A very good morning to you all.
Our Bible passage today is 2 Timothy Chapter 3 verses 1 to 8.
This is quite a sobering section as Paul is warning Timothy about the type of people that are around in the last days, which usually in the Bible means the time between Jesus’ Ascension back into heaven and His visible and definite return. So this will be applicable both in Timothy’s time, a relatively small number of years since Jesus was on earth, and our time, some 2,000 years later.
And if you read the list in vs.2-4 you might recognise many (if not all) of these descriptions in the world and society around us today. And we might long for the good old days, but remember Paul is speaking to Timothy too, and so these descriptions have been very real throughout human history. It is a very selfish, self-pleasing, and ‘harmful to others’ list.
But the scary thing is that I think Paul isn’t (just) describing society around, but is describing the church, because otherwise what is the meaning of v.5, ‘having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.’? Non-believing society doesn’t see the need for practising godliness at all, and here we have a very shallow form, on the very outside only, but rotten inside.
And too many times in history these warnings have come true, the corruption of the church in the Middle Ages which eventually led to the Reformation; the dead formality of the established church in this country in the 1600-1800’s which led to non-conformist churches being formed, as well as pockets of revival within the Church of England; the abuse scandals all around the world which have come to light over the last 20 years but had been happening for decades before.
And actually very sadly many of these words can simply describe a “normal” local church of whatever tradition, and you hear stories from time to time, where this the behaviour of a church leader to his or her congregation, or the behaviour of the congregation to the leader, or to one another, and it is JUST WRONG.
So although these words are not very uplifting, they are needed as a warning, and we should be thankful to the apostle Paul for warning Timothy and us; but to remind us too that in the end, the Lord knows, and the truth will prevail and there will be judgement.
Tomorrow we will read about an encouragement to live a better way under God. Hope you can hold on to then!
From our church address list, we particularly remember in our prayers today,
– Derek & Joanna