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.”
We are definitely living in these last days before the return of Christ, and this is absolutely and sadly a description of our culture and society in America today, but also of many who call themselves believers in Jesus Christ. For, as I have shared before, the popular gospel permeating the church here in America today is not the one that Jesus taught, and it is not the one the New Testament apostles taught, but it is a man-created twisted and adulterated half-truth gospel of the flesh and not of God.
For what it does is that it teaches that we can just make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, or we can just acknowledge what he did for us on that cross, or we can just accept his grace and/or his affections and now all our sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and heaven is guaranteed us when we die, but regardless of how we live. And even if they do use the term “repent,” many mean nothing more than a one-time verbal confession of sin or of a change of mind from not believing in Jesus to now believing in him.
And many people who are propagating this “cheap grace gospel” are those who are also teaching against true biblical repentance, and they are teaching against obedience to Christ and to his commands (New Covenant). And they are teaching against the works of God which he planned in advance for us to walk in them. And they are giving people the impression that once they make that profession of faith in Christ that no matter how much they sin from this point forward, it will never be held against them.
And so is it any wonder that so many professing Christians today are not much different from those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ? It is barely distinguishable between the world and the church anymore, for so many have gone the way of the world, and they are mixing with the world, and they are taking on the patterns of the world in order to attract the people of the world to their gatherings. And then they entertain the people of the world to keep them coming back for more.
So, they have a form (or appearance) of godliness in that they call themselves Christians, and they attend what are called “churches,” and they at least go through the motions, to some extent, of Christian (or religious) practices (or traditions), but they deny God/Christ and godliness by their actions (by their ungodly practices and sinful habits). For so many of them are lovers of self and not lovers of God, and they are still walking in sin, still doing what they know is wrong, and not doing what they know is right.
But then they have twisted the Scriptures in such a way as to make their actions seem more godly than those of us who are walking in obedience to the Lord, and who are following Jesus in his ways, and in his truth, and who are living godly lives, though not in absolute perfection, yet growing in Christ and becoming more like Jesus in character. And so they honor the sinner while they vilify the saint, and they honor the false gospel while they vilify the true gospel of grace. They turn light for darkness and darkness for light.
[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]
2 Timothy 3:12-15 ESV
“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. 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.”
So, if you are part of that minority who are still holding on to the truth of the gospel, and so you are following the Lord in obedience, though not with absolute perfection, and so you are walking in holiness and in righteousness, and not in sin, you are likely to be persecuted and rejected and mocked and criticized and accused falsely for your walk of faith in Jesus Christ. And if you are sharing the truth of the gospel with others, and if you are exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness, you will definitely be opposed and/or ignored.
And, yes, it will seem as though those who practice evil, many of whom are impostors, are going from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived, with no end in sight. And we may wonder when God is going to act to bring them to their knees in true repentance and obedience to the Lord or how long he is going to allow such evil to continue, especially in his name. And some days, for the godly, it may be absolutely overwhelming seeing all the evil that is going on in the name of church and of Christianity.
But regardless of what others do, and regardless of how we are treated, we must continue in the true faith, in walks of obedience to our Lord, in surrender to him as Lord (Owner-Master) of our lives, in walks of holiness and righteousness, in doing his will, and in answering his call upon our lives. And when we do that, we should expect to be mistreated, and we should accept that as part of our walk of faith and of God’s call upon our lives. And we should praise the Lord and thank him for his grace in our lives.
Hated and Persecuted: [Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Jn 17:14; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Jn 3:13; Rev 6:9-11; Rev 7:9-17; Rev 11:1-3; Rev 12:17; Rev 13:1-18; Rev 14:1-13]
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.