II TIMOTHY 3/1: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.
Have these perilous times come?
Or are we just getting nervous?
By that I mean do we sense something taking place, or about to take place, rather like we see actors do in spooky movies just before some kind of evil visitation. Whether from earth or Mars?
You have heard of the ‘quiet before the storm’. Do we sense something ominous beginning to take place?
There’s a nervous anticipation many have, before going to the dentist. Some enjoy that nervous anticipation when they check out their lottery ticket, only to find money down the drain as usual.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. When waiting for a bus for example.
Theres a great sense of anticipation when the fisherman sees the float move on top of the water, just before he strikes.
But if any company of people should be discerning the times in which we live it is the Body of Christ (the true church).
He (Jesus) has given us – the bible says – ‘an understanding’. Jesus speaking to his audience says you can discern the heavens – the weather conditions – but you cannot discern the signs of the times (Luke 12/56). But if anybody is discerning – it should be us.
So is there an uneasiness, we as the people of God, feel about these times?
Or are we guilty of dismissing it as our imagination?
The second coming of The Lord Jesus Christ is it imminent?
Well no man knows the hour or the day. But it seems that living in anticipation of it – only lasts for a day. And we drift back into our daily routine of getting through life with our schedule of work rest and play.
Many years ago when our first born was still at the ‘buggy’ stage, we were visiting Edinburgh, and were walking near the Castle down a rough stoney slope. I was up ahead going down the slope, while my wife was pushing the buggy behind me with my daughter on board.
Suddenly I decided to turn around while walking, as I did so – simultaneously my daughter came tumbling headlong out of the buggy her small head about to be dashed against the stoney path.
With the greatest of ease I produced a save, the goalkeeper Gordon Banks would have been proud of. I simply leaned down and caught her head in my hand saving her from a nasty injury.
In anticipation of the fall I spontaneously did something. I took automatic action.
What made me turn at the right moment, what caused my reaction to be so calm and do just what was needed in the crisis?
I suspect that as one who walks with God, my senses were alert, made so by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.
What manner of persons ought we to be? II Peter 3/11 – in light of what is happening on the earth – what manner of persons should we be?
According to scripture – People of Holy conduct and godliness.
Now as soon as we mention Holiness and Godliness, the enemy of God and His church, – the devil – slides alongside us and offers condemnation in light of our lack of Holiness and Godliness.
He takes an occasion by anything and everything that sounds like a COMMANDMENT and he reminds everyone that we shall never make it.
As soon as any preacher mentions getting our act more together he slides alongside and says – there you go – ‘its heavy preaching time. He wants you all to fall into legalism’.
Listen I’ve had a stomach full – when it comes to legalism. Don’t tell me about legalism – Ive been there and bought the t-shirt. It stinks of the graveclothes of the flesh. Im not preaching legalism.
But what the call to a closer walk with God does, is, it exposes the things that stop us having a closer walk with God.
Because if we are not attending to the Lord without distraction. Then we are distracted by something other than the things of God.
And sin taking an occasion by the righteous commandment DECEIVES us and slays us, and we end up sinning all the more through discouragement.
When will we realise that the Holy Spirit correcting us, and the devil condemning us are two entirely different things?
What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did when He sent His own son in the likeness of human flesh, for sin, and condemned sin in the flesh so that the righteousness of God might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.
What manner of persons ought you to be…?
People who walk after The Spirit.
There is no other way. We shall not be this Holy People, without the Holy Spirit. It is impossible. We must listen to the Holy Spirit as He applies not the letter which kills, but the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus that sets me free from the law of sin and death.
And when that sensing of the times we live in is upon us – we TAKE ACTION to save our own souls and those who hear us.
In anticipation of my child’s injury I took action. I reached out to save her.
Perilous times will come and have already come. Work while it is still day. The hour is coming in which no man can work.
As Bob Dylan sings – Its not dark yet – but its getting there.
What manner of persons ought we to be?
The truth is there is much to discourage us. Family life falling to bits. Marriages falling apart. Pornography becoming the norm. Alcoholism a way of life, to name but a very few symptoms of a dying world.
Moderation in all things out the window. So that legitimate things become illegitimate because – men love pleasure more than they love God.
He has given us all things freely to enjoy – but when they are not enjoyed in the Spirit they can only be enjoyed in the flesh. And they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
There’s a lethargy that comes due to the pressure. Lethargy, lukewarmness, –
but I must work the overtime, I must clean the house, I must wash the car, I must watch the programme. I must buy new clothes. I must see the game.
Are these things wrong? No! But to stick a bit of prayer on the end of it – that’s whats wrong.
‘I must wash the car today – so I’ll need an hours prayer to prepare for it. So that I can do it as unto the Lord’ – how about that approach?
An on fire little lady that I know in Germany, was telling me that as she sat in Ghana on holiday, with her husband, the Lord told her to go and talk to the man a few tables away. A complete stranger of course. ‘How am I going to do this, seated here with my unsaved (i.e. non-Christian) husband’, she thought.
Her husband started to talk about a certain drink he wanted from the bar – so she took her opportunity – she said ‘well why don’t you go into the bar and order it’.
She rose immediately after he went and prompted by The Holy Spirit, proceeded to engage in conversation with the man, asking him if he could believe that God had prompted her to speak to him. He said he could, as he was a Christian – there to do evangelism and he was sitting discouraged having taken his hand ‘off the plough’ and was looking back. God arranged his encouragement. She shared and prayed.
Next day from afar she saw the same man in deep conversation with another man one hand on his shoulder, evangelising!
There on holiday, – but walking in the Spirit. Life is so much more enjoyable with the conscious presence of The Holy Spirit.
And when I go to the streets of Amsterdam I go to have a good time. I sit at cafes ’til the coffee is coming out of my ears, meeting the most interesting people, and showing them pieces of art, engaging in conversations anointed by the Holy Spirit.
What manner of persons ought we to be? – Holy Spirit people, Jesus people.
(If some of this Christian language is strange to you – you can always ask – firstname.lastname@example.org)