5/28/2000 11:00 AM
2 Timothy 3:1-9
Paul talks about the last days. The conditions he speaks of here are very apparent in our time. These are perilous times - the peril being we could fall into the same condition. This can also be the case with religion. These conditions are concurrent with a religious people. Religion should cure these conditions, but these problems are going unsolved. The power of God can and does change lives. It's more than just "religion." Verse 4 - Traitors, heady, highminded, LOVERS OF PLEASURE MORE THAN LOVERS OF GOD. We aren't teaching that life should have no pleasure. The Psalms speaks of the "rivers of thy pleasure", the things saints enjoy by serving God. These, however, loved pleasure more than God. This is a condition that exists quite easily with religion. People can live in such a way that religion is just a seeking after pleasure. The "Jesus Freaks" were seeking to get high - a great emotional experience. We're not seeking to always have a good time; we're seeking after God. This doesn't mean we won't enjoy it, but it's not our focus, God is. This seeking after pleasure makes God secondary. Seeking after God may bring some unpleasant things (i.e. persecution, affliction, degradation). Paul sought after God - he saw both pleasure and difficulty. He had pleasure in his life, but that wasn't where his emphasis was. God may ask us to do hard things sometimes and we should be glad to do it because it will draw us closer to him. We need to be seekers of truth.
We were at one time serving diverse lusts and pleasures - before salvation. It's almost to be expected of one in sin to seek pleasures. But things changed when we met the Lord. We want to please God and have his smile of approval. It's a change of emphasis and purpose in life.
1 John 5:23
Compassion: love of pleasures vs. love of God. Love of God - keeping of his commandments. His commandments are not grievous, but are not necessarily pleasant. It will take some effort. Somewhere along the path of life you will be tested with God's commandment vs. what seems to be pleasurable. The one (lover of pleasure) will choose pleasure over God. The other (lover of God) will choose God over pleasure.
2 Timothy 3:5
"...having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof..." Pleasure seekers will have a form of godliness, but not God. There is a certain amount of order in serving God - the form is not so much important as having God. Our coming together is an expression of what is already in the heart. We need God in our heart in our daily life as well as at service. There is a public place or prayer, but salvation is doing business with God - not just kneeling at an altar. The form is not what saves you. We need to place the emphasis on the substance, salvation, and the presence of God. Many have fallen to substituting form for substance. There is a very real working in the soul of a saved individual. God can be as real to us as he was to any person in the gospel day. We want to be able to hear him speak to our soul and be responsive to it. His commandments are not grievous because it will always be for our good. Some things we learn by experience. We may think we know how it works, but experience may teach us how it really is. It will teach us some things that our reading won't. Make God first. We don't want to be continually seeking pleasure. The pursuit of pleasure can involve many things. We can find pleasure in a lot of things - a whole array of emotions. People that serve God have a good life and it's a happy way, but they have God as the center of their life. We could either murmur and complain or be thankful. Joy and happiness are found in the presence of God. Doing what's right may not always feel good, but afterwards it's good. Those who are seeking after God will find him. Keep God first and everything else will be added.