Paul wrote to his son in the faith Timothy, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
…For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Most all bible commentators agree that Paul is referring to the last days of this current age when life as we know it will come to an end as God finally judges the earth. In addition, most of those same commentators would also agree that we are in the last days right now (although no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return).
Therefore, we must also conclude that in these last days people will by and large seek teachers who do not teach the truth but are men pleasers. This means they will line up to listen to men who “itch” their ears and keep them rolling in the aisles while these men also go to great lengths to maintain their prestige, popularity and success.
Conversely this must also mean that men who are faithful to teach the truth of God’s Word in its entirety will repel the masses because they don’t “itch” ears.
Now that doesn’t mean that every large church has a teacher who itches ears and every small church teaches the truth.
But instead, what if in these last days church leaders relied solely upon God for numerical growth while finding peace and purpose in teaching God’s Word and biblical discipleship of those that God has sent them and will send them?
Imagine if churches began using their resources to disciple their existing attendees instead of utilizing the latest marketing techniques to attract new ones.
Now track with me. In the Old Testament there were prophets who had the ear of the Hebrew Kings though they delivered erroneous prophecies that made the kings happy for a while but also led them astray.
On the other hand, there were also prophets whom were sent by God who prophesied the truth which in the case of most of the Hebrew Kings meant telling of their impending doom or that of the entire nation.
What if Jeremiah in the name of congregational growth watered down his message of repentance. What if Isaiah, Ezekiel and the rest the Hebrew prophets avoided those things God was inspiring them to say and write to maintain their prestige, popularity and success.
What if these men became national heroes for their ability to “itch” ears with their rhetorical eloquence instead of being reviled while making an attempt to turn the nation back to God. What if they would have avoided words like repent, turn from your sin or remember the Lord your God.
If these courageous men would have disobeyed God we wouldn’t even know their names because they would be just like the other no name prophets who prophesied lies in the name of popularity and position.
In conclusion, I encourage Pastors to focus on the essentials of Church practice which includes the teaching of God’s Word, prayer, fellowship, breaking of bread and evangelism.
It’s ironic, we respect Jeremiah because he remained faithful to preaching the truth while seeing no fruit, we greatly admire Paul the Apostle who finished his race but was all alone at his death. We worship Christ who was reviled and crucified but we demonize supposed “non-innovative” pastors who faithfully pastor small congregations.
What if Pastors preached the Word in season and out. What if Pastors convinced, rebuked, exhorted will all longsuffering and teaching. What if Pastors were watchful in all things, endured afflictions, did the work of an evangelist and fulfilled their ministries…period. What if?
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