Preach the word . . . with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
2 Timothy 4:2,3
The Truth Must Be Told
Imagine that you are given a new job but are told that you will fail. A prophet in the Bible named Ezekiel had a job like that. God said, “Speak this message, but the people won’t listen.” Other prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah didn’t fare much better.
In today’s Bible verse, a pastor named Paul was giving instruction and encouragement to a young pastor named Timothy. But it doesn’t sound entirely encouraging: People won’t want to listen to you. They’ll go to others who tell them what they want to hear.
Paul wanted Timothy to know the agenda God had for him. It wasn’t to tell people what they wanted to hear. It wasn’t to compromise the teachings of the Bible. How much easier his job would have been if that’s what God told him to do. But too much was at stake for that!
What people want to hear is that they are good people and are able to correct whatever might be wrong with their lives. No one wants to hear that they deserve punishment, certainly not the punishment of hell. But that is the truth about every one of us.
Why is it so important that we hear that? Because, if we don’t know how serious our situation is, we won’t realize how much we need what God has so generously provided for us in Jesus.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. The world’s biggest problem is sin that leads to death. Its only solution is Jesus. Jesus paid the full price necessary—his own innocent life and death—to remove our sins and guilt forever. God wants us to patiently and lovingly teach the whole truth of his Word so that people everywhere hear that awesome truth of Jesus loud and clear.
Gracious God, thank you for uncovering the truth about my sin and my Savior. When I speak your truth to others, help me do it with patience and love, but without compromise. Amen.