Dwight Fletcher | Time to stand – Part I
As we go through 2020, we get the distinct impression that we are living in the end of days. All around us we see signs of the times including:
• A global pandemic: COVID-19
• The Israel Peace Agreement
• An increase in the number of armed conflicts
• Diseases like Ebola, SARS, and HIV/AIDS; scientists are also finding mutations of bacteria that are resistant to existing treatments
• Natural disasters. There is a phenomenal increase in earthquakes, hurricanes, severe flooding, devastating fires, and large swarms of locusts.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported: “In the 1950s, there were nine worldwide earthquakes. In the 1960s, there were 13 worldwide quakes. In the 1970s, fifty-one worldwide 6.0 or greater. In the 1980s, eighty-six. From nine in the ‘50s, to 86 in the’ 80s. And in the 1990s, up to 1993, there were 100-plus.” The number is now so great that statistics now focus on earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.0 and over, and in 2019, the world experienced more than 1,600 of these.
Additionally, we see an increase in the Antichrist spirit in the world. We see it through the laws that are being introduced, the types of programmes on television, and the general disregard for the Word of God. As these things are already happening, in Matthew 24:10-14, the scripture points to another thing that will be happening: “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
The phenomenon of false teachers was one of the situations in the church of Ephesus. Paul sent Timothy to the church to take a STAND against them and to STAND for godly teaching. This task was not easy for Timothy. The history of the situation is found in Acts 19:
a. Many people were coming to know the Lord - those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. (Acts 19:18)
b. God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, and the Sons of Sceva imitated some aspects of his ministry. (Acts 19: 11-14)
c. Demetrius (an idol maker) stopped benefiting from the sale of idols as people turned to God, so he started a riot. (Acts 19:23-34)
d. Paul left Ephesus (Acts 19: 21-22)
It is against this background that Paul instructs Timothy to stand against false teachers, putting Timothy in the hot seat. He must contend with deception that is coming from both outside and within the church (from among the elders).
Timothy does not appear to even be what some would call a ‘spiritual giant’. Scripture reveals that Timothy seemed to be a sickly, timid, reclusive introvert who preferred not to be upfront. That is why Paul had to encourage him: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Additionally, Timothy was considered young for this position. So Paul encourages him further in 1 Timothy 4:12-13: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Followers of Jesus Christ all have to be a ‘Timothy’ based on the direction that our society is going in today. There is a place for us to be bold and a need for us to stand up for the vulnerable and do what is right in God’s sight. Even if we are timid and introverted or young, if our lives are submitted and obedient to God and His Word, then God can do great things through us. Let us take a stand for righteousness this week!