Summary: This is going to be the first of a two-part message from two different passages that relate to the end-times before the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I want to deal with what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-9.
James O. Davis is the founder and president of Second Billion (TM). You are invited to learn more about Second Billion by visiting www.billion.tv.
This is going to be the first of a two-part message from two different passages that relate to the end-times before the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I want to deal with what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-9. Paul summed up the closing days of the Church Age in a passage pregnant with doom. He said they would be marked by perilous times. The word here used for “perilous” is one that means heavy, difficult, hard to bear, dangerous. The only other use of this same word is in Matthew’s account of the two demoniacs who met Christ when He visited the country of the Gadarenes. They are described as being “exceeding fierce” in Matthew 8:28. Paul links the arrival of perilous times with the last days. It is an expression first used in Scripture by the dying Jacob. It is used 14 times in the New Testament to describe both the course and close of the Church Age.
Paul’s list of the end-time events can be summarized as follows: he saw a world controlled by people without character. Their supreme concern was love for self and lust for wealth. Their scornful contempt is found in their boastful, haughty abusiveness. Their sinful conduct is toward parents and others. There is no reverence, no regard, and no restraint. Not only are they people without character, they are without conviction. Their false principles show they are ruled by wickedness, wiles and willfulness. Their foremost passion is exposed and their false profession is made known.
Not only are they people without character, but they are without conviction and conscience. In a few moments, you will see their vileness, their victims, their values, and their vanity. Fierce times are upon us today. Illustrations of unscrupulousness, ferocity, and planned wickedness can be found among some nations, and in the general godlessness of the once great nations of Christendom. Organized crime has disgraced the nations of the world. The reappearance of these kinds of lawlessness and licentiousness are they which characterized the days of Noah and Lot.
Evil people have always plagued society, but for most of the last two thousand years the Christian ethic has acted as a measure of restraint. Today, however, Christian standards of morality and decency are being swept aside. Perversion unashamedly and boastfully flaunts itself. Our courts, colleges and communication media are showing increasing bias against the Christian moral code. Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived at the last days.
FIRST, LET’S INVESTIGATE THE PEOPLE WITHOUT CHARACTER
A) “Lovers of Their Own Selves” (v. 2) -- Paul listed a dozen things to substantiate this aspect of the end times. He wrote down first that people would be lovers of their own selves (v.2). Self-love, of course, is native to the human heart. It is something which shows itself in a child as soon as one can express himself. Nobody has to teach a baby to throw a temper tantrum to get his own way.
A healthy society, however, imposes restraints on extreme selfishness. It recognizes the need to teach children respect for the authority of their parents at home, of their teachers at school, and of the laws in society. A healthy society teaches children to be well-mannered and respectful of the persons and property of others. But our society today has institutionalized love for self. Children must not be punished lest they become inhibited. If they are failing in school, the grading system must be adjusted lest their failure does them psychological harm.
Criminals must be given rights even though they have shown no respect for the rights of those they have robbed, murdered and maimed. Recently, a police chief summed up our generation by calling it a lost generation, a generation which thumbs its nose at everything once held sacred. He described it as a generation addicted to drugs, given to self-indulgence, contemptuousness of the law and totally without regard for social values. In other words, he described the kind of end-time generation mentioned by Paul.
The acquittal of John Hinkley, Jr. demonstrates how far we have gone in allowing human selfishness to go virtually unchallenged in our society. This man put a bullet in the stomach of a secret service agent, a bullet in the neck of a police officer, a bullet in the brain of the president’s press secretary, and a bullet in the body of President Ronald Reagan. Yet, he was pronounced not guilty on all thirteen counts of assault, attempted murder and weapons offences. A Wyoming lawyer called the acquittal by reason of insanity proof that Americans are a people of law and compassion. One juror thought Hinkley was a sick white boy looking for someone to love him. And why did he do it? He wanted to prove his love for a movie actress. It would be hard to think of a more callous act of crass selfishness.