Bad Times Are Coming (2 Timothy – 11)

BAD TIMES ARE COMING  (2 Timothy – 11)

READ: 2 Timothy 3:1-9

Each generation thinks the world is getting worse.  We think that today.  Paul thought that as well.  He not only thought it, he gave proof of it.  The further we move into the last days, the greater is the growth of evil in the world.  In his final letter (2 Timothy), Paul reminded Timothy of his duties as a pastor.  He was to grow stronger in his faith (2:1), transmit truth (2:2), endure difficulties (2:3-13), oppose false teachings (2:14,16-19), seek only God’s approval (2:15), be pure (2:20-26) and now to be alert to the growing opposition from the world (3:1-9).  Paul, who was in prison for his faith, knew times were bad but will get worse.  We must know what is coming and know what to do about it.

“There will be terrible times in the last days” (2 Timothy 3:1-9).  “The last days” refers to the final days before Jesus’ return, and no one knows when that will be.  Therefore, Paul felt these days had already begun and Timothy was living in them.  He explains what they will be like.

2 Timothy 3:2-5  People will be lovers of themselves (self-centered, narcistic), lovers of money (greedy), boastful (bring attention to themselves), proud (continual arrogance), abusive (treat others cruelly, without respect), disobedient to their parents (rebellious, disrespectful),  ungrateful (entitlement attitude, no appreciation for anything), unholy (nothing good, righteous, moral), without love (heartless, callous, hateful, hard, don’t care about anyone but themselves), unforgiving (from same root word as ‘devil,’ devilish actions like Satan who never forgives but is vengeful), slanderous (cruel, hurtful, untrue words to put others down), without self-control (gone wild, no self-restraint, do what they want when they want it), brutal (untamed, literally ‘uncivilized,’ cruel, animalistic), not lovers of the good (therefore hate what is good and love what is evil, destructive, hurtful), treacherous (betray those they should be loyal to), rash (reckless in thoughts and actions), conceited (literally ‘puffed up’ with own importance), lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (hedonistic, no morals, devoted to making self feel good, own pleasure the only god they serve) — having a form of godliness but denying its power (hypocrites, pretend to be religious, aren’t even honest about what they are really like) and always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth (they are believing lies, they do not see the Bible as God’s final, absolute authority for us today).

Have nothing to do with such people.  This strong command by Paul sums up what Timothy’s reaction to them must be.  He warns that they use good-sounding talk to slip into the lives of those who are vulnerable and gullible.  They gain their trust and slowly but surely lead them into sin (verse 6).   Jannes and Jambres, the two servants of Satan who opposed Moses in Pharaoh’s court, are prime examples of people like this who are depraved and under God’s judgment (verse 8).

These opponents of Moses back then, like the opponents of truth in Timothy’s day, knew God was greater than their demonic power but still didn’t repent (verse 9).  One day everyone will see their sin for what it really is.  This is what it will be like in the last days, and as we get closer to the return of Jesus we see more and more of these things.  Hypocrisy, sin, self-centeredness, pride and all the rest are becoming more and more common around us.  Follow Paul’s command to Timothy and have nothing to do with them.

Sometimes it is hard to tell who is a false teacher and who is honestly trying to find just what God’s Word means.  You can tell the two apart by looking for their motive.  What kind of reputation do they have?  What is their attitude to pastors and to God’s Word?  Do they use anger, power, fear or control to get their own way?  Are they open to learn new things?  Will they listen attentively to your Biblical explanations?  That will help you decide.  God’s Spirit within you will give you guidance and wisdom.

PAUL’S ADVICE:  Stay away from prideful., self-centered, hateful people who oppose the things of God and try to lead others in the same way.

Who do you know that fits this description?  (Remember, they often appear to be religious but really aren’t.)

Are you careful to protect yourself and your church from them?


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