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Text Sermons : Erlo Stegen : Difficult times in last days

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2 Tim 3: 1- 5: But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power therefore. From these also turn away.

In 2 Timothy 3 v 1-5, the verse starts with “know this”. That means we need to take note of what is said. In the last days perilous, difficult days will come. These last days might be a whole church age or unique periods of testing. For example, in the time of Nero the Christians were terribly persecuted. It is thought that Nero started the fire that burnt much of Rome and then he blamed the Christians for it. Paul was also horribly persecuted. He was beaten many times and stoned and left for dead but he survived. He was talented but the world doesn’t want a good thing. King Louis of France was an enemy of the Christians called the Huguenots. There was a time when blood flowed in the streets. The Christians were not allowed to meet or bury their dead. They would still bury their dead and then plant a tree so that when the officials came to look, they would think they had only planted a tree. The Huguenots then fled to other countries (and some eventually came to South Africa) and became a light in those countries where they went. When they left, a very dark time came to France. There have been very difficult times in the history of the world. In Russia during Stalin’s reign, it is estimated that millions of people died. There are difficult days which God has allowed in the last days.

The Bible says that if that time would not be shortened, no-one would survive. During the time of the anti-Christ, people won’t be able to buy or sell if they do not accept the mark of the beast. He might not come in that way, but Satan’s spirit is already working today. Evil will increase dramatically and times will get worse. The word perilous or terrible is only used twice in the New Testament: in Timothy and in gospel according to Matthew. In the region of the Gadarenes, there were two men who no longer lived with people. They lived among the tombs where the dead are buried. No normal person lives in a cemetery. In the same way, some people are not among those who are alive but they are with those who are dead in their sin like immorality and lies. Even some young people live in the cemetery because they hide their stolen goods there thinking that no-one will find it. The Bible says that they were violent, dangerous men and people couldn’t even walk past there. Then the Lord Jesus came and they said, “ Lord, have you come to torment us before the time?” In Matthew 25 v 41, the Lord spoke to those on His left hand and said, “ Depart from me, you cursed, into the fire made for the Devil and his angels.”

Hell was not created for man but if you associate with the devil, then you will be punished with him and it will be a terrible punishment. When Lazarus died, he went to heaven but the rich man went to hell. The rich man lifted up his eyes and cried to Father Abraham to send Lazarus to put a drop of water on his tongue. When he was on earth, he didn’t want to go near Lazarus but now he wanted Lazarus to come and put water on his lips. It will be terrible to be cast into the lake of fire.

Timothy says that terrible times will come and it will get worse and worse. Daniel says that many will be purified but that the wicked will get more wicked. In Revelation 22 v 11, it says that the unjust will be unjust still and the filthy will be filthy still. He who is in heaven will see and shout it from the roof tops. He who is holy must be holy still. If you do not obey, you will be severely punished and this doesn’t only refer to believers but also to unbelievers. For example, Ananias and Sapphira lied and they fell down dead.

People love themselves (as it says in verse 2). They are only worried about their own interests. They elevate themselves and think that they are better than others. Gossipers and slanderers have tongues that are ignited by the devil. They speak evil of people and spread stories with their cellphones. Those who have an ear to hear should hear or continue with their evil and receive their reward.

But you must be different. Through Jesus Christ you can be a light in dark, difficult days.





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