Session V: Phillip Jensen "Living in the Last Days"
I. 2 Timothy 3:1-9
Jensen started by discussing that this is what he preached this las week in Sydney. He mentioned that Bible exposition is interesting because in the course of preaching through books of the Bible you come across passages and topics that you would never choose to try to explain. He also mentioned that this sermon upset some people who left in a rage...it encouraged others to stand firm in the faith, and it concerned others that they would be kicked out of the Anglican church (which would basically be the same as standing for the truth). He then ended the introduction with a pretty funny quote, "If this is what I think of the Anglican’s to whom I belong you can only imagine what I think of you!"
II. Times that We Live in
He believes that these are the last days. Along with these last days will come times of difficulty. In some ways these are (or appear to be) easier times…but we have to understand the last times are going to be days of difficulty. The opposition to God’s people will grow. As we preach the gospel we must expect hostility. We are to expect persecution, discrimination and hostility. In the West for ages we have had governmental support. But as the antithesis of secularism grows more militant we come more and more under threat. We must not think that democracy will help us. Democracy is only the tyranny of the majority. For the majority, morality will have not track with Christians when Christians are the minority. In Sydney among Anglicans seduction is the problem.
Notice what God says about these last difficult times in this passage. Verse 2 says, “because the people really will be evil.” That is not to say that all the evil people will be wholly evil all the time.
Look at how we entertain ourselves…or what fills our minds and aspirations…we live in a society dominated by individualism (where nothing matters but ourselves), materialism (bigger is better), hedonism (pleasure, fun, enjoyment, happiness, etc.). Australia is a people that are committed gamblers. They send busses to the poorest areas to take people for free to the casinos.
Verse 4 describes lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. There is an interesting rejection of God that took place this week in what is called Australian Idol. Of the six finalists four are evangelical Christians, and they have been banned from talking about God on the show. This shows how their society loves the wrong things.
Verse 2 and 4 are good descriptions of Australian lifestyle. Last week Phillip had to pick his way through Bicyclists who are trying to ride in the sun to avoid the shade. He tried to avoid pub full of all night drinkers that were watching the World Cup rugby match between South African and England and they had been drinking all night past 5:00am. He then had to walk around the motor show and on the bridge and walked by all the Corvettes in the Corvette club…almost all of which were cleaner and more polished than his own teeth.
There is a second list of these people in verses 6-8. These are the religious charlatans. Also, amongst the women some are weak…and some are particularly vulnerable to religious Charlatans. 60% of Christians are female. And where the gospel is not preached the number of women rises. There is a female bias to religion and that’s what he is saying in the passage.
Jensen then discussed how you don’t have to know everything about someone to know them. This is how he knows Jesus…but these people never come to a knowledge of truth. Because they are ignorant of the truth. They’ve never met Jesus.
He then mentioned how last year we were challenged by the Da Vinci Code…he didn’t read it…didn’t read a critique of it. These things are always coming and going. Every time he yawns at every "world shattering new discovery every Christmas or Easter" (e. g. The Gospel of Judas, The box that says Jesus rests here, etc.). The secularist media has to report on Christmas and Easter but they don’t want to say anything godly so every year these things keep coming out.
III. We’ll be dealing not only with irreligion, but with religion.
Verse 5 has to do with the appearance of godliness but denies it’s power, "have nothing to do with them." There is an appearance of religiousness. We should ask, "Are we this people…are we being described here…have we only the appearance of godliness and are not in reality?" Muslims and Buddhists have the appearance of religion. Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicanism have the appearance of godliness.
IV. Phillip then described how he went to bed one night a reverend, and then in the middle of the night became reverent. It happened while he was asleep so he missed it.
He explained that there is nothing wrong with appearing godly. There is nothing wrong with it. The real problem with these people is that they appear to have godliness…but they DENY IT’S POWER.
He then described how there was a preacher in Australia who thought the God of the Old Testament was dead…he claimed that Jesus died with us and rejected the idea that God would judge anyone. He stood in a cathedral in Australia dressed in the robe of a bishop. It’s not just the truth this preahcer denied, but the power of religion he denied.
The power of godliness is the power of the gospel. It is the power to endure suffering knowing the saving power of Jesus. This preacher was being transformed by the power of God. This was the case of our apostle Paul…a more powerful character has hardly walked across the face of history although it didn’t look like it at the time.
There are people in churches who’s religious credentials are impeccable, but the deny the power of God to change lives. They have degrees in divinity from the very finest institutions. They have all the appearance of godliness and deny the power of it. Avoid such people. Don't avoid just their teaching…or their ungodliness…rather, we are not to fellowship with these people. This unbelief spreads like gangrene spreads into all that come in contact with them. Below is the prayer that he often shares at the end of many sermons.
The first paragraph reminds us of how to be a Christian and how to become one. We don’t deserve eternal life.
The second paragraph is a thank you.
The third paragraph is the prayer of the plea.
"If you are a minister do not let your religious pride stand in the way of seeking the mercy of God," he said. He then described that that liberal minister was him. He invited us to pray this prayer like he did…he was not a Christian and he has become one. To be thought little by men is a small thing in comparison to being thought little of God.Dear God,
I know that I am not worthy to be accepted by you
I don’t deserve your gift of eternal life
I am guilty of rebelling against you and ignoring you,
I need forgiveness
Thank you for sending your son to die for me
That I may be forgiven
Thank you that he rose from the dead
To give me new life.
Please forgive me and change me, that I may live with Jesus as my ruler. Amen