II. THE INOCULATOR STANDING AGAINST THE TIDE OF THE DECLINE
In verse 10 Paul reminds Timothy, “But you have closely followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, endurance.” Conduct refers to manner of life, and the Greek word for purpose is used in Paul’s Epistles in relation to the purpose of God.
In verse 11 Paul speaks of the persecution and sufferings which he endured in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. Lystra was the city where Timothy lived (Acts 16:1-2), near Iconium and Antioch in Pisidia.
Verse 12 says, “And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” The Greek word rendered desire can also mean determine. To live godly is to live a life of godliness. All those who desire, determine, to live a life of godliness in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. For this reason we should not expect good treatment from today’s Christianity. Instead, we should expect persecution for living a godly life in an ungodly situation. As long as we stand for the Lord’s recovery, we shall be condemned, opposed, and attacked. Rumors will be spread concerning us, and our names will be smeared and defiled. Such persecution comes not from the worldly people, but from so-called Christians. In John 16:2 the Lord Jesus said that the time is coming when those who kill the disciples will think they are serving God. Out of their zeal for God, they will kill the followers of the Lord, simply because these do not follow the traditional way.
III. THE WORSENING OF THE DECLINE
In verse 13 Paul concludes, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” The word impostors means juggling impostors. This verse indicates that the decline of the church will become worse. Evil men and impostors, those who deceive others by their skill in juggling, will become worse and worse. Being deceived themselves, they will also deceive others.
We thank the Lord that, in His mercy, He has brought us into the recovery where we can hear honest and healthy words.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)