Thought for the Week - 2nd July

Pastor Gareth Watkins
2 Timothy 3: 14

But you must continue in the things which you have learned
and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them

Last week I wrote on 2 Timothy 3.  The verses talk about one aspect of the breakdown of society.  However, it doesn’t mention what I believe is the other aspect of these perilous times, where there is a breaking down of the mental condition of people.  If you look around at what we’re witnessing, we’re seeing a breaking down not only in the physical but also the breaking down of people mentally, psychologically and spiritually too.  This week I want to reflect on the inward side of what is happening and what we can see all around us.

I sometimes listen to Premier Christian Radio.  They have a phone line for people to ring for confidential, spiritual and emotional support.  By 2013 they’d taken over a million calls.  That’s a lot of people who have nobody, no spiritual support, no direction in life or no one to share their spiritual needs with.  By June 2017, they had so many callers ringing that they could only take 60% of calls!  All over, people are crying out for help.

There are so many people who need tablets to cope; to sleep; because they’re lost.  God wants us to see those things as they are and do something about it.  He offers us a vehicle to do something about it.  We’re not meant to stay where we are, lost and depressed, but to move on in Him.  God has given us life in abundance!  The testimonies I hear week in week out are a direct contradiction to the effect of a society that’s breaking down in the end of times.

The verse above is enough for us to go on from where we are, into eternity.  We must continue to go on in the things we have learned and be assured.

We’re not meant to be stuck in the place where we are.  We’re meant to be able to rise above it.  God gives us the strength and anointing to rise above the perilous times that life brings us.

When people are – like we read in Timothy last week – blasphemers, proud, lovers of themselves, unloving etc., and when society is breaking down in this way, it also breaks a person down inwardly.  It’s not always noticed for a while outwardly.  My God doesn’t destroy mankind.  My God maintains the heart and mind of the believer!  We can have times when we struggle and feel low, but we get past these times.  We can do it with God’s help or without, but we need to look to God to get through these times that are coming against us now; because these times will get worse.  The battle belongs to the Lord!

Paul says we will see the denigration of the human character.  He says it is irreversible and it’s going to get worse.  We read:

But you must continue in the things which you have learned
and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them

This speaks of three things:

  1. We must continue.
  2. In the things we have learnt – what have we learnt?
  3. We must know who we have learned them from – who have we learnt them from?

There is an answer for these things within the Christian world that the rest of the world doesn’t have.  Be encouraged… continue!  We continue to go to prayer meetings and go to Bible studies etc.  We are continuing onwards.  If we want to go onwards, if we don’t want the mental things, if we want to go onto eternity with God, something has to change.  And the answer is in Christ, not in you or me.

Go on with what you know is the right path.  You don’t stop.  You go on with the things that God has shown you.  When the world is collapsing, don’t stop doing what you know is the right thing in God.  Do not stop.

Otherwise where will you end up?  Stressed out, can’t cope, breaking down, and in some ways blaspheming the Holy Spirit because you’re denying the truth that God has given you.  You’ll end up part of the list in Timothy, because you’ll no longer go on.

If we don’t have God, where is our moral compass?  We ourselves are sinful and bound in our own trespasses.  We’re lost and can fulfil all these things in Timothy.  The Bible encourages us to continue onwards in the things that we have learned.  God Himself has taught us.  Jesus Christ has come down to save you from your sins, all your trespasses, all your wrong thoughts, and all your wrong behaviours.  He Himself has taught you all the things you need to learn.  It’s ongoing, it hasn’t stopped.  You don’t need to be bound up by the things that affect the world.  We can be bound in a different direction – to follow Him into that Kingdom, which is not here but is to come.

Social Media is getting like a sewer.  There’s misinformation coming from all sources.  Terrible things are happening across the world, you can’t even turn on the news without hearing or reading something awful.  There’s people trying to kill innocent people.  It’s going to be tough for us to get through.

We read in the Bible that the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12).  They will be lost because the fight will have overtaken them.  We are not bound for the fight to overtake us.  The Scripture here shows us the way through it – we must continue in the things we have learned.  If you want a better life, good life, a mentally strong life, then continue on in the ways that you have been taught by God.  Continue onwards.

If we do, society will not destroy us spiritually or emotionally.  Society can’t help itself, it’s not getting better.  You cannot even tell a child in school that they’ve been naughty!  We see teachers having to deal with chaos in the classrooms, unable to teach.  Stay in the scriptures you have learned – this is God’s way.

We read in 2 Timothy 3: 16-17:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

These scriptures will correct us, change us and instruct us for that greater level of righteousness that we need as we go on into eternity.  This isn’t the end of our lives – when we have physically gone, our spirits will go into eternity; a place of righteousness where there is no sin.  We have to continue onwards.

If we make mistakes, God knows we need help.  We turn to the Bible for answers.  He has given us the Bible so His Holy Spirit can come through His Word to speak to us, instruct us and change us.

There’s an ongoing, following Christ that has set the way before us.  He is the author and finisher of our faith!  Don’t listen to other people, listen to the scripture.

Righteousness affects the way we speak, interact with people, our work, our families, the very person that we are.  We have to know Him and carry on.  We need to underline the things that hold us – the anchors.

In Matthew 16: 24 we read:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

We need to deny ourselves!  We have no rights.  Of ourselves we will destroy ourselves.  We have no righteousness.  We have no Holiness, or nothing in God.  All we have is the hope that Christ has saved us and set us free from our sins.  We have sins and visions for our own lives, but we need to deny ourselves and go back to Him – to His vision, His hope, His plan for our life in Christ.  Find your life in Christ by denying yourself.  It’s tough, but it’s the best thing.

We are told to take up our cross.  Where we’ve failed, where we’re hopeless, where we’re crying, where we’re wrong thinking – it doesn’t feel comfortable.  The cross was uncomfortable on His back!  Our cross is where our will and God’s will collide. Our will takes us one way – His takes us into eternity!

We need to deny ourselves and take up our cross.  Christ is there with His arms out open when we come back to Him!  The genuine sinner who comes to Him, He will in no ways cast out.

This is the Christ from whom we have learned our Christian walk.  He brings us the Holy Spirit.  If we are going to go on into eternity, this is our only hope.

Are we bound in that place where we are stressed and can’t cope, or are we set free?  God wants to set us free and keep setting us free!  We need to keep on that path, listen to what we’ve learned, keep on going, and keep on knowing more and more about the one that’s brought us to this place.

Satan won’t be happy.  He’s not afraid of us, but he’s frightened of our commitment of Christ.  Because when that commitment to Christ comes in, that person is no longer just their own representative on earth, falling down in a decaying world; that person is going upwards and onwards into eternity.  Our God can overcome all things – He doesn’t break people down!

Who is the middle cross made for?  The Bible teaches us that He took our place on the cross.  He stood in our place on that cross.  That uncomfortable cross, that place where He denied Himself and took up His own cross to follow what God gave Him to do.  By doing that, He took our place in that moment spiritually on the cross of Calvary.

We have hope.  We can get through these days.  We know how get through these days – He has shown us the path.  We know the truth!  Follow after Christ, for He has given us every victory we’ll ever need.


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