Thought for the Week - 25th JunePastor Gareth Watkins
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud,
blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving,
unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Paul makes things very clear in the passage above. He wants us to be certain. He starts “but know this”. He wants us to remove any uncertainties or obstacles and listen to him, because it’s important.
Paul talks about perilous times coming in the last days. In the commentary of my Bible, it describes “perilous” as harsh, savage, dangerous or fierce times. In the last days, harsh days will come. Savage days will come. Dangerous times will come. Fierce times will come.
What is this world like today? When you look around you and look at the news, what do you think? Christians are often at the sharp edge of attack. More Christians than ever before are being persecuted.
Paul says if we’re experiencing these things then we are in the last days – fierce days, savage days, dangerous days and harsh days. We’re seeing so many atrocious things around the world. Today there are more displaced people than ever before in history – even in WW2. There’s more famine than ever before. We are in harsh, dangerous and perilous times.
In our comfortable lives in the West, we become lovers of ourselves, of money etc. All this carnage is going on around the world and we’re caught up with superficial, unimportant things. The Christians do nothing. The Christians say nothing.
Paul is saying that we’re going to witness the denigration of the human character. The human character that should be doing and thinking one set of things, is doing nothing. We are going to witness the breaking down of what is right and what is wrong in the human character. Paul is telling us in the end times men will be all those things he described, and at the same time, the world will be perilous. We are seeing the corruption of humankind showing itself to us. And to me, it’s irreversible. We are witnessing the end times.
But thankfully in verse 15 we read:
the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus
Whilst all this madness is going on, the only hope we have for wisdom is to turn to the Holy Scriptures and ask God to show us how to live through these times. If we are going to follow Christ we are going to need more and more wisdom.
Paul says “but know this”. Don’t make a mistake. He is telling us clearly.
All these things are happening, but we are meant to walk on in these times. We’re not meant to walk away from God in these times. We have two choices: walk with God or walk away from Him in these times.
God is going to create a brand new world. The passage above talks about the last days. We are in the end days that take us into something else. God is in the next world waiting, and there are going to be brand new things to come. God won’t leave us, forget about us or ignore us in these days. He will give us a scripture to hold us tight. We read in verse 17: “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
God knows that we need to survive during these days. He knows that we will lack wisdom, and that we will struggle and stumble. But He gives us a scripture and the Holy Spirit to hold us fast in our wisdom so that we can we survive in these days and be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Is the responsibility with us or with God? I think it’s with us. We’re heading toward a new world. Our bible talks of a new world that is to come.
During these times, when we hear about bombings, catastrophes, wars and terrible things, we are going to be equipped. If we walk with Him, we will have the wisdom of the scripture, doctrine and the man of God thoroughly equipped for every good work. If we don’t walk with Him, we will end back in the place where we were before. That place includes us what we read in verses 2-5:
lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers,
disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving,
slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors,
headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
Creation is being destroyed! Animals are being hunted to the edge of extinction, the seas are being polluted, the forests are being decimated and the ice caps are melting. This is a sign of the end times. We are in the end of this world’s times.
I praise God that He gives us these scriptures to hold us tight during those times. In verse 15 we read: “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”. We are going to need wisdom to deal with circumstances, even in our work. For example, in Canada right now they’ll only allow the Bible in schools if some content has been edited. Someone having to face that in the workplace would need the wisdom of God. Whoever we are, we will need the wisdom of God to come through these perilous times. If we are going to walk with God, those perilous times are going to be there.
We are going to see further evidences of these end times. We read in Revelation 22: 11:
He who is unjust, let him be unjust still;
he who is filthy, let him be filthy still;
he who is righteous, let him be righteous still;
he who is holy, let him be holy still.
It’s almost as if in those days, those who do wicked things will do even more wicked things; we can’t do anything about it. But for us walking in righteousness, let us be more righteous still. We are going to go through these things, and we are encouraged to be in a place where if are not going to be part of this world, then let us be more righteous, more right standing with God, and more holy as we go to the end of those days. Don’t let those things affect you.
Yes we have the wisdom and the help to make us stand, but keep on going in righteousness and holiness.
If we are in that list of things listed above in Timothy, then stop it. We are not bound to be caught up in this world! There is a spiritual collapse that’s coming to this world, it’s already started. We don’t need to be caught up in it. We’ve not be born again to caught up in that. We’ve been born again to live apart, to live differently and to live separately unto eternity and this new world.
Our focus is always on the here and now. Life can be hard. Life isn’t always straight forward. We’re not meant to fail in this walk – we have to keep on choosing to walk with God. He will equip us, give us wisdom and He’s going to help us be more righteous and more holy. There’s an ongoing work in our lives. We’re not bound to be spiritually caught up in this collapse of this world. We’ve been set apart, sanctified by Christ and made Holy by Christ Himself. Our path will be straight, we will walk in blessing and the future will be ahead for us. But if we choose not to walk with Him, then we can’t expect these things.
In the story of Elisha, the mocking youths were mauled by bears after shouting at Elisha. I think there was a lot more going on. They would have come from the place where Elijah performed wonderful miracles and challenged the sacrifices to other Gods. When they came against Elisha, they weren’t just mocking him. They were children of a pagan upbringing, bringing all that against the man of God. They were actually coming against God. If we can come away from the things of God, we put ourselves in a place where we can be mauled by the bears. God won’t be mocked in these things. God is coming for the just and those who are righteous.
We need to be careful with how we live. In John 18: 36 we read:
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.
If My kingdom were of this world,
My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews;
but now My kingdom is not from here.”
Christ, at the point of being delivered to those who will kill Him, is speaking of His kingdom that is not of this world. Are we heading for that kingdom, or are we bound by this world and heading for the dust? My Bible teaches salvation unto eternity takes me into a place where Christ is coming, which is not of this world. This world is of perilous times and men have brought themselves down low. But this man is going on to a new world. End times will come of this world, but a new world is coming… a world where we will live forever! Praise God!
Paul says “know this”. Don’t mistake it!
In John 14: 3 we read:
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and receive you to Myself;
that where I am, there you may be also.
There is another place. Christ has gone there already. He is going to prepare a place for you! He is going to come again to receive you to Him; and where He is now, you will be there too! During this time of chaos, our focus should be that Christ has gone to prepare a place for you. He has promised to come back for you. He’s promised to receive you, that where He is now you will be too.
In these last days, perilous times will come. And in the midst of it all we can say that we can be equipped for it, that we will have wisdom, that the Holy Spirit will come to us, and that the complete works of God will be done in our life while we’re here!
Our God has made another world that is not of this world. There will be no sin. There will be no perilous or harsh times in this new world, but instead there will be light, peace, love and harmony. It will not be a reconstructed world of old, but will be a brand new world!
If you find yourself in the list in Timothy above, then put things right. We are heading into perilous times. Repent quickly, change your lifestyle, be more holy and be more righteous. The end times are coming, and a new world will come to pass.