Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.2 Timothy 3:8(NASB)
Opposition to the Word of truth and the testimony of God is as old as the hills, and hostility toward the Christian faith, the Church of God, and the truth of the glorious gospel of grace continues to rumble around the globe today and ravage many ministries, just as it did when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Paul knew that after his departure, savage wolves would enter in among the people of God and would not spare Christ's little flock. He identified such false teachers as: "Destructive men with depraved minds," and perverted motives who would deliberately, systematically, and openly oppose the truth of God's Word.
Paul warned church elders in the various cities in which he taught, to be on their guard – not only for the well-being of the believers in their charge, but also for their own spiritual safety. He urged these overseers and pastors to shepherd the flock of God, which Christ Jesus had purchased with His own blood, lest they were led astray.
It was near the end of his life, when Paul knew that he had finished His earthly race and had steadfastly kept the faith, that he wrote to Timothy with even more serious predictions of shocking faithlessness that was occurring in the Body of Christ, and warned of even more difficult times to come.
He explained that men would be lovers of themselves and greedy for money. He described a time when men would be: "Lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power." Indeed, throughout the Church dispensation this sad state of affairs has persisted.
Paul made it clear to Timothy that a terrible time was fast approaching when ungodly men and women would hold to a form of godliness yet would deny its power: "Have nothing to do with such people," he warned, and explained that these people were deceivers who would try to worm their way into different households and captivate weak-willed women and sway them with all kinds of desires, because they were weighed down with sin.
Paul explained that this sad state of affairs where people enjoyed having their itching ears tickled by politically correct, yet unbiblical messages, would produce a category of people who were always learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Paul went back into the Old Testament to show that this state of affairs was not a new phenomenon. He identified two men called Jannes and Jambres, who opposed Moses to his face when he charged Pharaoh to "let my people go." These two historical characters were Egyptian magicians, who used their satanically inspired skill and evil trickery to counter-attack Moses, the great prophet of Israel. But their tactics were the same as the wily men that Paul described, with their depraved minds whose objective was to oppose the truth.
I am sure that Paul used this historical example to encourage Timothy, the young minister of the gospel who would become an increasingly important figure in the development and growth of the early Church. Just as God's grace was sufficient for Moses when he was opposed by Jannes and Jambres, so Timothy would be upheld by the power of the Holy Spirit when he was opposed by similar men with reprobate minds who deliberately opposed the truth of the glorious gospel of God.
Although the problem of false teachers who oppose God's Word continues to rage today, we may also be assured that God's grace is sufficient for us too. As always, Paul points Timothy (and us) to the most important tool, which can counter every argument of depraved man: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate and equipped for every good work."
May we take Paul's warning to heart and also His challenge to counter every argument with the truth of God's Word.
Heavenly Father, keep Your people alert to the deceit and deception that is permeating the Church and from evil men whose objective it is to oppose the truth and cause the downfall of Christians and Christianity. Give me discernment to identify deception and the courage to challenge base men like Jannes and Jambres, who used their trickery to oppose Moses, and about whom Paul warned. I pray that I may be willing and able to stand up for the truth and counter every argument against the Word of truth. Enable me to give an answer for the hope that I have, for Your greater praise and glory. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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