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.”
I can’t speak of what is going on in other nations because I don’t know what really goes on in other nations, so I can only speak of what I know, which is America, so if you are not from America, please feel free to apply this to wherever it fits with your experiences. But the teachings themselves are universal, and they apply to people everywhere. It is just that the application of the teachings may apply differently in different locations.
Now in America, and in the American market-driven “churches,” i.e. what are called “churches,” we are seeing this a lot. Now, years ago when I was growing up as a child, legalism was the thing. And legalism is not teaching that we must repent of our sins and obey our Lord. That is NOT legalism. Legalism is like you can’t smoke, drink, play cards, dance, and go to movies, and you have to remain dressed up on Sundays and you can’t play on Sundays and you must never place anything on top of a Bible, etc.
But legalism, in itself, has nothing to do with living moral and upright lives in obedience to the Lord, or with forsaking our sins, or with us submitting to Christ’s Lordship in our lives. In fact, my father was a legalist but he was a wife beater and child molester, so I rejected legalism early on because of the hypocrisy of it all. And many other people have also rejected legalism for the same reasons, but then many of them have swung the pendulum in the other direction to where they are now proponents of liberalism (libertinism).
And now what is largely being taught in the American “churches” (businesses of men) is a diluted and altered half-truth (lie) gospel message which makes no requirements for death to sin and living to righteousness. They don’t teach, or they literally teach against forsaking our sins, walking in obedience to the Lord, and submitting to Christ as Lord. They teach all we have to do is “believe” (not defined) in Jesus and we are now on our way to heaven guaranteed no matter how we live our lives on this earth.
Some of them who are buying into this gospel know they are doing wrong. Others have naively bought into the milder version of this “cheap grace” gospel thinking that they were going against legalism and that they were now living by God’s grace. But whether you are practicing legalism or liberalism, they both come from the same mold. They are both of man, and of the flesh of man, and neither are from God, nor are they in agreement with the teachings of the Scriptures on salvation and eternal life with God.
But many who are following after this “cheap grace” (not God’s true grace) know full well that they are doing wrong, for they know the truth, but they are rejecting the truth for the lies so that they can continue in their sin. So, they never make it from the preaching of the gospel to genuine faith in Jesus Christ because they never truly repent of (turn from) their sins to follow Jesus Christ in obedience. They make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ but they never put on true faith and righteousness and holiness.
We are to avoid such people as this who are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
2 Timothy 3:6-9 ESV
“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.”
This is like the wolves in sheep’s clothing and the false teachers and the thieves and robbers who come to kill and to destroy the church. They are charmers, and usually very smart, too. They are manipulators and tricksters and those who lay traps for people, for their goal is to lead us to fall into sin or back into sin or to remain in our sin and to never turn to genuine faith and conversion to Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.
They prey on the gullible and the naïve who are not students of the Scriptures and/or whose defenses are down because of compromises they have made with the ungodly world. And they convince them that they can keep on sinning and that it will not affect their relationships or their eternal life with God. For they pull Scriptures out of context to make them say what they want them to say, and they twist the Scriptures to their advantage in order to lead people astray and to get them to reject truth and believe lies.
2 Timothy 3:10-15 ESV
“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 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.”
We, as true followers of Jesus Christ, are never to compromise our faith and convictions with the world or with the worldly church. We are to discern and to reject the lies of men (and women) in their deceitful scheming, and we are to put on faith and righteousness and fight the good fight of faith. And if the “fellowship of believers” we are joining in with is not teaching the truth of the gospel, and if we have tried reasoning with them, but they are rejecting what we are saying to follow after “cheap grace,” then we should not remain with them, but we should flee “Babylon” (Ref: Rev 18:4-5).
Yet, if we remain faithful to the Lord and to his word and to the purity of the gospel as Jesus taught it, and as the New Testament apostles taught it, we will be persecuted by worldly “Christians” and by the worldly “church.” They will reject us and they will ostracize us because we did not join in with them in their compromise of truth, and we did not bow the knee to men in their deceitful scheming, because we chose to remain faithful to our Lord.
Yes, the unfaithful will continue to be unfaithful, and evil people and those posing as Christians, but who are not, will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But we are not to let their behaviors and/or their bad treatment against us discourage us from following our Lord wholeheartedly. For, we are not to fear what they might do to us in the way of persecuting us because we did not follow them in their lies and in their sinful practices, but we chose the path of righteousness, instead.
And we are to walk in the ways of the Lord, in the forsaking of sin, and in walks of obedience to our Lord, even if it means we get rejected by the majority, and even if we are accused falsely of what we did not do, and even if our reputations are smeared through slanderous remarks against us. And we are to keep on exposing the lies of Satan and proclaiming the truth of the gospel to all who will listen, although the listeners may appear to be few in number. For, even if just one person is listening, we must keep speaking.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
Awaken the Dawn
An Original Work / January 15, 2013
Based off Psalm 57 (NIV 1984)
O my God, have mercy on me!
In the Lord, my soul takes refuge.
In the shadow of Your wings, Lord,
I find shelter till the storms pass.
I cry out to my God Most High.
He fulfills His purpose for me.
He sent His Son to die for me,
So I could be saved.
I am in the midst of lions;
Men whose teeth are spears and arrows;
Whose tongues are sharp; words accusing.
They spread a net, my feet to catch.
They dug a pit, in hopes I’d fall.
O God, be exalted o’er all.
Let Your glory shine to all men,
So they may be saved.
Steadfast is my heart, O my God;
I will sing of all Your wonders.
Awake, my soul! Sing praise to God!
Early I will rise and praise Him!
I’ll praise God among the nations;
I will sing among the peoples.
God’s love reaches to the heavens,
So we may be saved.