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Religion Without Power

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 21, 2021 8:00 am

Religion Without Power

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 21, 2021 8:00 am

The ungodliness of the secular world and the influences of the secular church are pressing in on the fledgling faith, and much of the work ahead will fall to Timothy. Will he have the strength to carry on the work his mentor began? Find out on The Bible Study Hour as Dr. James Boice examines Paul’s charge to his apprentice.


Anxious Paul looks to the future as his time on earth grow short. The influences of the world and false religious teachings are pressing in on the fledgling church.

Much of the work ahead will fall to a young man who may not be up to the challenge. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Sometimes the danger of forces within the church outweigh the challenge of forces from without even its early days the Christian faith dealt with its share of false teachings.

External trappings and false ornamentation. Join Dr. Boyce as he examines Paul's charge to Timothy to continue in the things you have learned from second Timothy chapter 3. Anybody who has any responsibility for Christian work. Whether that's directing a missionary church or Sunday school class or even raising children.

Certainly able to identify with the apostle Paul in this third chapter of second Timothy because Paul is imprisoned in his ability to act himself is limited and is looking to the future and he realizes that much of the work to be done in the midst of a very ungodly world is being left in the hands of Timothy and his concern for how it's evidence that he is concerned and I think as we put ourselves in his shoes and think with them. We have to understand how this operates. He looks out upon the world and it's ungodly and he looks out upon the church and he sees the difficulties in the church and he recognizes that the ungodliness of the world is imposing upon the church so that the church is becoming increasingly secular, and people who used to stand for the faith are dropping away, and his successors so far as he can see the man whom God is given Timothy is somewhat weak in personality, perhaps about the leader Paul was for a number of reasons that he really wonders.

I think how Timothy can possibly carry on in the midst of a situation like this situation getting worse, and perhaps Timothy without having an himself really the ability to carry on. So he reflects on this list.

Chapter deals with that kind of thing. He begins in the first part of it to talk about the times in which Timothy is going to have to live and then in the second part he gives them a charge.

In view of those times. The charge really part of this chapter is verse 14 where he tells them to continue in the things that is learned. I was like in those two parts and strike the first part first of all verses one through nine. Deal with the times which Timothy was called to live and also the times which were called to live while begins by calling them last days and says will be terrible times in the last days ballots in the future there will be terrible times in the last days, and yet I think we have to acknowledge that there are two different ways in which that could be taken.

Usually when people read that another verses like it, and there are many scattered throughout the New Testament books, especially in these latter books.

People tend to think of the days or weeks or years immediately preceding the second coming of Jesus Christ of the words. Christ is coming in in those last days before he comes to be terrible, terrible times. Certainly one way to think about it, and there are are many verses in the New Testament, which say that in those days, there certainly are going to be bad times. Jesus without using that phrase referred explicitly to the time of the second coming is that it's going to be like the days of Noah.

When there was materialism and people going their own way and their minds upon pleasure rather than God. And suddenly the second coming is going to be upon them so we know from other teachings of the last days are indeed going to be like that. There's another way in which this can be taken, and perhaps it really should be here when the phrase last days is used, it is often used in Scripture is referring not to a limited specific time at the very end just before Christ, but rather the days in which we live, ushered in by the coming of Jesus Christ. We have an example of that in the prophecy of Joel which says in the last days I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.

We have word of Peter himself and stood up on Pentecost and said that is until the Pentecost. These are the last days.

The Holy Spirit is, this characterizes the church age. So it's quite possible to say in these last days. That is, the days in which we now live regardless of when the Lord Jesus Christ is coming terrible times will come. So we read these things that I think we would have to conclude quite rightly that they not only apply Timothy's age that applying while range and indeed every age in which Christians of had the function interesting thing about them as they strike me is that they refer. In this case not so much the secular world as to the secular church because one thing that said, in the midst of this passage. Verse five is those of whom Paul is speaking of a form of godliness but denying its power. World doesn't even have a form of godliness there just ungodly.

Talking about people have a form of godliness that is religious people.

Those who go through all the rights of religion parts whose lives are characterized by the very kind of things he spells out here anything that is a dismal picture and that is terrible and that is the situation with which are going to have to live as I read these verses over seems to me they break down the three parts will not equally as they deal in three different things, but disproportionate amount of space is given to them. The first deals with the immorality of these people in here were not speaking about sexual immorality is just general immoral behavior is interesting.

The kind of things he talks about talking about people being lovers of themselves. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, ungodly, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, but lovers of the good, treacherous, rash conceded lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God all want a description that is of our age. I read that over and I am almost tempted to retract what I just said about applying every period of the church age. If I was going to find any. I would apply it to our own. What more characterizes our time and people being lovers of themselves.

Self-love preoccupied with themselves. We have driven age. All history of the world more preoccupied with self of our writers is called the me generation decade of the me the new narcissism as Time magazine put it, some years ago, people are just wrapped up in themselves that they get into group therapy so they can understand themselves and if they have a psychiatrist or psychoanalyst so they can understand themselves when they take courses in so they can fulfill themselves.

One of the great problems of our age is a people are focused on themselves rather than others are on God.

I want you to let you know the secret. Now you don't believe it.

You just let it mull around little bit you say is wrong, but I think you'll find it out eventually. You know ourselves are not very interesting subjects to be preoccupied with ability perfectly miserable.

It does get occupied with yourself all the time all the time. I can't think of anything worse than speaking for myself by thinking for you to have if you really want to be joyous, well then you have to do what the Lord Jesus Christ did look not upon his own affairs but on the affairs of others and gave himself or others, and sacrificed his own interest for others what you find in a strange way. Even understand what you find is that when you do that yourself grows to begin with, you become such a miserable specimen of humanity that you were before, but actually somebody kind of interesting and happens what happens.

By focusing on yourself that by focusing on other people and yet our age is the age of the self. I said the unique characteristic of these verses is that they had to do with the church in the form of godliness in the church and if I can say so.

This new preoccupation with the self is very evident in certain forms of theology within the church was a kind of theology that we don't talk about here, but all relational theology in which all the categories of theology are derived from self experience or experience with other small group settings fulfillment that sort of thing. And while others is a legitimate concern that kind of a theology something that the evangelical church in past ages is neglected and I think to its peril is an even greater peril in the preoccupation with self. What happens is that all the categories of theology get we discussed and redefined in some get dropped out and the major what we learned what we do becomes what I and my experience and judgment considered to be beneficial to myself what number two lovers of money, well I guess her always been lovers of money, but one thing about past ages of the world is that most people didn't have enough money to love it were some.

The dander was always a very rich class matter what. You look in the rich Rich by keeping the money away from the poor generally, the poor could love it because they didn't have it or they did.

They had beloved in the abstracts but today people really do have the money we have materialistic society would freeze better describe aspects of our culture. May I say it also describes the church boastful crown is to kind of go together that makes me think of Romans one which describes the moral decline of the culture in which Paul lives when he gets to the end. He says those that do these things. Not only do them but they take pleasure in other people to do them.

In other words there proud of being the way they are. So we have people who are proud of loving themselves loving money and a boast about it disobedient to parents that certainly characterizes our time on grateful on holy without love on forgiving you know and the Greek as you read this that just sort of pounds away at you because in the Greek there's the negative. A letter, a alcohol which means no are not in our greatest equivalent in English would be either on or did SDI asked what we often put between her before words set of holy we say on polio set up obediently say just obedient, but we are different prefixes to get that point across to the Greek is just as one is it's pronouncing this just comes across about six different times. They are not this they are not as they are not there is they are not as they are not this all the things we ought to be.

And Paul says that characterizes the time, slanderous, without self-control, I self-control used to be a virtue. Nowadays, if you talk about self-control here practically regarded as somebody out of their mind, because who in the world would seek to impose restraints upon himself or herself when there is so much to be enjoyed message of the Playboy philosophy is enjoying and enjoying now as far self-control goes with that something for another generation. Certainly not Ross brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash conceded and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God just disheartening to read that because that is really what the world is like and what the church is like to. I said there were three parts to that at the first and second is what I've already mentioned having a form of godliness but denying its power. That is the externals of religion.

The accouterments of religion, the trappings of religion.

No real power born again no life of God there in the congregation. How many churches are like that and that's not new is preaching in the Poconos said I was going over the ninth chapter of John again connection with the series I developed for that occasion I was tracing the way in which the religious leaders described in John mind reacts to God's blessing in the life of the man was born blind online practically the whole chapter tells a story and a part of the story is the contrast between the growth in the life of the man was born blind and the decline in the experience of those who initially could see but certainly lost whatever spiritual site they had were blind or the end than they were at the beginning. You see he was blind came to say they could see wine I noticed the way they reacted to the man born blind in the miracle of his healing is similar to what religious figures do with the power of the miracle of God in the life of the new Christian first thing they did was deny the miracle itself.

They said he can't do miracles. Miracles don't happen. It must be a trick and so they had an investigation and they call the parents and they said is this your son how we want to verify we got a claim here. This is the man was been born blind in Christ healed him, but we don't believe it is a really your son want to check it out. Parents said yes as a matter of fact he is. He was born blind now we can see how happen we don't know. And so that particular approach was blown out the window and the second thing they tried to do when they couldn't deny the miracle was dissociated from the power of Christ. They said we don't know how he was healed, but we know that God is the one who does these things glorify God, and forget about Jesus the Lord they were retreating into something abstract were denying the deity of Christ and the power of Christ, and they were trying to dissociate what happened from him, and the third thing that happened when they finally couldn't do that because the man perfectly well. It was healed him.

He said I hope what your theology is all about. I know that this is the man who did it. He said take naps darkly submitted would make laity anointed my eyelids and he said are you going to wash the poolside mom and I did what he told me I was healed. I could get away with that because obviously Jesus had something to do with it. So the third thing they did was to retreat into formalized religion is about. We don't know is what we know that God spoke to Moses and so they retreated in the law and finally when they couldn't succeed with that. They did the only thing organized religion has left the dinner they excommunicated and they said get out of here with a matter have a great Allison that has happened theologically also in recent centuries, I had time I like to trace that some detail for you but is very interesting the way it happened in the 19th century was a great attempt to deny the miracles almost funny when you look back on it today, but this was the age of rationalism in the rationalist were sure that we live in a closed universe and everything to be explained by natural laws and so they came to the New Testament saw the miracles that Christ supposedly performed. They began to explain them by rational means.

None of this has any bearing at all upon what God is actually doing the hearts of men and women is a sad state that I think is all reflected on that he must've said how in the world is Timothy going to stand his ground against this and how in the world is a church going to be strong. Paul is everyone alike for an answer is Timothy in the midst of this deplorable situation. I have one word for you. The words this continue.

Keep on doing what you been doing, don't stop is the worst thing in the world that could happen is that you would look out of all these problems because of those problems begin to do things differently or begin to change the gospel which you been taught and which are believed that is the only thing he says in these verses. Of course he gives Timothy a number of encouragements to carry on precisely this way. I think we have these encouragements as well. The first is the example of Paul himself and what happened in Paul's life. First tenant following you. However, know all about my teaching, my way of life. My purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecution, sufferings was at spelling it out. That's tremendous contrast we matter what exists in the first part of the chapter lovers of themselves, lovers of money, most will produce a disobedient to parents, ungrateful, and holy.

Now he says you know my way of life.

My purpose and what is that characterized by faith patient's love endures persecution sufferings and so forth. You know what kind of things happen to me said all the things I went through and yet the Lord rescued me from all of them so he puts the example of his own life in his own deliverance before Timothy, you know, we need that to we are faced with a world that always wants to press something new upon us to get us to change the gospel to turn away from what we've been taught.

The first example, we need before us is the fact of the others were gone before us plenty, but it does maybe need to be little hard-boiled at that point we can't be so easily swept off just by the eloquence of those would tear down the faith.

What Paul says just be smart enough to say what's their life like a really some connection right between the gospel is preached. What has happening in the lives of the people the way God blesses the church and the people who supported his ministry. This is what Paul is talking about. He says look when you're threatened to give up and you threaten to change what the examples of those were gone before the world will look glamorous at times. Look below the surface of its glamour.

Fairly really happy. And then look at those who know the Lord while at the Legion. Secondly, there is the encouragements of Timothy's earlier teaching. This is what he really talks about when he talks about continuing continuing what you've learned and become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus is the foolish person indeed midway in life are part way through life arbitrarily and radically throws over everything they been taught before, even if you been taught the wrong thing or want to be a little careful about how you go about it. Smart person adds a little bit, drops a little bit worked their way through, even if you been taught something wrong, but how about if you have been taught from the Scriptures.

The very word of God. Why a young person who is been trained in that way it is.

Had the blessing of Christian teaching in the Sunday school in a Christian home is an absolute idiot, full to relinquish that kind of heritage. Paul says when you're tempted to give up her to change. You think back on the things you been taught college in another secretive you been tacos things and God really has his hand upon you. He won't let you get away with rejecting them. And Paul is saying look learned from that his final point is Scripture we had more time, we could talk for hours about this he says look your last encouragement is what power the efficacy of the word of God. All Scripture is God breathed, that is, it came from God himself is the word of God is that the word of man came through when the word of Allah Scriptures is as God breeds, and it is useful, it is active in these categories is effective for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

What Paul is saying there is a fuel read the word study the word meditate upon the word inwardly digests the word so that it becomes a part of you. You'll find the word of God and the power of God working through his word will do everything you need to the living of a godly life in the equipping of you for the work that he has for you to do other words God through his word will give you the ability and grace to continue in the things which you will learn from his word and God will bless that you'll find men and women come to faith in him and you'll find that you growing up on the families come together in churches are built up the church of Christ as a whole become strong. Let us pray our father, we thank you for this chapter from second Timothy we thank you for the blessing it is to our hearts even as we read it together in his brief time grant of what we begin to uncover now in our study continue to dwell in the house and work in us so that we might become increasingly not those who have religion without power.

Those who have Christ disease found in the word and having that have all so grown From the sins of the times and become helpful blessed useful people in the service of Christ our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen. You're listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce. The Bible says that God's word is truth. And Jesus said the truth will set you free. What's the secret to knowing the truth.

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Our mailing address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601 in Canada. You can reach the Bible study our that PO Box 24097 RPO Josephine North Bay, Ontario P1 be 0C7. Thank you. We need and appreciate your prayerful and financial support. The message you just heard as well as other content from Dr. Boyson any reform. Teachers, authors and speakers is that's by Mark Daniels, the apostle comes to the end of his last letter to Timothy. Perhaps the last letter he will ever write filled with emotion. Paul tends his final words but will they be find out as you join Dr. Boyson next time one Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically man

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