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: 2 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 people 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
Paul gives good advice to Timothy about how to preach in these verses. He says to be prepared in season and out of season. A minister needs to be ready to preach the gospel no matter what the circumstances. Some people are not willing to hear the truth. Some people are so eager and ready, that they need good instruction about how to be saved.
As a preacher, one should correct, rebuke, and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. Many people looking for God are starving for instruction. How does one live a Godly life in an ungodly world?
Unfortunately, some ministers are preaching what ‘itching’ ears want to hear, rather than correcting rebuking, and instructing.
Verse 3, above, says that there will be a great number of teachers that will be telling people what they want to hear, rather than the truth. Many people will want confirmation that their desires are right, although they are on a path to destruction.
Because some ministers fear man, more than God, they are teaching false doctrines and myths, and leading people astray.
Ezekiel also prophesied about bad ‘shepherds’ and what happens to the flock when there is no one to lead them righteously:Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them. (Ezekiel 34)
The good shepherd is Jesus Christ, and with so many false teachers, it is important that our focus is on Christ, and God’s Word, so that we are not deceived. When we attend church, we need to make sure that it is in line with God’s Word in what it teaches. Make sure your minister is correcting, rebuking, and encouraging — with great patience and careful instruction.
Dear God, it is hard to find the truth if one does not know where to look. The world is leading people astray with myths and false doctrines. You said that if the last days were not shortened, it would be possible for even the elect to be deceived. I pray for Your protection, for Your presence, and for Your leadership and direction in my life. Keep me from temptation, deliver me from evil, forgive my sins, and stay close to me, dear God. I pray for all those who desire to know You, that they would seek You and find You, while You can still be found. In the name of Jesus, Amen.