Summary: Appearances can be deceiving, let’s be very careful that we may not be deceiving ourselves.
I would like to begin today’s service with a joke. On a dark night, in a small town, the industrial chemical plant caught fire. Not too much time went by before the place exploded with great flames, and the firemen arrived to extinguish the blaze. After watching the fireman fight what appeared to be an inextinguishable fire, the owner of the plant approached the fire captain on the scene and said: “all of our secret formulas are in the safe, located in the middle of the plant. You have to save them! I will give a $50,000 reward to the fire brigade that delivers these documents in my hand”. As soon as he heard this, the captain ordered the firemen to intensify their efforts, and requested more fire brigades to the scene. But another hour went by, and the fire blazed. The owner then approached the fire captain once again and said: “I will double the reward I offered you, I will give $100,000 to the brigade that delivers my documents safely in my hands. While this conversation was taking place, the siren of another fire truck was heard and began coming into view. It was the all voluntary fire department from the adjoining town, and this brigade was composed of elderly men, all of them were older than 65. To the surprise of all that were present, the volunteer fire truck did not stop where all of the other trucks were positioned; the truck sped through all the locations, broke through a fence, and stopped right in the middle of the blaze. It was then that everyone saw how every one in the brigade jumped from the truck with great enthusiasm and energy equipment in hand and began their labor. After about an hour these elderly men were able to extinguish this fire that seemed to be hell itself, and safely delivered the secret formulas in the plant owner’s hands. The plant owner was very grateful, and with great joy announced that he would increase the reward to $200,000 and drew near to all of the elderly men to personally thank them. After thanking them all individually, he then turned to the group and asked what they would do with the reward money. The driver of the truck then took one step forward, looked him straight in the eyes and said: “the first thing we are going to do is fix the brakes in that truck”. Isn’t that funny? Things are not always as they appear, and this will be our theme of study today. Let’s now turn to the Word of God.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 - But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
In these verses we find a clear warning for each and every single one of us today. I say this because when we take the time to examine what happens around us and in the world, we quickly realize that we are living in very dangerous times. The picture that Paul paints here in these verses unfortunately represents rather well a large portion of human beings. I am sure that if we give this some thought, the majority of us will reach the conclusion that we know at least one person that can be identified with the description provided here by the apostle. But this is not the theme that I want to concentrate on today; that is another theme for another day. Today I want us to concentrate in those that disguise themselves, those that appear to be one thing, but in fact are something completely different. We must do this because this type of person represents a serious danger for believers.
When we look at the world from a biblical perspective, it is not difficult to reach the conclusion that although this planet is inhabited by more than six billion human beings, there are only two types of people. In this world there only exist those that belong to Christ, and those that do not. What I have just told you is something that is very well reflected in 1 Corinthians 10:21 when we read “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons”. Unfortunately, in comparison to the rest of the world, the true Christian church, that is to say, all believers that are not willing to compromise and do not compromise their faith by following the norms and the evil current that runs through this world is in fact a minority. It is sad to think that out of more than six billion people only a small group or percentage will be saved, but unfortunately this is the grim reality. Look carefully at how the Lord says it very clearly in John 14:6 when we read “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”.