“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 1 Timothy 3:1-5.
One of the major signs that reveal that we are living at the end of time is the empty, hollow condition that exists within many of our churches. The apostle Paul saw that just before Christ’s return a non-theological, non-doctrinal movement would creep into the church disguised under the name of Christianity. This movement would have all the outward forms of religion but will reject the life changing power of God’s word.
Even though many of the modern, contemporary worship styles that we see today are full of emotional manipulation and sensory gratification, too many of them are void of sound Biblical teaching. The light and music shows may make the church look hip and trendy for millennials, but these stunts will NEVER revive or save anyone. There is only one thing that can revive us and bring life back to the church:
“It is the spirit that quickeneth (gives life); the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63.
“Having a form of godliness” is describing a movement in the church that will replace God’s word with selfish gratifications and desires. It is an attempt to give life to the church through a false sense of excitement. A new allegiance to the current, the hip, the cool and the commercial is replacing our allegiance to God’s word.
We see Paul’s end-time prophetic word being fulfilled in the following video that comes from Hillsong Church, a charismatic Christian denomination. Their worship service is the gold standard that many churches and youth groups are trying to pattern. They use very little Bible and a whole lot of emotional spectacles.
This new, end-time phenomena is sweeping the churches and leaving our young people Biblically-illiterate. They are certainly being entertained, but they are not being taught solid-biblical truth and morality. Sadly, the church is exchanging truth for comfort and righteousness for entertainment. Our pastors have become motivational speakers and cheerleaders instead of Spirit-filled preachers who stir and convict the hearts of sin.
Because of this universal, spiritual crisis the churches are failing in their Christian duty to truth. They have drifted off course and are losing the battle against the prevailing culture. While the watchmen on the walls of Zion sleep the church is under attack, the marriage institution is being destroyed, the family unit is being redefined, the blatant murder of millions of babies (abortion) continues and other assaults against our Judeo-Christian values are transpiring all around us.
And what are the Biblically-illiterate churches doing? They are preparing rock concert-like shows for their lukewarm members instead of safeguarding the spiritual condition of our people with the word of God. The religion of these last days has simply become an emotional experience without any burdens, no self-denial and no self- sacrifice.
The church today may have a nice exterior, but underneath is a sick, aching, sinful heart. Once the music stops playing and the lights go off the unregenerate heart is still unsatisfied – without rest and without the peace of God. All the show and fanfare we see in some of our houses of worship leave the church-goers feeble. They go home empty and without any assurances of victory in the warfare against Satan.
On the other hand, the apostolic faith and the faith of the Protestant Reformers of the 16th Century was a very different experience than what we are seeing today. These believers were fearless and powerful, and through the power of the Holy Spirit they stood up against the prevailing iniquity of their day and won. Why? Because their experience was deeply rooted in the word of God, with all of its unpopular and culturally-difficult truths.
They were not afraid to preach against sin or on the subjects of repentance and the fear of God. They didn’t water down the gospel in order to gain adherents. They were faithful to their God-given call to preach “all the counsel of God” Acts 20:27.
This is what God’s church needs today. This is how the church receives life and power, and this is the only way we will survive the dark days ahead. Reading, understanding and applying God’s word into our lives and into the life of the church is the only way to awaken us from our spiritual decay. This means teaching and preaching all of God’s word including His commandments and reproofs and not just a few selective verses. If fact, you can be in solitary confinement locked away at some prison far away from any lights, fog machine or cool music – and God’s word alone will still be sufficient to save the soul of any hardened sinner. Praise God!
“The only safety for any of us is to plant our feet upon the Word of God and study the Scriptures, making God’s Word our constant meditation…The Holy Spirit’s influence renders that Word, the Bible, an immortal truth, which to the prayerful searcher gives spiritual sinew and muscle” (Manuscript Release, Vol. 21, p. 131).
“None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. To every soul will come the searching test: Shall I obey God rather than men? The decisive hour is even now at hand. Are our feet planted on the rock of God’s immutable word? Are we prepared to stand firm in defense of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus?” (Great Controversy, p. 593).