Scripture is the Truth, and Our Foundation

Introduction

By listening to the present rhetoric of politics, culture, and education, Christianity is backward and in great danger of extinction. According to the world, Christianity’s only hope is to modernize by assimilating to the present day’s standards. The church should no longer teach the “mythical stories” of the Bible, and the moral teachings of Scripture should be updated to accept the cultural direction of the day. The teachings that disagree with science should be cast into the garbage, and perhaps then, the church may survive.

According to the world, the church’s problem is that it is too prudish, staunch, and bigoted. But is the world correct in calling for changes in the church? This dilemma is causing many churches to change. No longer is sin spoken of, but instead, the teaching focuses upon God’s love and motivational speeches to encourage the self-esteem of the congregation. Yes, God is love, but He also hates our sin. Yes, we should have the motivation to continue our work, but because God reigns and is in control. The motivations of too many “preachers” today is man-centric, instead of focusing upon the whole Truth of Scripture and God.

Instead of worship focusing upon glorifying God, worship must be inviting to non-believers. This pragmatic approach is effective for businesses, but if it does not save souls and glorify God, then nothing has been accomplished for the Kingdom of God. Contemporary music, flashy lights, smoke machines, and programs are not necessarily wrong for the church—these are but preferences of people. Instead, the human-centric motives of some churches are the problem. Scripture teaches us that it is God alone that we exist to glorify. Instead, we become prideful of ourselves and sensual in desire, so we forego the motives to glorify God so that we may produce more self-gratification.

So much of the church’s problem is not that it has not conformed enough to the world, but its motivations. The problem is that the church has conformed to the world to please the world. This is antithetical to Christianity! We are not to conform to the world, but to the image of Christ. We are supposed to forgo our desires, dying to self, and instead, living for Christ! If our motivation is not wholly Christ, then our motivations are terribly misguided.

We must always address the Word of God as the foundation of our Truth. If the world is correct, then Scripture will agree, but if Scripture disagrees, then it is the world that is wrong. Should the church bend to every whim of the wind, or is it to stand firm against the storm of change? We must address the whole Truth, not just part of it. If one hides part of the reality, is it not deception and a lie? It is the entirety of Scripture that speaks to the nature of God, not just the parts that are acceptable to the world.

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 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. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

2 Timothy 3:10–4:5

Exposition

2 Timothy 3:10–13 (ESV):  “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

In the preceding passage, Paul describes the Godlessness of the Last Days. He states, “people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

But in 2 Tim. 3:10-13, we have a contrast of such people with the ministry of Paul. His ministry is in stark opposition to such people. As Paul claims, Timothy has, “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness”

Despite his work for the Kingdom of God, Paul has received great persecution, such as “my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and Lystra.” Though he faced great suffering, he was rescued by God. We can all expect that we, too, will suffer in our work to glorify God, but let us be reassured that God will protect us according to His plans. And while we may rest in God’s sovereignty, know that suffering will still occur, and things will continue to get worse.

2 Timothy 3:14–17 (ESV):  “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 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. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Timothy came from a family of those with great faith. They taught him Scripture and how to be true to it. Paul reminds him of this to encourage him in his future in the ministry. Paul additionally points to the Scripture itself, reminding him of its Truth and how it should be used—for “teaching, reproof, correction, and for training in righteousness.” It is through a faithful upbringing, faithful ministry, and faithfulness to the Word that all may be “equipped for every good work.”

Just as parents teach their children how to live properly—knowledge of how to act well behaved, how to clean, dress, eat, and respect others, ministry leaders must also do similarly. The leaders must recall and do the things they were taught to show and teach others how they too should live according to Scripture. If leadership ignores the truths that they have learned, then they cannot do their duty. To teach and lead in the truth, they must follow and have learned the truth as well. A parent that acts like a child will find it impossible to raise a child to act like an adult.

2 Timothy 4:1–4 (ESV):  “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Paul is aware that his time is coming to an end, so he urges Timothy to continue his ministerial work to lead others to the Truth. Though Paul’s life is coming to an end, it shall not be the end of the ministry. Paul is passing the torch to Timothy, to continue carrying the light of Truth to the darkened world.

Paul exhorts Timothy to preach the word– be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, and do all this with patience and teaching. In other words, he is telling Timothy to be a good and upright leader in the ministry that is going to work diligently and persistently to help others.

Timothy must do this with urgency, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” The people will turn their backs upon the Truth; instead, they desire somebody to teach just what to want to hear. I think our current time certainly has become as described, and I am sure it will continue to get worse. Just think of how many people are “preaching” motivational speeches, self-help, and messages contrary to Scripture, yet they claim to be a Christian preacher. We all must hold fast to what is true as found in Scripture and continue to proclaim the true Gospel—the whole Gospel to others so that they too many have salvation through Christ! If the church fails to do this, the world will continue to turn to false gods, idols, and philosophies that will not save their souls but only ensure their death in their sin.

2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV):  “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Remain planted with your foundation upon the bedrock of Scripture. Be level headed, steadfast in the Word. Do not be like the false teachers that have come and will come. Do not be the one that says whatever earns the popularity of the people, but always teach the Truth of God’s Word. Do not be the “yes man” that others want, but be the one that relies upon God’s strength to lead them in the difficult direction—away from sin and to salvation through Christ.

We are to work diligently for the Kingdom of God. Through this work, we glorify our Lord, but it will not be easy work. We will suffer, but the Spirit will empower us to endure it. We must rest upon His strength, not our own.

As it says in 2 Cor. 12:10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” While we will fail in our weakness, it is not by our power that we will continue to endure the suffering, but by God’s empowerment. Through this, we will do the work we have been commanded for the glory of God.

Conclusion

First and foremost, we must remain obedient to the Word of God. It is not just words found in a book, but it is the living command and wisdom given to us by God. It is as relevant today as it was yesterday, and it will remain relevant tomorrow. While the culture, science, and philosophy may change, the Word of God remains the same. God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. He is unmoving, and likewise, the church must remain true to His Word.

Let us not worry about things that do not matter. What we must focus upon is God as our motivation. While some prefer to sing hymns, others prefer contemporary, or even others, the Psalms, these things do not matter if the motivation is correct in honoring and glorifying God. Other issues we must be unmoving in our position. While culture may say the church is wrong or bigoted, it is because God commands our views. Our views are not merely preferences, but these are truths and commands that have existed since even before the creation of the universe.

We must stand firm against the whims of the world, holding fast to what is true. We must remain faithful to God, keeping our eyes upon Him, not the things of this world. We must hold Him in highest honor, above ourselves. And while the world will attack the Truth of Scripture and those that follow Christ, we must endure the suffering that is to come. By the grace of God, we will be given His strength to endure until the end, so that we may continue glorifying Him in our struggles.

Gordon Bland

I am a seminary student working toward my M.Div. While I grew up Pentecostal, within my first semester of seminary, I came to a different understanding of the Word and theology. I am now Reformed Baptist. #1689 I love teaching others about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, for it was Christ that transformed me. For a number of years, I was a militant atheist and substance abuser. If God can change me, I know he can do the same for you! I am but a wretch, yet He still chose to give me grace. He truly is amazing and deserves all our praise!

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