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2nd Timothy 3:1-13


“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:  from such turn away.  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led captive with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth:  men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.  But they shall proceed on further:  for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured:  but out of them all the Lord delivered me.  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”


‘In The Last Days Perilous, Dangerous Times Will Come Upon Us’


“2nd Timothy chapter 3, Paul again speaks to us about the last days.  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”  He spoke to us in his first epistle to Timothy in the 4th chapter, ‘the Spirit says expressly in the last days certain things would take place, people would depart from the faith.’  Here he says, “Know this also, in the last days perilous times shall come” dangerous times.  And he’s going to talk about those troubles being anchored in three kinds of misguided affection, men will be lovers of their own selves, covetousness, the Greek word is lovers of money, and then finally he’ll say lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God---all of that certainly rooted in self-love.  He’s going to say that these people hold a form of religion.  So it’s not just people running around in the world, it’s people who at the same time they do these things, say ‘Oh, I believe in God, oh, I go to this, I go to this meeting, I go to that meeting, you know, whatever church,’ having a form of religion, but denying the power of it.  That ultimately what they’re doing is powerless, and that the Word of God of will triumph, their deception will be manifest.  Now God’s in control of this whole process, he tells us that from the beginning.  ‘Look, this know also, I want you to know this Timothy,’ and by saying that he’s saying ‘You can bet on this, this is for sure.  You know, the Holy Spirit has impressed this upon my heart, God will not be shocked by these things, he’s laying them out ahead of time for his children, for his Church, so know it.  God’s in charge, he sees it, he won’t be staggered by it, he’s not going to be shaken or surprised by it.  Know this, it will be in the last days, the last times, God’s in control of that, it’s designated, it’s going to happen, and that those times that are perilous will come.’  God’s sovereignty is right in the warning, the way he gives it to us.  But it’s interesting now when he begins to warn, it’s on the personal level, and in regards to the things that deal to the traitor that’s within each one of us.  The Bible tells us that we’re not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies.  But it’s alive there.  We’re to consider ourselves dead to sin, it’s a word of faith.  But John the apostle, as he writes his first Epistle of John, 90-years-old, says ‘If we say,’ including himself, personal pronoun, ‘If we say we have not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we say we don’t have that sinful nature, we’re deceiving ourselves.  If we walk with him, in the light as he is in the light,’ it says, ‘the blood of Christ,’ and I love the King James because with the “eth” it gives us the sense of the tenses, ‘the blood of Christ continually cleanses us from all sin.’  Paul will say in the first chapter of 2nd Corinthians ‘that we have been delivered, that we are being delivered, and we shall yet be delivered.’  So in all of this process there is a struggle, Paul tells us in Galatians 5, between the flesh and the spirit (cf. Galatians 5:19-23).  And as he begins to warn here, he warns of the things that appeal to that traitor that’s within us, that carnal nature.  We call it “the flesh”, but it isn’t this [he’s slapping his chest], it’s a nature, it’s a desire that can’t be negotiated with, can’t be satisfied, we can’t come to any terms with it, we just have to consider it dead, Paul says.  Now when we think of the “last days” and “perilous times,” first of all, no doubt to the apostles and early Church fathers, “the last days” had  begun.  Peter, in Acts chapter 2, as the crowds gathered to hear people speaking in tongues on the Day of Pentecost, he says ‘This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, in the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, your sons and daughters will prophecy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions, and this continues till the sun refuses to shine, the moon’s turned to blood,’ it is characteristic of this entire Age between the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ and his return, that Age is “the last days.”  Now there are specific things that will happen in these very end times that we’re living in, and certainly that makes these warnings more applicable to us this evening than any generation of the Church that has ever lived before us.  But again I take note, this doesn’t say ‘Get out your duct tape and your plastic, them times are dangerous, they’re perilous.’  I’m not opposed to that, don’t laugh, because you can use duct tape for a thousand things, if you don’t use it for those things.  [Comment: The Israelis have had to do that on numerous occasions, especially during “Gulf War I” when Saddam threatened to shoot poison gas Scud missiles at Israel, and actually launched a few Scuds into Israel.]  Plastic’s always good to have around, I guess.  But we think of the things we think are perilous now, on the global level, and in regards to nation rising against nation, Jesus said that, of wars and rumours of wars, famine, pestilence. [Comment:  And the Russians under Vladimir Putin just invaded and took over the Crimea, taking it from the Ukraine, putting great pressure on Europe to unite and arm itself militarily into a superpower of it’s own (Spring of 2014).]  But here’s a warning to the Church in regards to things that will come to us on that personal level.  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” (verse 1)  No doubt about it, written for us.  The Spirit has revealed it.  “For men shall be lovers of their own selves,” in all the ills we see, verse 2 to 5 are a run-on sentence, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.” (verses 2-5) and the Scripture takes that for granted, our problem is self-love, people come to the verse where Jesus says ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ and people say ‘Well, I have to learn to love myself so I can learn to love my neighbour,’  The Bible knows we’re much sicker than that.  It takes for granted we’re completely in love with ourselves, that’s why it tells us to love our neighbour the way we already do love ourselves.  ‘Well, I hate myself,’ no you don’t.  Again, if we took a picture of this crowd tonight and put it on the wall there, next week when you come in, who would be the first person you’d look for in that picture? [loud laughter]  And you’d say ‘I look dumb, I hate this picture.  Oh, it doesn’t matter about the other 2,000 people, I don’t care, I look dumb, destroy it!’  Or, again, ‘I hate myself because I’m ugly,’  no, if you hated yourself you’d be glad you’re ugly. [loud laughter]  The Bible assumes that the last days will be characterized by a self-absorbed generation.  And you know what?  There are places in the world, because of their extreme poverty and hardship, their thoughts are consumed day to day with what they’re going to eat for that day.  But in the Roman world of Paul, where there was prosperity, and in the world that we live in, we are very self-consumed.  We’re called “Consumers” as a generation, consuming what we want.  We spend money we don’t have on what we want.  We spend a thousand dollars a seat for a front row seat on a play-off game.  Hey, I’m not complaining, God wants us to enjoy the fruit of our labour, but my point is, we can be so self-ish in the way we do things.  I mean, there’s even “Self Magazine”, you know there was “US”, that wasn’t focused enough, so then there’s “Self Magazine.”  Pretty soon there’s probably just going to be “ME Magazine” and come with a mirror on the cover instead of a picture of anybody else.  [loud laughter]  Don’t even need anything inside, you just stand there and look at yourself.  Look, we are laughing because we know the truth of these things, but this is an age that’s characterized by love of self, love of money, and love of pleasure, in contrast to love of God.  You know, Jesus, his challenge to us, is to be other-centered.  ‘The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, to lay down his life for a ransom for many.’  If that Spirit empowers and moves us, then there’s a constant struggle within us over that selfish nature we have, because the Holy Spirit is always convicting us, ‘No, you give, no you go the extra mile, no you listen when you don’t want to listen, you give when you don’t want to give, you abstain from this, it’s not right, it’s unclean.’  Because we’re washed with media, we’re washed with MTV, we’re washed with imagery and sounds and lyrics that constantly appeal to the flesh.  And those that get most provocative and go the furthest out on the limb that want to stretch the sinful boundaries, they’re almost the ones, you know, avante guard, they’re almost the one’s to be the most admired in the media and in the entertainment industry, it’s the flesh being pushed an extra yard and so forth.  You know, you parents, if you haven’t seen the video, and you can’t get it from the lending library because we don’t want the kids to see it, but I suggest that you talk to Robert G., we have a video called “The Merchants of Cool” that PBS ran.  And it just talks about how Viacom and Madison Avenue and the people they have, they send out scouts and decide what “Cool” is, and what kids want, what the younger generation wants, and they perpetuate that, and they sell that, and they market it, that the teenagers in America are spending over 150 billion dollars a year, and they see them as a continent to be conquered, simply for this.  They don’t care about anybody’s souls, about anybody’s eternal destiny, about anything that’s right.  The Almighty Dollar is what drives everything that appeals to our flesh in the name of what’s Cool. 


Laundry List Of Traits That People Will Be Known For In The Last Days


Paul warns, “that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous” the word “covetous” means “loving money.”, “boasters, proud,” arrogant, “proud” means “looking down on others,” the idea, “blasphemers,” ‘who cares about God?’ and we don’t have to go far to find that, “disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,” all go together there, “disobedient to parents.”  In the Roman culture, at the threat of your life you disregarded your parents [and still among the old-world Italians too], and among the Greeks if you disrespected your parents, you were disinherited, they took you out of their Will.  Of course in ancient Israel if you were disrespectful of parents, you were stoned, it was a capital crime.  [That’s why Proverbs says that someone who does not properly discipline his children actually hated them, it was showing your children hatred by not disciplining them properly, because the end result, it would result ultimately in their death.]  I’m not promoting that now, I’m just saying, you know, in these cultures there was a great sense of the older folks in the family, they were the patriarchs.  They were the people that were admired and esteemed.  Today, so much of the time, the elderly are put away in retirement homes, the old folks homes, and not taken care of.  Then, Jesus said they were to honour their mother and father.  And that didn’t just mean to listen when you were a kid, because he said, the money that would have benefited them, the hypocrites, the Pharisees were saying ‘You could give that to the Temple and say Korban, then you’re no longer responsible to take care of your parents,’ and for the tradition of men, Jesus said about them, ‘You step all over the commandment of God that says “honour your mother and father.”’  So, in their old age they were to be cared for, and esteemed.  But he said, the age is coming, parents are going to be disregarded, they’re going to be mocked at, they’re going to be laughed at, unthankful, unholy, “without natural affection,” aestorgio, which is storgio speaks of the kind of love that’s in a family, it can be husband-wife, parent-child, family-love, the prefix-a in front of it means without the natural affection that there should be within a family, between a mom and a dad, between a parent and a child, that that’s going to be set aside, people without natural affection.  And look at the child-abuse that we see, the sexual abuse of children.  Look at the way so much of that is promoted.  I remember hearing a testimony by Ted Bundy, who had killed, and who was a mass murderer, and before he died he turned to Christ.  And James Dobson had done an interview, and he said, “This started in my life with pornography, this started in my life when those things were hard to find and hard to get, and you had to sneak somewhere and buy a magazine.”  He said, “The thing that worries me now is, that there are a thousand Ted Bundy’s in your neighbourhood, because this stuff comes across the Internet, this stuff is so available.”  The imagery in so much of the videos, the music videos, so much of it violent, immoral.  He said, “I washed myself in secret with some of this stuff, and it just appealed to something in me, and I ended up involved in these things, blind and in darkness.”  How much, without natural affection, how does that characterize our age, we’re warned, we’re warned.  “trucebreakers,” certainly, the rate of divorce speaks of that.  You know, it used to be on Wall Street you made a deal by shaking somebody’s hand.  Those days are gone.  You know, we have doctors, even in the State of Pennsylvania, because of the lawsuits, and we see the lawsuits where somebody’s suing a restaurant, the coffee’s too hot, somebody who doesn’t take the prescription the way that it says on the bottle that they’re to take it, and get’s sick, and goes and sues the pharmacy and gets $200,000, and the pharmacy didn’t do anything.  Trucebreakers, it’s hard just to trust on either side of the, you know, it used to be just weights and balances, Lady Justice there, it’s imbalance now.  If someone gives you their word it’s hard to trust them.  “false accusers,” interesting, accusers there, diabalos, devils, devil-tongued, Satan is the accuser of the brethren.  “incontinent,” means “without control,” people that are out of control, all of this kind of lines up with “without natural affection,”  “fierce,” is the word that means “to be like a beast.”  “despisers of those that are good,” people are just going to hate good people, good things, good standards, anything that’s good.  If you’re a goody-two-shoes, if you’re a Bible-thumper, if you’re a holier than thou, they’re just going to hate anything that’s good.  And Isaiah tells us when a nation comes to the point where good becomes evil and evil becomes good, woe to that nation.  And we’re to that point now.  If you stand up and say anything about righteousness or cleanness, morally, Biblical morality, you then are narrow-minded, you’re not politically correct, you’re condemning others.  Well it used to be that it was good to be moral.  It used to be that it was good to stand up for things that were right.  Now you’re the wrong one for doing that.  And the person that wants to practice every aberrant thing is the person with “rights” and “political correctness”, “despisers of those that are good,”    “traitors,” and certainly as Paul is writing, there were those that were turning over to Roman authorities those that were of their own families that were Christians.  “heady,” means “headstrong,” of course those have been in every age, and if you don’t agree with me we’ll argue about it.  But there’s always been people who have been headstrong.  Ah, little joke there, come on.  “highminded,” “arrogant, proud.”  “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” and what an age that we live in, huh?  I mean, look, after 20 years in the ministry here in Philadelphia, I’ve heard everything.  But I’m amazed sometimes at people that sit in church and listen to the Word of God, week after week, and then find out they’re living in sexual sin, to find out that they’re allowing their kids to do certain things.  And to think, what is the basis, are you saying that the Bible, times change, is that what you’re telling me?  You know, ‘The times, they are a changin’, you know, these things are Victorian, they’re from another age, it doesn’t apply now, God understands, God loves me, God knows my heart, God knows this, God knows that, we love each other, we’re consenting adults, this and that,’  No, Jesus said “If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.”  It’s very clear.  ‘Let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’  Here it says, ‘there will be those, the truth is, they love pleasure more than they love God.’  I remember when I first got saved, struggling still sometimes, backsliding, flopping around, with sin, and saying ‘I hate this.’  And finally coming to terms, and saying ‘No, I don’t do this because I hate this, I do it because I love it,’ and I don’t chew on gravel, I do this because it feels good.  And right when I want some of this to go up my nose, right at that moment I have to say “Do I love Jesus more, or do I love this more?”  I have to make a decision, and then to say, ‘Maybe I do love this more, Lord forgive me.  Lord you have to reveal enough of yourself to me so that I am more infatuated with and more in love with you, than I am with my own pleasure.’  And to be that honest, and to find him meeting you right there to set you free.  That’s the business he’s in. 


We Live In A Nation, World That Has Lost Its Spiritual Bearings


But we live in an age that’s characterized by people who love pleasure more than they love God.  That’s because they’re self-lovers.  Isn’t it interesting, of all the things, and we’re warned of other things in the last days.  Paul says, ‘Know this, Timothy,’ to this young minister whose looking over these churches for him, ‘this will be perilous, because there are big obvious things that we’ll all be afraid of, but then there will be those other things, way more seductive, way more in keeping with the age.’  Terrorism is condemned, sexual sin isn’t.  It’s wrong to be a sniper or a suicide bomber, but over 30,000,000 abortions, that’s ok.  You see, we’ve lost our bearings, become desensitized, so it says ‘the age will be characterized by those things that are more subtle.’  We’re to guard ourselves.  “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.” (verse 5)  So there’s some with God-speak, they go to church, or go to some meeting, or love God, or worship the trees, or something, part of the harmonic convergence, there’s some form of godliness,


What Power Is The World Denying?---What Power Is False Or Counterfeit Christianity Denying?


“but denying the power thereof;”  “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” what’s the power?  We know that the power of God is the Gospel of Christ, the power of God unto salvation.  We know that the power of God is the Holy Spirit, to convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment.  We know that there’s power in God’s Word.  There will be those who hold a form of religion, they use God-speak, they talk the talk, but there’s nothing going on in their life, because they’re denying the power of it all.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message that transforms lives and sets people free from sin, that changes lives, that changes lives.  It doesn’t just leave us wallowing, it transforms us.  [what is that Gospel?  See,]  And that through the power of the Holy Ghost, a new nature that comes within to set us free from the bondage of those things we just read about.  And the Word of God, incorruptible seed, whereby we have great promises and we’re partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that’s in the world through lust.  And how much now of that goes on in denominational America, where we want to ordain homosexuals, where it’s ok for men and women to have sex outside of marriage, where it’s just love, or adult love, it’s ok for this to happen, and no, no, no…Look all that is, is a fulfillment of Scripture, because Paul said those things would come.  And we’re in the middle of them.  But God hasn’t changed, he’s immutable.  His opinion of sin hasn’t changed, and never will.  His opinion of how deadly it is will never change, and of grace, that will never change, and forgiveness in Jesus will never change, and for the last sinner to come at the last moment and be washed and renewed, undeservedly, that will never change either, the Good News of Christ.  And that’s the power of God.  And there will be those who hold a form of religion, and deny the power.  What do we do?  Isn’t it interesting, “from such turn away.” (verse 5b)  And it’s ‘keep turning away’ the tense, and it’s middle voice, it means you’re involved in it, ‘keep turning away.’  Does this mean we’re supposed to neglect our old friends and be holier than thou?  No, it doesn’t mean that at all.  But it does mean some things.  First of all, you can’t find fellowship with them.  I have unsaved friends, and unsaved relatives.  I can’t really fellowship with them, light and darkness can’t fellowship, my involvement with them is to love them, and to bring the truth of Christ to their lives.  When we get around them, Kathy and I talk about unsaved relatives, ‘Well, maybe they’ll get saved.’  That’s always our last sentence, ‘well, we don’t want to go, but we’ll go, maybe they’ll get saved.  Oh we really don’t want to go, we’re not really happy, but we’ll act happy, and maybe they’ll get saved,’ that’s always the final line.  You know, you don’t find, you don’t look down on them, but bring them the message, Christ ate with tax gatherers and sinners, but not to find fellowship with them.  But then there are those with God-speak, ‘Oh ya, I’m a Christian, oh ya, I’m a believer, I sleep with my girlfriend, if you don’t like it you can get out of here, he who is without sin let him cast the first stone,’ and they’re unreasonable, they won’t learn, they’re heady, they’re high-minded, they’re without natural affection, he says, ‘holding the form of godliness, but without the power, from such constantly be turning away.’  He’s telling Timothy, ‘Don’t argue with them, don’t joust with them, turn away from them.’  Interesting. 


Are You A Revolving-Door Christian?


“For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,” (verse 6)  So they’re creeps, these guys, Paul says.  “silly women”, hey.  Not Christian women, silly women, everybody relax here.  It’s a diminutive  word, it’s actually “little” in the Greek, it’s diminutive in the sense that Paul is saying about somebody that’s a backbiter ‘They’re just so small, they’re just such a small person,’ that’s the idea here, silly women, they’re disingenuous, they’re beguiled, he says they’re silly, they’re sinful and they’re seductive, that’s what he says here.  “For of this sort are they” of these, you know, guys, leaders, people who, they creep into houses and lead captive silly women, laden with sins, “led away of divers lusts,” and by the way it goes both ways.  It used to be that men were often more aggressive sexually, things have changed, we live in a different world.  “of this sort,” they speak God-speak.  And it’s interesting, “creeping” means worming their way in.  I wonder if there’s almost a picture of the serpent coming to Eve.  They worm their way into someone’s life.  They find someone who is gullible, someone who is struggling with sin, someone who themselves is wrestling with seductive tendencies.  “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (verse 7)  People that they seduce, “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  Never coming to a life-changing relationship with God or with his Word.  And you know people like that, I know people like that, in and out of the church, in and out of the church, in and out of the church, in and out of the church, revolving-door Christians, back again, gone again, back again, gone again.  They come back, ‘It’s so good to be back’ and next thing, they’re using again, or they’re falling into a relationship again, or they’re in sin again.  And then they’re back, ‘Oh it’s so good to be back again!’ and then they’re gone again.  Well let me just say ‘See you later,’ now, ah [laughter]  And you look at them and think, God’s Word is so wonderful, I mean, I don’t know about you, I do know about you, I know you feel the same way I do, how wonderful it is to have the Word of God in the days that we live in.  We look at the news, we look at what’s going on around us in the world, and I read this, and you know what I know, I know Jesus is coming, that’s what I know.  And I know it in my heart [applause].  God’s Word is so wonderful, and so powerful.  And sometimes you look and say, ‘Why don’t they? they could be free of that, what are they doing? God loves them, he set me free.’   You know, people come and try to say ‘No, you don’t understand, I use heroine, you don’t understand, I’m trapped in this, you don’t understand, I’m an alcoholic,’ I think, ‘Hey, you’re describing my staff.  Don’t tell me I don’t understand.’  [loud laughter]  [And each and every one of his staff has been healed of those things by God, I know, I’ve received the same healing, so I understand too.]   You know, just in the sense, here we are, we’ve been set free, we’ve experienced the power of God.  But there are those, it says, ‘ever listening,’ and that’s the idea of it, ‘but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.’  They never really take hold of this, to where the life-changing power of Christ and of the Spirit and of his Word are effective in their lives.  And that’s what it’s all about.  And Paul warns about a self-absorbed generation, that is inclined to money, to self, to pleasure, to anger, forsaking natural affections and forsaking that your word is your bond, trucebreakers, how an age will change, and that it would appeal to the traitor that lives within, inside of us.  And there’s a warning here, because God loves us.  He says there are those who will talk the talk, but they’re seductive, they’re looking for opportunities to worm their way into someone’s life whose broken or hurting or fraught with sin, to take advantage of the situation, and never learning, never coming to a knowledge of the truth. 


Counterfeit Chrisianity


And verse 8 he says, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth:  men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.  But they shall proceed no further:  for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” (verses 8-9)  Well who were Jannes and Jambres?  I mean, Paul’s talking about like everybody knew who Jannes and Jambres were.  We can find out a few different ways.  One is if you get the Ten Commandments, and you watch the movie, when Charlton Heston, Moses, throws down his rifle, throws down his staff [laughter], ah, I like Charlton Heston, he throws down his staff, you see the magicians of Egypt, Pharaoh says “Jannes, Jambres,” and they throw down their staffs, and their staffs turn into serpents also, and of course Moses’ serpent swallows up those staffs, serpents.  The Targum of Jonathan is also one of those historically written works of the Jews, Rabbinic tradition in the Targum it says that the name of two of the magicians that oppose Moses in Egypt were Jannes and Jambres, in the Targum of Jonathan.  Ah, Exodus chapter 7, they throw down their staffs, they turn into serpents.  Moses comes to the Nile, touches the Nile, turns the water to blood, Jannes and Jambres, they turn water to blood.  Moses brings up frogs on the land, they bring up frogs.  It isn’t until Moses takes the staff of God, and bangs it on the ground and turns the dust of Egypt to lice, that they try to do the same thing and they go to Pharaoh and say ‘This is the finger of God, we can’t reproduce this.’  They didn’t say the finger of Jehovah, but this is the finger of God, whatever it was, they admitted at that point something divine was going on beyond their power.  But the idea is, they were imitators, they were counterfeiters, and they were resisting what was true.  And there will be those in religious circles, counterfeiters, phonies, talking the talk, doing stuff.  ‘Many,’ Jesus said, ‘will come and say ‘Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, didn’t we cast out demons in your name, didn’t we do this stuff in your name?’  He’s going to say, ‘Be gone, I never,’ and it’s ‘never, ever knew you.’  Well he can’t say that to us, because he knows us, we got saved.  But there will be those phonies.  Well how do we tell them?  They’re like Jannes and Jambres.  Well, Jesus said they come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they’re ravenous wolves, is the first thing he tells us.  So they look like sheep, inwardly they’re ravenous wolves.  So how do tell them apart?  One way you always tell them is by what they eat.  If they eat grass they’re sheep, if they eat other sheep, they’re wolves dressed like sheep.  If they’re feeding on the flock.  It’s interesting, that word “ravenous” is used five other times in the New Testament, and in every other place it’s translated “extortioning” or “extortioner.”  It means, they look like sheep, but all they care about is getting their hand on your wallet.  And there are enough of those around.  Go home and turn the TV on if you don’t believe me.  Look, there is a right way, and a sensitive way to appeal for money.  Billy Graham, there are people that have done that, ‘If you want to help us this month, pray about it, send in your contribution,’ there’s a right way to do that.  But there are those, you watch them for half an hour and for 25 minutes they talk about what you need to give, and for five minutes they say something spiritual, and the show’s over, and you sit there and think ‘I don’t know.  I kind of feel like I’ve just been taken, I don’t want to be judgmental though, but…’  Hey, Jesus said you’ll know them by their fruits.  You don’t gather figs from thistles.  A good tree doesn’t bring forth bad fruit, and a bad tree doesn’t bring forth good fruit.  There are going to be many who will come in that day, and say ‘Lord, didn’t we do these things in your name?’  And he’s going to say ‘Be gone, I never knew you.  Let me tell you about the wise man.’  And Paul’s kind of saying the same thing.  Broad is the way that leads to destruction, many there be that go thereon.  Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life, and few there be that find it.  Beware, because many will come to you in sheep’s clothing, inwardly they’re ravenous wolves.  You follow that thought along, until finally he says, ‘the wise man is this man, he hears the things that I say and he builds his house on the rock.  The foolish man builds his house on the sand.’  When the storms of life come, and they do, and the wind blows and the rain comes, the man whose built his life on the rock, on that narrow way, he’ll stand.  Because everything else in life can get washed away, but that last moment when we step through the veil and hear his voice say ‘enter in thou good and faithful servant,’ that never gets washed away because our life is built upon the rock.  There are those who build their life on the sand, ‘You’re gonna prosper, you’re going to have this, you’re going to have that, you’re always going to be healthy,’ there are whole monumental movements built upon this stuff, but it denies the power, the central issue of Christ, of salvation, of the narrow way.  And it appeals to that carnal part of us, so much of it.  And they imitate, they can turn their rods into serpents, they can turn water to blood, they can call up frogs.  And they do those things, it says, ‘resisting the truth.’  And it’s a little bit stronger there, the language is of ‘opposing the truth.’  They “are men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (verse 8b)  Their minds are corrupt in regards to spiritual truth, “reprobate concerning the faith.”  The idea is they’re completely hardened, they’re completely worthless of, of no account in regards to the faith, they’re counterfeits, they’re not even real, like Jannes and Jambres.  The good news is, God’s in control, isn’t he.  It says, “But they shall proceed no further:  for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” (verse 9)  “as theirs was also”, as Jannes and Jambres.  The truth shall prevail. 


‘Timothy, You Know I’m The Real Deal, Not A Phony, Counterfeit’


“But thou” speaking to Timothy, and that’s emphatic, it means in contrast to what we’ve been looking at.  “But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured:  but out of them all the Lord delivered me.” (verses 10-11)  Now he says ‘Timothy, look, this is stuff that’s going to be there, the Church is going to be swimming in this soup of these things.  I send you out, but be wise as serpents and peaceable as doves, into a corrupt generation.’  And remember, as you and I face this world, we also need to remember that God so loved this world that he gave his Son, that whosoever would believe on him would not perish but have everlasting life.  That’s how we got saved.  But there will be those that deliberately foster deception.  And from those we are to be constantly turning away.  These guys will be deceiving, even to the point of signs and wonders, as Jannes and Jambres were.  ‘They’re not going to proceed any further.  But you, Timothy, you Timotheus’s Timothynesses,’ I guess, I don’t know, “But thou hast fully known my doctrine,” and you and, we have Paul’s Epistles, we know his teaching, on the Church, on grace, ‘Timothy, you’ve fully known my teaching,’ important, ‘my doctrine, you’ve known my manner of life, you know the sacrifices I’ve make, I’ve never been in this for the money, you know I’m not in this because I like getting stoned or whipped or shipwrecked, you know my manner of living, Timothy, why I’m doing the things that I do.  You know my purpose in life, my goal, to finish my course with joy, to accomplish the things that the Lord has set out before me to do, Timothy.  You know my faith, personally what I believe, and you know the way I’ve exercised my faith in difficult circumstances, against all odds, while the outward man was perishing you know Timothy the inner man was renewed day by day, that I always looked not on the things that were seen, but on the things that are not seen, setting my affection on things above, and not on things of the earth.  You know my longsuffering, my charity, my love,’ we don’t perceive Paul that way all the time, but I believe he really was love, and the word “patience” there has to do with other humans, Paul was loving, he was kind, and he was longsuffering with people, even with those who opposed themselves, he says over here, perhaps we might even see them turn back.  ‘And Timothy, you know my persecutions,’ the things that have come upon him, ‘and afflictions, which came at me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra,’ now evidently his second missionary journey he came to Iconium, in Acts 13 and 14, and he was, they roused up the crowd there and started chasing him and ran him out of town, they would have stoned him there, but he fled, and when he came to Lystra they finally did stone him there.  He came in and prayed for a man that was lame, and the man was healed, and they said ‘This must be Hermes and Zeus,’ and Paul said ‘No, no, don’t sacrifice an ox to us, we’re just men,’ and they said, ‘Oh, we’ll stone you then if you’re just men,’ and they took him at Lystra, and they stoned him, and they left him for dead, they drug him outside the city and threw him in the trash heap, ah, quite possibly dead at that time.  Paul says, ‘I knew a man, 12 to 14 years ago, whether he was in the spirit or the body I can’t tell, caught up to paradise,’ where he talks about evidently that experience.  They prayed for him, and God raised him up again.  And he got up and went back into Lystra and said, ‘You guys didn’t finish the job.’  He says, ‘Timothy, you know the things that I’ve been through, that I endured,’ “what persecutions I endured:  but out of them all the Lord delivered me.”  He’s trying to encourage Timothy, that would encourage me a whole lot.  He doesn’t say ‘from them’, he doesn’t say ‘you know Timothy how they tried to catch us and stone us, but God got us outa there.’ And where it says “he delivered us” it means “he rescued us.”  ‘Timothy, out of all of them God rescued us.’  “Out of”, not “from”, “out of”, ‘out from under the pile of rocks, God rescued me.’  ‘He delivered us through the trials and persecutions,’ not “from.”  Paul, I want a little bit of encouragement here.  That’s what you call “rescued?”  Stoned and left for dead?  And you know, 2nd Corinthians 11, you read the list there of the times that he was naked, cold, and without food, a day and a half he spent in the deep, floating around in the ocean, whipped, scourged, and stoned.  ‘It’s great, the Lord delivered me out of all of that, I just walk a little funny and see with one eye, but he got me through all of those.’  But his point is, ‘Timothy, you know my motives, you know my walk, you know my faith, you’ve seen what would grind other people down to powder if they weren’t genuine.  God was with me, delivered me through all of these things.’ 


Are You Being Open Enough About Your Faith?


“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (verse 12)  You have that in your little precious promises in your, you know you pull those little things out in the morning?  What’s the precious promise for today?  ‘If you’re gonna live godly, you’re gonna get persecuted.’  Jesus said that, ‘The world hated me, it’ll hate you,’ John 15 or 16.  ‘The servant is not greater than his master, he’s fully learned he’s like unto his master.’  Well why does the world hate us?  Why does the world want to persecute us?  Because it will be characterized by love of self, and love of money, by men that are fierce, like beasts, without natural affection, headstrong, arrogant, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, and that will set the tone for the age.  And if you want to live godly in the middle of all that, you’re gonna take some heat.  Now if you’re not taking any heat, you probably need to ask yourself a couple questions.  Are you being open enough about your faith?  Peter will say something glorious, he said, ‘If you’re going to suffer, don’t suffer as an evil doer or a thief, but if you suffer for the Gospel of Christ, the spirit of glory rests on you.  The spirit of glory is resting upon you.’  It’s amazing.  You should be able to, when you go home, sit down a piece of paper, and at least write down a couple people you’ve offended.  I can.  With this many adults in our church, I’ve usually got five or six a week mad at me, and that ain’t bad, statistically.  But, you should be able to write down some, relatives, friends, that just by living.  You know, Peter says your friends wonder why you don’t run to the same excess of riot, that means they want to know why you ain’t partying anymore.  See when I was little, party was a noun, now it’s a verb.  I don’t know how that happened.  That if you just seek to live godly there’s going to be some resistance, friends, relatives.  ‘Everybody gets a glass of wine.’  ‘No, we don’t drink.’  They don’t say anything, but they roll their eyes.  You give them a Christmas card or an Easter card with a Scripture in it, something about Jesus, ‘Aaahhh!’  [laughter]  Or they want to watch a movie and you say ‘No, we can’t watch that.’  ‘Ooooh,’ you know [loud laughter].  They let you say grace at Christmas and Easter, that’s how they pay homage, ‘Let them pray, we’re gonna eat,’ so you have your spot, say I pray J ‘We know that any of us who turn to you from sin, that you’ll forgive us, no matter what we’ve been doing, Lord,’ and you’re going on with this thing, and they’re muttering ‘Don’t let them pray for the food next year.’  “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” And you know it’s gotten worse now.  You know, the medical field has been fraught with lawsuits, because there’s money there.  There are conferences now on how to sue the Church, because they see the Church as another big fat organization with money that they want to figure their way in.  And if I preach on “sin” now, I’m destroying someone’s self-esteem.  And because I’m giving them a poor self-image, self-esteem, lovers of self, that I can be guilty of libel?  Somebody’s not listening.  Yes, you’re a sinner, and you’re lost, but there is a God who loves you so much, unimaginably, that he gave his own Son, Jesus Christ, who was perfect, spotless, without sin, and with all the power and authority in the universe, he restrained himself and watched his own Son brutalized, and suffer, and die, in your place, because he loves you.  That shouldn’t be bad for your self-esteem, that should be great, that you can sit back and call yourself God’s son or God’s daughter, ‘That God loves me so much, that even though I’m a sinner, he made provision for me to be saved and to become his own.’  Isn’t it a shame if we want to tell that message to the world, we have to worry?  Or if we want to say ‘No, this is morality, I’m not going to teach my kids that’s morality, but this is morality,’ and the things that are going on in public schools in the name of sex education, with first graders and second graders.  And if parents raise their voice, they’re persecuted.  [That happened in Concord, Massachusetts a few years ago, a parent raised his voice, and got slapped in jail for awhile.  It was a big case, splashed all over the headlines locally here.]  That’s where we live, it’s what we’re made for, to take a little bit of heat.  If the Lord tarries, there will be more persecution.  If they start using the guillotine again, then that’s what my neck was made for.  ‘Deny Jesus Christ, or we’ll cut off your head.’  ‘Here it is, right here, get going.’  I’m not gonna deny Jesus Christ, let that blade flop, I’m going straight to glory.  That’s what I was made for, if that’s what it has to come to.  You know, isn’t it interesting, you guys, would you guys do that?  Ok, ok, [loud applause], now wait, see, all saying the identical thing is not dying for Jesus, it’s living for Jesus, that’s what the whole chapter’s about tonight.  ‘I’m willing to die for the Lord!’  yea, because at that point, you’re options are very limited.  I heard Richard Wormbrand say that when he was in a Russian prison they put a gun to his head and they said ‘We’re going to count to ten, and when we get to ten, if you don’t renounce Christ we’re gonna pull the trigger,’ and he said ‘You know, they would take someone in the room before you, and there was blood on the floor and you’d hear the gun go off,’ and he said they weren’t really killing people, but you in the other room didn’t know that, you thought they were killing people.  And he said ‘They put the gun to my head, and they said ‘ten, nine, eight,’ and he said by the time they got to four or five, the Gospel of Christ had become perfectly clear in my mind, that I was a sinner, and I was saved by grace, and I was going to heaven.’  He said it had become perfectly clear.  Yea, we’re willing, probably most of us to die for Christ.  But we need to live for him.  Paul had died long before this in 2nd Timothy when he’s ready to be offered, he had died much earlier than that, it was nothing for him to die at this point.  ‘All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, you’re going to suffer persecution, you’re going to be living opposed, you’re going to be a salmon swimming upstream, you’re going to be opposed to the age you’re living in.’ 


‘We Live In An Age Of Deception Which Will Get Worse And Worse---Two Types Of Deceivers Exist Within The Church’


“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (verse 13)  “Seducers” there is interesting, it’s “wizards,” it’s an interesting word.  So there are those that are deceiving others deliberately, and there are those who are deceiving themselves, being deceived, having been deceived.  There are those who are wolves, you know, Jesus, and he never explained a lot of what he meant when he talked about the tares that are sown among the wheat, that Satan went and sowed tares.  What are tares?  That’s a little spooky idea.  There are those, deliberately it seems, who are destined to destruction, workers of iniquity, tares, wolves, and then there are those who are deceived by them, who are deceiving others, because they themselves are deceived.  They just learn a behavior, or they learn something, and then they imitate it.  I think earlier Paul talks about those, he said “they’re opposing themselves, pray that God might give them repentance, that they might come to a knowledge of the truth.”  But there will be those, ‘evil men, wizards, sorcerers, that will wax worse and worse,’ and certainly in the age we live in, that’s becoming a prevalent thing.  I mean, you watch this show on TV all the time where a guy talks to your dead relatives, or tells you, you know…I don’t watch it, but I know that that’s what he does, The Psychic Friends Hotline, you know the one in Florida that went broke, the newspaper said they never saw it coming, they filed chapter 11.  But this stuff’s all over TV now, seduction, seducing, deception.  And it’s getting worse and worse and more prevalent.  And the interesting thing is, it’s going to come to the point where all who refuse the love of the truth are going to be deceived.  The Holy Spirit, Paul said in Thessalonians, right now is restraining.  Just imagine how bad it’s going to get.  Because if the Holy Spirit right now, if he’s restraining war, he’s not doing a good job.  If he’s restraining abortion, he’s doing a lousy job.  If he’s restraining immorality and violence, he’s doing a lousy job.  What the Holy Spirit is restraining right now is going to make the post-Rapture world stranger than anyone can imagine.  The deception that will come upon the world, from a source of fallen angels and demons and demonic miracles, all lying signs and wonders, what’s being restrained right now, no doubt is very spiritual and very dark.  ‘But evil men and seducers, wizards, sorcerers will wax worse and worse,’ Paul says.  And finally we see the antichrist and the false prophet calling fire down out of heaven…deception.  Our ‘Western’ logical psyche is scheduled to be seduced by signs and wonders.  If you’re here tonight, and you don’t know Christ, it’s so important that you listen, because the Bible teaches that at some point the Church will disappear from this world, because of the dark spiritual forces that will come upon it. [Comment: and that could be from a pre-trib Rapture or by going to a place of safety, I don’t think any one group has a real grasp on how God’s going to protect the Church, they all tend to disagree with each other.  See, and read that title page to see what I mean]  And it says people will wonder and marvel after the Beast, of every nation, kindred, people and tongue, of every language.  People talk about conspiracies now.  We haven’t seen conspiracy until the conspirators are all conspiracied up, Elderburgers, Club of Rome, Trilateral Commission, Luciferions, Lucist Trust, fun and games compared to the conspiracy that’s coming on this world, that began in Eden, the great conspiracy.  Deception’s coming.  The wonderful thing is, for us as believers, we can sit here, sing praises to our Lord, wash ourselves with the truth, remind ourselves where we’re at.  In fact, the next week, if the Lord tarries, and we continue this, he says all Scripture is good for doctrine, reproof, rebuke, correction, means to take something and set it upright on its feet again.  So how many times, we come to church, and we get things back in focus again, and while we’re here and we’re worshipping and we’re listening to the teaching of the Word, God just kind of takes us and he puts us back on our feet again, and puts things back in focus.  It’s like getting an alignment.  You go through all those pot-holes in the winter, and then you need your tires aligned in Spring.  How many times we come, we open our hearts, we sing his praises, in a Communion service or a Bible study, or a home fellowship somewhere, and God aligns us again, by the power of his Spirit, by his Word.  Because we come, and it isn’t just a form of godliness.  We believe that this is the Word of God, and that it is powerful, and it divides down into our being, between that which is soulish and spiritual.  We believe the Holy Spirit is working today.  And we believe the power of the Gospel, the word “Gospel” means “Good News”, the Good News of Jesus Christ can still set somebody completely free today.  It is a one-step program, in a sense.  That if you ask Christ to forgive your sins and be your Saviour, he can take hold of your life, and he can change your eternal destiny.  If you’ll come and say “Lord, I am a sinner, and I don’t know if I died tonight, where I’d spend eternity.  But I’m willing to turn from that, repent, metanoia, change the mind, I’m willing to make a u-turn and turn to you and ask for your forgiveness, if you’ll be my Lord and my Saviour, if you’ll love me and set me free.” That’s how he changes us all.  We’ve provided the sinner, he provided the Saviour…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on 2nd Timothy 3:1-13, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia PA  19116]      


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