1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Tim. 4:1-4
The Apostle Paul laid out this charge in the most serious manner he could to his young ward, Timothy, because in the Spirit he foresaw a time of great apostasy coming to the church. The Book of Timothy is there in the Bible because the Holy Spirit also foresaw our times and He knew that they would be exactly as they were to be during Timothy’s tenure of ministry.
There is an incredibly large number of fake “ministers of the Word” today. It is so clear that these men and women are false ministers of the gospel. Everyone can see it. Even a drunk seated at a bar can clearly tell that many ministers masquerading in church today are not true ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everyone and everything in the world is screaming out aloud that there is something amiss within the church!
And yet, strange as it may seem, you will find genuine born-again believers seated in these same churches, watching and listening to these preachers. More extraordinarily, however, is that you will find these born-again believers enjoying themselves immensely in such churches.
Just to give an example, I recently saw on TV a young African preacher teaching that the gospel is a mystery. That sounded scriptural all right, so I sat down to listen. Then this young preacher started “doing things”. He began explaining that one way in which God is a mystery is that He can play with babies in their mothers’ tummies. And right there he began singing, “Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit…” – and immediately, all the pregnant women in that church began moving their tummies and waists in a decidedly obscene manner.
But the truly amazing thing is that although that church was packed to capacity with people whom you could gauge were of sound minds, yet not one of them stood up and did the least that anyone could have done in such a situation, which was to walk out. Instead, these people sat there and they clearly were enjoying the explicitly lewd show that was going on in their midst, laughing and cheering at the gyrating tummies..
I sat there and wondered: where is any of this in the Bible? And where did this young man come from?
But I probably shouldn’t have been so naïve, for the Bible expressly says that in the latter times God’s people “will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
In other words, the Bible is saying that it is the people of God themselves who will bring in and egg on these preachers to do these kind of things, so they can “have a good time” in church.
The fact is, people today just love these kinds of things. They are not interested in whatever God calls the truth anymore. People – believers – today love their own selves more than they love God, and they are actually in church to pleasure their flesh. They go to church to satisfy the lusts of their own flesh, and their itching ears. And if an obscene act is carried out in church in the name of the gospel, so much the better!
But the Apostle Paul charges Timothy: “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” (v.5)
A carnal believer would never love affliction. Nor would he want to be engaged in any “watching”. No. The flesh loves the good life. It loves the soft life.
In other words, Paul was warning Timothy that in days to come, a literal tsunami of the flesh would descend upon the church and that therefore he, as a young preacher, ought to be prepared for this.
In the days that we are living, the words of the Apostle Paul concerning the church have proved to be doubly true. All the more reason for the true men of God to rise up and preach the true gospel, the gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ, without thinking of being too “politically correct” within a dying church.
[In the African savannah, the acacia tree is king!]