Summary: (How to deal with the reality of unredeemed behavior in the church)

2Timothy 3 – “Mean Christians”

(How to deal with the reality of unredeemed behavior in the church)


Here’s how things are going to be in the “last days” i.e. NOW.


I want to introduce you to some people, here…

Notice first the misdirected love:

(1) lovers of themselves (“self-centered, narcissistic”)

(2) lovers of money (cf. 1 Tim. 6:9-10 on the love of money)

Being self-centered they are:

(3) boastful—the outward manifestation of the fact that inwardly they are..

(4) proud (“arrogant,” not just a healthy sense of pride)

(5) abusive toward others, which translates blaspheµmoi (“blasphemers”).

Several of the words which follow begin in the Greek with the prefix a=, meaning “without” (as in moral-amoral, theist-atheist), meaning you haven’t got it…

The next five speak of the degeneration of family attitudes and relationships with words that depict the absence of what one would expect..

(6) disobedient (apeitheis) to their parents

(7) ungrateful (acharistoi – charis being our “grace” word!)

(8) unholy (a-righteous)

(9) without love (a-storgoi, trans. “heartless” in Rom. 1:31, only other place used in the NT)

(10) unforgiving (interesting link to Diaboloi, usually translated “devil” with root meaning)

The list widens with the next seven words indicating the terrible antisocial behavior of those who are…

(11) slanderous (needs no explanation – do character assassinations)

(12) without self-control

(13) brutal (lit., “untamed,” the opposite of civilized)

(14) not lovers of the good (a-phil-agathoi; cf. Titus 1:8; Pss. 15:4; 19:8).

The next two characteristics begin in the Greek with the prefix pro-, indicating an aggressive inclination toward vice:

(15) treacherous (pro-dotai, “disposed toward betrayal”)

(16) rash (pro-peteis, “disposed toward recklessness”). The final three characteristics are..

(17) conceited (lit., “puffed up”; cf. 1 Tim. 3:6; 6:4)

(18) lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

(19) having a form (morphoµsin, “outward shape,” used only here and in Rom. 2:20) of godliness but denying its power (cf. Titus 1:16).

Paul is talking about people in Ephesus, in church.

Ever find yourself saying of another, “How can that person be a Christian?”

· Can that abusive father be a Christian

· Can anyone that proud be a follower of Jesus?

· What about a spirit of unforgiveness; can one be forgiven & not get it?

· How about the ultimate self-seeker, with no visible hunger for God?

· Loveless, and Christian?

This ISN’T about petty views of godliness; these are big problems! They are character issues! This is faith-shaking unredeemed behavior. It’s the stuff that causes others to wonder, is it isolated phoniness, or is the whole church filled with pretenders? Ever been shaken?

· Guy who suggested why I rolled my car en-route to another church (wrong!)

· Girl with the fake leg story who ripped off others and lied constantly..

· Liberal minister on Campus Ministry board.. “just Paul’s opinion.”

The piety was on the outside. They "morphed" into nice little Christians for that purpose, when they gathered, or whatever, but its like the space alien on StarTrek that projects this nice exterior, then gets zapped with a phaser and is shown to be this monster underneath!

“They deny its power..” (WHAT power exactly are they denying?) By their living, it would appear that what they are denying is its power to change their behavior and values. They are going through outward motions, but still filled with the attitudes mentioned.

To Timothy: You’re young. Don’t be naive.. You might as well know. It’s real.

NOT right. Not normal (sick!) but real. The church has its share of unredeemed attitudes and behavior. You don’t have to be around any church very long to experience it. It should disappoint us, shake us, move us - but not shock us.

What have YOU experienced?

Been cheated? Put down? Lied to?

So, are they real?

Of course part of the answer is that none of us is perfect.

Another part is, perhaps he/she is not a Christian.

IS it possible to be unsanctified and unchanging and born again? No.

We need to recognize that what we are seeing sometimes is a FORM of godliness, not the real thing. We should not assume so, or be quick to judge others, but must be discerning. And then???


That’s right, face it … and forget it.

Listen to Paul’s advice… (vs.5 – Have nothing to do with them.)

Doesn’t mean being nasty, shunning, silent treatment.

Rather, lit. have nothing to do with them!

Jesus: Wheat and Tares parable. (Matthew 13.24-30;36-43)

We can’t discern, NOW, and it is dangerous to try.

Many of the servants of the owner of the field are very ready to think themselves sufficient for this, and are forward to offer their service to this end; but their Lord says, “Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.(Jnthn.Edwards)

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