East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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July 2, 2017
In These Last Days

II Timothy 3:1-9

Intro: II Timothy, letter Paul wrote near the end of his life to Timothy, a young pastor in Ephesus. Paul is asking Timothy to visit him in Rome. Before Timothy can leave, he must appoint godly leaders to continue teaching God's Word, b/c false teachers are unsettling the church. Today, we'll learn some surprising truths about the last days!

These Terrible Times! Paul has been telling Timothy why a pastor must patiently teach the truth. (Read II Timothy 2:24-26.) A pastor desires to be useful to his Master, so that through him God might lead others to repentance! W/the beginning ch. 3, it seems like Paul has totally changed the subject! (Read II Timothy 3:1.) Paul echoes other Biblical passages: The "last days" will be times of escalating natural disasters, wars, and widespread spiritual deception. (Isaiah 24-27; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:4-14.) Paul next describes the character of people during the last days in II Timothy 3:2-5; look at end of vs. 5. (Read II Timothy 3:5b.) How could Timothy apply Paul's teaching? Only if those people lived during Timothy's time! What does that mean? The last days are now, Timothy! Not "the end is near," "the end is here!" According to NT, last days started w/the first coming of Christ! (Read Hebrews 1:1-2, I Timothy 4:1, Acts 2:16-17, James 5:3, II Peter 3:3, I John 2:18, Jude 17-19.) True for Timothy, for us! Surprise! The last days are now!

Those Religious Rebels! (Read II Timothy 3:2-5a.) Paul provides a list of character traits of people in the last days. Don't need to spend much time explaining, b/c, sadly, we're all too familiar w/this list from the evening news. Three observations: 1) "Lovers of...themselves, money, pleasure; not lovers of the good, not lovers of God." 2) Who do they resemble? "Slanderous" echoes "devil" in 2:26; same word in the Gk. 3) Shocking! These are spiritual, religious people. (Read II Timothy 3:5a.) Paul is talking about professing Christians! Forces us to examine our hearts: This is each one of us, apart from Jesus. Not "us" and "them;" all have sinned. A little moral cleanup, putting in time at church will not solve our sin problem! Only the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, birthing trust in Christ as Savior and Lord will save! Surprise! Having a form of godliness won't save us! Only the Gospel can!

Their Foolish Finish! (Read II Timothy 3:5b-9.) Paul continues to describe the false teachers. Unflattering! "Worm their way." "Gain control over the weak-willed." (Paul doesn't speak this way about all women.) "Loaded down w/sins, swayed by all kinds of evil desires." "Always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth," b/c they "oppose" it. (Uses example of Jannes and Jambres, two of Pharaoh's magicians.) "Depraved minds; as far as the faith, are rejected." But, listen again to the promise in vs. 9! (Read.) Ultimately, the false teachers will fail! Even though they have zeal, money, persistence, TV programs, and a gullible audience, surprise! In the face of the Gospel's powerful truth, the false teachers' foolishness will become obvious! How? Through the patient, prayerful, preaching of the Gospel. (Read II Timothy 2:24-26; II Timothy 4:1-2.) Cling to this promise: The Gospel will prevail! On this Sunday before July 4th, let me offer an important caution: Unless she repents, America will rot from within; her greed, foolishness, arrogance, brutality and immorality will kill her. But the gates of hell will never overcome Christ's church!

Application: Surprise! The last days are now, and having a form of godliness won't save us! Only the Gospel can! And in the face of the Gospel's powerful truth, the false teachers' foolishness will become obvious!

We've seen that Paul's words to Timothy are shockingly relevant for us today.

"Last Days" - Do you feel the urgency?

"Denying the Power" - Do you trust in Christ's righteousness, or your own religion?

"Have Nothing to Do with Them" - Are you avoiding false teaching?

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© East Side Church, 2013