TEXT: 2 Timothy 3:1-9
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.
9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.
We have been looking at some of the specific signs which the Bible says will become increasingly evident in the behavior and lifestyle of people during the end times. In this series, we have looked at the following, all of which are mentioned in this passage:
1. The increased selfishness of man.
2. The increased lawlessness of man.
3. The increased religiosity of man.
4. Increased blasphemy or rejection of God.
5. Increased ingratitude or unthankfulness among men.
6. An increase in unholy living.
7. A lack of natural affection among people.
8. Trucebreakers and people who do not keep their word.
Today, we are going to look at the word “false accusers.” Paul says that in the last days, there will be an increase in false accusers. The Greek word for false accusers is “diabolos,” from which in some languages, the word “devil” is derived. The word literally means “throw between.” Thus, we see that the intent of a “diabolos” is to divide people against each other. This word is also translated “slanderer” or “malicious gossiper.”
Our passage points out that there are people in the world who have that same diabolical spirit. A simple Google search will reveal thousands of so called “gossip blogs” that engage in spreading information about others that is often misleading, damaging to people’s character, or completely untrue. According to the Fordham Law School, “Defamation is the communication of a false statement of fact that harms the reputation of a victim, and includes libel, which covers written published statements, and slander, which covers spoken statements.” Statistics from the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society show that defamation lawsuits are on the rise, increasing from one year to the next by 68%. A few years ago, A woman in Florida was awarded $11.3 million in a defamation lawsuit against a woman in Louisiana who posted messages on the Internet accusing her of being a “crook,” a “con artist” and a “fraud.”
Now, the Bible is unequivocal that the person who falsely accuses, who slanders, who gossips, or who seeks to divide others, particularly in the body of Christ, is doing the devil’s work. Revelation reveals the devil to be the “accuser of the brethren.” He attempts to create division between God and His people by hurling accusations of sin and wrongdoing against us before God. He did it to Job. He told God that Job only loved God because of how God had blessed Job. He wanted to drive a wedge of division between God and his servant. He knew that God would not abandon Job, so he tried to get Job to turn his back on God, and that is what he seeks to do to us today.
This, however, is not just an issue in the world, but in the church as well. Some Christians seek to drive a wedge between brothers and sisters in Christ, between friends, and between family members. They will go behind your back and talk about you to another family member or to your best friend just to get that family member or friend to turn against you. They delight in seeing relationships ruined, marriages broken, and churches divided. You can probably think of a time in your life when someone you thought you had a good relationship with suddenly turned on you because of the gossip, slander, or false accusations of someone else.
Perhaps, you can remember a time when your words — either deliberately or unintentionally — were used to cause division. I am reminded of James’ words: “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” How many times has your tongue been used as deadly poison to defame or hurt others?
In our society, with the anonymity that the internet provides, it is easier than ever to slander or gossip about someone. Rumors and false accusations spread online like wildfire. You can go to sleep one night thinking everything is alright and wake up the next morning to learn that somebody has posted something about you on the internet and it has spread among your friends and family members, and you are left fighting for your reputation.
The ninth commandment says very simply, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” R.C. Sproul said, “The ninth commandment is perhaps the law most often broken in the covenant community, or at least the statute most overlooked. How easily do we repeat gossip or allow others to be slandered in our presence without saying anything? Today, rumors are spread online, and professing Christians sign up on blogs under false names and post insulting comments about other believers and public figures. All of these are violations of the ninth commandment, which orders us to watch what we say in order that it might be nothing but the truth.”
Right now, there’s a debate going on in the Christian blogosphere about whether or not Christians should criticize each other online. There’s a whole slew of bloggers online who spend their time criticizing the church and pointing out the faults of preachers and others. Ed Stetzer said in an article in Christianity Today that he was “stunned to see just how much some ‘Christian’ bloggers will lie, play guilt by association, and display a complete lack of character—all while calling out someone for something similar. ” These bloggers have divided some Christians into different camps over doctrine, church practice, and family matters. Now, some of this type of criticism is warranted, but we must ask the question whether such public criticism is helpful to the body of Christ especially when no solutions are being provided and when these critics are not reaching out to help solve the problems they are pointing out. Just this past year, this type of blogging led one popular preacher’s son to commit suicide. What a tragedy.
Now, there is a place in the church and even on publications, blogs and social media for sincere rebuke offered in a spirit of love. Proverbs 27:5 says, “Open rebuke is better than secret love.” 1 Timothy 5:20 says, “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” If there are people in the church who are living in sin and who refuse to repent, then they ought to be rebuked publicly according to the Bible. Or, eventually, their sin will be the cause of division and strife in the body of Christ. Getting rid of sinful behavior is essential to maintaining unity. And by the way, let’s not just rebuke the easy sins – to rebuke sins committed more by those who are more outside of the church such as abortion and homosexuality, but let’s rebuke some of the hard sins that Christian’s are committing such as adultery, fornication, racism, drunkenness, lying etc.
Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” The church is to be a demonstration of unity and love before a world where disunity, hatred, and strife is so pervasive. Paul tells us that we ought to “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” When Jesus Christ prayed for His disciples, His prayer was that “they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” When the church is unified, we are a testimony to the world of the power of Christ which overcomes our divisions large and small. Paul emphasized this when he wrote to the Corinthians, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
Are you committed to being one with other believers? Or are you being used as a tool of division? Are you a slanderer, gossiper, or false accuser? Or do you make every effort to bring people together and resolve divisions?
This past week, we marked the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. One of the iconic pictures from the Civil Rights Movement is of a march led by Dr. King. Although the march was one for the rights of black people, King was able to bring together not only black Baptist ministers, but a white Protestant minister, a white Catholic nun, and two Jewish rabbis, to lead the march. He was a man who worked for unity at a time when many — both white and black — wanted to keep up the walls of division.
While the world is beset by division, hatred, and strife caused by false accusation, slander, and gossip, let us recommit ourselves to being uniters, not dividers, in the church, in our families, and in our relationships with others.
If you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can trust Him for salvation so that you can be ready for His return.
First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.
But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and right now I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.