Monday, October 22, 2012

Evil Men and Imposters

Evil Men and Imposters


But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,  and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Timothy 3:14-15

After explaining the job of ministry to Timothy, Paul goes on to warn him about imposters, and false prophets.  Timothy will soon be without Paul’s mentorship, and He wants to protect him and the message of the Gospel that he has entrusted to Timothy.  He begins by telling Timothy the characteristics of these men.  It reads as a test for how to tell if the man (or woman) is genuinely God’s called and anointed, or if they are only an imposter, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

·        lovers of themselves

·        lovers of money

·        boasters

·        proud

·        blasphemers

·        disobedient to parents

·        unthankful

·        unholy

·        unloving

·        unforgiving

·        slanderers

·        without self-control

·        brutal

·        despisers of good

·         traitors

·        Headstrong

·        Haughty

·        lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

·         having a form of godliness but denying its power

·        make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins

·        led away by various lusts

·        always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth

·        men of corrupt minds

·        disapproved concerning the faith

It’s a long, long list!  But before we go and start placing our ministers up against this list, let’s first understand that you don’t judge a tree by only one apple on it!  You sample several.  Any one of us could measure up to some of these characteristics.  Any one of us has been without self-control at some time, or unthankful, or headstrong.  The list is not a check list, but a description of character. 
Paul goes on to tell Timothy that these ministers will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.  Some will hear their lies and follow them, and those will spread the lies to others.  The level of evil will grow worse, and the number of these false prophets will increase.

Fast forward nearly 2000 years later, and let’s test the ministers that we’ve seen fall by these traits.  How many times has someone tried to name the day in which the rapture will occur, and failed?  How about those that have let sin overtake their lives, or have been found to be “lovers of themselves” and embezzled money from their ministries?  Do you recall the mass suicides lead by a so-called ministries?  Do you recall reading of big-time ministers who were caught in adultery, addictions, living lavish lives while leading the dwindling “send me your money to help the poor” ministries?  I’m not going to name their names, because they are NOT to be our focus.
The focus of Paul’s warning comes later, in verses 14-15 when he tells Timothy to continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 

When you hear God’s word delivered, try it.  Test it.  Don’t be afraid to doubt it to the point of knowing factually that what you are hearing is God’s Holy Word.  Consider those who you have learned it from.  What’s their fruit look like?  Timothy was taught the Bible from childhood by his mother and grandmother.  Not all of us have had that blessing, but all of us can become as strong in God’s word as Timothy was.  Read it, read it again, and read it again.  In these days when false prophets are sounding off through our own churches, television, radio, and internet, we need to be able to discern the truth from lies. 
The problem with listening to a false prophet and not knowing it is that after you have learned bits and pieces of things and believed them as truth it’s hard to sort out the truth from the lies.  It’s even harder to unlearn those lies and impossible to withdraw them from those you’ve shared them with. But when you find a ministry that is giving the truth, and there are many, link up with it and support it.  They are the only way we can drown out the lies of the enemy. 

Paul ends 2 Timothy 3 by saying All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 
The Bible is God inspired, and true, cover to cover.  But not all that hold it and proclaim it yield it as the sword of truth.  Some would rather fashion it into a twisted ornament to bring temporary happiness and joy to a people looking for salvation and love. Dear Friends, trust in God’s word and the salvation of Jesus Christ alone.  God cannot lie, and neither does His Word.  Pray for understanding when you study, and discernment of the truth, and He will deliver it to you.

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