3 years ago, probably the best superhero movie of all time, the Avengers:End Game, was shown at cinemas all over the world. The movie was all about the earth’s mightiest superheroes, finding a way to defeat Thanos and stop his plan to annihilate half of the earth’s population. I’m sure hindi lang ako yung nagandahan sa movie na ‘to, in fact maraming tao na ilang beses pinanood yung End Game. Ang ganda ng story, ang ganda ng fight scenes, and one of the best moments in this movie is the one near the ending, where Captain America, the last superhero standing, badly beaten, preparing to fight Thanos and the rest of his army even if It seemed like an impossible match-up. And just when we all thought that darkness will prevail, a spark of light was seen behind Captain America, and amidst his enemies, the spark of light turned into one of the portals of Doctor Strange, and one by one it opened, assembling all the Avengers to fight and defeat Thanos and his forces of darkness.
Sa totoong buhay natin, there are those times that we think that darkness is succeeding sa mundong ito. We have been seeing rampant growth of wickedness, and the Apostle Paul gives a warning in his letter to Timothy regarding this.. in the last days, it will be difficult, and it will be difficult because of sin. In this day and age, kitang kita natin kung paano vinaviolate ng mundo yung commandments ni God, from distorting God’s design of gender and marriages to babies being aborted and nations creating laws that are against the Word of God.. It is no secret that we live in a dark and fallen world where we see the truth being twisted for their sinful pleasures. Just as Paul warned Timothy about this, tayo din this morning, must be warned about these difficult dark times.. and as a church, we have to be guarded and ready to protect the household of God, for evil and darkness will keep trying to make its way inside the church. But just like that spark of light that appeared behind Captain America, we also have a light of hope amidst the darkness of this world. And we will see in our text this morning, Paul’s encouragement to Timothy, that even if these last days will be difficult, sin and evil will be exposed and will not last. And so if you have your Bibles with you, kindly open it with me to 2 Timothy 3:1-9…
Main Text: 2 Timothy 3: 1-9
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
We are now in chapter 3 of 2 Timothy, and we have learned so far in this letter of Paul, his heart for Timothy to endure this gospel ministry despite hardships and false teachers around him. In chapter 1, nakita natin doon how Paul encourages Timothy to hold fast to the Truth. In Chapter 2, Paul exhorts Timothy about suffering for the sake of the Gospel.. inevitable ang suffering sa buhay ng isang Christian, and despite the challenges of life,
Paul exhorts Timothy to endure and be a valuable vessel for the advancement of God’s Kingdom, and at the same time, Timothy must also deny himself by fleeing from youthful lusts to be a faithful servant of God. And now in our text this morning, we’ve read how Paul warns Timothy against evil and deception inside the church, and that he must avoid such people.
Tayo ay nilagay ng Diyos sa mundong ito to be set apart, but because of sin, prone din tayo sa temptations ng mundo at maging katulad nila. Sadly, there are churches today that have adapted worldly ways of running a church. The faithful preaching of the Word has become motivational/pragmatic speeches. The congregational singing of the Word has become like a secular pop concert. The way the churches operate now has become like business corporations and nothing like how the Bible instructs the church to be operated. At dahil dito, madaling nakakapasok ang fake Christians at false teachers. That is why it is so crucial to maintain faithfulness in proclaiming and applying the Truth of God’s Word. Eto lang ang tanging sandata ng Kristyano in fighting and exposing sin inside the church. Let us not be complacent in keeping our lampstand bright.. let us hold fast to the Word of God, using it as a light to fight and expose sin, even the deepest and darkest ones. Church, these last days are tough, but be encouraged by the promise of God that He will be with us until the very end. He will be our guiding light.
My message for all of us this morning is this, In this dark and fallen world, God’s people will be guided by the light of God’s Word. And to further understand our message today, we will dissect this into two parts, in the first part we will talk about the Dark State of The World. Scripture has been consistent in revealing to us this fallen state of the world. Since the fall at the Garden, we have learned that the nature of man is to follow what the flesh wants and not what the Lord commands. This is the root of our sinfulness, mas mahal kasi natin ang sarili natin and we also think that we are wiser than God.. And when we begin to lose sight of God’s Word and care more for our feelings, kapag may deceptive people na nakapasok sa church, we become passive and we may end up tolerating worldly teachings and sinful practices inside the church.. if we are not careful and prepared, the church will lose its brightness in being a light to the world. And so we need to be discerning, and firm in proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. Praise be to God because He has given His Word as our guiding light. It is the lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path. And we will talk more about this in the 2nd part of this sermon, the Light of God’s Word. The Word of God illuminates to us the path that we must carefully take and keeps us from the dark traps of this world. My prayer for all of us is that we really believe that God’s Word gives us the light of hope that we need in resisting evil and enduring trials in this world. Let us now consider our 1st point, Dark State of the World.
1. Dark State of The World
Paul gives Timothy a warning about godlessness that will infiltrate the church in the last days. Take note na yung last days dito is not something na later on pa mangyayari. The last days that Paul is saying here is the age that we are currently living in. Some bible commentators have said that the incarnate Christ ushered in the last days when He first came into this world and it will end sa 2nd coming Niya. Meaning to say, from the time na sinulat ito ni Paul kay Timothy, until today, we have been living in the last days. And in the words of Scripture, the last days are times of difficulty. Si Christ din mismo, sinabi niya sa book of John that in this life we will have trials and tribulations. And according to Paul, people who are deceived by evil play a huge part in making Christianity difficult in these last days. In verses 2-4 of our text, Paul describes to Timothy kung anong klaseng mga tao ito.. at Kung isusummarize natin itong description ni Paul at kung bakit sila ganito.. it is because they love their sins rather than God.. Kapag misdirected talaga ang love at kapag towards sa flesh ito instead of God and His Word, ungodly passions will follow, and this kind of ungodliness can divide a church.
We read earlier sa Scripture Reading natin yung sinabi sa Jude na “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.
Malaking division at negative effect ang maeexperience sa church kapag nagiging worldly na yung mga tao dito. One of the most well-known worldly concepts na winewelcome ngayon ng modern evangelical churches ay itong “Self-Love” Sabi nga ni Whitney Houston “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all” But biblically speaking, is this the greatest love of all? Though we see the need to take care of ourselves at times, and I’m not saying that this is wrong.. But the self love ideology shows that mas importante yung sarili mo kesa sa iba. Mas importante yung happiness mo at mahahanap mo ito kapag mahalin mo yung sarili mo.
Obviously, this is different from what Biblical love is all about. Sabi ni Paul sa Philippians that we should count others significantly. And sobrang consistent yung Scripture pag dating sa ganitong sacrificial love and service to others. Imagine a church filled with people not caring about others and are just focused on loving themselves. Do you think this will truly edify the body of Christ? Pero teka, diba sabi sa Bible ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ We have to be careful in interpreting that, we must take note na yung command dito is clearly to love your neighbor at hindi yung loving yourself. Loving yourself is already natural to humanity, ganito talaga yung puso natin. At yung sinasabi dito is kung pano mo naturally mahalin yung sarili mo, dapat ganun mo kamahal yung neighbor mo in fact dapat mas higit pa doon. And we have been blessed by having an example of this selfless and sacrificial love in the life of Christ. the Son of Man came down on earth, not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 Sobrang nakakaoverwhelm isipin na yung sovereign Lord of creation became human to display great love and service for us — a service that endured the dark state of this world, and even got tempted like us but didn’t sin. And yet, He was nailed on the Cross because of our sins and bore the wrath of God, and He did this so willingly so that we would be counted righteous before a holy God. Ito yung greatest love of all. Now does this look like the kind of love the world is promoting? The world says to “love yourself”.. but God’s Word says we must die to self. The world will never approve of this kind of love. And even our sinful nature, kahit na alam naman natin itong dying to self, mahirap talaga siyang gawin apart from the power of the Holy Spirit in enabling us to keep denying our flesh.
Pag dating sa denying the flesh at resisting evil, ang familiar sa atin na example sa church history ay ang mga Puritans. One of the most well-known Puritan na si Jonathan Edwards said something about the importance of showing to the world this Christian discipline of denying the flesh. Sabi niya, It is not by telling people about ourselves that we demonstrate our Christianity. Words are cheap. It is by costly, self-denying Christian practice that we show the reality of our faith. In dealing with evil infiltrating the church, hindi sapat na words lang ang panglaban natin dito. Kasi we can say Scripture and all the Christian jargons but if we don’t actively protect the purity of our church and its testimony, then we have failed in staying true to our calling as holy people of God. So let us be careful in falling into the traps of the world, and let’s keep asking the Lord to help us in denying ourselves and not embracing any kind of sinful practices that the world is presenting.
Aside from this list that Paul enumerated to Timothy, he gave another scary description of how people will be like in the last days, sabi niya there will be those who will be 5 having the appearance of godliness,
but denying its power Eto yung mahirap labanan, and we need God’s Word for discernment and courage to expose these people. Porket mabait lang at godly eh Christian na agad? These people will act or speak like a Christian, but inside their hearts they deny the power of God and only care about themselves. Brothers and sisters, let this letter of Paul to Timothy serve as a warning for us to be vigilant against evil and sin. Mag ingat tayo sa mga nakakafellowship natin inside and outside the church. We have to be careful in thinking na “Christians naman mga kasama ko eh” pero di ko sure kung active church member ba ito sa kanila at na-gguide ba siya ng church niya sa pag deal ng sin. If we are not discerning sa ganito, we can fall into the traps of fake Christians and be in danger.. I’m not saying na wag na tayo makipagfellowship with friends, but let this serve as a warning that God’s people are not exempted from the temptations of this world. In fact, even while we are here in the chapel, kahit na nasa ark of safety tayo ngayon, may mga susulpot parin na temptations. Dahil habang nandito tayo sa mundong ito, sinners parin tayo in need of God’s grace to keep us from falling. And if we stop relying on God at magdepend tayo sa sarili natin, mataas yung chance na malelead tayo sa deception.
In verse 6 sabi doon ni Paul For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women,burdened with sins and led astray by various passions
So yung mga tinarget dito is yung weak women.. this doesn’t mean na they were deceived because they were women, but they were deceived and fell easily sa temptations because they were burdened with sins. Alam natin lahat na sobrang hirap mag mortify ng sins kapag nagiging calloused na yung heart natin towards it. At nagiging callouse lang naman ang puso natin towards sin kapag nag patong patong na ito. And instead of bringing it to light, we hide it or justify it, and we make excuses instead of repenting. Sabi ni D.A Carson “We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”
And so we need to carefully assess our lives, have we been making excuses and justifying our sins? Mag ingat tayo sa pagiging spiritually weak, dahil mahihirapan tayo mag no sa sin kapag may temptations na to compromise. We also need to be cautious of these deceptive people na posibleng makapasok sa church, sabi ni Paul they will oppose the truth and yung minds daw nila ay corrupted. These people will look spiritual but not biblical. They will profess that they are Christians but deny the power of the Word because the truth of the matter is, they don’t like to be told what to do. Ayaw nila yung Bible, gusto lang nila magmukhang mabait at isatisfy yung worldly desires nila. Kaya kailangan natin maging faithful sa pag proclaim ng Gospel specially now na we have been reminded of this danger of deception inside the church. Actually, kailangan din nila marinig at makita sa pamumuhay natin yung Gospel. Eto yung kailangan nila for them to see their sinfulness and their need of Christ.
And if you are the kind of person who only wants to look good but denying the power of God’s Word, in fact, denying God Himself. Nagmamakaawa po ako sa inyo, repent of your sins now, and believe that there is a holy God who will judge this dark world when He returns and will pour His complete wrath on those who deny Him. Only those who are in Christ will withstand this holy judgment of God. Hindi good works ang magliligtas sa inyo, only the work of Christ on the Cross and the power of the Resurrection can save sinners. Magtiwala po tayo sa kakayanan Niya na iligtas tayo sa ating mga kasalanan. May you find true peace and satisfaction in the grace and mercy of God, so repent and believe in the Gospel today. Apart from Christ, we can never pursue true righteousness and will never arrive at the knowledge of the truth.
And so, the Apostle Paul, gives an urgent warning to Timothy regarding these worldly people inside the church, sabi niya sa verse 5, AVOID such people. Now, of course, meron parin tayong responsibility to evangelize to the unbelievers, but in this text, we have seen that these ungodly people have done so much harm already, and Paul is telling Timothy to withdraw himself from such people. I just want to point out na hindi porket may ganitong pag avoid eh hindi na tayo nagpapakita ng love. Sobrang maling thinking yun.. in fact, ang gusto ko ngang tanungin sa atin dito is mahal ba natin talaga si God at ang church more than this world? If yes, hindi ba dapat lang natin alagaan yung purity at holiness ng bawa’t isa? We need to be careful in becoming too relaxed when it comes to discerning yung state ng health ng church natin. Minsan kasi may tendency din tayo na minamaliit yung sin problem inside the church.. Totoo naman na by the grace of God, those who are in Christ are no longer condemned by sin. Pero tandaan din natin na while we are still in this earthly life, meron parin tayong tinatawag na sanctification, or pursuit of holiness. Dito tayo ineenable ng Panginoon to mortify sins and cultivate graces that will help us in our sanctification and that will help the church in maintaining its calling to be holy. In Colossians 3:5 sabi doon we must Put to death what is earthly in you: Kailangan patayin natin yung sin, yun yung earthly sa atin eh. We need to refuse it, we need to reject it,
and we need to avoid it. Sin inside the church is a serious matter. Kaya naman yung first challenge ko for all of us is this, Do not underestimate, nor tolerate, sin.
Kapag bumaba ang awareness at seriousness ng church pag dating sa sin issues, it will slowly destroy the unity and the purity of the church. And how do we expose and fight sin? Through the Word of God. Sabi sa Ephesians 6, that this is the Sword of The Spirit.. And so the Sword of The Spirit will keep you from sin, and it will kill sin. And so we must stay faithful to the Word as we endure these difficult last days. Eto ang magiging gabay sa atin, at magbibigay liwanag sa mundong punong puno ng kasamaan. Kapatid, stay close and be equipped with this Sword of the Spirit. And so if this Sword is the Word of God, and it kills sin, then we must let the Word dwell in us richly so we can slay our sins and say no to the deceptions of this world. This leads me now to the 2nd section of our sermon, the Light of God’s Word.
2. Light of God’s Word
Paul encourages Timothy that the false teachers and sin inside the church will be exposed. In verse 8-9 sabi ni Paul, Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly (or foolishness) will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. According to historical records, si Jannes at si Jambres yung dalawang wizards na nag oppose kay Moses before Pharoah. Some bible commentators also said about these two na kasama daw sila sa nag instigate ng pag worship sa golden calf, and were killed kasama yung mga iba pang idolaters sa Exodus 32. Although dito lang clearly sa letter ni Paul namention yung names ng dalawa, minention sila ni Paul sa letter niya kay Timothy to remind him na may opposition talaga ang mga servants ng Panginoon. But at the same time, binigyan niya ng hope si Timothy in facing those who will oppose the truth. Sabi niya doon na they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all. Ibig sabihin nito, mahuhule din sila sa kalokohan nila. And just as God used Moses in exposing the two magicians, in the last days, gagamitin din tayo ng Panginoon as defenders of the Gospel, and soldiers of Christ, in exposing deception and lies inside the church by using The Word of God. Brothers and sisters, the light of God’s Word is what we need in these last days, for only the Word of God exposes evil. Whenever we speak the Word of God, it is like a light shining in a dark place. When we use God’s Word, it is like we are turning on a light at nadidispel yung darkness. So let us remain steadfast in God’s Word.
Centuries ago, the city of Geneva was hoping for light in the midst of the dark ages. Christianity during this age was at a low point, false teachings of the Roman Catholic religion were spreading widely and the biblical Gospel was only known by a few. But God is faithful to His people, He illuminated the eyes of men, giving them the wisdom to rediscover the light of the truth that can be found in the Holy Scriptures. He gave them the courage to bring forth the light of God’s Word in the darkness that surpasses all deception and corruption.
Martin Luther, who sparked the light of the Reformation in Germany on October 31, 1517, posted his 95theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church, making a stand for the sake of the Gospel and exposing the dark teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic religion. This started the Reformation and then, later on, reached the city of Geneva. Then after years of praying for light to shine amidst the darkness in Geneva, by God’s grace, their prayers got answered through the Reformation. It was indeed a message of hope, a message that highlights the love of God in saving people by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed by Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone. With this, the Gospel spread throughout Geneva, and along with a reformation cry was born “After Darkness, Light.”
Tomorrow, October 31, marks the 505 years of the Reformation. Loooong years, and yet, it is still important up to this day. Why? Because This Light, after darkness, matters! The message of The True Gospel matters. The Light of God’s Word matters. And Christ, the living Word, matters! The very message of the Reformation focuses on making much of Christ! For He is the light of hope in our darkest hours. And left to ourselves, we
will forever be in darkness. That is why Christ came into this fallen world, to accomplish the will of the Father in saving sinners. The life, death, resurrection, and the complete works of Christ, became the Light that broke into our darkness. And in our day-to-day lives, we are blessed to have the revelation of God in Christ through the Holy Scriptures. Truth over deception and lies is what we have in the light of God’s Word. This is the testament of the Reformation.. and my prayer for CHC, and the rest of the churches here in the Philippines that have been blessed by Reformed Theology, is to keep reforming. Familiar tayo sa line na ito, Ecclesia Reformata Semper Reformanda.. ibig sabihin nito.. the church reformed, always reforming And only the Word of God has the power to reform and keep reforming His church.
One of the foundational doctrines of Reformed Theology is Sola Scriptura. Scripture Alone is the final authority for the faith and practice of a believer. In the life of the church, when God’s Word is the final authority, we will have strength and wisdom in exposing sin and error and avoid worldly ideologies taking over the church. In our individual lives, the Word of God can renew our minds and resist being conformed to the patterns of this world. The world has been shaping its own version of the truth, telling us what to believe and not to believe based on its own understanding. Mas lumalakas na ngayon yung boses ng mga movements ng klase ng mga tao. LGBT, Black Lives Matter, Feminist movement, Me-Too movement.. These are groups fighting for their own rights and wanting to be heard and approved by the world. But for us Christians, what we need to fight for is the Word of God to be heard and to be seen in our lives. Can we still say Sola Scriptura and apply it when we are faced with the temptation to compromise? If the Word of God says to avoid and flee from the temptations of this world, then we must humbly follow the commands of God. And when the church is faithful in keeping the Word of God as their final authority, mas makikita ng mundo na hindi natin sila katulad at mas magiging maliwanag ang testimony natin. The Bible says that the people of God, the church, must be the salt and light of the world. Sabi ni Spurgeon about the church being the light of the world.. “the world does not read the Bible, the world reads Christians! “You are the light of the world.” So dear Christian, do you want the world to see the light of Christ in you? Gusto ba natin na maging faithful ang church sa pag uphold ng truth at ma expose pa ng tuluyan ang deception at error? Do we desire to be a church that will not compromise and adapt to worldly practices? Then my last challenge for all of us this morning is this, Faithfully live out God’s Word amidst opposition.
Alam ko na madali lang sabihin ito pero ang hirap talaga iapply. And there are days na nag gigive in tayo sa temptation ng mundo para makakuha lang tayo ng approval sa kanila. Tandaan natin na the world doesn’t want the ways of God’s Word, what they want is for us to approve what they believe in. Magkakaroon talaga ng clash ang Biblical worldview at secular worldview, at makakaexperience tayo ng form of persecution if we stand up for God’s Word. Are you afraid of being rejected by your friends, workmates, or even family members in standing up for the truth? Are you worrying about your future state sa career mo dahil firm ka sa biblical convictions mo at di ka nagpapadala sa temptation to compromise? If the threats of this world are causing you to be afraid and to compromise, I encourage you to remain steadfast in the Word of God. If our God is for us then who can stand against us? God will be with us despite the opposition and challenges we will face and He provides us His Word in resisting the ways of the world. So let us keep getting ourselves equipped with the Word of God. Because the more we know the Holy Scriptures, the stronger we will be standing against the dark threats of this world.
At the same time, while we keep ourselves focused on equipping our hearts and minds with the Word, let us ask the Lord as well to keep us humble. Yes, we have been blessed by God to be part of a reformed church that has been equipping us.. we say amen to that. But just because we have been learning so much of theology in this church doesn’t mean that we have reached the highest level of Christianity already. Maging maingat din tayo sa mga kadiscussion natin pag dating sa pag defend ng paniniwala natin, pwede tayo maging overly zealous sa paghahanap ng mga errors, but careless enough to protect ourselves na magfall into sins of anger and pride. Our responsibility as covenant people of God is to persevere in our study of the Word and
rebuke in love those who have been leading people astray. But if these people do not repent, sabi ng Word sa atin this morning, we must avoid them. And as we avoid them, let us hope and pray na makita nila yung totoong salita ng Diyos in our firmness at marealize nila yung sinfulness nila at yung need nila of Christ. Kung totoo na maganda ang Salita ng Diyos para sayo, then show this to the people around you by living a life that has been truly changed by the Gospel kahit na may mga persecutions na dumating.
Kanina na mention ko si Martin Luther, the instrument God used to spark the Reformation. Aside from the 95theses na sinulat niya to expose the heresy of the Roman Catholic religion. Meron din siyang mga nasulat na hymns. At isa dito was based on Psalm 46, and was written in October 1527, when the plague was about to hit Wittenberg. This hymn beautifully highlights the sovereignty of God over all earthly and spiritual forces, and reminds God’s people of the sure hope we have in Christ. And I’d like to read some parts of this hymn before we end and encourage us in remaining steadfast in the Light of God’s Word amidst the dark state of the world..
And tho’ this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us; We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us. The prince of darkness grim — We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him.
Dear Christian, we can endure the rages of the enemy in these last days because we are certain that his doom is sure. Indeed, evil will not get very far. May this motivate us to endure and persevere in the last days until the Lord comes back for His bride, the Church. When Christ returns, Satan will forever be defeated. And we will praise the Lord for eternity because through the patience, humility, suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ, He defeats Satan. This is our light of hope in this dark and fallen world.
Transcribed by: Jen Cordero