We also need to guard against
deception. There are people out there preaching a different Gospel! In Paul’s
day it was a mixture of magic, Greek and Roman mythology and some Christianity.
1 Timothy 4:1 the Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith
and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
The first deception by the devil
took place in the Garden of Eden when he twisted God’s Word and he’s still
doing it today.
Paul says there’s a solution to
2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word; be
prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great
patience and careful instruction.
3 For the time will come when people will
not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather
around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to
hear. 4 They will turn their ears
away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
So preach the Word. Stay focused on it. Don’t get it from
other people’s opinions. The author says don’t preach about your summer
vacation. I thought about Billy Graham here. I remember thinking once that he
never says anything different. He doesn’t write up a new sermon every time he
speaks. Just the simple Gospel and our need for a Savior and how to get Him.
Don’t compromise God’s Word or make an apology for it. Don’t hold back and
never stop. God’s Word will do the work.
Paul warned Timothy that there would come a day when people
turn from sound doctrine to find teachers who will tell them what they want to
hear. We see this today. People just want to hear what makes them feel good.
They don’t want to be challenged or convicted. They don’t want to hear about
sacrificial living or responsibility. They fell into false teaching and away
from God’s Word. Reading the Bible equips God’s people to do God’s Work!
Most of us just want to be saved from hell. But God wants us
saved from hell so we can save others
from hell. We can only know His love and kindness and mercy when we read
the Word. There isn’t one thing we
will face in our lives that isn’t covered in the Bible. It has all the answers
we need for those we are helping.
One of Satan’s tactics is to attack the authority of
scripture. But Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful
for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so
that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
All of scripture from Genesis to
Revelation is God-breathed. God inspired it. Why would He have anything else in
the book He calls His Word? The Word is profitable for learning, for truth and
for reproof (meaning conviction).
It’s profitable for correction
(straightening us out) and for instruction in righteousness (guiding us in the
right direction.) It’s profitable in making us complete and mature in the Lord.
It can thoroughly equip us to live on this fallen earth and know how to reach
out to people in the harvest.
The Word of God fills you, blesses
you, and gives you wisdom, understanding, knowledge, hope and truth. It gives
you power. It gives you something to share with people who are desperate and in
need. To see Jesus through their hurt. It changes lives!
Jesus told His disciples to abide
in His Word and they would know the truth and the truth would set them free. That
means we should focus on it and meditate on it. This doesn’t just mean “keep God’s commandments”. Deception and
opposition are defeated when we are immersed in the truth of God.
We have to approach the Bible with
a teachable spirit; praying that God leads us to His truth. This doesn’t happen
when the Bible is on your to-do list as “read 5 verses today”. The religious
Jews in Jesus’ time knew the Old Testament inside out. They memorized huge
portions of it, but it didn’t change them one bit.
Jesus told the Jews in John
5:39-40 You study
the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life.
These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you
refuse to come to me to have life.
Jesus was saying that a spirit-led encounter
with His truth would lead them to a personal relationship with Him. Not just a
checked off list of memorized verses. We should all take 1 Peter 3:15 as a life
in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to
everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do
this with gentleness and respect.