Outward Appearances Are Sometimes Deceiving

Sermon Titled “The Appearance Of Godliness” 2 Timothy 3:1-9 – Sunday 9th November, 2014

  • 2 Timothy 3:1 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.”

Scattered throughout the Bible are numerous references to “end-time” events, or those occurrences we can expect to encounter during the “last days.” Paul’s final letter to Timothy, for example, includes one such reference and as you can see above, he claims that terrible things will happen during this period.

As believers of Christ, we fully expect that things will happen just as the Bible says they will, and Paul’s words therefore, are of great significance to us. The key issue however, is not necessarily having a knowledge of exact dates and timelines (although most assume that the last days refer to the period of time between Christ’s ascension and His second coming), but more so the question of whether or not we will be ready.

One thing Paul clearly wanted us to understand, is that we will likely live through some dreadful and perilous times – times that will test our faith as never before. Some of us will have the strength to stand firm, while others will fall to the wayside and be captured by temptations that cause them to backslide. The result of the latter scenario, is a group of Christians who appear outwardly devoted to God, but who are actually living apart from Him. Paul described such persons as being:

  • lovers of themselves
  • lovers of money
  • boastful and proud
  • abusive
  • disobedient to their parents
  • ungrateful
  • unholy
  • without love
  • unforgiving
  • slanderous
  • without self-control
  • brutal
  • not lovers of the good
  • treacherous, rash and conceited
  • lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

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At the very core of these characteristics lies a “love of self,” a condition that leads to all other manner of selfish and evil behaviors. All of us, at one time, were corrupted by such sinfulness, but by God’s grace and power we were given the will to resist returning to our former ways of life. Not all however, are accepting of God’s power as a transformational force in their lives.

Consequently, we have a church that is filled with both true and false believers. The false believers exhibit an outward display of godliness, but they do not live by the Word of God. Paul says that we should have “nothing to do with such people,” not because we are superior to them, but because they propagate a love of self versus a love of Christ.

Are you are a Christian who does not believe in the transformational power of the gospel? If so, I encourage you to consider taking a brutally honest look at your thought-life. Are the character traits listed above descriptive of your lifestyle and if so, are you willing to believe that God can change you?

  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

    Jesus will come again, and when He does, will he find that you have been an obedient servant, or will He catch you unprepared, fooling others with the pretense of loving Him, but really living a life that’s based on empty religion?

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