perilous times: Devotional Commentary for October 13-19
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
1But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
6For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,
7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.
9But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes's and Jambres's folly was also.
Still in his prison cell, Paul earnestly continued to charge Timothy to persist in preaching the Gospel. The Gospel must continue in spite of troublous times as well as struggling Christian workers. Paul was concerned about the evil which was overwhelming the world and Timothy's youthful lack of confidence. So Paul did not mince words and spoke to Timothy candidly and effectively.
Who are these people that Timothy must be aware of besides the likes of Hymenaeus and Philetus? They are wicked men in churches and in the world at large who are self-serving, self-seeking, and self-preserving at the expense of everyone and everything else. These are immoral men whose affections are totally invested in themselves. They love, but only themselves. No one else, nothing else unless it is in their own interest.
Paul thoroughly delineated the evil attributes of these wicked men who contaminate the world with the venom of their self-centered attitudes. They love themselves but not God, as they should. Their affection is misdirected. They love money and pleasure more than anything else. People who only love themselves are also condescending, haughty, and disdainful toward others.
Those who entertain an exaggerated opinion of themselves are often disobedient to God, to parents, or any other earthly authority. They are heartless and irreverent. They are devoid of normal human affection and lack basic human appreciation toward anyone and for anything, not even for the goodness they received from God. They are rebellious, irreconcilable, and simply antagonistic in their demeanor and in their behavior. They speak evil of others. They are malicious, vindictive, gossips, traitors, and unreliable. They have nothing good to say about anyone else but themselves. They are full of themselves, proud, greedy, and resentful.
Such people, whether they are in churches or out in the world, are the enemies of God and fail to appreciate His goodness revealed toward undeserving sinners. They project some form of godliness but they actually deny God and mock His Power. They are deceptive. Their mind is depraved. Everything they do is contrary to the Gospel because they stand against the truth.
Paul reminded Timothy that these people not only reflect godless self-love, but also profess dead religion. They project religious piety but deny the power of God's work. They actually go into households and target weak women who are oppressed by sin's bondage and ungodly impulses. They present to them false doctrine as truth because these women are merely familiar with the Word of God but have no knowledge of the truth.
These men with seared conscience and no heart were as wicked as Jannes and Jambres, the two chief magicians in Egypt, who withstood Moses when he was sent by God to stand before Pharaoh and declare God's plan for His children Israel. Jannes and Jambres countered Moses' miracles with their magic, seeking to diminish God's Power. But they were exposed and could not continue in their foolishness. Moses prevailed. They were stopped by God's Power revealed through Moses' actions. But these men, continue to reject true faith because they have no regard for the truth.
Paul's word to Timothy regarding these men was simple, direct, and consistent. Avoid disputing with such people and preach the Gospel without fear or shame.
Realize and stay away. Those were Paul's earnest exhortations to Timothy regarding wicked men who stood in opposition to the Gospel. After urging him to be fearless, unashamed, disciplined, focused, persevering, a proven workman, knowledgeable and truthful about the Gospel, Paul also told him to be realistic. He pressed Timothy to thoroughly understand the world in which he was called to serve, the God Who sent him into the field to work, and himself, the child redeemed and commissioned.
Paul was quite emphatic about this because he sensed Timothy might not have been ready to face the overwhelming presence of evil around him. He probably felt Timothy might be complacent seeing the Power of God mightily working through his ministry. Paul knew from his own experience that evil is a formidable force which can easily drill a sense of dread into people's hearts and minds.
So he specifically urged Timothy to be aware of the nature of the world in which he lived and served. In short, Paul exposed the scope and nature of Timothy's ministry with a vivid outline of a hostile audience. Opposition to the Gospel comes not only from the likes of Hymenaeus and Philetus within the church, but also from the people of the world at large. It is not a passing situation. It is the permanent state of mind of the unregenerate world. It is the defining attribute of the times and of the ages.
Paul did not warn Timothy about a troublous future. It is the description of the present reality. He told him that he was called to serve in a world which presently did not care for him, hated what he did and said, and wished to silence him. He lived in perilous times traversing a turbulent and stormy field of lost souls and struggling believers. Paul spoke to his son in the Spirit candidly to prepare him for his calling even though the description of the times seemed disheartening, and even at times, discouraging. But one must know the audience one is prepared to meet.
Christians in general and those called to specific ministry in particular, must be consciously aware at all times that the presence of ominous evil defines the world in which we are called to serve. However, while we serve our God in such a hostile world, we do not have to respond to evil or react to its malicious vices. We do not serve evil nor do we answer its forces. But we do serve God in a world of wicked men and evil forces to rescue the perishing.
Even though we are surrounded by those who are infected by the destructive venom of a godless self-love, we are in the company of a cloud of great witnesses who overcame the enemy by the Power of the Blood of the Lamb and by the sword of God's living Word. We obediently and enthusiastically take the Gospel by faith to every corner of the world where we are sent and watch God's Power unfold. We preach the Good News to them but avoid disputing with them. We show them the Love of Christ by loving them into redemption through the Love of Christ. We firmly stand upon the Rock of our salvation and defy evil by the Power of God as we serve Him in the spirit of love, power, and sound mind He gave us. Our God is mighty in us. He Who is in us is greater than all the power outside of us. He is our mighty fortress.