Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 3:1-9
The “last days” began when Jesus rose from the dead and will continue until His second coming. During these last days there will be terrible times. The Greek word translated as perilous or terrible also has the meaning of hard to deal with or dangerous. It is also used of the two demoniacs of Gadara [Matthew 8:28] which would suggest that it is demonically inspired evil.
There are eighteen different characteristics in Paul’s list [3:1-5]. Note the word “love” – false love, love of self, love of money, love of pleasure! Pride is another word that stands out. It leads to disobedience, abuse, unforgiveness, slander of others and lack of self-control. Here too, is the sad breakdown of family life. The root of all these characteristics is pride and selfishness.
Warren Wiersbe puts it very succinctly, “We should worship God, love people and use things. But if we start worshipping ourselves, we will ignore God and start loving things and using people.” James said about selfishness, “For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil” [James 3:16 NLT]. Selfishness and evil go together!
Paul was clearly speaking about people in the church when he wrote this. He writes, “They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly” [2 Timothy 3:5 NLT]. The Life Application Bible comments, “The ‘form’ or appearance of godliness includes going to church, knowing Christian doctrine, using Christian clichés, and following a community of Christian traditions. Such practices can make a person look good, but if the inner attitudes of belief, love and worship are lacking, the outer appearance is meaningless. Paul warns us not to be deceived by people who only appear to be Christians. It may be difficult to distinguish them from true Christians at first, but their daily behaviour will give them away. The characteristics described in 2 Tim 3:2-4 are unmistakeable.”
There are three further thoughts in this passage. Firstly, women in the Ephesian church had been given an unprecedented opportunity to learn and study the Christian faith. This made them a target for false teachers and men who had sinful thoughts and uncontrolled evil desires [3:6]. Secondly, don’t let learning be ineffective by not putting the truth you learn into practice [3:7]. “Do not be hearers only, but doers of God’s Word” [James1:22]. Thirdly, we know little about Jannes and Jambres apart from what is stated in this text [v8-9]. They obviously were sinful and opposed the truth. Their sin and folly were recognised. All sin will one day be found out and its folly recognised and become clear to everyone. You cannot sin and expect to get away with it!
Why do you think that jealousy and selfishness are so destructive and open the door to every kind of evil?
How do you put truth that you have learned into practice?
Why would someone want to look like a Christian but secretly live differently?