Summary: Everyone tells us to "lighten up." But the serious believer, looking around at a dying world, just can’t do it.
Passage: 2 Timothy 4:1-8
Intro: Read Paul Simon lyrics from “Have a Good Time” (You can get these on the web)
1. it’s an idea we hear a lot.
2. “lighten up” “Are we having fun yet?”`
3. we all like to laugh, and laughter and joy are good things.
4. but for some people, there is a sense of desperation in their laughter.
5. we hope if we laugh loud enough and often enough, we can ignore the inevitable.
6. it’s not easy to be a believer in this laughing culture, because we know there is an inconvenient truth.
7. and that inconvenient truth is God.
8. we are tempted to join the laughter and give in to the calls to “lighten up.”
Il) no one wants to be a party pooper, the guy who comes in and shouts “The building’s on fire!”
9. in our world, as it is, there are some inevitabilities.
10. and it is our task to recognize these inevitabilities and proclaim them to a world that is not particularly interested in hearing them.
11. it is a task compelled by love.
I. The Inevitability of Judgment
1. God can be a comforting idea for the world. Soft, warm, non-judgmental god
2. but the inconvenient truth is that God’s intervention into the world is inevitable.
3. and it is this inevitability of judgment that motivates Paul in v1
4. “Solemn charge” is the first word in Greek sentence. Very serious
5. and the witnesses could not be more serious, God and Jesus.
6. and the context could not be more serious, “in view of” the end of the world.
PP We have learned to laugh at the guy holding the “End is Near” sign. But it is inevitable for a couple of reasons.
7. first, because a righteous God must judge sin.
8. so to continually overlook sin is impossible for God. He must respond.
PP Grudem: “God’s righteousness means that God always acts in accordance with what is right and is himself the final standard of what is right.” Systematic Theology, p. 203
9. secondly, God has said He will judge, and He must do what He has said.
10. I have concluded that the book of Revelation is ignored not because it is confusing, but because the truth is proclaims is unpopular and unacceptable.
11. the truth is that, as v1 states, every person, alive or dead for 1,000,000 years, will be judged by this righteous God.
Il) the world is like a huge class who, having been told there will be an exam in the future, parties and refuses to study, hoping that the prof was just kidding.
12. but in the middle of this terrifyingly inevitable truth, there is some really good news.
13. that truth is what Paul tells Timothy, and us, to preach in v2.
14. not once in a while, not when it’s convenient, but constantly.
15. this teaching will be serious; correction, even sharp rebuke, with the encouragement of the gospel.
16. but the world won’t listen!! Hang on
II. The Inevitability of Rejection
1. vv3-4 are among the saddest in Bible
2. the words used are powerful, full of meaning.
3. in Paul’s day, these days were future.
4. but we do not doubt that we are heading there now.
5. v3, “men will not put up…”
6. when you can’t or won’t “put up” or “bear with” something or someone, the meaning is clear.
7. the situation has gotten so uncomfortable that you have to go away.
Il) Jan, Tom and I were camping in Utah a few summers ago in our tent. It snowed!! My bag was against the wall and it got really wet. I slept in the car because I wouldn’t put up with it any more.
8. this is what will happen with sound doctrine. It will be too challenging to the flesh.
9. so those who proclaim this sound doctrine will be rejected, and this next statement gives a great picture.
10. because of their evil desires, they will pile up or heap up teachers to satisfy their itching ears.
Il) they’ve got an itch that sound doctrine can’t satisfy. In fact, it makes it worse!!
11. and v4 gives us the process.
PP God’s Plan contra Man’s Plan
12. active voice…they will turn their ears away from the truth. It is an active choice to reject, ignore, turn off the truth.
13. but amazingly, the next verb is passive…”be turned aside” to myths.
14. when they leave the truth, they can only be led into lies by the great liar of the universe and his puppets.
15. in this universe, there is only lies and truth. And when you stop listening to the truth, all you can hear is lies.