Derek Prince - All Scripture Is God Breathed
Then the second thing we have to do, and this is tremendously important, is to know and proclaim the whole of God’s Word. Now I want to turn to 2 Timothy, chapter 3. This has become a very significant chapter for me recently, because I think it is a picture of the last days. If you begin at the first verse of 2 Timothy, chapter 3, it says: But know this that in the last days perilous times will come. And the whole of this third chapter deals with things that are particularly relevant to the last days.
The first thing it does is to paint a picture of the general degeneration of human character and conduct as the age come to its close. And Paul picks out eighteen major moral or ethical blemishes which will characterize humanity at the close of this age. And really the root of them all is selfishness. Love of self, love of money and love of pleasure. I don’t know three words that better describe our contemporary civilization than that: love of self, love of money and love of pleasure. All the others are within that context. The great enemy is selfishness.
We need to bear that in mind, because the fact that we don’t indulge in drugs and alcohol or immorality does not necessarily separate us from the world. The only thing that really separates us is unselfishness. And I think a lot of moral, good living churchgoers are basically extremely selfish people. It’s number one first. And we need to understand that isn’t the distinctive mark of the church in these days. The distinctive mark is unselfishness by commitment to God and to humanity, to serve and be servants.
Then Paul goes on from there and he points out various other features at the close of the age, some we will return to perhaps later. He very clearly depicts a tremendous upsurge of the occult, which again is very conspicuous in our time, and then he comes to what I believe is God’s answer at the end of chapter 3. Beginning in verse 16: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. How much of Scripture? All. Are you sure? There’s a lot of people not sure about that any longer. There is a lot of preachers that believe it is their job to straighten God out, edit the Bible, find out where it needs to be changed. That is not my attitude.
I want to say, I believe: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. So that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. I understand that to mean that for God’s people to be thoroughly equipped, the whole truth of the Bible has to be presented to them, not just little passages. You have to know what is in the book of Ezra. You have to know the teaching of Amos. You have to understand the epistle to Philemon, because they are all necessary for you to be thoroughly equipped. You may have to take much less time in front of the television if you are going to be thoroughly equipped, because it is a pretty full-time job being thoroughly equipped for Christian service.
Now bear in mind the chapter divisions were not there from Paul, so Paul goes on in the next chapter, the first verse. I charge you therefore... What is the “therefore” for? You've heard me say this: When you find a “therefore,” you want to find out what it is there for. That's right. Because of what he had said in the end of chapter 3, then he comes to this tremendously solemn charge. Look at the words: 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. You could not have a more solemn charge than that. As it were in the presence of God and the light of the fact that we will all have to answer to Jesus at His judgment seat when He comes.
So what’s the message? Verse 2: Preach the word. Let’s say that together, shall we? Preach the word. I put "the" in, let's do it my way this time. Preach the word. Alright. Be ready in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching. Let me ask you a frank question, you don’t have to answer. How many of you go to church on Sunday morning expecting to be convinced, rebuked, and exhorted? Some of you would not go back to that church again if they treated you like that. But if the minister is doing his job that’s what will happen to you.
Now how true this is of the time in which we live! For the time will come (I believe the time has 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. I think this is conspicuous in the Western church. There are many, many Christians who have to have a new doctrine and a new revelation, something new to tickle them and excite them. But that is not our job. Our job is to preach the Word. And so Paul concludes this section: But you, (that’s Timothy) be watchful in all things, endure afflictions. Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
I don’t believe there has ever been a time when it is more important to hold fast to the absolute truth and authority of Scripture. It is being attacked and undermined in many quarters which we would not anticipate. Movements and churches and groups that we would consider to be sound in the faith have moved from that foundation in these last few decades. Let me quote the words of Paul in Acts 20:27. I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. I’m impressed by those words “I have not shunned” because it would indicate there is a lot of pressures that would cause you not to declare the whole counsel of God. Is that true? Social pressures, financial pressures, denominational pressures.
If you want to be popular, it might easily be the quickest way not to declare the whole counsel of God. But remember that we are answerable ultimately to God. Paul said: I’m pure from the blood of all men. I think he was thinking in terms of God’s word to Ezekiel: I make you a watchman to your people. If trouble is coming and you warn them and they don’t listen, they will perish but you have saved your soul. But if trouble is coming and you don’t warn them, and they perish, their blood will be upon your hands. And I think Paul said for that reason, “I’m pure from the blood of all men. No one’s blood can be laid at my door because I have not shunned to declare to you all the counsel of God.”