The Greatest Peril of Perilous Times

2 Timothy 3:1-6; Matthew 24:10-13

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Ask the children of this world what it is in their account that makes the times bad, and they will tell you, “Scarcity of money, decay of trade, and the desolations of war, make the times bad.” But the scripture lays the badness of the times upon causes of another nature: “Perilous times shall come,” for “iniquity shall abound.”

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Surely no anointed eye can fail to see that this prediction is now being fulfilled. Men are bent on pleasing themselves. Authority is openly flouted. Discipline is a thing of the past. Parental control is rarely exercised. Marriage has, for the most part, degenerated into a thing of convenience.

SAMUEL MILLER (1769-1850): Think of the abounding atheism and various forms of infidelity, the pride, the degrading intemperance, the profanations of the Sabbath, the fraud, the gross impiety, the neglect and contempt of the gospel, and all the numberless forms of enormous moral corruption ­which even in the most favoured parts of our country prevail in a deplorable degree, and in the less favoured hold a melancholy and undisturbed reign.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Worse still, if worse can be: those who dare walk our streets after sundown tell us that Sodom, in its most putrid days, could scarce exceed this metropolis for open vice.

MATTHEW HENRY: The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted,” Psalm 12:8. When wickedness abounds, and goes barefaced, under the protection and countenance of those in authority, then the times are very bad. When the vilest men are exalted to places of trust and power (who, instead of putting the laws in execution against vice and injustice and punishing the wicked according to their merits, patronize and protect them, give them countenance, and support their reputation by their own example), then the wicked walk on every side; they swarm in all places, and go up and down seeking to deceive, debauch, and destroy others; they are neither afraid nor ashamed to discover themselves; they declare their sin as Sodom and there is none to check or control them.

C. H. SPURGEON: Deep is our shame when we know that our judges are not clear in this matter, but social purity has been put to the blush by magistrates of no mean degree.

SAMUEL MILLER: Think of these abounding sins; and think also in how small a degree multitudes even of the professing people of God seem to be awake to the great responsibilities and duties of their high vocation.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): One of the heaviest complaints made in the prophets against Jerusalem for her backsliding, is that she was a “comfort” to Samaria and Sodom (Ezekiel 16:54); that those who had the name and place of God’s people, so lived as to make the wicked feel at ease.

A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): I confess to a feeling of uneasiness about this when I observe the questionable things Christ is said to do for people these days. He is often recommended as a wonderfully obliging, but not too discriminating Big Brother―who delights to help us to accomplish our ends, and who further favours us by forbearing to ask any embarrassing questions about the moral and spiritual qualities of those ends.

Within the past few years, Christ has been popularized by some so-called evangelicals as one who, if a proper amount of prayer were made―would help the pious prize fighter to knock another fighter unconscious in the ring. Christ is also said to help the big league pitcher to get the proper hook on his curve. In another instance He assists an athlete to win the high jump; and in another case, not only to come in first in a track meet―but to set a new record in the bargain. He is said also to have helped a praying businessman to beat out a competitor in a deal. He is even thought to lend support to a praying movie actress while she plays a role so lewd as to bring the blood to the face of a professional prostitute!

Thus our Lord becomes the Christ of utility―a kind of Aladdin’s lamp to do minor miracles in behalf of anyone who summons Him to do his bidding…Theirs is a Christ of carnal convenience, not too far removed from the gods of paganism.

C. H. SPURGEON: Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. They have risen in all ages; in these modern times they have risen in clouds, till the air is thick with them, as with an army of devouring locusts.  These are the men who invent new doctrines, and who seem to think that the religion of Jesus Christ is something that a man may twist into any form and shape that he pleases…Yet, when it so happens, let us remember that the King said it would be so. Is it any wonder that, where such “iniquity abounds” and such lawlessness is multiplied, “the love of many shall wax cold?”

MATTHEW HENRY: Though the world always lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19), yet there are some times in which it may be said, that iniquity doth in a special manner abound; as when it is more extensive than ordinary, as in the old world, when “all flesh had corrupted his way,” Genesis 6:12; and when it is more excessive than ordinary―and the abating of love is the consequence―Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Understand it in general of true serious godliness, which is all summed up in love; it is too common for professors of religion to grow cool in their profession, when the wicked are hot in their wickedness; as the church of Ephesus in bad times “left her first love,” Revelation 2:2-4.

C. H. SPURGEON: I think that you can see why our Saviour has given us a warning in this particular form. Iniquity is naturally opposed to grace, but it is most of all injurious to the grace of love.

A. W. PINK: This particular grace is the one which most affects the others: if the heart be kept right the head will not go far wrong; but when love cools, every grace languishes. Hence we find the apostle praying for the Ephesian saints that they might be “rooted and grounded in love,” Ephesians 3:17…In fact, of all of our graces this one is the most sensitive and delicate and needs the most cherishing and guarding (Matthew 24:12; Revelation 2:5).

C. H. SPURGEON: No peril can be greater than this. Lose love, lose all!

 

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