul describes in verse 2, “Lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud (arrogant), and blasphemers.

And they are luring so many believers into this folly.
And that’s just a couple of the larger unbiblical movements sweeping through the church today.
“Disobedient to parents” suggests that this apostasy reaches into the family. Children are “unthankful” and do not appreciate what their parents have done for them. They are “unholy” in their attitude toward their parents. “Honor thy father and thy mother” is not widely taught or respected.
Other unbiblical movements are replacement theology, Christian Torah Submission, Convergence, Emergence, and New Thought ....
How do we discern what is good biblical doctrine and what is not?
We do what Paul said earlier:
2 Timothy 2:15 KJV 1900
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
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Let’s move on.

“Disobedient to parents” is next.

The Greek word used here for disobedience pertains to a continuous disobedience to parents.

That this is included in this list suggests that apostasy reaches into the family.
The next few characteristics … unthankful, unholy, unloving (without natural affection).
That this is included in this list suggests that apostasy reaches into the family.
They are “unholy” in their attitude toward their parents.
“Honor thy father and thy mother” is not widely taught or respected.
The family is under attack these days, and, as go its families, so goes the nation.
The family is under attack these days, and, as go its families, so goes the nation.
----
It is confusion, and God will judge it ().

Next up … “Unthankful” and “unholy” may not seem to belong together.

That is until we look at another list of Paul’s in .

Do not read below:
Romans 1:29–31 NKJV
being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
Not only in homes, but out in society and the business world, the characteristics of these perilous times may be seen.
Earlier, in verse 21 of , Paul had written, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (v. 21).
Do not read below:
Romans 1:21 NIV84
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:21 NKJV
because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

To withhold thanks from God puts the believer in the realm of the unbeliever, refusing to acknowledge that God exists and that our life and all we have come from Him.

To withhold thanks from God is a refusal to acknowledge that he exists or, at the least, to refuse to acknowledge that our life and all we have come from him.
I think that there is a feeling of entitlement that has grown into the church today.
And instead of thankfulness there is a a lot of trying to manipulate God.
Even in giving, it’s not so much about our thanksgiving to God for His provision as it is trying to get more out of God.
Like Abraham trying to fulfill God’s promises through the Egyptian bondservant Hagar, Christians seem to think they can bring about God’s promises by their own efforts and merit.
The NAR and Dominionists think they can usher in God’s kingdom by
----

“Unloving” in verse 3 describes people who cause division.

“Unloving” in verse 3 describes people who will not try to agree.

They are people who are unyielding and irreconcilable and must have their own way.

The Greek word for unloving is ἄστοργος Astorgos meaning “Without natural affection.”
But it is derived from the word Storgē which speaks of affection between family members.
It is natural to love members of one’s own family.
The Bible speaks of Christians as being adopted into the family of God and as such we are family.
But in Paul’s day, there were those who caused disputes by their false teachings and refused to accept sound doctrine.
Today we have the same, but on a much larger scale … whole movements that deny the sound doctrine handed down from the Apostles.
To withhold sound doctrine or to use false teaching to sow discord is unloving.
The word that is translated as unforgiving is ἄσπονδος Aspondos and is better translated “without offering.”
The word that is translated as unforgiving is ἄσπονδος Aspondos and is better translated “without offering.”
They are perfectly willing to have others make sacrifices, but they themselves are unwilling.
Their false doctrine is to their own benefit … appearing to have a lot to offer, it is empty of truth.

Often, these people who cause division resort to slander and tearing down the reputation of others in order to prop up their false teachings.

We find the word “slanderers” in verse 3.

To slander is to make a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report.
a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report
Here, it’s the Greek word διάβολος Diabolos which means devil … it’s root means “To bring charges.”
The Devil is the greatest slanderer of all time and if he can malign the report of scripture, he will.
And he has many in his service who are doing the same.
Unfortunately, some of this activity goes on even among professed Christians. “Christian leaders” accuse one another in the pages of their publications.
----

Another characteristic that Paul points to is a lack of self-control.

“Do your own thing and enjoy it” is the motto of the world.

It should not be the motto of believers.
Even though self-control is the last of the spiritual fruits mentioned by Paul in , it is clearly an indispensable attribute of the Christian life.
And especially as our unredeemed flesh sometimes causes us to give in to our sinful desires.
even though self-control is the last of the spiritual fruits mentioned by Paul, and even though it is a term not used extensively in the Bible, self-control is clearly an indispensable attribute of the Christian life, especially as our unredeemed flesh sometimes causes us to succumb to the persistent tug of our sinful desires.
The apostle Paul calls us to, “Cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” ().
Do not read below
2 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
And in his letter to the Romans, he exhorts us to, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,” and not to be conformed to this world ().
And in his letter to the Romans, he exhorts us to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God,” and not to be conformed to the pattern of this world ().
Do not read below:
The apostle Paul calls us to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (). And in his letter to the Romans, he exhorts us to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God,” and not to be conformed to the pattern of this world ().
And in his letter to the Romans, he exhorts us to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God,” and not to be conformed to the pattern of this world ().
Romans 12:1–2 NKJV
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This lack of self-control that is in the world and the church reveals itself in a number of ways.
For one thing, it is ἀνήμερος Anēmeros meaning “Fierce, savage, and brutal.”
It is actually a term that would normally be applied to a wild animal rather than a human.
Like an animal, these people have no remorse over what they do.
They act upon their basest nature.
Instead of honoring what is good, they despise what is good and honor what is evil.
And Paul notes THAT here … “Despisers of good.”
Instead of honoring what is good, they despise what is good and honor what is evil.
In society today the standards of right and wrong have been twisted … even discarded.
Isaiah the prophet said, “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil.”
Do not read below:
Isaiah 5:20 NKJV
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Today there are churches that are willing to set aside God’s Word for man’s philosophy.
There are pastors that are willing to call what God says is an abomination to Him ... good.
Today we see an increasing number of church congregations following the world rather than following the LORD.
----

In verse 4, we have “traitors.”

It describes people who betray others and cannot be trusted.

Neither friendship nor partnership makes any difference to them.
They lie and break their promises whenever it suits them.
Again … I think we can all recognize this betraying and self serving nature in the world today.
But as he was doing in chapter 1 and 2, Paul is speaking still in regards to ministry in the church.
So then, what “traitors” are there in the church?
The pastor has a sacred trust with his congregation to teach the Word of God thoroughly and faithfully.
Yet there are those who very wilfully and knowingly teach other things in order to prop up false doctrines that benefit themselves.
2 Peter 2:1–3 NKJV
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
The obvious false teachers would be Joseph Smith founder of Mormonism and Charles Russel of the Jehovahs Witnesses.
But today there are the accepted even revered false teachers of the NAR movement … and those who push Word-Faith, Pelagianism or Semi-Pelagianism, Monasticism, and modelism.
Pelagianism
modelism.
And I would say that even those who make giving a means of gaining some favor with God are betraying their congregations to their own profit.
Pelagianism
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Next we have “Headstrong” means “reckless, rash, acting without careful thought.”
“Haughty” describes a person who is “puffed up” with his own importance … “Conceited” is a good synonym.
“Haughty” describes a person who is “puffed up” with his own importance … “Conceited” is a good synonym.

And then we have “Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”

Paul is not suggesting that we have to choose between pleasure and God.

In fact, when we live for God, we enjoy the greatest pleasures ().
Psalm 16:11 NKJV
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
But we have the CHOICE between loving pleasure or loving God.
If we love God, we will also enjoy fullness of life here and forever.
The choice is between loving pleasure or loving God. If we love God, we will also enjoy fullness of life here and forever; but the pleasures of sin can only last for a brief time (). No one can deny that we live in a pleasure-mad world; but these pleasures too often are just shallow entertainment and escape; they are not enrichment and true enjoyment.
But if we love pleasure, we will pursue sin, … and the pleasures of sin only last for a brief time and is not enrichment and true enjoyment.
Hebrews 11:25 NKJV
choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
No one can deny that we live in a pleasure-mad world; but these pleasures too often are just shallow entertainment and escape; they are not enrichment and true enjoyment.
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Now we get to a verse that those who push false doctrine often try to quote to divert the argument.

“Having a form of godliness but denying it’s power.”

They will quote this verse to their critics and say, “You are denying the power of God.”
The irony is that this verse and the characteristics that came before it are actually critical of those who teach false doctrines.
Paul says that those who have the previously named characteristics would consider themselves godly.
But it’s only an outward appearance … not true Christian faith.
They are deceived, having never experienced the power of God in their lives.
And Paul says, “From such people turn away.”

v6-7

Understand that Paul is not belittling women here.

He is merely pointing out a condition of his time.

That is that women then were generally not as well educated as men were and they could be more susceptible to being deceived.
In fact, if you read some of the Roman satire of the day, you will find that they often ridiculed women for swapping from religion to religion like one might change clothes.
But both men and women today are being deceived.
And whether male or female, people who fall for false teachers have the same characteristics.
Paul says first that they are burdened with guilt and looking for some escape from bondage and fear.

They find people who are ripe for being deceived.

They are burdened with guilt and looking for some escape from bondage and fear. They find themselves unable to control their various desires (“divers lusts,” kjv). The emphasis here may be on sexual problems. Finally, they are always searching for truth, trying this approach and that; yet they are never able to be satisfied. This kind of person is fair game for the cultists and the religious racketeers.
In fact, the word for “captive” does not literally mean “to take captive,” but to captivate.
They captivate people with lies and then take advantage of them.
The emphasis here may be on sexual problems.
This is the point of what Paul is saying herePaul wants to show the treachery of the false teachers.
The false teachers are devious.
They prey on the weaknesses of people … “Sow a seed and receive a harvest … Sow a bigger seed and receive a bigger harvest.”
This kind of person is fair game for the cultists and the religious racketeers.
(story of watching fake priest and fake altar on Christian television)
They take advantage of the problems people have, and promise them quick and easy solutions.
They “worm their way in” and soon control people’s lives.
It is not long before these leaders grab their followers’ loyalty, money, and their service.
And the people who go to their churches or attend their conferences or read their books are worse off than they were before.
They still have their problems, but they have been duped into thinking that all is well.
And, remember: All of this underhanded activity is done in the name of religion!
No wonder Paul told Timothy, “From such turn away.”

v8-9

Paul is referring back to the contest between Moses and the Pharaoh’s magicians from Exodus chapters 7-9.

Moses’ Read for the record of the contest between Moses and the Egyptian magicians.

Yannēs and Yambrēs are not named in those chapters, but they are identified in the Targum.

The Targum is an Aramaic translation and expansion of the Hebrew Bible.
In the Targum they are identified as sons of Balaam, and magicians in Pharaoh’s court.
They are also identified as having been among the “mixed multitude” who followed the Israelites out of Egypt … AND as instigators in the worship of the golden calf at Mount Sinai.
They appear also in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in some writings of the early church fathers, and in the Apocrypha.
BUT, this is the only place in the Bible where their names are given.
In Exodus, these men opposed Moses by imitating what he did.
When Aaron’s rod turned into a serpent, the magicians cast down their rods and they turned into serpents.
Moses turned the water into blood, and the magicians followed with the same miracle.
When Moses brought up all the frogs, the magicians duplicated the miracle.
BUT when it came to the miracle of the lice, the magicians could not imitate it.
Satan is an imitator what God does, Satan counterfeits.
False teachers then and today have a counterfeit faith, and their purpose is to promote a lie and resist the truth of God’s Word.
They deny the authority of the Bible and substitute human wisdom and philosophy.

In their attempt to be “modern,” they deny the reality of sin and people’s need for salvation.

They are corrupt in mind and reprobate in faith.
The word “disapproved” in verse 8 should be “reprobate.”
Reprobate means “tested and found counterfeit.”

Yannēs and Yambrēs were finally exposed and made fools of by the judgments of God.

This will also happen to te leaders of false religions in the last days.

v10-12

v10-12

Yannēs and Yambrēs were ministers of Satan’s work.

In contrast, Paul is our best example of a worker for the Lord.

He hid nothing, and he taught God’s Word faithfully … he had been a faithful servant of God.
Paul turned from the false leaders to remind Timothy that he (Paul) had been a faithful servant of God.
Paul turned from the false leaders to remind Timothy that he (Paul) had been a faithful servant of God.
It is important in these difficult days that we follow the right spiritual leaders.
Paul gave characteristics of false teachers … and he gives characteristics of good teachers.
The first and second ones are in verse 10.
Their lives are open.
They teach sound doctrine.
Paul had nothing to hide.
Like Jesus, he could say, “In secret have I said nothing.”
Don’t read below:
John 18:20 NKJV
Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.

Timothy knew Paul very well and while Paul was not perfect, he tried to be a good example to young Timothy.

He stood up for the truth even when it meant losing friends and, in the end, losing his life.

Paul was a servant, not a celebrity.
In contrast, the false teachers were self seeking hypocrites.
As he told the Ephesian elders, Paul could also say:
Acts 20:27 NKJV
For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
“My doctrine” in Paul’s case meant the true faith, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“My doctrine” in Paul’s case meant the true faith, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter how appealing a preacher may be, if he does not preach the truth of God’s Word, he does not deserve our support. On radio and TV today, we have a great deal of “pseudo-Christianity” which is a mixture of psychology, success motivation, and personality cults, with a little bit of Bible thrown in to make it look religious. Beware!
And he suffered greatly for it … persecutions and afflictions.
No matter how appealing a preacher may be, if he does not preach the truth of God’s Word, he does not deserve our support.
The fact that he was persecuted from city to city was proof that he was living a godly life.
Some people today have the idea that godliness means escaping persecution, when just the opposite is true.
On radio and TV today, we have a great deal of what would be called “pseudo-Christianity.”
It is a mixture of psychology, success motivation, and cults of personality, with a little bit of Bible thrown in to make it look right.
And many of these false teachers are not only loved by the church, they are celebrated by the world … which should clue us in.
If what someone is teaching wins them celebrity with the world … they are not teaching the Word of God.
Christians need to turn away from such people.
Beware!
Their purpose is to glorify God (v. 10d). There was never a question about Paul’s “purpose” in ministry: He wanted to do God’s will and finish the work God gave him to do (; ). The Apostle Paul was a man of “faith” who trusted God to meet his needs. He was a man of “long-suffering” who bore up under people’s attacks. He was a man of love (“charity”) who willingly gave himself to serve others.
The word patience at the end of means “endurance, the ability to stick with it when the going gets tough.”
They are willing to suffer (vv. 11–12). Paul did not ask others to suffer for him; he suffered for others. The fact that he was persecuted from city to city was proof that he was living a godly life. Some people today have the idea that godliness means escaping persecution, when just the opposite is true.
I wonder how Paul would match up with today’s concept of a Christian leader. He would probably fail miserably. If he applied for service with a modern mission board, would he be accepted? He had a prison record; he had a physical affliction; he stirred up problems in just about every place he visited. He was poor, and he did not cater to the rich. Yet God used him, and we are being blessed today because Paul was faithful.

v13-17

The only way to defeat Satan’s lies is with God’s truth.

But how do you know if what you are hearing is truth if you are unfamiliar with the Bible?

So few Christians spend any time in their Bible outside of church … and many don’t get anything but cherry picked scripture in church.
The only way to defeat Satan’s lies is with God’s truth. “Thus saith the Lord!” is the final answer to every question. Evil men and deceivers are going to get worse and worse. They will deceive more and more. Why? Because they are being deceived by Satan! In these last days, there will be more deception and imitation; and the only way a believer will be able to tell the true from the false is by knowing the Word of God.
This is how false teachers keep people hooked.
What God has said in His written Word is the final answer to every question.
Evil men and deceivers are going to get worse and worse.
They will deceive more and more.
That is because they themselves are being deceived by Satan.
In these last days, there will be more deception and imitation; and the only way a believer will be able to tell the true from the false is by knowing the Word of God.
This is a good place to admonish Christian parents to teach their children the Bible. In our home, my wife and I used Kenneth Taylor’s Bible Stories with Pictures for Little Eyes; in fact, we wore out two copies! What a joy it was to see our older children who had learned to read share the stories with the younger ones and help them answer the questions. Little by little, the children graduated to older Bible storybooks and then to Bibles of their own. We were fortunate that our Sunday School included a Bible memory program. As soon as your child is born, surround him with the Word of God and prayer. You will not have this opportunity after he grows up.
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In the final verses of this chapter, Paul made some important statements about the Scriptures:

First, in verse 15, he refers to them as “Holy Scriptures.”
“Sacred Letters” is a literal translation.
It means that they are “consecrated for sacred use.”
The suggestion is that young Timothy learned his Hebrew alphabet by spelling his way through the Old Testament Scriptures. The word for holy means “consecrated for sacred use.” The Bible is different from every other book—even books about the Bible—because it has been set apart by God for special sacred uses. We must treat the Bible as the special book it is.
The Bible is different from every other book—even books about the Bible—because it has been set apart by God for special sacred uses.
We should recognize the Bible as the special book it is and give it the proper place in our lives.
Paul gives us the right attitude toward the Word of God ().
1 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
Secondly, the Scriptures lead us to salvation.
As is said in , we are not saved by believing the Bible, but by trusting the Christ who is revealed in the Bible.
John 5:39 NKJV
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
What is the relationship of the Bible to salvation?
Timothy was raised on the Holy Scriptures in a godly home.
Yet it was not until Paul led him to Christ that he was saved.
What is the relationship of the Bible to salvation? To begin with, the Bible reveals our need for salvation. It is a mirror that shows us how filthy we are in God’s sight. The Bible explains that every lost sinner is condemned now () and needs a Saviour now. It also makes it clear that a lost sinner cannot save himself.
Well, the Bible reveals our need for salvation.
It is a mirror that shows us how filthy we are in God’s sight.
The Bible explains that every lost sinner is condemned and needs a Savior.
It also makes it clear that a lost sinner cannot save himself.
The Bible also reveals God’s wonderful plan of salvation: Jesus died for our sins!
If we trust Him, He will save us.
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And then there are two of my favorite verses in the Bible, verses 16-17.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy
Then the Bible becomes our spiritual food to nourish us that we might grow in grace and serve Christ.
It is our sword for fighting Satan and overcoming temptation.
Scripture is literally “God Breathed.”
The word is θεόπνευστος Theopneustos: God Breathed

The doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture is vitally important.

Because of it’s importance, Satan has attacked God’s Word from the beginning (“Yea, hath God said?” []).
Don’t read below:
Genesis 3:1 NKJV
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
God has given us a book we can trust.
Moses testified that He is a God of truth.
Deuteronomy 32:4 NKJV
He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
And the Bible tells us that Jesus is “the truth” (); and the “Spirit is truth” ().
Don’t read below:
He is the God of truth (); Jesus is “the truth” (); and the “Spirit is truth” ().
John 14:6 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Jesus is “the truth” (); and the “Spirit is truth” ().
1 John 5:6 NKJV
This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.
Jesus Himself said of the Scriptures, “Thy Word is truth” ().
Do not read below
John 17:17 NKJV
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
But didn’t we get the scriptures through the hands of men who wrote the books and letters?
Yes … The Holy Spirit used men of God to write the Word of God … testifies of this.
Don’t read below:
2 Peter 1:20–21 NKJV
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.
In doing so … the Holy Spirit did not erase the natural characteristics of the writers.
God in His providence prepared the writers for the task of writing the Scriptures, and each writer has his own distinctive style and vocabulary.
Each writer has his own distinctive style and vocabulary.
Also, each book of the Bible grew out of a special set of circumstances.
In His preparation of men, in His guiding of history, and in His working through the Spirit, God brought about the miracle of the Scriptures.
“Inspiration” in reference to scripture does not mean inspired in the way the world thinks … like we might say, “What an inspired song.”
Biblical inspiration means the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the Bible’s writers.
His guidance guaranteed that what they wrote was accurate and trustworthy.
Revelation means the communicating of truth to man by God; inspiration has to do with the recording of this communication in a way that is dependable.
Whatever the Bible says about itself, man, God, life, death, history, science, and every other subject is true. This does not mean that every statement in the Bible is true, because the Bible records the lies of men and of Satan. But the record is true.
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Verse 16 also tells us that scripture is profitable … it means beneficial.

They are profitable for doctrine (what is right), for reproof (what is not right), for correction (how to get right), and for instruction in righteousness (how to stay right).
A Christian who studies the Bible and applies what he learns will grow in holiness and avoid many pitfalls in this world.

And verse 17 says that the scriptures equip us for service.

Earlier in , Paul had called Timothy a “man of God.”
But here Paul states that any Christian can become a man or women “of God.”
How?
By studying the Word of God, obeying it, and letting it control his life.
Let’s stop here and we’ll pick up with chapter 4 next Sunday.
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You know, it’s worth noting that all of the “men of God” named in Scripture … such as Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, David, and Timothy … were devoted to God’s Word.
Two words in this verse are especially important … “complete” and “equipped.”
The Word of God completes and equips a believer so that he can live a life that pleases God and do the work God wants him to do.
“Furnished” has a similar meaning: “equipped for service.” In other words, the Word of God furnishes and equips a believer so that he can live a life that pleases God and do the work God wants him to do. The better we know the Word, the better we are able to live and work for God.
The better we know the Word, the better we are able to live and work for God.
The purpose of Bible study and the purpose of church is the equipping of the believers who read it.
It is the Word of God that equips God’s people to do the work of God.
The times are not going to get better, but we Christians can become better people, even in bad times.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 251–253). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
We must separate ourselves from that which is false, devote ourselves to that which is true, and continue in our study of the Word of God.
Then God can equip us for ministry in these difficult days, and we will have the joy of seeing others come to a knowledge of the truth.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your amazing and wonderful Word. As we study Your Word, we ask that You do a work through it to complete and equip us. We thank You for Your Salvation and that You are with us. Help us to surrender to Your will without complaint and give us wisdom to understand Your will. We ask for opportunities to glorify You in our lives and pray for patience until Your purposes have been fulfilled. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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