Saturday, March 21, 2009
2 Timothy 3:1-14 in the last days perilous times will come.
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra --- what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
2 Tim.3:1 that the "last days" would be "perilous times." The word "perilous" means "vicious, dangerous or savage."
“The "last days": "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days" (v. 1). "Mark this" means "pay attention to this"—it's an imperative, a command. We must know what follows. Know what?
In the "last days" there will be "terrible" times, literally "grievous" or "dangerous" times. This is the word used of "violent" demoniacs (Matthew 8:28) and by Greek writers of an "ugly" wound. 2 Timothy 3:1 1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (KJV) 2 Timothy 3:1 You can be certain that in the last days there will be some very hard times. (Contemporary English Version) 2 Timothy 3:1 You should also know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. (The New Living Translation) 2 Timothy 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. (NIV)
When will they come? What did Paul mean by the "last days?" It may surprise you to know that the Jews divided history into two categories: the "former" days before Messiah comes, and the "latter" or "last" days after he arrives. And so, in this era after Jesus' advent, we are in the "last days."
At Pentecost, Peter quoted Joel's prophecy about the "last days" and said they were fulfilled with Jesus (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28-32).
Hebrews 1:2: "…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son."
James 5:3: "You have hoarded wealth in the last days."
1 Peter 1:20: "He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake."
1 John 2:18: "Dear children, this is the last hour…."
It may be that the “last days” refers to the Christian era. But it more likely does refer to the last days before the Lord’s return.
Paul has already dealt with this concept in 1 Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. 3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.
He is saying, that just like the waves of the ocean with each wave bring the tide higher and higher, so there will be times of wickedness that bring the end, the last days, closer and closer. I believe we are in these last days before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not just the last days as speaking of the Christian era, but the last days of these last days.
1. There Is Peril In The Community
As we look around at world society today we are made more aware that through technologies we, mankind, have become increasingly more selfish and more manipulative as we seek to control our “environment” and the people within it.
We are told things are getting better and better…
In education… our kids know a lot more about specialist subjects and a lot less about living life fruitfully. There is a sense in which we are becoming depersonalised through the influences of education upon our society. Children resent their ignorant parents , "disobedient to their parents."
Things are getting better and better in technology…we have a lot more complicated gadgets and a lot less time to communicate with our families and friends. Technology supposedly makes communication easier, but we are more distant and fragmented in our relationships.
Computers have made big advances. Instant communication everywhere. New technology creates new problems. Always does... we can envision unbelievable technological advances. But morally we are exhausted and bankrupted. People are living longer, are healthier, but are not happier.
Chaos and crisis seem all around us. And the chaos and crisis is actually us! Our own selfish desires have run us out of “control”, we are out of sorts with friends and families. In a nut shell it is as 2 Tim 3 states, “perilous times will come For men will be lovers of themselves,”
I had a little tea party this afternoon at three.
'Twas very small, three guests in all, just I, myself and me.
Myself ate up the sandwiches, and I drank up the tea.
'Twas also I who ate the pie, and passed the cake to me.
That is the way many people live -- a self-centered existence. We live in a selfish world.
"At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At 40, we don't care what they think of us. At 60, we discover they haven't been thinking of us at all." (Ann Landers, quoted in Signs of the Times, March, 1993, p.6).
Materialism… reductionism in science and education has meant that for many of us the only things that matter are the things we garner into our barns, as “lovers of money,”. We have become self centred.
We as westerners seek a constantly increasing standard of living, a much more luxurious lifestyle? It is because money is a way of indulging ourselves.
I believe these are the last days, because the sinfulness of mankind has been magnified through the false philosophy that now undermines our whole society and even our churches.
All nations have now become western through the undermining influence of scientism that has spread through our education systems. Values such as selfless sacrifice, love and kindness have become forgotten in our value-free world. Adolf Hitler pronounced that “who controls the youth, controls the future.” Liberal engineers of social change have made the claim that, given just one generation, they can radically alter a society. And they have proven their point.
The Long War Against God, Dr. Henry Morris states that: “Evolutionism and its corollary teachings in the schools have so undermined the Bible by discrediting its record of creation and divine purpose that the whole ‘Christian experience’ has likewise been completely discredited in the minds of young people. . .”
It would be impossible to fully assess the amount of damage that the teaching of evolution has left in its wake. Since man is perceived as just a random accident in the universe, then life itself is of no real value beyond the existential seeking of momentary pleasure. As someone rightly pointed out to me last week, a television documentary indicated that Church leaders are now the main propagators of this godless doctrine.
Dr. David Jeremiah, “Abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia are logical behaviors for those who have so easily disposed of the image of God in the eternal soul of man.”’ Evolution effectively takes God out of the picture and allows man to justify anything and everything that he deems is a means to his own.
We could hardly have sent a more devastating message to our children. Instead of teaching them that they were uniquely designed by a loving and compassionate Creator, in His image, with value and purpose, we set them adrift into a world of futility and meaninglessness.
Dr. Morris goes so far as to state that “evolutionary thought is basically responsible for the lethally ominous political developments and the chaotic moral and social disintegration that has been accelerating everywhere in recent decades.”
Dostoyevsky said that "anything is permissible if there is no God. But anything is also permissible if everything (or everyone) is God.”
Perhaps this gives understanding to the vision in Daniel 2:42 and that the toes of the feet were part iron and part fired clay—part of the kingdom will be strong, and part will be brittle. 43 You saw the iron mixed with clay—the peoples will mix with one another but will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with fired clay.
Out of this grows another word: "proud." The word is boastful, braggarts. That is an outcome of this loving of self. Proud, independent of God, Self sufficient, we can solve our problems, or so we think.
The word that immediately follows is, "arrogant." Proud people are arrogant people. They have a secret contempt for others; they regard themselves as above them. This is the attitude frequently displayed in many churches and by many Christians today.
"Abusive" is the next term. This word describes people who use insulting, pejorative terms that put people down. This is the manifestation of an unhealthy, unwholesome, unchristian spirit, even within the Christian church.
2. There Is Peril In The Church
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
“lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (v. 4). According to a recent Time magazine article, pornography online has increased 1800% since 1998. Nearly one in five movie rentals is a pornographic film. Hollywood produces 400 feature films a year; the porn industry makes 11,000.
There is the Problem Of Departure- Some today have departed from the faith and given heed to the wrong doctrine ( 1 Tim. 4:1).
There is the Problem Of Denial- So many have denied the Holy One, the Lord Jesus access to their lives (Acts 3:14). They may speak much of Christ but deny Him by their sinful living.
Some leaders of some Christian organisations and churches have had terrible falls in the last few years that have made Christianity a laughing stock. Pat Mesiti from Youth Alive, Planetshakers On August 21, 2008, Michael Guglielmucci, the composer of the track Healer from the album Saviour of the World and a former pastor of Planetshakers City Church, announced that, contrary to his earlier statements, he had not suffered from cancer during the previous two years. He also stated that close friends, family, and even his wife didn't know. Planetshakers City Church pastors, as well as Hillsong Church (where Michael was serving in the music ministry)confirmed this. Kim Wheatley | August 21, 2008 Article from: The Advertiser "HE preached to thousands about his terminal illness and tugged at hearts with a hit song. The problem is the pastor wasn't dying at all Michael Guglielmucci, who inspired hundreds of thousands of young Christians with his terminal cancer "battle", has been exposed as a fraud. "
There is the Problem Of Deadness- It is sad that many will accept a "form of godliness" rather than want to see God’s power revealed in the salvation of precious souls. A form of godliness. Where they heal the people’s wound lightly. Where they don’t really deal with sin. A form of godliness. Just respond to this commercial “You don’t have to be religious.. just nod towards the Lord Jesus and we’ll assume that you are saved!”
There is the Problem of Deception: "having a form of godliness but denying its power" (v. 5a). They are even in the church. 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
Paul says, "Have nothing to do with them" (v. 5), literally, "turn away from these." The Greek has the strongest possible condemnation in it—avoid them with horror. Do not be like them. Choose to be holy in an unholy day.
His injunction does not mean that we withdraw from attempting to influence the world. Salt is no good in the saltshaker, or light under the basket. I once saw a poster which pictured a ship at sea, sails billowing in the wind, speeding through white-capped storm-driven waves, and the caption: "Ships in the harbour are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for."
Rather, he means that we are to change the world without allowing it to change us. A ship in the water is a good thing; water in the ship is a bad thing.
They dominate "weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires" (v. 6b). As a result, they are "always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth" (v. 7). They are fascinated by the heresies advanced by these deceivers, and so unable to see the truth of God's word.
Understand that Paul is by no means condemning all women here. Rather, he is dealing with a specific problem already in existence in Ephesus, where a specific group of women have been victimized by these deceivers. Because they are "loaded down with sins," they are more easily swayed or influenced by evil desires.
It is possible and even likely that the apostle is specifically addressing former temple prostitutes. The shrine of Diana was there, the pagan goddess of fertility. Thousands of women were employed as temple prostitutes. The Christian church was willing to help them when no one else would, so that many came to Christ and their faith family. But they are still dealing with their sins and guilt, and are victims now of deceivers.
Whatever the historical context, the apostle is not describing women in general, or summarizing the larger biblical picture. How did Jesus relate to women?
Our Lord spoke to a Samaritan woman when no one else would (John 4).
He befriended an immoral woman no one else would welcome (Luke 7:36-50), decidedly not Mary Magdalene. He commended a widow's offering at the Temple (Luke 21:1-4).
Paul mentions Jannes and Jambres, the names given by Jewish tradition to the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses. Like them, they "oppose the truth" and are "rejected" in the faith (v. 8). One day "their folly will be clear to everyone" (v. 9).
3. There Is A Personal Priority To Maintain
The solution? There is only one moral preservative for our world.
It is as we Christians teach and preach the Word of God that salt is brought into our world.
Look a the solution to these problems that the apostle Paul proposes.
2 Tim 3:13 Evil people and imposters will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing those from whom you learned, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The concept goes back as far as Genesis 18:19 when God said of Abraham, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. . . .” In Deuteronomy 4: 10, He states again “. . . and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.”
God says: “And ye shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up… That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them. . .” (Deut. 11:19-21).
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
Preach The Word With Power. 2 Tim 4:1 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: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 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, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Preach The Word With Purpose. Why do we concentrate on preaching God's Word here at the Tabernacle? Simply because it is ONLY the Word of God that counters the prevailing mentality of our culture. You need something more powerful than the prevailing cultural beliefs. You need something that will tie you to the true truth! And that is God's Word.