This morning we find ourselves in 2nd Timothy Chapter 3. To start off with we’ll be paraphrasing J. Vernon McGee from his “Through the Bible” series – Volume 5 - published in 1983 by Thomas Nelson. According to McGee this second letter to Timothy was written in about 67 A.D. Here is a calendar of event leading up to the writing of this letter:
58 A.D. Paul is arrested in Jerusalem.
61 A.D. Paul arrives in Rome. (The Book of Acts ends here)
61-63 A.D. Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome.
64-67 A.D. Paul is out of prison – travels to Macedonia – writes 1st Timothy and Titus.
67 A.D. Paul is re-arrested in Rome – goes to prison.
68 A.D. Paul is beheaded in Rome after writing this letter now called 2nd Timothy.
Sadly our times are similar to what Paul was experiencing back in those times. The truth is, according to the Bible, that man cannot be saved by perfect obedience – he just cannot get it done. Neither can he be saved by imperfect obedience – because God won’t accept it. The only solution is the Gospel of Grace upon which God reaches down and saves the sinner on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All this is well and good except for the liberal mindset which has invaded our culture and our churches.
Liberal preaching, instead of presenting the grace of God to sinful man, goes out in three different directions:
First from some liberal pulpits we hear what is really popular psychology like “How to Overcome” or “How to Think Creatively” or “How to Think Positively”. The premise here is evolution – that man is steadily improving – upward and onward forever. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that this is definitely not working.
There is a second type of liberal preaching which involves ethics. It preaches a nice cuddly sweet gospel which usually involves some kind of ethics – a sermonette – if you will – preached by a limp-wristed preacherette to a mass-media congegation of Christianettes. The message often goes something like this: “Good is better than evil because it’s nicer and gets you into less trouble.” John mentions this kind of church in Revelation. It’s called the Church at Laodicea.
Thirdly there is the social gospel. Today we call it liberation theology. This is about as liberal as you can get and has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity. These guys preach about better race relations, pacificism, social justice, and the Christian social order. It is Christian socialism or communism pure and simple. It doesn’t work.
McGee states that only the gospel of the grace of God will make a man into a brother of mine. When that happens the color of a person’s skin makes no difference at all.
This morning in Chapter 3 we will look at what all these things have brought into fruition in these last days. Meet the two class society: Honest-to-God Christians and the Clueless Mob.