"An Unpowerful Presentation"
Things are not always how they appear. Paul wanted Timothy to realize what is going to happen within the church as time goes forward. Much of what Paul writes about can be seen in churches today. So what are we to do?
An Unpowerful Presentation
(2 Tim. 3:1-9)
A. So would it be like if you personally saw something that was magic? I know with Hollywood we have lots of magic in the movies, but I am talking real magic. I am talking about miracles like you find in the Bible.
B. Miracles served several purposes, and one was to confirm that the person doing the miracle had the power of God behind them. The miracle confirmed the message.
C. But what about sorcerers, magicians and people who used what we call “dark magic?” While we don’t know all that they have been able to do, or even if it was true power. But for all that saw it, it looked like power. It looked like God was at work in these people.
D. One such time was when Moses and Aaron first came before Pharaoh. The Bible records for us what happened in Ex. 7. God sends Moses and Aaron and tells Aaron to throw his staff down. When he does it turns into a snake. Picture that. A man throwing down his staff and it changing into a snake. POWER! Right? Well, Pharaoh calls his magicians in and guess what – they threw their staffs down and they also became snakes.
E. Paul makes the statement to Timothy, “having the APPEARANCE of Godliness, but denying its power.” Paul tells Timothy that such people are like “Jannes and Jambrese who opposed Moses.” Who are those two? The Bible never gives us any information about the, but long standing Jewish tradition in the days of Paul used those two names as the leaders of the magicians in Egypt who tried to do the miracles that Moses and Aaron did. But let me give you one more verse as we begin, Ex. 9:11, “and the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils.” (The plague of boils was the sixth plague.
I. Appearance but No Power
A. So let’s talk this morning about appearance but no power. There are some things you and I need to expect in life. It is great to have ideal and dreams, but it is also important to understand reality. Paul says to Timothy, “mark this,” “understand this,” the Message says, “Don’t be naive.” Difficult times are coming and are here.”
B. Here is what makes it difficult. First, people won’t make life easy because most people look out for themselves and Christianity is not going to condone such thinking. You want to upset people, just tell them the way they think and act is counter to God’s desires. Look through this list for a moment (Read verses 2-4). If I were to describe who these people were, I would definitely go with the worldly unbeliever.
C. But I want you to catch what Paul says in verse 5. “Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” The New Living Translations says, “They act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.”
D. Here is my point; this list not only describes what we call a degenerating secular society, but what Paul warns Timothy can happen with the church. When Christian people center upon self instead of God, this list will happen in the church.
E. Ponder the phrase that such people “look” and “act” religious, but deny the power of God that ought to be at work in our lives. “They enjoy the outward expressions of the Christian faith, including endless and often senseless theological discussions, and assume that the practice of these visible manifestations of religion is sufficient. But they themselves haven’t changed, since they still participate in the vices that are common among the heathen, and as a result their very lives deny the very power of the religious faith that they profess. This first sentence may also be expressed as “They act as if they worship God, but they have really stopped believing in him.” (from the UBS New Testament Handbook Series)
II. Avoidance is Better Than Resistance
A. So where does this take us as people who desire to live in the power of God? Paul’s advice to Timothy is what the type of people he listed need to be avoided. There are times when our friendships need to change, when our jobs need to change, when our actions need to change..
B. Solomon said in Prov. 1:10, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give into them.” Paul told the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:33), “Bad company corrupts good character.” I have a friend who once told me, “Avoidance is better than resistance.” The meaning was simple; if you don’t want to get sucked into the actions of the type of people Paul just listed, then stay away from them.
C. You see, these types of people “creep into households” Paul says and “capture weak women.” Now, ladies, don’t take that too personally. For women are generally far more spiritually minded and desirous than men. So when Satan wants to hurt the church he will often go after the women for you ladies are a great spiritual strength to the body. If Satan can destroy you or lead you astray, he knows that your influence upon your husbands will also lead them astray. Don’t believe me; look at the story of Adam and Eve.
D. So sisters and brothers, avoidance of such people is better than resistance. If we just simply look at where this type of teaching and thinking takes a person, it will be obvious that the end is folly.
A. I want a spiritual life that lasts. I want a faith that is vibrant and filled with power. I have lived a powerless life. I have walked a pathway that looked good on the outside to some, but I knew that inside I was filled with dead men’s bones. I want to live in the power of God that leads me to live a godly life, and it’s mine to possess.
B. Jesus came to give us an abundant life. A life filled with power of the Spirit at work in us. The calling is for you and me to keep in step with Spirit. That means we look to God and His word for truth and knowledge.
C. Take hold of that power today. Live a life that shines like the stars. You can, for God has enabled you already. Will you take hold of that power? If we can help you live that life of power, then come as we stand and sing.