Derek Prince - This Is The Problem False Christians Have
This is an excerpt from: True and False Christ - Part 1
And then in the world. We have a picture in 2 Timothy 3, the first 5 verses. 2 Timothy 3, beginning at verse 1: But know this In other words, be very certain of this fact. that in the last days [the period before the close of this age] perilous times will come. And in the margin of this particular Bible it says times of stress. That's remarkable because, you know, stress is one of the new words that everybody uses but 40 years ago, people didn't talk about stress. They wondered where there was such a thing as stress. They just went about their way.
Why are there going to be perilous times? The root problem is the degeneration of human character and conduct. That's what causes the danger. And Paul then gives a list of 18 aspects of human behavior that will be very conspicuous as we near the close of the age. I'll just read the list quickly. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God There are actually 18 moral or ethical defects.
I would suggest to you that almost all of them are conspicuous in our contemporary culture. And really, the root problem is what people love. It begins with love of self and love of money and ends with love of pleasure. I would say if you take the culture of Europe today, including Britain, those are three of the main elements that direct people. Love of self, love of money and love of pleasure. And in between are all these other characteristics. Then says in verse 5: having a form of godliness, but denying its power So, this is rather startling. You might think all these people are people of the world. But Paul says no, they are professing godliness. It is incredible to me that Paul would use the word godliness about any religion other than the true religion.
So here are people professing to be Christians but their characters are deteriorating. They haven't been changed by the truth of the gospel. So, they profess faith but they deny the power that can change people. And if I were to choose just one word to sum it up it would be selfish. I tell people many places, listen, you can be one of those people who never smoke, never drink, never indulge in drugs, but if you're selfish, if you're living for yourself, your life is a denial of the power of the gospel. You're no better, you're just maybe a little more careful, you avoid certain things that harm you. But the real distinguishing mark of true Christians in this age is unselfishness. Those who lack that mark make the claim but deny the power.
And then Paul says: from such turn away. In other words, don't waste your time on them. I think that's an important message to ministers of the gospel. Don't spend too much time on selfish, self-centered people because the more time you give to counseling them and praying with them, the more self-centered they become. Self is a prison and every time you indulge it you're strengthening the bars of that prison.