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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

PERILS OF THE LAST DAYS

2 Tim 3:1-5 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, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

As we have seen in previous passages, the church of Christ must become, and remain pure and steadfast in God's doctrine of truth as revealed, through His Holy Spirit, to the authors of the Bible. His holy word must never be added to, deleted from, altered, or compromised in any manner. But this has been done during the last days - that is, the days since God established the kingdom of Christ on the Day of Pentecost following the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Messiah - Christ Jesus, the Son of God. It has been during these last days that God's Holy Word was then, and still is today, corrupted by contemptuous, self-willed, covetous preachers of false doctrine. Of this fact Paul had already given Timothy sufficient warning in his first letter. He wrote: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (1 Tim. 4:1). The perilous times that were taking place at the time this letter was written, are the same perilous times that are taking place during the present age, all of which took place within the last days - the Christian dispensation.

The seducing spirits and doctrines of devils result from the teaching of false preachers - those that teach their own human doctrine, rather than the will of God; those that deny God and His Son, Jesus Christ by teaching a doctrine that is foreign to the Holy Spirit-inspired word of God. They are described as Anti-Christs. And because of the error of their teaching, men and women have become lovers of their own selves. They seek their own (Phil. 2:21), that is, material things that benefit themselves alone. Such is the doctrine of false preachers. However, God tells Christians to conduct ourselves differently. Paul wrote that we are to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. Then, as our example, Paul told us that even Christ pleased not himself (See Rom. 15:1-3).

During these last days, perilous times have engulfed the majority of the world. That, which God requires of His earthly family, has, to a great degree, disappeared, due to the influence of false teachers. For the most part, the world has become a society of people seeking self-gratification. In these perilous times, there can be no better description of men and women than that which Paul gives us in the lesson text. Because people have become lovers of their own selves, Paul says that they have developed these selfish characteristics: they have become covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, (and) unholy. What a terrible indictment of the society in which we live.

Ignoring the will of God, the majority of the world has become covetous lovers of money and other sensual "pleasures" of the world. They are boasters - conceited egoists that seek to glorify themselves. They are proud - filled with an outward show of selfish pride, but inwardly they are spiritually hollow. They are blasphemers - completely rejecting God and His Son, Jesus Christ, by their conversation of life. They are disobedient to parents - having strong self-wills that rebel against parental advice and guidance. They are unthankful - ungrateful individuals that take all they can get from society, without feeling any obligation to repay, demonstrate their appreciation, or give back in return. They are unholy - having no respect or reverence toward God, and are unwilling to demonstrate any inward purity in their lifestyle.

Also during these perilous last days, the self-driven, unrighteous lifestyles of men and women will bring about a society without natural affection for one another. The close relationship that, by nature, should exist within a family will break down; the concern for the well being of all other people of the world will cease. People will become trucebreakers - treaties and agreements between nations, contracts between business partners, oaths of office, oaths within our civil courts, promises to parents, vows of fidelity between husbands and wives, all will be empty and void of meaning. Society will be filled with false accusers that, for selfish reasons, say and do things that ruin the character and reputation of others. During such perilous times people will become incontinent - having no self-will or determination to control their physical appetites. People will become fierce - cruel, untamed, brutal, savage, and merciless. They will become despisers of those that are good - they will view all demonstrations of kindness as a weakness of mankind, despising their actions, and viewing such individuals with contempt.

In the last days perilous times shall come and with them society will be filled with traitors - not only those that betray their country, but also those that betray, by their denial, God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, for material gain and human acclaim. People will become heady - headstrong and unwilling to reason or compromise on any issue. They well also be high-minded - blinded by self-pride, conceited, puffed up, and egotistical. The world will be filled with those that are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God - those that are unwilling to sacrifice the sinful pleasures of earth, for the treasures of heaven that are promised by God, their Heavenly Father. They seek the satisfaction of their physical desires, unrestrained by the commandments of God. Paul describes such men and women as having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. To have a form of godliness is to profess to accept God, but worship Him only in an outward form. Inwardly they deny God and His power over mankind by their refusal to sacrifice any pleasure of earth, in order to live a life acceptable to the will of God. Unrestrained passions for worldliness, denies the love that is scripturally required for God, and for our neighbor, regardless of vain, outward professions of godliness.

Friends, we are living in the last days, and indeed, they are perilous times. Each human characteristic, the apostle Paul warned Timothy about, as noted in the lesson text, was evident in the time this letter was written, and is very well in evidence in today's society. In no uncertain terms, Paul warns Christians of all ages, to recognize the ungodly, humanistic doctrine of false teachers of the world, and from such turn away! In these Holy Spirit-inspired words written by Paul, God leaves no room for conciliation or compromise with doctrines of the devil. We cannot turn half way around; we cannot turn away for a season; we cannot stop and look back with unrepentant regret. These are the "Perils of the Last Days," from such turn away!