2 Timothy 3:1
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
I. THE MANNER OF THE WARNING.— "This know also."
1. It is the duty of ministers to foresee and take notice of the dangers which the churches are falling into.
2. It is the great concern of all professors and believers to have their hearts very much fixed upon present and approaching dangers.
3. Not to be sensible of a present perilous season is that security which the scripture so condemns; and I will leave it with you under these three things —
(1) It is that frame of heart which of all others God doth most detest and abhor. Nothing is more hateful to God than a secure frame in perilous days.
(2) A secure person, in perilous seasons, is assuredly under the power of some predominant lust, whether it appears, or not.
(3) This senseless frame is the certain presage of approaching ruin.
II. THE EVIL ITSELF. "Perilous times" — times of great difficulty, like those of public plagues, when death lies at every door.
III. THE MANNER OF INTRODUCTION — "Shall come." Our great wisdom then will be to eye the displeasure of God in perilous seasons, since there is a judicial hand of God in them: and we see in ourselves reason enough why they should come.
IV. THE TIME AND SEASON OF IT — "In the last days." You may take it in what sense you will: the last days, the days of the gospel; the last days towards the consummation of all things; the last days following the days of the profession of churches; and the last days with many of us, with respect to our lives.
1. The first thing that makes a season perilous is, when the profession of true religion is outwardly maintained under a visible predominancy of horrible lusts and wickedness (see vers. 2-5).
(1) Because of the infection.
(2) Because of the effects. When predominant lusts have broken all bounds of Divine light and rule, how long do you think human rules will keep them in order?
(3) Because of the consequences — the judgments of God (2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11).
2. A second perilous season is, when men are prone to forsake the truth, and seducers abound to gather them up that are so; and you will have always these things go together. If it be asked, how we may know whether there be a proneness in the minds of men in any season to depart from the truth? there are three ways whereby we may judge of it.
(1) The first is that mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:3. When men grow weary of sound doctrine, when it is too plain, too dull, too common, too high, too mysterious, one thing or other that displeases them, and they would hear something new, something that may please.
(2) When men have lost the power of truth in their conversation, and are as prone and ready to part with the profession of it in their minds. Do you see a man retaining the profession of the truth under a worldly conversation? He wants but baits from temptation, or a seducer to take away his faith from him.
(3) The proneness to depart from the truth, is a perilous season, because it is the greatest evidence of the withdrawing of the Spirit of God from His Church.
3. A third thing that makes a perilous season is, professors mixing themselves with the world, and learning their manners. Such a season is dangerous, because the sins of professors in it lie directly contrary to the whole design of the mediation of Christ in this world. Christ "gave Himself for us, that He might purge us from dead works, and purify us unto Himself a peculiar people" (Titus 2:14). "Ye are a royal nation, a peculiar people."
4. Another perilous season is when there is great attendance on outward duties, but inward, spiritual decays.
5. Times of persecution are also times of peril.Use
1. Let us all be exhorted to endeavour to get our hearts affected with the perils of the day wherein we live.
(1) Consider the present things, and bring them to rule, and see what God's Word says of them.
(2) If you would be sensible of present perilous times, take heed of centring in self. Whether you pursue riches, or honours, while you centre there, nothing can make you Sensible of the perils of the day.
(3) Pray that God would give us grace to be sensible of the perils of the day wherein we live. Use
2. The next thing is this, that there are two things in a perilous season — the sin of it, and the misery of it. Labour to be sensible of the former, or you will never be sensible of the latter. Use
3. Remember there is a special frame of spirit required in us all in such perilous seasons as these are. And what is that? It is a mourning frame of spirit. Use
4. Keep up church watch with diligence, and by the rule. When I say rule, I mean the life of it. Use
5. Reckon upon it, that in such times as these are, all of us will not go free.
(John Owen, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.