Every generation believes that they are living in the last days. Paul tells Timothy what society will look like in the last days in 2 Timothy 3, and every generation since then says that the end is coming soon. Why is this? Every generation has the same flaws as those who have gone before them. Man was sinful before Jesus, while Jesus walked the earth, and man remains sinful even today. Read 2 Timothy 3 to see how man hasn’t changed in over 2,000 years.
Studying verses 1-9 should open your eyes to the depravity of sin. They should ignite a spark within your heart to allow Christ to do open-heart surgery within you. Man needs help. Man needs saving, and Jesus is the person who can take man from walking dead in his trespasses and lead him into everlasting life. Paul teaches Timothy in verses 10-17 how to abide in Christ and become a beacon of hope in this dark world.
According to verse 1, you see that life will be difficult for a believer. Those that say yes to Christ and follow Him have separated themselves from the ways of the world. They live with heaven in view as they make decisions about their life.
How does Paul describe unbelievers in verses 2-4?
Think about these traits. Are you guilty of any of them? Even as a believer, you can turn your back on God and return to old habits and ways. Your flesh is like that, it battles God within you. Look at Romans 8:5-6, “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So, letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death, but letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” I encourage you to read Romans 8:1-17 for added insight.
Following Jesus means your body, mind, and soul have become alive to the Holy Spirit. You respond according to the Spirit in all areas of your life. God leads, and you listen and obey.
Difficulty arises because many act religious, as Paul shows in verse 5. What makes someone religious over being a true believer? What does Paul tell Timothy to do? While you are trying to live as a Christ follower, you will be surrounded by lukewarm Christians. Look at Revelation 3:15-19 for clarity on this. Those who are not interested in God at all also make life harder for believers. They don’t like Jesus, and they don’t understand why someone would follow Him.
The world is corrupt with counterfeit faiths that feed on the vulnerability of others. Paul explains to Timothy in verses 6-9 how there are wolves in sheep’s clothing living among us. Look up Matthew 7:15 and Acts 20:29-31 for added insight. The earth is not a kind place.
From verses 6-9, what do you learn about the world’s corruption? What is a warning to not be gullible and follow whatever may seem right to you, see verses 7-8? What hope do you and I have for wolves that act this way, see verse 9?
God knows what goes on in the world. He is keeping score. Justice will be served.
Paul goes on to encourage Timothy in verses 10 and 11. “Look at how I live my life Timothy, learn from me,” Paul would say. What do you learn about Paul’s life? How can you live out what God is teaching you from Paul’s example? What is the HOPE that Paul shares that is the secret sauce to your faith?
“But the Lord rescued me from all of it.”11
Paul shares that living for Christ in this world means people will oppose you. Some may not hang out with you a lot, or not at all. Some may speak ugly word to you. “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”12
What makes walking as a true believer difficult is that it will appear that “evil people and imposters will flourish. They will deceive others.”13 What else do you learn about unbelievers from verse 13? The blind can only lead the blind. Those in Christ, though, they can lead people to God. HE IS THE ONE who can remove the blindness from their eyes and elevate them to become Kingdom dwellers.
The key to remaining in abiding mode with Christ is to remain faithful to what you have been taught, see verse 14. Who has taught you and what have you been taught, see verses14-15? Paul says a true believer receives wisdom so they can receive salvation from Christ.
What does verses 16 and 17 say about the importance of God’s Word? How does God help you to do good work for His Kingdom? God’s Word leads you into absolute truths. You will have everything you need when you follow Christ in His Word.
When you understand that there is nothing new going on in the world today that wasn’t going on back in Jesus’ day, and realizing that sin is sin and it remains to run rampant in the world, the call of Christ upon you is imperative. You need to be saved. I need to be saved, and God needs you and I to help lead others to Him so they can be saved too. We are in the last days and time is running out.