Last Days Men
2 Timothy 3:1-17
Last week we began looking at 2 Timothy 3 and the first 13 verses. We found that the last days being talked about in these verses are not some future time that we may never experience. The last days are not only the days of Paul and Timothy, but they are our days. The New Testament clearly refers to the last days as everything from the time of Christ to today. Thus, we live in the last days. The first part of 2 Timothy 3 tells us what to expect during these last days.
Last Days People of Wickedness
~ Difficulty of the Times (v. 1)
We should expect living as a Christian to be difficult. If it is not difficult, then maybe our Christianity is not what it should be.
~ Prevalence of Sinfulness (vv. 2-5)
Nineteen characteristics are given here that clear describe the sinfulness of our day. We are not experiencing something unexpected or new. Sinfulness is prevalent.
~ Pretense of Godliness (vv. 5-7)
We found that there is a pretense of godliness taking place. In other words, there is a creeping in of immorality and theological error into the life of the church. We need to be aware and stand on truth.
~ Exposure of Evil Intent (vv. 8-9)
There will come a day, when God will expose sinfulness and evil for what it is.
~ Persecution of the Godly (vv. 10-13)
If we are living for Jesus Christ and following His teachings, we will be persecuted. He is not saying that we might experience persecution, but that we will experience persecution.
So, we concluded that we should never become downhearted about the evil and sinfulness of our day. We should expect difficulty. The people of wickedness in these last days should not cause us to be in despair, rather, we should rejoice that we are worthy of persecution for the sake of Christ. Unfortunately, most of the time, we tend to compromise our beliefs in order to get along with others in a sinful world. We live more like the world than we live like the Lord Jesus, quite honestly.
I chose this passage in 2 Timothy 3 because verse 17 clearly exhorts Timothy as a “Man of God” to continue in what he has learned from Scripture and be faithful to its teachings. So, let’s take a look at the final challenge that is for everyone, but in this case, I want to focus on men and fathers. I have called them “Last Days Men of God,” versus the “Last Days People of Wickedness” that we talked about last week.
Last Days Men of God
~ Anchored in the Truth of Scripture (vv. 14-15)
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
The beginning phrase, “But as for you,” is a statement of contrast. What follows is completely different from what was just described to us in the first 13 verses. What he says now is the converse of a pretense to godliness, a complete opposition to moral compromise, and the absolute reverse of accepting of theological error. Many Christians of our day have fallen into the trap of pretending to be godly while accepting moral compromise and theological errors. Paul says, “But as for you,” in other words, you are the radical opposite of all we talked about last week. Unlike the sinful people of the world, and the Christian imposters that have compromised themselves, you are fundamentally different. The world is characterized by self-love and the sin that promotes that, but you belong to God and should emulate Him.
Timothy is told to “continue in what you have learned.” Timothy “learned” the truths of God. I like this word “learned,” because it shows that Timothy was intentional. The things we learn best, most often come to us by intentionally trying to observe and understand something. We take time to absorb the information we are learning into our minds, weigh the facts, and we come to a conclusion about the matter. In Timothy’s case, it says he firmly believed it. That was the conclusion he came to. He was convinced that what he learned was truth. But the point I want to make is that he intentionally studied and learned about the things of God.
As Men and Fathers who live in a world that is rampant with sin and filled with people who want you to compromise your faith, this is probably the most important thing you can do in your life. Intentionally learn what the Bible has to say. Now at this point, many of you will say to me, but I take time for daily devotions and prayer. That is great if you do that. But honestly, some of you can’t even say that. There are many of you in this room that don’t take 15 or 20 minutes of your day to read even a little devotional like the Daily Bread or the Days of Praise or a chapter in the Bible or take time talk to God for a moment.
We think we are too busy, or we say we can’t understand it, or for some reason we think it is boring. So, for those who aren’t even having a short time of devotions with the Lord every morning, I would encourage you to begin. God will not speak to your heart if you are not willing to take the time to converse with Him each day. Every single one of us, men and women, should spend time with God alone each day.
But the convicting part about this passage is that what Paul is talking about here, I believe, goes well beyond a short devotional each morning. He is talking about something intentionally “learned” and “firmly believed.” In other words, spending time studying, thinking through the issues, and understanding the heart of God. We live in a culture that is confused about human sexuality, the gods they worship, and most important, how to be reconciled to God through salvation. The only way we can respond properly to the chaos of our world is to intentionally learn and firmly believe what God has to say.
For instance, our cultural lists 31 gender pronouns with over 54 identities. It is no longer just LGBT, folks, it is now gender fluidity which means that you can be whatever gender identity you want on any given day or hour of that day. So, what do you believe about that? Do you know what God’s Word says or are you like many Christians and you are just against it because you are repulsed by the idea? I am willing to bet that many of you would say we don’t believe in that. But then we cannot anchor it to the truth of God because we have not taken the time to intentionally learn what God says and firmly believe it.
The Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy to continue in what he has learned and firmly believed, and from whom he has learned it. Verse 15 says that there are many things Timothy became acquainted with as a child and that it was from these things that God brought him into salvation. Do you know what this tells me? As a man of God, it is so important that I intentionally learn the Bible, firmly believe what it teaches me, but also teach it to my children and grandchildren. Part of what makes Timothy who he is today is because his mother and grandmother took time to teach him the Word.
When you spend time with your children and grandchildren, you need to find opportunities to teach them what you believe. And your teaching must be anchored in the truth of God’s Word. If you don’t teach your children and grandchildren, the world will teach them how to stand in opposition to God. Listen, we need to be serious about this. As last days men, we need to be teaching what we believe and why we believe it from the authority of the Bible. And if you don’t know why you believe something, intentionally take the time to learn so you can pass it on to others. Last days men are anchored in the truth of Scripture. Why is the Bible so important? Look at verse 16 and we can easily see the benefit of learning its teachings.
~ Benefit From the Teachings of God’s Word (v. 16)
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Why learn what the Bible says? ALL. . . ALL Scripture is breathed out or inspired by God. I cannot emphasize this enough. The Bible is from God, about God, and God’s work among His people. It is the divine truth about our standing before a holy God. The Bible is not a collection of writings from intelligent men. It is the revelation of God to us. God Himself breathed out the words of Scripture through the men He chose to record it.
2 Peter 1:21
21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
This is why it is so important that we learn it and firmly believe it. It is God’s revelation to us in written form. Besides that, look at the benefits of learning the teachings of God’s Word! We are told that it is profitable for teaching. That is exactly what we were just talking about with our children and grandchildren. Scripture becomes the text book that we anchor everything we say to. Profitable has the idea of beneficial or productive. When the Bible is the basis of what we teach, it is beneficial.
The Bible is also beneficial for reproof. Most of us don’t care for being rebuked for misbehavior but stop and think about this a moment. If there are things we have allowed into our lives that are contrary to the character of the God we love, wouldn’t we want to know about it? Reproof simply calls our attention to things that still need to change. Every single one of us are a work in progress as we become God’s new creation. Reproof is a good thing!
The next benefit goes right along with reproof. Another benefit of the Bible is correction. Correction has the idea of restoring something to what it was intended to be. Someone who has stumbled and fallen down, they are help back up. Correction also refers to an adjustment of direction. If someone is traveling down the wrong path, someone corrects them and sets them in the right direction. This applies to so much in our lives. We should desire the correcting influence of God’s Word in our lives.
The last benefit is “training in righteousness.” This is like what we do with children. We use instruction and discipline to train young people to live rightly. We are trained in righteous living as citizens of the Kingdom by the breathed-out words from God, that which we call Scripture. Listen to how this is described in 1 Peter 2.
1 Peter 2:1-3
1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation--
3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Why wouldn’t every believer want to grow in their relationship with the Lord and be trained in righteousness? If you don’t think we need the Bible to learn to live rightly, then you must already know everything God knows! You must have it all figured out. You must not need God! We know that is not true though, don’t we? Look at these benefits of learning and firmly believing the truth of God’s Word. It is so important to our lives and yet the Bible is often the most neglected in our lives.
If you want to know why Christians live immorally, why it is acceptable to have sex outside of marriage, why they look at porn on the internet, or have lustful thoughts in their mind, I think I can tell you why. They are not willing to learn the Word, believe the Word, and reap the benefits of the Word in their lives. What about our young people today? So many of them just don’t know what to believe. How about your children and grandchildren? Maybe you haven’t taught them what the Bible says, or worse yet, maybe you don’t know what the Bible says on a particular topic. I don’t think we have to wonder why our young people choose to live in opposition to God. They are not anchored to the Scriptures and they do not experience the life changing benefits of God’s inspired Word and we have not taught it to them.
Verse 17 tells us why the Bible is so important. It equips us to live life for God in the midst of a sin filled world.
~ Equipped for Life (v. 17)
17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
We are equipped to do what God wants us to do when we spend time in His Word. When I was a remodeling contractor in Minneapolis, my truck was equipped with all kinds of tools. You could look into the side panels and the back of the truck and find saws, drills, cords, ladders, nails, screws, supplies, and etc. But even with all the stuff I had in the truck continually, I couldn’t carry everything on board to do every job, because each job would have its own set of peculiarities that would require tools that were not used all the time. So, I would have to make sure each morning that I had that tools and supplies I needed for each particular job.
Now, let’s say I forgot a tool that I needed for a job one day and arrive at the work site without it. As I begin work, it is not long before I come to the realization that I am not fully equipped, what do you think I should do? I might choose to not do the work I was supposed to do, or improvise by using tools not made for the job and doing a job that is not up to par, or I could go back home and get properly equipped to do the job. If you were paying me to do the job, I think you would want me to go back and get properly equipped.
This is the same for you and me as we live the Christian life. We can certainly live in this world without the Bible being a part of our lives. People all around the world do it today. But there again, look at the prevalence of sin, the pretense of godliness, and the pervasiveness of evil. Christians need to be equipped to live in this world and the only way that happens is by going back to the Word of God and intentionally learning, firmly believing, and experiencing the benefit of it. The Bible has equipping power in our lives.
Since it is Father’s Day, I will focus on men though this applies to women as well. Men, are you a “man of God” that is “complete, equipped for every good work?” Are you equipped? Are you intentionally learning what God has told us? Are you anchored in the truth of Scripture? We live in the last days that Paul described for us in the first part of 2 Timothy 3. Are you equipping yourself to live for the glory of God?
Are you teaching your children and grandchildren the things God has taught you or do you just expect them to somehow absorb it? I have often heard men say, “My kids know what I believe and they have decided to do what they want.” I guess I have to ask you, and honestly, I have been asking myself this question also, “Do they know why you believe it?” Would your children and grandchildren just say, “Things have changed since you were young grandpa.” We don’t believe that anymore.
God’s Word never changes! What has happened is we have not anchored what we believe on the truth of God’s Word. We have not taken time to teach them the unchanging truth of the Word. They don’t know that what you believe is based on what God has said, not on your personal feelings.
Last Days men take the time to learn the Word of God, benefit from its teachings by being equipped to teach it to the next generation. Are you a Last Days Man of God?