Changing times, perilous times
About two weeks ago my wife was visiting a Pastor as part of her job at the local pregnancy center. When she arrived at the church, posted on the door was the notice, “For the security of the congregation all doors will be locked five minutes after the beginning of each service.”
A week later, I was working on my computer in a public area when three ladies sat at the same table. They began talking amongst themselves about church security. One woman did not want her freedom infringed by having guards or the checking of bags and so on. Another did not see the need. The third believed her church should register people as they enter and have an armed guard at every exit.
Times are changing. A few decades ago most churches never locked their doors; allowing people to come in and pray or talk to the minister. Anyone sitting down and discussing church security would have been unheard of a year ago.
Times are changing. Conversations unthought of a few years ago are now topics of discussion – Church security; should men be allowed to use the ladies-room; and the building of a wall along the border.
Times are changing. The Christian views of absolute truth, the sanctity of marriage, respect for authority, among others, are looked at as old-fashioned by many, idiotic by some, and protested by a few. These ideals used to called, “Common sense.”
The Bible tells us times will change, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1). For perilous times to come, they must not have been there before something changed.
When the “end times” are thought of, visions of the catastrophic come to mind – earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars, crazy things going on with nature, and even outer space.
However, the passage in 2 Timothy where we see, “that in the last days perilous times shall come” says nothing about global calamities from the hand of God; it speaks of the hearts of those of the human race. It is this condition of the heart that brings the conversations and changes we see in today’s society. Yes, the earthquakes and all that will also come, but God starts this passage about perilous times with the words, “This know also …” He wants us to see why and what the world is turning into as well as the judgments that will follow.
Below is what the Bible tells us of humanity’s heart as we enter the “last days.” The quotations are from the list given in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
“Men shall be lovers of their own selves” — Selfishness is at an all-time high. The number one cause of the breakdown of the family is selfishness. The opposite of love is selfishness. The best relationships are when all parties are committed to each other’s happiness. Many people today do not know what love is because they have never seen it. Households filled with people, but everyone is alone because all involved are only spending time with the one most loved – themselves.
“Covetous” — Covetous grows from a lack of contentment. Think of the child, who, as soon as he receives what he has been crying for, immediately starts screaming for something else. Sadly, this describes more adults than 2-year-olds.
“Boasters” — I am wonderful, and everyone should know about it.
“Proud” — I do not understand why I have to tell people how beautiful I am; they should notice that as soon as I walk in the room.
“Blasphemers” — How often do you hear the Lord’s name used in vain? With the teaching of evolution the first chapter of the Bible, and by default the rest of the book, is brought into doubt. The general attitude of society toward Godly values; all of these are blasphemy.
“Disobedient to parents” — Moms and dads need a break from the kids, often for no other reason than the kids will not listen to a word they say.
“Unthankful” — Have you heard please and thank you much lately?
We are not yet halfway through the list and because of the limitations of space I will need to stop, but I am sure you get the idea.
I understand with the passing of each generation there are changes of thought, ideas, and dreams, but we are at a point where the mindset outlined by God for the last days is forming before our eyes.
How close are we to the last days? Think of some of the recent conversations that you would have never dreamed of before; compare those with the heart of the world as outlined in 2 Timothy and you may conclude we are closer than we think.
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind.