2 Timothy 4:2-5
“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
There are many reasons to stay in the word; to study it and meditate on it but the one that concerns me today is the very thing that Paul warns young Timothy about. There are so many “gospels” floating around out there. There are so many “preachers” out there leading people astray; saying things to people that “their itching ears want to hear.”
The problem is that what people WANT to hear and what they NEED to hear are two completely different things.
What we hear so much about today are what prosperity gospel preachers are trying to tell people: If you live right you can be successful and happy in this life. They hold up the Bible, quote scripture and give you 7 ways to have your best life now. People may WANT to hear that message but it is not what they NEED to hear. Happiness now is fine but there are two keys problems: (1) Jesus never, ever promised that things would be great in this life (he actually told his disciples that they would experience hardship and persecution) and (2) When this life is over then what?
What we NEED to hear is that God, through Jesus, has over come this world.
What we NEED to hear is that Jesus has reconciled us to God through the cross.
What we NEED to hear is that there is hope beyond this life.
What we NEED to hear is that we have nothing to fear in this world with God.
What we NEED to hear is that God is madly in love with you and with me.
Prosperity gospel preachers do not preach this message but rather disguise the Good News with something that people can use now to be happy and successful. As Paul warned, the time has come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.
So we need to be even more diligent.
Let’s take Paul’s charge to Timothy and make it our own. Stay in the Word; meditate on it; study it and remain faithful to the Word. “…keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. “ Tell people what they NEED to hear, not what they WANT to hear.
May God be praised in all we say and do.
Preach it brothers and sisters! Amen!