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01 Signs of the Times

by Bennie Hill

(Transcribed from the message presented Sunday Night, Oct. 26, 2014)

Forty years has been good for me, but I don’t know that I could say that for Cramer. When I went there 40 years ago this coming Sunday they were looking for a preacher and they are still looking for one. What a great crowd on Sunday night. This is a couple more than what we have on Sunday night. And I appreciate you giving your preachers the night off. This is a good time for them to be together and come over to the Sellersburg Church.

I am not one that really believes in omens, but things do happen. At four o’clock I was leaving my house and as I am walking to the car this attractive lady and her little son were approaching my door and she gives me this tract and says How do you view the future? I said as a matter of fact, I am on my way to Sellersburg, Indiana to preach about the future. And isn’t that a coincidence?   Thank you,Brother David, for that kind and brief introduction.

Last time I spoke on the signs of the times was in a special Bible prophecy conference on November the 17th, 1993 at the Central Louisiana Fellowship in Glenmora, Louisiana. On the program Monday night was Julius Hovan, Tuesday night Paul Kitzmiller spoke. I spoke on Wednesday night and Brother Emory Grimes spoke on Thursday. David Johnson and Randy both spoke on Wednesday. David said I had about 45 minutes to speak on this subject tonight of the signs of the times. I told him I am going to need at least three or four hours. But don’t worry. I will watch my clock and try to stay within my allotted time.

There has always been interest in signs of the times. In Matthew chapter 16 verse one the Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him. And they asked that he would show them a sign from heaven. And then in Matthew’s gospel chapter 24: Now as he sat on the Mount of Olives the disciples, this time, before it was the Pharisees, Sadducees. Their motivation was testing him. The disciples now come to him privately saying: Tell us when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? Now there are numerous books, lists of signs of times. I have a book in my library which probably most of the ministers here tonight…it is called Bible lists and it contains numerous Bible references on the signs of the times. In Dr. David Regan’s little booklet, The Master Plan, is a section, section four, on signs of the times. He deals mostly with the nation of Israel. His is very political and I thought that I was asked to speak on this but the leading wasn’t to go into the political arena.

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of politics. You know, all that has been on the news and it is very contagious and I just want to say: I am Benny Hill and I approve this message. That is all. I haven’t felt led to go in thatt direction so if you have come tonight looking for some of the political signs or the nation of Israel that is going to be reserved for another night and I will not be speaking on that.

Others include men like John Hagee, Warren Wiersbe, Chuck Nisler, brother R. H. Boll and many others. I am sure many of the ministers here tonight would probably have a study of their own as far as signs of the times. I am going to be looking at 2 Timothy chapter three and we are going to be looking at just the nine verses. 2 Timothy chapter
three and signs that are related to current events, things that are going on in our world tonight.

It has always been interesting to me that before God gets ready to do something on earth he forewarns us prior to his intervention what he is going to do. He often sends signals. He sends signs that are designed to prepare us, signs that are prepared to alert us and warn us for what God is going to do. Let me give you a couple of examples. In Amos
chapter three verse seven: Surely the Lord God does nothing unless he reveals his secret to his servants. Now that is pretty clear. God warned the world before the flood back in Genesis around chapter six. Before he sent the flood the ark became a sign. Before the Lord delivered the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage he sent the 10 plagues. But the plagues were the signs. And before he sent Israel into Babylonian captivity there were the messengers, Elijah and Elisha, and their miracles were signs. Before he sent his Son to this earth to be born of the virgin he put a star in the heavens
and the star became a sign. And just as the first coming of Jesus was preceded with signs, I believe so will the second coming be preceded with signs. There will be signs in the world, in today’s society, that I believe correspond with signs in the Word.

Now to Luke 21:28 where Jesus said when these things he has been talking about – if you look in the two or three verses before it – when you see these things, these signs he is talking about, begin to develop, look up, for your redemption is drawing near. We are, without doubt, living in the end times when Jesus Christ is coming.

Now let’s begin our study in 2 Timothy three referring to the end of the Church age. Paul would write this to this young evangelist. And he wants him to know this. Know this. I believe you are here tonight because you want to know God’s Word. And I just believe God is going to bless you in some way. It may not be tonight directly, but I believe God
is going to bless your commitment to be here tonight and we thank each of you churches that have made the effort to join in this special time this week. He says to Timothy, know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. Now the word here ‘perilous’ is one that means heavy. It means difficult, hard to bear. It means dangerous and it is translated in another version grievous. The only other use of this word is in Matthew 8:28 when Jesus met the two demoniacs … you remember when he visited the region of the Gadarenes. They are described, those two demons, as exceedingly fierce. Does that not describe the day in which we live? Grievous, perilous days. But this is God’s description, God’s description of the end times. So due to time or, let me say, lack of, I am going to try to narrow this study down into three points. I will not be using PowerPoint like two or three others will be. I have not had the time to put it together and I have not put anything of mine in print to hand out.

I am going to try to look at three different areas of this text in Timothy. I am going to talk about people first. It is the longest list. People without character. And then people without conviction. And then the third group will be people without conscience. Let’s begin with people without character. First in verse two Paul lists a dozen things to substantiate this aspect of the end times. People will be lovers of themselves. He writes down that they will be lovers of
themselves. Self love, of course, is native to the human heart. It is something that shows itself in a child as soon as he is born and can express himself. Nobody has to teach a baby how to throw a temper tantrum. A healthy society, our modem society, today’s world, however, imposes restraints on extreme selfishness. It recognizes the need to teach
children the respect for authority of their parents in the home, for their teachers in school or for the laws of society in general. And a healthy society teaches children to be well mannered, respectful of persons and the property of others.

In today’s society we have love for self. In other words, children must not be punished. Children must not be punished, lest they become inhibited. We have things today like ‘time out’ or ‘young man, go to your room’. Now if my dad had given me a time out when I was growing up I would never have made it to the room for the simple reason I wouldn’t have been able to walk. Steve and Bev had the same dad. He went a whole lot more lenient on them. But the discipline paid off as you can well see. Think about that for a minute. If kids are failing in school the grading system has got to be adjusted. This is real. This is going on in public education. We would not want their failure to bring children psychological harm. That is bizarre.

Now criminals, law breakers, they have got to be given rights even though they have shown no respect for the rights of those they robbed, murdered or maimed. Recently a police chief summed up our generation by calling it a lost generation. He said it is a generation that thumbs its nose at everything once held sacred. He described it as a
generation addicted to drugs, given to self indulgence, contempt for the law, and totally without regard for social values. In other words, he is describing the same kind of generation that Paul is talking about right here. Men will be not only lovers of themselves, but also in verse two they will be lovers of money. That is materialism, the craving, the obsession for the good life has lured millions of people into a hopeless debt and as a nation we are a people living -addicted to living – beyond our means in order to have the things that we want. This old fashioned idea of working and saving for what we want, that has long since been abandoned. You know, that is a generation ago. Our love for money and the things that money can buy has saddled millions of people hopelessly into debt.

Let’s go on to the next in verse two. Paul says that in the last day people would be boastful. They will be proud. They will be abusive. And nowhere in society is that better reflected than in the popular music of our day. How a generation looks at life is often reflected in its music. I think you can tell a lot about a generation by the kind of music
that we like. One generation gives birth to hymns, another to marital or patriotic songs, another to romantic melodies. Our generation, today’s generation is obsessed with rock, rock, hard rock, punk rock, acid rock. And don’t ask me to tell you the difference. It is just rock. And it is often described in the vocabulary of a lot of young people: ‘Man that is awesome. Oh, that is cool.’ It is rock. And it identifies and the music of today is filled with contemptuous attitudes toward human life and society. It is the music of a generation that is defiant and many times rebellious, blasphemous and proud.
And yet at the same time is music that is gripped by an overwhelming sense of despair. The lyrics of today’s music, if you can understand them … I guess that is one of the advantages of losing your hearing. But if you can understand, if you can see the words, it often glorifies sin and rebellion. I would like to take a little closer look at this third word here. It is the word abusive. This I believe to be one of the most subtle signs around us today. And the reason why it is
ignored is because it is seen in so many different areas. The first is child abuse. Now this takes the form of battering, neglecting children, infants. Nationally we are told over two million cases of child abuse are reported in the United States with perhaps as many not reported. Each year an estimated 2000 children die from child abuse. And I read those statistics and I just wondered: Why? Why is there so much child abuse in our country today? Apparently our children are under attack. Child abuse – under attack. Twice before in biblical history there have been contracts put out on our children. And at both times there were parents, well, there was supernatural protection first. And that was because of parents who intervened for their children, parents who prayed. But the ultimate in child abuse is death.
Contract Number One:   Let me give you a couple of examples. First in the book of Exodus chapter one verse 12. This instruction came from the King of Egypt telling the midwives when you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women and you see them on the birth stools, if it is a son you shall kill it. That became the law. But if it is a daughter she shall live.

Contract number two: Over in Matthew chapter two verse 16 we see this, ‘Herod when he saw that he was deceived by
the wise men was exceedingly angry and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem, and in the districts, from two years old and under.’ It became the law. Now a more recent occurrence.

Contract Number three: January the 22nd, 1973, violence now against the unborn. When the highest court, the
ruling authority in our land, in a landmark decision, Roe versus Wade legalized the killing of infants in their mother’s womb, legalized murder, not just killing. It became law. Contract number three has is being carried out in our generation, the utmost child abuse. We call it abortion but it is legalized murder. And we are going to stand under God’s judgment. A contract on our children has come in our generation. It has come on our children.

Have you ever wondered about Satan’s tactics to destroy the Church? He targets young people. That is who he goes after, young people to get them to rebel, get out from under parental authority as soon as you can. They are old fogies. What do they know? But do you know what is interesting to me? Each time the contract went out in the Old
Testament under pharaoh and under Herod here in Matthew two, a deliverer was involved. And I have wondered as I have studied these things: Could this be the generation … could our age be the generation that is going to witness the coming of the deliverer? It happened with Moses. It happened with Jesus here in the first century.

The second form of abuse is abuse of the eldery, elder abuse. We are told that over 30 million people in this country right now are abused by their children, by their spouses or outside care givers. The abuse takes many forms. It may be physical abuse, the most obvious. It may be passive neglect. That is unintentionally not providing for the care of the elderly. Or it may be active neglect, intentionally, not providing. Or it may be psychological abuse. I believe this is the worst, because it afflicts the elderly by name calling, insulting, ignoring, humiliating, frightening, threatening or just belittling them.

Another form of abuse is sibling abuse where brothers and sisters don’t get along, brothers and sisters don’t speak.

Then there is abuse of people with disabilities. It is all around us, someone slipping into the handicap parking places or people laughing at their disability.

Then there is spouse abuse. Battering is the number one cause of injury to women in the United States. Did you get that? Battering is the number one cause of injury to women in the United States. Husbands and boyfriends kill more than 30 percent of all female homicide victims. Domestic violence is constantly on the rise and it not only affects the victim, but it affects the children at home who probably suffer the most. Now this takes the form of physical abuse, things like hitting, slapping, kicking, shoving, choking, biting, assaulting with an object, be it a frying pan or a baseball bat. Sexual abuse, verbal, emotional abuse, things like criticism to your spouse, degrading remarks, name calling, accusation, threat. We are an abusive society. I think the point is made.

Lets look at another sign pointing to the immanent return of Jesus Christ. Look again at verse two. Next Paul says that in the end times – here we go again – children will be disobedient to parents, unfaithful. Paul when he wrote this, I think, foresaw an attack on the family unit, home life in the last days. Paul would write to the Ephesians in chapter six verse one: ‘Children, young people, listen to me. Obey your parents in the Lord. This is right. This is the thing to do. So it may go well with you. You may enjoy a long life.’ Satan comes along and somehow influences and encourages young people to rebel, disobey. You don’t need to listen to them. They are old fogies. What do they know? You know, I will take my computer and I will get on Facebook. They will never find me there. They can’t operate a computer. That is the age in which we are living.

Well, the roots of family problems are many and they are varied. There is a soaring divorce rate, I think, which has totally undermined the stability of the home and the authority of the parents. We are told one in two marriages will end in divorce. That is affecting our young people.

It is estimated that the average 18 year old American youth has spent something like 22,000 hours of his formative years in front of a television set. That is far more than he spends in school if he goes every day. And during those days of TV brainwashing he is subconsciously conditioned to a life of fantasy, violence, sex, alcohol and amusement. So is it any wonder that disobedience to parents has become the hallmark of our age?

But even conscientious parents are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the rising tides of permissiveness tolerated by society and with the secular values that are being taught in schools. Now schools across the country often ignore parental objections to the liberal teaching of things like homosexuality, abortion, birth control and sexual indulgence. And, of course, God forbid that we teach the Bible in schools. Now it is interesting some of the stories I
have read that we can assign reading and discussion from almost any filthy book that comes off the press. We can invite witches and homosexuals and antichrists and even Atheists to teach in our classroom and promote their ideas, but we must not teach the Bible nor have token prayers or Scripture reading in school. And that has been since 1963, the best year of mine and Richard and Peggy’s life, when we graduated from Portland Christian high school. But it was that very same year, 1963, again when the highest court in our land ruled Bible reading and prayer is unconstitutional. And then they came back, if they didn’t do enough then, in 1980 they ordered the removal of the 10 Commandments in school. Now that is pretty current. It is going on today. And it seems to me it has all been downhill since 1963.

So is it any wonder that a quarter of American 15 year olds and a tenth of all 13 year olds have experienced or experimented with premarital sex? However, counter to all of this has been the rapid rise of Christian schools and home schools among parents who have said enough is enough is enough. Thank God for those.

Next Paul says they are unholy. People without character will be unholy. That is, profane. And this reaches every area of society when you think about it. And it is well financed, well organized directly by forces that are hostile toward our way of life, our very freedoms. Our very freedoms are being used to destroy us. The enormous drug traffic in the United States and the western world and the wholesale promotion of sexual excess and perversion are all a part of this. I am here to tell you they are all a part of a cleverly orchestrated plot to produce a decadent society, the one Paul makes reference to in Romans 1: 18- 32. And adding to what is happening, the communication media has been infiltrated by this thinking and news stories can be twisted and slanted in the interest of the enemy. What ever happened to old fashioned journalism – just stating the facts? It went out the door.

And then Paul tells us in verse 3 that people would be without natural affections. They will be truce breakers. Again, Paul foresaw a time when people in the last days, the end times, before Christ comes, would become cold and callous. Jesus talked about this sign in Matthew 24 verse 12 when he said because of lawlessness, because of lawlessness the love of many will wax cold. Do you know the saddest thing about this, though? We see that in society, but do you know the sad thing to me? It is within the body of Christ when church members become cold and callous, when church members don’t speak to each other. In fact, will go out of their way to avoid somebody they just as soon not talk to,
when members of the body of Christ will carry a grudge for years over something somebody said like the Hatfields and McCoys … who knows? Or when members of the body of Christ cannot forgive and sometimes when we make the invitation for people to come down the aisle, sometimes we encourage it may be necessary to go across the aisle to forgive. That is the sad thing.

Next Paul says that in the end times we would see the rise of false accusers. This comes from the little Greek word diabolos, meaning slanderer or adversary. The very same word used to describe the devil. Now when Antichrist comes, we believe, according to Daniel 8:25, through his cunning he will cause deceit to prosper. You think it is bad now,
we haven’t seen anything yet. He will cause deceit to prosper and according to 2 Thessalonians 2: 10 his coming will be with all deceitfulness. He will be diabolos incarnate, in the flesh. That is the very rust sign. I always like when I see something that is used for the first time I make a mark of it, the very first sign of the times of his coming.
Matthew 24:4 Jesus says: Don’t be deceived.

Next is fierce, brutal and without self control, verse three. These words are expressive of some of the foul things that we see expressed in our society today. We are living where fierce men literally terrorize whole segments of society. Groups like al Qaeda, ISIS, there is a third group emerging and I am convinced the nearer, the closer we get to the return of the Lord there will be a fourth group, a fifth. It is just a continual thing. There can be little doubt that international terrorism is on the rise. Terror is a favorite weapon because a bomb placed in a car, in a school, in a church, on a bus, on an airplane can harm and influence millions of people. We still have visions of 9/11, planes bombing or flying into the World Trade Center. We have visions of news reporters being decapitated. The greater the newspaper and television coverage the better. But do you know the sad thing? These are real. I could have brought several illustrations that you see on your TV, as I do mine in between the political stuff. But the greater the newspaper and television coverage the better, but the sad thing is it is through the news media that we are
providing the enemy free coverage. They are not spending a nickel. We see. We show that.

Let’s go on to the second group. Paul is saying before Jesus comes people will be without character. Next, people will be without conviction. This is our second group. He says in the last days people would be despisers of those that are good. Or one translation says they will be haters of good. An age of no conviction. Somebody once said: If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

Paul next tells us that in the last days there will be traitors. There have always been traitors. What is so different about that? Jesus had his Judas. But I believe in our day treachery has become epidemic. Movements have banded people together by the thousands of the sole purpose of betraying their homelands to foreign foes whose
ideologies they have been taught to embrace. The parade of traitors is endless in the news media, stories of soldiers who take off their uniforms, abandon their group of men and the next thing you know they are found in other parts of the world. But when they are brought back they can’t seem to deal with the language, the adjustments. One in particular said he had forgotten the language. But God will be the ultimate judge. People abandon their convictions during that age. But as long as I am sincere, doesn’t that matter for something? Sure. But what do we stand for? What do we believe? As long as we are sincere.

Next Paul says heady, rash, high minded. I like the translation of conceited. The Greek word here translated heady means headlong. It means restless. Suffice it to say we are a restless society, not knowing the peace of God.

Next Paul says people without conviction will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Well, right here Paul stops preaching and goes to meddling. There was once a time, if you can think back that far, there was a time when Sunday was the Lord’s day, publicly set aside for worship. Stores were closed. Places of amusement shut down. Taverns were closed. When I was growing up they were beer joints. We have become sophisticated. They are taverns now. But they were beer joints.

Now Sunday is the biggest day of pleasure. Going to church, having to compete with all the sports and on and on and on. Paul is just saying that in the last days the mind set of a lot of people will be that they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Someone has called it the pleasure generation. In the United States alone the pleasure business has been growing at an average of over six billion dollars a year since 1965.
And then there are the video games that rival TV itself, one of the most pervasive
sources of amusement. It is estimated that five billion or more is spent in a single year just on video games. There can be little doubt that we have become a generation addicted to pleasure more than things of God. No conviction. Things that used to bother us don’t bother us as much anymore.

But notice what Paul says in verse five. Along with this decline in any real interest in the things of God, Paul foresaw in the last days people would be marked by having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. And he says that from such we must turn away. The word for power here is referring to the kind of power given by the Holy Spirit through the Church. It is the word that is used to describe the saving power of the gospel. Paul, you remember in Romans 1: 17, said he was not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power, it is the dunamas, it is the dynamite. But Paul is describing here those that have a religious exercise. They go through the motions. They sing the songs, they pray the prayers, and yet there is no power. They still live defeated lives. No power, no joy, no song, no conviction.

Let’s hasten to the third group and then we will conclude. We have seen the last days before the Lord comes people without character, people without conviction and now, lastly, people without conscience. Paul foresaw a day here when spiritual wickedness apparently is going to masquerade itself successfully in religious disguise. I think the Bible often reserves its most scathing words for those who propagate false religion in the name of Christ. It is one of the areas that is a growing concern, referring to those who masquerade as Christians in the last day he writes this,
“For this sort, they which creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with diverse lusts, ever learning, never having come to the knowledge of the truth”. And he has something else to say. Now as Janus and Jambres, in verse eight, withstood Moses, so did these also resist the truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the truth. Paul saw these false, subtle teachers as traitors, traitors to the faith. And it seems the Old Testament to which he is referring is Exodus chapter seven. It happened when Moses first appeared, goes before pharaoh as the liberator of the Hebrew people. Now by law, remember, by pharaoh’s law Moses should have been dead. But because of believing parents who prayed and intervened, Moses is still alive. God is raising him up
as the deliverer for Israel. So Moses goes before Pharoah and Aaron is with him. Aaron is the snake handler here. When Aaron cast his rod down it becomes a serpent, right? And at once the magicians of Egypt, they imitate that
miracle. Change the water to blood, magicians do the same thing. Brings frogs up. Magicians do the same thing. Their sole purpose, apparently, is to resist and oppose the truth. What a wild example for Paul to use, but I think it is making sense. They resist, they oppose the truth of God and hold pharaoh into bondage and error. Paul names these
two magicians. He holds them up as examples of false teachers who will likewise in the end times resist the truth of God. They were a danger in that day. They deliberately opposed the truth.

We would be astonished if we knew how many false teachers and apostate religious leaders there are who once knew the truth of God’s Word. The last thing Paul shows us is that eventually God draws the line on these false leaders, teachers and he reveals, he manifests their whole purpose. But then it says they will progress no further. They will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest unto all men as theirs also. A glimmer of hope. Even though this is a real danger, it is not going to last forever.
Thank God for the truth of his Word. These people are reckoned without God. God permitted. You know the story back in Exodus seven when he permitted the Egyptian magicians to do and to go just so far, but then he stopped them, stopped them in their tracks and he exposed them as empty, shattered and defeated. Likewise, God will show these end time false teachers some time to be seemingly successful, but in the end, in God’s own time he will expose them for what they really are.

Now in the coming days and I think especially during this period we call the great tribulation, Satan’s two men, the beast and the false prophet will become the supreme examples of false teachers, false deceivers. Apostasy is
already on the rise. We are moving in that direction. The perilous times, the grievous times, the fierce times are upon us as Paul wrote about. But in the end, Jesus Christ will come and with his word he is going to defeat the enemy and gain the victory for the people of God.

Now we are living, I believe, in the times before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, many are beginning to pray as the Corinthians did in 1 Corinthians 16:22 Maranatha, Maranatha, which means oh Lord, come.

I wonder. How have the signs of his coming affected your prayer life? Do you feel you are praying with a greater sense of urgency? Boy, my prayers have been. But after my study of signs I can honestly say, truthfully say, I am not looking for any more signs. I am looking for a Savior who will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first and we that are alive and remain, will together with them be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort, encourage one another with these words.

Our prayer is that you have been encouraged and comforted tonight by these words. Now we are going to sing a song of invitation. If there be one here tonight who needs to publicly make the profession of faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, we invite you to come. Or if you are a child of God that is in any way subject to the invitation, we ask you to come as together we stand and sing.

 

Bennie Hill is minister of the Cramer and Hanover Church of Christ in Lexington,KY.

This sermon was presented at the Prophecy Conference held at the Sellersburg Church of Christ in October 2014.

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One Response to “01 Signs of the Times”

  1. Fieldon J. Fulda says:

    Well done, Benny. Good example of expository preacing. content is accuratae with very little to debate.



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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10