Thursday, July 06, 2023

2023.07.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Timothy 3:1–5

2 Timothy 3:1–5

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the initial command in 2 Timothy 3:1? What days does Timothy need to know about for his ministry? What sort of times will they be? What will men love in such times (2 Timothy 3:2)? What will they be like in their view of themselves? With their mouths? Toward earthly authority? Toward God? Toward peers (2 Timothy 3:3)? Toward evil and good? What further traits does 2 Timothy 3:4 describe? To what does the list return at its end? What does 2 Timothy 3:5 surprisingly say such people have? What does their conduct show that they deny? What is Timothy to do with people who have the two of these things?

What makes for dangerous times and dangerous people? 2 Timothy 3:1–5 looks forward to the second serial reading of in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the great danger of the last days is the danger of Jesus's Name on our lips without Jesus's life or power in our heart. 

“Know this” is similar to the apostle’s desire that his readers not be ignorant (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1, 2 Corinthians 1:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:13). Here, it is phrased as a command. Believers are expected to learn information and apply that information. In Timothy’s case, he is especially to understand something as a minister in the last days, who is training other ministers for the last days. One might have thought that the spread of the gospel in the last days would make them safe times. But the apostle warns that they will actually be dangerous times. 

What makes them dangerous times? Dangerous men. They will be full of all sorts of sin: pride, blasphemy, disobedience, ingratitude, profanity, lacking natural affection, irreconcilable, etc. The list has much overlap with the one in Romans 1:29–31. Sadly, this group has “a form of godliness.” In other words, this is the church. Sometimes we hear ministers talking about the church as if the people in it don’t behave any better than the people outside of it. The apostle here says that this occurs, but not by way of encouragement, but warning. Such times are not happy times when grace is known; they are dangerous times. Many claim to know Jesus as Lord, whom Jesus the Lord says that He never knew—because they lived a sinful manner of life (cf. Matthew 7:21–23). 

There were some people whom Timothy was told to avoid because they were just argumentative rather than persuadable (cf. 2 Timothy 2:23). Those whose lives aren’t dominated by love for God fall into the same category. The bookends of the list give us the clue about whom to avoid: they love self, silver, and pleasure, but they don’t actually demonstrate any love for God.

It’s so dangerous to be inoculated against saving reality that the apostle warns, “from such people turn away!” If the Jesus whom they profess is not one Who changes the life, turn away from them! They’re too dangerous. They make it look like there’s a Christianity without holy living, like there’s a Christ Who doesn’t sanctify, Who doesn’t produce love of God in the heart. But such a Jesus, such a Christ, is not the One Who made the worlds, Who died for sinners, and before Whom we will stand on the last day.

How does love of God stir you up, in your own life, against the various sins in this list, so that you are not the dangerous man? How do you know if someone else, who sounds and looks like they may be godly, is actually dangerous? Whom can you expect to be a good model to follow in turning away from such people?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for making us to live in a time when Christ is known and Christianity is known. Forgive us for how easily we fall for a form of religion that doesn’t come with the life-transforming power of the Lord Jesus. Forgive us for failing to turn away from others who live this way. Grant that Christ, by His Spirit, would fill our hearts with love for God and hatred for sin, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH466 “My Faith Looks Up to Thee”

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