Summary: The Last Days, Peril, A Remnant of God's People
FOLLOWING JESUS INTO THE UNKNOWN 2018 - Watch Out for Danger Areas
January 21, 2018
2 Timothy 3:1-9 (p. 833)
Everyone should know that a “Redneck’s” last words are… “Hey y’all watch this…” If you’ve ever watched one of those video shows like “Ridiculousness,” or “America’s Funniest Home Videos” you know what’s gonna happen when the old guy gets on the pogo stick…Instantly you think, “Here comes a hip surgery.” As the guy starts his four wheeler up on the steep rocky incline you know without a doubt that this is going to end with him rolling it over a dozen times.
And you never hear his friends say “Hey buddy, have you thought this through?” “Really man this is dangerous and your gonna get hurt!”
Now! Most are just content to sit back and watch the idiocy unfold
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You want to scream at that guy “You’re an idiot…you’re gonna die!!!”
In this journey we call life there are some danger areas…and in our pride and arrogance we decide to go full steam ahead…maybe because we are surrounded by people who just want to see us get hurt, but we want to impress anyway.
In this adventure we call life, God wants to warn us at times there will be danger areas…He knows if we take another step in a certain direction we’re gonna get hurt.
That’s why our text starts out this morning with a warning…“But mark this…” It’s the Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy who is the minister at the 1st Christian Church of Ephesus…and Paul is telling him…Highlight these next words..underline them…put them in italics.
“There will be terrible times in the last days!”
What are the last days? They are the period between Christ’s ascension and His promised return. Since Jesus can return at anytime…the entire church age can be called “The Last Days.”
But the Bible clearly teaches there will be some last…Last Days. A time immediately preceding the Lord’s return. It’s helpful to remember that Jesus uses the analogy of a pregnant woman experiencing labor pains. Right before Karissa gives birth to Oaklynn she’ll experience labor pains…the closer she gets, the more frequent and intense they get. It’s a clear indication…the baby’s coming soon!
All these things the Apostle Paul warns Timothy about in Chapter 3 will be present in some form in all generations, but they will dramatically increase near the end of the age…Are we in the last days? No matter how you define it…the answer is “yes.”
And what will those days be like? How bad can they be? Paul describes them as “terrible.” This word only occurs here and one other place in the New Testament. The other occurrence is in Matthew 8:28 where it describes 2 demon possessed men in the region of the Gadarenes. They are wild, violent and uncontrollable people who live among the dead…That’s the word Paul chooses to describe “the Last Days” to Timothy and to us…He’s saying:
“In the last days, savage times will come, as people throw off all moral restraint and society disintegrates.” Raw Paganism…
[In 1988 evangelical philosopher and theologian Carl Henry made a stunning prediction in his book “Twilight of a Great Civilization.” He said that as America progressively loses its Judeo-Christian heritage, paganism would grow bolder. What we saw in the last half of the 20th century was a benign humanism, but he predicted that by the start of the 21st century we would have a situation not unlike the 1st century when the Christian faith confronted raw paganism—humanism with the pretty face ripped off, revealing the angry monster underneath. His words have come true…and are becoming truer with each passing day.]
So Paul is screaming out a warning to Timothy and to us, “After I’m gone, things will get worse. Terrible times are coming. Mark this, watch out, pay close attention and get ready.”
“The Message” translation says, “Don’t be naïve. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches people are going to be self-absorbed, money hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog eat dog, unbending, slanderous, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people!”
Perilous Times are Described
That’s a sobering catalogue of corruption. In a sense it’s a shorter version of Romans 1:18-32 which describes the descent of people turning their backs on God.
Basically it’s a total rejection of God. As people become their own gods there is a moral collapse. People become lovers of themselves, not lovers of what is good. Society dissolves because there are no rules, no moral absolutes, no restraints. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes, much like in the time before the flood. And woe to anyone who questions those lifestyle choices. Why does Paul include “disobedient to parents?” Because this spirit of disobedience leaves the home in ashes. Divorce becomes commonplace. Marriage is redefined. Homosexuality is not only tolerated, but made equal.