Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:3 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
There is no easy way to put this, and so, I’ve decided to put it as simply as I could.
We have been spoiled in our churches. We have become soft, uncalloused and unchallenged. We demand worship bands and worship leaders with upbeat tunes that make us tap our toes and clap our hands.
The center of our worship is not God, it is ourselves. We want to feel good. We want to experience oneness with God. We want to hear a snappy sermon with lots of Powerpoint slides or video that illustrate vividly and humorously with about 3, maybe 4 points…no more. If we had anymore points then the worship service would run over an hour and that…well…that would make us unhappy. We do NOT want to be unhappy in church!
That may seem harsh and maybe it is, but it is true more often these days. Examine your own attitudes about how your church operates a worship service…honestly. I think you will find that you demand to be entertained. The result is really what Scripture had warned us would happen. Paul states in 2 Timothy, and rightly, that there would come a time when people’s demands would be to hear what they want to hear and the result would be unsound doctrine and a soft, unScriptural faith. That time has come and it is getting worse.
We can combat this in our own lives, strangely enough, by becoming more demanding…more discerning about what we want in our churches for worship. It’s not about us…it is all about HIM. I for one, WANT doctrinally sound sermons…and not those who necessarily make me feel GOOD about myself. There are plenty of things that I KNOW I can improve upon…people are just not giving me honest feedback. I need a sermon that challenges me! Whether it is to study the Bible more or to be more Christ-like in my live or responses to other people. I don’t need my ears “tickled”…even though that is what I want…it is not what I NEED. I should be made to feel uncomfortable…and even sad at times…those feelings are healthy for my soul.
I need other Christians to be honest as well. We so often are like the Penguins of Madagascar and we just , “Smile and wave boys, smile and wave.” when we see others in error. Instead we are to build up the body of Christ in Love until is attains the fullest maturity in Christ Jesus. We are failing our fellow believers when we are silent on doctrinal error.
Of course, all this comes at a price. You may not feel good all the time and there will be times that tears are shed. People may even not like you anymore…even those ‘Christians’ who were once your friends. However, it will be during those times when your faith will reach a level of maturity that you had not before. It will be during those times when you will feel closer to God and His Kingdom. It will be during those times when you will be acting most Christ-like and telling people what they NEED to hear and not actually doing any tickling. It will be during those times when the Body of Christ will grow into the kind of faith which will actually do some good in this world by lifting Jesus while they themselves are saying…”I must decrease and He must increase!”.