Dangerous Times and Dangerous People
Dangerous Times and Dangerous People
Realizing that the end of his life was near (2 Timothy 4:6-7), from a Roman prison the Apostle Paul writes his final inspired letter, Second Timothy. Paul takes this opportunity to instruct, inform, encourage, remind and warn Timothy about various aspects of Christian service, responsibilities and doctrine, faithful and faithless people, worldly ways and dangers, and much more.
In the middle of this letter there are five verses in which Paul warns Timothy about Dangerous Times and Dangerous People. These ‘last days’ are the church age (the time between Christ’s ascension and His second coming). Paul is detailing for Timothy some of the challenges and influences that the church will have to deal with to not only survive, but to thrive.
- 2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
And in the middle of these five verses, in the midst of this description of worldly ways (read what Jesus had to say in Mark 7:17-23), are four words that really caught my attention.
- Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
- James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
- To be ungrateful is to deny the giving, generous and gracious nature of God.
- Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
- 1 Peter 1:15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
- To be wicked is to live in direct opposition to God and disregard His call to become more and more like Him.
- Luke 10:27 So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
- 1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
- Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you
- To be hard-hearted is to reject God’s love and His clear commands to love others.
- Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
- Colossians 1:19-20 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
- To be irreconcilable is to mock God’s mercy and resist His plan to reconcile all things.
Amid the itemizing of human depravity in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, the four words above shook me.
To embrace and exhibit these four characteristics
is to shake your fists in the face of God!
If not for the grace of God and the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit,
I would even more regularly yield to the rebellious nature common to every human.
But in my weakness,
His grace is sufficient.
We live in Dangerous Times and throughout our daily lives we regularly interact with Dangerous People; people who hate and/or deny Jesus Christ.
I pray that God will give me and all followers of Jesus compassion for the lost and wisdom about how to guard against the evil influences of the world; all without being critical, condemning or confrontational. I also pray that Christians will lay aside their pride, admit, confess and turn away from their own sins, and work diligently and humbly to let their lights shine before men in such a way that God is glorified. I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, the name above all names. Amen