Hello and welcome to Tuesday’s Daily Podcast by STC. Its great that we are making time to listen to the Bible each day. And we are thrilled at how many people are picking up these podcasts and using them. As we mentioned previously, we’re currently reading the part of the New Testament called 2 Timothy, this is a letter from Paul to someone he is training. As we hear the Bible read aloud over the next few days, it becomes obvious that a theme emerges… It’s around the importance of truth. And so that is something we are looking to apply this week… Yesterday we gave us some spiritual wisdom around connecting not clashing… Today is about what do we do with falsity – things that are not true – fake news and those that peddle it… what the Bible regularly calls false teachers.
Now I do love a bargain… I once bought some fake Ray-Ban sunglasses from one of those trendy shops in the centre of Sheffield. Now I could have saved up and paid for the real Ray-Bans but that would have been expensive so I settled for my fake rays. £4. Job’s a good one. And I looked great.
But here was the downside… One time I was on holiday with some friends from Uni, I had been wearing my fake Ray-Ban sunglasses, we spent the day in the glorious sunshine (a lot like the weather here in Sheffield as I record these reflections), we had been eating great food, taking in the sun, and enjoying the delights of the south of France.
When I got home that evening I had some great new profile pictures for my trendy social media accounts but in real life my eyes were really sore. To my surprise, there was simply little/or no UV protection in these fake Ray-Ban sunglasses. They were all about the look. The outward appearance. I did look great but they had no power to protect my eyes from the sun… and now my eyes were hurting… Ironically, I couldn’t even enjoy the photos I had taken that day. Actually it put a downer on the next two days.
Now the analogy is not perfect, but consider that story as we read verse 5 in 2 Timothy 3v5. Paul is explaining to Timothy how these false teachers might be building fake religions… (v5) “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” These religions have a form but no power.
Religion always has an outward form… but rarely has any power… certainly the power to transform our inward lives… our hearts. Religion as an outward form can manipulate behaviour, can, for appearance sake, look like the better life. But it does not have the power to transform the inner life and deal with the heart.
There is often a temptation in advertisements from fake teachers. Their form of religion might cost us less or make us look cooler… without really thinking we can sometimes find ourself buying into their mindset – This is what was happening in Ephesus where Timothy, the apprentice of Paul, was based upon receiving this letter. The false teachers, if we just add that extra activity… if we say or share the right thing then we will look impressive. Just like a fake pair of glasses.
The temptation is to look good rather than experience the power of God. The power of his saving grace. The internal transformative power to change the heart not just to clean up our outward appearance…
The truth about the real-deal is that it is rarely cheap. It is costly. What Jesus did for us on the cross was expensive… but he considered each of us worth the price. Following Jesus is equally not about outward form and shallow responses. There is a cost of discipleship that we all have to face up to.
Salvation is by faith alone. In Christ alone. That is simple and everyone can buy into it. But learning to be like him here on Earth sometimes is expensive. It can mean denying ourself and preferring others. It can mean truly embracing King Jesus’ values of it is better to serve than to be served; it is better to give than to receive.
As this thought comes to an end for today… let’s all agree to never buy fake sunglasses from trendy shops in town. And let’s take some time to pray together… that we would rejoice in the truth of the Christian message AND resist the temptations to cheapen what Jesus did… INSTEAD we would recognise the cost of living like him.
God, I pray that my poor choices did not damage my eyes permanently. We pray that we would know the truth… that we would live out your truth and know your transforming power in our lives today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
BIBLE READING: 2 Timothy 3: 1-9
But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will 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. Have nothing to do with such people.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.