We live in perilous times
2 Timothy chapter 3. If you could turn to the Bible and read this chapter: 2 Timothy chapter 3 starting at verse 1:
Words of the Apostle Paul which begin with a statement about what’s going to be happening in the last days when, he says, they’re going to be perilous times.
I remember when I was an unbeliever and a member of the Communist Party in 1969, sitting on an underground train, going from Hounslow to Piccadilly.
On the advertising board, there was this verse written down. It was a Bible verse on the underground. I sat there on the Piccadilly line thinking, ‘That sounds a bit like today’.
By then, I’d already had people talking to me about Jesus and the Second Coming. and I thought, ‘Supposing Jesus comes while I’m on this underground train and I’m not ready to meet Him…’ And it was just one of the things which probably led me towards becoming a Christian about a month or so later. But it’s true, aren’t they? These words are true. That was in 1969. How much more does it sound like the world today?
If you look through this passage, Paul says that apart from the signs of how people’s behaviour changes, there’s going to be a situation in which people will have ‘a form of godliness’ but deny God’s power.
Does that sound like today? Does that sound like the state of the church today?
A fable is a story which people have made up. You can either believe the truth which God has given to you or, you’re going to believe a story which people have made up. This is what you see happening more and more in the church today.
I’m going to be saying a little bit more about that later, about people believing fables, stories which have been made up rather than the truth.
And Paul tells Timothy here that what you should do is believe the holy scriptures which are wise to give you salvation and to endure, and to preach the Gospel, preach the Word being ready ‘in season and out of season’. To convince, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and teaching.
But what about the state of the world today? If you look around the world today, in our country, you can see a state of discontent, frustration, and unrest. Whatever society you look at today, people are in a bad place.
There’s an alienation from government, from those in authority. Here, we’ve got the prices going up, we’ve got shortages, we’ve got taxes going up, people striking for more pay, the rail workers, the posties, the nurses. It looks like we’re heading for a time like that of the 1970s when, you remember, everything closed down, society ground to a halt and began to melt down. It could happen here too.
And there are so many issues around which people don’t have any solution for. We have the whole migration question.
It goes on and on, we have people who are frightened and worried about violence and lawlessness, about racial tensions around the country, and nobody has an answer to it. They talk about it yet they don’t have an answer.
Young people are concerned about the future: will they be destroyed by climate change? They push for zero carbon emissions leading us into a situation where we may not have enough food, enough energy, or enough money to keep society going. All these crises are building up, you can see them, I could go on, give you some more examples.
What is ‘woke’?
And we even have a kind of ‘woke ideology’ being imposed upon us through the universities and the media, which seems to be intent on destroying our culture and replacing it with something that goes against all the traditional moral values we’ve had, to the point of potentially creating a very controlling and very totalitarian way in which the ideology is being imposed. All these things cause people to be anxious.
I guess I feel anxious sometimes, when I look at these things taking place in the world. It reminds us that Jesus said would happen in the last days. There’s going to be a situation in which you’ll see what you call the
I’ve said it before, but the phrase which is used for in perplexity there in Greek is ‘aporia’,
which means ‘with no way out’: a crisis which has no way out.
Is the world really in crisis?
We’re seeing so many crises coming on the world which seem to have ‘no way out’. I’ve talked about a few things happening here, in the UK, but they’re nothing compared to what’s happening in other countries: Ukraine, Russia, Iran, China, countries that are seeing oppression, war, crises bringing mass casualties.
Countries in Africa, the Middle East facing poverty, war, oppression.
A total catastrophe taking place now for the people of Ukraine as Russia is deliberately destroying their infrastructure, leaving many with no electricity, running water, with little food, and condemning them to freezing conditions or starving in the coming winter.
Do we think we’ve got trouble? Look at what’s happening there.
You’ve got China and I’m going to say a bit more about China. A ramping up in the situation which is extremely dangerous. With Xi Jinping taking power to himself and pushing for zero Covid agenda. I don’t know if you saw the news today, but it showed people in such in China where they’ve been totally locked up for weeks on end, not able to go out of their houses.
Whole areas are being completely shut down and, if they do go out, they’re tested. If they test ‘positive’ for Covid, they’re then sent to quarantine centres which are really like concentration camps. It’s hard to get out of them, and it’s becoming a total tyranny. People are beginning to rebel against it and there’s a crisis taking place there.
But you have a very difficult situation there as well as with what’s happening in Ukraine and everywhere else. You can see these crises coming.
The Middle East also continues to be in a dangerous situation. We’ve got Israel warning of its potential attacks on Iran’s nuclear sites because Iran is moving towards developing a nuclear bomb and Israel says they won’t let them do that. Additionally, within Israel, we’ve got an increase of terrorism, a new government which the world seems to condemn because they say it’s too ‘right-wing’ but which, in reality, wants to create some order in Israel. The situation is very dangerous.
Antisemitism raising its head again
We’ve also got a rise of anti-Semitism. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but the Jewish Community around us here is really concerned about the growing anti-Semitism in the world.
Anti-Semitism is coming from some left and Islamic forces who don’t like Israel and blame the Jews about what is going on in Israel and is also coming from some right-wing sources which say that the Jews are behind the New World Order and who are blaming the Jews for what’s taking place.
Put all these situations and you’ve got some classic antisemitic things coming out which are causing the Jewish people to be concerned.
Ordering the broken world
You’ve got so many things taking place. I’ll say a bit more about them. Whether with Covid, or other crises, there are all sorts of things happening.
We’ve got world leaders coming together for conferences like the COP27 and the G20, and the question is: Do they have any answers?
Many people feel, when they hear what they’re saying, that not only they don’t have any answers, but they’re also part of the problem, and they’re making things worse through the things they do.
That’s interesting. If you go to Psalm 2, there is a Psalm which speaks about the nations, the world leaders coming together and which says,
‘Rulers of the Nations coming together taking counsel together’. Do you see that happening? You’ve got these conferences COP27, G20; they’re all happening all the time. They keep having these conferences, coming together.
Are they coming together to sort out God’s world under God’s way? No! For the most part, they are against the Lord, against God, and against His Anointed. What’s the Hebrew for His Anointed? It’s ‘His Messiah’. Therefore, if they’re against His Messiah, if they’re against Messiah, they are anti-Messiah. Therefore, they are ‘anti-Christ’. You’re seeing the nations coming together with this Antichrist agenda.
And they’re saying, ‘let’s cast their cords from us’. What are their cords? The cords represent the restraining influence of God’s Law and God’s Commandments on humans. And they’re saying, ‘Let’s have…’ In fact, one of the modern translations of the Bible says, ‘Let’s have done with all this slavery to God’, which is not a bad translation of it.
That’s what they’re saying: ‘Let’s have done with God’s Law, God’s Commandments; let’s make up our own, make up our own religion and do what we think is right’. And it ends up with somebody which is anti-Christian taking control. Some people feel it’s not just aiming to make the world worse but to wipe out half the world’s population. So, where is it all heading?
When I was doing my university course, I studied literature. One of the things I read was a book by Fyodor Dostoyevsky called ‘Crime and Punishment’. Has anyone read it? It’s about a man called Raskolnikov who murders an old lady in Saint Petersburg then goes through a time of guilt and breakdown in his family. Finally, he goes through repentance and restoration. At the end of the book, he has a dream which many people have considered prophetic. I’ll read to you Raskolnikov’s dream:
It’s interesting. He’s talking about a situation where humanity is faced with a plague and disorder, and where people, he says here,
It’s quite prophetic. I’m not saying that it is biblical, but it’s an interesting thing which is written down. This was written in 1866 by the way. It tells us something. It tells us about the times we’re living in, perilous times, difficult times, times when people are afraid of what’s coming on the earth.
Where is the church?
You’d think that the church would be warning people that these things fit in with what the Bible says is going to happen in the last days. That it would be calling people to repent and believe and be saved from the wrath to come. However, there’s a deafening silence about these happenings coming from the church, and as we read back in Timothy, ‘people have a form of religion but are denying the power thereof’.
So, what is the power of religion? You see, some preachers stand up and they’re shouting ‘Power, power, power, power!’ That’s not actually the power which the Bible speaks about. The power according to Romans chapter 1 is the Gospel. Paul said,
It speaks about salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. One source of power which we have, the main source of power, the real power we have is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This brings us back to what I was telling you from 2 Timothy chapter 3.
If we see these disasters, these crises coming on the world, what can we do about them? We can’t stop the disasters, but we can tell people how to be saved from the trouble that’s coming, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, through the Gospel. That’s what the church should be doing. Is it doing it?
One of the features of the last days will be a worldwide rejection of the Gospel, including the official churches abandoning the Gospel and replacing it with an alternative religion which doesn’t have the power to save. And you can see that it’s happening.
A lot of the churches are saying to the world:
‘Please world, let us be with you, let us hold on to your coattails because we’re not so different from you. Don’t kick us out, because of those nasty things in the Bible which you don’t like. We’ll ditch those ourselves so that we can be just like you. We would accept homosexual marriage and all that and would accept that ‘all roads lead to God’. We won’t offend you in any way because we don’t really want to be offensive by preaching the Gospel. So please, let us come to your party and carry on and not offend you.’
Unfortunately, the Gospel is offensive. Because it’s calling people who are sinners to repentance, that is, if we are offending people in the true way.
If we’re offending people by the Gospel then, that is not an offense in God’s eyes, it’s something which God wants them to hear.
Yet, we have bishops in the Church of England and the Church of Scotland telling us how much they approve of the gay lifestyle, and gay marriage, apologizing for texts in the Bible which tell you that these things are sinful, making Jesus into a kind of New Age social worker. They say, ‘He wasn’t sure what He believed. He was just a man like us; not the Son of God who came down from heaven to save us.’
And they also say that Christianity is just one of many options you can choose to find your way to God, and that Jesus didn’t really mean it when he said,
But Jesus did mean it. There is One Way to God, only through Jesus Christ. Because God is Holy and we’re sinful and only Jesus has crossed the gulf between a holy God and sinful humanity.
But what you’re seeing taking place is a replacement of Christianity with a new religion which is not Christian. It may have a form of Christianity, but it’s not biblical and it’s not truly following Yeshua Ha Mashiach / Jesus the Messiah.
Will you support a One-World religion?
This situation ends up with a global religion with New Age principles. I spoke about this this morning when I was shared about the event some of us went to. Derek came with Barbara and I and Javad came down to the Tower of London to an event called ‘About Us’ which was promoting Evolution and saying that, in the beginning, there was nothing, then nothing exploded and created the universe which we live in now.
We were a bit incensed by these statements, so we gave up this leaflet ‘Questioning Evolution’ and some other leaflets and talked to people as we were giving them out.
I was saying,
Some people were mocking us, some people took the leaflets.
One man came up to me and said, “You’re right. This program which you’ve just watched is rubbish. There was no Big Bang.”
I said, “Do you believe in God? You’re a Christian.”
He said, “No. I just don’t believe in evolution. It can’t be true.“
I gave you some reasons this morning. I’m not going to go into that again now. You can watch the morning service video if you want to.
However, the point is that what was happening there was an alternative expression of religion. The whole thing was religious in nature, it had religious music, flashing images, and it was used to indoctrinate people into this New Age, New World Order religious system.