Summary: The last days are perilous, unthankful times marked by godlessness, powerless religion, and corrupt ministry.
Living In Unthankful Times
Introduction: The Humanist’s Prayer
Lyman Abbot once paraphrased the Lord’s Prayer to reflect the philosophy of those without God. We might call it the Humanist’s Prayer:
Our brethren who art on earth,
Hallowed be our name.
Our kingdom come,
Our will be done on earth,
For there is no heaven.
We must get this day our daily bread;
We neither forgive nor are forgiven.
We fear not temptation,
For we deliver ourselves from evil.
For ours is the kingdom and the power,
And there is no glory and no forever.
(James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 446.)
Note: Perilous times means difficult, troublesome, trying, uneasy, hard, violent, threatening, and dangerous days. The picture is that of people turning to and fro, here and there, not knowing which way to turn. “The last days” is a Biblical term that points to the end of the present age, the days right before the return of Christ, and the end of the world. It should be noted, however, that the marks of the end time are somewhat characteristic of all ages, but they are to be intensified in the last days. (The Preacher’s Outline And Sermon Bible: 1 Thessalonians – Philemon. Leadership Ministries Worldwide. Chattanooga, TN. p. 256.)
I. PERILOUS TIMES ARE MARKED BY A GODLESS SOCIETY. 2 Timothy 3:1-4
Illustration: Differing Perspectives
Shortly after the Communist revolution in Cuba, there were strong persuasive attempts at turning the people away from God. In grade schools, teachers would ask their students whether God could live up to His promises or not. Of course, the students said yes. The teacher would then illustrate how impotent God actually was. The teacher instructed the students to fervently pray for candy. After ten minutes, the teacher would ask if anyone received any candy. The students responded with a sad "No." Then the teacher would ask the students to ask the Communist state for candy. With expectant hearts, the students did so, and the teacher went around the room filling the students hands with sweets.
This truly is a differing perspective. Communism as a cure for social ills has no room for a loving God. The state’s protection of the individual for the benefit of the state will never replace God’s own Son dying for our sins on the cross. (James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 110-111.)
A. A Godless Society Is Self-Centered, Covetous, Proud And Boastful. 2 Timothy 3:2a
“…lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud…”
1. Self-centeredness highlights the lives of unthankful people. Matthew 25:43
a. They have no concern for others.
b. They have no concern for God.
c. Their selfish ambitions control their thoughts, their actions, and their lives.
2. Materialism dominates the lifestyles of unthankful people. 1 Timothy 6:10
a. They don’t want more, they want the most.
b. They don’t want better, they want the best.
c. They have a craving for things that cannot be satisfied.
3. If necessary they will lie, cheat, and steal in order to get what they believe they rightfully deserve, and arrogantly boast of their successes. Matthew 23:12
4. They may offer a pretense of humility, but inwardly they believe they are better than anyone else. Galatians 6:3
B. A Godless Society Lacks Respect, Holiness And Love. 2 Timothy 3:2b-3a
…blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving…
Illustration: Apathy Toward God
In his book The Stranger, Albert Camus tells of a man living his life without caring about anyone or anything. Just before he is to be executed, the chaplain says to him, "Don’t you believe in God?"
The man says, "No."
The chaplain says, "How do you know God doesn’t exist?"
The man replies, "Whether he exists, I don’t know. I do know that I don’t care either way." (Ravi Zacharias, "The Lostness of Humankind," Preaching Today, Tape No. 118.)
1. Unthankful people respect nothing.
a. Their mouth is full of cursing and slander. Psalms 10:7
b. They rebel against their parents, disdaining all manner of instruction and discipline. Ephesians 6:1-3
c. They have no appreciation for anything, especially the things of God. Romans 1:21
3. They do not know how to love. Romans 1:24-27
a. Family relationships are destroyed as the pursuit of pleasure and lust engulfs their lifestyles.
b. Alcohol and drugs become substitutes for feelings as they turn into emotional cripples, unable to feel or experience anything that is real and natural.
c. Perverse sexual passions become “natural” expressions of love, but in reality are only avenues of destruction.
d. As they reach the bottom, they lash out at anyone around them who would dare curse their lifestyle.
e. Even in the face of death, they embrace their selfish choices and despise God for His righteous judgment. Romans 1:32