“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, NIV)
This was one of Paul’s final “encouraging” words to Timothy, the young pastor he left in charge of the church in Ephesus.
If you’re like me, when come across one of these lists, you kindof read through it real fast…if not skip over it completely. But slow down and look at that list again.
There are three things I want you to see…
- If this list is an indicator, then we may just be in the last days.
- Do people love themselves today?…uh, yes.
- Do they love money? Check
- Are they boastful and proud? Do you look at Facebook?
- Are they abusive? More than ever.
- Kids disobedient? Yep
- And you can finish the list yourself.
- The scary part of this is that Paul’s warning Timothy about people IN THE CHURCH. They claim to be Christians but are false believers. So now, when you look back at the list, it’s not describing people “in the world”, but false believers in the church. This is getting serious. There may be people who think they are Christian or claim to be Christian, but are not. And the way you can tell…the fruit of their lives.
Now, don’t be fearful. Paul’s not talking about someone who, from time to time loves themselves (or their money) a bit too much or someone who occasionally brags to friends. He’s talking about a lifestyle characterized by these qualities.
- One of the character traits of a pseudo-Christian is: ungratefulness. If you call yourself a Christian but are not thankful to God, you’re a fraud…a faker…or at least self-deceived. Paul tells us that being grateful to God is a telltale sign of being a Christian. But thankfulness is also a discipline that can be learned. Are you thankful? Would you like to learn how to be more grateful? After all…’tis the season, right? Join us Sunday at New Life and we’ll talk about how to become more thankful in my sermon “1 in 10”.