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2 Timothy 5

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2 Timothy 3.

INTRO:

- call to Timothy to guard the faith, the truth, the Gospel, the doctrine.

 - The truth was under attack (2 Tim 2:16-18) people deserting the faith (2 Tim 1:15).

 - Why was there this urgent call to teach, to uphold and defend the truth? - because there was going to be an all out assault on the truth, a great turning away.

- This was happening in Paul's day but he is speaking of the future, the last days - there will be a great apostasy.

READ 2 Tim 3:1-9

- Have you ever considered the possibility that whole way you envisage the way God is going to do things may be wrong?

- The disciples were thrown by Jesus' death even though they He repeatedly told them - they thought everything was going to be great, Jesus reigning victoriously, closed their ears to "bad news" and so were unprepared.

- we need to be careful we are not likewise looking for a scenario that will not unfold.

- Many speak of a great end time revival of the church ruling over the world and handing it over to Jesus at His return - only one problem with this - it is not the truth! It is not going to happen! because the Bible states otherwise. It is a human idea with no foundation in Scripture. - The Bible speaks clearly and consistently of an end time apostasy, many turning away from the faith. (Matthew 24:9-13; 24:23-26 Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them.1 Timothy 4:1,2 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,2 Timothy 4:3,4 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.2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,)

- terrible times - those who prophesy good times at the end are wrong!

- Is this not what we see now? This indicates we are near the end. Does this mean that things have gone terribly wrong? No, everything is occurring just as God has planned and said it would happen.

- Are we to be discouraged? (Luke 21:16, 17, 28 But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”)

- let me tell you that things are not going to be hunky dory - terrible times are coming! The Word of God says so. It may not be pleasant to hear but to me isn't it better to know what is coming than to blithely carrying on and being overcome by disaster - be like disciples who were thrown when Jesus died

- If you know difficult times are coming you can be prepared for them (cf. Gen 41:28-36). We must store up a rich deposit of God’s Word to sustain us through this difficult time (cf. 13-17; Amos 8:11-13).

- to be forewarned is to be prepared (cf.1 Thes 5:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief)

 what makes times terrible? ?war, famine, natural disaster - no, the moral condition of man. Just as it was in the days of Noah and Lot (2 Peter 2:7,8 Lot was oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),)

- people thought all was going well but the righteous groaned at what was going on around them - Do we?

Look at what Paul describes - it is 21st century NZ!

The last days will be difficult days - a difficult period, a season of danger - the  danger of falling away, of being deceived

Marks of the world:

- so what marks the people living in the last days?

 - love self - taught to! even in churches - "can't love others till you learn to love yourself"! - self-esteem - really euphemism for pride.

- boastful - assertiveness promoted as a virtue - bolshy young people, arrogance never dared when I started work

 - from this arrogance flows the next two - abusive and disobedient to parents - we are rebels at heart (cf. conceited v.4)

- ingratitude - systemic in our society - never have we had so much but never have we grizzled so much! Govt not doing enough. Compare yourself with the third world: roof over our heads, food to eat, clean water, freedom of conscience, social welfare system, complain about health system - we should be thankful that there is one! - people expect everything as "their right" - there is no appreciation or thankfulness, they think that it is their due. Not thankful for their pay, they are always militating for more. Never satisfied with the multitude of luxuries they have, they always want a new one, the latest model etc.

- unholy - no reverence for God - nothing is regarded as sacred. We think we are God and that we are accountable to no one but ourselves.

 -  wicked - it speaks of one’s lack of inner purity. No regard for God or man. All are summed up in an all consuming preoccupation with self!

- How different Jesus’ way! (cf. Luke 9:23-25 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?).

- all for self and no thought for others: unloving, unforgiving, speaking badly of others

 - no control - unrestrained violence as each seeks his own- This selfishness affects their relationships with others (2 Tim 3:3) and with God (2 Tim 3:4). When self is the center all other areas ore corrupted also.

- if it feels good, do it! just do it! Indulge yourself, treat yourself, you deserve it, buy now pay later - no restraint, no denying yourself, no control of desires, appetites or urges. Evident in drunkenness, addiction, indulgence, appetites.

-You tell whether people of the world or of God by what they love:

                   

lovers of self in fact they have no love at all but without: love or love of good or love of God. They are lovers of pleasure. Rather we should be haters of self, money and pleasure and be lovers of God and good.

what do we love? self, money, pleasure - all are selfish (love is directed toward others) and characterized by a total lack of love - God is love - total absence of the expression of what is God's character. If we loved God we'd love others, seek others' good not our own

- what an accurate description of our society today! - selfishness, pride, arrogance, assertiveness, rebellious, ungrateful, lacking self  discipline

 - but they were not irreligious - all form but no reality. No power, just going through the motions. Deny its power - mainline churches full of liberal theology which remove all that is supernatural - rationalism rules. Religion won’t die out in the last days - many will be religious but few will be truly godly, truly love Him.

 - this is what characterizes the last days - do we not see it all around us? We are in the last days!

- what should be our response? ?get alongside, get to know them, show them what nice people true Christians are, mix with them in friendship evangelism? NO! HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM! There is no power of resurrection life, no new life, no new creation, no transformation - "I" is still on the throne, not Christ. Such religion is futile. We are to have no patience with it. Not try to persuade them, or debate with them or even have contact with them (cf. 2 Tim 2:22) - Paul strongly commands to avoid such people at all costs. We are to evangelize the lost, but those claiming godliness but denying the reality of His Being, life and power are to be avoided.

 -should we seek to get alongside and win them back to the fold - no! The Word of God says to have nothing to do with people like this!

- False religion and it is religion used to manipulate and exploit the vulnerable. Women are more susceptible because they have, in general, more spiritual interest and sensitivity - there is a hunger deep within and they seek to satiate it but never do because they are looking to the wrong source.

 I have seen women carried along by the charismatic personality of a pastor - the motive behind their allegiance to the male leader is at root quite basic and fleshly.Taking advantage of their overburdened conscience they get them under their power. Perhaps the revealing of sin, confession of lusts etc. to the pastor creates a bond through the intimate sharing but also reveals to the evil and unscrupulous minister their carnal appetites which he then exploits. The implication seems to be that the women are taken advantage of sexually. A tragedy not confined to Paul’s time - how many pastors/ministers have we seen "fall" in this way in recent days. In actual fact they don’t "fall" so much as deliberately and connivingly "seduce.

- there is false religion and the illegitimate use of spiritual powers. There are spiritual forces that are not of God. That is what Paul is talking about - who were these Jannes and Jambres - the magicians who served in Pharaoh's court in the time of Moses (read Ex 7:10-12,22; 8:7,16-19) - folly of fighting the LORD evident to all (cf. 12:36) - they opposed the truth, the irresistible - it is foolishness!

-  They trust in occultic arts rather than in God - use spiritual power for their own ends, don't care what its source is so long as they have control over others.

-  The miracles performed were direct indisputable evidence of God’s power yet they sought to hide that fact by muddying the waters by replicating the miracles. Now they knew that Moses wasn’t employing the same power (occult) that they were, so they knew this power came from God yet they prevented others from realizing this by imitating it by other means.

- This is what apostasy does (cf. 2 Tim 3:5) it makes itself out to look like the real thing but denies its power - God Himself - religion that fools people because its appearance is similar to the real thing but has rejected its fundamental Source of power and life. Unfortunately many people see no further that surface appearances and so are fooled, deceived.

-  Hence if there is a supernatural manifestation (e.g. Toronto phenomena) people are convinced it is of God - just like Jannes and Jambres did, they have been taken in by occult power that sought to imitate God. Jannes and Jambres couldn’t stand up to the rigors of the test - they could only imitate a few of Moses’ miracles. Similarly apostates, despite their religious show, do not stand up to the rigors of being tested against the truth of Scripture.

-  They do not stand up to the test of Scripture and so are rejected regarding the Christian faith - we are to have nothing to do with such as these (cf. 2 Tim 3:5).

- You cannot fool everyone forever with lies - eventually truth will out. Just as Jannes and Jambres were eventually shown up to be powerless, they could no longer duplicate the plagues, nor could they remove them; so too those who are false religionists will eventually be revealed as such. They can only go so far, they will make no further progress - their folly, their foolish perversion of the truth will become obvious to all. Shame and humiliation are the destiny for those who peddle lies, hypocrites who appear to be religious but do not know God, who do not know the truth.

- It is prevalent today! Illegitimate use of spiritual power! [Apostolic experience - something supernatural going on but it wasn't of God, Benny Hinn, manipulating people and extracting their money - adulation]

 - It is only a temporary moment of glory - their folly soon becomes evident to everyone because they are false and only the truth ultimately will prevail. You can't fool all of the people all of the time. Same with the Toronto thing, it came to nothing in terms of Revival, Where is Rise up? Power evangelism and the multitude of other spiritual fads.

- It is a depraved mind that fights against the truth, who believes a lie. Hence rejected as far as the faith is concerned.

Marks of Christ’s Own Read 2 Tim 3:10-17

- Apostasy Leads to Persecution.All those who determine to live in a godly manner in union with Christ Jesus, shall suffer (endure) persecution. This will be particularly true in the difficult seasons preceding Christ’s return, because evil men and imposters shall grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. In the last days this is how it's going to be but we are to be different!

- Paul not only preached the message, he lived it! He was a living demonstration of what he taught - thus he encouraged people to imitate his example.


- Everyone else is following their own desires but we are to be following the example of godly men. While people are doing what feels good to them we are to live a disciplined life: teaching, disciplined life, purpose (to glorify God proclaim the Gospel) faith, perseverance, love, endurance, suffering, persecution - a hard life by our own choice - how utterly different to that depicted in the previous verses.

- we are not called to an easy road of self indulgence - Paul had a tough time of it and still was (cf. 2 Cor 4:8-11 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.)

 - but through the difficulties we prove the reality of the God we trust with us - he rescues us from them all - Hallelujah! God is faithful! He is merciful and cares for His own. Bless His name!

 - in fact it's a promise: "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Is that a promise you claim? Am I being persecuted? - if not I must ask myself if I am living godly in Christ"But persecution is not to be avoided, it is to be expected - it is the normal course of the Christian life.Persecution is the standard experience for the Christian - this is the consistent testimony of Scripture (cf. 1 Peter 1:6,7; 2:20,21; 4:12-14; John 15:18-21; Acts 14:22; Rom 8:17; James 1:2-4 etc.).

-. In an atmosphere where apostasy abounds, those who remain faithful to the truth and seek to live godly in Christ Jesus (the only way to live godly is by being in Christ Jesus, His life being in you) will be persecuted as evil men and imposters get worse and worse and deception increases. - The Scriptures do not paint a picture of universal end-time revival but of evil, apostasy increasing, a great turning away, the love of many growing cold and deception abounding.

- Referring to this time, Jesus’ great warning was against deception, to be alert, on guard. There is the implication that these imposters who come into the church purporting to be ministers, teachers etc. yet teach falsehood have some spiritual, supernatural power behind them - they are demon inspired (cf. 1 Tim 4:1). This is evil forces at work through men to corrupt and destroy the church through deception. They have been fooled themselves, having been deceived they go on to deceive others.

- It quite clearly states that it is evil men and imposters who will advance, not those faithful to the truth (weeds proliferate) - as always there will be a small remnant who remain solely by God’s grace. Great going astray will characterize the end - we have been warned in advance that we may take heed, for none is immune from deception (Mark 13:5,6 And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.2 Corinthians 11:2-4 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.1 Corinthians 10:11,12 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.).

- The protection against deception is holding fast to the truth

- keep teaching what is true comes through again and again in Timothy - we must continue in it

- Scripture, the Word of Truth, is the guard and protection against apostasy, against error, against falsehood. Paul exhorts Timothy to be well grounded in this essential truth in the light of the evil and apostasy that abounds (2 Tim 3:14-17; cf. 2 Tim 2:15).

- Although apostasy abounds we are to remain faithful to the truth - hold fast to the teaching of God’s Word - we must preserve what we have learned i.e. the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the mystery of death and resurrection.

- It is the truth, we are utterly convinced of it and must not abandon it no matter what.

- Scripture had played a foundational role in Timothy’s life. He had learned Scripture and been assured of its truths by his grandmother, mother (2 Tim 1:5-6) and the apostle himself (1 Tim 1:1-2) (2 Tim 1:12). From childhood he had been taught the holy writings (the OT). These have the power of making one wise to salvation through faith centered in Jesus Christ (Rom 10:17).

- In contrast to the evil and deception abounding Timothy, God’s faithful servant (cf. 2 Tim 1:5), is to keep on remaining in the truth - unshifting, enduring, unwavering (cf. Matt 24:11-13). The only remedy against error is truth - continuing, remaining in the Word of God is prophylaxis against deception (malaria illustration).

- Continually remain in the foundational truths you have been taught - don’t get caught up in fancy, exotic, esoteric, exciting new teaching - the teaching received was complete and perfect - it cannot be improved, needs nothing added to it, anything new is inferior - but people like something new, fresh and exciting (cf. 2 Tim 4:3,4; Eph 4:13-17 esp. v.14,15). That foundational teaching we learnt is reliable, able to be trusted, we can be assured of it - unlike new speculative doctrines. The old, traditional religion is scorned - "we have gone on since then, that’s old and dead, no longer relevant, don’t be bound by tradition, we have to be prepared to change and move on in the new move of God" etc. Yet if it is true and the new is different then the new must be false - which then is to be preferred? It’s record is proven - it is a sure foundation that can be relied upon.

- First we learnt it, then as we based our life on it and saw Christ to be real, true and faithful, we became convinced of it - don’t throw away that confidence for some new unproven speculation! (cf. Heb 3:6; 10:35-39 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.)

- Don’t give up what has a proven record in people of proven character. The heritage of the saints is a reliable thing not to be lightly thrown away - we should learn from what they have learnt - from those who have proven God and His word to be faithful and true. That record of the past is not to be lightly esteemed.

- The Scriptures are sacred writings - only by them comes wisdom and salvation  - how easy it is to disregard them

- we get taken up with teaching about the Bible, and yet don’t know the Bible itself - do we read it? Know it? We had a study on the Biblical world view and you know we barely opened it!

- So many voices and lies surround us and assault our ears we’ve got to know the truth, soak ourselves in this Word - it is the only source of wisdom and salvationhis teaching, this heritage passed down from his mother and grandmother, this faith was based on the Scriptures - this was the foundation of truth that is essential in an atmosphere of apostasy, heresy and deception (cf. v.16; 2:15).

- These Scriptures are not just words - they have power! - they are powerfully able to impart wisdom - the true wisdom that leads to salvation - salvation from God’s coming wrath. This salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ. The Scripture’s purpose and ability is to bring men to faith in Jesus Christ. The Scripture is powerful, effective! Able to save! Able to create faith! Able to impart wisdom! Hallelujah!

- That is why we must remain in them and not depart from them to other teaching that is not in accord with them, no matter how appealing and convincing it may be. Remain in God’s Word! - become convinced in it by proving it in your life, live continually by it. This is too valuable to lay aside!

-"All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable ..."  That is: 1. The full inspiration of the entire OT Scripture has its origin in God Himself! It is the very words of God! We have the very words of God on record! - written, incorruptible, unarguable, indisputable - it "has been written" - it is on the record, inviolable, unchanging 2. All Scripture is a product of God - God-breathed. God actually produced it, "breathed it out." It remains so whether man believes it or not. God’s Word was written by men through the agency of the Holy Spirit (πνευμα), His breath (2 Peter 1:20,21 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.). 3. As God-breathed it is inerrant and fully authoritative, since God produced it and actual error is inconsistent with God. 4. The whole of Scripture is useful:

- All Scripture is profitable - every portion profits us, does us good spiritually - it accomplishes good in us, we gain by it, it achieves things in us. It is not neutral - we cannot read it without it affecting us.

- What does it accomplish?: it teaches, reproves, corrects, instructs and equips

- Scripture reveals what is deep within us  and convicts us of sin - it is written by the Holy Spirit and this is His work (James 1:22-25 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. Hebrews 4:12,13 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.).

- Sin causes us to stumble and fall - Scripture rebukes us for this sin but doesn’t leave us down - it sets us upright back on the right path again. Instruction/discipline provides the training that strengthens us so that we do not fall again but are better equipped through our experience of failure.

 - first it teaches us what is the right way; then it rebukes us - tells us off, pulls us up, when we go wrong; once the fault has been pointed out it corrects it, bring us back on track; then it trains us - leads us on now that we are back on the right course.

 - when it has done this training work we are fit for every good work that God has purposed for us.

-  Where do we get our training from? From the Scripture. If your not reading it you are unequipped. You don’t get trained by going to a seminar  or by listening to me preach but by reading God’s Word!

- This training, instruction, discipline is for a purpose.

- Now this man of God is equipped. He is trained in righteousness. Only when he is properly trained in righteousness is he useful to God. Now his Master can use him to do the good works for which He designed him.

- This is God’s purpose for us that we do the good works that He has prepared beforehand for us to do. By this means we bring glory to God (Eph 2:10; Matt 5:16; Phil 2:13), cause glory to be given to God.

-  We must be equipped, trained before we are adequate for this task (2 Tim 2:21; Heb 13:21 Now may God equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.)

- it is Scripture alone that can thus prepare us. Scripture is vital - we cannot be useful to God unless we have been trained and prepared by its work in our life. It is the Scripture’s training that makes us capable, able to meet all demands.

- God wants us to be doing good deeds, but He first provides us with the full capability to do so (we don’t do them in our own strength but through Christ’s life in us) - this provision comes only through the Scripture - without The Scriptures we are not equipped for the task.

- In these last days of great turning away, now more than ever we need to be reading and studying God’s Word - have our lives molded according to its pattern.

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