by Pastor Tim Burt
As we approach the days or years leading up to the second coming of Jesus Christ, there are things that God in His mercy has foretold us to watch for to help us recognize the signs of the times. 2 Timothy 3:1 & 4 are two of many verses of scripture that point to “the last days” and to a warning and revelation of what those days will bring. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves… lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” This basically means, people are going to do whatever they want, regardless of how God’s word instructs them to live.
The reason God foretells anything is for the purpose of warning and alerting – an act of His love. An example of this might be the evacuation of Galveston Texas prior to Hurricane Ike in 2008. Those that knew what to watch for could see the power and intensity of the hurricane. In order to save lives, they gave a strong warning alerting officials, and in turn put out a public warning and executed a plan to evacuate people. Consequently, there was great damage but lives were saved. This in many ways is similar to why and how God is warns us. He loves us. He wants to protect us. He tells what we need to do to avert tragedy!
Some ask the question, “Can’t God do something about this?” “Can’t He just wipe out evil people?” The answer is “No.” God won’t do that until the time has come for Jesus to come back and until everyone has heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and accepted it or rejected it. Then the end will come. If God just wiped out evil people, you and I would have been wiped out somewhere along the line. No, God is patiently working through people like you and I that know Jesus, to reach those that don’t. That means we will have to live side by side with the evil that is in the world why we try to share the love and mercy of Jesus with those around us.
God is patient in waiting for people to accept and receive Him – just as He was with you and I. That is the mercy of God. But, this also creates the dilemma of having to live along side the evil that surrounds us all. So, God gives this warning to us about what it will look like in the last days. Part of the purpose of this warning is to help you see that you are not to let yourself be infected by the conditions of the world and people that aren’t living for God. Who you hang out with matters! We see the warning in 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV) “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
I can’t imagine anyone not having gone through this. Do you remember when you were growing up? At some point you hung out with someone who was a negative influence because you were attracted to them for some reason. The behavior of that person infected your behavior and influenced you to do or say or behave in a way that was inappropriate. Some of you were the bad influence like I at times was. I fit in both categories at one time or another. The point here is that we are more easily influenced that we are willing to admit and that we are more easily led astray than we care to admit. That is why God called us sheep. 1 Peter 2:25 “For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
As God warns us of the last days, He is telling us that their will be greater evil around us than we could ever imagine. Each generation will allow a greater degradation from God’s standard to happen. But, there will be so much of it that it will seem normal – actually reducing the appearance of it’s evil. That is why people will get seduced by it. That is the point of God’s warning! To identify it so we can keep ourselves from it.
Today’s Fresh Manna verse says men will be “lovers of themselves” and “lovers of pleasure.” “Lovers of themselves” means they put their own personal needs and desires above everyone else and above what they know God wants. “Lovers of pleasure” means they have an affection for things that make them ‘feel good’ – even if they are contrary to God’s word – more than they have a sincere love and affection for God and His ways. There will be a greater desire and lust of things that fall in the category of sexual immorality, or mind altering pleasures such as drugs or alcohol, or a lust for “things” that draw them away from God in time or purpose.
The Apostle Paul reminds us with stark warnings that what we once were is no longer who we can be nor who we want to be. 1 Cor. 6:9-11 “Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers—none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you.”
He then reminds us of who we are. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 “Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
When we remember what Jesus did for us and the magnitude of His mercy and love toward us, it helps refresh our love for the Lord and strengthens our restraint from the temptations that surround us daily. God is your first love!
God is warning us in these last days. We cannot nor want to forget who we are and why we are here! As we approach darker times, we don’t want to be seduced by these spirits of pleasures that in truth destroy lives. We are not lovers of our self nor are we lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. We love God first! We live our lives purposely for Him. We let our lives reflect the love of Jesus! We are ready to answer those that want to learn more about God’s love. And when that day finally comes, we will long to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25:23 (NKJV)
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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