2 Timothy 3.1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
For men will be…
lovers of themselves unthankful brutal lovers of money unholy despisers of good boasters unloving traitors proud unforgiving headstrong blasphemers slanderers haughty disobedient to
without self-control lovers of pleasure rather
than lovers of God
… having a form of godliness but denying its power.
And from such people turn away!
As we continue today studying the behavior that robs us of true Godliness, notice the progression: it starts with replacing God (lovers of…); then proclaiming it (boaster, proud, blasphemer); now it is manifested in behavior: disobedience, ingratitude, unholy, unloving and unforgiving. These are natural consequences that occur simply by enthroning ourselves as Master of our existence.
Luke 6.45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Whatever is in your heart comes out of your mouth and is demonstrated in your behavior. The person who has replaced God with love of self, will boast how he controls his own life and then will begin to manifest it in attitudes and decisions.
Being disobedient to those in authority over you of course is very understandable for a person who has made themselves king of their life. If obedience to God has been tossed out, what mere mortal could command our obedience? We will do our own thing. Who are you to tell me what to do? Don’t push your morality off on me. “The Bible says don’t judge”, how many times have you heard that? How many times have you said it?
Titus 1.16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
Anyone who has ever been a parent knows how it feels to be the recipient of ingratitude. How many times out of our love have we sacrificed our own desires to fulfill those of our children, only to be rewarded with a cavalier, “I deserve it” attitude and a feeble “thanks” only after you remind them of it? Doesn’t exactly motivate you to want to do more does it? What makes us think God feels any differently when we do the same thing to Him? I’m sure everyone reading this has been taken for granted many times.
Ingratitude is a by-product of our prosperity.
We come to expect, instead of appreciate.
Being a thankful, appreciative person is a characteristic that has to be cultivated and practiced. It does not come naturally. It begins with the correct understanding that everything we have came from God’s hand. We can take credit for nothing. The appropriate response is thanksgiving and appreciation.
Rom 1.18-21 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Becoming our own master will of course produce behavior exactly opposite of Godliness. The very definition of unholy is doing things our way instead of God’s. We tend to over-complicate things. Using our simple math lesson from yesterday (I bet some of you still haven’t figured out what “gozintuhs” are):
My way = unholy
God’s way = holy
This is not just limited to certain acts. You can’t divide your life into neat compartments. If you’re a thief on Friday, you’re a thief, period. Our holiness is part of us all the time, 24/7; not just at church, or when reading the Bible or witnessing. For the Godly person, every act is holy. Going to work, tying your shoes or worshipping in church is all dedicated to obedience to God.
We must fight the tendency to divide our lives into “godly” versus “all that other stuff we have to do everyday”. We think that getting up in the morning, eating, working, driving the kids, mowing the grass and every other task or responsibility is just part of “daily life”… somehow being wasted time that robs us of time to serve God.
No! Every act of the Christians life, whether overtly “spiritual” or not, is to be a consecrated, holy, dedicated sacrifice to God. As we mature spiritually, we should begin to realize that there is no separation of the “sacred” and the “secular”.
Col 3.17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
For the “unholy” just the opposite is true. All acts become unholy, even those meant to attempting to appease God or appear “good”. Once man has dethroned God, and made himself king, every act, every thought and every breath becomes unholy.
God is the source of all true love. His love is based on truth, selflessness and humility. A self-loving, proud person will naturally become unloving which is simply a mindset that is consumed with self interest.
As the offenses to his pride and self-rule mount quickly, this person becomes more and more bitter about life and towards other. People fail them which of course they will be acutely attuned to and remember with impressive accuracy. So they become more and more callous to anyone or anything but themselves.
Phil 2.3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
The natural progression continues. The proud, self-loving person will of course not be a forgiving person when they obviously have not come to understand their own need for it. This person is characterized by phrases such as “I call a spade a spade”; “you made your bed now lie in it”; “God helps those who help themselves” and other such expressions that betray a persons true feeling that they have what they have because THEY have earned it. So there is no compassion, mercy or forgiveness to bestow on others.
I had to get my own… and you have to get yours.
This unforgiveness will transform itself into bitterness and a finely honed skill of holding grudges. The dual effect is that no forgiveness has been received, none will be given.
Mark 11.26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Starting with the decision to replace a love for God (and thus obeying Him – 1 John) we see a rapidly descending spiral of consequences. Our heart is corrupted, then our mind, then our words and now our behavior. It becomes self explanatory why a person whose life is marked with any of these characteristics only has a “form of godliness” which will lack any true power.
Power for what? Power to change. Power to resist sin. Power to be disciplined. Power to please God. We may go through the motions (a “form” of godliness) of Christianity, but it will be no more fruitful than if we just turned from it completely.
Tomorrow we will see how this ultimately leads to an aggressive, defiant, “in your face”, ungodly lifestyle if left unchecked.
Father, help us recognize any hint of these behaviors in our life. Give us wisdom to understand that it all begins with who is ruling our life. May we completely surrender every moment of our day today in humble submission to You as Master and King. Let our every step, every task, and every moment be consecrated to You as a holy act of obedience. Amen.