The Danger of Misplaced Affections – 2 Timothy 3

September 6, 2020

The Danger of Misplaced Affections – 2 Timothy 3

On September 6th, 2020, Pastor Eric spoke on ““The Danger of Misplaced Affections”.

Watch video here

Video transcript

Introduction of Misplaced Affections

I’d like to invite you to turn with me if you have your Bibles to 2nd Timothy chapter 3.

My message is entitled: 

THE DANGER OF MISPLACED AFFECTIONS.

2000 years ago a guy by the name of Paul who was an apostle wrote this letter to a young man named Timothy who was a pastor 

and gave him a warning about what the spiritual temperature of people will look like in the last days

He goes on to give 18 vices that will characterize people during this time. 

Now these conditions that he will list always existed in some measure but they have amplified as we enter the last days.

And he writes this to give Timothy a context and an idea of what he is getting himself into

Now couple things to keep in mind before we dive into our text is 

1-For Paul, he was living in the last days.

2000 years ago, Paul really believed that he was in the last days.

So he wasn’t writing this letter just to satisfy Timothy’s curiosity about what the last days in the future will look like, he was preparing Timothy with this letter to do ministry in the days he was living  the here and now, the present. Because at the end of verse 5, after he described what people will look like in the last days he goes on to say to “stay away from such people”. 

So for him, the last days was during his time.

So that means, if 2000 years ago Paul and others believed it was the last days  during their time, that means 2000 years later we are living in the last days of the last days…

Are you following ? 

2-The second thing to keep in mind before we read our text is that the list Paul will give to Timothy here, one may think that it’s a list describing unchurched people.

I mean some of the stuff he writes like they will be:

“boastful, proud, abusive, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, brutal, not lovers of

the good…” and so on. 

You get the impression that he’s describing evil, ungodly, unchurched people. 

And that’s sad and heartbreaking to hear.

But what is even more heartbreaking here, is that he was also describing church members in there.

Because at the end of verse 5, he was describing people who had a “form of godliness“, a form of spirituality, a form of religiosity, they spoke christianese but “denying its power” we are going to get more into that latter .

And so keep these 2 things in mind as we read this list.

And this is what he writes

2 Timothy 3

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 

That word terrible is “chalepos” in greek and it means
hard. It means : troublesome, harsh, fierce.

And times here means “seasons” or a “time periods”.

So Paul is not saying, that in the last days there will be uncomfortable, unpleasant and just tuff times in general.

We know that Christians are going to have a hard time weather by persecution or just living in an un christian culture, you could probably experience some form of discomfort at work because you are a believer.

But that’s not what he’s talking about here, Paul is saying that in the last days there will be seasons of danger, seasons that are terrible, harsh, savage and fierce.

So we get the idea that these seasons or time periods he is referring too will be dangerous.

Now, watch this, the danger Paul is describing in the last days is not the danger of something like the danger of a virus, or the danger of Covid-19, or even the storms that will be present in the last days.

Did you know that the 2020 hurricane season could be the most active in history according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 

We’ve never seen in all of history according to them, so many in so little time.

 

Just this morning I was reading that over 200,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes in Japan as they brace for a Typhoon (source).

The equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic.

 

These are dangerous times.

Yet, Paul is not addressing this as being the cause of the dangerous times.

Do you know what Paul attributes these dangerous times to? 

Not storms, not viruses, not an asteroid that was flying by that barely hit earth.

Do you know what it is? 

People!

People are the danger here in this list.

People have the potential of bringing healing restoration life but they also can bring destruction and danger.

Now maybe the storms made them dangerous.

Maybe even Covid-19 made them dangerous.

The media has reported that in the month of march alone for both Canada and the US that The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge (watch this) a surge in gun sales. 

You think toilet paper was the only thing being sold in March? No, people were buying toilet paper and guns.

Now their buying boats and bikes, motorcycles and houses but back in march they were buying toilet paper and guns.

We don’t have the numbers for Canada but in the US, estimates based on background checks show that approximately 2.6 million guns were sold in the United States in March alone. (Source

That is an 85 per cent increase over the same period last year.

But Paul will describe why we will live dangerous seasons and I’d like to propose to you that the reason we will see these dangerous times is because people will misplace their affections.

Here’s the list, verse 2

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.

Paul is writing to Timothy saying that there are 4 places, 4 areas that people will set their affections on that I want us to look at today.

Because misplaced affections can be dangerous.

Your affection can be misplaced and set on of these four areas:

1-Self

2-Money

3-Pleasure

4-Lovers of the outward display of religion

Areas where we could misplace our affections:

Lets look at these 4 areas.

First, Paul talks about people who will be: 

Lovers of Self

Now the Bible is not encouraging us to hate ourselves, to have a low self esteem, to have a bad view of ourselves, to not have any kind of self respect.

But what it’s saying here is that people will be very consumed about self. 

Lovers of self can also be translated as selfish because that is what is meant here.

Now, society will teach us to put self above others, to love self above others.

But christianity teaches something different.

Jesus teaches to love God above yourself and to love neighbour as you love yourself.

Listen to what Jesus said in Mark 12:28-32 NIV

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

So this is clear that we are to love God with everything we have every part of us first.

And secondly, we are to love our neighbour as ourselves.

This is not a third commandment to love ourselves as some have suggested.

But this is simply saying that you ought to love your neighbour as you would yourself.

You respect your neighbour as you would respect yourself.

You treat your neighbour as you would treat yourself.

Because these are the two highest commandments Jesus gave and reiterated.

I agree with what one scholar mentioned when he said and I quote : 

The Bible is clear that our root problem is that we love ourselves all too well. There are only two (not three) great commandments: Love God and love your neighbour. Self-love is the assumed standard by which you can measure if you really love others. If you would show the concern for others that you practice toward yourself, you would fulfill the commandment.  (Source).

Some of those things are repeated in different ways in the Bible, like those who are first will be last and those who are last will be first those who want to be great need to be the servant of all. 

Jesus modelled this to us when He washed the feet of His disciples. 

Paul said to not have a too high opinion of yourself, yet, the same Bible says to have a high esteem of others.

Philippians 2:3 NIV

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…

Is your affections set to much on self?

You know, I’ve seen this over the years where people are trying to experience the power of the Kingdom, The rewards and the benefits of the Kingdom of God in their lives and they are wondering why it’s not working for them and the reason is it’s because they are trying to receive and reap without putting into practice the principles of the Kingdom.

If you want this to truly work in your life, you need to put into practice the principles of the kingdom. The principles of the Kingdom are those who are last will be first, those who want to be great need to be a servant of others, those who walk in humility will be lifted up, those who give and share will receive.

But this will not work for you if you’re always trying to get your piece of the pie first, if your self-consumed you will not be fit for the kingdom of God. You will not be available for Jesus when He calls you.

And so if I’m speaking to you right now, you need to pray:

“Lord, less of me and more of you. Help me to walk in true humility. Help me not to be self consumed with me myself and I. Help me to stop making myself the hero of the story all the time. Help me to have eyes open to see what others are doing and how I could bless and encourage others instead of always looking for my own interests first. I repent of living selfishly. I repent of being my own idol and want to be consumed with love for you and a love for others.” 

If that’s you, I encourage you to pray that prayer.

Verse 2

2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money…

The second area where people’s affection will be set on according to Paul is money.

Lovers of Money

You heard me say this often but the problem here is not money. 

Because the Bible says in Haggai 2:8

Gold and silver belongs to the Lord…

The problem is not money the problem is the Love of Money. 

Listen to

1 Timothy 6:10NLT 

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Having money is not a problem, the problem is when money has you. 

Look at Luke 16:13 NIV

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

You cant love God and Love Money at the same time.

You will love one and despise the other.

The people Paul describes here as lovers of money have set their affections on money.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not suggesting that money is not important because the Bible talks a lot about stewardshipabout how we spend money, how we manage money, how we invested, how we give it, how we share it. 

The way the Bible describes money and how we manage money on this earth is kind of a dress rehearsal of the true things to come. 

If we’re faithful with money on this earth we will be faithful with more important things to come.

Money is important.

But that’s not what we’re talking about today, we’re talking about being absorbed, craving and in love with money.

This is a warning for us to keep watch over our relationship with money that our affections would not be set on it and that we would not be in love with it. 

Thirdly

Paul describes people with misdirected affections by saying they will be:

Lovers of Pleasure

Now it’s important to note here that the text says they will be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”.

It’s not giving us the idea that pleasure in itself is wrong.

Now obviously there are certain pleasures outside of God’s plans that are wrong. 

But there are also forms of pleasure that are good and even given by God.

So nothing wrong with pleasure in itself, but it’s saying the people fell in love with pleasure rather than the God who gave them pleasurable things. They began to pursue it, crave it, live for it. Setting their affections on it.

Proverbs 21:17 ESV 

Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man…

If you work hard every week simply to go vacationing every weekend and doing pleasurable things with your life, if you actually work just to go play all the time, the Bible says you will be poor and I don’t think it’s just talking about financial poverty here. I think it’s also talking about other forms of poverty. You will miss your God given destiny.  You’ll miss your God-given purpose of why God put you where you are in the first place. 

And I’m not a prophet, but I can say this without a doubt that God’s will for your life is not to pursue pleasure but it’s to pursue God who gives pleasurable things.

The pleasure you may experience is not there to make you fall in love with pleasure.

It’s there to make you fall in love with God.

This is why we are to receive everything with thanksgiving.

See the love of pleasure can stunt your spiritual growth.

In Luke chapter 18

Jesus gave a parable called the Parable of the sower.

And in this parable he said in (Luke 18:5-8) that

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.

When Jesus explained what this parable meant

This is what He said about the seed that fell among thorns and choked the plants in verse 14

14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 

Jesus says that pleasures can choke the word of God in your life. 

It can sap the light right out of you.

Another example Jesus gave was about a wedding and everybody that was invited gave an excuse of why they didn’t want to go to the wedding and the excuses were always something pleasurable. 

Friends, be careful not to set your affections on pleasure or pleasurable things because it can be a great stumbling block to your walk with God. 

It can keep you away from your God-given destiny,  it could choke the promises of God in your life and even more.

Fourthly,

Another area people will set their affections in the last days on is they will be:

Lovers of the outward display of religion only

Their affection will be set an outward display of spirituality while missing the most important thing.

In other words, they will fall in love with the motions.

5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. 

They will look religious, there will look spiritual, they will speak christianese but they will deny the very power.

Have you ever asked yourself what the power of the Christian?

Is it our good deeds? Our love? Helping the poor that is our power? Being involved in social justice?

What is our power?

It is God!

Jesus is the very power of the Christian.

He is our strength.

Our power.

So these people described here are trying to have a form of godliness without God.

They want morality without God, church but not God, to sing songs but not God.

They quote certain things of the Bible when it suits them but deny God by their actions and words, want religion but not relationship with God, desire heaven without receiving Jesus in their life as their Lord and Saviour, show a form of godliness but denying its power. 

Illustration:

About a week ago, as some of you know I was on staycation and we did a lot of things as a family and I also did a lot of cycling during those 2 weeks.

And last week as I was ridding my bike i got a flat tire.

So I called my wife, came back home and I put a patch on it

And I was ready to go.

Well the next day I went biking again but with friends with a group of people and I noticed during the ride that my tire was loosing a lot of air.

And so the group was saying that patches were not the best and I needed a new tube.

So the I went a bought not one but two new tubes and replaced the one on my bike.

So the next time I went ridding I was thinking I’m good and guess what happened?

About 15 km into it I noticed my tire was flat again.

And so I’m thinking I’m just not lucky.

I keep get flat tires.

And so I”m just glad I got another tube and this time I’m checking the tube.

I want to make sure theres no wholes already in the new tube.

And so  I replaced the tube with a new one and on this ride, I’m nervous.

Im constantly checking the road for pieces of glass and rocks and about 15 kilometers agains guess what happened ? 

Another flat !

And so by this time, I’m like something is wrong I don’t know what the problem is. 

So I call the bike store where I got the bike, Rockland Sports and said to Carson:

“I think Im doing something wrong, I may be pitching the tube when I’m replacing it.  Can I bring it into the shop?”

He says yes so, Carson the bike expert looks at the wheel, put water on the inside of the tire and passes his finger all around until his finger gets stuck on something and now he pulls out what it was that his finger got stuck on and sure enough, there was a piece of metal stuck in there. 

And he looks at me and says

“That piece of metal is your problem”

That means I could have bought hundreds of new tubes and replaced them every single time and every day I would go out riding I would get a flat until I deal with the metal issue. 

And that is what happens when you try religion without Jesus.

You could put on a new tube, you could sing the songs, you could dress the clothes, you could speak christianese, you could do the deed the Christians do, but if you don’t have Jesus, the Bible says you have a sin problem.

The Bible says that Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. 

If you have not Jesus than the penalty and justice for sin is still unpaid for in your life and 

that means you still have a metal problem in your soul. 

And until that metal, that sin problem is removed from your life it’s not going to work .

Can we stand?

We’ve talk about ways to misplace our affections. 

But Im calling you and I to align our affections on the one who David says in: 

(Ps. 16:11),

In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand are pleasures forever.