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SCRIPTURE - 2Tim 4:3                                                                                                             JUNE, 2005

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;


This month's message, is in effect, a continuation of last month's message, in asking the question, 'What Do You Go To Church For???'

In this message, we are looking at one of the reasons a lot of people choose the churches that they do.

To give you the reference to the title, we know, that Burger King, was the first fast food franchise, that offered the customer, their choice of having their hamburger, any way they wanted it.

Their jingle, 'Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us.

The idea is the customer is in charge of the making of the product by the restaurant, telling them what you want, and what you don't.

Contrast that with McDonald's, that has the burgers, already made, and you basically had to accept the product, without any choice of how it is made.

Well, as strange as it seems, one of the biggest reasons, that people choose a church, which was briefly addressed last month, was that it made them feel good, in their sin.

The apostle Paul, in the subject verse, is addressing a condition in the last days, when people will want to get away from, what they see as a hard nosed, take no prisoners, hell fire and brimstone type of preaching, for a tiptoe through the tulips message, that allows the people to leave the church, with no feeling of guilt about anything that they are doing.

Now, let's dissect the verse, bit by bit.

'For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.'

As I mentioned, the writer was warning of a time, when, even though the message from the pulpit was the true anointed message of God, delivered by a man, filled, and being led by the Spirit of God, the people would get tired of hearing that they are in need of repentance, because they are getting slack in their way of living. They are not standing guard over their souls. They are allowing the devil to come in, and destroy their relationship with God.

Instead of mortifying the deeds of the flesh, Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live., they are yielding themselves to it 'Rom 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God., and as a result, they are in danger of suffering, both in this life, and in hell, after they die.

Now granted, some of the messages from God's man, can be harsh, and they can be condemning, and at times, they can be downright distasteful, but, that is what God has to do, to keep us from becoming entangled in the desires of the flesh.

It is said, the best defense, is a good offense.

That means, that a person takes the initiative to prepare themselves to battle the enemy, even though the enemy is not in sight. It is foolish, to wait for an enemy to attack, before you prepare to battle him.

Many times, in the history of nations' conflicts, it is usually the nation that is always prepared for an attack, or that even goes on the offensive, that wins the battle, before the enemy can attack them.

What God is doing, is making sure we stay awake, and vigilant, not only over our own souls, but of those around us.

We have to remember, the devil, is on the job, 24/7, '1Pet 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

The pastor of a church, is, figuratively, the shepherd of that church, and the members, are the sheep.

And, those that know anything about sheep, and shepherds, know that the sheep are the most defenseless animals that are on the face of the earth, and that the shepherd, is charged with protecting them.

A good shepherd, stays on the watch, all the time. He never slumbers or sleeps, because he knows, that to do so, could be a disaster.

The bible talks about a man that had 100 sheep, and one got lost, and he went out and searched high and low for it, until he found it. That means that the loss of one, was unacceptable to him.

Well, take that, and think about what happens if one soul is lost. This is what the preacher is trying to avoid.

Yet, the people, are getting tired of listening to the same thing, all the time. Why??

The second part of the subject verse, gives us the answer. 'But after their own lusts....'

The people are getting weary of the message, because they want to enjoy life. They are seeing, or are involved in some form of unrighteous behaviour, and are enjoying it. But, the preacher is making them feel guilty. He is making them uncomfortable in church. He keeps challenging them. It is like he is right there when they are doing whatever they are doing, and they don't like it.

Now mind you, they want to go to Heaven, but, at the same time, they feel that the preacher is asking, no, demanding too much. They feel, that this type of preaching is too harsh, and unnecessary, so, since they still want to go to church, and have the feeling of going to Heaven, while still having their fun, they 'shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

This is the most dangerous type of thing, any Christian, can do. going around, trying to find a church, that has a pastor, that preaches messages, based on what the people want to hear.

In the church world today, there are literally thousands of preachers, that are anointed by God, to be in the pulpits of His churches, preaching His message.

At the same time, there are millions, and this is not an exaggeration, that are out here, not only in this nation, but the world, who subscribe to preaching messages, based on what their members want to hear.

They invite the people in, with enticing words. They pat them on the back, and tell them, 'not to worry, God understands.'

What this type of preaching actually does, is set the people up for destruction, because they stop being wary of sin, and the lusts of the flesh. They yield themselves to whatever type of behaviour they feel like, and they just want to have what they want, without the guilt trips that have been plaguing them in their former church affiliation, and they feel good.

But, what is the end result of their actions??

Sure, they get what they want, the satisfaction of apeasing their flesh, but, at the same time, the possible destruction of their of thier souls.

What these people want, is to find a 'middle ground', the best of both worlds, or, a position of lukewarmness. You know, not too hot, and not too cold.

In Revelations, there was a church, that Jesus addressed, that has all of the characteristics of the pastors and people that I have been talking about, it is the church of Laodecia.

Jesus speaking, says, Rev 3:15 - 17 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Jesus is addressing a church , actually a pastor, or pastors of a type of church, that tries to stay neutral in all things. And because of that position, millions of people flock to it.

It has become rich, as people are willing give money in large sums to it, because it makes them feel good.

As far as it is concerned, there is no sin. Once saved, always saved. Who wouldn't want to be in a church like that??

To explain what Jesus was saying, look at it like this. Hot, means you are on fire for the things of God. You want to do whatever it takes, to please Him.

Cold, on the other hand, means you have no regard for God and His ways, at all. This group will go to hell definitely.

But, there is a middle group, the lukewarm bunch. That is the 'Burger King Religion' crowd. They want to stay in the middle. Not hot, or cold. They are lukewarm, neither hot or cold.

Well Jesus is saying, He wishes they were either hot, or cold, because they have definite destinations. But, because this group, is in the middle, He will lump them in with the cold group as well.

They went to church. They may have given money to help the church expand, and maybe even help others in need. They visited the sick. They were truly, their brother's keeper. They defended the weak. They did everything that God says a Good Christian should do, except one thing. They walked after the flesh, and not after the Spirit. Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

They despised the chastening of God's Word. Heb12:5 - 8 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Out of the examples, hot, cold, or lukewarm, which category do you fit in to?? What kind of religion do you have??

You better make sure, before it is too late. You only have one chance.