As crushing news met my ears today, I retreated to my study for prayer and quiet with the Lord. One of the top desires I have for myself and our ministry is that we be effective in the power of the Spirit in the Word of God. Thankfully, all in this ministry share the same passion.
We live in what Paul calls “the last days” (2 Timothy 3:1). The verses that follow give us a list of habits that make our day so difficult. “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people” (2 Timothy 3:2–5).
We cannot read this list without thinking of situations near us (hopefully not in us) that match one or more of these character flaws. What disturbs me most about the crushing news I heard today is that ministers, preachers, pastors and those who serve in the church can have an “appearance of godliness” and continue in ministry without facing the issue, repenting and getting right with the Lord and those they have violated. They continue in ministry, but there is NO POWER in it.
The fact that Paul tells Timothy to “Avoid such people” is an indication that some of these had crept into the church (see 2 Peter 2 and Jude). My dear brethren, let us boldly confront any of these sins, first in ourselves, and then in others. Do this with love (Ephesians 4:15), always with the goal of restoration through repentance (Galatians 6:1).
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