Bible Lesson 52

Practical Christian Living part IV
2nd Timothy 3:1-7

Over the past three Bible lessons, we have looked at practical Christian living, and what is wrong with the fruit of the members of the organized church of our day. We will continue with that in this lesson as we seek to clarify in our minds what has gone wrong. Let me say from the beginning of this lesson that what we are saying is not the problem of the true church of God, the invisible church, which is fully known by God alone; however, there is a real problem with the visible church which holds itself out as the true church.

We can categorically state that the problem was precipitated by the churches themselves as they became worldly, self-seeking, and competitive as they left the truths of the Word of God, the Bible and sought to look good and successful to the world. It is no secret that no person has ever been saved, except by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ.

The Grace that saves is the Grace of God, not the grace of a denomination, or church or preacher or anyone else. Every truly saved man?s soul was saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and Jesus said in John 6:44, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me to draw him; and I will raise him at the last day”.
I know that that turns what many people want to believe in its head, but that is the gospel truth. Jesus says there in that verse, that the only thing that can initiate salvation is for the Father in heaven to begin it. The Father has to draw, that is what happens when God calls anyone by His Spirit. Godsend his Holy Spirit to begin salvation and the spirit does several things at that time. First He brings the person (who at birth was dead in trespass and sin) back to Spiritual life.

God calls everyone that He intends to save by His Spirit, and that Spirit is irresistible; and those who are called will answer that call (See Daniel 4:35; John 1:12-13). We find the fact of God’s call in Romans 8:30. I have said all of that to demonstrate that the institutional church?s job is to be the instrument that God uses to preach the Word of God, the truth so that God will use the truth in saving those that He elected before the foundation of the world. That?s the job of the church, obeying the Great Commission, to teach and baptize those that God saves.

Many of the churches decided decades ago that if they were going to look like they were doing their job, which they considered was to save any who would walk the aisle and profess that they loved Jesus. I say that, to say this, that we must stop short-cutting the salvation process.

Salvation is all of God and we in the church must be willing to obey God as we preach and teach, “Thus saith the Lord” and then be willing to back out and leave the harvest to God. Salvation always, always, always carries with a quickening, a death and a resurrection to newness of life; and no one can opt-out of any of that.

The true Christian has been radically changed, and as 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold, all things have become new.” For some unknown reason, we have not been careful to make sure that those who we have extended church fellowship to are possessed of that newness of life. That is the reason that the church of our day (at least the visible church) is not what it is supposed to be. That is the problem! What is the answer? The answer is for us who teach and preach to come back to the commandments, precepts, and testimonies of God. Do church as God has told us and make sure that we are not shortcutting what only God can do.

Believe me, it does not make me happy to have to point out the lapses of our churches, but someone has to do it and I accept that commission from the Lord. This is something that has been a burden on my heart since the Lord brought me into His Kingdom, and over the years I have observed closely that many things are wrong in our “Churchianity”. First, we are not what God created us to be. Instead of being the body of Christ in our community, we have become a mixture of pure and poison, of good and bad, of saved and lost and we have confused our communities who see the world when they look at us.

Second, we think we do, but we do not live in a moral society. Third, we have become non-readers at least of the Word of God. We may read novels and mystery magazines but we have neglected the study of God’s inspired word. Fourth, we have forgotten that there is original sin, that we are all born depraved, dead in trespass and sin. Fifth, we are too quick to speak and not quick enough to listen (James 1:19). Sixth, we live and die on clichés, sound bytes that cater to our flesh rather than to our Spirit. Seventh, we are tolerant but tolerant of the wrong things.

Eighth, we do not think about many things, we seem to have a herd instinct. Ninth, we live in an unreal world of reality T.V. Tenth, we claim to be Christians but we do not intend to obey Christ.
Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke chapter 6 and verse 46.”Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say”? That is a very good question for the visible church and many professing Christians in our day. I believe that we find some scripture or portions of scriptures that we like and will accept, and we live and die on that premise? something like John 3:36.

We like what it begins with, “He that believeth on the Son has everlasting life”. However, we don’t normally like that second part of that same scripture; because it says, “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him”. We want to have our cake and eat it too. The problem is that we have accommodated man instead of God.

We take the inspired, inerrant Word of the Creator God and we think that it?s best for our situation if we change it and sweeten it and make it say altogether something that God did not say, to make the sinners that we have invited into our congregation feel good about their sin.

God is not surprised that we have done that, although He is heartbroken that the creatures that He created would stoop that low. To prove that God is all-knowing, I submit our scripture verse for this lesson, there in 2nd Timothy chapter three and verses one through 7. Over 2000 years ago, God inspired the Apostle Paul to write down for us a warning, that all these many centuries later have come to pass. These seven verses in Second Timothy chapter three paint a picture of much of our society and our religious life today. Listen closely to what God had Paul write down for us, back in the first century A.D.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men will be lovers of their 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. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sin, lead away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”.

Yesterday, as I began to work out this sermon for the website, I was interrupted by a phone call from the daughter of a friend of mine. My friend has been one of the good friends for many years and lately, his health has failed greatly. He has been the victim of a stroke and is very impaired, unable to leave his home. His daughter was very upset about his condition and so she asked if I would visit him that day, which I did. After talking with him for a while, I saw that he also had a bad case of cabin fever, so I asked if he would like me to take him for a drive. With the help of his family, I got him into my car and we drove around for about 2 hours, during which time I went over the gospel of Jesus Christ with Him to make sure he was ready for his final journey.

We drove through a couple of towns which he had been familiar with in his life and then we came under a railroad trestle on one of the cities’ narrow streets and ran right upon a man standing over a dying policeman, with a gun in his hand. To make a long story short, the policeman may live but it is uncertain at this time.

These two young men had robbed a business approximately 5 or 6 miles from where we encountered this scene, and the policeman had chased them and forced their car off the road. They had shot him once in the head and twice in the body and I believe that the man standing over him with a gun in his hand was preparing to administer the coup de grace when I drove up on the scene. When he saw me he wheeled around and ran to the police car and drove off at a high rate of speed. These were healthy, strong young men who were capable of working to get what they wanted; but instead, they decided to rob a policeman of his life and destroy their own lives.

I saw this spectacle as the fulfillment of this prophecy which we are using as our scripture for today. The last days are upon us, and perilous times have come! As I drove up on this tragic scene, I could see many of the sins listed in our scripture for this lesson, in the eyes of a cold-blooded killer. He still had his gun in his hand and except for the Lord?s Grace, he could have turned it on me. I don’t want to appear as chicken little, running about and crying out, “The sky is falling”; but we all need to open our eyes and see what is happening around us, in our own families, and to our young people and our communities.

The police here believe that these same boys in the same car have been responsible for several robberies over the past few weeks. Something is wrong when our children can not only rob businesses and homes; but also run from the police and if stopped, then shoot their way out. I was the first person on the scene at this spectacle, and I know that the policeman?s gun was still in his holster.

May God forgive us for abdicating our responsibilities as parents and adults; and allowing our children to become addicted to violence. We have been so involved in the world’s pleasures and the ever-increasing quest for more money and more things, and we have forgotten that parents are responsible for their children. It is not the churches or the school’s responsibility to teach discipline and morality and good citizenship to our children, it is our responsibility; and it has almost gotten to the point that it will be hard to turn around, especially for those who do not want to take any responsibility.

As you read this Bible lesson, you should be warned by God, because it was He who said what we have read from the Word of God, the Bible. God is telling us that in the last days, and we have been in the last days since Christ ascended back into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. We can?t look at others and wag our fingers and say it’s your fault, it is the fault of everyone alive today and some that have passed on.

I’m speaking of saved folks and lost folks, good folks and bad folks, preachers and laymen and women, politicians and farmers, every one of us is responsible to some degree because we have stood idly by and watched our community go to the dogs! We have many people who attend our churches for many different reasons, many of them having nothing to do with worshiping Jehovah God.

Many who attend either casually or every time the doors are opened, do not listen to the messages that are preached. God even warned us about that, in 2nd Timothy 4:3, where Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”. that prophecy was fulfilled decades ago in the institutional churches of America. How else can we explain so many diverse groups who have found themselves teachers who will tell them what they want to hear? What about us, are we willing to do the heavy lifting of examining our own lives against our scripture text for today?

Have we settled for comfort without commitment in our worship? That’s pretty much what the Pharisees had done in the day of our Lord Jesus and His ministry here on the earth. They had begun to be hypocrites, they said the right things but did not always do the right things. They kept the law, at least outwardly, to the letter; but they broke it in the Spirit. For instance, they might advise others not to mistreat those who were less fortunate; but they had no compunction about doing it themselves. We have gotten to the point that we no longer will defend clear Christian principals. We refuse to stand when we know that what is happening is going to be dishonoring to our Lord and Savior.

Take for instance this great groundswell that we are seeing about homosexuality and those who practice it. Too many congregations are voting God out of that, as they press for tolerance for those who practice it. By tolerance I mean we want to silence anyone who would say that it is an abomination to God, or that we don’t want those people having any contact with our children or anyone else’s. Now if you are reading this and you have the tendency to want to copulate or practice sex in any way with someone of the same sex, I urge you to reexamine yourselves. God can save anyone He wants to but we know that He says homosexuality is an abomination to him (See Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-32). We should stand against all sin because any sin will send a person to hell. Those who abuse alcohol and drugs are placed in our scripture for today, because drugs and alcohol, rob a person of the inhibitions, scramble their reasoning ability and short circuit their morality.

A person who takes either alcohol, which is America’s drug of choice, or was until heroin came around, cannot deny that urge to have another hit or high, and they will do anything including murder for the opportunity to use. We know for certain that our young folks are disobedient to their parents, and they will naturally grow up to be disobedient to any authority, including God or the police. The time to begin to discipline children is when they are very young. Any fool knows that discipline does not include maiming or causing great physical harm, but it does mean that we convince them of their wrong deeds.

Many of the people that practice these aforementioned sins are pillars in some church. They have a form of godliness but they deny the power that exists in real godliness. Notice what God says thereafter He has listed these end-time problems and sins. God tells us to turn away from these people. We don’t continue to worship with them, don’t stay in their circle of friends. We stay away from them because otherwise, we will take part in their sin.

Well, that’s the problem “What’s the solution”. That’s easy, and there is only one solution, we must repent of our sins and turn to God and begin to not be hearers only but doers of the Word and Will of God. We can’t just say that we are going to do it; because we can make our mouths say anything we want it to. We must do what God would have us to do and if we will do that beginning today, God will hear us from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land! Think about what God has said and let’s ask God to turn our country back in a good way.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob