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?
23 Dangerous Disobedience in last days – Part 1