We are living in challenging times as Christians. Our faith is being undermined by wayward Christian teachers and prophets in our day. How does this happen? I Timothy and II Timothy give some explanation as to how this occurs. Teachers start to wander off the path of truth and are in a position to ruin the faith of others. For some teachers it is their desire to be preeminent among others. For other teachers they have accepted and confessed beliefs in a worldly knowledge. These causes are based in inward personality faults that have not been overcome or resisted by someone who is teaching God’s word. Through their influence they can shipwreck the godly faith of other Christians. God’s word says that those who teach will receive the greater condemnation in a judgment if they get it wrong. We have some Christian teachers in our day that have really gone out on a limb teaching that godliness in conduct and behavior is not needed in the life of a believer. Others teach that financial gain is what Christianity is all about. Still others teach mystical, spiritualistic practices interspersed with the Word of God.
The names of some of these men are given in I and II Timothy. Hymanaeus, Philetus, and Alexander are specifically identified by Paul. To have lived in that day teaching believers and then to find your name written in the Bible as a faith-wrecker would be devastating. We need to be careful as teachers and as receivers of ‘christian’ teaching. Many popular teachers of our day teach half-truths or even less godly content in their teaching about the Christian life. We cannot be enamored with the ‘popular’ at the expense of our faith and eternal life. Paul exhorted Timothy to hold onto his faith and his good conscience. Contrary to much of the Christian teaching today our conscience means something to us. If we are feeling guilty, confused or uncomfortable then we need to pay attention to the Holy Spirit and examine ourselves by the Word of God and what the Bible Scriptures teach.
The Scripture says ‘be ye in the world but not of it’. We look around our communities as Christians and things seem at least somewhat ‘normal’. We see families out together, people going about their business, people smiling and laughing, and children tagging along with their caregiver. This means that the world is alright doesn’t it? Things can’t be that bad. Then we hear that some of the middle school youth at our church are struggling with feelings of homosexuality. Feelings that they don’t want and that they hate. What has happened?
There is a spirit of homosexuality in our land right now in the West. This spirit is increasing in its scope and in its power in the lives of youth. Especially those who involve themselves in today’s media of gaming and other influential technology such as the easy access to pornography websites through the Internet.
Government laws have gotten behind the enforcement and acceptance of homosexuality and political correctness in society has demanded alignment in the thinking and actions of everyday people. Differences of thought are stomped out quickly by authorities as discriminatory, bigoted and subject to possible fines and imprisonment.
Youth are active in media. They like gaming. They like technology that entertains them. They like being exposed to ‘new and exciting things’. They want to try everything to see what it is about. They are very susceptible to peer pressure and want to be the same as their friends. They want to be thought of as progressive in their thinking and in how they live their lives. Through these mechanisms and influences the youth are coming under the control of the homosexual spirit that is currently in the world.
If the youth want to break free of this control they are going to have to be taught to be very careful of what they are engaging in. Many of the current games they play may have to be set aside for other choices. Some of the music they listen to and some of the television programs and movies they watch may have to be avoided. If the youth continue to engage with media indiscriminately then there is a strong possibility that they will lose control of themselves and become captives and slaves of the spirit of homosexuality and of other unwanted and hated powers of ungodliness.
There is a complaint by the saints in the church today of being fed a plenteous diet of pablum and milk by church leaders. They want to hear the word of God. They want to hear the exhortation and challenge needed in our times. They want to know where they are in relation to God’s instruction and what they need to be working on.
Church leaders, on the other hand, are concerned about building bigger congregations. Leaders are looking to appeal to a broad range of people so that all kinds of people will be comfortable in attending their church. The church has become shallow in its’ depths and broad in its’ ways. It wants to be seen as welcoming to all and diligently endeavors not to offend anyone who crosses its’ thresholds.
This is a distinctively different kind of church than we read about in the scriptures. The church we see in these writings exhorts the believers to get their lives free from sin. To choose paths of righteousness and to turn from evil. To be good and kind and generous to one another, to help one another. Believers who rejected God’s counsel were disciplined by putting them out of the church until they repented. These were accepted back into the church through the permission of the affected congregation.
The Bible states that ‘narrow is the gate (or way) that leads to life and few there be that find it’. This is contrary to what the church is teaching believers today.
What is God doing in the World today? There is a lot of unrest and upset. Volcanos are erupting, frequent large earthquakes, vicious storms, drought, flooding, extinction of animals and other species, deadly outbreaks of disease, global warming, economic crises, political instability, population uprisings and protests, and so on, and so on…….These are more frequent and wider spreading in the earth.
Jesus spoke about these perilous times to come in the Bible. Not just in the world, but in the lives of Christians too. Times to come where a son will betray his father, a daughter her mother-in-law, parents who rise up against their children, because of the name of Christ.
There are problems in the church as well. Many believers are dissatisfied with the current structure and the current way of doing church in North America and in developed nations. Christians seem to be looking for ‘meat’ that many churches appear unable to deal with and present.
One of the main exhortations in the Bible is ‘do not be afraid’. God looks after the birds. He clothes the fields with beauty and glory that even King Solomon was unable to robe himself in. There is a sense of God being highly supreme and sovereign in the universe but we also know that God is personal. He knows his own. He’s aware of the number of hairs on each of our heads. He knows how to protect us and keep us in himself. Our job is to set our minds and heart on Him. To rebuke the doubt and fear in our minds daily if need be ‘ in the name of Jesus’. To look to Jesus Christ for everything that we need in the days to come.