A Form of Godliness
2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
These last days shall be dangerous times! Not because crime shall be at an all time high! Not because some dictator is making weapons of mass destruction! But for the Christian community these days shall be very dangerous for the reason given in 1 Timothy, chapter four. 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
Notice that it does not just say, “Speaking lies.” But it says, “Speaking lies IN HYPOCRISY!” For the lies shall be spoken by hypocritical church attenders, professing belief, but having no true faith or spirituality! It shall be most dangerous for the professed believers as there shall be a massive falling away from the spiritual faith of professed saints due to the influence of hypocritical religionists! 2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 ¶ Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (That “man of sin” is that hypocrite, sitting in church in this Christian age acting as if he were a true believer.)
For as in the Old Testament days, absorbing the ways of the Canaanites deluded the spiritual walk of the Israelites. Genesis 34:16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. Nehemiah 13:23 In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: 24 And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people.
And what is the pronounced instruction for the true believer? …from such turn away. For the true church is said to be God’s sheep. And as sheep they follow religious example. Revelation 14:4 …These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: But they are not authorized to follow any man except that man is following the Lord! 1 Corinthians 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
And these antichrists are among the membership of local churches. 1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Matthew 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
And it is amazing that mankind can be guilty of all the sins listed in verses two through four, but still hold on to church membership! True; it is but a “form of godliness,” without the abilities granted by only the Holy Spirit. But they still seek association with religion to give them an air of respectability!
The word, “form” means, “semblance.” And the word, “godliness” denotes “piety.” So they only have a semblance of piety, while possessing these sinful traits. These are they who shall hear the Lord Jesus proclaim, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Their hypocrisy will not hold up in the fiery eyes of the Sovereign Lord! They think their mental assent to his gospel and preforming religious tradition shall buy them a “ticket to heaven!” But their religious efforts and practice identify them by the Lord as “ye that work iniquity.”
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
And this is the reason that our present, “last days,” are perilous, or dangerous times! For many are deceived by these as they are forced to associate with them and therefore come to accept this conduct of apostasy as “normal.” And since God doesn’t “step out of heaven” to openly punish them, they think themselves as even being acceptable with God Himself! Psalm 50:21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
But our Lord continues to send his voice among his people through gospel preaching attended by the Holy Spirit, warning of the need of separation from these wicked ways.
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
We know that we cannot go live in a cave in order to escape association with such hypocritical spirits. We still have to be involved with them in our society. And the Apostle Paul also addresses this. 1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. Therefore in regards to worldly religionists, it is ours to associate, but never to imitate!
But that gospel is as a fisherman’s net, catching both good and bad fish. Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
The affect of the gospel is powerful to both those who believe unto eternal life, and also to who only endure the believer’s walk for a while but finally fall away. The Holy Spirit brings them light, but not life. He illuminates them, but does not regenerate them. These become counterfeits, but not converts. Their gospel then becomes darkness to them. Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, (that is, whole, or healthy), thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
John 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Carefully consider these verses describing how powerfully the Spirit affects them until they will not to continue in His influence. Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
And having been “once enlightened” it is impossible to renew them back to their condition before sitting under that gospel influence! Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
The influence of the gospel only helped them obtain religious morality, but not spiritual righteousness! 2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
“Almost persuaded” now to believe;
“Almost persuaded” Christ to receive;
Seems now some soul to say,
“Go, Spirit, go Thy way,
Some more convenient day
On Thee I’ll call.”
“Almost persuaded,” harvest is past!
“Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last!
“Almost” cannot avail;
“Almost” is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail—
“Almost,” but lost!
Philip P. Bliss 1871
One cannot be “unborn” naturally, nor spiritually once they have experienced the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit! John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Our Lord compared our last days as those of Lot. Luke 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
And in those days, as it now is in our days, those trying to awaken sleepy souls, seem as one that mocks! Genesis 19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
This little insignificant article, seriously attempting to faithfully warn souls who have become lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, and have comforted themselves with only a form of godliness, may be the very last warning for them to flee from the wrath to come!
Isaiah 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
Pastor Gene Breed
June 10, 2020