WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 07, 2022
TOPIC: DO YOU HAVE ITCHING EARS?
BY T. O. BANSO
“For the 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” (2 Timothy 4:3–4 New King James Version).
There are different instructions in the Bible. Some people are ignorant of some of them while some are aware of them but have chosen the instructions they would obey or disobey. In other words, they don’t like some instructions. Indeed, some don’t even like when the pastor talks about them.
Somebody left a church because he didn’t like the way the pastor emphasized the truth in the Bible about sin and salvation. He complained that it made him uncomfortable. What the Pastor said was neither wrong nor presented wrongly but the truth was bitter. He was offended by the truth.
The instructions in the Bible are not for anyone to choose the ones he likes to obey or disobey. The truths in the Bible may be bitter but we must accept them. We don’t need to move from one denomination to another or one place of worship to another because we are running away from the truth.
2 Timothy 4:3–4 warns, “For the 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” (New King James Version). We are already in the time that Paul said people would not endure sound doctrine. Take note of the phrase “itching ears.” It is only used in the Bible only in this passage.
Those who have itching ears hate to listen to sound doctrine. But according to their desires, not God’s desires, they accumulate to or multiply for themselves new teachers who will teach them new doctrines and gratify their lust – teachers who will not offend their sinful lifestyle. They prefer ministers who will tickle their ears with false doctrine or teaching rather than sound doctrine. They look for false teachers who will tell them only what pleases them or what their itching ears want to hear. Do you have itching ears?
Some people today have itching ears. They cannot endure sound doctrine. They have a wrong understanding of what church is. Or probably some preachers in the past that they were associated with gave them a wrong impression of what to expect from a pastor when they come to fellowship with other believers.
They believe that the Pastor’s job is to amuse them or make them laugh or feel good. So, when they hear a pastor preach the truth that makes them uncomfortable, they conclude that he doesn’t know his job. They could stop going to church services or start looking for what they consider a good church to join – a church that will not say anything that will make them feel guilty that they are living their lives in disobedience to the Word of God.
What should a genuinely called servant of God do in this circumstance? Should he change his message to please the people? Paul told the Galatians, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 New King James Version).
Should a minister of the Gospel dilute or adulterate the Word of God so that the members will not leave the church or so that the crowd will keep coming? Before Paul’s warning in 2 Timothy 4:3–4, he said, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (verse 2 New King James Version).
Also, immediately after the warning, Paul said to Timothy in verse 5, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (New King James Version). A servant of God must not be intimidated or compromise the truth. He must continue to preach sound doctrine. He must preach the truth in love not caring whose ox is gored. Paul told Titus, “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1 New King James Version).
One of the qualities of a bishop/pastor that Paul highlighted in Titus 1 is that he must hold fast to the faithful word, as he has been taught so that he may be able, by sound doctrine, to exhort and convict those who contradict (verse 9). Paul didn’t say a pastor/bishop should look at the face of the people and package his message to make them feel good.
A true servant of God should not allow anyone’s hatred for the truth of the Word of God to make him adulterate the word of God. He must not dilute his message to massage the people because of the fear that the people will leave the church for preaching the truth, not heresy. He must be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work God has assigned Him, and fulfill his ministry. He is not an entertainer. His job is to be God’s mouthpiece to the people. Sometimes God could make his audience rejoice and another time He could make the people weep.
Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost didn’t make his audience begin to dance and rejoice. Acts 2:37 says, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’” (New King James Version). The phrase “they were cut to the heart” means they were pricked in the heart, their hearts were troubled, or they were conscience-smitten.
However, in Acts 8, after Philip had preached Christ in the city of Samaria and the multitudes heeded his words, there was diverse healing, and the Bible says in verse 8 that there was great joy in that city.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. As Paul told Timothy, a servant of God must take heed to himself and the doctrine, continue in them, for in doing this he will save both yourself and those who hear him (1 Timothy 4:16).
A minister of the Gospel must not seek to be popular but truthful. Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26 New King James Version).
A true minister must not corrupt, peddle, or merchandise the Word of God. The Apostle Paul said, “For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17 New King James Version).
Do you have itching ears? Do you listen to sound doctrine? Don’t have itching ears. And don’t be a false teacher who tells others what they want to hear that is contrary to the Word of God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: In the name of Jesus, I shall endure or listen to sound doctrine. I shall love the truth and not patronize lies and false teachers. I shall not have itching ears and look for teachers who will tell me what I like to hear. Father, I pray that all those with itching ears who have turned their ears away from the truth will repent and settle down in Your house to receive sound doctrine rather than continue to listen to false teachers.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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