·Terrible Times In The Last DaysScripture: 2 Timothy 3:1-5,
A man really enjoyed his grandfather clock until it went haywire and chimed fourteen times one midnight. He jumped up and yelled to his wife, “Wake up, Nellie, it’s later than it’s ever been before!” Brothers and sisters, it’s later than it’s ever been because we are living in the last hour. The question is not, “When will Jesus return?” The question is, “What will we do before He gets here?”
The short answer to the question, “Are we in the end times?” is, “Yes, we are.” Biblically speaking, the end times or “last days” began with the Ascension of Christ and will last until the Second Coming. Now that’s a short sermon, isn’t it? You know better than to expect brevity so we’ll tackle some related questions.
The Bible uses terms like, “last days,” “later times,” or “the last hour” to refer to events surrounding the return of Christ. The theological term is eschatology. In the Greek, eschatos means “last” or “latter” and logy is “discussion” or “doctrine.” This cartoon captures some of the confusion that can arise when talking about end times.
There are two extremes we must avoid about the end times.
• Sensationalizing. For some the tendency is to obsess about biblical prophecy by trying to fit every news headline into a tidy prophetic timeline. Paul cautions Christians against prophetic presumption in 2 Thessalonians 2:2: “Not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” Some believers in Thessalonica had stopped working and were just waiting for the return of Christ.
• Trivializing. Others don’t think about the return of Christ at all and even roll their eyes at this important doctrine. Jude 18-19: “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions. It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.”
1. We don’t know for sure when Jesus is coming back but we’re certain He is! Did you know for every-one verse in the Bible that speaks about Jesus’ first coming there are eight verses which describe His second coming? David Jeremiah says there is more space given to prophecy than to almost any other subject in the Bible. For example, the book of 1 Thessalonians contains a reference to the return of Christ in every chapter! When we visited Washington, D.C. as a family many years ago, I was struck by this inscription in the Library of Congress: “One God, one law, one element; and one far off, divine event to which the whole creation moves.” I’m not sure it’s all that far off!
Regardless of when the last day comes if we look at these days as the last day’s we see many who continue to fall away from the faith. AS this world gets darker and darker.
PROP.- Paul plainly describes the character of people in the last days.
1- Lovers of self
2- Lovers of money
3- Lovers of sinfulness
4- Lovers of pleasure
I. LOVERS OF SELF
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy...
Lovers of themselves or lovers of self. You see it everywhere and it starts early in life.
ILL.- The Toddler Property Laws:
1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it's mine.
8. If I think it's mine, it's mine.
9. If it's yours and I steal it, it's mine.
This is not only the problem for most toddlers but also many adults. We are living in the “It’s all about me” generation.
This generation is characterized by such words as: "Be yourself," "Believe in yourself," “Take care of yourself,” “Watch out for number one,” etc.
ILL.- Here’s just one example of the “me generation” thinker. Alan Chhabra, who is 31 years old and works at a computer-server manufacturer, but he is not the sort of fellow who puts too much stock in old-school notions of corporate protocol.
As he puts it, "I have no problem knocking on the door and walking into the CEO's office or the CTO's (Chief Technology Officer) office on a whim – interrupting their schedule – and saying, 'I need to talk to you.'"
Chhabra says that ever since he was a kid, he has been "knocking heads with basketball teachers, track coaches, teachers, and girlfriends. If I felt that I was right, I wouldn't back down."
It sounds to me like he has a problem with authority and life is full of authority figures to whom we must listen: moms and dads, school teachers, military leaders, bosses, etc. We need to be reminded that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He came to serve, not to be served. He did everything for sake of this lost world.
Even though God gave Him all authority in heaven and on earth, He didn’t throw His weight around. HE WAS A SERVANT TO PEOPLE! Surely, this should tell us something about how we are supposed to live in this world. WE’RE NOT HERE ENTIRELY FOR SELF!
Galatians 5:13 “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”
Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Being subordinate the word is many people want to forget!
II. LOVERS OF MONEY
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy.
ILL.- A Sunday School teacher told her class of 2nd graders the story found in Luke 16 of the Rich man and Lazarus. How that when they were here upon the earth the rich man had everything that money could buy and poor Lazarus had to beg for mere crumbs. But when they died, the rich man due to his selfishness went to a place of horrible torment while Lazarus went to a place of paradise.
In conclusion, the teacher asked her students the question: "Now, which man would you rather be, Lazarus or the rich man?
"One little boy’s hand shot up immediately and he said, "Well, while I’m alive I want to live like the rich man, but when I die I want to be like Lazarus."
That sounds like many people, doesn’t it? Give me all the good stuff in this life and let me experience the good life in the next as well.
ILL.- Ex-Fla. lawyer gets 50 years for Ponzi scheme. Jun 9, 2010. FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein or Bernie Madoff, whose seemingly unlimited wealth bought palatial homes, exotic cars and mega-yachts, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for operating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme using faked legal settlements.
There taste in fancy Italian sports cars, an 87-foot custom yacht, glittering watches and big cigars made him seem to be a larger-than-life character and a darling of politicians, celebrities and sports stars. In fact, Rothstein told the judge in a letter, it was all a facade to feed his own "ego and greed."
He said, "I did all I could to increase my power, to keep the myth alive, to feed the beast I had created, and to try to keep myself above the law.”
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Having too much of a good thing can spoil a person. It can do more than that! It can cause some people to lose their faith because they begin focusing on the gifts instead of the giver of the gifts! They think more of the gifts than the Giver!
III. LOVERS OF SINFULNESS
Vs. 1-5 Paul gives a long list of sins and says that this is the way that people will be in the last days. People will love their sins: boastful, proud, unholy, without self-control, brutal, etc.
ILL.- You may have perhaps heard of the young 24 year old actress, Lindsay Lohan. She started out fairly decent in the movie-making business playing in the movie, “THE PARENT TRAP” in 1998 when she was only 11 years old and “Herbie: Fully Loaded" when she was 18 years old, but nowadays it seems like she is constantly in trouble with people and the law.
Lindsay Lohan was scheduled to be released from the Betty Ford rehab center in Palm Springs sometime Monday, only to face an uncertain career and looming legal issues. For months, the 24-year-old actress has been haunted by her inability, or unwillingness, to shake a 3 1/2 year-old drunken driving case that resulted in two rehab stints and two trips to jail in 2010 alone.
And now she also remains under investigation for alleged misdemeanor battery on a Betty Ford worker and needs to satisfy a criminal judge that she's been in compliance with her probation terms during her three-month stint at the Ford center.
It sounds like Lindsay Lohan is a mess. She is living a sinful life and doesn’t seem to care. In and out of rehab. She has no self-control when it comes to drugs, etc. And such is the time in which we’re living. She needs Jesus!
Stories like Lohan's should not surprise us. Why? Because we’re living in a sinful and sin-filled world. We’re living in a time when more and more people are becoming corrupt. And when people don’t know the Lord God things will only get worse!
Just this past week Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell from an apparent Suicide. The billionaire was waiting trial for Sex trafficking. The man with every thing he needed. Mansions in three different counties, best of everything that money could buy. But lost everything including his life for an eternity!
II Timothy 3:13-14 “Evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it.”
IV. LOVERS OF PLEASURE
ILL.- A bookseller wrote to a publisher in Chicago asking that a dozen copies of “Seekers After God” be shipped to him at once. Within two days, he received this reply by wire: “No seekers after God in Chicago or New York. Try Philadelphia.”
It makes you wonder some times whether there are any “seekers after God” in our world and country.
4 Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. When people love pleasure more than they love God there will always be problems and a lack of spiritual power in people and countries.
ILL.- In 1942, when London was being blitzed (bombed by Germans), an article appeared in one of the British newspapers, which was widely quoted on this side of the Atlantic.
“We have been a pleasure-loving people, dishonoring God’s day, picnicking and bathing—now the seashore is barred; no picnics, no bathing.
“We have preferred motor travel to church-going—now there is a shortage of motor fuel.
“We have ignored the ringing of church bells calling us to worship—now the bells cannot ring except to warn us of invasion.
“We have left our churches half-empty when they should have been well filled with worshipers—now they are in ruins.
“We would not listen to the way of peace—now we are forced to listen to the way of war.
“The money we would not give to the Lord’s work now is taken from us in higher taxes and high cost of living.
“The food for which we refused to give God thanks—now is unobtainable.
“The service we refused to give God is now conscribed for our country.
“Lives we refused to live under God’s control—now are under the nation’s control.
“Nights we would not spend watching unto prayer—now are spent in anxious air raid precautions.”
Is America any different? Are Americans any different?
If she isn’t, she appears to be heading that way.
I John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[d] is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
We as followers if Christ must continue to walk with him and show our love and compassion more than ever. Keep our faith strong within our families and his church. We don’t know when our savior will return. We need not stress this but stress to bring others to Christ in these dark days!