When I get enough requests for the notes of a message after I preach it, I put it online because a) it’s easier than remember all the people I’m supposed to email, and b) there are probably more people that wanted it than asked (and some who weren’t there that would probably be encouraged by it).
These are my notes from last nights message given to 33 Live at New Life Christian Church in Watertown, NY. ch:
Are You Being Difficult?
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3
[The New International Version]
1-5 Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.
6-7 These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself “truth.” They get exploited every time and never really learn.
• In this passage, days aren’t made difficult because of Satan, the Church, or your parents. They’re made difficult because of peoples’ conscious behavioral choices.
Three just ways, pulled from the list above, that you may be making life difficult for yourself and those around you:
RESULT: We disqualify ourselves form sitting in places of authority.
• A CiCi’s Pizza employee with a great idea but a bad work ethic doesn’t get heard. Their immoral treatment of time and property overshadows their perceived insight.
• Obedience precipitates promotion. If you want to be heard, you need to be teachable.
2.) Rash: making decisions quickly based on what we feel instead of what we know is right.
RESULT: The Lord cannot entrust us with valuable people or valuable decisions.
• It seems some teens in America are allergic to hard work, and hardships. As Christians we begin to question the “God said…” moments in our lives the moment things get tough.
• It’s in the trials of fire that we most grow.
3.) Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God: choosing what feels good to ourselves rather than what pleases God.
RESULT: God’s will becomes an after thought, and we base our theology and methodology on whatever is most popular.
• Refunding shipping on my XBox games sold on eBay.
• Accepting the general A-moral view of what the world says about homosexuality.
How to be the answer for difficult people:
Kingdom-minded Christ followers will be lovers of others, constantly generous, boastful of Jesus’ works, humble, deferring, obedient to their parents, grateful, holy, 3 full of love, forgiving, encouraging, full of self-control, gentle, lovers of the good, 4 transparent, patient and wise, consumed with the welfare of others, lovers of God rather than lovers of pleasure— 5 behaving with Godly actions and demonstrating His power. Have everything to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who never take advantage of people or situations, and who help ease the burdens of those who are loaded down with sins, and help those swayed by all kinds of evil desires get pointed toward Jesus. 7 They are always learning because they chose to come to a knowledge of the truth.
[CH’s Inverted Version]
• The people that are most like Jesus are the most fun to be around. So make sure you’re surrounded by them, and let them rub off on you until you’re resolute enough to rub off on others.
• Let the Holy Spirit sift you through circumstances. He loves to use them to make you more Christlike.
• What are you going through right now that is challenging you in one of these areas? Don’t run from the situation or resist God’s desire to make you more like him.
• The very things that try to destroy us are refining us to tackle the issues we were born to resolve.
• Don’t put off your future fortunes by failing to miss the point of your present pressures.
• If you’ll allow the Holy Spirit to have his way in you, you’ll start to be very difficult indeed – for the Devil.
GO BE DIFFICULT!