Second Timothy 4:2-4 “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 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.”
Doesn’t this describe much of the modern messages today? People don’t want to hear about repentance, sin, confession, the cross or holiness but they want to hear how they can prosper, be blessed, be happy and have their best day now. Sorry, but that’s not the gospel. Our calling is about holiness not happiness. The Word of God is supposed to rebuke and correct. The Word of God comforts the afflicted but afflicts the comfortable. It cuts in order to heal.
Second Corinthians 11:3-4 “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”
Paul constantly had the Judiazers hounding him and trying to undo everything He did. For example they wanted to add circumcision to the gospel but if you add one drop of works then it’s not grace anymore (Eph 2:8-9). Works + grace = nothing but grace + nothing = salvation. Today, there are other gospels out there, just as there were in Paul’s day which is why Paul wrote “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal 1:6-7). Paul stated to the church in Galatia and he tells us that even if “an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse” (Gal 1:8).
Proud, Lovers of Self
Second Timothy 3:1-5 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
Have you watched professional sports lately? How many of these athletes thump their chest or even point backwards to their name on the back of their jersey after making a big play? Today, a great number of men and women are in love…with themselves! They are looking out for number one. They are abusive, proud, boastful, greedy (loves of money), slanderous, brutal, have no self-control, and love pleasure, not God. They might look like their Christians (having a form of godliness) but inwardly they deny the power of God. We are to “have nothing to do with such people.”
Falling Away and Teachings of Demons
First Timothy 4:1-2 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
Paul seems to be saying that the Holy Spirit clearly told him that in the end times some will abandon the faith. This is happening at an ever-increasing pace. They might still go to a church but they are not following biblical teachings but following “deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” They are hypocrites who by continual lies have so seared their consciences that they are no longer convicted by their hypocrisy and sin.
The best way to steer clear from doctrinal error is to stay in the Word of God. Daily reading of the Word builds our ability to discern truth from error. We are to follow the Word and not men or women. I often tell my church “Today, part of my sermon will be perfect…the part where I read out of the Bible.”