Advice for troubled times from Apostle Paul (Part 2)

Yesterday I opened my post in “coffee with the Lord” this way…
We live in troublesome times – times that alarm and grieve the heart of righteous people! It seems we are watching a country birthed in Judeo-Christian ethics decay, disintegrate, and unravel before our very eyes and many feel helpless to do anything about it. And what is true of the United States is also true of our world as a whole! What can Christians do? What should they do?
In my Bible reading this morning I read Apostle Paul’s prophetic prediction about the character of “the last days” before our Lord’s return. If a person didn’t know better, you’d guess that he must have been watching the evening news on television or reading the morning news in the newspaper or an electronic device!
Yesterday’s passage (2 Timothy 3:1-9) provided warning and analysis for us… It also provided a partial solution to the dilemma designed to preserve God’s people from the contamination and decay of their culture! The passage I read today (2 Timothy 3:10-17) provides the rest of Paul’s solution to living victoriously in these troubled times…
First of all Paul warns that nothing will change as we approach “the last days” … He says, “Evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived!” In other words as we approach the Lord’s coming we can expect things to get worse before they get better!
Paul’s advice then, beyond what we considered yesterday is this…
1. Don’t expect approval and acceptance of your Christian life and witness – expect persecution! Don’t approach the future with “rose-colored glasses” when it comes to how other religions or even our own culture will feel about apostolic Christianity… He warned, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted!” (vs. 12)
2. The Paul then urged us to continue to follow the faithful lives of other Christians we know, have observed, and respected. His advice? Live like them! Here is how he put it: “Timothy you 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 … CONTINUE in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it!” (Vss. 10-11, 14) His advice? Don’t fall prey to deceivers and charlatans! Follow the lives of consistent, faithful Christians you know and have observed whose life has made a difference and who have lived for the Lord regardless of the problems and pressure they have faced!
3. His final advice? Prioritize Scripture in your life! Recognize that it is “your all sufficient guide for faith and daily living!” It has everything necessary to sustain you, guide you and protect you (and your children) through difficult and perilous time. Here’s what he said about that: “From childhood you have been acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired (breathed out by God) and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be complete, equipped for every good work!” As we approach the “perilous time” prophesied (and clearly developing before our very eyes) we need the Bible more than every to guide us and sustain us!

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