WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING IN PROPHECY?
2 Tim. 3:1 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
The first thing we will look at in this passage is to,
IDENTIFYING PERILOUS TIMES
The word “know” is the translation of a word that means to come to know. It is a present imperative verb. Paul is saying that one needs to come to know right now. The imperative mood is a command expressing urgency. We can know something of the times in which we live because God has revealed them to us.
Frankly, what modern man sees as perilous, does not harmonize with Scripture. Paul identifies perilous times. He says when “men shall be lovers of their own selves,” times will be perilous. There are all kinds of self-help books designed to make man think more of himself. The fact is Christianity sees man as an utter failure. The Christian answer to man’s utter failure is Christ. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
The secret is the life which I now live is “Christ living in me.” It is not just Christ in me, but what is He doing in me. Is He in control? Have I lost control? No, I have simply learned that I am wrong and He is right and I voluntarily relinquish all to His lordship.
The word “covetous” means a very strong craving for money and possessions. How would we apply this definition to people in the USA? I am afraid the word covetous is probably the most descriptive word in the English language. We can’t get enough. The more we get the more we want. How many people do you know that are completely satisfied with what they have? I’m not saying that all are covetous, but if we really face the facts, more are than we want to admit. It comes so close to us that speaking on the subject makes us a little uncomfortable.
The word “boasters” means “an empty pretender.” The word “proud” means “showing one’s self above others, outdoing others, conspicuous above others, pre eminent.” This is an ego wrapped in skin. This is seen many times in Christian movements. There is a struggle for power. Next Paul says, “disobedient to parents.” How many times have I seen children who were disobedient to their parents and were offended that their parents did not give them everything they desired. Then there are those who become violent when a godly parents make rules and enforce them in an attempt to get their children to live a good moral life. The children are violently opposed to any attempt of the parents to correct their prodigal life-style.
The word “blasphemers” means, “speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive.” The word blasphemy describes a person who degrades others without respect for those of whom they speak. One hears God’s name used continually by man as a by-word. Man has no respect for God. Then the world is ready to attack those who have a true belief in God. Paul says when we see these things perilous times have arrived.
Then Paul includes the word “unthankful.” This is a person who has no appreciation for things done for him. Then he adds “unholy.” The word unholy means, “wicked, impious.” This person cannot be reasoned with by the use of Scriptures. An unholy person is not open to holiness. Holiness comes about through a submission to the Scriptures. Holiness is a development in the life of one who recognizes the authority of the Bible.
Next, “ Without natural affection.” This is a reference to an affection that even unsaved members of the human race would normally have. An illustration of this is the many babies who have been discarded in garbage dumps because the mother’s do not want them. We must also point out the fact that the USA is financing the killing of the unborn. This is a blatant disregard for human life. This is not natural. Natural affections are set aside.
Then there are “trucebreakers.” This is a person who cannot be trusted to keep his promises. You would not want to get involved with this person in money matters. He will not keep his word. You may get his name on the line but that line makes no difference to him. When it hurts, he quits. He thinks nothing of breaking his word.
The words “false accusers” means, “one who is prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely.” Gill comments: “False accusers; or devils, being like Satan, the accuser of the brethren, charging all that depart from their communion with schism and heresy.”
The word “ incontinent” means without self control or intemperate.” An incontinent person would be one who would be a sex killer. He gets what he wants and then kills the victim in an attempt to do away with the evidence. An incontinent person would be a slave to pornography. A incontinent person would probably be one that would never be true to his marriage vows. Paul is saying this sin would characterize the populace at the end of the age.
The word fierce describes a person who, at the least provocation, is ready to fight or destroy anyone he considers an opponent. The fierce person is not controlled by reason. He is out of control and ready to rule by force and fear.
Next Paul says, “despisers of those that are good.” Paul says we are living in perilous times when men despise the good. They do not want good. They are evil. We have heard our President use the word evil in describing the terrorist. He is right. We are living in dangerous times when men have no use for the good. They feed off evil and rejoice in wickedness.
The word “Traitors” refers to an untrustworthy person. You can’t trust them. They will stab you in the back.
The word “heady” is the classic egocentric person. His head is blown up on pride. He is an air-head. This person is reckless.
The word “highminded” means to raise a smoke, to wrap in a mist.” These words are close in defining. Paul is anticipating the whole scene and stopping every leak.
Then he really hits where it hurts when he says, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” What Paul is writing is by inspiration of God. God knows the end from the beginning. This is the reason Paul writes from a standpoint of acute accuracy. This is a verb. It is a perfect passive participle. The perfect tense is completed action in the pass, that completed action having present results. The passive voice is where the subject is acted upon. In this case pleasure makes a play for man’s affection and wins out.
Then Paul speaks of “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” The idea is a powerless Christianity. They have the form but are without the fire. There is an awesome absence of power in the life of present Christianity. Paul says to separate ourselves from those who are described in this manner.
A GREAT MOTIVATION TO SOUL WINNING
We have to ask ourselves, what are we to do in the midst of all this? It is very obvious that Paul is describing a condition that will exist prior to the coming of Christ in the rapture.
One might say, “it is hopeless. These are too far gone to be saved.” God’s grace is greater that all sin. Romans 5:20 21 says, “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Sometimes we forget where we were when God found us. We forget how patient and longsuffering God has been to us. God still loves the world. The gospel is still to be preached in all nations. Paul says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
As believers, if we take a fatalistic view towards the lost, we will lose our power to win them to Christ. Then the issue is not that the sinner has gone too far, but the saint has lost his power through unbelief.
We can look up for our redemption draws nigh. Let’s not wait in unbelief, believing the sinners of our day are too hard for God to save, but wait with expectant faith and preach the gospel with the same confidence that Paul had.
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.