“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
II Timothy 3:10-17 NKJV
The people of the world are scattered. There are so many ideologies, and so many subgroups of those ideologies, that there is no sense of what is right and what is wrong. The morality of life on earth is in flux, being blown about with a wide variety of winds of doctrine.
All of humanity is entrenched in enemy camps, divided, but not really knowing why, as everyone points fingers at the others seeking to attach blame. In this world, there is no peace.
In this mess, it is easy for the follower of Christ to become disoriented, to lose sight of what is truly up and what is truly down. It is only with the help of a spiritual plumb line that one can maintain a clear focus on the faith.
The Apostle Paul was nearing the end of his ministry and he sought to prepare Timothy for the rest of his work. He also reached beyond Timothy, to those of us of the current age, as we are entering a time when many of the things that Paul warned of, are coming to pass right before our eyes.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
II Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV
One could easily assume that all these perilous behaviors and characteristics would be evident in the lives of the lost, and one would be correct. I think, however, that Paul was warning Timothy of the kind of people who would flood into the church.
I still remember when I first learned that not everyone who refers to themselves as “Christian” is actually such. I was shocked when I encountered the most unholy attitudes and behaviors amongst people in the pews.
When I encounter those who walk in the flesh and not the Spirit, it is obvious that they do not get their primary guidance from the word of God. For them, their plumb line is a swinging pendulum, that just happens to pass fleetingly through the zone of truth. They are in a constant state of moral flux, swinging to and from, being captured by strange winds of doctrine, having not the truth.
I praise God for the Pauls that He has placed in my life. I have had the blessing of many “human plumb lines”, people that I can emulate in my own walk of faith. Each of them demonstrated a reliance on the word of God, and provided the teaching and preaching to make sure I was equipped to search the Scriptures for myself, that I find the truth of God.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—”
Ephesians 4:11-15 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, let us never neglect the word of God. Our world is in moral chaos, and no one knows what is or what is not. I have seen even those who sat under good, godly teaching go astray. God has given us a plumb line, whose source is True North, that we have a faithful guide in these times.
Let us also seek teachers that are faithful and uncompromising in their interpretation of the word. Those who are called to teach and preach, must be faithful to call evil evil, a good good, and call out sin. They must also show the love of Jesus.
Each of us, who are born again, are plumb lines for the world. We have to have a commitment to preaching the truth. I must warn you, though, preaching truth can be hazardous to your health. Paul warned Timothy that living a godly life will bring about persecution, most certainly in the world, but sometimes from the people of your own flock. Not all sheep are sheep, as some are wolves who self identify as members of the flock.
Teachers, preachers and saints:
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 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; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
II Timothy 4:1-5 NKJV
You are plumb lines, you are the guides to make sure those following you know that up is up and down is down. They follow you as you follow Christ.
Parents: you are plumb lines, as your children are following your lead. You are the foundation of their faith. If you are compromised, so will be your kids.
Everyone in Christ: You are plumb lines in this fallen world. Seek the word of God that you be able to stand out in contrast to disorder, by demonstrating the order of God.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!