In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

Instantly Itching Ears Desiring To Be Scratched

There are some obvious places we can go here with this passage of Holy Scripture, and opinions are much like noses in our society today, everybody’s got ‘em. However, this passage of Scripture is extremely important today for any of us who truly belong to Jesus as we wallow through this seeker sensitive nightmare of postevangelicalism and Emergence Christianity. And as soon as more true Christians begin to do what these verses instruct us to do, it will serve to clear up a whole slew of huge misconceptions people have about genuine Christianity.

2 Timothy 4:2 — Preach the Word. This would be the Bible; Jesus tells His Body to — Preach the Word — not our opinions about the Bible; but rather, what the text of Holy Scripture itself actually says. The critical importance of doing so is evidenced by verse 1 — In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge. God through His inspired Apostle Paul lets us know here just Who it is that is watching over what he is teaching us here.

As Dr. Duane Litfin points out:

The content of Paul’s charge represents the central thrust of every minister’s task: Timothy was to preach the Word. All the weight of verse 1 bears on this entreaty. Paul could hardly have emphasized the matter more strongly. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, 757, bold his)

And since every Christian is a minister (the word means servant) of Christ while still in this tabernacle, then God the Holy Spirit commands all of His servants to — Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season. The King James Version says — be instant in season, out of season — in other words, whether people like it or not, or whether they even believe it or not. All of God’s true witnesses—His genuine representatives mustPreach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct; rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

Why? Verse 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. The late Dr. Walter Martin—a foremost defender of the true historic orthodox Christian faith offered the following comment about the above verse; and specifically, the phrase to say what their itching ears want to hear. “Do you really want to know what this means,” he asked? “I’ll tell you; it means: to tell them exactly what they already wanted to hear.

Men and women, in just my own lifetime I have seen how this has already been happening. In the 60’s the Christian Church in America began to seek ways to make the Gospel less offensive and more appealing to an increasingly secular nation. And in slithered the vociferous viper Robert Schuller to begin spreading his poisoned satanic swill right within the evangelical camp itself. Psycho-philosophies which depend on vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ (Colossians 2:8, KJV).

Are We Really At The End Of The Age?

This sly snake even took in Billy Graham whom he befriended. For it was Graham who would make the ill-fated decision to suggest: Bob, you need to take your message to television; and this current apostasy would thereby receive its evil energizer. Here’s the essential issue: If we are close to the end of the Age of Grace—and/or the Second Coming of Christ—as so many today suggest, then the time has come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Can you see this? Do the names of people-pleasers like Rick Warren or Joel Osteen ring your Rob Bell?

If the time really is drawing near, then the best thing we can do at this point is to teach people what God has said in the Bible. It is our job — In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus to use every tool available at our disposal to do just that. Beloved, we must be sure we are using proper hermeneutics and sound systematic theology as we help others to also learn from the great preachers in the rich history of the Body of Christ. This of course would begin with Jesus Christ of Nazareth—the Master Teacher Himself and Christ’s Apostles in Scripture.

Below is something written by one of the early Church Fathers, a personal disciple of the Apostle John named Ignatius, who would literally go on to give his very life for Christ. He in turn is writing to encourage Polycarp, another disciple of John, who was also to become a martyr for the Faith of our Lord. A Faith I might add, which is treated so casually, and so easily maligned by the weak-willed man-lovers all too common among “teachers” within evanjellyfish today:

Let not those who seem worthy of credit, but teach strange doctrines, fill thee with apprehension. Stand firm, as does an anvil which is beaten. It is the part of a noble athlete to be wounded, and yet to conquer. And especially we ought to bear all things for the sake of God, that He also may bear with us, and bring us into His kingdom. Add more and more to thy diligence; run thy race with increasing energy; weigh carefully the times.

Whilst thou art here, be a conqueror; for here is the course, and there are the crowns, Look for Christ, the Son of God; who was before time, yet appeared in time; who was invisible by nature, yet visible in the flesh; who was impalpable, and could not be touched, as being without a body, but for our sakes became such, might be touched and handled in the body; who was impassible as God, but became passible for our sakes as man; and who in every kind of way suffered for our sakes.
(The Ante-Nicene Fathers, The Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp, chapter 3, CD Rom, emphasis mine)

So Just Who Is It That You Are With?

You know, I didn’t happen to notice anything here about the purpose driven life, seeking some personal mystical spirituality or a perverted version of an abundant life. The above inspiring words from a real man of God are not quite like the ear-tickling “feel-good” messages we hear so often today in this postevangelicalism and its Emerging Church so centered of the self are they? As we encourage people to turn aside from these myths so prevalent today in this seeker sensitive nonsense in the American Christian Church we should also be introducing them to sound Christian pastors and teachers.

And no, in these times it really shouldn’t make a bit of difference what denomination these particular men came from—nor are we necessarily going to agree with every little thing they ever said. However, when all is said and done the absolute truth is, one is either a genuine Christian—or they’re not. As our Lord Jesus Himself teaches us — He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters (Matthew 12:30). Modern translation: “You are either with Me, or you are, in very fact, against Me.” And lines need to be drawn today; not erased.

Now let’s fuse this all together. The single best way we as Christians can deal with the plethora of opaque opinions rumbling about in this clueless society, and to turn aside their myriad myths concerning God, is to follow the admonition to Preach the Word — the Bible itself — in season or out of season — whether people like what they hear or not. For following is a sure word to the wise; based solidly on the Rock of Truth speaking above in Matthew 12:30:

People-pleasing preachers, and all who are like them, you need to listen very carefully: There is no middle ground in this great spiritual war for the souls of men. You see, what is truly at stake here is where one is going to spend all of eternity. It will either be with Jesus, or without Him.

So let us never forget that…forever…is a mighty long, long time…

See also: