“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,” (Heb. 6:1)
Leave it to Steve to spend the better part of the week scouring the internet, local and international news feeds, finding what events have reached the highest number of views, and then build a sermon around them. Leave it to Joe to do the same, then gather hundreds of images that are relevant to the words being spoken at the moment, throw in a catch phrase or two along with the latest and most viewed news accounts, and then when there is only a few minutes left in the video, call out to the lost with the old, old story of the salvation of God offered through faith in Jesus Christ.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2 Tim. 4:3)
There is a line that I do not believe many pastors can see between, that of sound Biblical doctrine and the teaching of it and that desire of their audience to have their ears itched.
The purpose of every entertainer is to keep them coming back, whether it be to the stage or sadly to the pews, and in depth studying of the Word of God for most will not do that, so the latest news account is what is brought to the attention of those that attend, along with an emotional hook, as it is called, at the end of what the Lord did for us that day on the cross. It is an account worthy of continual remembrance? Of course, but if it does not move a man’s mind to action, if it only creates an emotional uplifting moment, then there is no growth in those who sit in the pews or watch on their internet device.
There are numerous ways to scratch the audience’s ears.
It is a well-known fact that if a teacher, preacher, pastor or any man of God that offers a choice to those who attend to him between a study of the end times or one on the application of the Word of God in our lives, the end times study will draw them in every time.
I heard an internet preacher some weeks ago, a man who is indeed saved and called to do what he does, one whose videos revolve around current events and those in the entertainment industry say, “If people want to talk about cucumbers, that is what I would speak about.” That my friends is called scratching their ears. He speaks in earnest, he loves the Lord, he has a heart for the lost, but if he did a two month study in his weekly videos on justification he would lose the majority of his audience, if he spent six months on attempting to convict those who subscribe to his channel by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God into action, those subscribers would move on, for they want, in fact have come to need that emotionally uplifting weekly fix.
There are few who desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord who watch these men of God, few that will return to the pews if conviction of the soul is taught. It is a subtle trap and one that is saddening to watch as that man of God falls into it, as those who attend to him continue to ask for their ears to be scratched.
Those who continuously stare up at the cross rarely visit the empty tomb, and even fewer will follow the Savior wherever He leads.
Sanctification can only grow so much when all that is spoken to is our emotional side my friends, good feelings rarely lead to actions. Being an obedient servant means more than feeling good, it requires more than a weekly uplifting moment, following Christ means suffering for His name. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim. 3:12)
It is one of the most subtle traps of our adversary, and many are falling prey to it.