The Time is Coming…

Maybe you haven’t noticed (and if not, I’m worried for you), but the prevailing culture in America is changing. Social norms aren’t the same as they were 50 years ago, or even 5 years ago. And the trend tends to be toward accelerating change.

It’s disturbing to most of the conservative evangelical community. We’ve grown accustomed to our values being the prevalent values. We’ve grown used to having political influence to reinforce the social values that align with our faith (well, at least arguably align).

But times are changing. Pick your issue (this isn’t about any particular one).

Scripture tell us this is expected.

2 Timothy 4:1-5
I charge 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; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 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. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

I can’t seem to find the link, but I wrote about this Scripture passage years ago. It may not have been on this site, though I’ve been writing here since 2005. Wish I could find it.

I recall writing about “itching ears”. About people turning from truth. About people surrounding themselves with influences to listen to that will tell them exactly what they want to hear. About crafting Scripture or teachings to reinforce sinful behaviors or beliefs.

I think that’s the prevalent way most conservative evangelical Christians read this passage.

Are we missing something? Let’s read it again.

2 Timothy 4:1-5
I charge 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; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 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. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Often times, I think we simply look at the prophetic portion of this Scripture. We read it, think of our culture, and say… “yep, it’s happening.” People aren’t enduring sound teaching. They’re straying from truth. They’re listening to whomever they will to justify what they want to believe.

We shake our heads and curse the darkness. We lament the fact that things are changing. We struggle to hold on to what we think we’ve “earned” over time through simply being the majority voice, or through political influence. We fight back.

But should we? Is that what Scripture teaches?

When prevailing culture looks at this kind of Christian through their lens of truth, what influence do Christians have on culture? What kind of change can the Christian influence when they’re suddenly viewed as a bigot fighting desperately to hold on to antiquated beliefs? When our methods don’t differ from those of the world, what will be the natural conclusion?

Again, are we missing something?

2 Timothy 4:5
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Verse 5 begins, “As for you”. Instructions to the reader. Instructions for us.

Be sober-minded.

Endure suffering.

Do the work.

Fulfill your ministry.

None of these things require Christians to assume the alarmed, shrill voice squawking with frustration and disappointment over cultural change. None of these things require that Christians be the majority influence in a culture. (Perhaps it’s even better if we’re not, another post in and of itself.)

Instead, we’re called to be faithful. (Even when it’s unpopular.)

Instead, we’re called to hold to truth. (Even when it’s no longer “truth” to the masses.)

Instead, we’re called to preach the word. (“None is righteous; no, not one.” Jesus offers redemption. We can be made new and receive true life and real purpose.)

Instead, we’re called to encourage each other. (We’ll definitely need it.)

And yes, we’re called to rebuke. (Fellow believers. We can’t expect non-believers to think and act as we do.)

We’re called to teach with patience. (Developing real, transformative relationships takes time.)

And finally, we’re called to endure.

So yes, the time is coming. As culture shifts, you bet it will be uncomfortable. Change always is.

But there’s nothing to worry about, nothing to fear… nothing that changes in the life and mission of a follower of Jesus.

Face it with a sober mind. Be faithful. Endure.

Just live like you should have been living all along.


Connect with me...
FacebooktwitterrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwitterrssyoutubeinstagramby feather
Share this post!
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
John Written by:

Husband, Daddy, Christ-follower, sports fan... pressing on toward the goal for which God has called me heavenward in Christ. #ForeverRoyal!

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *