Celebrating God’s Truth Even in Difficult Times

Josh Greiner December 27, 2020 2 Timothy 3:1-17

3 choices to make during difficult days

I. Remember That Hard Times Come to All People (vv.1-5a)

2 Timothy 3:1 - But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.

A. Because of the wickedness of humanity

Timothy 3:2-5 - 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.

B. Because of godly of living

2 Timothy 3:12 - Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

II. Pursue Right Relationships (vv.5b-13)

A. Avoid sinful, destructive relationships

2 Timothy 3:5b-9 - …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.

1. Manipulation – meaning of ‘Jannes’

2. Rebellion – meaning of ‘Jambres’

B. Follow faithful examples (vv.10-13)

2 Timothy 3:10-13 - 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.

1. Paul’s teaching

2. Paul’s life

III. Hold Fast to God’s Word (vv.14-17)

A. Know the Bible

2 Timothy 3:14-15 - 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.

B. Live the Bible

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - 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.

  • This morning represents the final message in our series, “Celebrating God’s Truth
  • 2020 has been quite the year, hasn’t it?
  • But what a fitting theme we had for the year – one that surpasses circumstances
  • When the virus hit the states, was that cause enough for us to put a pause on celebrating God’s truth?
  • Add on top of that social unrest, violence in the streets, and nation-wide rioting – did we call it quits on basking in the beauty of the Word of God?
  • I imagine if something political had eventually come up, we would have put a stop to the celebration then, right?
  • By His grace, we had a great time of Thanksgiving during Stewardship Month, capping it with a brisk yet communal Celebration
  • And by His grace, we had an amazing opportunity to look at various exchanges the Lord makes with us as we navigated our Christmas series together
  • *context of 2 Tim (*concepts of eternity and immortality)
  • While we may not be in the same situation Paul was in, this season has proven to be difficult in many ways

**Read 1 Timothy 3

  • This morning, we are looking at 3 Choices to make during difficult days.
  • The first choice to make is to…

I. Remember that hard times come to all people (v.1)

  • And remembering is a choice. You’re not a victim of your memory…I know many people who would say well I just have a terrible memory, or it’s really hard for me to remember…God’s answer to you would be, “I know! That’s why I continually repeat myself in Scripture and remind you over and over again to remember!”
  • And I love how v.1 states this…
  • Some of the ways we see this repeated could be passages like…
  • John 15:18–19 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
  • Or
  • Which would be…….
  • Right about now
  • v A. Because of the wickedness of humanity (vv.2–5a)
  • The list Paul gives us is a fairly lengthy list describing the wickedness not just that people are capable of, but the wickedness that is evident and that Timothy would have been well acquainted with in Ephesus.
  • Each one of those vices could be a mini sermon in and of themselves
  • And one thing to notice about this list is how it is bookended characteristics of misplaced love.
  • So you have lovers of self, and lovers of money…and then in v.5 you have lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…
  • The wickedness in the world can be summed up by misplaced love.
  • 37 And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
  • But if your love is out of place, then everything in between lovers of self and lovers of pleasure in vv.2–5 will be growing in your life, which it’s no wonder those are growing rapidly in our culture.
  • The eighteenth-century preacher Samuel Johnson said, “He that overvalues himself will undervalue others. And he that undervalues others will oppose them.”
  • Self-love alienates men from God and from each other. Self-love is the supreme enemy of godliness and of genuine friendship and fellowship.
  • That quote right there should also help us understand why if we live out what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37–40 that will still experience difficulty!
  • If we seek to love others according to the truth, because they love themselves so much and undervalue you so much, they will have no problem opposing you, harming you or slandering you.
  • Is that what Paul is eventually getting at as he coaches his protégé?
  • No – in fact, he presses Timothy further in saying he ought to seek to lead a godly life, though that will lead to even more persecution
  • As we saw from the passages we mentioned earlier in John and 1 Peter, hard times especially come to those who are seeking to follow Christ…
  • And that’s what Paul explicitly tells us in v.12.
  • That’s very important to keep remembering. There are difficult days because of the wickedness of people…including ourselves! But there are also going to be difficult days if you are serious about pursing godly living.
  • There are tons of examples in America today…and tons of examples in the church in America today…not just in the secular culture.
  • If you desire to live as a godly parent or grandparent…you’ll find plenty of opposition even in the church to following the clear principles of authority and discipline and obedience in Scripture.
  • If you desire to live as a godly single adult…you’ll find plenty of difficulty in a church culture that has largely relegated the clear biblical teaching on sex as outdated…
  • Or if you desire to live a sober life free from drunkenness and drugs…you’ll find lots of opposition being labeled a “legalist”, “fundamentalist,” or out of touch with the times…
  • But know this, it’s worth it to go through difficult days for godly living. It’s worth it because of Jesus Christ.
  • “and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
  • “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
  • You were purchased with the precious blood of Jesus…redeemed from living in vv.2–5 so that you could live upright and godly lives in the present age for his glory!
  • We were never meant to put a pause on the celebration of God’s truth – no matter what was going on around us

II. Pursue right relationships (vv.5b–13)

  • And there are 2 parts to pursuing right relationships
  • We are to pursue right relationships, but we are also called to…
  • That’s what we see in vv.5b–9.
  • There is a balance to strike here
  • We see from 1 Corinthians 15:33 that “bad company corrupts good character”
  • And it would be hard to argue after reading this passage that the Word of God does not unequivocally call us to AVOID them at all costs
  • But we can definitely go too far in separating from people
  • *cutting out toxic ppl joke
  • We can cut people out who we should be sharing the gospel with
  • We can avoid people who we should be confronting
  • We can dismiss people who we should be seeking reconciliation with
  • He is talking about a specific type of person who will draw you away from Christ
  • He is also talking about the type of person who, in aligning yourself with them, confuse the purity of the gospel and malign (rather than celebrate) the Word of God
  • But when you read the text, apparently Paul didn’t even have to give any explanation of these characters…he expects Timothy and his readers to know who they are.
  • John MacArthur comments on this passage saying:
  • Although Jannes and Jambres are not mentioned in Exodus or anywhere else in the Old Testament, they may have been among the magicians in the pharaoh’s court who duplicated many of the miracles the Lord performed through Moses. Because Jannes perhaps means “he who seduces” and Jambres “he who makes rebellion,” those may have been symbolic names given to these men at a later time. Jewish tradition holds that they pretended to convert to Judaism in order to subvert Moses’ divine assignment to liberate Israel from Egypt, that they led in making and worshiping the golden calf while Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Law from God, and that they were slaughtered by the Levites along with the other idolaters (see Ex. 32). That possibility is consistent with Paul’s warning about false leaders who corrupt the church from within. Just as those two men opposed Moses in his teaching and leading ancient Israel, so these men in Ephesus also oppose[d] the truth of the gospel.
  • So Jannes may mean “one who seduces” which fits the context well of what Paul warns against
  • It’s easy to see how someone who is seducing God’s people within the church are to be avoided – aligning with them passively validates their agenda and proves to draw you away from God’s truth
  • And Jamebres may mean “he who makes rebellion” which again fits the context well. The character of these people is described in vv.2–5.
  • And the worst part of their character is that they have an appearance of godliness…like a wolf in sheep’s clothing…but they deny it’s power.
  • They use the Bible, but then just deny the clear truthfulness and power of Scripture by making cultural arguments, or medical arguments, or personality arguments, or they quarrel over words as Paul warns in the previous chapter in v.14…all for the purpose of denying the true power of God and his word.
  • But as we turn away from those practicing manipulation and rebellion, we are called to then fix our attention on truth and…
  • Each of us are called to follow Jesus – He makes that abundantly clear through repetition throughout the gospels
  • But the Lord also gifted us with godly examples to follow, as we see in vv10-13…
  • § 2 Timothy 3:10–13 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.
  • Our passage first mentions…
  • Paul had taken Timothy under his proverbial wing and personally taught him
  • Scripture even records Paul using words of affection like, “my beloved son” and “my true child”
  • The lesson for us in this is twofold:
  • 1) do we follow clear biblical teachings of the “Paul’s” the Lord has placed in our lives?
  • And
  • In other words – are you teachable and teaching?
  • In our passage, it highlights…
  • He didn’t just teach the truth, he lived the truth. And he says as much…”his conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings…”
  • Pastor Viars has made the comment many times that the best way to reach others and to reach your community is on the basis of a changed and changing life!
  • That’s what Paul is pointing to…his life that has been changed, and is continuing to change because of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • 1) are you following the example of godly men and women who are seeking to live a life that increasingly looks like their dear Savior
  • And
  • MY wife and I have been incredibly blessed by the foundation that has been built of years and decades of faithful teaching and living out the good news of the gospel.
  • And as a result, there are a lot of Pauls walking around here for me to learn from – by their teaching and conduct
  • Are you seeking to line your beliefs, and life up with the Word of God so that you’re in the position of Paul to say to others, “Hey follow me?”
  • Now the point is not simply to have people follow you…but to call people to follow your example to the degree that you are following Christ! This is what Paul told Timothy in his first letter to him,
  • 1 Timothy 4:11–13 11 Prescribe and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.
  • 1 Timothy 4:15–16 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
  • So in difficult days…really in all days, but especially difficult days we need to Remember that hard times do come, and we need to pursue right relationships.
  • But there is one more critical choice to make, and that is to…

III. Hold fast to God’s Word (vv.14–17)

  • This passage of Scripture, especially vv.16–17 are very familiar verses if you’ve been around our church for any length of time. They are foundational to our commitment to Biblical Counseling. But don’t miss the context that these verses are in…which is why we wanted to end 2020 by looking at the entire chapter of 2 Timothy 3 and not just the end…
  • In the context of difficult days…in the context of a world that is upside down…in the context of attacks on the church from the inside and outside the answer is still to cling to the sufficient scriptures.
  • So I hope you can still visualize watching Pastor Viars on your screen when we were just doing virtual church and him telling us, 1) limit your news intake, and 2) get a lot of time in your Bible.
  • That’s what Paul tells us to do here!
  • Instead of being malicious gossips, like v.3 says—can you say news outlets and media? Or v.7 always learning and never able to arrive at the knowledge of the truth—can any say Corona Virus???
  • Instead of that, we should KNOW OUR BIBLE!
  • v A. Know the Bible (vv.14–15)
  • v 2 Timothy 3:14–15 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.
  • Even though, there will be difficult days, even though the wheels might be flying off culturally speaking, even though v.13 is true, that evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
  • Even though all that is true, what is Timothy supposed to do? He’s supposed to continue in what he’s learned…which is the sacred writings…it’s the Scriptures…it’s the Word of God!
  • What are we supposed to do? Exactly what Timothy is told by Paul, continue in the Scriptures. Continue to know them, continue to study them.
  • This world is getting crazy…the year 2020 was one of the craziest years that any of us have been alive! And the good news is, that doesn’t mean that we throw out the Bible and now go search for a new book, or a new source to make us wise.
  • That’s what the world does, that what the false teachers do, they lead others astray and are constantly learning but never able to arrive at the knowledge of the truth! Friends, as believers we need to be arriving at the knowledge of the truth…always learning, always studying but actually growing more convinced of what is true.
  • In Ecclesiastes 12, Solomon concludes by saying in vv.11–12:
  • Ecclesiastes 12:11–12 11 The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.
  • You see what Solomon is saying? Even in the time period he lived, he said there is no end to the writing of books and knowledge…if you just go after knowledge it will just wear you out! Quite frankly, I look around and talk to people that are worn about by the politics, and the news, and the virus…well what’s the answer?
  • Stop searching all that stuff and know the Bible…grab ahold of the Sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in which is Christ Jesus!
  • But, these words, these Scriptures don’t just lead you to salvation, they also lead you to LIVE THE BIBLE!
  • v B. Live the Bible (vv.16–17)
  • v 2 Timothy 3:16–17 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.
  • You see God’s Word isn’t just about saving your soul, it’s also about helping you live differently right now, in this present age.
  • We rightly look around at our culture and are shocked by the wickedness and confusion. We are shocked by the violence, we are shocked by the greed, we are shocked by the division. Well, would you agree that we might need some teaching? How about some reproof and correction? How about training in righteousness!
  • Friends, I love how freeing this chapter is…when things are out of control what do you cling to? The Word of God!
  • When you’re not sure what to do, or how to think, or how to respond where do you turn? To the Word of God!
  • If struggling, and failing in living righteously, where do you turn? To the sufficient Word of God!
  • Church’s have and are sadly leaving the sufficient Word of God and turning to other sources of truth to try and help them.
  • Church’s might turn to medicine and doctors to solve the chaos in our lives that is in vv.2–5…but the chaos won’t be solved apart from the Scriptures which can you lead you to salvation, and to a changed life.
  • Church’s might turn to all kinds social agendas…if we help fix education, or racism or poverty, then the world will be set right.
  • But the sufficient word of God is clear that only Jesus Christ and the good news of gospel can really get to the heart of those issues.
  • So seek to help in those areas, but through and with the powerful sufficient Word of God.
  • We could go on and on with examples…
  • But in v.5 there are those that have an appearance of godliness but they deny it’s power! What do you think it looks to deny the power of God? It looks like claiming to be a Christian and claiming to follow God, but then when it comes down to how to live your everyday life you take your of truth from some other source.
  • So maybe you’re a Christian businessman, but you don’t actually seek run your business in a way that would please Jesus. Rather, you’ve bought into all kinds of secular strategies that aren’t rooted in Scripture?
  • That would be a way to deny the power of God…
  • Or maybe you’re a parent and you’re looking to all kinds of strategies for raising your kids, rather than the one book, that was given by one shepherd.
  • Maybe you buy more into all the personality tests than you do into the sufficient word of God.
  • Or maybe your husband or wife, that is trying all kinds of dating techniques and romance stuff, rather than turning to the sufficient word of God that is going to help you love your spouse the way that God has loved you!
  • Or maybe your student, who is just mimicking the studying habits and cramming techniques, and corner cutting that many students take to just get the grade to just get onto the next grade rather than submitting your schooling and how you go about it to the sufficient word of God.
  • Or maybe you’re dating someone, and it isn’t being submitted to the sufficient word of God, but rather is just the world’s conception of dating…
  • My point is, don’t fall into the category of claiming to follow God and trust in Christ and then functionally live the majority of your life apart from Scripture.
  • All of us struggle with that. So I hope that 2021 will be a year, not when we hope to go back to normal…but a year that we can hope to grow in knowing and living out the Bible for God’s glory and other’s good!
  • Let’s pray to that end.


Josh Greiner


Pastor of Faith West Ministries - Faith Church

Director of Faith West Community Center - Community Ministries West

Vice-Chair of the CDC Board - Northend Ministries

MABC Instructor - Faith Bible Seminary

Director of Biblical Counseling Training Conference - Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries


BA - Political Science, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary
Th.M. - Biblical Counseling, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Ph.D. - Biblical Counseling, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (in progress)

Pastor Josh Greiner joined the staff at Faith Church in 2013 after being a part of the three year internship at FBS and oversees the Faith Church West Campus. He also serves as an ACBC certified counselor, grader, and fellow in training; he teaches in Faith’s Biblical Counseling Ministries and serves as an adjunct professor for Faith Bible Seminary (M.Div. and MABC); and serves his community on the Board of the Faith Community Development Corporation and as the chaplain of the West Lafayette Fired Department. Josh is married to Shana and has four children: Winston, Cecilia, Lorelai, and Edwin.

Read Josh Greiner's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Greiner to Faith Church.