by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
In September we read Paul's letter to Titus and his very last letter, called 2 Timothy. Paul's concern is that the true gospel be preserved and proclaimed by a faithful church.
2 Timothy 3:6–9
Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth (2 Tim. 3:8).
Jannes and Jambres were the Egyptian magicians who performed tricks before Pharaoh as Moses proclaimed the word of the LORD to him (Ex. 7: 11). At least; those were the names Jewish tradition gave the pair. Now Paul says that the deceivers of Timothy's day, who are making disciples of unstable people, are like these Old Testament imitators of the truth.
In the last days, Paul says, cults will flourish and false teachers will harass the church of Christ. Using sly and slippery methods, tricksters will cheat people with an imitation gospel and a false hope.
Three things are needed if we want to stand firm against deception. First, we must build our lives and churches on the gospel and the "pattern of sound teaching" (2 Tim. 1:13). Then we will be able to identify sick imitations of the truth. In religion as in art, the genuine is always accompanied by the fake. Those trained in sound doctrine will know the difference.
Second, Christian leaders, though they must not quarrel (2 Tim. 2:24), must be willing to call a fake a fake. Christians must be grounded in truth and love, both!
Third, we may not lose our biblical optimism. Cults and sects often grow much faster than true churches. But then, so do the weeds in our gardens.
God will deliver us from deceivers and have mercy on the deceived. Soon the folly of the deceivers "will be clear to everyone" (v. 9).
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version