No, this a isn’t rerun of my previous article — it’s the same verse, the same prophecy. It’s a connected struggle, but an additional challenge to our faith and future headline we can bet on.
Bible prophecy doesn’t only foretell politics, but there are many prophecies that tell the spiritual climate at the end of the age. In these prophecies, we see the world at large, but also the condition of the church. Most of the prophecies generically tell that the last days will be filled with wickedness and lawlessness, like the days of Noah and Lot. In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul dives into details about this wickedness as he writes: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” (II Tim. 3:1-5 NIV).
This passage was shared in the previous article, and I zeroed in on verse 1 which says people will be “lovers of themselves.” Unfortunately, most of the headlines associated with that prophecy looks like our current newsfeed. In that article, I mentioned that verse 5 reveals that the “last days people” in mind are professedChristians. Notice I qualified Christians. We can debate their actual spiritual state and allegiance, but let’s focus on the actuality of this prophecy being fulfilled.
This prophecy in II Timothy reveals that people will be “lovers of pleasure.” In that prophesied time, one’s personal pleasure will be their ultimate goal. Then professed Christians will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Professed Christians will put more effort into carrying out their pleasure than they do in serving God. Professed Christians will invest more money into seeking pleasure than into ministry. Professed Christians will spend more time in their pleasures than in worship and on mission.
I doubt I need close this article with my typical snarky future headline samples, where I try to express the prophecy’s fulfillment is already happening. You see it’s happening. This reality hits too close to home. It’s a major reason our churches are empty and why we’re missing younger generations.
In these articles, I try to stick to the facts of what these future headlines will be and not provide much commentary, but this II Timothy 3 warning needs to be burned into our hearts and posted everywhere we look. We need to heed this warning. We need to heed it as an understanding of our culture, but even more as a warning for ourselves. We are each at great risk of becoming lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
We need to further know we’re at an even greater risk of becoming poster boys and girls for this prophecy because of three unique factors to us here in the States:
• We’re at a great risk of becoming lovers of pleasure rather than God more than anyone in the history and the world because we live in a time period where more forms of pleasure are available than at any other point in history. Ecclesiastes is an inventory of Solomon trying all the pleasure he could find. Think how long that book would be today. Solomon wouldn’t live long enough to try them.
• We’re at a greater risk than anyone in the world because of the wealth and availability of pleasure pursuits here in America. Very few others in the world have the opportunities of time, wealth, entertainment, activities and possessions than we do.
• I believe coming out of the COVID shutdowns has made us more materialistic, activity-driven and entertainment-driven. Going a couple of years without going and doing has pushed us to relish in it even more. Just look up camper and boat sales numbers for one reference. This increased going is why church attendance numbers haven’t returned.
A future headline is that people will become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God and, as 21st century Americans, we’re at the greatest danger. This is a future headline that we should lean into and heed as a warning.
Jake is available for revivals and preaching learn more at standfirmministries.com.