2 Tim 3
Paul warns Timothy that there will be terrible times in the last days.
This is the list Paul gives:-
People will be lovers of themselves
People will be lovers of money
People will be boastful
People will be proud
People will be abusive
People will be disobedient to their parents
People will be ungrateful
People will be unholy
People will be without love
People will be unforgiving
People will be slanderous
People will be without self-control
People will be brutal
People will not be lovers of the good
People will be treacherous
People will be rash
People will be conceited
People will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
Having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Paul continues saying these are the kind of people who worm their way into homes, gain control over vulnerable females, are loaded down with sins, swayed by all kinds of evil desires, oppose the truth and have depraved minds. Paul says to Timothy ‘have nothing to do with such people’. However, we know that Jesus died for sinners and we were somewhere on that list above before we were saved by God’s amazing grace! So when Paul says ‘have nothing to do with them’ he doesn’t mean to shun them because they need God’s love and His salvation. But he is telling us that in the last days wickedness will increase. And where sin increases grace increases even more.
While probably being aware that his time on earth was short and that this would be his last letter to Timothy, Paul is in a reflective mode, mentioning his purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, sufferings and persecutions… and he urges Timothy to remember everything he has learned from him. Paul uses this opportunity to give God all the glory telling Timothy that God rescued him from all his trials. As he looks back over his life Paul declares God’s faithfulness. God loves us to share testimonies of His goodness as we give Him the glory and tell of what He has done. Our stories can be declarations of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Let us be known as believers who give God all the glory! Great things He has done!
Whilst he awaits his fate of execution Paul says, ‘everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted’. Note that Paul did not use the word ‘may’ or ‘might’ but he said they ‘will’ be persecuted. So persecution should not be a surprise to believers! When I was sent out as an evangelist by my church in Sussex to spread the gospel in two London prisons I came under huge attack at my home. I suffered incredibly to the point of nearly having to move house as my car was scratched, my cat was attacked and died, porn was put through my letterbox, eggs were thrown at my windows and I was filled with fear. For a while I became a prisoner in my home.
These spiritual attacks upon me and my property were an attempt to get me so weary, distracted and fearful so that God’s work would stop (as in the book of Nehemiah). However, as a believer I was graced to persevere! And I did not have to sell my home since God restored peace instead of chaos. It is difficult to wait on God in these situations as everything in my flesh wanted to retaliate, but we know God tells us to bless our enemies instead! What a topsy-turvy, upside-down life the Kingdom is! The Spirit desires everything that is opposite to the flesh! And the flesh desires everything that is contrary to the Spirit. So we must decide which one we are going to follow! Even though I was a believer I found it very difficult to stay in the Spirit. But God gives us the victory and today all the people who attacked my home have completely disappeared! Hallelujah! Not one is left! Jesus scattered my enemies and He is the victorious one!
Finally, Paul says remember what you have learned in the past and who you learned it from and stay in the Scriptures. He ends with this, ‘All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work’. We are so blessed to have the living, active, powerful Word of God to guide us through all circumstances.