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Keeping A Clear Head Despite Opposition

2 Timothy 4:3-5
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (NIV)

Initially the gospel is very attractive, offering forgiveness and eternal life. But soon people understand that if they follow Jesus, they have hard choices to make as they take up their cross daily (dying to their personal desires) so that they can serve their Saviour. Paul had seen many people back-slide away from the gospel into a pattern of religion or philosophy which suited them. There was no shortage of false teachers. Those travelling philosophers made their money saying what people wanted to hear … but it was not truth from God.
The challenge to Timothy was to keep the church in Ephesus from heading into the waves of self-centred ideas and false religion which threatened to sweep away new converts. His job would be hard, and many people would be tempted away from Jesus by false promises of a better life. Despite all the other religious voices, Timothy must keep on preaching the gospel, explaining who Jesus is and urging people to repent and be born again. Without evangelism the church cannot grow, and new converts cannot grow strong to please the Lord and share the good news with others.
Today, a million voices on the media and in the public square are entertaining people who are spiritually inquisitive and gullible. If they are not recommending Jesus as Saviour and Lord, they have already abandoned the truth. They enjoy popularity and the money which often follows. But believers in Jesus must not be shaken: God’s truth does not disappear when people refuse to obey Him … it remains to disturb their consciences in the hope that they will repent. If not, it will accuse them before Jesus on the Final Day. The church does not fail when it is not popular; it fails the Lord when it seeks the easy way and stops evangelising. Let us encourage each other to keep our heads amid so much spiritual confusion; and let us reassess our responsibility for evangelism, so that we do not fail the Lord.

Lord of the Church. Thank You for the many martyrs and others who have enabled the church to grow at such great personal cost – as other people have seen that true believers are not frightened by wrong public pressure. Forgive me when I am intimidated by unbelievers, so that I shrink back from speaking the truth and thereby disown my Saviour. Please help me to be clear headed, fully aware of the world’s opposition, so that people will be saved as they hear the gospel and respond in repentance and faith. May I be willing to speak about Jesus, out of love for Him and for those around me who He died to save. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams