For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. – 2 Tim 2:3-4
Preaching that tickles the ears. We nod our heads in agreement and pray …
Lord, deliver us from the liberals who don’t believe anything and don’t preach the truth.
Lord, deliver us from those who give good advice and moral platitudes without the Good News of individual salvation.
Lord, deliver us from the stand-up comics who fill stadiums with ear-tickling, side-splitting sermons that are all about us and not about God.
Then, we sit back on Sunday mornings with a smile, satisfied in our assurance that our ears don’t itch.
But have we escaped the temptation of gathering pastors and teachers around us who will tickle our ears? Paul says that people will surround themselves with teachers who “suit their own passions”:
- Calvinist’s like preachers who will preach against Arminians.
- Protestants like preachers who will preach against Catholics.
- We all like preachers who preach against alcoholics.
- Evangelicals like preachers who will bash “gays” and “lesbians”.
- Conservatives like preachers who will preach against the errors of Liberalism.
Jesus tells a story of a Pharisee who prays, “thank you Lord that I am not like that Tax Collector”. As we love to hear and shout a hearty “amen” to what we find wrong with everyone else and all of their theologies, have we become the person who prays, “thank you Lord that I am not like that Pharisee”? Or thank you Lord that I am not like that Church down the street.
Ironically, the very message that is supposed to cut us low, the message of the Cross, can be delivered in such a way that people walk out of the sanctuary patting themselves on the back. Thank God I’m not like those people! – Trevin Wax
We have become a people – most all of us I suspect – who surround ourselves with preachers and teachers who tickle our ears, who fancy our passions and who tell us exactly what we want to hear.
And if they don’t, we find someone who will. We move to the Church down the street.
I have left church on more occasions then I’d like to admit, thanking my pastor for delivering a sermon that agrees with my theology (that itches my ear); but how often have I thanked him for delivering a sermon that brought conviction and humility to my soul?
(If you are interested you can find the whole article here)