I recorded this for my friends who did not get to hear it yesterday
“But know this, that in
the last days perilous
times will come” – Paul (2 Tim 3:1)
This is the reminder from Paul to Timothy, 2 Timothy is the last letter written by Paul . Paul knew that the time had come for him to die. He reminded Timothy to preach the gospel. The book of 2 timothy contains Paul’s final instruction to Timothy.
In Chapter 1 Paul reminded Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel. In Chapter 2 Paul reminded Timothy to be a good soldier of Christ. Paul talks about the perilous time in the last days in Chapter 3. In Chapter 4 Paul reminded Timothy to serve God.
Today we will look at the Perilous times written in Chapter 3. We know of many signs of the last days, how there will be wars and diseases, we know how tough the tribulation is for the believers of God.
But Paul is not talking about diseases or difficult time, but he is talking about the nature of man in the last days. This refers both to believers of God as well as non believers. Let us look at that in details.
The Nature Of People In The Last Day
“For men will be lovers of themselves,
lovers of money, boasters, proud,
blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
unthankful, unholy,” – Paul ( 2 Tim 3:2)
From here we can see a change in the heart of men. This changes can be seen in Christians too. Perhaps one will wonder, “ Are these men not the followers of Christ? Are they not part of the body of Christ? Aren’t they taught to be Holy? Why did Paul make such a comment? “
The heart of men can change if they receive a different gospel, it is the work of the devil, they have followed the ways of the world and they had allowed their lifestyle to change. They started to focus on the world and not of God.
Let us consider “Why would Christians be lovers of themselves?”When one fell short of the standards of the gospel, they will naturally forget that they are living before the Lord and they were part of his body. For if we know that we belong to God and are part of his body, we would not lose our identity and we will care for others. But men in the end times will only care for themselves. We can see this happening today, both within the church and outside the church. For we have refused help to the needy and we only cared for ourselves
Let us consider “ Why would a Christian be lovers of money?” . Many had the love of money that is born out of greediness. Paul once told Timothy
“For the love of money is a root of
all kinds of evil, for which some
have strayed from the faith in
their greediness, and pierced
themselves through with many
sorrows.” - Paul ( 1 Tim 6:10)
Indeed one who loves money will find it hard to keep the commandments of God. For men who loves money will try to achieve it by all means, even to the extend of stealing or going against the commandments of God. Today we see many who willingly trade their church service for overtime pay and they became so busy that they were unable to find time for God. For they think of money all the time. That will be the state of the heart of men before God comes again.
Now why would man be boasters& proud? Man will become proud and boastful when they believe that their success is the result of their hard work and they will despise others. If we consider what the bible tells us, we will know that all that we had belong to God. Indeed we worked hard to gain thing, but without the help of God we will never find the opportunity to get them. If we do not acknowledge God as the source we will become boastful and proud.
The bible records of King Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, he was stripped off his power and glory when he boasted that he was the one who built the city of Babylon. The book of Daniel records of him living like an animal. God returned the kingdom to him when he learnt to humble himself before God. We need to understand that even though we have skills, and ability our achievement came from God. If we remember that we would not be proud and boastful.
“ unloving, unforgiving, slanderers,
without self-control, brutal, despisers
of good,” – Paul (2 Tim 3:3)
Let us consider “How can a Christian be unloving?”. Those who are unloving does not know how to use the love of God to love someone else. Before we found God we lived in darkness and are destined for destruction. It was when God show his love for us at that time when we understood the love of God. But if we had not learn to lived for God, we will continue to live for ourselves and are unable to show love for others
Humans of the last days are unforgiving, that is why we witness many conflicts where there are no peace . We also seen much slander going around. For man like to gather and gossip about others.
Men are without self control, he is unable to control himself before God. Paul once said that he pummel his body and beat it into submission. (1 Cor 9:27). Paul is a man who place emphasis on self control. He did it relying on God. We must emulate him and learn rely on God in our lives
I do not think Paul literally pummel himself but he talks about his daily struggle to mould his character to be like Christ.
2 Tim 3:2 Specially mentioned “Disobedient to Parents” as one of the commonly seen phenomenon in the last day. This results to dysfunctional family. Therefore we ought to ask ourselves “Why are people disobedient to the parents?”
It is mainly because men began trusting in their ability and the parents did not pass their faith to the next generation. Today in many family quarrels we hear of children declaring “You are not qualified to tell me what to do, I have my degree in …..” Sadly even in church we see children who despise their parents due to their low education level.
At the same time we see parents not spending time with their children, when they do not want their children to leave them alone, they just give them some electronic gadgets to distract their attention. Therefore it is difficult to teach them to be obedient and to teach them the word of God.
In the Old Testament, Parents are told to teach the commandments to their children talk about them when they sit in the house, walk by the way , when they lie down or rise up (Deut 6: 7 ). Then they will not sway from the truth. If we want our children to be obedient, we need to teach them to abide by the law of God
2 Tim 3:2 talks about people being unholy. meaning they no longer dedicate themselves and be consecrated to God. They no longer attends the church to listen to the word of God. But rather allow themselves to be influenced by the things of the world.
When you remind him to come to church he will tell you that it is sufficient enough just to believe in God. They will echo the words that one only need to believe in Christ and all else does not matter.
Sometimes we come across children telling us that their parents would rather watch TV or to go to beach for a walk instead of coming to church. This is the character of the men in the last days, they will not care for the church and they often fall short of the standards of faith
Being Gullible In Faith
“For of this sort are those who creep
into households and make captives
of gullible women loaded down with
sins, led away by various lusts,
always learning and never able to
come to the knowledge of the truth” – Paul (2 Tim 3:6-7)
Here Paul was talking about families falling into sin. there will be many who will creep into household and church to preach things that may or may not be truth. Leading people astray. As the result, many will stumble in faith.
Sometimes they keep learning but yet will never be able to arrive at the knowledge of the truth.
A Christians Response To The Challenges Of The End Time
Paul instructed Timothy how to deal with these issue. It is clearly written from Verse 10 onwards
In 2 Tim 3:10-11 : Paul told Timothy to follow carefully to the doctrines of the apostles and all that Paul had taught him. The manner of life as well as the persecutions and afflictions he endured. Paul wanted Timothy to follow them all. There are many who regards the doctrines as unimportant. But over here Paul included them in his advice. For these are the elementary foundations of our faith and our assurance to receive the salvation of God
“But you must continue in the things
which you have learned and been assured
of, knowing from whom you have learned
them,” – Pau (2 Tim 3:14)
This is something we need to keep till the second coming of Christ. Timothy was indeed learned them since his youth. These could make one wise for salvation through faith that is in Jesus.
Paul reminded Timothy of the use of Scriptures
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly
equipped for every good work.” – Paul (2 Tim 3:16-17
When Paul wrote this verse, the New Testament had yet to be compiled. But today we have both the Old and the New Testament, where it both testify of God and his salvation plan.
God had moved many to protect the scriptures so that we can read of it. So that the man of God can be complete and be equipped for every good work.
Paul had talk much about the perilous times in the last days. He is not referring to the wars, famine and diseases that was already prophesied by Jesus. He was talking about the change in the heart of man. This change is occurring both within and outside the church.
That is why Paul reminded Timothy to hold on to the faith that was taught to him and to emulate the example o f Paul. To be assured of the things that was taught and to equip himself for the good work by learning the scriptures daily.
Let us do this as part of our lives and keep our faith within God.