Lovers of Self

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

The people this is speaking about are not just out in the world. They are within the gatherings of the church, too. And, they are among the leaders of the church congregations, as well. They are many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and who give off an image of godliness, while they engage in all sorts of evil and wickedness when they think no one is looking.

But, this is not anything new. This has been going on since the church was first formed. For, there are many warnings in scripture about such as this. But, in our day and age, it has become epidemic within the gatherings of the church, as well as out in the world. For, being lovers of self is what today’s culture is all about. We live in a Me-Me society and culture, even within the gatherings of the church.

Even the gospel of Jesus Christ has been altered to gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh and to allow us to live self-consumed lives while claiming heaven as our eternal destiny. We no longer are required to die to sin and self and to follow our Lord in obedience. Instead, we can go on in our sinful addictions without guilt while claiming that God’s grace covers it all.

And, everything seems to be centered around self-pleasure and us being entertained, even within the gatherings of the church, and even in what are supposed to be “worship” services, giving true honor and praise to God. In America, at least, most homes have TV sets and most people now have smart phones, which are little pocket computers which give access to a whole world of evil at one’s finger tips in the privacy of a corner in a room.

Even conversations among those who profess to be followers of Christ are often centered around entertainment – social media, games, movies, TV shows, videos, sports, and music, etc. They say they are followers of Christ, but by their conversations you would not know it. It sounds more like they are followers of the world, instead, thus denying God’s power in their lives.

2 Timothy 3:6-9 ESV

For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

There are many false shepherds of the people who capture the minds of those who are weak spiritually, who are naïve, and who are gullible and vulnerable to being led astray. And, they are able to do this because so many people today are caught up in the world of entertainment and this whole Me-Me culture, and thus they are looking for what is going to gratify their flesh.

Our whole culture, both in the world and in today’s modern church sets the stage for this. This whole diluted cheap grace gospel sets the stage for this, too. For, if we have this belief that nothing is required of us other than some surface-level acknowledgment of Jesus as Savior of the world, and that we are not required to die to sin and live to Christ to have eternal life with God, then that opens the door wide for us to live with an entitlement mindset.

So, these wolves in sheep’s clothing are welcome in the churches (the majority of them) because they have messages to give the people which will tickle their itching ears, and which will appease their flesh, and which will not make them uncomfortable about the fact they are still living in sin. And, the people are so duped by them they don’t even realize that the truth is being opposed and that what they are believing is a lie straight from hell.

2 Timothy 3:10-13 ESV

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

This, however, should be what describes true followers of Jesus Christ. We should be those who follow the teachings of Jesus and of his New Testament apostles. We should be those whose conduct reflects that of a follower of Jesus, and whose aim in life is to do what our Lord says for us to do, and to bring glory to his name. We should be those whose faith is not of the flesh but of the Spirit of God, and thus it submits to God and to his will for our lives. And, we should be those who are steadfast in faith and in love and who do not give the devil a foothold in our lives.

We should not be those that the world or the worldly church loves. The world and the worldly church should hate us. They should reject us and persecute us because we are different, because we do stand on the truth of God’s Word, and because we don’t compromise truth or morality in order to be accepted by others. We should be those who not only live the truth, but who speak the truth in love, and so we shouldn’t be popular and well liked.

And, while this is happening, those who are impostors, who only make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, while in secret they engage in all sorts of evil, they secretly entice others to sin against God, too. And, they promise them heaven when they die, even though they tell them that they don’t have to die to their sins or live for the Lord to have eternal life with God.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and 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.

So, the encouragement to us here, who profess faith in Jesus Christ, is to not be like those who are led astray and who feel they don’t have to obey Jesus Christ. We should be those who are committed to Christ and to his service and to walking in obedience to him because we love him. We should be those who are daily putting sin and self to death, by the Spirit of God. And, the Lord should be truly Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and we should be slaves to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

We should daily be in the Word of God, studying it in context, ready and willing to obey whatever the Lord has to teach us through it. We should be continually in a spirit of prayer to where we can hear the Spirit speaking to us at any moment and to where we can speak to the Lord any time of the day or night concerning what is on our hearts. And, we need to be doers of the Word and not hearers only, for we must put the Word in practice.

For, Jesus Christ is not just our Savior. He is not just our Lord. He is to be our life! And, he is the one to be directing our lives, not the culture, and not the world, and not these wolves in sheep’s clothing who are leading the people to follow their flesh rather than to follow God. Our lives should be about God and our desire should be to live for him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in all circumstances with all people. And, this is because we love HIM.

The Letters

An Original Work / December 17, 2013
Based off Revelation 2-3

To the angels of all the churches write:
These are the words of your Lord and your God.
I know all your deeds, and your witness, too,
And who holds to My words and tells what’s true.
I know all your hard work and your perseverance,
Yet I hold against you: you’ve forsaken Me.
Listen to what I say to you.

You have people there who deny My name,
And who put the cross of Christ up to shame.
They entice the people to Me, profane,
And their worship of Me is all in vain.
They are so adult’rous as they chase their idols,
And you put up with them easily enough.
Listen to what I say to you.

You give off an image of godliness,
But what you present is so fraudulent,
Or else you lack passion for Jesus Christ,
So you look to others to tell what’s right.
I say turn from your sin, or you will face judgment.
He who overcomes will have eternal life.
Listen to what I say to you.

I know your afflictions and poverty;
How you suffer for your Lord patiently.
Do not fear the devil and company.
You be faithful to your Lord endlessly.
I know all your weakness and your dedication.
You have kept My Word and not denied your Lord.
I will write on you My new name.

 

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