2 Timothy (Part 22)

Chapter 3 v.1 1. Paul here warns Timothy of perilous times that shall come in the last days. A. Perilous: “Fraught with peril; causing or occasioning great danger; full of risk; dangerous; hazardous.” B. The last days are the days since the first advent of Jesus Christ. HEB 1:2; 1PE 1:20; ACT 2:16-17; 1CO 10:11; 1JO 2:18. C. What would be the point of Paul here teaching Timothy how to cope with the perilous times of the last days if there was no chance of Timothy living in them? D. Time has been divided and marked by the coming of Christ. 2 Timothy 9-23-07 Page 50 E. Mind that Paul was not guessing about these things. (1) Since Paul was speaking about these things as yet to come, he was doing so by the “more sure” word of apostolic prophecy. 2PE 1:19. (2) Therefore, Timothy was not to simply “suspect” but rather “This KNOW also...” When one receives apostolic direction, it should be accepted as fact, not speculation. F. Great reform had come with the New Testament but Paul is here making clear that its era would see its share of perils. 2. Mark some things about these perilous times which are characterized in this chapter. A. The warning is not against famine, depression, poverty, nuclear radiation, war, disease, communism, eroding liberties, global warming, pollution, the environment, etc. B. The warning is not expressly against idolatry, murder, drunkenness, theft, etc. C. The warning is not against atheism, but contrarily treats of pseudo-religion that competes with pure religion for the minds of men: (1) “...having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (v.5). (2) “...as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth” (v.8). (3) There is a strong warning against religious-appearing corruption of personal and social morals. D. These perilous times would be occasioned by great deception. 2TI 3:6-7, 13; 2TI 4:2-4; 1TI 4:1. 3. Paul is preparing Timothy to face these times, not retreat from them. 4. Since deception is the source of all the perils that are listed in this chapter, Paul continues to commend Timothy to the Scriptures and the preaching of truth as the antidote. 2TI 3:14-4:5. A. It is not wealth, arms or policies that make men free. It is truth. JOH 8:32. B. Wherever truth is received, Satan's deceptive programs are to that extent thwarted. 2TI 2:25-26. vs.2-5. 1. These verses speak of gross character deficiencies which have a common thread: the preeminence of self instead of the preeminence of God. 2. The tendency is to assume that these are irreligious people but v.5 shows that Paul is speaking of religious people. 3. The description of perilous times highlights many marks of a dangerous age. A. Men shall be lovers of their own selves. Paul here warns of the self-love theory. (1) God is to be loved first above self or neighbor. MAT 22:37-39; 10:37. (2) This self-love is the basis of the other faults in this list. (3) Self-love is seen here to be realized in love of pleasure (which gratifies 2 Timothy 9-23-07 Page 51 self) more than love of God. (4) God and others will be trampled upon where the love of self is the rule. a. Self-love can corrupt religion by transforming it from a service of submission to God's will to a means of getting one's way. b. Faith and prayer then become a way of getting God to do what the individual wants rather than a means for doing and accepting the will of God. c. Convincing oneself that God is obliged to the individual when He is only obliged to His own word sets one up for disillusionment with faith. (5) Self-love, self-esteem, self-image, and self-confidence are the bywords of our generation. a. All human relationships are supposedly based on this psychological cornerstone. b. The promotion of the self-love theory is not something that is limited to secularists. Religious ministers also promote it. c. God assumes that men have adequate self-love anyway. MAT 22:36-39; EPH 5:28-29. (6) The path to fullness, according to Scripture, is not through an excess emphasis of love of self but a recognition of the greatness of God and the sinfulness of self. EZR 9:6; JOB 42:1-6; ISA 6:5. a. Self-love brought Satan down. EZE 28:17. b. Eve's occupation with what would benefit her brought her down. GEN 3:6. (7) The gospel calls for self-denial. LUK 9:23. B. Covetous. Paul warns of an adjunct of self-love. (1) Self-lovers tend to consider anything or anyone as fair game in order to satisfy their lust. (2) Covetousness may manifest itself in theft, extortion, fraud, murder, adultery, etc. (3) But it may also be manifest in a lack of giving to God, lack of saving, increased debt, or an intellectual approval of debt. (4) It may also be seen in depression, frustration, envy, murmuring, etc. (5) The “name it and claim it” theology of many preachers is wide-spread. Jesus did not die “to get your stuff back.” (6) It is idolatry. COL 3:5. C. Boasters. Paul warns of when men would be forward to praise themselves. (1) It should be no surprise that self-love walks hand in hand with boastful conceit. (2) Consider some of the phrases of our culture: a. “I am the greatest.” Muhammad Ali b. “We're bigger than Jesus Christ.” John Lennon 2 Timothy 9-23-07 Page 52 c. “We're #1.” d. “The future holds no bounds for us.” See PRO 27:1. e. “We're going to take back the culture for Christ.” D. Proud. Paul warns of men being characterized by pride. (1) This is a necessary and logical consequence of self-love. (2) Pride corrupted God's most perfect creature (1TI 3:6) and is #1 on His list of hated sins. PRO 6:17. E. Blasphemers. Paul warns of profane speaking of God or sacred things. (1) When men's interests are paramount, they will blasphemously reject anything that crosses their will. ACT 13:35. (2) Consider the marketability of blasphemy with the likes of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Oh God,” “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “The Da Vinci Code,” etc. F. Disobedient to Parents. Paul warns of a widespread breakdown in authority. (1) Wholesale violation of the first commandment with promise would characterize the perilous times. (2) This again is a self-love issue on two fronts. a. Disobedience to parents stems from wilfulness: one will not submit himself to legitimate authority. The child loves himself more than God or parent. b. Parents may be opposed to disciplining their child in keeping with God's will because they fear the loss of a child's love or a culture's approval. Again, love of self is the problem. c. Parents who refuse to discipline their children as necessary are actually encouraging them in this ungodly self-love by making the child's will supreme. How will that fare for a child when other authorities or God Himself crimps his style? (3) Disobedient children are oppressive. ISA 3:4-5, 12. (4) Parental authority is the first authority relationship of life. When it crumbles, the rest soon follow. (5) Disobedience to parents is the work of the reprobate mind and grounds for church exclusion. ROM 1:28-30. G. Unthankful. Paul warns of an ungrateful generation. (1) Love of self is only concerned with getting and takes all for granted. (2) Being thankful is commanded of God. 1TH 5:18; PHIL 4:6. (3) Unthankfulness is a rejection of God the Giver and the first tumble down the slippery slope to sodomy in society. ROM 1:21-27. (4) Consider the implications of atheistic evolution: what's the point of being thankful? H. Unholy. Paul warns of an impious, profane, wicked generation. (1) Self-lovers who are unthankful will also become unholy. ROM 1:21-23. 2 Timothy 9-23-07 Page 53 (2) Mind that this unholy character is part and parcel of those who have a form of godliness. v.5 c/w LUK 11:39. (3) MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT answers to such a description. REV 17:3-6. I. Without natural affection. Paul warns of corruptions of men's affections. (1) Those who are driven by self-love will not even be bound by nature. (2) Sexually, this condemns sodomy, bestiality, necrophilia, pedophilia, transvestism, etc. a. We are living in an age that rivals ancient pagan cultures for debauchery. b. Religious organizations and their ministers are too often guilty of promoting some of these aberrations and legitimizing them. (3) Loss of natural affection is also manifest in such things as: a. abortion. b. child abuse. c. wife-beating. d. effeminacy amongst men. e. butchness amongst women. f. inordinate love of animals or nature. J. Trucebreakers. Paul warns of a generation who would violate covenants. (1) Breaking a truce is a dishonest violation of a covenant of peace. (2) Self-lovers have only their interests at heart, not peace or honor. (3) Consider PSA 55:12-21. K. False accusers. Paul warns of a generation given to malicious slander. (1) Where self-love is all important, disrespect and resentment of others follows. Good reputations will be trashed without blushing. (2) Compromised religionists may accuse the true believers of being a cult or mentally unstable. ACT 28:22. L. Incontinent. Paul warns of a generation lacking self-restraint. (1) Ultimately, self-love knows nothing of self-restraint. (2) Incontinence primarily concerns unfettered sexual passions but also includes other bodily appetites. (3) Some of the churches in Scripture succumbed to this problem. 1CO 11:21-22; REV 2:14, 20-22. M. Fierce. Paul warns of a vicious generation. (1) Fierce: “Of formidably violent and intractable temper, like a wild beast; vehement and merciless in anger or hostility.” (2) When self-love is all important, nothing will be allowed to get in the way of its goal. (3) The ferocious treatment of “heretics” by the “form of godliness” Catholic Church comes to mind here. (4) Those with only “a form of godliness” can be roused to fierceness 2 Timothy 9-23-07 Page 54 in short order when one takes a strong stand against sin, especially their hypocrisy. N. Despisers of those that are good. Paul warns of hatred for good men. (1) Lovers of self will resent whatever convicts them of their sin. The person who takes a stand for righteousness and truth becomes a target. PSA 38:20; ISA 59:15. (2) To legitimize such despite, values are likely to be reversed. ISA 5:20. (3) Heroes today are people like Che Guevera, Magic Johnson, Tom Cruise, Freddie Mercury, Gloria Steinem. PSA 12:8; PRO 28:4. (4) Enemies today are people like Joe Wright, the minister who stunned the Kansas Assembly in 1996 with a prayer that told it like it was. O. Traitors. Paul warns of people who betray any person that trusts them, or any duty entrusted to them. (1) Again, the basis for betrayal is selfishness or love of self. (2) Traitorism is not just a political/national/business problem. a. Women betray their unborn children. b. Marital infidelity is betrayal. c. Spreading someone's private matters to others is betrayal. (3) Religious traitors are in very poor company. LUK 6:16. (4) The righteous can (and should) look to none but a trustworthy God in such times. MIC 7:1-7. P. Heady. Paul warns of men being headlong, precipitate, impetuous, violent; passionate; headstrong; ‘hurried on with passion.’ (1) Impulse-buying is a manifestation of headiness. (2) Making major spiritual or life decisions without seeking godly counsel is a manifestation of headiness. PRO 15:22; PSA 119:24. (3) Christians are to be marked by circumspection, not rashness. EPH 5:15. Q. Highminded. Paul warns of a generation which would think too loftily. ct/w ROM 12:3; GAL 6:3; EPH 4:2. (1) Men use their minds to imagine “molecules to man” evolution , and even churchmen presume to outthink God by incorporating such false science into God's revelation. 1TI 6:20. (2) Men have become drunk on their own wisdom and technology to the point of denying the existence or relevance of God. ROM 1:22; 1CO 1:21. (3) Beware of the attitude, "I would never do that." ROM 11:20. R. Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Paul warns of hedonism. (1) One could wonder if Paul were looking at our present culture. (2) Consider our infatuation with sports, recreation, amusement, pets, entertainment, travel, vacations, etc. (3) Churches feel they must incorporate these diversions to keep the pews 2 Timothy 9-23-07 Page 55 filled. (4) It is Babylon revisited. ISA 47:8. (5) It is Sodom revisited. EZE 16:49. (6) Pleasure-living is death. 1TI 5:6. S. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Paul warns of “hollow egg” religion. (1) These go through the motions of religion but no real change is effected in their thoughts, attitudes or behavior. EZE 33:30-33. (2) Their lives deny that the godliness they profess has any real impact on them. (3) Matthew Henry observed, “They will assume the form of godliness to take away their reproach; but they will not submit to the power of it, to take away their sin.” (4) The power of godliness produces the effects described in Paul's prayer in COL 1:9-12. (5) The power of godliness enables one to lay aside the ungodliness that characterizes perilous times. (6) The person who professes to know God and yet says that he cannot do what God commands is denying the power of godliness!
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