Understand this…

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 

 The New International Version. (2011). (2 Ti 3:1–5). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The Core of Why We Must “Eat This Book”

Our reading for this Sunday is Philippians, 1-2 Timothy, and Titus. As I read through 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5, I am once again convicted by these words. These verses are probably core to why the Spirit has led us on this journey as a church to read the entire New Testament this summer.

2 Tim. 3:16-17 is central. We need the power of the Word in our lives. We need the conviction of the Scripture to become so central.

Our problem over the last several decades has been we proclaim to be “people of the Book,” but we haven’t even read the Book, let alone allow the Book to be used of the Spirit to mold us into the image of Christ.

As an offshoot of that problem has been the warped way we have done Bible study. We either get into this mode of asking, “What does this mean to me” without regard to what the text may actually say, or… We have become so lost in “examining the text” we have hopped up on “exegetical methods” and “higher critical methods” that we have forgotten a fundamental issue of the Word of God: While we are called to examine the Word, what is more important is that the Word examine us.

We have become arrogant. We have come to a place where we think we know better and we can actually explain away so much of the text so that just about nothing applies to our lives and we live pretty much unchanged.

There was a word I grew up with that doesn’t exist in Christianity any more. We’ve relegated it to a court term. Conviction.

We’ve lost our ability to sit and soak up the Word and let it examine us.

And we are not more enlightened. We are more in the dark than ever before.

As a church this summer, I invite every one of us again to “eat this book.” Be devoured by what the Word just may speak to you.

Speaking the Truth Doesn’t Always Work Out

25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money,boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. (2 Tim. 2:25-3:5, NIV)

There is a need to stand for truth. There is a need to understand the truth of the Kingdom of God and stand. But there are harsh realizations, and Paul is unafraid to state them. We may be bold in proclaiming what is right, but that doesn’t mean people will readily listen. There are times people respond to the Spirit… and there are times they do not.

It’s not our call. Our call is to keep speaking the truth in love and living out Kingdom rightness. Our task is to believe and proclaim. The Spirit is really good at sorting out the rest. Let him.