I am charging you before God and Messiah Y’shua, the One Who is going to judge the living and the dead, at His appearance and in His kingdom: 2. you must now preach the Word, you must now be ready in season, out of season, you must now correct, you must now rebuke, you must now encourage, with great patience and every kind of instruction. 3. For there will be a time when sound teaching will not be listened to but they will heap up teachings according to their own desires in themselves, what their ears are itching to hear 4. and indeed they will turn their ears from the truth, and they will turn aside to myths. 5. But you must continually be sober in everything, you must now bear hardship patiently, you must now do the work of an evangelist, you must now fulfill your ministry.2 Timothy 4:1-5 (One New Man Bible)
As I prepared for church today, I was particularly hit by one phrase in this passage: “they will heap up teachings according to their own desires in themselves, what their ears are itching to hear. (Verse 3b)” It’s easy to point the finger at everybody else on that one, but judgment needs to start at home. How often we decide whether to go to church, what church to go to, or what books to read and programs to watch based on what we think we want or need. The message I need is God’s choice, not mine. As a parishioner headed to church, and that is where I need to be, I need to forsake my own preconceptions (myths) and ask God to teach me truth.
As a Pastor, this passage is even more challenging. I will be evaluated by God based on whether I preach the Word. He doesn’t care what your opinion is, or your perception of what you need. He wants to be sure you are exposed to truth. He has commanded me to provide it. In addition, Verse 5 really gets tough. Pastor, you need to be sober (Gr. Nephos – lit. “to abstain from wine.” Keep a clear head!), stay steady in persecution, be mindful of winning the lost, and remember what He told you when He called you. You and I will be accountable. We have a wonderful and daunting job.
So, there you have it! Let’s all head to church and do our job. The result will be heavenly!