But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.
The last days…it always sounds kind of ominous doesn’t it? People everywhere are curious as to the matters concerning the end of times. According to the Mayans the world may or may not have been supposed to end on December 21…it didn’t. In 2011 according to Harold Camping the world was supposed to end on May 21 October 21. I remember when I was a kid seeing the book 88 Reasons why the Lord will Return in 1988, and then the ever popular sequel 89 Reasons why the Lord will Return in 1989, I always supposed the 89th reason was something like “because it didn’t happen in 1988”. Apocalyptic themes (and post-Apocalyptic for that matter) have always been major themes in movies.
The truth of the matter is we don’t know how soon the world will end (and I feel fine.) However the Bible does help paint a picture of what the last days will look like for us here. And the above verse is one of the ones we can look to.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power;
Notice the list of transgressions: lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, etc…Now you have to understand at this point that, because of peoples sinful nature, by and large, people have always been this way, they have always followed this list of transgressions. It’s not like people 2000 years ago had a more pleasant disposition, any quick study of world history should confirm this. What Paul is talking about here aren’t regular people you meet every day on the street, no, Paul is talking here about people IN the church…let me say that again with a more dramatic tone..
This should cause us to pause…
Are people in the church today lovers of self? When we look at just a sampling of the book title that are best sellers in the Christian market: Your Best Life Now, I Declare 31 Promises to Speak over Your Life, The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears, Greater, In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day, The Purpose Driven Life…all of these books are about YOU*…YOUR dreams, YOUR plans YOUR purpose…so I ask you…are we self-obsessed in the church…absolutely.
(* I know PDL has the one sentence at the beginning “It’s not about you” but the rest of the book is most assuredly about you.)
Are people in the church lovers of money? That’s a no-brainer- so I’ll just check the box there now…without naming names even. Only note this Christian, the amount of faith you have is in no way connected to your wallet. Romans 12:3 says “For through the grace given to me I say to every one among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgement, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Your faith has already been given you and you have no need to prove it to anyone, trust in Christ alone.
Are people in the church today boastful, arrogant, revilers etc…Yes, yes and yes…
Disobedient to parents…check.
Ungrateful…Whenever you have a pastor of a church encouraging you to give so you can receive…I’d call that ungrateful and it happens all across the country in big churches and small…
Unholy…Have you heard pastors using language on stage the ought not use…talking of sex, using filthy language…Have you ever listened to Mark Driscoll? Or Perry Nobel…check…
Unloving…again….Check…any pastor that brags about “dead bodies behind the bus”, “Punching someone out”, “Jackasses in the church”, telling someone “you suck as an individual” These are not words of love…no, they’re quite the opposite.
Malicious Gossips…We all know gossip is bad… malicious gossip is worse…this is done by so many people in the church today that I’m sure you can readily recall an account of when or how you’ve seen it. In fact, it happens so often I don’t even have to continue typing this sen
To me the biggest tell on the list is this one: “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” You see, all these behaviors and transgressions I have been pointing out are displayed weekly by pastors all across the country, some big names, some not-so-big names…and they do it in the name of God and thus profane his name. The people of these churches are supposed to be imitators of Christ and their biggest example in that behavior and actions should be their pastor, but sadly it’s not.
So what are we to do? As these verses say their folly is visible to all, and it is. It’s not like I’m the only one that’s ever pointed these men boys out. What are we to do? Well the answer to that is also found in these verses and the next few verses of this chapter in Timothy.
The first thing we are to do is listed in verse 5, “avoid such men”
avoid them…have nothing to do with them or their teaching, warn others of their lies and deceit…even though they may not listen.
The next thing we need to do is understand that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”
This true Christian will have to endure, for Christ, much unpleasantness in life. Christ is not a great life accessory, following Christ is hard and will leave you battered and bruised…just as Paul was, but only if you are doing it correctly so we need to check ourselves and our motivations for being a committed Christ-follower and understand that if we doing it right we will experience persecution, even from those claiming to be IN the church. Because as Paul concludes that thought he says “while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” These evil imposters in the church are going to go from bad to worse…how’s that for encouraging?
And the last and most important step…
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned itand how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” These are some of my favorite verses in the Bible…Continue to study the Bible…all of it…there is not one bit of scripture that isn’t there for our good, and here we see that scripture alone…Sola Scriptura…can and does grow us in our faith and make us prepared for the work God has called us to do.
Avoid these men,
Take heart for we are living in the last days,
Keep studying the Bible and trusting in the Word of the Lord.