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  • DECEPTION BRINGS DANGER (2nd Timothy 3:1-7)

    The true purpose of a Christian can be found in Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. In that verse we see the most complete view of what it takes to effectively share the gospel of anywhere in the Bible. To have the idea that people can be sanctified by faith, that they can receive an inheritance or be forgiven of their sins without being turned from the power of Satan unto God, without being turned from darkness to light, without having their eyes opened is to be deceived. We seem to want to let the words of the gospel do everything for us. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, you can't get saved without hearing it, but remember repentance prepares the way for real faith. (Repentance is to think differently, to reconsider, to have a change of mind) If words alone are all people need then why did Jesus do so many miracles during His ministry? Answer: To draw attention to and a focus upon the words He was declaring. If words alone are all people need then why did God choose us to carry the gospel to the world? Answer: So the world could plainly see what the gospel can do, it saves, it delivers, it changes things dramatically for the better. At least, that's what the world is suppose to be seeing.

    A great deception has taken hold in these last days. Satan has been allowed to turn us in on ourselves, cause us to become self-centered. The result is a world full of danger. People, even Christians, are a danger to themselves and others. It's much easier to be deceived about ourselves than it is to be deceived about others. The reason is we apply truth and principles much more critically to others than to ourselves. Here in second Timothy chapter three we are going to see deception that brings danger, first and foremost in us, but it's also what we have to battle against in others. To think we can reach others with the gospel without being a Spirit filled, fruit bearing, obedient child of God is to be deceived.

    3:1 the last days - We have been living in the last days since the time of Christ. We should expect Christ to return at any moment. There should be a sense of urgency about being involved in what God is doing in these last days. However, many Christians are living, talking and acting just like everyone else, the only difference in them is what they believe. That's evidence what's in them results from deception and they are in need of a great change only Jesus can bring about. The word translated last here is also translated lowest twice in the New Testament meaning lowest in rank or worth.

    perilous times shall come - Perilous means dangerous, hard to take, hard to bear, troublesome, harsh, fierce, savage, having the effect of reducing strength. In these times we can't afford to be without God's truth. We can't afford to be without a correct spirit of discernment. We can't afford to be without a proper attitude toward what's happening in our country. However, the Word of God seems to have little importance in the lives of those who say they believe in God. Modern theology is based more on books written by men and Christian music than the Bible itself. When there's such disregard for the truth of God there's evidence of a great deception making the world a very dangerous place.

    3:2 For men shall be - If there's anyone who knows what men are capable of it's the Creator. He doesn't look on the outward appearance, He looks on the heart. The Bible speaking of many who believed in Christ when they saw the miracles that He did says in John 2:24-25 ...Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. Jesus did not commit Himself because He knows what people are on the inside. We are going to see it here through the Apostle Paul. Among Christians today there's still a great desire for deliverance from problems and struggles, but little desire to actually molded and shaped by God's truth.

    lovers of their own selves - Most everyone loves themselves. To a certain extent it's healthy. Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it. However, the kind of love for self Paul is speaking of here is to be self-centered. In fact the things listed down through verse 5 are the result of a unhealthy self-interest. Matthew Henry said, "When men are lovers of themselves, no good can be expected from them." Self-interest is actually the result of Satanic deception. A wise man said, “Satan disguises submission to himself under the ruse of living according to your own will. He never asks us to become his servants. Never once did the serpent say to Eve, “I want to be your master”. The shift in commitment is never from God to evil; it's always from God to self. Instead of God's will, self-interest rules.” That's the subtlest most effective form of deception and the devil is a master at it. It's a deception because the self-interested person does not see their self-interest nor perceive Satan's involvement. The only remedy is the Light of God which should be shining from His people. Many have the idea that because they do much for others they couldn't be self-centered, but their motives will tell the real story. Only true Light shining from God's people can reveal the truth.

    3:5 Having a form of godliness - Form means an appearance. Here, I believe, is the great reason Christianity is failing to make a difference in our culture. If you have the message of the gospel without showing the deliverance it actually brings you have a form of godliness. All the form can do is make proselytes because it doesn't really introduce them to the Deliverer.

    denying the power thereof - The power of godliness is Holy Spirit power. It's the fruit of the Spirit that results from being intoxicated with His influence. It's a love of the truth, not just in declaration, but in practice.

    from such turn away – It's time to turn away from a form of godliness that denies the power of godliness. It's time to come to God on His terms and show deliverance to a world and a professing church that needs a Deliverer.

    3:6 of this sort are they - Paul is speaking here of those who make followers without showing them deliverance from a true relationship with the Deliverer.

    3:7 Ever learning – Self-interest allows people to be ever hearing and ever learning about the truths of God without practically applying them.

    There's a great deception taking place and a great need for light to show it up for what it is. Jesus said His people are the light of the world. It's time to be just that!