Looking At The World From A Different Perspective:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (AMP):
 BUT UNDERSTAND THIS, that in the last days there will set in perilous times of great stress and trouble–hard to deal with and hard to bear.  For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate (greedy) desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffers); disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.  [They will be] without natural (human) affection (callous and inhuman); relentless–admitting of no truce or appeasement. [They will be] slanderers–false accusers, trouble makers; intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.  [They will be] treacherous (betrayers), rash [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.  For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it–their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession. Avoid [all] such people–turn away from them.
Looking at the world from a BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE, it is not difficult to reach this conclusion from the title to this blog-post: “Things Aren’t Always As They Seem”–
Although this planet is inhabited by more than six billion human beings, there are only two types of people: Those who BELONG TO CHRIST and those WHO DON’T.
Now that, at first, may seem like an oversimplification, but the fact is reflected in…
1 Corinthians 10:21:
“You cannot drink the Lord’s cup and the demon’s cup. You cannot partake of the Lord’s table and the demons’ table.”
Unfortunately, in comparison to the rest of the world, the TRUE CHURCH, that is to say, ALL BELIEVERS not willing to compromise, do not compromise their FAITH by following the norms and the evil current running through this world, is a FACT.
It is a sad fact to think that out of more than six billion people, only a small group or percentage will be SAVED.
Look at the words JESUS speaks in clarity–John 14:6: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.”
THIS WORLD is full of people who are just like described in our text (2 Tim. 3:1-5), appear to be one thing, but in all reality something very different.
The world is full of people who profess to be “Christians”; people who with their mouths loudly (and some, not so loudly) DECLARE they are men and women of God, but in REALITY are very far from God.
How do I know this?
Because there are numerous doctrines and teachings that appear to be beautiful and good, but when examined against the Truth, the Word of God, quickly find that there are DOCTRINES & TEACHINGS designed to separate men from God’s presence.
The apostle Paul tells us here to SEPARATE ourselves from them–yet way before Paul’s instruction to us in Timothy, Jesus warned us to stay alert, “take heed”; don’t let the world catch anyone napping.
Mark 13:21-23 (NASB):
 “And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ; or ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him;  For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order, if possible, to lead the elect astray.  “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.”
At this point, I want to take a pause–a “time out”. I am NOT stating nor implying we should JUDGE and CONDEMN someone. None of us are worthy to judge anyone! There is but on Judge! (John 5:22-23)
I want to make myself very clear on the fact that we are not called to JUDGE or CONDEMN anyone because they may be confused or find themselves trapped in a RELIGION or a SECT. Let’s always remember when we find ourselves in a situation to EVANGELIZE…our first words must never be “you are going to hell.”
Our responsibility is to PREACH God’s TRUTH.
So I am NOT implying that we must judge, rather what I am trying to convey to you is we can not trust everything that we see or hear.
The MAJORITY of people, I believe, allow themselves to be led by first impressions, being it positive or negative, and these influence their attitude and behavior toward others. How do I know this? Because I am in a spiritual battle as I write–concerning my attitude, my first impressions of others.
If we are honest with ourselves, we are ALL GUILTY of doing just this. Look at what JESUS tells us regarding our attitude toward others; our judging based on first impressions or otherwise:
 DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.  For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.
But then the question arises in our minds, “How can we distinguish between good and the bad without counting on appearances?”
The LORD tells in Matthew 7:15 (VOICE):
“Along the way, WATCH OUT for false prophets. They will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but understand that quaint and innocent wool, they are hungry wolves.”
I capitalized two words in this verse, for the KEY to answering the question is to “WATCH OUT” !!!
There are many people in this world who appear to be something that they are not. People that disguise themselves by wearing masks of religions, that seem to speak eloquently with fancy words, but “inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
There is but ONE WAY that we can prevent ourselves from being deceived; to distinguish these persons from the rest.
EXAMINE THE FRUITS that they produce (Matthew 7:20):
“You will fully know them by their fruits.”
In other words, although my first impression may be good or bad, although the appearance of a group or individual is good or bad, as a true believer, I have to start by learning to wait on God. This “waiting”, many will say, places the BELIEVER in Christ Jesus at a disadvantage.
But in reality, the opposite is true.
What happens is, that once we receive conviction, we separate ourselves from all of those things that we have learned that displease God; we will be accused by many saying that a TRUE CHRISTIAN is called to LOVE. That as Christians, we are CALLED TO LOVE GOD and our neighbors. That we are CALLED TO FORGIVE even those that may have seriously offended us in the past, and because of the “callings”, we can never distance ourselves from, or stop sharing with, a particular group or individual.
I can tell you that there is some TRUTH to these types of accusations; a Christian Believer IS called to love God and to love his neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40).
Therefore, ONE TRUTH IS…Christians are CALLED to LOVE & FORGIVE.
BUT another great truth is that Christians are NOT CALLED to be Accomplices; Doctrines, rituals, and Sects that serve only to drive a wedge between man and God.
Our responsibility is to TEACH the TRUTH, to PREACH the Gospel of Salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
BUT if they are unwilling to HEAR, unwilling to ACCEPT the Truth, wishing to continue in those things that don’t please God as pointed out in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, then we are to SEPARATE ourselves from them.
“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you” ~ New Living Translation (NLT).
WE MUST BE CAREFUL–WATCH OUT!!!
We must be take care of what God has given us–our “PEARLS” of wisdom and understanding.
Read in Revelations 2:11 at how our Lord tells us, “Behold I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”
We must AVOID those persons who disguise themselves to confuse us; we must SEPARATE ourselves from this wicked and evil world, no matter the form we see it appear.
But we must also EXAMINE ourselves very closely to find the FRUITS that we are bearing are in fact pleasing to God. [See Footnote [i] for a reference to read]
We must examine ourselves to find, if perhaps, that we have become so preoccupied with those around us that our life has stopped testifying of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I…we have to examine ourselves closely, because we find that by CRITICIZING, and HATING those around us, we must realize that we are not bearing GOOD FRUIT. We must be very careful with what we HEAR & SEE, we have to TEST EVERYTHING using the Word of God.
But just as important, is our self-examination; we have to EXAMINE ourselves and discover if our life is truly hidden in Christ, or perhaps just hidden.
APPEARANCES can be deceiving, so let’s be very careful that we may not be deceiving ourselves in the process.
Footnotes & Credits:
Photos: Google Search Images
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.