"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,..." 2 Timothy 3:1-2
As I was reading last night, I read a portion of scripture that I have read and preached on for many years, but a portion of one of the verses jumped out at me as never before. I will eventually get to that verse but I want to show that we are close to the coming of the Lord by understanding the mindset of the world in the end of days. Paul was mentoring this young pastor, Timothy, while giving him great insight into the moral depravity that will be prevalent in the last days. While this list of sins will grow exponentially after the church has been removed, the fact that we see these sinful practices so saturating the mind of men reminds us that we are ever closer to the coming of Christ. Like Lot, many believers are getting so accustomed to these sinful practices that they are compromising in their service of Christ. We don't always realize that the enemy of our souls is out to neutralize our effectiveness as a witness by using our inconsistencies against us. Keep your robes white and eyes on the prize my friends! The Lamb is coming soon!
1. Mankind will become selfish. "...lovers of their own selves..." Selfishness is the very root of all sin. It comes from the mindset that I know better than God. Satan's flawed reasoning that we will be like God knowing good and evil leads us to think that we are the captains of our soul, so we don't need God the giver of life. It is the ultimate expression of selfishness. This is why most today are designing their own beliefs systems--their own way of salvation. Unfortunately, without Christ, our beliefs are futile and foolish.
Christians often mask their shortcomings using the excuse, "God knows my heart". You are right, so he warns us that our heart is desperately wicked and that we need the unchangeable Word to keep us on the right track. (See Proverbs 19:3, 19:21, Jeremiah 17:9) Our heart is so wicked that the only hope for your heart is the blood washing of Jesus Christ. In Noah's day, the heart of man thought of only evil continually, and Jesus warned us that the last days will mimic the days of Noah. Our selfish hearts must be given to Christ by faith and guided by the clear, revealed truth of scripture; scripture that is as unchanging and eternal as its Divine author.
2. "Covetousness" When does it seem that we ever have enough. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements, commercials and advice that says we need more and more to stay happy. It seems the eyes of man are never satisfied. We need better cars, bigger houses, and finer things even if it means working continuously while neglecting our God given duties (our relationship with Him, family, church, benevolent deeds etc.). This is in direct contrast to Christ's words to not lay up temporary treasures here, but to lay up treasures in heaven. It is the opposite of the two great laws of love. I can't take my new living room suit to heaven, but I surely can influence my family and friends so that they will be there in eternity with me! The craze for more and more has grown so much in the last few years, and it is a sure sign that we are too focused on the temporal rather than the eternal. Unfortunately, it seems to be the focus of a majority of "preaching" these days. "What does it profit a man..."
3. "Boastful and proud" These are the twin sons of selfishness. The educated are too proud to receive a simple plan of salvation. The rich are too successful to risk God directing their finances. The poor are too proud to be looked down upon for having faith. Pride simply keeps us from needing God. We are too proud to humble ourselves. Today, many are so proud that they see no need of God since they are gods themselves.
We will be going farther with the rest of this text over the next few days, and I will share some deeper insights soon. Stay with me; we are going somewhere. God Bless.