Are we living in the "last days?" In a sense, we have been living in the last days since Christ first came (Hebrews 1:1-2). We have seen the end of the Old Testament era and are now in a new era (the Church Age / the Age of Grace) which is predicted to end in great drama (II Thessalonians 2:1-17). It is in this time period - between Christ's first coming and His second coming - that we are going to experience seasons or "times" of great peril. History bears witness of many times, in the past 2000 years, when the conditions described in II Timothy 3 have been fulfilled (Matthew 24:1-51 - note vs.6-8). It would seem that these seasons of peril will increase in their levels of intensity - like birth pangs - until the difficulty might seem unbearable (Luke 18:7-8).
The third chapter of II Timothy is designed to help Christians prepare their mind and soul for these perilous seasons that will come upon us. Paul uses a word, to describe these times, that means "perilous, difficult, grievous, terrible, painful, fierce." The same Greek word is used in Matthew 8:28 to describe two demon-possessed men that were so terrible that no one could pass through that area (translated "fierce" or "violent"). Paul is warning us that it is not easy to be a Christian and that it is not going to get easier until Christ comes again (II Timothy 3:12 cp. Acts 14:19-22; II Thessalonians 1:7-12; 3:1-5).
Describing Perilous Times
- Passions without Character (without Agape' Love) - II Timothy 3:2-4
See I Corinthians 13:1-8a; II Timothy 2:19; James 3:11-18 cp. Titus 2:11-14.
- Powerless Conduct (dead religious activity) - II Timothy 3:5
See I Corinthians 2:1-5; 4:19-20; II Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 6:1; 9:14; Revelation 3:1, 15-17.
- Pursuit of the Carnal (carnal motives / carnal methods) - II Timothy 3:6
See II Corinthians 2:17; 4:1-2; 10:3-5.
- Pointless Chatter (fruitless knowledge / empty talk) - II Timothy 3:7
See II Timothy 2:14,16,23; I Timothy 1:3-7; 6:1-5, 20-21; Romans 10:1-4; I Corinthians 8:1-3; II Peter 1:1-12.
- Powerful Conflict (doctrines of men / doctrines of demons) - II Timothy 3:8-9, 13;
Matthew 15:9; Colossians 2:6-10, 16-23; I Timothy 4:1-7; I John 2:18-27; 4:1-6; Jude 1:3-4.
Responding to Perilous Times
- Paul's Conduct & Challenge (Brace yourself & remember the Lord is faithful.) - II Timothy 3:10-14 (vs. 11 - note the deliverance of the Lord cp. II Timothy 4:14-18)
- Powerful course of action (Saturate yourself in God's Word and proclaim it.) - II Timothy 3:15-17 cp. 2:8-10; 4:1-5; Romans 1:14-16.
- Personal Crown (Motivate yourself with heavenly promises.) - II Timothy 4:6-8 cp. James 1:12; I Peter 5:1-4; II Peter 1:2-4.