PERILOUS TIMES

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By Roy Burner - Minister of the Gospel


INTRODUCTION

Know this that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1).  The last days began with the birth of Christ and will end in Christ's return to set up His kingdom.  The prediction of perilous times reveals what will occur in the final days of the church age.

Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedience to parents, unthankful, unholy.  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, without self-control, fierce.

Despisers of those that are good, traitors, reckless, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:2-5).  All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  Evil men, and seducers shall grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:12-13).


Perilous Times - Beyond Measure

We are seeing these characteristics manifested beyond measure.  Warning has been given that one might prepare for the onslaughter of such and to fortify themselves.  When an enemy evades; one takes action to defend that which is rightly theirs.

Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10).  The spiritual battle Christians are engaged in exists "from now on" until the Lord's return, in the meanwhile we are strengthened by His mighty power.

Being Able to Stand

PUT ON the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the devices of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).  A Bible commentary noted: Put on issues a sense of urgency, demanding immediate action, that one be not found defenseless of what God has provided for the saint of God. 

FOR WE wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). One must recognize where their attack originates from.  

WHEREFORE TAKE up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all to stand (Ephesians 6:13).  The evil day refers to the demonic onslaughter and satanic assaults.  Having done all is by putting on the armor provided by God to resist attacks of opposition. 

STAND THEREFORE having girded yourself with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; your feet shod with the preparations of the gospel of peace; about all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (Ephesians 6:14-16).

Armor of God Essential

A Bible commentary noted:  The whole armor of God consists of six pieces: 

TRUTH being the knowledge of God's Word.  The Christian's armor depends on, and is held in place by a spiritual belt, or knowledge of the truth of Scripture.

BREASTPLACE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS represents a holy character and moral conduct.  Obedience of such produces a godly life.

PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE means a willingness that comes from the gospel of peace.  The gospel gives peace to the believer, freeing him from any anxiety through the advance of a powerful opponent.

THE SHIELD OF FAITH is taking God by His Word and believing His promises.  Such trust will protect one from doubts induced by the enemy.

THE HELMET OF SALVATION is the certainty "or assurance" of salvation.

THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD refers to the whole Word of God.

These six pieces of armor are essential for the waged war against righteousness being experienced in these last days.  It has grown more fierce and intensified in many nations of the world; while just blossoming forth in others.

Of Special Importance - Prayer - God's Spirit

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching with all perseverance and supplications for all saints (Ephesians 6:18) can be linked to stand.  Prayer is indispensable.  Always means on every occasion without slacking off thinking the need has vanished.

When I was in Vietnam the enemy would fire rockets and immediately Cobra gunships would be circling overhead to spot their position.  For quite a time this surveillance continued and then gradually slacked off.  When surveillance ceased the enemy would again fire their rockets!  I seen this time after time while in Vietnam.  Prayer must be continuous; even when the presence of the enemy is not being experienced. 

In the Spirit signifies God's Spirit's divine help; not only for ourselves but for all saints of God.  Spiritual warfare is both an individual and corporate matter.  When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19).  Be not afraid, nor dismayed by reason of a great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God's (2 Chronicles 20:15).

Signs of the Times

You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you be not troubled, for all these things much come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.  Many shall be offended, and betray one another, and shall hate one another.  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold.  But he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved. 

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come (Matthew 24:6-14).  Many of the characteristics mentioned of perilous times are already in evidence in many nations of the world.

Who Can Separate Us?

Who can separate us from the love of Christ; is in reference to perilous times:  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Then came a resounding answer of faith:  I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 9:35-39).

Perilous times may come knocking at the door; for those who love Christ and stand for the truths of God's Word, but such a one is not defeated, nor separated from that love simply because of oppression, suffering, and at times even death itself, when one is anchored in their source of salvation - the Lord Jesus Christ! 

Perilous Times - Apostle Paul

The apostle Paul noted perilous times in his own life:  Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one, three times I was beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, in journeying often, in perils of waters, of robbers, my own countrymen, by the heathen, in the wilderness, among false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:24-26).

I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).  Thank God for His strengthen power during perilous times!  That we can be as the apostle Paul who was told of the Lord:  My grace is sufficient for you; for my strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Perilous Times in Many Nations

Many nations have not the freedom of open worship, or even proclaiming the name of Jesus publicly, but this has not stemmed the growth of Christianity; rather promoted its growth!  As the world gives in to immorality, ungodliness, and unrighteousness, it opens the door towards persecution of believers in Christ.

Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound (Romans 5:20)!  Perilous times, in which sin abounds, should not be a discouragement towards one's struggling in such an environment.  Scripture reveals that Lot was troubled with the filthy conduct of the wicked, in seeing and hearing, tormenting his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds (2 Peter 2:7-8).  It also reveals that Lot was delivered, and his household, from those troublesome times.

Peace for the Believer in Christ

Jesus said:  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).  Jesus' love and peace are real, in the life of a believer, even in the midst of perilous times, when one casts all their cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).

The 23rd Psalm has consoling words for the believer:  He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads beside the still waters (waters of rest).  He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness or his name's sake.  Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; he comforts and protects me, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

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