Sufficiency of the Word (Part 2 of 2)2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
People search desperately for answers that can only be found in God’s Word—yet many churches still water down or add to the Gospel message. Find out why we can confidently rely on Scripture’s sufficiency. That’s our focus on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.
The Truth of God
Because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever.2 John 1:2
Once the truth of God has obtained an entrance into the human heart and subdued the whole man to itself, no power, human or infernal, can dislodge it. We entertain it not as a guest but as the master of the house. This is a Christian necessity, and whoever does not believe this is not a Christian.
Those who feel the vital power of the Gospel and know the strength of the Holy Spirit as He opens, applies, and seals the Lord’s Word would rather be torn to pieces than be torn away from the Gospel of their salvation. A thousand mercies are wrapped up in the assurance that the truth will be with us forever, will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory. This is Christian privilege, and without it our faith is worth little. Some truths we outgrow and leave behind, for they are but rudiments and lessons for beginners, but this is not so with divine truth, for though it is sweet food for babies, it is in the highest sense strong meat for men. The painful truth that we are sinners is with us to humble us and make us watchful; the more blessed truth that whoever believes on the Lord Jesus will be saved remains with us as our hope and joy. Experience, far from loosening our hold on the doctrines of grace, has tied us to them more and more firmly; our grounds and motives for believing are now stronger and more numerous than ever, and we have reason to expect that it will remain this way until in death we clasp the Savior in our arms.
Wherever this abiding love of truth can be discovered, we are bound to share in fellowship and to exercise our love. No narrow circle can contain our gracious sympathies; our communion of heart must be as wide as the ocean of grace. Error may be found mingled with truth received; let us go to war with the error but still love the brother for the measure of truth that we see in him. Above all let us love and spread the truth ourselves.
Elisha Promises Food
1But Elisha said, “Hear the word of the Lord: thus says the Lord, Tomorrow about this time a seah1 of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel,2 and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” 2Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, “If the Lord himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” But he said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”
The Syrians Flee
3Now there were four men who were lepers3 at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? 4If we say, ‘Let us enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians. If they spare our lives we shall live, and if they kill us we shall but die.” 5So they arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians. But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there. 6For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us.” 7So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives. 8And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried off things from it and went and hid them.
9Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king's household.” 10So they came and called to the gatekeepers of the city and told them, “We came to the camp of the Syrians, and behold, there was no one to be seen or heard there, nothing but the horses tied and the donkeys tied and the tents as they were.” 11Then the gatekeepers called out, and it was told within the king's household. 12And the king rose in the night and said to his servants, “I will tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we are hungry. Therefore they have gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the open country, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we shall take them alive and get into the city.’” 13And one of his servants said, “Let some men take five of the remaining horses, seeing that those who are left here will fare like the whole multitude of Israel who have already perished. Let us send and see.” 14So they took two horsemen, and the king sent them after the army of the Syrians, saying, “Go and see.” 15So they went after them as far as the Jordan, and behold, all the way was littered with garments and equipment that the Syrians had thrown away in their haste. And the messengers returned and told the king.
16Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord. 17Now the king had appointed the captain on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. And the people trampled him in the gate, so that he died, as the man of God had said when the king came down to him. 18For when the man of God had said to the king, “Two seahs of barley shall be sold for a shekel, and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, about this time tomorrow in the gate of Samaria,” 19the captain had answered the man of God, “If the Lord himself should make windows in heaven, could such a thing be?” And he had said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” 20And so it happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gate and he died.
Some Will Depart from the Faith
1Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
A Good Servant of Christ Jesus
6If you put these things before the brothers,1 you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10For to this end we toil and strive,2 because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
11Command and teach these things. 12Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15Practice these things, immerse yourself in them,3 so that all may see your progress. 16Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
The Kings of the South and the North
1“And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him.
2“And now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece. 3Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills. 4And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these.
5“Then the king of the south shall be strong, but one of his princes shall be stronger than he and shall rule, and his authority shall be a great authority. 6After some years they shall make an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement. But she shall not retain the strength of her arm, and he and his arm shall not endure, but she shall be given up, and her attendants, he who fathered her, and he who supported1 her in those times.
7“And from a branch from her roots one shall arise in his place. He shall come against the army and enter the fortress of the king of the north, and he shall deal with them and shall prevail. 8He shall also carry off to Egypt their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold, and for some years he shall refrain from attacking the king of the north. 9Then the latter shall come into the realm of the king of the south but shall return to his own land.
10“His sons shall wage war and assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall keep coming and overflow and pass through, and again shall carry the war as far as his fortress. 11Then the king of the south, moved with rage, shall come out and fight against the king of the north. And he shall raise a great multitude, but it shall be given into his hand. 12And when the multitude is taken away, his heart shall be exalted, and he shall cast down tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail. 13For the king of the north shall again raise a multitude, greater than the first. And after some years2 he shall come on with a great army and abundant supplies.
14“In those times many shall rise against the king of the south, and the violent among your own people shall lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they shall fail. 15Then the king of the north shall come and throw up siegeworks and take a well-fortified city. And the forces of the south shall not stand, or even his best troops, for there shall be no strength to stand. 16But he who comes against him shall do as he wills, and none shall stand before him. And he shall stand in the glorious land, with destruction in his hand. 17He shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and he shall bring terms of an agreement and perform them. He shall give him the daughter of women to destroy the kingdom,3 but it shall not stand or be to his advantage. 18Afterward he shall turn his face to the coastlands and shall capture many of them, but a commander shall put an end to his insolence. Indeed,4 he shall turn his insolence back upon him. 19Then he shall turn his face back toward the fortresses of his own land, but he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found.
20“Then shall arise in his place one who shall send an exactor of tribute for the glory of the kingdom. But within a few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle. 21In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 22Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant. 23And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people. 24Without warning he shall come into the richest parts5 of the province, and he shall do what neither his fathers nor his fathers' fathers have done, scattering among them plunder, spoil, and goods. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time. 25And he shall stir up his power and his heart against the king of the south with a great army. And the king of the south shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army, but he shall not stand, for plots shall be devised against him. 26Even those who eat his food shall break him. His army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain. 27And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed. 28And he shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. And he shall work his will and return to his own land.
29“At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. 30For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. 32He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. 33And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 34When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 35and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.
36“And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. 37He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all. 38He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these. A god whom his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39He shall deal with the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall load with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price.6
40“At the time of the end, the king of the south shall attack7 him, but the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. And he shall come into countries and shall overflow and pass through. 41He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites. 42He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt, and the Libyans and the Cushites shall follow in his train. 44But news from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go out with great fury to destroy and devote many to destruction. 45And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.
25My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
26When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
27Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
29Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
30I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
31I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
32I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!5
33Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.6
34Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
38Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
39Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
40Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!
41Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.
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