Beware of Ungodly Influences

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.”

Do you see it? I mean, do you see that this is taking place in our day and time? I don’t know how it is in other countries, sorry, but here in America this is going on “in spades” (to a very high degree). It is like it is everywhere you look out in the public and even within the gatherings of the church (or in what is falsely called church), too, though not in all churches. And this is describing many who call themselves pastors and believers in Jesus Christ. And it is absolutely heartbreaking to see the enormity of it all.

And since we live in a media-crazed society, I mean there seems to be no limits to the evil that is out there. And, no, I have not witnessed it all and I have no intentions of witnessing to it all, but I see enough just in ads and billboards and magazine covers at the checkout lines and on social media memes which I delete and/or block, and via what I hear people talk about, and even some of which I did witness back at a time in my life when I strayed from the purity of my faith in the Lord to do what ought not to be done. And I am so thankful the Lord rescued me and turned me around.

The really sad part of it all is that so many Christians (or professing Christians) are living in these types of sinful behaviors. So many people I know who profess faith in Jesus Christ are lovers of self, proud, abusive, disobedient to the Lord, ungrateful, disrespectful, without self-control, not loving good, and/or are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. They have the outward appearance of godliness to those who don’t know them, but they deny the Lord Jesus and his power by how they live their lives, in practice. For they are still living to please the flesh, not to please God.

But they will put on a show of righteousness on the outside so that others will think that they are living righteously or else they just won’t be honest with anyone about the secret life that they are living. At that time in my life when I strayed from my pure devotion to the Lord I was still attending church gatherings and even singing in the choir and going through the motions of religious practice while I was sinning against my Lord in secret, and while I did not confess it to anyone in the church. But most Christians were happier with me then than they are now that I am obeying the Lord.

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.”

Now, when I strayed from my pure devotion to my Lord and I fell back into sin, it was because I was led into sin by someone very close to me. This is no excuse, mind you. We are all responsible for what we do in this life, but I had had a long history of being persecuted for my walk of faith in my Lord, when I was walking in holiness and righteousness, and it all just came crashing down on me when this person kept pushing and pressuring me into sin. Again, no excuses. I am just being honest here that this was a time of weakness for me spiritually and I succumbed to the temptation to sin.

And this is just to point out that there are people out there, even those calling themselves Christians, who target those who are weak and naïve and vulnerable. And many of them are pastors of churches, and many of them are being taught how to be manipulative and deceptive and in how to talk people into doing what they want them to do. Now they may not be trained in how to lead people into sin, in those exact words, but often that is exactly what they are doing, for they are teaching a false gospel which does not require repentance or submission or obedience to Christ Jesus as Lord.

And so what they do is they give their adherents free license to continue living in deliberate and habitual sin while claiming Jesus as their Savior and while claiming heaven as their eternal destiny. So, in essence, they are doing the same thing as what was done to me. But again, we are all responsible for our own lives. I am not making excuses for my past sins or for anyone else’s sins. But we need to be aware that there are many charlatans in the church who are leading people into sin and to hell and on the promise of heaven when they die. So, be aware and don’t fall for it!

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.”

So, the encouragement here to all of us is to make certain the “truth” we are following is really the truth of the Scriptures and not some man-made truth disguised as the true gospel but which does not require repentance and obedience to our Lord. Don’t let yourself be led astray from pure devotion to Christ and back into sin just because “so and so,” who may have a good reputation, is telling you that you don’t have to repent or obey the Lord but that you can still be saved of your sins and be on your way to heaven.

So, read the Scriptures for yourselves, and read them in context, and guard your hearts and minds against all outside influences that might move you in a wrong direction. Don’t be those who are taking in all the junk of the world for the sake of entertainment but make certain that your minds and hearts are kept pure. For every time we let a little bit of this sinful world into our minds we are just opening a door for Satan to enter into our minds and hearts and to tempt us to do the unthinkable. So don’t play with sin, and don’t test fate by playing with what can influence you to sin against God.

Be God’s holy people who are living holy and godly lives and who are daily saying “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and who are living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while you await our Lord’s return. Surrender your lives to Jesus Christ and walk in his ways and in his truth and let him lead you in the path of righteousness. And if you are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, praise the Lord, and let it make you stronger, not weaker. Submit to Christ as Lord and trust in his sovereignty and believe that in his strength you can conquer all temptation to sin and remain pure and righteous in how you live, by his grace and in his strength and power.

[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]

Gift of God

An Original Work / October 25, 2016
Based off Various Scriptures

Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross;
Conquered death, sin, and hell,
So, with Him, we would dwell.

For, by His grace, we are saved.
He set us free from all sin.
Thanks be to God for His Gift.
Through faith in Him, we’re forgiven.

Holy Spirit of God,
Given to us who believe,
Gives us new life in Christ;
Made to be just like Him.

We died with Christ to our sin.
New lives in Him we begin,
Walking with Christ day by day.
We read His Word, and we pray.

Jesus, He is our Lord.
Follow Him where He leads.
Tell the world of His grace.
We’ll see Christ face to face.

Soon He is coming again.
We’ll be forever with Him.
He’ll wipe our tears all away.
Oh, what a wonderful day!

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