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SCRIPTURE - 2 TIM. 3 : 1 NOVEMBER, 1999
This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come
SUBJECT - PERILOUS TIMES 2
Last month, we began to look at the characteristics of the condition of man, in relation to the time that God said the rapture (removal of the righteous) of the Church, would be.
It was mentioned, that the proliferation, of these characteristics in the world, would be such, as the world had never really experienced before, but close to the times of Noah.
God said, back then, that the thoughts of the hearts of men, was evil, continually.
Every wicked thing that you can imagine, mankind is doing it. And this is on such a large scale, that there is no hope, of mankind ever turning themselves around. Man, feels that he, is not doing anything so bad. He feels that Jesus, if He really exists, is the soft-spoken, easy going, always forgiving, even when you don't ask Him, type of savior, that will accept them in to Heaven, no matter what their condition is.
The jesus that a lot of churches present, is one of those types of characters, that seeks to be friends with everybody, and will do whatever is 'politically correct', to do it. This jesus, is cool, he is street smart, and hangs out with the worldly crowd, and overlooks their wrong doing. He understands that they can't help it, they were made that way. He is part of 'all religions, and denominations.' No one religion, is any better than another. He frowns on those that try to make others feel that they are not adequate in the sight of God.
This, my friends, is an artificial jesus. One that is made up in the mind of men, to give blessing to whatever they are doing.
Now, let's look at the 'real Jesus.
True, Jesus, is somewhat like the jesus that the world would like Him to be. However, His message to the world, is the exact same one that God, in the old testament, warned the people with, and that is that God, loves man, but He hates sin. And He went on to let us know, that all of us, need to be saved, in order to avoid the condemnation, that is on all mankind.
The Jesus in the bible, is portrayed as two different individuals. First, He is portrayed, and rightly so, as our savior. The one that came to save the world (mankind), from the judgment of God, against them. He is portrayed as the 'Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world.
Everywhere you look in the gospels, you see Jesus, healing the sick, delivering the demon possessed, opening blinded eyes, unstopping deaf ears, causing the lame to walk, and doing all sorts of things, to let us know how much He loves, and cares for us.
But, there is another side of Him that mankind has not seen, and quite frankly, you better hope you never face Him, on the wrong side. That Jesus, is known, as among other things, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Quite a difference between a Lamb and a Lion, isn't it??
This Jesus, is one that when He is ready, will come back on earth with a vengeance, the likes of which, you can't imagine, as He makes war with all ungodliness, both from demons, and people. He will have gone from friend, to enemy, of the ungodly.
In that day, things will become so bad, that men, will actually seek to die, rather than face Him, but they won't be able to, because He will have prevented death, from taking over an individual. That's right, Jesus, has control over everything, including death.
Can you imagine, wanting to die??? Sounds like a prescription for Jack Kavorkian. Yet, if you try to follow what he says is a sure fire way to end your life, in order to escape what Jesus, has set for you, you will be wasting your time.
You see, we tend to take God, and His commandments, lightly. After all, it has been nearly 2000 years, and God has continued to overlook (we think), our wickedness. Surely, if He is real, He would have done something by now, we say.
As I mentioned earlier, evil is so pervasive, that if we don't see it in someone, then we think that something must be wrong with them.
Look at the persecution that Jesus went through, just so He could save us. The persecution. The abuse. The mocking. The beating. The crucifixion. All because He wanted to give us, God's best. Jesus made the analogy once of telling the religious leaders of that day, that they couldn't be satisfied, with how God did things. He said that John the Baptist, was, the forerunner of Christ, and he was, what we call, sanctified. He was a no nonsense type of preacher, that told it like it was. He didn't mingle with a lot of people. He lived mostly in the wilderness. The only time he did come to the people, he came with a message from God and they said he had a devil in him. Jesus, came to them, with the same message, mixed with love and grace, and he stayed among the people, and sat down and ate and drank with them, and they called Him a glutton, and a drunkard. [MATT. 11:18-19]
Anyway, He gave them plenty of warning, about the things that would be soon coming. He warned of judgment and destruction. And, when they inquired about what time these things should come, He gave them signs of the times, as an indicator of when these things would happen.
In describing these signs, He made it clear that the closer it got to the end, that more and more people would begin to do things that were totally abominable in the sight of God, and would do it, with little or no remorse, whatsoever.
Never in history, has the state of mankind been so close to God's total judgment, and yet, not even care about what He is doing. We are morally, and spiritually bankrupt, and we go around, and persecute those that are doing what God says is right.
Jesus let's us know that we need to be righteous, when He comes for us. And that time is so close, that at any second, He could appear to take us (the Church) out of here, and here you are, having lived a righteous life, until just a few minutes ago, and He shows up, and takes His bride out of here, and you are left behind, because you slipped, and gave in to unrighteousness.
Times are so bad today, that you could get killed, for little or nothing. You could get car jacked, and shot, just because the perpetrator, felt like it. People hating each other for no cause. You could look funny at someone, and get your brains blown out. People are dying, at a record clip. Especially our young people. If it
isn't because of crime, it is because of disease. Young people, dying of heart attacks, strokes and other diseases, usually associated with old folks.
The temptation to commit sin is everywhere you look. No one is safe. On the TV, the radio, the computer (the internet), the safety and sanctity of your home, is invaded by sex, and violence. It's right there, staring at you everyday. Look at this!!! Try this!!! It's free!!! No one knows what you are doing!!! They are all screaming at you. And you thought you were safe at home. You and your kids, are exposed to thousands of instances of violence every week, just looking at the regular TV programs, that are on regular channels.
All of this leads to the fact that, living holy, is becoming harder and harder. Doing the things that God says you need to do, is a challenge to say the least. That challenge is mounted by the devil. He, as your adversary, is trying to do several things.
First, He wants to keep the unsaved, from becoming saved. If he sees that a person is thinking about it, he will put all types of road blocks, in the way. If that doesn't work, then he will try to kill them.
Secondly, if a person is saved, then he will try to keep them from being the type of person, that can give a positive witness to what God has done for them. He will try to get them to go back in to sin, or get them to doubt their faith. We can see a lot of that going on today. People are always challenging Christians on why they
believe, what they believe. And far too many of them, don't really know why they believe the bible, over, let's say the Koran. They just know that according to what they were told, believing in Jesus, is the only way that man can get in to Heaven. And, friend, that is not enough. You need to learn the whole truth. And you can't do that unless you study.
Thirdly, the devil will do everything he can, to keep you ignorant of what God has in store for you, if you put your faith in Him. The devil will try to keep you from learning these things. That is why he has raised up so many false prophets, teachers, and preachers. He knows that many of us, are too busy, or lazy to
study for ourselves, so he figures that we will let someone else study for us, then tell us what we need to know. That way, we, being ignorant of just exactly what God has to say about things that are right and wrong, will tend to follow the wrong path, and end up in hell. The bible says, 'the people are destroyed, for a lack of knowledge.[Hos. 4:6]
Then, he has world events, like disasters, wars, crime, plagues, and a whole host of other things, that tend to cause us to wonder if God is really in control, or not. We begin to question why God did this, and why He didn't do that. Why did my child die??? Why did my mother die??? Why do I have cancer??? Why do the
ungodly seem to be getting all the breaks in life, while I have to struggle, just to make ends meet??? Why did my house burn down??? On and on it goes, then you begin to doubt God.
On every turn, he is working to get as many people as possible, to end up with him in hell, and later, the lake of fire and brimstone. He is relentless, to that end.
Let me ask you this. Where are you, in your relationship with God, through Jesus Christ??? Are you on a sure foundation, that can't be shaken, no matter what the devil does?? Or, are you one of those types of Christians, that is wishy washy, being tossed to and fro, by every whim of the devil???
If Jesus, were to come today, at this very minute, what would He find you doing?? Reading the bible, or looking at 'Playboy' magazine. In church, or in the bar?? With your spouse, or with your lover???
What if, God forbid, you are hit by a stray bullet, and killed instantly, what kind of condition are you in spiritually??? Will you stand before God, without sin, or will there be the stain, of that illicit affair you had, or the smell of alcohol on your breath?? Maybe you just hit the lottery. All of these things, you need to think about.
Tomorrow, is not promised to anyone. I'll go one better. The next second, is not promised to you. It's time to get right with God. One second from now, just may be too late.