The Bible is the antidote that will keep us from slipping into apostasy… Doctrine tells us what is right – reproof will help us correct what is not right – instruction and discipline and helps us to get right.
In 2 Timothy 3 we read:
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3:1 – 5)
This is a very sad description indeed, but what is shocking is that the context that Paul is speaking of is that this is the kind of behaviour that will take place within the church. So what is it that will keep us from the kind of lives that Paul has described to us? Paul gives us the answer, the antidote for the poison that will infiltrate our lives and our churches if we are not prepared. Paul writes:
14But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15and 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.
The Bible is the antidote that will keep us from slipping into apostasy, but how do we apply this? Just like Paul told Timothy, that you continue in the things that you have learned and been assured of through the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. And now we come to the most well known verses in this passage.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (16)
Scripture is profitable for reproof, that means for conviction so that we can know the truth; for correction, so that we can put our lives right; for instruction, in the sense of discipline.
Doctrine tells us what is right – reproof will help us correct what is not right – instruction and discipline and helps us to get right.
Can you see just how vital a high view of the Bible? Not just intellectual view but practically applying it to our lives. It is absolutely essential! Why? The last verse makes this very clear; “that the man (or woman) of God may be complete (as in mature), thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We must continue to read and study the Scriptures; in Church, in Home Groups and in private study. We must continue to defend the Scriptures from attack from both outside and inside the Church. And most importantly, we must continue to apply the Scriptures to our lives. Because only God’s Living Word is the antidote to the poison that is injected into our spiritual lives by false teachers, by well meaning people who lack knowledge and wisdom, and most importantly by the Devil who wants to make us ineffective ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and who wants to rob us of our assurance, our authority, and our rewards.
If you are a born again follower of Jesus Christ then I expect you are looking forward to His return. And we certainly should be, and we have very good reasons because of what the Scripture says and because of events taking place in the world, to believe that that day could well be very soon. But never forget that every day that goes by before Jesus’ return is another opportunity for us to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God and that is not just about sharing our faith though that is part of it, being fruitful is about applying the Word of God to your life that you will bear fruit that has eternal significance and will stand the test of time.
For more on this subject, listen to our sermons on “In the Last Days”.