Tell us, when will these things be? Jesus gives us another sense of progression regarding the last days, He says that one of the signs of the last days would be the love of God growing cold in the hearts of Christians because of multiplied lawlessness (Matthew 24:12) This is kind of love comes from the Greek word agape which is a word for Christian love. So the love of Jesus refers to is agape love.
It is only the Holy Spirit that can bring God’s love into our lives. This infilling of the Holy Spirit is not a one-time experience. It does not matter how well you know the Scriptures or how well you speak in tongues. If you are not living an obedient life before God, your love will grow cold. God’s kind of love requires discipline and self control. True love is not selfish or self-seeking. Paul talks about this kind of love in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8 and he considers it the greatest gift.
When lawlessness abounds, the love of many will be squeezed out of people’s hearts. As Christians we must maintain our love for the Lord and for one another if we are to avoid being hardened in our hearts. Paul also described the kind of behavior that will be prevalent in society in the last days—even, unfortunately, the behavior of many Christians. We should all check our lives against Paul’s list.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.(2 Timothy 1-4 NKJV)
Why would it be so tempting to ‘‘love pleasure rather than God’’? Because pleasure is something that can be controlled; God cannot be controlled. Most pleasures are obtained easily; love for God is a choice and requires effort, sacrifice and obedience. Notice again that this prophecy predicts that the society of the last days will love three things: self, money and pleasure. These are the three main things that cause all the other negative features that are affecting our world today. A. W. Tozer said that:
Our break with the world will be the direct outcome of our changed relation to God. For the world of fallen men does not honor God. Millions call themselves by His name, it is true, and pay some token respect to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among Christians. Let the average Christian be put to the test of who or what is above, and his or her true positionwill be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and men, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human life, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above Him. However the man or woman may protest, the proof is in the choices he makes day after day throughout his life.
You don’t need to look very far to see how this love has been lost even in the Church. The Amplified Version in Verse 3 says it much better: they will be without natural human affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); they will be slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.
In other words, even the normal love that we expect from parents for their children, for brothers and sisters in a home is being lost at a very fast pace. What is causing all this? It is the love of self and expression of self-fulfillment- serving the trinity of the flesh—me I and myself.
When you love money more than you love God and others, you will be frustrated, because money cannot buy peace or love or joy. This selfishness that Paul talks about is the number one cause of the breakup of our marriages, and when marriages break up, the family is destroyed, and when the family is broken, society follows and in the end society will be filled with violence and hatred, very frightening scenario, but the root cause is self-love.
The list that Paul gives tells us the reason why the Church has become weak. After Paul had described in detail how the times will be of great stress and hard to bear, he adds that the main reason will be due to people having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:5)
Paul says there will be no lack of religion, but people will deny the true power. What power? The presence and power of the Holy Spirit. There will be no room for this power that can transform lives, produce peace, love, righteousness and justice. In other words, there will be no sensitivity to spiritual things; no conviction of sin, righteousness or judgment.
We need to ask the Lord to baptize us with the Spirit of love, and this love will burn through every trial and lawlessness. We cannot learn to love until the Spirit of God fills our hearts with God’s love. The fruit of the Spirit is love because nothing but this love can overcome our selfishness in these last days.