Thursday after the Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1-17 (NKJV)
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 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. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The letters addressed to Timothy are correspondence directed to a “pastor” or shepherd of the Church and deal with the Office of the Ministry. Second Timothy has pastoral elements in it, but is basically a personal letter and in a class by itself though.
Paul is writing from prison in Rome. He has been a prisoner for some time and there has already been one hearing, at which Paul was deserted by all men, and yet, with the Lord’s help, so successfully defended himself that he “was rescued from the lion’s mouth”—but Paul has no hope of ultimate acquittal; he is at the end of his course.
Within this context Timothy is directed to fulfill his ministry in the sobering conviction that times and men will grow worse and that opposition to the truth will increase. The only alleviating feature of this dark future is that the folly of those who oppose the truth will expose itself. For this unorthodox folly is perpetually curious about the latest religious fads that oppose the truth by offering an abundance of enticing falsehood.
Timothy is to fulfill his office in the solid assurance that he has the equipment needed for his difficult and dangerous task in the example of Paul, in the apostolic teaching he has received, and in the inspired Scriptures which are able to instruct man for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
We pray: O Lord, the God of all grace, You have called Your Church to minister in the Name of Your Son, our great High Priest. By Your Word and Spirit inspire men to offer their lives for the sacred Ministry that, ministering in the Name of Christ, they may draw many to Your kingdom; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.