Adrian Rogers preached this message years ago, yet it rings as true today as when it was first spoken. Take a moment to read 2 Timothy chapter 3—just 17 verses—as we ponder….
The Issues We Must Face
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come…” (2 Tim 3:1)
The days in which we live are dangerous. The Bible calls them “perilous times.” Pick up any newspaper or TV remote. Facing moral, spiritual, social, political, national, and international darkness, civilization is coming apart. Nations are collapsing all around us. The sands of time are running low for this generation; we’re in the shadows of the end of an age. Jesus Christ is coming soon! I cannot deny the feeling of my heart that God is about ready to step down out of heaven and judge the wickedness of this old world.
I’m not so foolish as to try to rescue it from that collision course with judgment. Social engineers are doing their best to save it. But the purpose of the Gospel is not to save civilization from wreckage. It’s to save men, women, boys, and girls from the wreckage of civilization—and let them know there’s a new world coming.
These perilous days, setting the stage for globalism, are the fore gleam of the coming kingdom of Antichrist. But they shouldn’t cause us to panic. Even when it gets dark, it gets gloriouslydark, for it’s after the darkest hour of night that the morning star appears. We’re looking for the Lord Jesus Christ to come. In 2nd Timothy 3, Paul tells us not only how to survive but thrive, be victorious, get ready for heaven, and take as many as we can with us!
The Issues We Face
Like a physician listing symptoms, in 2 Timothy 3:1-8 Paul describes the condition of our culture. People will be…
Lovers of themselves. What is the tone of this age? “Me-ism.” People turned inward, living for self alone, as if Jesus Christ never lived.
Covetous. People live for what they can grab, not what they can give. We’re to worship God, love people, and use things. Today we ignore God, love things, and use people Boasters and proud. Modern man continually boasts of human greatness and achievement. Like egomaniacs, people are strutting to hell, thinking they’re too good to be damned.
Blasphemers. Profanity and pornography, piped into the living rooms of America, blaspheme the name of God with First Amendment protection. We have rock concerts with obscenities and blasphemies beyond description, yet children in school who want to have a nativity play are said to violate that amendment.
Disobedient to parents. We’re raising a generation that doesn’t understand authority. Schools ignore parents’ objections to promoting homosexuality, abortion, birth control, sex, and relative morality. Karl Marx is required reading, but the Bible is banned. Witches, homosexuals and anarchists are welcome to air their ideas, but no Bible, please.
Without natural affection. “Without natural affection” means without the family love God designed between a man and a woman and parents and children. Divorce is epidemic, homosexuality is militant, and 97% of all abortions take place simply for convenience.
Trucebreakers. Today a man’s word means nothing, whether it’s a business contract, a marriage contract, or a treaty between nations. Couples live together without the benefit of marriage in a nation of throw-away marriages.
Without self-control, fierce. Our jails are filled. We don’t have enough space to warehouse the criminals. And the number of known terrorists groups is so large, it may be incalculable. It will not be long before your life and mine will be in much graver danger than today because of international terrorism.
Despisers of those who are good. The heroes of today’s youth are not the godly—not doctors or nurses selflessly serving in third-world countries, missionaries, soul winners, or mothers who stays home and raises children—but the lawbreaker and the rebel.
Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Resorts, theaters, stadiums, and nightclubs are packed on Sundays—a day to do almost anything but worship God. “The Lord’s Day” is just “the weekend.”
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. False religion is the order of the day. Religious activity in America is at an all-time high—but so is our crime rate. Most Americans don’t need “religion;” they need to turn from religion to Jesus Christ.
Laden with sin. People are laden with a heavy weight of sin. That’s what keeps the psychiatrists going, sedatives being sold, and alcohol consumed. People are trying to forget and are sitting ducks for the devil.
Led away with diverse lusts. Unfulfilled desires create an emptiness that causes them to look for something—anything— to remove their guilt feelings.
Ever learning, never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. We have a knowledge explosion today. Knowledge has increased, but not truth.
As it was in the day of Moses. Look for an explosion of the occult…more miracles than ever, most not done by God but by the power of darkness, Satan. Many will be swept up by these miracles.
This 2 Timothy 3 description of last-day culture is already commonplace today—so much so, we’ve become accustomed to it.
But we don’t have to face these issues without hope, for Paul tells us how we’ll face them. He wants Timothy to be prepared—not caught off guard. What should the believer do? What should the Church’s response be when human behavior has a “new norm” that includes truce breaking, loss of natural love and affection?
God Tells Us What We Must Do
He has not left us to fend for ourselves! He’s given us instructions.
1. First, we must withdraw from false teaching.
“from such turn away.” (v. 5)
Not just stop taking part in the behaviors of verses 2 through 8; God says His people need to leave churches where the Gospel is no longer preached or is watered down to a bloodless salvation by a merely kind, tolerant Christ.
Withdraw from that kind of church if you are a member of one. Saturate that place with your absence. We’re to witness to the people of this world, but we’re not to hob-knob or participate with them.
“If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man and have no company with him.” (2 Thessalonians 3:14)
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)
The apostle John goes even further and warns, “Receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed, for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” (2 John verse 10)
We don’t put our arms around them and say, “Well, your ideas are just as good as ours.” The Bible calls for a last-day “coming out” from a church such as this.
A Coming Out and a Going In
It’s not simply coming out; it’s also going in.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
Parents, see that your children are in activities where they’re taught of the Lord. Young married people, surround yourselves with fellow believers as friends. The closer we get to the Second Coming of Christ, the more we need to practice separation from the world and communion with the people of God.
2. Prepare for persecution.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”(v. 12)
Some people think, “if we live godly, we’ll escape persecution.” No, you won’t. Jesus didn’t. Paul didn’t. And you won’t. You’re a twice-born person in a world of once-born people. You’re going against the tide all the time. This world is not going to honor you if you truly live for the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Get hold of the truth.
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse deceiving and being deceived.” (v. 13)
You’d better know where you stand and what you stand for, because it’s going to get worse. The devil will do his work by deceiving. There’ll be all kinds of charlatans. But God’s people, as they get closer to the second coming of Jesus, will become brighter and brighter. “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18
4. Continue in what you have learned.
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them…” (v. 14)
Remember the Word of God and who you learned it from. Don’t doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.
5. Rest confidently in the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures...
“…which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” (v. 15)
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (v. 14)
“and is profitable for doctrine…” to show us what’s right,
“…for reproof…” to get us when we’re wrong,
“…for correction…” to get us going back right,
“…for instruction in righteousness…” to keep us right,
“…that the man of God may be perfect…” that is, mature,
“…thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
All we need to live in these last days is between the covers of the Bible. We need to be—
- saturated with the Word of God,
- motivated by the Spirit of God, and
- activated in the work of God.
Then we’ll be prepared to face these perilous days.
Dr. Rogers’ thoughts on terrorism were delivered ten years before 9/11. Did it strike you that his description has become even more accurate today?
In messages broadcast this month, you’ll hear him address many of these issues, and we hope you will tune in.