Staying faithful to Jesus in the last days (2 Timothy 3:1 - 9)
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
Paul seems to be talking about people in the network of churches of which Timothy is pastoring.
He says in verse 1:
“in the last days”
which at first glance may indicate a future generation. In verse 5 he states:
“Have nothing to do with such people”
This suggests rather that he is talking about people in Timothy’s present circle of church relationships.
Paul already feels he and Timothy are living in the last days! This explains his high sacrifice, the suffering he was enduring and sense of urgency of reaching out to those around him. He felt that Christ’s return could be at any time! It is worth emphasizing again that these bad traits he is talking about, are of people inside, not outside the church.
We should take a look at this list of faults and ask the Holy Spirit to show us if we are some of these people! If so, we should ask Him to cleanse us and change us, to be filled with His love, and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
As Christians we can go through periods when we are prayerless, and living by our own inclinations, because we do not take time to allow the Spirit of God to fill our lives.
Verses 6 to 9 further illustrate the dangers of not keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. The fallen away people described in these verses look for other mediators between us and God. When we turn away from the Truth in Jesus, we can be easily deceived by deceitful conmen. These deceivers may demand our time and money. They do not however lead us to a knowledge of the truth or help us confront and overcome our evil desires! Unfortunately, inside the church can be as big a spiritual battleground as outside, when we are not obedient to the Holy Spirit. We need to follow Christ faithfully and prayerfully.
Suggested prayer: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. May I live by Your Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit. In Jesus Name. Amen.