There is a sense of urgency in the words beginning in the third chapter of 2 Timothy delivered to the recipients that contain a prophetic flavor. With a direct reference to the latter days, the Apostle Paul makes an appeal to be heard clearly and with a spirit of discernment. “Mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.”
This appeal serves as a wake-up call for the pastor of the New Testament church and for the faithful members of that community of faith, which was the Body of Christ. As if to say, “do not let this moment go unnoticed for its gravity and potential for destruction.” That is, destruction to the very foundation of the church and its power to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, unfettered by false teaching and human interference.
The warning comes concerning the difficulty of the hour that is now taking place for Timothy and the believing community. While the reference is the latter days, the reality is the present moment for the church in this era. The challenges were fierce related to the forces of good and the forces of evil. The days were to be filled with stress and the actions of some simply “ruthless,” especially regarding handling the truth of God’s Word.
But amid the opposition to what is right and righteous, the servant of the Lord is to stand and not retreat. The work of the ministry is to continue even during perverse circumstances and spiritual warfare. The spiritual leader is to stand strong in the strength provided by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit and proclaim what “thus says the Lord,” without hesitation.
This message seems awfully relevant for us today and the times of challenge that we face and are living in all over the globe, and especially in our own land. When the question is raised, “what is going on?”, perhaps the clue is found in this ancient letter of edification to a church in the middle of the struggle for truth and justice. May this word guide our understanding and empower our faith ‘for the living of these days.’
Dumas A. Harshaw, Jr., Ph.D, Pastor
Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00 a.m. & 11:00 a.m. (10:00 a.m. only service for the entire month of July & Friends and Family Day) Sunday School: 9:45 am