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Itching Ears, Scratching Words


"3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Good Morning My Beloved,

Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We would like to welcome our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world, we are so glad to have you with us today.

Surprisingly, doctrine has become sort of a dirty word within the body of Christ. Doctrine is looked at unfavorably. Think of it like maps vs GPS. No one uses maps anymore. Unfortunately, there are entire generations, who have no clue how to read a map. Sadly, this is what is occurring in many of today's churches. Many church sermons, while entertaining, are more often filled with pop psychology and personal opinion, rather than biblical truth.
In fact, there’s one prominent preacher, Joel Osteen, who in multiple interviews, on multiple occasions has said "I don’t teach doctrine in my church." I have had a number of Christians, who have asked what I think about that and my response is always the same: This is sobering. However, he just taught a doctrine and that doctrine is "I don’t teach doctrine." He has exchanged one absolute statement for another. To make a decision not to teach doctrine, not to teach the Word of God, is a doctrine. Demonic doctrine!  And the way that this particular preacher rants and raves about doctrine you would think that doctrine is some sort of terrible thing, a dirty word, it divides people from each other, which by the way it can.
In fact, the writer of Hebrews 4:12-13 says "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."
I do not believe that there is any other passage in Scripture which describes more accurately the day in which we are living, than the text before us today. This again underscores what we have seen many times throughout Second Timothy, and although this was written nearly 2,000 years ago, it is highly relevant to our own day.

Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Father, as always, we are so thankful for Your Word. We are grateful for this warning; we see it happening in the world all around us. We pray that we would take it to heart and that You would bind it to our hearts, that we would make the necessary application to our lives. Grant us faithfulness for the sake of the souls around us. Make us people of courage in these last days. Help us, that we would not be defensive, ungracious, unkind in spirit as we speak the truth. May we always act in ways that bring glory to You and not disgrace.
In Christ's name we ask and pray

Today's Message: Itching Ears, Scratching Words

We are living in an age, where theology has been replaced preaching in modern churches. Many have adapted to a theology giving a few Bibles verses, philosophical thoughts instead of demanding biblical truth. Sadly, much like the world, Christians are increasingly demanding to be entertained. To a distressing extent, this desire to be amused is seen in the demand for multimedia presentations to replace exposition of the Word of God. This expectation is increasingly evident in the choice of praise music on the basis of rhythm and musical titillation at the expense of doctrinal accuracy. It does not seem to me that it should be an impossible task, to have both musical excellence and doctrinal accuracy; however, if there is a choice that must be made, let us always seek doctrinal fidelity.
Maxims such as "Live your own truth," Let your conscience be your guide," "Follow your heart," and "If it feels good, do it," are commonly accepted for direction for our lives, even though we may not always think of them in that way. It has become a means to justify the attitudes and actions of too many, including many professed Christians. There is an old saying that is rarely heard among Christians today, that cautions, "Scratch a saint and find a sinner." This is one of those old sayings, that lends itself to various interpretations. 
One of which, is that though we are saved, the redeemed of God, we are sinners nonetheless. Even the boldest, most outspoken Christian can be intimidated into silence. And godliest among us, is capable of tolerating and justifying unthinkable evil. I know this is not a well received truth, among those who tend to think more highly of themselves than they ought. However, allow me to just say, that not everyone who professes to be a Christian acts "Christianly." Throughout church history, every church, represents a mixed multitude; growing together in God’s garden are wheat and weeds, sown by the enemy. In every congregation there will be pretenders, and there will be sheep that are easily influenced to act unconscionably by the actions and pleas of others. Many Christians today, seem to have lost a sense of who they are, and Whose we are. Those who have been called out of the world, set apart, have become enamored with the materialistic world, thereby forsaking the Spiritual! I believe that we must guard against such forms of infiltration of evil. We live in an age when being politically correct is more important than being biblically truthful.
One of the great preachers of all time, Charles Hadden Spurgeon, commonly known as the "Prince of Preachers," spent the final four years of his life warring against the trends of early modernism which he rightly saw as a threat to biblical Christianity. At the time of his death in 1892, Spurgeon had preached nearly 3,600 sermons and published 49 volumes of commentaries, sayings, anecdotes, illustrations and devotions. Spurgeon, began preaching at the age of 19, just four years after his conversion, frequently warned the flock about the dangers of moving away from the historic positions of biblical Christianity. Among his most remembered publications, The Sword and the Trowel,The Down Grade, were quite controversial.

One today, must ask themselves, are there any among the present day preachers, who would prove themselves to be worthy successors of the forefathers?
Open with me your Bibles, to the Second Book of Timothy chapter 4 verses 3 and 4. In our ongoing study of Second Timothy, for one final time in this last chapter of Paul’s last letter, chapter 4.  Paul compels Timothy to the highest level of self-sacrificing duty in the cause of Jesus Christ. 
I encourage you to follow with me, as I read to set the text in our minds. II Timothy 4:3-4. Listen for the Spirit of our Lord.

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."

The Apostle Paul is obviously seeking to open Timothy's eyes to the importance of what he is called to do. Paul peels back the boundaries of both time and space to reveal to Timothy the unseen realities before whom every Christian lives and labors, reminding him of the great personages who are involved in his witness in Ephesus: "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead." 
There is nothing more helpful in the midst of the chaos of our day, than to realize that what we are doing is indeed very important; yet, at the same time, there is nothing harder for us to understand in regards to our own ministry. True biblical Christianity requires a denial of every worldly value and behavior, and Christians must be willing to make a commitment to the Word of God, with a full understanding of the implications that also come along side of doing so.
The college student who is engaged in casual sexual relationships, wants to hear that promiscuity is a practice God is ok with. The materialist wants to hear a preacher tell him that his money is primarily for his own pleasure. The sexual immoral wants a deity that will baptize and sanctify his sin. The high school student who has discovered she is eight weeks pregnant wants a Jesus who will recommend a doctor to deal with that inconvenience. In our fallen nature, we have a tendency to create gods that will protect our pet sins. The alcoholic’s classic characteristic is to deny his addiction. That is symbolic of the built in characteristic we all have in our resistance to authentic confession of personal sin.
However, the reality is, the sinner has two choices: One, he can submit to the authority of God’s Word, confess his sin, repent, and throw himself upon God’s grace, changing his lifestyle. Or, he can change the message to commend his particular lifestyle and sin, so that his coveted "sin" actually becomes a virtue, that God is in agreement with. I can assure you of this, only ONE of those choices will allow you to enter the Kingdom of God!
Here in our text, the Apostle Paul was warning Timothy that he would encounter people wanting him to be a preacher who would accommodate their passions. The phrase "ears tickled," graphically describes them. Their ears "tickled" to hear something pleasant — words that will soothe them in their transgression rather than convict them of wrong doing and then warn of danger. I believe these verses speak both to the persons sitting in the pew as well as the preacher standing behind the pulpit.
However, allow me to assure you, the preacher who changes the message from God to fit in with the desires of the world around him aids in the destruction of lives, families, civilizations and ultimately damning souls to Hell. The Apostle Paul is saying they will find preachers who tell them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.
Paul writes verse 3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires"  The word "sound," is the Greek word "ugiainousēs," meaning healthy, from which we get the word hygienic.
The point is, sound doctrine results in healthy Christian living. As a footnote, such healthy teaching is set in contrast to what people like and therefore it must be endured! This implies that, like healthy food, it doesn’t always feel good at the moment, because it confronts our selfish desires to satisfy our wants, however in the long run it yields healthy Christianity. One might ask the question, why didn’t God make spinach bad for us and ice cream good for us?
Though I try to serve the "spinach" of the Word along with the ice cream, yes, the Word contains them both, in proper proportions. That is yet another reason for preaching verse by verse through the Bible. It gives us the right proportions of both "spiritual spinach and ice cream sundae." Contrary to what some may think, I do try to gently but firmly confront sin with God’s truth as well as tell you God’s prescription for spiritual health. However, my job is only half the task at hand. You then have a responsibility as hearers of the Word not to reject the spinach and desire only the desert or to go find a place that only serves up desert. I believe we both understand, however, should the latter be the case, you will not be spiritual healthy, if you do. However, what more can I do but preach the word.
Paul tells Timothy in verse 4 "and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."  Let's face it, the religious ideas of men as opposed to God’s revelation in the Word. The sinful propensity of the human heart is to turn away from God’s truth and to embrace what feels good at the moment. There is a powerful temptation to the preacher, especially if he wants to be liked, to give people what they want to hear, popular worldly myths instead of the truth of God’s Word. Even those who would call themselves Christians, have become worldly and spiritually unenlightened. The truth is, however, that to properly understand God’s Word, to believe it and conform one’s life to it, is the mark of one who has been enlightened by the grace of God. And, to live in this way is to have one’s back turned to the ways of the world, with eyes fixed upon the ways of God. 
James, speaks very clearly in James 1:13-16 "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."
 In Closing..
 Every Christian plays a role in the preaching. We either encourage or discourage our pastors to preach the whole counsel of God. Allow me to pint out, there is no neutral territory here. We either pray for our pastors to be filled with the Holy Spirit and preach with His fire or we do not. There are some in the congregations who are like spiritual sponges soaking up God’s truth, even when it involves the confrontation and conviction of their own sins. However, there will inadvertently, be some who will resist and disregard the preaching of the gospel to the point that they pressure the pastor to modify the messages, teaching a more "politically correct, culturally acceptable" message. One where everyone leaves happy and feeling good about themselves... and their sin!
This is why I believe that it is imperative that the congregation must familiarize themselves with the Word, ensuring that what is taught accords with the Word. Together, the people of God must hold one another accountable, refusing to permit errant teaching to slide. Though I recognize that in the popular view this passage is relegated to ordination sermons, the implication of the Apostle Paul’s words is of such significance that all believers must take the teaching to heart. However, each Christian must accept responsibility to ensure that this truth is applied consistently in the services of the congregation.
Rather than to judge the preaching by whether you like it or not, I would encourage you by asking this question, "Does his preaching line up with the Word of God?" If the answer if yes, and it should be, if the pastor is fulfilling his calling, then listen and be confronted. If it does not, confront the pastor and pray for conviction!
May it be so...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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