What is Your Passion!
Difficult Times in the Last Days
Introduction: this is a picture of future society—a terrible picture of what the last days of human history will be like. But note a shocking fact: it sounds very much like the society of today. We just do not think of our day as being so terrible; we seldom sit down and study the godless marks of society. But this is exactly what this passage does: it discusses the godless marks of the last days, marks that come close to painting a picture of our day and time
This fact points to our day as being part of the last days
(3:1–9) Introduction: this is a picture of future society—a terrible picture of what the last days of human history will be like. But note a shocking fact: it sounds very much like the society of today. We just do not think of our day as being so terrible; we seldom sit down and study the godless marks of society. But this is exactly what this passage does: it discusses the godless marks of the last days, marks that come close to painting a picture of our day and time. This fact points to our day as being part of the last days. It is very possible that the Lord’s return is at hand. One thing is sure, we must do just what Christ said: be prepared for His return, for He can return at any moment. (Note: a person may need to split this passage because of its length. Points one and two could be the first study, and points three and four the second study.)
1. Mark 1: a terrible and perilous time (v. 1).
2. Mark 2: a godless world (vv. 2–4).
3. Mark 3: a powerless religion (v. 5).
4. Mark 4: a corrupted ministry (vv. 6–9).
Perilous times means difficult, troublesome, trying, uneasy, hard, violent, threatening, and dangerous days. The picture is that of people turning to and fro, here and there, not knowing which way to turn. “The last days” is a Biblical term that points to the end of the present age, the days right before the return of Christ, and the end of the world. It should be noted, however, that the marks of the end time are somewhat characteristic of all ages, but they are to be intensified in the last days
A Godless World
1) Lovers of Self
1) Lovers of Self
It means selfishness and self-centeredness …
• to focus upon oneself and one’s own pleasure and flesh instead of upon God and other people
• to put oneself before others: wife, husband, parent, child, friend, neighbor, God
• to put one’s own will before God’s will
• to seek one’s own desires without considering others
• to go after what one wants even if it is unwise and hurts others
• to feel that everyone and everything should revolve around oneself
• to focus upon one’s own pleasure and flesh and ignore the crying needs of the desperate and dying
Self-love sets one up like a god and feels that nothing matters as much as the pleasure of oneself. In the last days people will love themselves more than they love anyone else. Selfishness will be one of the terrible marks of the last days.
2) Lovers of Money
2. People will be covetous (philarguroi): the word means lovers of money and possessions. People will want more and more and bigger and bigger and better and better, and they will seldom be satisfied with what they have. In the last days people will focus upon …
• money, banking more and more.
• houses in the best neighborhoods, on the seashore, in the mountains, and by the rivers.
• furnishings and property.
• possessions—such as clothes, jewelry, antiques, art, and vehicles.
• travel, seeing more and more sights.
• property, stocks and bonds—owning more and more.
• power—controlling more and more.
Men will love money, what it buys and allows them to do, and they will covet more and more of it and the things it buys. Their eyes and hearts will be focused upon money instead of God. They will indulge and hoard instead of meeting the desperate needs of the poor and lost of the world.
braggarts, pretenders, vaunters, swaggerts. It is a person who …
• boasts in what he has
• pretends to have what he does not have or to do what he has not done
Bragging may involve a job, a deal, a possession, an achievement—anything that may impress others. It is a person who feels the need to push himself above others even if it involves pretension, deception, make believe, and lies.
The world is full of boasters and braggarts:
⇒ teachers who pretend to be wise
⇒ politicians who pretend to have the utopian state
⇒ business people who pretend to have the product that brings health, beauty, and happiness
⇒ religionists who pretend to have the revelation and gifts and to be more spiritual than others
self-exaltation, conceit, arrogance; being haughty; putting oneself above others and looking down upon others; scorn, and contempt. It means to show oneself; to lift one’s head above another; to hold contempt for another; to compare oneself with others. Pride can be hidden in the heart as well as openly displayed.
Very simply stated, the proud person feels that he is better than others. Note that this is a feeling within the heart. The proud person may appear quiet and humble, but within his heart he secretly feels better than others. God resists the proud.
the word means to slander, insult, rail, revile, reproach, curse. Blasphemy is usually thought to be against God, and it is. But it is also a sin against men. Men can blaspheme men. Think of the cursing and insults thrown against God and men today. Practically everyone is cursing and reviling someone: mothers, fathers, children, teachers, professionals, actors, comedians, politicians, even some professing religionists feel the need to occasionally curse in order to be acceptable.
Why is there so much cursing today? Because there is a loss of respect for both self and others, for both position and authority. People rail, revile, insult, reproach, and curse when they are disturbed within—when they sense dissatisfaction, disapproval, unacceptance, bitterness, emptiness, loneliness, and reaction within their heart. A disturbed and dissatisfied heart causes people to blaspheme God and man, including themselves (blaming and cursing themselves when they fail and come ever so short).
6) Disobedient to Parents
refusing to do what one’s parents say; rebelling against one’s parents; showing disrespect to parents; rejecting parental instruction; dishonoring parental example. If a child will not honor and respect his mother and father, who will he respect? If a child will mistreat his parents—those who are the closest to him—who else will he mistreat? If a child will not obey his parents, those who love and care for him most, who then will be obey? Parents are the ones who gave birth, loved and cared for the children of the world. If the children are not loyal to them, then the children will not be loyal to anyone. The home, society, and civilization will crumble.
no sense of gratitude or appreciation for what one has and receives; no giving of thanks to God or man. Many persons feel that the world and society or business and government owe them the good things of life. They have little if any sense of debt to others. This is the reason many waste time on the job, do mediocre work, and feel little obligation to the world and society. They fail to see how privileged they are to be alive and to live in such a beautiful world and to have a job and friends and neighbors. They fail to see how good God has been to them, and how caring and responsible some people are. Therefore, they reach out to get more and more without sensing any need to express thanks and appreciation. They take and take and forget all about the thanksgiving—the debt and contribution—they owe to God and men.
knowledge was discernible through creation, probably intuitively, and perhaps also as a result of contemplation of the created order. Such knowledge was clearly limited—it was not saving, and, as far as Paul was concerned, rendered humanity ‘without excuse’.
profane, indecent, shameless, given over to the most base passions, being blind to modesty, decency, purity, and righteousness. The unholy person …
• is mastered by passion
• seeks constant gratification of the flesh
• senses little shame
• is blind to decency
• seeks his pleasure in the abnormal. (Just think of the abnormal sex that is flaunted today.)
abnormal affection and love; heartless, without human emotion or love; a lack of feeling for others; abuse of normal affection and love. Others become little more than pawns for a man’s own use and benefit, pleasure and purposes, excitement and stimulation.
Man has been created to be affectionate—to have affection for others. It is normal and natural for a person to have affection for his family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and to a certain extent for the stranger and fellow-citizens of the world. But in the end time, people will be so set on satisfying their flesh and pleasure that they will forget family, friends, and everything else. They will be so set on doing their own thing and so self-centered that they will have little affection for anyone or anything else.
⇒ There will be little affection for the normal and natural. People will turn to the abnormal and unnatural in relationships and behavior, pleasures and sex.
⇒ There will be little affection for the home. Home will be nothing more than a place to change clothes and sleep.
⇒ There will be little affection between husband and wife. A spouse will be little more than a person to help pay the bills and to keep up a front for social acceptance. Men and women will become unfaithful and perverted.
⇒ There will be little affection for friends, country, and earth. All will be abused and ignored, neglected and polluted. Selfishness will be the law of the last days.
⇒ There will be little affection for God and the church. God and church will be fitted in when they do not interfere with personal desires and pleasures, rest and recreation.