II TIMOTHY 3:12-14: “Those who try to live a godly life because they believe in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil people and phony preachers will go from bad to worse as they mislead people and are themselves misled. However, continue in what you have learned and found to be true. You know who your teachers were.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Am I prepared for the End Times? The third chapter of Paul’s second letter to young Timothy warns him (and us) about the conditions that will persist as we approach the last days. Every generation has seen these things take place to some degree, but we can identify the end times by the frequency of their occurrence. Jesus said,
- “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Don’t be alarmed! These things must happen, but they don’t mean that the end has come. Nation will fight against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All of these are only the beginning pains ⌊of the end⌋.” (Matthew 24:6-8 GW)
- “When these things begin to happen, stand with confidence! The time when you will be set free is near.” (Luke 21:28 GW)
Jesus and Paul used the analogy of the beginning pains of a woman in childbirth. While all of these signs have persisted in previous generations to a degree, it is the intensity and frequency of these signs that will let us know that we are fast approaching the end of time, the rapture of the church, the great tribulation, and the return of Jesus Christ. In the midst of all of this Paul reminds Timothy that evil people and phony preachers will increase and lead many astray. He also reminds Timothy that those who desire to live a godly life will be persecuted for Jesus’ sake.
Yet, Paul does not leave Timothy without direction or instructions on how to navigate through this time. This instruction is so important for us today as we see the birth pains of end time signs increasing exponentially before our eyes. Paul says,
- “However, continue in what you have learned and found to be true. You know who your teachers were.”
Continue in what you have learned and found to be true, and remember your teachers! This is sound wisdom and advice. But what is this instruction? Who are these teachers? They are really one in the same. They are the Word of God! Paul reminds Timothy that it is not the opinion of man, or human wisdom that will guide him through these turbulent times. It is only the unchanging, ultimately authoritative, inspired Word of God!
- “From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures. They have the power to give you wisdom so that you can be saved through faith in Christ Jesus. Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval. They equip God’s servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17 GW)
This is the context of this most familiar verse that we have heard so many times. It is not simply a reminder of the nature of God’s Word, although that is revealed in this exhortation. Rather, it is the clarion’s call for survival! It is only the inspired Word of God that can teach, guide, point out error, correct us, and train us for a life that has God’s approval – as we navigate through the end times! Only God’s Word will completely prepare us to do good works, remain faithful, and endure persecution as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. It is our daily bread, our survival map, and our place of intimate fellowship with the Creator. We cannot survive without it!
No matter what the world is going through, no matter what may come my way, my anchor is found in God’s Word! It is the Hoy Scriptures, the Word of Truth, the very revelation of God, it is my victory!
Lord, help me to hold on to Your Word in these turbulent times! When I am discouraged, when it looks like darkness is winning, when I face persecution for my faith – let me run to Your Word. And, as I abide in Your Word I know that You will abide with me – until You return!
In Jesus Name!