Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Godlessness in the Last Days, 2 Timothy Chapter 3

"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 apperance 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 Jambres 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.

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 lconium, 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 throught 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 competent, equipped for every good work."  2 Timothy Chapter 3, ESV

Explanation for verses: 2 Tim. 3:1; 3:5; 3:6; 3:7; 3:8; 3:13; 3:16 from the MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, pages 1830-1831.

"3:1 the last days.  This phrase refers to this age, the time since the first coming of the Lord Jesus.  See note on 1 Tim. 4:1.   times of difficulty.  "Difficulty" is used to describe the savage nature of two demon-possessed men (Matt. 8:28).  The word for "times" had to do with epochs, rather than clock or calendar time.  Such savage, dangerous eras or epochs will increase in frequency and severity as the return of Christ approaches (2 Tim. 3:13).  The church age is fraught with these dangerous movements accumulating strength as the end nears.  Cf. Matt. 7:15; 24:11-12, 24; 2 Pet. 2:1-2."

"3:5  having the appearance of godliness. . . denying its power. "Appearance" refers to outward shape or appearance.  Like the unbelieving scribes and Pharisees, false teachers and their followers are concerned with mere external appearances (cf. Matt. 23:25; Titus 1:16).  Their outward form of Christianity and virtue makes them all the more dangerous."

"3:6  weak women.  Weak in virtue and the knowledge of the truth, and weighed down with emotional and spiritual guilt over their sins, these women were easy prey for the deceitful false teachers.  See notes on 1 Tim. 2:13-14; 5:11-12."

"3:7  a knowledge of the truth.   First Timothy 2:4 uses this same phrase, equating it with being saved.  Here Paul identified those women (2 Tim. 3:6) and men who were often jumping from one false teacher or cult to another without ever coming to an understanding of God's saving truth in Jesus Christ.  The present age, since the coming of Jesus Christ, has been loaded with perilous false teaching that can't save, but does damn (cf. vv. 14, 16-17; 1Tim. 4:1)."

"3:8  Jannes and Jambres.  Although their names are not mentioned in the OT, they were likely two of the Egyptian magicians that opposed Moses (Ex. 7:11, 22; 8:7, 18-19; 9:11).  According to Jewish tradition, they pretended to become Jewish proselytes, instigated the worship of the golden calf, and were killed with the rest of the idolaters (Ex. 32).  Paul's choice of them as examples may indicate the false teachers at Ephesus were practicing deceivng signs and wonders.   the truth.   See note on 2Tim. 3:7.   opposed.  The same word is translated "debased" in Rom. 1:28 (see note there) and comes from a Greek word meaning "useless" in the sense of being tested (like metal) and shown to be worthless."

"3:13  All dangerous movements of the false teachers (cf. vv. 1-9) will become increasingly more successful until Christ comes.  Cf. 2 Thess. 2:11."

"3:16  All Scripture.  Grammatically similar Greek constructions (Rom. 7:12;  2 Cor. 10:10; 1Tim. 1:15; 2:3; 4:4) argue persuasively that the translation "all Scripture is breathed out. . ." is accurate.  Both OT and NT Scripture are included (see notes on 2Pet. 3:15-16, which indentify NT writings as Scripture).  breathed out by God.   Sometimes God told the Bible writers the exact words to say (e.g., Jer. 1:9), but more often he used their minds, vocabularies, and experiences to produce his own perfect infallible, inerrant word (see notes on 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 1:1; 2Pet. 1:20-21).  It is important to note that the inspiration applies only to the original autographs of Scripture, not the Bible writers; there are no inspired Scripture writers, only inspired Scripture.  So identified is God with his word that when Scripture speaks, God speaks (cf. Rom. 9:17; Gal. 3:8).  Scripture is called "the oracles of God" (Rom. 3:2), and cannot be altered (John 10:35; Matt. 5:17-18; Luke 16:17; Rev. 22:18-19).   teaching.   The divine instruction or doctrinal content of both the OT and the NT (cf. 2Tim. 2:15; Acts 20:18, 20-21, 27; 1Cor. 2:14-16; Col. 3:16; 1John 2:20, 24, 27).  The Scripture provides the comprehensive and complete body of divine truth necessary for life and godliness.  Cf. Ps. 119:97-105.   reproof.   Rebuke for wrong behavior or wrong belief.  The Scripture exposes sin (Heb. 4:12-13) that can then be dealt with through confession and repentance.  correction.  The restoration of something to its proper condition.  The word appears only here in the NT, but was used in extrabiblical Greek of righting a fallen object, or helping back to their feet those who had stumbled.  Scripture not only rebukes wrong behavior, but also points the way back to godly living.  Cf. Ps. 119:9-11; John 15:1-2.   training in righteousness.   Scripture provides positive training (originally used in reference to training a child) in godly behavior, not merely rebuke and correction of wrong behavior (Acts 20:32; 1Tim. 4:6; 1Pet. 2:1-2)."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up those who don't understand the truth of Your Word and therefore don't know You.  I pray that You will show them the truth and that they will hear, and not only hear it but, understand it before it is too late.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Romans 2 "God's Righteous Judgment"

"Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.  For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.  We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.  Do you suppose, O man--you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself--that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

He will render to each one according to his works:  to those who by patience in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.  There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.  For God shows no partiality.

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.  For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.  For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth--you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?  While you preach against stealing, do you steal?  You say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?  You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.  For, as it is written, "The name of God is blashpemed among the Gentiles because of you."

For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.  So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law,  will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?  Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.  For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.  But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.  His praise is not from man but from God."  Romans 2 ESV

Explanation for Romans 2:1-16; Romans 2:1; Romans 2:4; Romans 2:5;  and Romans 2:17-29 from The MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, pages 1650-1651

"2:1-16  Having demonstrated the sinfulness of the immoral pagan (1:18-32), Paul presents his case against the religious moralist--Jew or Gentile--by cataloging six principles that govern God's judgment: 1) knowledge (2:1); 2) truth (vv. 2-3);  3) guilt (vv.4-5);  4)deeds (vv.6-10);  5)impartiality (vv.11-15);  5) impartiality (vv.11-15);  6) motive (v. 16)."

"2:1 no excuse. . .you who judges.  Both Jews (Paul's primary audience here: cf. v. 17) and moral Gentiles who think they are exempt from God's judgment because they have not indulged in the immoral excesses described in ch. 1, are tragically mistaken.  They have more knowledge than the immoral pagan (3:2; 9:4) and thus a greater accountability (cf. Heb. 10:26-29; James 3:1).  condemn yourself.  If someone has sufficient knowledge to judge others, he condemns himself, because he shows he has the knowledge to evaluate his own condition.  practice the very same things.  In their condemnation of others they have excused and overlooked their own sins.  Self-righteousness exists because of two deadly errors:  1) minimizing God's moral standard usually by emphasizing externals:  and 2) underestimating the depth of one's own sinfulness (cf. Matt. 5:20-22, 27-28; 7:1-3; 15:1-3; Luke 18:21)."

"2:4 presume. Lit., "to think down on," thus to underestimate someone's or something's value, and even to treat with contempt.  kindness.  This refers to "commom grace," the benefits God bestows on all men (cf. Matt. 5:45; Acts 14:15-17).  forbearance.  This word, which means "to hold back," was sometimes used of a truce between warring parties.  Rather than destroying every person the moment he or she sins, God graciously hold back his judgment (cf. Rom. 3:25).  He saves sinners in a physical and temporal way from what they deserve (see note on 1Tim. 4:10), to show them his saving character, that they might come to him and receive salvation that is spiritual and eternal.  patience. This word indicates the duration for which God demonstrates his kindness and tolerance--for long periods of time (cf. 2 Pet. 2:5).  Together these three words speak of God's common grace--the way he demonstrates his grace to all mankind (cf. Job 12:10; Ps. 119:68; 145:9).  repentance.  The act of turning from sin to Christ for forgiveness and salvation.  See notes on 2 Cor. 7:9-11."

"2:5 hard.  The English word "sclerosis" (as in arteriosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries) comes from this Greek word.  But here the danger is not physical, but spiritual hardness (Ezek. 36:26; Matt. 19:8; Mark 3:5; 6:52; 8:17; John 12:40; Heb. 3:8, 15; 4:7).  impenitent heart.  A refusal to repent (cf. Rom. 2:4) and accept God's pardon of sin through Jesus Christ.  storing up wrath.  To reject God's offer of forgiveness and cling to one's sin is to accumulate more of God's wrath and earn a severer judgment (see notes on Heb. 10:26-30; Rev. 20:12).  day of wrath. . .judgment. Refers to the final judgment of wicked men that comes at the great white throne at the end of the Millennium (see notes on Rev. 20:11-15)."

"2:17-29  Having shown that outwardly moral people--Jew and Gentiles alike--will stand condemned by God's judgment, Paul turns his argument exclusively to the Jews, God's covenant people.  Neither their heritage (v. 17a), their knowledge (vv. 17b-24), nor their ceremonies specifically circumcision (vv.25-29), will protect them from God's righteous judgment."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I lift up those who are struggling to understand that man's heart is basically evil because sin entered the world all those years ago.  I pray that You will show people their sin and their need for You to save them.  I pray that pride will not succeed in keeping people from seeing their sin.  I pray that You will convict their hearts to realize that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We all have told a lie, we all have taken things (even something small from when we were children).  Some have committed adultery (looked at someone lustfully).  All these things are sin and please show us our sin so that those who have not yet done this will ask you for forgiveness, and ask you to be their Lord and Savior, and be saved. I pray that self-righteousness will be replaced with humbleness.   I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.