ccc' This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own 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.'
cccThe class here mentioned by the apostle are not mere heathen. He describes them as 'having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.' He says, 'Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.' This is a delineation of the character that will be made manifest among those who profess godliness in the last days. But there will be another class. The apostle says: 'Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.'
cccThose who are deceivers are those who have turned away their ears from hearing the truth, and who have opened the door of their heart for the entrance of the sophistries of Satan. At first those who are finally deceived do not believe what they assume themselves; but as they misinterpret the Scriptures, as they claim to have received new light, as they enter into by-paths, as they repeat their own falsehoods, they come to look upon their theories as matters of importance. They deceive others, presenting the arguments that were prepared by the synagogue of Satan. Every repetition of their errors confirms them in their false theories. They are inspired by the Satanic agencies to present falsehoods before others, and finally come to believe a lie, deceiving and being deceived. But Paul enjoined Timothy, saying: 'Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.'
ccc'Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils [Spiritualism]; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.'
ccc'But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.'
cccGod has furnished every one with a full armor, but we are under the necessity of putting it on.
ccc'For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another.'
ccc'But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless.'
ccc'And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.'
cccAs a people are we sufficiently considering this warning? If we neglect to take heed, if we regard the warning with indifference, if we allow earthly, temporal things to take our attention, and we lose our realization of the essential character of prayer, we shall be found among those who are not accounted worthy to escape. The righteousness of Christ should be our first consideration. The service of God should be our first business. Christ has said, 'If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.' How many admit that the commandments are of God, and yet neglect to fully obey them! John leaves no doubt as to what commandments we are required to obey. Years after the resurrection of Christ, he writes:--
ccc'My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins' and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the Word which ye have heard from the beginning.'
cccNo change in the law has been made from the beginning. It is the same as it was before the fall of Satan; and in the Heavenly courts the angelic family obey the law of God as they did when the foundation of the earth was laid, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. ST December 5, 1895; or 3ST 257.
Pastor Michael O. Hodges
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