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October 2016
Signs of the Last Days - image
The Apostle Paul warned us that there would be a substantial downhill slide in human behavior in the last days. He said the days would become perilous because men and women would love themselves above God and others. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, we get a clear description of the end times. "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 affections, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God: having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away." The Taylor's Translation (vs.1) declares, "Know this that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a christian."

Our lives and behavior are to be in stark contrast to the world by the grace of God. With God's help, with His Word motivating and controlling our lives, we can stand complete, full of the goodness of God, in the midst of tremendous spiritual darkness.

Not Conformed to this World's Behavior
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. As we look at Paul's description of human behavior in the last days, let's do a little weeding in our own lives. We want the fruit of the Spirit to abound in us, not the weeds of the world (Gal. 5:22=23). We are in this world but not of this world! If our behavior finds it's definition in God, it ought to represent His character. After all, we are His representatives here in this earth. The world around us needs to see that we are sons and daughters of God Almighty. We need to be children that imitate the goodness of God our Father. The world does all it can to get believers to step in line. Romans 12:2 declares, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Goodspeed Translation declares, "You must not adopt the customs of this world." The William's Translation says, "Stop living in accordance with the customs of this world." The Phillip's says it best, "Don't let the world squeeze you into its own mold." The squeeze of the world is constant. There is an ever present pressure on us to drop the standard and live our lives the way of the world. We must stand against the patterns of this age. We must constantly practice and apply Heaven's behavior. How can we actually accomplish this? The William's explains, "But by the new ideals that mold your minds continue to transform yourselves."

Spiritual or Carnal?
There is a whole lot of the world finding expression in the Church today. It is high time that the Body of Christ act like the Head, Jesus Christ. We are told to come out of the world not to live in it. 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 declares, "Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you. And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." We must decisively act and will our lives to live consecrated and holy as we embrace our spiritual growth and separation from carnality. The real proof of our spirituality is found in the fruits of our lives. The Apostle Paul declared there would be mature and immature Christians. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 declares, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" The signs of spiritual immaturity include envying, strife and divisions! The Twentieth Century Translation declares, "...You are still worldly." Taylor's says, "...You are still controlled by your own desires." The Berkley says, "Are you not worldly minded and do you not behave like unconverted men?"

Even though we are a new creation in Christ Jesus, we can still choose to act like unconverted men and women. We still have a fleshly, carnal side that wars against our recreated spirit man. There are three predominate signs of carnal behavior: envy, strife, and division. Webster's defines envy as: "spite; discontent at the excellence or good fortune of another; to feel envy towards; to long after another's possessing what one would like for one's self." God hasn't called us to envy others. He has made available exceeding great and precious promises for all his children to receive by faith for themselves. Determine to believe Him for all He has for you personally and get you eyes off others and onto God.

To be continued...

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