II Timothy 3:1-5

1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

It is a very old point to make, but it is worthy of making again – when Paul warned Timothy about the difficulty of the last days he was referring to the days in which Timothy lived. Paul was not talking to Timothy about some far off time that he would not live to see. He was preparing Timothy for the things he was going to encounter in his work as a pastor. Timothy lived in the last days.

The command to Timothy that he be different from those described in verses 1-4 tell us that the “last days” described in this chapter are the days in which Timothy and Paul lived. It has been the last Days since Jesus left the earth. And they have always been days of great difficulty, perilous times. Let us never look at the preponderance of sin in our world as evidence that this is the last generation before the coming of Christ. It is evidence of the fact that we are in the last days and have been for a very long time and may be for a long time yet.

We should find great encouragement from the fact that the church has prospered in the midst of great difficulty throughout the centuries and will survive the crises that we find ourselves in now. What the church has been able to do, by the grace and power of God, it is still able to do through that same power and grace.

But we need to heed the warnings of Scripture, the commands to be vigilant, the urgings to be careful and the promises of reward to the faithful. It is never folly to pray for a movement of God and it is never wrong to believe that great movements of God that were spawned in the past through prayer and the power of God, can indeed happen again. Oh that it would be so, if not in this part of the world then in some other where the Spirit decides it is time to take it next.

Today, do not allow the news you hear of natural disasters and wars to convince you that we are in the final generation before Christ returns. What it should do first is convince you to put every effort into living with greater holiness.