Vs. 7, “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” Why should I know the Bible and truth? Because we have a responsibility to know how to discern that which is false vs. that which is truth. Knowing and living truth are essentials to be able to not be led astray. Some of us cannot possibly imagine others coming with evil intentions to the church. But the enemy is not about playing under our system of rules. These were warnings in the early church. Jesus predicted as the end times draw nearer, it will get even worse (Matthew 24).
Regarding application…Know the Truth. Vs. 10, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.” Many of us may think this doesn’t happen today. However, there are actual occults that will send out members to churches with the sole purpose of infiltrating small home fellowships in the churches. Their intention is to gain the trust over an extended period of time and then lead them to their false teaching and eventual occult. There was a recent movement in the Korean churches all over Southern California. It got big enough to where Talbot Seminary sent out all points bulletin to each student warning us about this occult. The more we know the truth, the more we will be able judge and discern what the Apostle John so adamantly warns us against.
Vs. 1, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” By God’s grace, we have an advocate in Jesus. But don’t miss out the fact that we can choose whether we sin or not. With the knowledge of Jesus and His light, what are we to do with it? We are to live and love as Christ did (vs. 3-11). Loving is not just a feel good option, it is a commandment. John then takes the time to address all God’s people (children), father’s and young men to warn them not to love the world (vs. 12-17). We have been reminded to walk in His light and His love. Now John focuses realizing that we must now walk in the truth (vs. 18-27). It is so important we know God’s word so we do not go astray from false ways. We live in the last days (vs. 18). The lies of the enemy and coming of the antichrist is nearing each day. As we come nearer, how much more important is it to know and fellowship with true believers (vs. 28-29).
Regarding application…Light Exposes. Vs. 8, “Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” The true light will expose the darkness and evil for what it is. This reminds me of black lights. It’s always a uncomfortable feeling when you see someone shine a black light in a hotel room. While it looks clean from the human eye, there are all kinds of dirt and grime that is exposed by light. Light exposes and separates the good from the bad. Let us live in the light so we may see our sins and confess them unto the Lord. Live in His light. Let’s stop hiding in the darkness.
Vs. 10, “For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.” As the church grew on Crete, they needed more Godly people to step up. Paul once again lays out some attributes that a leader/elder must possess to set the example and be effective (vs. 5-9). Question: Why? Because where God is working, the enemy is also working hard to bring division and false doctrine. Paul does not pull any punches when it came to addressing these people who were contributing towards these false ways (vs. 10-16). Titus was not to tread lightly, but rebuke them harshly for the error of their ways (vs. 13). While this may seem harsh, there is a difference between rebuking those who know the error of their ways vs. those who ignorantly believe the false teaching.
Regarding application…Why Doctrine? Vs. 9, “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” There is a tendency these days not to pay much attention to good biblical doctrine. I believe this, they believe that, my church believes this, etc. There are huge ramifications if we do not know sound doctrine. When the enemy comes to plant his seeds of lies, if we don’t know the truth, we may fall into the trap. When we try to encourage others and they think that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross but lived out his life to old age, how then can they think they can overcome if God’s son did not overcome death? We need sound doctrine in our lives to be able to encourage others and have an answer for our faith.
Vs. 1, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.” Yikes, quite an ominous statement that Paul gives to Timothy. Question: When are these last days? The last days were during Timothy’s time and has extended to ours too. Sadly, these descriptions are not people who are pagan idol worshippers (vs. 2-9), but they are people who are part of the church. Brothers and sisters, we should not be naïve of such things. Many people will state they are Christians, but they have no mind of God. They are imitators like Jannes and Jambres (vs. 8) the Egyptian magicians who were able to mimic a couple of the miracles Moses had done. We are to follow the example of Paul (vs. 10-13) and remember that living a life for the Lord is going to be full of persecution. If we live for the Lord, we will be persecuted.
Regarding application…Word of God. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Question: How do we combat the last days? Know God’s living word! Because of the spiritual warfare, we must be equipped (vs. 17). Paul likes the word of God to the sword of the Spirit (vs. 17) and this is our one offensive weapon we can use. We live in an information society. Information is at our fingertips; Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia. We read the word of others every day. It’s so important to ensure we are staying up to date with God’s word!
Vs. 3, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” Question: What does this mean? Paul takes the time to let them know that “the day of the Lord” hasn’t happened yet because the anti-christ hasn’t come. The Thessalonians were worried because some had thought it had already come (vs. 2-12). Certainly, there still exists a fascination regarding the identity of the man lawlessness (anti-christ) is going to be. But we should not be so caught up in this because we already know the outcome (vs. 8). We must be careful not to be impressed with signs and wonders (vs. 9-12), for the enemy will do many miracles that can turn many away from the truth (vs. 12).
Regarding application…Know God’s Word. Vs. 15, “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” The enemy (satan) will do all that he can to shake our faith. When I first became a Christian at the age of 16, I did not know His word. But the Lord impressed upon my heart to know Him more. Eventually, I attended Bible College at Multnomah in Portland, OR. That began a process of nourishing my heart, soul and mind with His word! I am so thankful for His word through the Bible and how He speaks to our hearts through His Holy spirit and others in our lives. Take time today to be thankful for God’s word in your life. The more you know, the better you will be able to stand firm in the midst of all the storms and doubts!
Vs. 3, “So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.” This is very difficult passage to read as we come face to face with Jesus’ last night before the crucifixion. It touched my heart to be reminded how Jesus cared for the disciples (vs. 8 ) and was looking out for them. The soldier’s take Jesus to Annas, who used to be the high priest years earlier. He is the father-in-law of Caiaphas who is the current high priest. They illegally arrest and interrogate Jesus. They want Jesus dead so they take Him to Pilate, a Roman leader who had the authority to have Jesus crucified. Part of Pilate’s role was to govern the Jews and keep peace, so there was definite pressure to appease the Jews. Yet, Pilate could not find a reasonable reason that Jesus be crucified. Mixed in this chapter, we see Jesus’ words come true with Peter’s denial of Jesus three times. As Jesus was put on trial, Peter also had his own trials before him this night. My heart goes out to Peter for this would be very bitter and sad moment for him. But, in Peter’s failure, we will soon be reminded of God’s grace in dealing with second chances.
Regarding application…What is Truth? Vs. 38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.” A question posed by Pilate himself! It’s one of those questions that mankind has been asking throughout the ages. The truth Pilate asked was in the context of just who was Jesus? Was He this false savior the Jews accused Him of? Was this kingdom a real place? Was Jesus a true king? Pilate asks this question on behalf of all of us. Question: Is Jesus telling the truth? C.S. Lewis challenges us in his book Mere Christianity, that we must either decide Jesus was truly the Son of God or believe he was a madman or worse. We can’t believe in half-truths and just say, Jesus was a good man or a good teacher. The truth is will set us free. Jesus is that truth (John 14:6)!
Vs. 32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” For those who walk in darkness, hearing the truth hurts. The other day, we were reminded how Jesus brings tests in our lives. When the Pharisee’s brought the woman caught in adultery, we are reminded the enemy also brings his own tests to us (vs. 1-11). Jesus masterfully handles it by posing a question regarding their own self-righteousness (vs. 7). Though Jesus is sharing how He is the light (vs. 12), those who heard were still following the light of the law. In Jesus’ response to His accusers, we see a beautiful picture of the relationship the Son has with the Father (vs. 12-30). Despite the evil intentions of some, notice how others were putting their faith in Jesus (vs. 30). This just reminds me how we must not grow discouraged by those who have no mind for the Lord. People cannot put their security in their families or the traditions of their lives (vs. 31-41). I find myself always surprised, yet encouraged by how Jesus does not pull any punches when it comes to saying what needs to be said (vs. 42-47). Even at the risk of death, Jesus stands His ground (vs. 48-59).
Regarding application…How’s Your Hearing? Vs. 47, “He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” Yikes! In fact, Jesus calls them children of the devil (vs. 44). Yet, despite the fact that they heard what Jesus said, they really didn’t hear. Their spiritual ears were deaf. Question: How are your ears? I think we all could use some spiritual hearing aids to let the words of Christ cut deep into our souls. One of the dangers we can do to ourselves when reading Scripture is thinking that these particular events do not apply to us. If they didn’t apply to us, then we wouldn’t be reading about it. These have been hand selected by the Father in Heaven to ensure we are without excuse when it comes to knowing how to live this life. Part of communicating is listening/hearing. Let’s be people who are “doers” of God’s word! What road are you headed down? Jesus reminded us today, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” It doesn’t mean you won’t ever sin, but it does mean that you are going to make the effort to hear the voice of the Shepherd and turn from the road you are currently on. Follow His voice! Hear His voice!
Vs. 3, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!” History is repeating itself as Ezekiel would have to deal with false prophets, Jesus would also warn us against false prophets (Matthew 24:4). They were false prophets who were preaching and telling God’s people lies. Question: What were these lies? They were prophecying the enemy would not be able to destory Jerusalem and that they would be back home soon. It seemed like a Godly thing to say, yet they did not seek God in their assumptions. Think about it…who wants to hear messages of doom because they are a sinner? These false prophets were much more popular than people like Ezekiel and Jeremiah who were willing to tell the truth about the consequences of their sins.
Regarding application…Ignoring God’s Truth. Vs. 12, “When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?” There is a consipracy going on in the world today. There is a lie that spreads in the church today. We are hiding the truth. We know the truth, but we are not allowing the truth to set us free. So many of us Christians know what to do…Read God’s word, pray, fellowship, love, etc. But, we are not doing what the truth tells us to do. As we start out this busy week of school, studying, work, life, etc…I urge you not to ignore God’s truth. Soften your heart and be reminded through God’s prophet Ezekiel how important it is to rely on the Lord alone!
Vs. 16, “Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord.” Yikes! God doesn’t mess around when it comes to false prophecy! While Jeremiah was wearing the yoke around his neck and proclaiming doom, there was another so-called prophet Hananiah who was prophecying a false message. So false that it gave a message of hope and God returning His people sooner than originally prophecied by Jeremiah. And the others in Judah soaked it up because: who really wants to hear bad news? Everyone wants to hear good news and Hananiah was there to give it. Much like the “Health & Wealth” Gospels of today. Hananiah’s message of peace would end up being a message of destruction to himself.
Regarding application…Knowing the Truth. Vs. 9, “But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.” The more we know the truth in God’s word, the more we will be able to tell when a false prophet/teacher are preaching. So many of have come and gone when it came to sharing the Bible or prophecies and they have proven to be false. But Jeus would warn us that there will be many more in the future (Matthew 24). God’s school of knowledge never has a summer break. Everyday we must read and study His word so we can hear the voice of God! This passage today serves as a very important reminder that we should never distort the word of God in our lives. Know the truth and the truth will set you free!