Joyce Meyer - Are These The Last Days?
Tonight, I'm going to teach on the last days. You're thinking, "Well, that's kind of out of the box for you, isn't it, Joyce?" But that's all right, I'll work all my regular stuff into it.
Father, we thank You for the Word tonight, and all that You're going to say and do to people. And we do know, God, that we are living in desperate times. And we know that we not only need you, but You need us. And You need us to be a light in this dark world. And so, we're asking You to help us tonight make decisions about how You want us to live, and show us everything that we need to see. And we ask it in Jesus' name, amen.
We're living in really serious times. You have to have lived a little while I guess to know really how much the world is changing, and how frighteningly fast it is changing. And I have lots of scriptures that I want to show you tonight, especially in the first part of this. And I think it's important for you to see them because we really should not be all that surprised by anything that's going on today because it's all already told us in the word of God.
And I just want to say if you're alive at this time in history, it's not an accident. God chose you to live in this time, and He's chose me to live in this time for a purpose. And we've got what it takes to be here, to not be afraid, to be victorious, and to be people that God can use to change other people's lives. The world needs Christ. The part of the world that doesn't know Him, that's what they need.
The government's not our answer, God's the answer. We need God in our life. And so many people, they are mixed up about God. They've had some attempt at some brand of religion, and they've gotten hurt, and it didn't meet their needs, and so now they think God can't help them. And sadly, a lot of people aren't going to church to find their answers, they're watching us.
So, here we go, 2 Timothy 3:1 through 5, "But understand this, that in the last days will come (and set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble," great stress and trouble, "(hard to deal with and hard to bear)."
How many of you know that it's a little hard out there today? A little bit difficult, isn't it? And I was listening to somebody recently who's a greek scholar, and he said in this scripture where it says the last days, it's a different greek word than other places where it says last days. Here, it means the last of the last days. And so, in the last of the last days, and I don't know how last we are, but we're laster than we were last year.
Nobody knows the exact time when He's going to come, but you know, it's pretty obvious why God doesn't tell us when because we might try to wait till weeks ahead of time and get ready, so He wants us to live ready. We don't need to get ready, we need to live ready.
People are always saying, "Well, do you think Jesus is coming back soon?" Well, you know, I don't know exactly when He's coming back, but I think we need to live like He's coming back at any minute." Amen? So, He says we're living in difficult times, hard to deal with and hard to bear.
Now, I'm going to do a little checklist tonight and settle if we really think we're living in the last days or if we think we're not.
"People will be lovers of self" — check.
"Utterly self-centered" — check.
"Lovers of money" — check.
"Aroused by an inordinate greedy desire for wealth, proud and arrogant, contemptuous boasters" — check.
"They'll be abusive, blasphemous, scoffing." Scoffing means making fun of god and godly things. And we have a lot of that going on today, and it is very disturbing. "[They will be] disobedient to parents, Ungrateful, unholy, and profane. [They will be] without natural [human] affection, [callous and inhuman]" — check
"Relentless, admitting of no truce or appeasement." Nobody wants to be wrong — check.
"[They will be] slanderers, (false accusers, troublemakers), loosened morals, no discipline, uncontrolled." Doesn't sound too good, does it? — check.
"[They will be] treacherous, [betrayers], rash [and] inflated with self-conceit. — check.
[They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements" — check.
So, we can say, "Man, the world really is in a mess," but we better read verse 5. "For although they hold a form of piety true religion," although they hold a form of religion, so is he really just talking about the world that we think is the world that's unsaved, or is he maybe talking about a lot of the church today? "They deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it." So, he talks about all these different things that are going to be going on.
Now, let's look at 2 Timothy 4:1 through 5. That's just like going right onto the next chapter. And I love this part. Paul is giving Timothy a charge as a young minister. He says, "Now, I charge you in the presence of God and Jesus Christ, Who is to Judge the living and the dead, and by (and in the light) of His coming, herald and preach the word. Keep your sense of urgency, stand by, be at hand and ready, whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable, whether it's convenient or inconvenient, whether it's welcome or unwelcome."
Now, buckle your seatbelt. "You as a preacher of the word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong." Well, we can't get a checkmark on that one. People don't always care for that. You know how difficult it is to try to share with somebody something that they're doing that's wrong? You can't even get that over on your kids, and they're supposed to be listening to you, let alone a church full of people.
I'll tell you a story I heard that I think is sad. You know, first of all, I think we need to love each other enough to confront one another when we have to in a loving way. The bible says, "Speak the truth in love."
There were three young ladies, young women all with young children. And this group of ladies had a girls' night out, and the pastor heard that they had gone to this extremely ungodly, filthy, dirty movie. And so, out of love and concern, he went to each one of their houses one by one, and sat down and talked with them, and shared with them why he was coming.
"This is just not a good thing for you to do. It's not good for you, it's not good for your family, not a good example." Every one of them left the church. And I think that's sad. I think it's sad. "You as a preacher of the word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong, convince them, rebuke, correct, warn, urge," no checkmarks yet, "And encourage." Okay, we'll get a checkmark there.
That one's good. Let's look at verse 3, "For the time is coming when people will not tolerate (and endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but having ears itching for something pleasing and gratifying, they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number chosen to satisfy their own liking and foster the errors that they hold."
Here's the bottom line. You can pick a certain kind of teaching that you want to hear, and you can pick stuff that will never confront you or make you squirm in your seat at all or make you change.
I went to a church for years and never changed one iota. I would act like an idiot all week, go to church on Sunday, go back home and act like an idiot the rest of the week. Fight with my husband, talk about my neighbors, gossip about everybody, go back to church. And that's not what we're called to do.
God didn't save us just so we could be entertained. He wants us to be conformed into His image, and He wants us to be light in a dark world. Every single one of you is a preacher. Every single solitary one of you is a preacher. You may not all do it from a pulpit, but every one of you is a preacher. And if your mouth is not being used to preach, then your life certainly should be.
Everywhere that you go, you should be a sermon at work, a sermon at the grocery store, a sermon in your neighborhood, a sermon in your school, and you should do it without ever having to open your mouth. We cannot blend in.