Not Lovers of God but Lovers of Pleasure

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 Problem We are Facing Today

You know the problem with this today? The modern market-driven institutional churches (ICs) of today are promoting this, not speaking against it. And I am using “IC” now to distinguish the institutional market-driven incorporated under the state businesses of today called “church” from the true church, the universal body of Christ comprised of us who are of genuine faith in Jesus Christ via God’s grace and us dying with Christ to sin and us being resurrected with Christ to walk in newness of life in him (Rom 6:1-23).

They are not one and the same. Just because an organization and a business calls itself “church” does not make it the church, the body of Christ. We only become Christ’s body through God-given faith in Jesus Christ in death to sin and in living to his righteousness. This church is birthed of God via genuine conversions of people’s hearts and minds whereby they reject their lives of living in sin and for self, and they turn to the Lord to now follow him in his ways and in his truth. It is not birthed via men’s marketing schemes.

And we grow this church (not the IC) via the discipleship of followers of Jesus Christ, via us operating as the body of Christ, as God designed, via us using the spiritual gifts we have been given in the areas of ministry assigned to us by God for the building up of the body of Christ to maturity of faith in Jesus Christ. And we all have a part in this – all of us who are following Jesus in his ways. And we are to speak the truth in love to one another so that we are not led astray by false teachings of crafty men (or women).

And we are to exhort and instruct one another in holy living and we are to do so in order that none of us will be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. And we are to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for the uplifting and spiritual growth of the body of Christ. And we are to encourage the timid and lift up the fallen and to restore those who have fallen into sin back into a right relationship with Jesus Christ. For we are never to coddle people in their sins, which the IC is largely promoting big time!

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Acts 2:42-47; Acts 5:32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 10:1-22; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 1:22; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-30; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:18; Col 2:19; Col 3:16; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 5:9; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Pet 1:1-2; 1 Pet 2:4-6; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6]

Therefore, since the ICs in America, at least the majority of them, are deliberately altering the gospel of Christ to make it more palatable and acceptable to human flesh and to the will of man, and since most of them are teaching either that repentance and obedience to Christ are not required or that they are merely recommendations, they are opening the door wide for people to be lovers of self and not lovers of God. For they are not teaching the fear of God. Many are presenting God as one who is enthralled with us humans and that we just need to receive God’s affection.

They are making no demands for holy and righteous living or for walks of obedience to our Lord’s commands. In fact, many are literally teaching against this, calling it works salvation which is to be discarded. And they teach God’s grace as a free-for-all where people can now continue in their deliberate and habitual sin guilt free. And if they should feel guilty about their sin, many of them are being taught to just claim who they are in Christ, and they are handed a list to recite of “who they are in Christ.”

Well, the list is loosely biblical, but it is also presuming that all who make a verbal confession of Christ as Savior and Lord are now “in Christ.” And like I said, some people aren’t even teaching faith in Jesus Christ and in what he did for us on that cross but they are teaching that God just so adores us humans that all we have to do is just receive his affection for us, as though that constitutes salvation from sin and a genuine heart-felt relationship with Almighty God. And so we have many people professing faith in Jesus who are still living in deliberate and habitual sin.

Signs of the Times in Which We Now Live

And all of this is a sign that we are definitely in the last days when we look at the spiritual condition of most of what is called “church” these days, at least here in America. And who then do they speak out against? Not those who are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, but those who are lovers of God and who are committed to holy living and to calling out sin and to calling people to repentance and to walks of obedience to the Lord and who are exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness. We are the enemy now.

So while abusers are being coddled in their sins those who are being abused are often being attacked for accusing the abusers of the abuse they are committing. For they are refusing to see deliberate and habitual and often premeditated sin against God and against other humans as anything different from an occasional accidental slip of the tongue or a bad attitude, etc. But the Scriptures make the divide this way. The righteous are those who make righteousness and obedience to God their practice, and the unrighteous are those who make sin and disobedience their practice.

So, if we were to avoid all professers of faith in Jesus Christ who have an appearance of godliness but who are denying its power by their lifestyles and their sin choices we would have to avoid most gatherings of what is called church today. And again, I am making the biblical distinction that God makes regarding who are the righteous and who are the unrighteous. For so many professers of faith in Jesus Christ today are living no different from the world or else it is barely distinguishable between their lives and those who make no profession of faith in Christ at all.

So the whole point of this is that we, as Christians, are supposed to be living holy and godly lives separate from the world of sin. We are not to be immersed in our culture. We are not to partake in the sinful pleasures this world has to offer. God is not okay with us continuing in deliberate and in habitual sin which deliberately harms other people. We are to be lovers of God and not lovers of self and of the flesh, and we are to live opposite of what this describes in these verses quoted above. For Jesus called us out from the world to be different from the world in mind and in character.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

All The Way My Savior Leads Me

Lyrics by Frances J Crosby, pub. 1875
Music by Robert Lowry, pub. 1875

All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.

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