So, when you read this title you might be thinking to yourself, “Are we really in the last days? Isn’t that something people have said and thought before?” Well, for me personally, 2 Timothy 3:1-9 says it all. When I read it I can not help but think about all of the things I hear in the news and read everywhere. It says,
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For 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. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambre opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.”
I hope you too can read this and see the scary resemblance it has to what we read and hear on the news. I know this is sad to think about and can be disheartening, however I think that instead of focusing on that we should focus on being prepared and ready in this time to hold tight to the Lord and His word. There are three things we can do to prepare ourselves in these times: being a worker of the Lord and what it looks like (2 Timothy 2:14-26), preach The Word( 2 Timothy 4:1-8), and putting on the armor of God(Ephesians 6:13-20).
A Worker Of The Lord (2 Timothy 2:14-26)
“Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words,which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable,he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
In Paul’s letter to Timothy he explains the do’s and don’ts of being a worker of the Lord. I know that was a long verse so here’s a short list version:
•Present yourself to God as one who is approved, and rightly handling the word of truth
•Avoid Irreverent babble
•Cleanse yourself of what is dishonorable
•Be a vessel of honorable use that is set apart as holy
•Be ready for every good work
•Flee youthful passions
•Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace
•Be kind to everyone
•Able to teach
•Patiently endure evil
•Correct your opponents with gentleness
•Have anything to do with foolish, ignorant controversy
So, I would challenge you to look at these lists and do some self-evaluation. Where do you struggle in this list, and therefore struggle with being a good worker of the Lord? For me I see a weakness of mine being in the quarreling and foolish, ignorant controversies. I am not saying something like abortion is foolish or ignorant, but I don’t believe it is wise and honorable to the Lord for me to argue among unbelievers on this subject when I could be a vessel of the Lord and showing them Him. I want to focus on the part of pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace. A friend of mine who is a pastor’s wife and fellow blogging friend wrote a post called Queens Vs Soldiers in regards to 2 Timothy 2:2-7, http://pastorswife101blog.blogspot.com/2014/08/queens-vs-soldiers-becoming-pastors.html, as well as this post that’s about 2 Timothy as well, http://pastorswife101blog.blogspot.com/p/2-timothy-study.html. I would love for you to give her blog a look!
Preach The Word (2 Timothy 4:1-8)
“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.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
I think the part that says, “endure suffering” should not be overlooked, but acknowledged because it is something that will come as a result of our faith. Just look at what is going on in Iraq and Syria with the beheading of Christians by the Islamic State. Persecution and suffering are just something that come with taking up your cross and following Jesus and so it should be of no surprise to us when we are tested and persecuted, and we should not only endure this suffering but also continue to evangelize for His namesake.
Put On the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-20)
” Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
I think this is a verse that I need to memorize, and I might challenge you as well to memorize this. Write it down on a note card and place it somewhere that you pass often, perhaps your bathroom mirror. So, every morning as you prepare for your day you see and read this passage and can pray over these words before you start your day.
It is my prayer that we would all remember what you have called us to and that we would be ready to live a life honoring and glorifying to you in a time of such darkness, “the last days”. Lord we do not know when you are coming back and what is soon to you could be decades for us. However, in Your Word in 2 Timothy when Paul describes the last days it sounds eerily similar to the days in which we are living now. I pray that you would help us to carry your Word in our hearts and lean on not ourselves but the guidance of the Holy Spirit in which you have given us, Your children. Might we be workers who honor and glorify you in all we do, preach your word to every single person that crosses our path, and put on Your Holy armor every single day! Help us to wear the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit. Lord help us to do all things for Your namesake. May we be like Paul, still boldly proclaiming the gospel even in the face of persecution. Give me faith to believe, ears to hear, and eyes to see.
In Your most precious name I pray,