“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching (doctrine), but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Has this time come? Does the Word that is preached these days divide between soul and spirit? Does it upset our comfort zones? No one likes to be uncomfortable in their own homes. Nor do people like to be uncomfortable in the prayer meeting or the Church. Many today resist teaching that is direct and convicting because many do not want to hear that there is something wrong with the lifestyle they live, or perhaps even the doctrine they hold. Should the church adjust so as not to offend? Recently I had to point out to a young Christian about watching movies that glorified witchcraft and the occult. It turned out to be a tussle as he did not see why such a fuss was being made when everyone his age was watching the same.
Leaders among God’s people have a responsibility to set an example as well as teach the truth of holiness as taught in the scriptures. Though many will not want to hear it, for their sake and for our own, we should resist the temptation to omit difficult doctrines, oversimplifying moral issues, and the tendency to gravitate towards comfortable sermons in order to “gain an audience”. We have a plethora of tele-evangelists today who preach a “prosperity” gospel, promising the same wealth of Old Testament times on a “name it and claim it” basis, clearly forgetting that the advent of Christ on earth heralded a new dispensation in which even He (Jesus) did not have a place to lay His head. They forget that He did not arrive in a Ferrari nor did he wear the latest branded clothes, but barely made it to a stable wrapped in swaddling cloths. If no disciple can be greater than his master, then how can we the disciples of Christ command God for wealth and riches.
The next danger comes from the affinity for sensationalism that thrills and excites the senses. This is largely because having lived by the senses all along, we naturally tend to enter the Christian Life through the doorway of experiences rather than the doorway of sound doctrine. We need to realize that if we enter by the doorway of sound doctrine, our lives will be built on rock and the experiences that follow (if any), will be right. If we enter through the doorway of experiences, then our lives will be built on sand and will be shaky, lacking the surety of faith that comes from the facts of God’s Word (See Rom 10:17).
Application: Alas, we have not heeded Jesus’ warning of Mt 24:24 – For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. It is a foreboding thought that even God’s chosen people will be susceptible and fall prey to the devious schemes of the enemy who struts around like an angel of light. To be protected against this we need the solid meat of the Word (sound doctrine) which is for the mature who through practice have their senses trained to discern between good and evil (Heb 5:14).