Summary: Do not allow yourself to be involved with those that practice and preach doctrines of men that only serve to divide and destroy the kingdom of God.
I don’t know how many of you have been attentive to what’s happening around the world, but of something that we must all be aware is what is occurring the in area of religion. I say this because it isn’t difficult to find that just about every day new groups or cults proclaiming to be Christians are appearing, but in all reality they are not. It is also not very difficult to find how numerous Christian congregations have adopted certain practices or methods that only serve to confuse and divide the people of God. For example, during the last few days I have been listening to the different Christian radio stations, and one thing that attracted my attention was that just about every preacher that I heard concentrated their preaching in financial prosperity. I also had the opportunity to see a couple of preachers on the television, and again I found that the same message was being preached. In other words all I have heard this week has been about how we can obtain blessings by the power of positive thinking, and how we can be financially prospered by giving money to the church. I heard all of this rhetoric about these positive things but one thing that was rarely mentioned was the word repentance, and none of them even suggested that repentance is a fundamental element that must be present in order to maintain a genuine relationship with God. But the most interesting thing of all was that in almost all occasions these people were in charge of very large congregations. What I mean is that it is not uncommon to find that these people lead congregations of 500, or 600, or even thousands of people.
Let me make a quick pause and clarify something. I am not saying that there is anything wrong in wanting a congregation to grow. There is nothing wrong in leading a large congregation, as a mater of fact; I would say that the dream of every pastor and leader in the church is to have their church grow in number. But there is a grave problem when the growth of a church or congregation is obtained because the leaders have compromised their faith and beliefs. There is a grave problem when the growth of a church occurs because the leaders have adopted methods or practices with the goal of pleasing the people. Therefore, with this in mind, let us now turn to the word of God for the message that he has for us today.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 - This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
As I always say, to have a better understanding of the message that God has for us, it will be necessary to conduct a brief review of history. This epistle was written around 67 AC, and in this point in time Paul was in a roman prison without the slightest hope of being liberated. Paul was in prison because the Roman Empire considered the Christian religion illicit. Therefore, Paul was arrested as a common criminal, and the only reason was, that he was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Due to the intense persecution that existed in that era, and due to his knowledge of Roman law, Paul knew very well that very soon he would have a trial and that he would then be executed. This is something that is stated clearly in 2 Timothy 4:6 when we read “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.”
When we study Paul’s epistle to Timothy from the beginning, it is not difficult to understand that he charged Timothy with three things. First, Paul charged him to endure the abuse that he would suffer for keeping the faith. This is something that is very well reflected in 2 Timothy 1:7-8 when we read “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” Second, he asked him to keep the sound doctrine. This is something that is very well reflected in 2 Timothy 1:13-14 when we read “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” Thirdly, Paul told Timothy not to allow anything to discourage him. This is something that we find very clearly reflected in 2 Timothy 2:1-2 when we read “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”