When we consider the fact that more than 1/4 of the Bible is prophetic in nature, one would think that it would contain numerous sub-topics. And we find that to be true: biblical prophecy pertains to various chronologies, conditions, countries, and culminations.
But one of the most neglected studies in prophecy deals with what characters or people will be like at the end of this dispensation. That would include both kinds of people: unbelievers and believers; those who are fake and those who are faithful!
Jesus Himself distinguishes between the godly and the ungodly, the light and the darkness, the sheep and the goats, the true and the false and the wheat and the chaff! It has been this way for centuries, but this distinction will be blurred and minimized in these last days: compromises are attempted, and apostasy is rampant.
Just so you know, passage after passage in the New Testament speaks of what people will be like in the last days, including (so-called) Christians. Let’s take a closer look at 3 of these Scripture passages:
I. The 1st two passages are found in I Timothy 4:1-2; II Timothy 3:1-5 …
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,1 Timothy 4:1-2
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!2 Timothy 3:1-5
A. It is quite interesting to note that all the writings we are considering were penned to churches and their pastors.
B. I Timothy 4:1 speaks of some who would depart from the faith in latter times. I have some headlines that will substantiate a number of my serious concerns – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
C. The last verse of this Book speaks of those who have “strayed concerning the faith.” In other words, they have departed from it. They were what we would call “apostates.” The Greek word apostasia speaks of staying away from or departing from.
D. I John 2:19 says it so well, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”
E. In other words, the conditions of all too many in these last days will be
- Have departed from what they once believed.
- Have been “Christians” by name only (nominal). [Cf. book by Eddie Gibbs, In Name Only].
- Have been infiltrated by demonic and false influences and have succumbed to these (false members, teachers, preachers, leaders)!
- But let’s not forget those who are “the real deal,” “the genuine
- article” – – real, truly born-again (from above) believers in Christ!
F. Since a genuine Christian cannot lose his salvation, these so-called “Christians” or “believers” were not genuine in the first place. They were good in mimicking the language and actions of Christianity:
- If they were genuinely saved, God would have chastened them unto repentance (Revelation 3:19) or taken them from this life – – (possibly prematurely) – – (John 15:2, 6; I John 5:16).
- If they were not truly saved, they will experience the wrath of God for ever (II Thessalonians 1:5-9).
G. In addition to a number of polls (such as Barna, Gallup, or Lifeway), we are told that for all practical reasons many Christians are no different than non-Christians! II Timothy 3:2 speaks of “men.” These could easily refer to believes rather than unbelievers, since this letter is addressed to the pastor and churches!
H. One of the biggest problems of all, as I see it, is that many Christians don’t care! They don’t care if they lie or deceive, or if they steal, or if Christ is coming back soon or if there will be an account they must give before God. They just simply don’t care!
I. Perhaps you can see why it is so critical to check yourself out to make sure you are truly and genuinely saved (II Corinthians 13:5; I John)!
J. May I suggest that the missing ingredient in the lives of many churches, groups, individuals, or organizations is SPIRITUAL REALITY!
II. The 2nd passage is found in Revelation 2 and 3
A. Obviously, we can’t deal with all the seven churches mentioned in these two chapters, at least not in the limited time we have together.
B. The messages are directed by Jesus to seven specific local churches located in western Turkey, sometimes referred to as Asia or Asia Minor.
C. Allow me to give you a couple of the messages common to these 7 churches:
- “I (Jesus) know your works!” The Son of God actively knew their works and continues to know them – – TODAY!
- “He who has an ear, let him hear what the (Holy) Spirit says to the churches!” He, the Holy Spirit, is presently and continually is speaking to the churches – – TODAY!
D. Many of our churches today are in spiritually deplorable conditions! Some of them might even make the church at Corinth look appealing!
E. We (those who are true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ) need to heed the last words for the churches in Revelation 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel (messenger) to testify to you these things in the churches!”
In 1883 Fanny Crosby wrote these appropriate concluding words to our message today. The last verse of her hymn JESUS IS CALLING reads as follows:
“Jesus is pleading, O list to His voice, Hear Him today, hear Him today. They who believe on His name shall rejoice; Quickly arise and away. CALLING TODAY, CALLING TODAY. JESUS IS CALLING, IS TENDERLY CALLING TODAY!”