Sunday, July 23, 2023

What of Self?

What of Self?
by David Brenneman 

It is shown to us in the Bible that indeed Timothy was Paul's son in the Lord. He wrote him many things that became the basis to what a man of God was to have as a foundation from which to be a Pastor. In his letters it's also evident that all Pastor's were to be shown in the original language.  

But the point that stands out this morning has to do with what He wrote him about what's termed the "End Times".  

In some circles it's been preached that the end times began when Christ ascended to Heaven.  To that, I would agree, from a certain point of view.  To the point that I believe Paul is writing to Timothy about, that is at least to me, a prophetic statement.  Pointing to a future times that hadn't yet come about. 

We do indeed live in what can be interpreted as some of the most selfish times yet seen on the Earth. 

"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,  treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,  always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.  But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also." 2 Timothy 3:1-9 NASB95 

What would be the answer to this?  Read on...

"Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,  and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:10-17 NASB95 

In reading in the book of Acts, we see these attributes are lived out in Paul's life.  It isn't just that he wrote of them to Timothy, he lived them.  When convinced of something as being from God, there was no persuading him to do otherwise.
Even if such people appeared to have come to him from God. Honestly, with the many who came to Paul, telling him again and again of what awaited him in Jerusalem, I really thought he would say the words of Jesus "get behind Me Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s purposes, but men’s.” 

How often we are stumbling blocks to others due to selfishness. We want what we want and don't care what others think or say or feel.  Rather than waiting on the true timing of God, we proceed with no real instruction from God to lay ahold of what we have.  We just know we wanted it and have it.

In Proverbs there are warnings of such things.  My current addition to my daily reading is a chapter a day from Dr. David Jeremiah's Study Bible from the book of Proverbs.  

Self will manifest in so many ways. From the overt to the so subtle.  From the in your face to the so slight it might be missed.  We are a culture these days that obsesses over everything from psychology to diets. From entertainment to employment.  Selfishness permeates our culture.  60 seconds of advertisements point to self at any given time. 

Selfishness breeds selfishness.  

In Christ we are to what?  Prefer one another above ourselves. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;" Romans 12:10 NASB95. 

What was the example AND experience of the early Church?  People who cared about people. People who sold off property and things, bringing the proceeds to the Apostles to distribute to any who had need.

What was the example of Jesus Christ?  He sought the best welfare of those He ministered to.  

Satan's scheme is centered around selfishness, to pervert everything that God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit values. 

God values strong marriages between one man and one woman. Look at the destroyed marriages today. Convincing Believers to leave what God joined together.  Convincing people that marriages can be another way other than what Jesus established. 

Convincing Believers to be the best and who cares who you step on to get there. 

Convincing Believers to look out for themselves first.  

Selfishness that he is writing to Timothy about is within the Church. 

We have thousands of so-called churches that these things are rampant in.  Which is causing the world to not know who to believe.  

Look in the mirror. Would your life show more evidence of being a Christ-follower or more of showcasing you?

Would your day be valued by the currency of time spent with your Savior...would you be given anything in coinage?  Or would you be broke?

Would you, on a graph, be able to show anything significant in your daily living that would be able to prove you are indeed following Christ?

Are You following Jesus or following your own desires?  Jesus was the servant of all, the Self wants to be served when you really boil it down.  

Beware of selfishness and everything Paul wrote to Timothy.  Beware because you have nothing to stand on in your defense if you embrace any of it. 

In Christ we are not to let things or ideas run away with us.  We aren't to be afraid of this or that. Of what people may think if wr adhere to the Word of God. 

We plant seeds all the time. Plant good seeds.  Seeds that are free of selfishness. 

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