II TIMOTHY 3:12-13: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
OBSERVATION: How can you tell a true disciple of Jesus Christ from an imposter? Jesus said that you will know a true disciple by their fruits. He also said that true disciples would suffer persecution. These two things always go hand in hand. Paul reminds Timothy of this very truth. Paul does not say all those who name the name of Christ will suffer persecution – but, all those who desire to “live godly” in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
What does it mean to desire to live godly in Christ Jesus? It means that we are desiring to bear the fruit of true Christian living, the “Fruit of the Spirit”. This is what Jesus was referring to when He said “…you will know them by their fruits.” If this is our calling then – Why does persecution follow such a noble pursuit?
When we desire to live godly in Christ Jesus we are pursuing the light. When we pursue the light we are confronting the darkness in our lives. As we confront the darkness in our lives the light that we are pursuing shines upon the darkness of the world. You cannot pursue the light (godliness) without pursuing the truth. As you pursue the truth you are in direct opposition to the conventional wisdom of the world. This is where the persecution begins. The crowds loved Jesus when He was feeding them and healing them, but when He called them to repentance it was a different story. The same crowd that ate freely and wanted to make Him King was also yelling “Crucify Him!” just a short time later. Darkness never surrenders without a fight!
Today we are witnessing the development of a great gap between those who are simply “christian” in name only (the “impostors”), and those who are desiring to live godly in Christ Jesus. We are living during the age of the great falling away (“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse…”). Yet, even during this time there will be great revival and many will come to the knowledge of the truth. But they will only be those who are willing to count the cost of discipleship. They will only be those who turn from their darkness through sincere repentance and faith in Christ. They will be those who are desiring to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.
Lord, help me to live a godly life in Christ Jesus. Grant me the Grace to turn away from darkness each day and to press into your light. Let me walk in love toward those who are lost in the darkness, yet help me to never compromise the truth. I know it is only the truth that will set me free, and anyone else who is bound by the darkness and deception of sin. Bring a revival of the truth in your church. Let us shine our lights in the world, counting the cost of discipleship, and trusting you for a great harvest of souls added to the Kingdom. In Jesus Name!