Summary: This message was given at annual meeting to allow th econgregation to remember the focus and purpose of what we do and help others see what the church is to look like.
In these last days
Please turn to 2 Timothy Chapter 3
We continue in our lessons learned from Apostle Paul series.
Apostle Paul gives advice, straightens out our difficult thinking, and today in his word to the church offers us a warning and the chance to be faithful.
“But mark this… (A note of importance), there will be trouble in the last days.
People will not be nice
People will be disobedient, disrespectful, abusive, selfish, brutal to each other, and ungrateful.
That sounds like today- says people will be godless.
Paul identifies the times.
Paul tells Timothy and the church hold on tight, there is trouble coming.
These last days- written about in commentaries has a varied time period.
Some believe that it started as soon as Jesus ascended- after that point, we went into the last days.
Some believe, as I tend to believe, it is the time just before Jesus returns.
Times get bad, prophecy will be fulfilled and Jesus returns to retrieve His church and His people.
Apostle Paul (5) tells Timothy and the church
“Have nothing to do with them.”
That seems a bit harsh, that seems un-Christian.
But what is he saying to them?
He goes thru this list of ungodly vices people have and it seems to just get worse and worse.
Ends with lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power, have nothing to do with them.
He points to two kinds of people
(1) Corrupted people that are falling away from God
(2) People that have a form of godliness but have not the power of God working in their lives.
Be careful of one group and stay away from the other.
I love this- it fits our study on Wednesday night about repairing your broken world.
You know your world is broken and needs fixing.
You know that there is some ugly and nasty people out there.
You realize that it just seems to get worse and worse.
But what are you going to do about it?
Live with it or change it?
Are you going to let the culture dictate how you will live your life, or does God control what is going on?
Go ahead, identify the times… Bad, but don’t let society control how you will act or how you will live your life.
Be careful that unbelieving and unfaithful and uncaring people don’t change you.
Mark this down- Make sure that your sins and lust don’t cause you to stumble.
Be watchful- that false teachers, stinking thinking don’t cause you from having that relationship with Christ.
Be careful Timothy. Be careful church that you (7) “Are not always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.”
In these last days, make sure that you are ready for His return, and do not be like the world, but let the world see Christ through you.
Paul warns the church- “run from these things that lead you into sin and pursue (literally chase after) what leads to right living before God.” Amen.
“Flee evil desires, pursue righteousness, call unto the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Some promises in the Bible are easy to hear and receive.
Eternal life- thank you Jesus
Promise that you will never leave us or forsake us- yes!
But there is another promise- in the last days you will suffer persecution, and experience bad people doing what they do best.
“everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” That is a fact!
Here is some good news from Jesus
“In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Rest assured this world does not have the upper hand.
Jesus has already defeated the power of darkness. He is in control.
The devil has been defeated, he just has not fallen over yet.
This world behavior does not surprise the Lord, it does not catch him by surprise, and it should not surprise the church of Christ either. Just don’t be like them.
Book of Jude tells us (NLT) “rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment, show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.”
A young minister quietly said to Dr. Bill Bright one day. I am afraid of Satan. Dr. Bright re[lied, “you should be afraid of Satan, if you want to live you own life and do your own thing apart from God, but if you are willing to let Christ control your life, you have nothing to fear, because the Bible says “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1John 4:4