Rev. Jonathan Latham

Rev. Jonathan Latham

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For a 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.” II Timothy 4:2-4

The young preacher, Timothy, was a student of the Apostle Paul, the same Paul who wrote most of the New Testament, inspired by the Holy Spirit. This man of God was giving Timothy both sound advice and a clear warning. First, he urges Timothy to preach the word. The “word” is God’s Scripture, the Bible. God gave it that we might know who He is, why we need Him and how we are to live. Sometimes the “word” is hard to preach. A pastor trying to convince a person to turn to Christ for salvation might evoke anger. Furthermore, exhorting Church members to live for Christ could cause resentment and possibly a backlash. Many pastors lose favor from congregations for preaching too “hard.” Indeed, it takes a lot of courage to speak the truth in the face of opposition. That is why there are so few willing to stand and faithfully proclaim the Gospel of Christ. Blessed are the Churches willing to accept God’s Word preached by God’s Man. Christians should honor those pastors who preach the Bible truthfully, both in season and out, because they are brave warriors for our Lord!

On the other hand, some ministers succumb to the easier route of preaching a popular “gospel” to people who are unwilling to hear the truth. Congregants rejecting sound teaching and choosing to make up their belief systems from personal desire have “itching ears” that want only pleasing, “feel good” words. Such people will not endure the truth as shown in the Scriptures. If the Bible says something personally offensive, they ignore or deny it. For example, President Thomas Jefferson did not like certain parts of the Bible, so he cut out the undesirable elements and kept that with which he agreed. There are hosts of churchgoers today who do not wish to receive the truth of God’s Word. Therefore, they turn aside to pseudo-Christian teachers of philosophy, psychology or popular culture. These teachers weave fables from thoughts that sound “holy” to those unwilling to examine them in light of Scriptural truth. Their brand of Christianity will not hold up against the wiles of the devil. Paul’s warning is clear to both Pastors and Churches — stay faithful to the Word or fall prey to the wicked.

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