Fight The Fear #5: Future Fight – 2 Timothy 2:14-26Video Link
MS Word Link
Chapter 1 Fearlessness 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Chapter 2 Faithfulness 2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Vs 2 Faithful Like A Steward
Vs 3-4 Faithful Like A Soldier
Vs. 5 Faithful Like An Athlete
Vs 6 Faithful like A Farmer
Vs 8 - 11 Faithful Like a Preacher of the Gospel
Vs. 14 - Faithful Workman
Vs. 19 -26 Faithful In The Great House (Vessels of honor and dishonor)
Fearless In the Future - 2 Timothy 3:1-9
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall
come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,
blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection,
trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are
good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women
laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to
come to the knowledge of the truth. -- Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood
Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate
concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall
be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
Perilous Times, Proud People
Paul tells Timothy about the perilous times that are coming. This word perilous means difficult, dangerous, by implication furious and fierce.
This is the same word used in Matthew 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
What he will be up against in the future. A battle he must fight without his spiritual father. It will be Timothy on the frontlines and in this fight he must be fearless.
Perilous times Populated By The Proud - The perilous times will be filled with proud people. The kind of pride that is condemned in scripture, the same pride that led Satan to rebel against God and what Paul breaks down here describing the opponents Timothy we have to overcome, are doing just that, rebelling against God.
Lovers of self – Paul labels these people who will fill the perilous times as lovers of self. Then he lists the sins, attitudes and actions that flow from these “self-lovers.” He says they will be…
Covetous – lovers of money, lover of things, materialists
Boasters – literally swaggerers, they will be arrogant
Proud – believing they are better than those around them, seeking pre-eminence.
Blasphemers - speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive especially against the Lord
Disobedient to parents – not willing to obey, learn or ultimately to love or honor their parents.
Unthankful – the Greek word here is acharistos, is the word grace, charis, with the prefix that a makes it the opposite of grace. This is anti-grace. The reason we still call prayer before a meal “saying grace” is because it comes from this word. Grace, thanks. To be unthankful is to deny God’s grace and to be willfully ignorant of God’s blessings.
Unholy – this word is the same. It is the word holy, hosios, with the negative prefix making it anosios; instead of being holy it is wicked and unholy.
Without natural affection – without the love for family, love for spouse, love for children. Because they are first and foremost “lovers of self” the natural affection that God has place in all people at creation is gone. To them lust replaces love, friends, coworkers and acquaintances replace family and the things of this world replace the things of God that we should love.
Trucebreakers – implacable, unwilling and unable to seek peace.
False accusers – The is actually the word διάβολος, diabolos, the word used for the Devil, it means a false accuser, a slanderer.
Incontinent – without any kind of self control
Fierce – savage in their reactions to others.
Despisers of those that are good – Just one word, ἀφιλάγαθος aphilagathos; hostile to virtue, haters of those who do not walk the same path of sin that they have chosen to walk.
Traitors - quitters, surrenderers, betrayers of God’s truth and God’s people.
Heady – literally falling forward, to rush, to act rashly and without forethought. To be head-strong.
High-minded – literally to envelop or wrap with smoke or mist, to puff up with pride, and haughtiness. This is to be blinded by the smoke of a belief in your own self-importance. A belief that is as substantial as smoke or mist.
Paul’s Summation: They are “Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”
Paul’s gave a similar list when he wrote to the Romans years earlier. In it he describe the nature of man without God.
Romans 1:29-31 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.
What is shocking is that when Paul writes to Timothy, he is not describing pagans but the so called “Christians” that Timothy will have to battle in the coming perilous times.
We know these are so called “Christians” because of Paul’s description, “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” They wrap themselves in the robes of Christianity, they speak with the vocabulary of Christianity, they attend the churches of Christianity but they deny the heart and power of true godliness by their sinful, selfish actions and attitudes.
Perilous Times Predicted, Perilous Times Present
What Paul warns Timothy about is exactly what we see in the world around us today. Christians who are Christian only in name. Nominal Christians who are actually hypocrites, hoaxsters and heathens, charlatans, chameleons and corrupters.
The truly frightening thing about Paul’s warning is how Christians reading it today can’t understand it and realize that it is describing some of the most famous and well know churches, preachers and authors in every generation since Paul and Timothy.
How to Recognize A Self- Love Church in Perilous Times
The church is built upon the personality of the pastor. And he or she is called a prophet, or apostle or anointed of God.
If the pastor claims to receive direct revelation from God, outside of and especially in contradiction to the Bible, then this is the kind of church Paul warned us about. (BTW, if the church has a woman as a pastor you are already outside the boundary of God’s word. So why even pretend?)
The church practices tongues, signs, prophetic utterances, etc. that ceased when the NT was finished. This creates a “personal interpretation” of God’s Word that supersedes and ignores the plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures. This results in members who are ignorant, proud, and boastful and if not very careful will lead to blasphemy.
The church is not a Bible led democracy but instead the pastor, elders or a board govern the church, over and above the will of members of the church.
The church denies Bible doctrine on the moral issues of the day, or the reality of hell and eternal punishment. Instead, it emphasizes love over truth, and salvation without repentance.
The church has no formal way of joining the local body. Instead, you are already a member of the “universal body”, and it does not matter where you attend since all churches are really just one universal church.
The church never disciplines members for public immorality. Gross and public sins are kept hidden in the hope that attendance will not suffer if such sins were dealt with publicly by the church.
The church emphasizes physical healing, wealth and prosperity in this present world as the reason to follow Jesus Christ. (If the pastor is asking for his 3rd private jet, drives a Rolls Royce or even a Maserati, then you can be pretty sure, you are in a self-love perilous times church.)
We need to hear again the words of Paul, in 2 Timothy 3:5–7 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Illustration: Joyce Myers advocate
When asked how a man I know, how he could consider Joyce Myers, who is a charismatic, prosperity preacher, a fit leader of one of the Lord’s churches. His reply was, “If you could hear her preach, you’d know she’s anointed!” That same understanding and reason defines the perilous times that Paul warned us about, a form of godliness but denying the power, and truth of the God.
Faithful In the Past - 2 Timothy 3:10-14
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
Paul reminds Timothy of the person he has tried to be. He stands as and example of one who has faithfully fought the fight and now passing the charge to another. Again Paul gives a list of important words to serve as a framework for Timothy’s faithful fight.
Paul says, 2 Timothy 3:10–11 “But (in contrast to those proud godless people) you have fully known my …
doctrine, my foundational teachings of God’s truth
manner of life, my conduct and lifestyle
purpose, my goals and aims for life
faith, my belief and faithfulness
longsuffering, my patience
charity, my sacrificial love for others
patience, my steadfastness in the face of trails
Persecutions, my oppressions and oppositions
afflictions, my sufferings
And Paul reminds Timothy of what Timothy fully knew, that God had delivered Paul. Paul endured because the Lord delivered him from all.
Then he makes sure Timothy understands why he wrote this letter and in looking back at his life. 2 Timothy 3:12–14 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
The fight of the Timothy’s future and our present means that those who chose to live godly lives will go through persecution, because evil mean will grow worse and worse, deceiving other and deceiving even themselves. But and Paul give this striking, steadfast contrast between Timothy and the proud deceivers of the perilous times, but you Timothy will continue, you will be steadfast, you will be sure, you will stand fast in the things you have learned and been assured of, grounded in, founded upon. Continue fearless and faithful in the truth you have learned from Lois, Eunice and especially from you father in the faith and you friend, Paul.
If Timothy was to endure hardship, endure persecution, be fearless and faithful then he must remember not just what he learned but also who he learned it from.
Perilous Times Calls For Patient People of God
In our perilous present, the days that Paul was warning about, we must also have what Paul was equipping Timothy with.
We need faithful examples. People in our life who like Paul, show us that it is possible to be victorious. We must remember their teaching, the faithful lives they lived, the unwavering dedication to God’s purpose, their faith, their patience, their love, and their courage in trials. We must remember that they overcame the persecutions and the sufferings of the world and that just like Paul, “the Lord delivered them out of the all.”
Just as sure as the persecution, so also is the victory if we endure. If we continue steadfast and faithful, if we hold fast and stand fearless victory is assured.
1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Illustration: Four Victorious Martyrs: Govert, Gillis, Mariken and Anneken, 1550 pg 495
On his way to death, Govert delivered an excellent admonition, reproving the wicked railing, and said, "Be it known to you, that we do not die for theft, murder or heresy, but because we seek an inheritance with God, and live according to His Word."
The executioner commanded him silence, but he said, "Let God be with me for a little while; repent, for your life is short."
Entering the ring, they then knelt down together, and prayed; whereupon they kissed each other. Anneken immediately commenced to sing, "In thee, O Lord; do I put my trust." Ps. 71:1. The servants told her to be still; but Govert said, "No, sister, sing on," and helped her sing. Enraged at this, the bailiff called to him a servant, and whispered something in his ear. The latter went to the assistant of the executioner, who, upon receiving the order, immediately put a gag on Govert; but the latter held his teeth so firmly closed, that the gag did not hinder him much, and he laughingly said, "I could easily sing with the gag on for Paul says: 'Sing in your heart to God."
The executioner, in order to put her to shame, made Anneken stand in her under garments. Govert said, "You think that by killing us you can suppress the Word of God; but of those that hear and see this, hundreds shall yet come forth." Standing at the stake, he said, "Amend your ways and repent; for after this there will be no more time for repentance."
A servant who had a bottle of wine, asked them whether they wished to drink. Govert said, "We have no desire for your insipid wine; for our Father shall give us new wine in His eternal kingdom."
When it was thought that Mariken, an old woman, had been strangled at the stake, she began to sing a hymn in honor of her Bridegroom, which when Anneken heard it, she, from ardent love, sang with her. When they all stood at their stakes, each with a strap around the neck, they smiled at and nodded to one another, thus affectionately saluting and comforting each other, and commending their souls into the hands of God, they fell asleep in the Lord, and were burned.
In the last 3 verses Paul give the essential element that the faithful and fearless must stand upon during the perilous times of persecution.
Furnished For Good In the Present – 2 Timothy 3:15-17
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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 perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Profitable unto Perfection
Before Paul goes to his final thoughts in Chapter 4, he leaves Timothy with a clear picture of the most important part of being faithful and fearless in the perilous days ahead. He has told him to continue in that which he has learned and then he amplifies and expounds exactly what that means.
“From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Holy Scriptures, is literally the sacred letters. The Bible
is holy, sanctified, set aside for God’s purpose. It is like no other book ever
written, it has change the world, it has changed the hearts of billions, it has
changed eternity if we can express it that way.
And Paul reminds Timothy, it has changed you from a child onward these sacred writings, God’s revelation of love to us, has opened the door to our and Timothy’s heart and shown us salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Cherish this holy book, it is above all others, guard these scriptures they have the only key to eternal life, read this, the word of God daily for through it we hear the voice of God, hour by hour and minute by minute.
Paul goes on in vs 16 amplifying why God’s word is vital to victory in the dangerous days ahead for Timothy in the fight for faith.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 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 perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Let’s break down this foundational passage.
Scripture – the word is graphē; it means a document, and in this case that document is the Holy Writings of God. It was written over 1,500 year time span, that is more than 40 generations. It has 40 different authors guided by the Holy Spirit to write in their own words, using their own thought and memories yet divinely kept from all errors of doctrine or fact. God’s word originally was written in 3 different languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Those languages were used as the authors wrote on 3 different continents, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Yet the Holy Bible, God’s Word is just that and it speaks not with 40 voices but with one great voice, the voice of God, Himself.
Next Paul says, that scripture is given by inspiration of God – Once again this is one word in the Greek, θεόπνευστος theopneustos; divinely breathed. Every and all Scripture in this book is God breathed, it is the breath of exhaled by God and then inhaled by the prophets, the apostles and the writers. Breathed in by them to be able to write a perfect, without error, reliable to the saving of your soul book that is the revelation of and from God.
Paul says it is profitable (useful, needful, helpful, vital) for 4 areas of the Christian life and faith.
Doctrine: διδασκαλία didaskalia; instruction, learning, teaching.
Reproof: ἔλεγχος elegchos; proof, conviction, evidence, that by which a thing is proved or tested, conviction.
Correction: ἐπανόρθωσις epanorthōsis; a compound of two words which literally mean a straightening up again. A restoration to an upright or right state correction.
Instruction (the word in Greek means disciplining) in righteousness (the state of of a person who is as he ought to be, the condition acceptable to God. Integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting.)
The foundation of the Christian life and faith in these four word all are taught and learned from one source, God’s Holy Word.
Then to close the thought Paul gives the Purpose of Scripture: That the man of God may be perfect (complete, finished, lacking nothing he needs) fully furnished (equipped, prepared) unto all good works.
“Timothy”, Paul is writing, “Timothy you are going to need this book, the word and words of God because…
Perilous Times Call for A Powerful Foundation
Why are churches failing? Why are Christians shrinking from the battle for faith? Why are 70% of the next generation agnostic, atheist, or neo-pagan?
There are multiple reasons but one of the most obvious ones is that we as a nation and even as Christians have ceased to be People of the Book. And as much as you and I would love to blame it on the internet and TV charlatans and hoaxsters the truth is that many Baptist and independent Baptist churches have pulpits filled with sound and fury but no doctrine, reproof, correction or instruction in righteousness. Shouting never was a substitute for substance but for many it was and is exactly that.
And when real foundational truths were needed for the battles of faith, the echoes of willful ignorance and arrogance were simply not enough.
Early Paul had told Timothy, 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Perilous times call for a powerful foundation and the Word of God is that foundation but you must be correctly taught, rightly instructed as Timothy was by his parents and by his mentor Paul and you must be willing and motivated to listen and learn daily, devotedly and deeply or when the battles for your own faith come, we will retreat and refuse to even join the fight.
Remember what Paul said as he began this letter, 2 Timothy 1:8 “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”
“Don’t be ashamed to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ and don’t be ashamed of your veterans, your fathers in the faith, your fellow soldiers and servants who have bravely fought and paid the price. Don’t be ashamed but instead be a participant in the afflictions that come from standing for the truth of the Gospel by depending on and trusting in the power of God!”
That necessary power has but one source, the Bible. It is elemental, essential and indispensable that we know it intimately, if we are to be fearless and faithful in these perilous times.
Conclusion: Moses and the Day of Choosing
Moses last words to Israel
Moses as he turned over the leadership of the nation of Israel to Joshua gave a final speech contained in Deuteronomy. The last part of the is a challenge to Israel much like Paul’s challenge to Timothy and both serve as a challenge to us today. This is what Moses said, Deuteronomy 30:19-20, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
What Moses challenged Israel with was the word of God. Here is what God has said, will you stand on it and be blessed or will you spurn it and be cursed. Amazing how through the centuries the same truth, the same challenge is heard in each generation and must be answered in each child of God’s heart. Will we stand on the Word of God and be faithful and fearless? The answer each of us will give to that challenge will determine everything in this life and in eternity.