The Christian in an Age of

Increasing Lawlessness


Dr. John Hoole – November 11, 2018



Matthew 24:12 NKJV


12     And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.


Today, we begin looking at how Christians are to live in an age of increasing lawlessness and violence.  At the presence, I don’t know how long this series of lessons will last.


Hardly a day passes which doesn’t show us the effects of increasing lawlessness in our culture and around the world.  The effects of it range from mere “inconvenience” to jeopardizing one’s physical safety.  I am not talking about the normal dangers of life per se.  Human beings have lived with danger and mishaps to varying degrees down through the centuries.


We do not suffer all the dangers, at least to the same degree, as previous generations.  Physically, on average, we live longer today.  A sickness like pneumonia is not as big an issue today as it was a hundred years ago.  It was the leading cause of death by infectious disease, and third leading cause of death overall.


I grew up being quite active in sports.  And today, though I am not as active, I still enjoy watching most sports.  I had the privilege of meeting the NY Yankees Hall-of-fame baseball player, Yogi Berra,


Yogi was not just a great baseball player.  He is also noted for several interesting quotes. 


•  The future ain’t what it used to be.


•  It’s like déjà vu all over again.


Yogi also said, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  And our culture seems to have taken a turn for the worse in recent decades.  Things are happening today that I would not have thought possible 50 years ago.


When I was 10 years old, my parents had no reason for concern when, on a nice summer day, I grabbed my fishing pole and walked 2-3 miles to a river, not returning home for 3 or 4 hours.  And when I was 13, the high school basketball coach would give me a key to the gymnasium, where I would practice by myself until 9 or 10 in the evening.  My parents did not have to worry about me being out alone.  Fear of abduction or molestation was just not a big consideration.  Drive by shooting and random killings had not been popularized yet.


There has always been lawless people in our midst – thieves, thugs, con-artists, murderers and politicians.  On Feb. 24, 1929, the Saint Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago involved the gunning down of 7 mobsters, and shocked Chicago and the nation.  The nation was shocked by this carnage almost 90 years ago, but to have only 7 people gunned down in the city of Chicago on a 3-day weekend today, would, more or less, elicit a yawn, Ho-hum.


Things have changed.  Our lives have become better in many ways, but the effects of increasing lawlessness impacts our daily lives in ways large or small.


Some of you will remember that the reason it is an effort to open a bottle of over-the-counter medicine and supplement.  It is because in 1982 the Tylenol murders happenedSomeone had laced the Tylenol tablets with Potassium cyanide, and put them back on the shelf.  A total of 7 people died in the original poisoning, with several more deaths in subsequent copycat crimes.


You used to buy allergy medication right off the shelf, but now, for some of them, you must stand in line and submit to inspection and sign a form just for a month’s supply.  Why?  Lawless people were buying up allergy meds and making methamphetamine.


Many trends we see today are disturbing.  The Barna Group, after an extensive 2016 study concluded:


“From the most hardened social critic to the most optimistic church lady, Americans recognize that they are living in dangerous and bewildering times.  The evidence is everywhere, and it is undeniable.”


The following is a brief sampling of the typical American experience today.


•  The possibility of terrorism striking near home has created substantial – and increasing – anxiety.


•  Fewer American parents than at any time since scientific polling began believe their children will have a better life than they did.


•  Violent crimes have become commonplace.


•  Distrust of government, social institutions, and businesses is at record-setting level.


•  People’s sense of victimization, powerlessness, and social detachment is unprecedented

•  The nuclear armament of America-hating nations like Iran, Russia, China and North Korea adds to the public’s sense of fear.

•  Religion has shifted from providing a sense of peace, purpose, and order to becoming a source of division and confusion.


The more I understand about Bible prophecy, the clearer it become to me that we are living in the end times.  The prophetic “signs of the times” –current signs that echo prophetic passages, lead me to this conclusion.  A sign of the times is an event of prophetic significance that points to the end times.  We might say that the signs of the times found in the pages of Scripture constitute God’s “intel in advance΅ regarding what the world will look like as we enter the end times.


We are living in a time when lawlessness seems to be increasing exponentially.  It seems like evil is everywhere and our privacy and security are becoming things of the past.  Our country appears to be more divided than we have ever seen in the history of this country.  It also appears that the perverse, the immoral and the ungodly are pushing their agendas to usurp humanity and life itself.  It is happening not only in our governments, but also our universities, and, unfortunately, in some of America’s churches.


Not only is there discord in our nation, there is also a frontal attack on Christianity.  2 Peter 3:3-4 tells us that there will be scoffers or mockers of your Christianity.  I will say more of this in a future lesson.


Having given you a rather dark view of what is happening in our country and around the world, let me say that none of this caught God by surprise.  In fact, He told us in advance that this would happen.  Let’s look at a few of those prophecies.


2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV


1       But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:

2       For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3       unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,

4       traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

5       having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!


That is such a close description of the age and society we live in.  The very first thing I said in today’s lesson, was a reading from Matthew 24.  Let’s read it again.


Matthew 24:12 NKJV


12     And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.


Again, from the same chapter, let’s read Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV


37     But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

38     For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,

39     and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.


I believe Matthew 24 is speaking of the period directly before the Second Coming of Christ.  That is the period known as the 7-year Tribulation.  Are the prophetic signs that will emerge during the seven-year tribulation period also relevant to us today, even before the tribulation period?  My answer: Most certainly!!


Look at it this way:  Just as tremors (or foreshocks) often occur before major earthquakes, so preliminary manifestations of some of these tribulation “signs of the times” are now emerging in our own day.


Someone once said that prophecies cast their shadow before them.  I think this is true.  Prophecies that relate specifically to the tribulation period are presently casting their shadows before them.  We can logically infer that the stage is now being set for the future tribulation period.  That means that the time when Jesus comes to earth is not far behind.


Now, back to the passage we read concerning the time of Noah.  If it is an indicator of the time of the end times, just what are we told.  Let’s read what we are told about those days in Genesis 6.


Genesis 6:5, 11-12 NKJV


5       Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.


11     The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

12     So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth


The earth was filled with wickedness, corruption and violence.  Sounds a lot like today around this world and in our nation.


Another example Jesus gives us of the end times is a man    named Lot and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We can read it in Luke 17, a chapter that is also speaking of the days immediately prior to the Second Coming of Christ.


Luke 17:28-30 NKJV


28     Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;

29     but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.

30     Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.


So, what was the society like in Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot lived.  One place in Scripture that helps is the book of Jude.


Jude 7 NKJV


7       As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.


We have sexual immorality of the worst kind mentioned here.  If you read the story of Lot, going after strange flesh was openly exploited.  Not only is this world today full of violence and sexual immorality, including homosexuality, these evils have now been turned into entertainment.  The world is being entertained by the very things that God destroyed the old world of Sodom.  As I speak today, 26 countries have fully legalized same sex marriage.


2 Peter 2:4-6 NKJV


4       For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;

5       and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;

6       and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;


Do you see what the Lord is telling us here?  He made an example of the wicked people in Noah’s day who were filled with evil and showed violence to one another by destroying them with the flood.  And He made an example of the sexually immoral people in Lot’s day who practiced homosexuality and other strange flesh sins by destroying them with fire.


It is a warning to us that we should not follow in their footsteps by practicing the same sins.  Otherwise, we will be destroyed too when Jesus returns.  It doesn’t take a genius to realize we are living in the time Jesus talked about.  A time like the days of Noah and Lot where violence, wickedness, sexual immorality and homosexuality would control the minds of men and women alike is now with us.


Every society on earth is dependent upon law in some way.  In many cases it is biblical law that has formed the basis of societies, either directly or indirectly.  For instance, those of us from the U.S. consider English Common Law as the foundation for much of our legal system.  Yet, behind this common law there is a great evidence of biblical law, brought to England by the Jews.  At this point we simply cannot determine just how much the Law of Sinai has influenced many other nations, but there is evidence it has had a great impact upon them.


Almost every society today is dependent upon such things as honesty, integrity, trust, and faith in their fellow man in order to function smoothly.  Imagine what would happen to the world’s great financial institutions if all these qualities were suddenly taken away.  Yet, virtually all these things are derived, either directly or indirectly, from the Biblical heritage.


It is true that the world had systems of law before Sinai.  There was the famous Code of Hammurabi for instance.  However, the legal system of Sinai dealt with justice from God’s perspective and not just from man’s.  It introduced such intricate concepts as damages.  It set limits on revenge.  It placed value upon the unborn (Exodus 21:12-23).  And it even dealt with man’s inner motives (Exodus 10:17).


Christianity in its proper understanding should highly regard the importance of law.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:17: NKJV 


17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.


The false teaching known as antinomianism has been around a long time, but seems to be growing in popularity today.


Before continuing, I want to look at two word, one of which I just used.  Antinomian, and another word found in the opening verse I read for this lesson.  That word is Anomia


It was found in Matthew 24:12., and was translated, lawlessness or lawless.  Both words can be broken down.  Both have the word NOMIA in them.  The word, NOMIA, means “law”.  When you precede this word with an “a,” it reverses the meaning.  ANOMIA means, “without law”, or “lawless.”  On the other hand, ANTINOMIAN means “against law.”  Antinomianism is the belief that there is no moral law God expects Christians to obey.  They say, “God’s grace frees us from any and all laws.”


That is not the clear teaching of the Scriptures.


Romans 6:1-2 NKJV


1       What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

2       Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?


Another reason why antinomianism is unbiblical is there IS a moral law God expects us to obey.


1 John 5:3 NKJV


3       For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.


In the last three decades there has been a strong move abroad in our whole society to throw off the fetters of law, particularly all biblical restraint.  With that, the idea of moral absolutes is tossed out the proverbial window.  And that is followed by the demand that it is improper to even question what a person believes or does.


The lawlessness of today’s society is causing great damage and chaos.  And the Bible says that this is indeed what will happen.  Lawlessness will bring in the man of lawlessness – known as the Antichrist.


2 Thessalonians 2:3 NIV


3       Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness [anomias]is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.


Four verses later, verse 7, the apostle Paul tells us that the “mystery of lawlessness [anomias] is already at work.”


We are now living in a world and country where the scoundrel is honored.  They may even be evil, and society will praise them.  It seems that if a person can prove himself absolutely worthless and beyond redemption, he will likely become the idol of this age.  Notice what Solomon said.


Proverbs 28:4 NKJV


4       Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them.


Today, we see ungodly people given accolades and positions of influence.  Their praise comes from people who have forsaken the law.  The unlawful always like those who are like them.  But it will not always remain this way.


Isaiah 32 is a chapter on the future 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ.  Verse one begins by saying, “Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness.”  In the following verses, it speaks of those who once stammered will speak plainly.


But notice what it says in verse 5.


Isaiah 32:5 NIV


5       No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected.


The day of Christ’s reign is surely coming, and God’s law will be established.  The law will proceed from Zion to the ends of the earth.  This is what we are told in Isaiah 2:3 NKJV (Also speaks of the Millennium).


3       Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.


God’s King will rule from Mt. Zion.  His name is Jesus (Yeshua).  And He will have to deal with many warlike and lawless nations still on the earth when He returns to set up His kingdom.