Thursday, July 13, 2023

2023.07.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Timothy 3:6–9

2 Timothy 3:6–9

Questions from the Scripture text: 2 Timothy 3:5 referred to those who use the form of Christ’s Name in worship but fail to demonstrate His power in holiness. Now where does 2 Timothy 3:6 say some of such people go? Whom do they take captive? What weakness do these women have? With what are they loaded down? By what are they led away? What are they always doing (2 Timothy 3:7)? But what are they never able to do? Who are the men that take advantage of them like (2 Timothy 3:8)? Whom did Jannes and Jambres resist? Now what do these others resist, that has brought them to such a state of wickedness? What does this corruption of mind show about them with respect to the faith? What will be the outcome with them (2 Timothy 3:9)?

Who are in great danger from false teachers? 2 Timothy 3:6–9 looks forward to the second serial reading of in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that pastors must not only turn away from false teachers themselves but also protect the most vulnerable in their congregation. 

Not all women are gullible; the wording of 2 Timothy 3:6 implies a specific sort of woman, not all women generally. False teachers are a worse threat than those whom we now call human traffickers. They take not just bodies captive but souls. Like Satan in Genesis 3, they take advantage of softer targets. 

In this case, the heresy that these men peddle is uniquely suited to a particular sort of woman: ones who have difficulty dealing with the weight of their guilt (“loaded down with sins”) or denying the power of their desires (“led away by various lusts”). Such women are all too happy to listen to a doctrine that says that you can have a form of godliness that doesn’t produce a life of love for God, a life of holiness. They bounce from one form of theology to another (“always learning”), but the one truth that saves (Jesus Himself, through Whom we receive not only forgiveness, but cleansing) is the one truth that they have the hardest time settling upon.

But any other Christianity is a cheap counterfeit. “Jannes and Jambres” may or may not have been their actual names, but historically, the Jews believed that these were the Egyptian magicians who were able to produce inferior imitations of Moses’s signs. But the problem with Jannes and Jambres was not the inferiority of the signs but the plausibility.

So, Paul is warning Timothy as a pastor. And the mention of “sneaking into households” implies that there is also responsibility on the part of husbands and fathers. Timothy, and the ministers whom he trains, must be watchful for the congregation, and teach husbands and fathers to be watchful in the home. 

The truth matters. Clear, sound doctrine matters. The men with the form of religion, but lacking its power, are “disapproved concerning the faith.” This means that they are reprobate, disqualified. They do not have Christ. They will not enter into His rest. They will perish in their sin. A pastor, an elder, a husband, a father must be watchful against the same happening to those whose spiritual care has been entrusted to them. Every congregation has those who are the most theologically/spiritually vulnerable. Let God’s undershepherds be careful of them. And let the vulnerable be thankful for the discerning ones, and submit to those whom God has set over them for their good. What a deadly combination folly and pride become together!

Jannes and Jambres were impressive in their moment. Water into blood, sticks into serpents. So, this passage teaches us to expect false teachers to be impressive in their moment. But when we look back from eternity, it will have been just a moment. And when their moment passes, what a ruin will have come to all those taken in by them!

What sorts of theology have you heard that say that obedience and holiness aren’t important for Christians? What do those who teach such things resist? What will happen if you are taken in by them? For whom do you have spiritual responsibility? Whom do you know that could be in danger?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You that Jesus is a complete Savior—for both forgiveness of sin and cleansing from sin. Forgive us for how gladly we hear those who tell us that we can be Christian without living holy lives. Forgive us for not being more careful to help those who are most vulnerable to such dangerous teaching. Please keep us from meeting the same dreadful end as those who teach such things, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

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

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