Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Working in the Power of the Holy Spirit, Day 5

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says when you come across a woman in a really tough situation, you need one thing—a Bible.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: But I want to tell you, when you're armed and equipped with this Book and you continue in it, you have what you need to help, to serve, to teach, to train, to disciple, to mentor, to counsel women in the ways of God, to introduce them to Jesus and help them grow in their faith, to help them become like Jesus, spiritually mature.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Friday, May 13, 2016.

All week Nancy's been showing us what it means for us who know the Lord to be investing in the lives of other women who need to know Him more. And she's shown us why it's crucial to do that in the power of the Holy Spirit. She first gave this message at the conference Revive Our Hearts hosted for women's ministry leaders, it was called Revive '15. If you missed any of this series so far, you can hear it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

So far in this series we've heard a lot of great information about how to share with other women. But it's not enough just to hear these truths, you need to put them into practice!

Nancy: I want to give you a charge. I want to take all that's been said, all that's been shared, and just formulate it as a charge. I didn't have this message all wrapped up before I got to this conference. I've been listening and processing myself and sensing what the Lord is doing, and I just sense that we're supposed to close with giving you, not only permission, not only encouragement, not only tools, but a mandate, a charge to leave here and do what God has called us to do as women teaching women.

And the passage that came to my heart over the last few days, as I've been thinking about this session, comes from the book of 2 Timothy. We're going to stand in a moment and read a portion of this short epistle. But you're aware, perhaps, that this epistle was written by Paul; it wasn't written by Timothy. It was written by Paul the apostle shortly before his martyrdom, shortly before his death, and possibly just weeks before Paul would move from his ministry here on earth to be with the One he loved.

As he wrote this, he was in chains in a cold dungeon, and he's thinking about his friend Timothy, his closest earthly companion, his son in the faith. They'd been together a long time. They'd been separated a lot, too, but they'd kept in touch with each other.

Timothy was the younger man in Paul's life. Timothy had become the pastor of the church in Ephesus, and Paul knows that they're coming into really hard times as a Body of Christ, a body of believers, and he wants to prepare his son in the faith for what's coming, what he should be expecting, what it's going to be like to be doing the work of the ministry in such a time as this. And he wanted to help his son in the faith know how to deal with hardship because it was going to be hard. It already was hard.

And Timothy had Paul's encouragement, but what about when Paul was gone? What would Timothy do? Would he stay faithful? Would he persevere? And Paul was concerned about this.

I'm no Paul, but I feel a little bit of that as I think about us parting here. And my concern, my godly jealously is that you would continue in the things that God has said to you, knowing that what you're going back into is hard. It's hard work doing the work of the ministry. It's good work, but it's hard work.

But also knowing that there will be opposition. There's opposition from within. There's opposition externally. We're coming into harder and harder times in our world, in this country, and in our culture. It's going to start to cost us to be women of the Word, women who love God's Word, who live God's Word, who teach God's Word.

And so I want to encourage you. I think this is what Paul had in mind as he thought about his son in the faith. How can I encourage him to continue the work of the ministry, Paul's thinking, when I'm not there any longer?

So he writes these words. And would you stand with me as I read, beginning in chapter 3? In fact, I'm going to read all of chapter 3 and the first eight verses of chapter 4. We're going to just skim the surface of this passage over these next moments, and I just want to make some comments that I think may be encouraging to you as we head out.

Hear the Word of the Lord:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness (2 Tim. 3:1–5).

Doesn't really look godly, does it? But he says they will have an appearance of godliness, but what I've just described is their true heart condition. They deny the power of godliness.

Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus . . . (3:5–12).

How many of you would say you desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus? You're not sure you want to raise your hand? All who desire—I'm glad you do—but let me tell you what God's Word says:

All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable [all of it-profitable] for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing (3:12–4:8).

May God bless the reading of His holy Word and quicken it to our hearts. In Jesus' name, amen.

Let's just begin at chapter 3, verse 1: "Understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty." Paul is saying to his protégée in the faith, "Don't be surprised by hardship. Don't be surprised by difficulty. Understand this: It will happen. Things are not going to be easy. They haven't been easy already, but they're not going to get any easier."

Then he describes in verses 2–5 these people who will be characteristic of the spirit of the age, all these terms: "Lovers of self, lovers of money, heartless, slanderous, treacherous, reckless, arrogant, lovers of pleasure."

Does that sound like anything you encounter in our day? Everything that is contrary to God. Everything that is contrary to truth, to beauty, to goodness. And Paul is saying to his son in the faith, "These are days in which you need discernment. You need courage. You need faith. You need perseverance. You need staying power. You need the Holy Spirit of God to enable you to function, to serve, not just to survive but to thrive in this kind of era."

Then he says in verse 6, "For among these [people who fit all this description of the last days], among them are those." And now he's talking about false teachers, a whole category in the New Testament, and Old as well. But here he describes them in an unusual way: "Among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth."

My sweet friend Mary Kassian did an amazing exposition of those two verses at True Woman '14 . If you haven't heard it, go to our website, pull it up, and listen to it. It was breathtaking, powerful. Let me just make a few comments about it.

As you read this description of what happens to these women, it prompts me to say, "I think we've seen this somewhere before." Where did this first happen—a weak woman being led astray, captured? In the Garden of Eden, where we first see a woman being targeted for deception, gullible, captured, drawn to teaching, then and now, that fuels women's sinful passions and leads them astray.

And these are women who like to learn. They want to be taught, but they don't know how to discern between what they're learning from false teachers and from biblical teachers. They miss out on the truth. They're eager to learn new things—always learning—but never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

And I just think of how women in our day are so vulnerable, so easily led astray, so drawn into all manner of books and movies and TV series, and things that are popular even among Christian women. It never ceases to amaze me.

Now, it doesn't amaze me that women who don't know Jesus don't know the truth and don't have any wisdom. They're foolish, according to God's Word, that they would be drawn into these things. That's what their makeup is. That's who they are. They're sons and daughters of Adam. Right? Darkness.

But for the children of light, the children of Christ, those who profess to know and love and believe this Book, to be drawn into these kinds of pop culture trends, it's astonishing to me. I think it goes back to what Jen has been talking about, this biblical illiteracy. They really don't know the Word of God. And those who even, some of them, do know some facts about the Word of God, they don't connect the dots and see how different this is from this, and how dangerous this is if it doesn't line up with this Book.

Think about some of these reality TV shows today where people find humor in that which is perverse, shows that mock monogamous marriage, that celebrate sexual promiscuity and dysfunctional marriages and gender confusion and selfish indulgence. Shows and books that put a positive face on what God calls evil and darkness and foolishness.

And there are a lot of so-called Christian women who love this stuff. They feast on it. They will binge on these TV shows. It's no wonder, if they are children of God, and only God knows. Listen, if your greatest appetite is for things of this world, things of darkness, things of the evil one, then you have reason to question whether you are in fact a child of Light at all. If you're a child of God, you're going to have an appetite and a hunger for the things of God.

Now, you want that hunger to grow. It's not always what you want it to be, but you're going to have a heart that's drawn toward that, not a heart that, like a magnet, is drawn to the things of this world.

But it's no wonder that so many of these women have so little hunger for the Word and so little evidence of grace and spiritual fruit in their lives because they have this steady appetite of teaching and entertainment that is contrary to the Word of God.

And by the way, it's not just secular entertainment. You can walk into almost any Christian bookstore today, sadly, and find teaching. You can turn on Christian television and find teaching and teachers that are popular, packing out convention centers, teaching things that are contrary to the Word of God. They have the appearance of godliness, but they're not truth. We've got to learn to discern.

There is teaching today that is . . . I hate to pick one thing out because there are so many things, but I think of some of this hyper-grace movement in our day. Now, grace is amazing. You can't say too much about grace. You can't make too much about grace, but there's some teaching on grace today that makes very little of sin. And grace is not precious if you haven't known what it is to be under the law and to realize you cannot keep God's law, that you are a lawbreaker. If you separate grace from first coming to the law, then grace is cheap. And real grace is never cheap!

So in this area, and many others, there's false teaching. And women are being captured. They're being led astray by this.

I remember a woman coming to me about . . . I'll just name it, because Paul actually does that in this passage . . . when The Shack first came out years ago. It was hugely popular. I remember a woman coming up to me and telling me that her son had been reading this book and that he'd had this kind of an awakening spiritually by reading this book because it was the first time that he'd ever really experienced the love of God.

And then she said to me, "You know, when I read that book, I had to suspend my sense of doctrine, but I have to admit that it really gave me an experience of the love of God that I've never known before."

Okay, I'm thinking, What's wrong with this picture? Now, I want people to know the love of God. And I also say that if those of us who are teaching the Word of God are not doing it in a way that people come to experience the love of God, there's something wrong with our teaching.

But I'm saying if you have to suspend your sense of doctrine and truth, then you're reading the wrong books. It's not truth. It's dangerous. It's deceptive.

We've had this Book for how many years? Millennia? And if you can't know the love of God in this Book, then what you're getting that you think is the love of God from some other book probably is not really about the love of God. It's false, and it captures weak women, and it fuels their sinful, fleshly patterns. It leads them astray.

Paul said these are the days in which we're living in. He likened this, in verse 8 he said, "Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith."

Paul actually named names. Now, I don't do that very often. What I just did, I rarely do. I rarely name a book. For one thing, that's passé. Now there are other books that you need to be warned about today.

But I don't want you to say, "What's Nancy's list of banned books?" I'm not the one to tell you that. You need to get so familiar with the Word of God that any time there's something that's counterfeit, you sniff it. You know it. You're alert.

And I'm not asking us to go on a rampage or . . . my job is not to curse the darkness. It's to light a candle of the truth. But there are times when we need to warn those we're counseling or discipling or ministering to of this new this or this new that or this new trend or this new teaching, and it goes like wildfire. It goes through some of your churches. And that's why elders in the churches are given the responsibility of shepherding and protecting the flock from these wild wolf types of teaching.

I've told pastors that I've talked with over the years, "Are you aware the women in your church are probably being more discipled by Oprah than they are by your preaching?" (This is not so true maybe today, but in earlier years.) Because they're listening to Oprah (they were) every day of the week, and they're listening to him for twenty-eight minutes of the week, if they're listening.

So you need to be able to help the women you're ministering to discern and learn. These people who oppose the truths have corrupt and depraved minds. They're disqualified. They're rejected. They're reprobate concerning the truth. Don't be led astray by them.

Now, as often as you say that, way more often you need to say, "Here is the truth." Let's get into it. Let's study it. Let's get into it and get it into us so we become discerning women.

And I love what Paul says in verse 9: "They will not get very far." Sometimes it seems like they're getting really far because their books sell in the gazillions. But Paul says in the long run, "they will not get very far for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men."

Let me tell you, ladies, truth is more powerful than anything or anyone who might oppose it. I stake my life on that. We're swimming upstream today. The things we're teaching people think are old-fashioned, irrelevant, not true. And we just keep staying the course and saying, "Truth is more powerful than deception. Light is more powerful than darkness."

In the end, truth will prevail, and falsehood and those who promote it will be exposed and will be shut down and brought to an end. Those who contend for the faith, those who contend for the truth of God's Word and the gospel . . . People may make you feel like you're one of those "ignorant evangelicals." Don't get nasty. Don't get snide. Keep smiling. Be sweet. Be gracious and stick with the truth, because those who contend for the faith, for the truth, will outlast those who promote false teaching. You're on the winning side if you're in this Book and this Book is in you.

And so Paul says to Timothy, "Know that these difficult times are coming. It's going to get worse. It's going to get harder. There's going to be opposition. Within the church, there are going to be those who are false teachers who are promoting things that lead women astray—as well as men."

So what are we to do in such times? Well, look with me, if you would, at verse 14: "As for you." All these people are doing this stuff. And Paul doesn't say, "Develop your life ministry on tearing down and undermining and exposing those false teachers." Now, there's a time and a place for that, but here's the core advice he gives, the exhortation: As for you, son Timothy, as for you, women who are living in this kind of world and dealing with these kinds of issues, "continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed."

There is nothing dazzling about that counsel. Like, that's all you've got to say? Stay in this Book? Yes. That's it. "Knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings."

I love this because I have lived in this Book since I could read. I love it! I've read it now cover to cover, I don't know, maybe hundreds of times. I don't want to say, because I'm not sure. But it's a lot. I love it. I love studying it. I want to study it until my last breath and I see Jesus and He explains all the things I never did get. I love it!

But sometimes it just starts to feel like this isn't enough to deal with women you're dealing with who have such baggage, such pains, such wounds, such issues. And you feel like, "If I were really going to help those women, I'd have to have, like, a degree in this or in that or send them to this or that kind of professional."

I'm not saying that there aren't those who can be helpful, who've studied in disciplines and areas and have wisdom that perhaps can help people in ways that I can't. But I want to tell you what, when you're armed and equipped with this Book and you continue in it, you have what you need to help, to serve, to teach, to train, to disciple, to mentor, to counsel women in the ways of God, to introduce them to Jesus and help them grow in their faith, to help them become like Jesus, spiritually mature.

"The sacred writings that you've been acquainted with from childhood." And he says, "Continue in those writings. They're able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." And then he talks about "all Scripture is breathed out by God." When this Book speaks, God speaks. Do you have a sense of awe and wonder and amazement at what we have in this Book?

It's precious. It's life giving. It's God breathed, and He breathes it into us, and it's profitable—all of it—every page of it, every word of it, every particle of it. It's precious. It's powerful. It's useful for everything that we need, to equip us, to make us complete and equip us to do every good work.

Leslie: That's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, speaking at Revive '15, the conference Revive Our Hearts hosted for women's ministry leaders.

One leader Nancy met at Revive '15 is having a big influence on the next generation of young women.

Nancy: Jen Johnson is a vibrant woman from Kansas who's actively involved in ministry to women on college campuses. Her heart resonates with our heart to see the next generation of women reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. What a joy it is to see how she is integrating Revive Our Hearts resources into her existing ministry of mentoring young women.

Jen Johnson: Well, I graduated from college in 1998 and went directly into working with college women with an organization called "Student Mobilization." In Student Mobilization our heart is just to build laborers from the college campuses of the world. And so it's been an incredible last year just getting to introduce girls to the reality of Christ when a lot of them have grown up not having the gospel.

A lot of times people do look at college women and think that they are going to come into college not open to the gospel. But we've seen the opposite of that. College women often come in really looking for something that is going to give them life. And a lot of times are just looking in the wrong places whether it's the boys or the parties or sorority life or the friendships or the grades. But what they find is that those things might offer life for a little while but end up leaving them empty. And that the only thing that they're going to truly find life in is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Several years ago I was introduced to Nancy Leigh through one of her books and then soon after that got introduced to her podcast and began listening to those. And as I've been meeting and discipling women, one of my favorite resources to be able to point them to are some of Nancy's resources because she is so biblically solid and is always helping women understand what it looks like to just shape their lives around the truth of God's Word.

Nancy: Since these students are busy and always on the go the Revive Our Hearts podcast has been the perfect tool for Jen to use in discipling them.

Jen: Personally, I probably listen to the podcast almost every day. And as I come into contact with different topics that I know will be really relevant for the lives of these college women, I'll use those resources. Whether it's helping women learn what does it look like to be a woman of discretion? Or what does it look like to be a woman who follows Christ even through difficulty? When they're having to learn to persevere or when to live through persecution because of their faith. And all the things from learning what it looks like to walk with God on a daily basis and spend that time in the Word. Or to be a woman of prayer. Or be a woman who loves to memorize God's Word.

And so it's very encouraging just to be able to have a resource that is very tailored towards women that I can sit down with them, listen to her podcast, or take them to her transcript and then know it's always going to be very relevant to their lives and very biblically solid.

Nancy: Revive Our Hearts is making a tremendous impact on the Christian leaders on these college campuses and the students to whom they minister. It's answering their questions about biblical womanhood and it's creating a hunger to know God's Word.

Jen: Women really are hungry to know exactly how God created them and why God created them the way that He did. And so there is a huge openness. Women want to know the truth. And there's so many philosophies out there that come their way that when they see what God's Word really has to say, I think that it really meets a need in them that maybe they never even realized that they had.

And we have really, really enjoyed being able to utilize the resources that are available through Revive Our Hearts because we have seen women's lives change even through the opportunity to listen.

Nancy: The need to reach the next generation with the gospel is great. The time is now to pass the baton of faith to this next generation of women. Would you join us?

Leslie: Thanks Nancy. Do you look at massive changes in the social norms and in the sense of morality in our day? Do you ever feel like giving up?

On Monday Nancy reminds you why now is the time for a lot of hope. She'll be back to finish up our current series on ministering to other women in the power of the Holy Spirit. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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