2Tim. 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Paul gives a pretty direct description of the last days in today’s verse. Actually, it is quite terrifying. He talks about loving ourselves and loving money and being proud and arrogant. He also mentions being traitors and pleasure lovers rather than loving God. The part that scares me the most is the one that at first glance may not seem like that big a deal. He warns about having a form of godliness without the power of God. Wow! Have you ever been to that church? Everything is perfect. Slick marketing, slick preaching, great youth and children’s programs but one little problem; no power. The power of God has been replaced with an outward form of godliness. The Fire Bible speaks about this description of the perilous, last day church.
“Paul is referring to those who claim to be Christians, appear to be religious and seem to do the right things, but who do not have an authentic personal relationship with Jesus. Their lives are not characterized by the spiritual power that frees people from sin, selfishness and ungodly behavior. Such people tolerate immoral behaviors and lifestyles in their churches and among those who claim to know God. They even teach that a person may practice these sins and yet still be spiritually saved and have a part in God’s kingdom. While Christians need to reach out and maintain positive relationships and influence with people who do not know Christ, they are to “have nothing to do with” hypocritical people who pretend to follow Christ but are simply trying to fool God and others. Such people tend to distort Christ’s message, mislead others spiritually and cause divisions in the church.”
Some may think that Paul was a little harsh; I don’t think so. He was warning us about the danger of moving away from the power of God in our churches. You see it is the power of God that enables us to live a different kind of life. Without His power we begin to deteriorate into the list of sins that Paul used to describe the last days. Rather than pursuing pleasure in God we replace it with the pursuit of pleasure in worldly activities.