3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2Timothy 4:3-5, NKJV)
Just as everyone has his/her own duty, Christians who are chosen by God also have duties and missions. From this passage we can see the children of God have four responsibilities:
• Discern the end-time corruption (2 Timothy 4:3): The end time is the period between Christ’s first coming and His second coming. Due to the corruption of people’s hearts, more and more people will not endure sound doctrine. Therefore, those who do endure sound doctrine become the minority and unacceptable. We should be alert to keep sound spiritual appetites, love God's words, hold on to sound doctrine, and pursue healthy spiritual lives.
• Be aware of your own desires (2 Timothy 4:3b-4): People always tend to choose what they want to hear, what they love to hear, and what makes them excited, so they gather a lot of teachers for themselves. People follow their own desires and do whatever they like. As a result, men’s hair gets longer and longer, women’s clothes become shorter and shorter, they disrespect their born gender, ruin their bodies, get tattoos, get nose piercings, change their gender. Following your own desires is a characteristic of the times. Children of God must but not follow our own desires, but submit to the Holy Spirit and live a righteous life justified by faith. The Bible is the only standard and the only teacher.
• Be watchful in all things (2 Timothy 4:5a): Be watchful in everything. Our sinful nature is to be proud, ungrateful, not growing, and seeking our own pleasures, while God wants us to be humble, thankful, growing, and please God in everything. So we have to be cautious. The opposite of being watchful is careless, reckless, impulsive, doing whatever you want without a clear mind, and caring more about your own pleasure and neglecting the feelings of others. Therefore, we have to examine ourselves daily and meditate frequently to be cautious in everything. In addition, we have to endure affliction. No one likes suffering. However, it’s impossible for a true Christian who follows the Lord for things to always go smoothly. A true Christian must face struggles and battles. Suffering is an inevitable experience to enter into perfection and completeness, and it is also a practice of maturity in life. In the midst of suffering, we have the promise of God, the assurance of victory in Christ, and the body of Christ to encourage each other, strength and help from trusting Christ to overcome suffering.
• Do the work of an evangelist and fulfill your ministry (2 Timothy 4:5b): Ministering is the duty of every Christian. God saves us and entrusts His work and mission to us. We should do our best to please God as approved workers, using whatever gift received to serve as a faithful and good steward of God. We can’t be a hypocrite, double-minded, putting a hand to the plow and look backwards. Let’s work faithfully, please God, listen to the Word, do the Word, and preach the Word, and be dedicated to our duties, and we will receive the rewards from heaven.
～Rev. Benguang Du 都本光牧師～