How to live in terrible times?
How do we, as followers of Christ live?
2 Tim 3:1-5 - 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.
Paul was writing to Timothy. Whatever is happening now is not new. It was written long back.
2 Tim 3: 12-13 - 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
So, how do we live?
2 Tim 3:14-17 - 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Even when terrible things are going on all around us, we are called to continue living our lives by reading God’s Word and equipping us.
2 Tim 4:1-5 - In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Let us look into the questions – Who was writing this letter? To whom was this letter being written? At what time was it written?
1. Paul writing to his spiritual son Timothy
Paul was writing this letter to Timothy when he was close to death. Paul was in the prison and was close to death.
2 Tim 4:6 - 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.
Who was Paul to Timothy? Paul was the spiritual father to Timothy and Timothy was his spiritual son.
1 Tim 1:1-2 - Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Tim 1:1-2 - Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
In Church, we have 5 kinds of people –
i. Unbelievers – who do not know Jesus
ii. Spiritual Infants – Accepted Jesus but haven’t grown spiritually
iii. Spiritual Children – Do a few things to help themselves grow and also serve others
iv. Spiritual Young Adults – Manage themselves and also serve in many ways in a greater way
v. Spiritual Fathers and Mothers – Produce new Christians or disciple the Christians and help them grow spiritually
This is the progression of a Christian life. It is not automatic but a progression. The question is are you a spiritual father/mother? One way is to give birth where you meet an unbeliever and help them come to faith in Jesus and the other is to adopt a new believer and help them grow spiritually.
The Kingdom advances in our nation and other nations. As it happens, more and more spiritual parents are producing spiritual children, not in 9 months but in just a few months. They produce not just 1 spiritual child but many.
2. Know your teacher / Be a teacher who is known
2 Tim 3:14 - But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
It is very important who we are getting our teaching from. Timothy had a godly background.
2 Tim 1:5 - I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
2 Tim 1:10 - but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
As we’re learning from people, we need to know them and their lives.
1 Thess 2:8 - so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
The way to progress is to demonstrate love, sharing lives, joys, sorrows, victories etc.
3. The Scripture has great power
2 Tim 3:15 - and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
As you read God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures are making you wise for salvation.
God’s Word is the most powerful thing which is living and active.
1 Cor 1:9 - God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
As we proclaim God’s Word, we can change the destiny of people.
1 Pet 1:23 - For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
When we look at people who do evil things, we wonder if they could ever change. Gospel is the only through which they can change.
4. All Scripture is God-breathed
2 Tim 3:16 - All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness
The Bible is not an ordinary book. It is God-breathed. There’s power behind the words written in it.
These scriptures are used for –
· Teaching and rebuking (content)
These are for what you need to understand and believe and where you are going wrong in your doing.
· Correcting and training (conduct)
These are to conduct yourselves according to the Word
As we read the scriptures, we realize what is right and what is wrong. Be a people who are immersed in the scriptures. It is a battle. We have time for everything but when it comes to reading the Word of God, we don’t have time. Let us be consistent in reading God’s Word every day.
5. Scriptures will help is get equipped to serve God
2 Tim 4:13 - When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
The scriptures are so important that Paul gave special instruction to Timothy to bring the scrolls and parchments.
The scriptures equip us to serve God
2 Tim 3:16-17 - All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
As we read the scriptures, God equips us to serve Him in a greater way and also to do good works which we are called to do.
6. A Solemn Charge – from God, before God
2 Tim 4:1-2a - In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word;
Why is it written, “who will judge the living and the dead” ?
When Jesus returns, He’s going to come as a judge and judge everyone. It is very important to share the gospel, and preach the Word.
In the olden days, when the King made a law, it was taken to the people of the kingdom through a messenger. He goes and reads out the law. Harold – Messenger.
We’re called to be messengers. We go out and tell people about what God has done so that they can be saved.
How do we do that?
When you invite people for a meal, that’s an opportunity. We share the gospel and we fast and pray for them. We must do it sensitively and pray that God would touch their hearts.
Show love to people. Spend time with people who need Jesus. That’s how Kingdom advances.
2 Tim 4:2 - Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
We must always be ready to preach in every season.
7. How should we do it?
i. Be prepared. Get equipped
ii. Careful instruction
iii. With great patience (process)
iv. In season and out of season (when times are favourable and when they are not)
v. Correct, rebuke and encourage – different strokes for different folks
8. Why should we do it?
2 Tim 4:8 - Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
As we share the gospel, there’s a crown of righteousness in store for us. God is going to reward us for all the good works.
Paul could endure all kinds of suffering, persecution and difficulties because he could see ahead of his life. He could see Jesus.
Moses was able to turn his back on all the treasures of Egypt because he saw God ahead of his life.
Stephen was able to face death because he saw heaven ahead of him.
Our life on earth is short. One day, we will all die. Only what we do for Jesus remains.