They will not tolerate sound doctrine
2 Timothy 4 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
I solemnly exhort you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
9 Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Take along Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12 But I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the overcoat which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Be on guard against him yourself too, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.
16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but I left Trophimus sick at Miletus. 21 Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters.
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
In yesterday’s text and meditation we saw that Paul warned of the signs of the last days, and encouraged us as believers regarding what we should do. Today’s text continues both with the signs and the exhortation for the last days. It says: I solemnly exhort you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. I would say that we are in a time when many will not tolerate sound doctrine. They say instead that doctrine should tolerate their whims and their lusts. It is often true that churches will hire/accumulate teachers who are in accordance with their own desires. Many people today do not want to hear the whole truth. They are unwilling to receive correction or rebuke. Hebrews 12:5-6 says: “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are punished by Him; For whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He punishes every son whom He accepts.” In Revelation 3:19-22 the Lord says: “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. The one who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne. The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” True love and true teaching will be accompanied by instruction and discipline.
In Matthew 24:4-5;11, when Jesus warned of the last days He said: “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people… many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people.” The deception of those who mislead many is that they say Jesus is the Christ, but that He is different now than he was when He was here. They say that now Jesus accepts, tolerates and even embraces the immorality and lawlessness of our culture. Many people think that the primary criteria for determining if a prophet is true or false is whether what they say comes to pass. If that is the judgment, we often would not know for certain until long after we are gone. 2 Peter 3:8 says: Do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. God is not limited to finite time as we are, so what he says will happen could be tomorrow or in a thousand years.Our initial judgment of a prophet should center around whether their word is in agreement with God’s word. Any prophecy or teaching that contradicts God’s word should be considered false. In John 17:17 Jesus says: “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
So, what is sound doctrine? It is the truth of God’s word, not just the parts we like best, but all of His word. In yesterday’s text in 2 Timothy 3:16 it said: All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness;so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work. Sound doctrine should train us not entertain us. It should equip us for good work, so that as Paul says, we would fulfill our ministry.
The Lord will rescue you from every evil deed, and will bring you safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.