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23 Dangerous Disobedience in last days – Part 1

23 Dangerous Disobedience in last days – Part 1
2 Timothy 3:1-5
“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
2 Timothy 3 begins with the aged Apostle Paul writing just before his death in AD 67, from a dark, damp prison cell in Rome. It is here that Pastor Paul warns his young protégé Timothy of the difficult and disobedient days to come. Paul never lost his faith in God even in the face of great difficulty, and he chose to spend his last days challenging and championing the church to follow in his footsteps. Paul selflessly served the next generation, warning them of the wave of problems and persecution to come. This week as we prepare to celebrate our country and our courageous forefathers of the faith, we are reminded that we have been the privileged partakers of the fruit of their fight. That we have reaped what they have sown. But the tide is turning, for we have turned from truth and stop sowing the seeds of selfless sacrifice. We are living on borrowed blessings, for a nation that chooses to sow in sin will reap rebellion. Can you feel the currents of change, tugging us toward the turmoil? Paul warned Timothy of the tragedy to come, days of corruption, carnage and chaos. That if people were not prepared and didn’t brace themselves with the truth of the Bible then they would be blown away by the winds of wickedness. The message of 2 Timothy is that things will become more and more of a mess. Verse 1 is really the key to this whole chapter, “You should know this, in the last days there will be very difficult times” This brings up two important questions, first, what does Paul mean by, “last days?” This could apply to the entire period between the first and second comings of Christ as well as specific periods of spiritual testing at different times and in different places. But it also applies to that final time period right before the Lord’s return. It is like the labor pains of a pregnant woman that increase in frequency and severity as the time for her to give birth draws closer. Just as the list that Paul points to will always be present in some form, but will increase dramatically as things draw to a close. So are we in the “last days?” No matter how you define it the answer is yes. The second question that we have to answer is what will the “last days” be like? This word translated “difficult or terrible” interestingly occurs here and in only one other place in the New Testament. The other occurrence is found in Matthew 8:28, in reference to two men possessed by demons. These were wild and violent men who lived in tombs, what a picture, demonic and dwelling in the place of death. The “last days” are not just going to be difficult they will be demonic, times of danger, vicious and volatile times of violence. This will be a time when men will cast off all moral restraint, a time of social chaos when we will see society disintegrating into disobedience. It will be a time of:
● Raw Paganism
As society continues to spiral downward Christian-faith will be confronted by raw paganism not unlike the first-century. That is why Paul warned Timothy that he better buckle up because things were going to go from bad to worse. Paul tells us to pay attention and not be naïve and think that everything is going to be okay. For to be forewarned is to be forearmed. If you know what is coming then it won’t take you by surprised. In the first five verses of II Timothy 3 Paul presents us with a sobering catalogue of corruption. When a nation turns its back on God first there is a total rejection of God. People will be unholy, ungrateful, lovers of self and seekers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. This leads to total moral collapse, people become lovers of money, conceited, and compassionless, conceited, boastful, proud, and unforgiving. Finally there is a total breakdown of society, people will be disobedient to parents, abusive and void of all self-control. Anything will go, no rules, or restraints, no moral or absolutes of any kind. People will do whatever seems right in their eyes, and no one better dare question their “lifestyle choice.” Notice that Paul includes what many may consider a trivial thing in light of the rest of the list, “disobedient to parents.” But disobedience is the spark that ignites the fire which leaves the home in ashes. What happens in the home affects not just the heart but all of humanity. But Paul warns us that it is not just raw paganism that we will see but also:
● Religious Rebels
Verse 5 says: “They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” In the last days men will turn away from the Messiah but paradoxically, they will become more religious, not less. Religion will become more popular as people seek a refuge but it will just be a presence, an outward appearance of godliness. These will be people that ask all the right questions, but follow the wrong answers. They will deny the very power they profess to believe. It will be spirituality without substance, a religion rooted in self that will allow them to do what they want, believe what they want and endorse anything they want. It will be built on the lie that you can live how you want and worship what you want. With Its primary principle being whatever makes you happy instead of holy. They will refuse to be bound to the Bible believing it to be outdated and out of step with society. The latest ruling of our highest court sees marriage as a mere contract, but God the ruler of a higher and holier court sees it as a covenant relationship. The difference is that a contract is about my wants, a covenant relationship is about His Will. Do we think we can rewrite the Will of God? In truth man can rewrite all the rules he wants but it doesn’t change who the Ruler is. Love does win, but it won 2000 years ago on the cross of Calvary not in a courtroom. Legislating our lifestyle is not love its lawlessness. Freedom doesn’t come through legislation it comes when we follow the Lords leading. Today we want to believe that there are many paths to God, that no matter how I live it all leads to the Lord, and in a sense they are right, for every road leads to a reckoning but only one leads to redemption. We will all stand before God but only those who cling to the cross will not be condemned. Paul’s warning is to stay away from all lifestyles of disobedience, have nothing to do with them. If it is not born from a biblical basis, if it does not accept its authority from the Almighty over every area of life, including sexual morality then have nothing to do with it. But those who follow Paul’s advice will be labeled bigots for this belief, judgmental and narrow-minded. Yet we must remember that we are not called to be politically correct, we are called to pursue Christ. One of the quotes that came out of the reason ruling that we need to pay attention to is this: “I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.” Justice Samuel Alito. Its not about being on the right side of history its about being on His side. Disobedient and disastrous days are upon us but don’t despair God is not dead. Your greatest freedom doesn’t come from the fight of your forefathers it comes from Your Heavenly Father who sent His Son Jesus Christ to secure your Salvation and no one can take that freedom away. Pay attention and be prepared but don’t panic, face the future not with fear but with faith, for as believers our faith is not in government its in God. Twice Paul exhorted Timothy to “fight the good fight” 1 Timothy 1:18; 6:12, but Paul didn’t just preach preparedness and perseverance he lived it, for in 2 Timothy 4:7 he says, “I have “fought the good fight …. finished the course …. and kept the faith” What a great encouragement it must have been to the young pastor of the church at Ephesus to know that his mentor boldly modeled his perseverance in the faith, even to the point of death. Now is the time for men to model what they really believe, to be courageous for Christ and not cower to a culture of corruption. Will you follow Christ or the culture, His Will or your wants. Are you going to let God direct your decisions or disobedience?

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22 Disease and Disobedience – Part 2

Mark 1:40-45

40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. 43 Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: 44 “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” 45 But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him.

Not only does Mark reveal to us the misery of man but second we see the:

  • Mercy of the Messiah

While everyone else was repulsed by the leper and left him alone Jesus was moved by mercy. Verse 41 says that Christ couldn’t contain His compassion and reached out to tenderly touch this man and take away his misery. Jesus felt the agony of his isolation and the pain of his plight. This is not an isolated case of compassion for It was common for Jesus to be moved with compassion. In Mark 6:33 it says that after Jesus saw the huge crowds: “He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things.” Jesus did more than just feel compassion, He was touched in his heart and so he reached out and touched with His hands. This was not a tentative touch, the Greek means to “stretch” out and “fasten or adhere.” The Lord latched on to the leper. How long had it been since anyone had touched this leper, let alone hold him? Again just like Jesus compassion,His  tender touch was not a onetime event but something that Mark majors on, for it is readily repeated throughout the Gospel.

1:31 – In healing Simon’s mother-in-law, Jesus “went to her, took her her, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’”

5:41 – When a little girl died, Jesus “took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’”

7:33 – When healing a deaf and mute man, “Jesus put his fingers into his ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue.”

8:23 – People begged Jesus to touch a blind man and so “He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’”

9:27 – After healing a boy that had an evil spirit, “Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.”

10:16 – When people brought children to Jesus to have Him touch them, He did much more than that: “And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.”

Jesus isn’t afraid to reach out and touch our lives, to take a hold of our hurt and heal. We can’t miss the significance of this, for no one was allowed to touch a leper because his uncleanness would be transferred to the one who touched him, only the deity couldn’t be defiled. According to the Old Testament the only human that could touch a leper was the High Priest, and only after the leper was healed. The purpose of the High Priests touch was simply to tell others that the leper was clean. Only Christ the creator could cleanse and make him clean, only the tender touch of Jesus can transform. He is still touching lives today, have you been touched by the teacher? It is here as Jesus touches the man that He declares His willingness to do the work, “I am willing he said” Everything rests on His will, He can do anything but it must be in line with His Will. Jesus then gives a command, “Be clean!” When it is His Will it only takes a word and it will happen, for verse 42 declares : “Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.” This word instant or immediate is used over 40 times in Marks gospel. His command was instantly obeyed, so how immediately is your obedience to His word? His fingers were fine, his toes were attached again, his skin was soft and supple. This leper had a new lease on life. His hurt was replaced by health as he was instantly cured and cleansed. His pain and his past were no problem for the power of Jesus words. When the misery of man meets the mercy of the Messiah we witness not just the miracle of healing but of being whole. In Jesus’ upside-down kingdom, the unlovable is loved, and the unwanted is touched. But this is not where the story ends and what happens next is more than just surprising it’s a little startling, the:

  • Mission

It is Jesus miracle of mercy that transforms the leper from a man in misery to a man on mission. After Jesus commands the disease to depart He then instructs this man about His mission. Jesus doesn’t give a suggestion, He gives a stern command, verse 43 says “Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning” Jesus sent him on his way because he had a mission to accomplish. We may want to linger with the Lord but we are called to be on mission for the Master. Notice that Christs command is crystal clear: “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” There are actually two parts to this command, one don’t mention the miracle and the second seek out the priests to declare you clean. This man from Galilee is told to journey to Jerusalem, which is over 100 miles away and would take several days. He is to meet with the priest and follow what the Law dictated. Deuteronomy 24:8 sates: “In cases of leprous diseases be very careful to do exactly as the priests, who are Levites, instruct you. You must follow carefully what I have commanded them.” Why would Jesus have wanted this man to go and proclaim his healing to the priest and not the population? Only the priests could validate the miracle, nothing like this had happened for hundreds of year, scripture records only the healing from leprosy of Miriam and Naaman in the Old Testament. With the validation of the priests he would be accepted socially and spiritually by society. Jesus wanted to fulfill the Law for He said in Matthew 5:17: “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” This would have been a witness and testimony to the priests, for they knew that the Messiah would be able to heal lepers. This is exactly what Jesus told John’s disciples to tell John when he wondered if Jesus was the Messiah in Matthew 11:5: “The blind receive sight, the lame walk and those who have leprosy are healed.” This wouldn’t just have pointed to His power but have proved who He was to the priests. The disease obeyed Jesus and departed but this man who had just experienced the miracle dismissed the command and disobeyed. “But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened.” This was a deliberate decision of disobedience, maybe he thought that the journey Jesus had told him to take to the priests was too much work, that disobedience and doing what he wanted was easier. Yet the road of disobedience is a rough one, we may be lured in by its seeming easy only to discover the disastrous results that lead to ruin. Interestingly, this man was told to not tell anybody, and he tells everybody; we’re told to tell everybody and we don’t tell anybody! He was touched so he went out and testified, but instead of helping the cause of Christ he hindered it: “large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places.” Disobedience is dangerous and what he did was destructive for several reasons. First it was a violation of God’s expressed Will. 1 Samuel 15:22 says, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Have you been delivered like the leper but still have an area of disobedience you are not dealing with in your life? How many of us get what we want from Jesus and then turn around and do what we want. Do you ever say to yourself, “Yeah I know what the Bible says…but?” Are you following Christ’s clear commands or the cultural confusion? Have you determined to be obedient to God’s Will expressed through His Word or to do what you want? God speaks He doesn’t stutter. His disobedience detracted and served to stifle the ministry. It’s interesting to note that now this leper can go into the cities but Jesus can’t! It didn’t just detract; it confused the mission, for now people flocked to His miracles more than the message.  Jesus came to preach not to perform; the miracles were intended to validate the message and His mission not mesmerize. This also served to short-circuit the ministry to the priests; they missed out on compelling evidence that Jesus was who He said He was. But despite his disobedience God’s plan prevailed: “but people from everywhere kept coming to him.”  Disobedience is disastrous, but it doesn’t derail the deity, His plan will still proceed. Sin has disfigured us all to the point where even our righteousness is filthy rags. Compared to the holiness of God, our lives are hideous sin soaked shells. Yet on the cross of Calvary as Jesus was crucified he kissed our sin-shriveled lives with His suffering and sacrifice. He touched our hideous sin and healed our hurt, it was through His misery that we received mercy and are forever changed. Once we were dead in sin but through His sacrifice we have been delivered. Our deliverance caused His death but now we live and disobedience must die. If your life has been transformed by the touched of Jesus are you living in obedience to His teaching? Are you helping or hindering the mission?