Warning of the Last Days

23 05 2014

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

This is probably one of the most misunderstood passages in the Bible today. I have heard it preached and taught time and time again as representing society in the last days. The problem with this interpretation is simple. Read over the list and tell me a time that secular society has not been that way.

Even at the time it was penned the Roman Empire was ripe with orgies, mass killings for sport, fornication and degradation. False accusers were rampant at least against Christ and His apostles. The Jews had a form of godliness but no power since they were seeking to establish their own righteousness.

So what is this passage describing? Since the world has always been this way this type of warning can only apply to the church itself. When I say the church I don’t refer to true born again believers but the visible church among whom there are many false professors of faith. We know there are tares among the wheat.

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:24-30)

We also know that there will be a falling away from the faith in the last days.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

We also know from the Scriptures that the end times will see many turning from sound teaching.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

Having understood all that the Bible has said would come tot he church in the last days how can we understand this passage to mean anything different. What do we see in churches today? I mean churches that profess themselves Christians and people who claim to be born again. We see a church where people are truly lovers of selves. They think only about themselves. What worship style do I like, what music do I like, what Bible translation do I like.

We see people who are covetous, proud and yes blasphemous taking the name of God and throwing it around like any other word. Disobedience to parents is rampant among youth groups and we are especially unthankful. Unholy, now there is a term that describes the church today and without natural affection.

People often give a pretense but rarely truly care for one another. Gone are the days of long fellowships and going into each others homes. Without natural affection towards God as well. Seldom do people take much time to dwell on their love for God.

False accusers now this is one where I have been victim even in my own church and not once but several times by the same group. Fierce and without self control describes many Christians I have known. lovers of pleasure more then lovers of God. No statement in this passage more describes he modern American church then this one.

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. This describes most professing Christians especially in American churches. Most say the right Christian words and dress in the right Christian clothes and go to church and do all the right Christian things yet they lack real power with God. They lack prayer power. They lack power over sin and temptation.

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Many sit in churches year in and year out and die and go to hell. Because of all the things listed before it. Powerless pulpits, a mere form of godliness and all the others. People put on a show who are never really saved and everyone around them is either in the same condition, or powerless to help them and they perish in the pew. Oh that we would heed this warning in our own church. This is where church discipline comes into play. We need to stop playing church, stop playing games, and stop playing God. Paul warned us it would come but he also gave us excellent advice.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

We must rest our faith, our practice and our churches squarely on the authority of the Word of God.

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