by Wayne Barber
We have been looking at 2 Timothy 3 and finding much about the last of the last days and how persecution will not just be in the world, but in the church. When you speak of "persecution" within the church, you really begin to ruffle some feathers. But, the reality is that in the first century the believers went out into society to be persecuted by the pagan world. But now the pagan world has joined our churches and the persecution is no longer "out there."
We have looked at the character of those wearing religious masks; now let's look at their intentions. Though they are themselves deceived, they are out to deceive you. "For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected as regards the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, as also that of those two came to be" (2 Tim. 3:6-9). Notice the phrase in verse 6: "For among them…" Among these people wearing these religious masks were the false teachers.
The prey of these false teachers was the women. Now, before you get upset, he is not talking about "all women." He will identify who it is that he is talking about. But first, how do they get to them? They enter households. Not in my house they don't! Wait a minute! Put that into today's situation, and how would they do it? TV! They lead captive the women.
The word "weak" can also be translated silly women. These are women who don't seem to know better. They are so susceptible that they will buy into any false teaching. Why are they so vulnerable? These women are vulnerable because of sin in their lives. "For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses" (v. 6). They are led by their emotions.
And, as it tells us in verse 7, the women he speaks of don't have the intellectual power to get in out of the fog: "…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (v. 7).
Now, these false teachers acknowledge no authority over them. Paul illustrates this by the next phrase: "And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind…." (v. 8). Jannes and Jambres were the two magicians that rebelliously withstood Moses. They were men of "depraved mind." This means a mind that has been destroyed to proper thinking. They were lost-rejected as regards the faith. "But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, as also that of those two came to be" (v. 9).
This is the character of those who wear religious masks. When you seek to do things God's way, they will be there to fight you all the way. And don't be surprised when they "persecute" you within the church. It is not only coming, but it is here! The comfort is that God will deal with them just as He did with Jannes and Jambres.
Timothy had seen Paul being persecuted for no good reason (see vv. 10, 11). Now, Paul warns Timothy and all of us that persecution is guaranteed if we choose to live godly lives: "And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (v. 12). The religious lost will get worse. When you and I seek to be a part of God's working in our lives, when we seek to renew our minds and be transformed, we will be persecuted.
But not by whom you thought it would be. The word "persecution" is the word dioko. If you have ever gone "raccoon hunting" you know the word. It is the word used of that old hound dog on the trail of a raccoon. They will pursue unto the death. That is the word "persecution." Get used to it! The message of Christ living in us and through us in not popular to the religious lost. They will persecute us.