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;4and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.
What time is it? You could look at a clock, you can look at a calendar, or you can look at the world around you. Each will tell you something. A clock keeps track of things minute by minute. A calendar keeps track of things day by day. And looking at the world around you can tell you the season. We are not born knowing these things, they are taught to us. We learn to read time from a clock, the big hand, the little hand.... So too we learn the days of the week, and the months of the year, the seasons and what they bring. And when it comes to looking at the world around us, and knowing where we are and where we are going, there is no better map and compass, than Godís Word, the Bible.
When you come to the words of our text: "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled" - it seems that we are in this time already. We have leaders who seem to have no direction, its not their fault, not completely, we chose them. They said what we wanted to hear, they tickled our ears. It might not be a "big thing" yet, but its time for a change, simply because we are going the wrong direction.
And we might well know that things are wrong, but we may feel like a leaf, fallen from the tree, the life has gone out of us, we have lost our anchor, and we are blown this way and that, and there seems nothing to which we may hold fast. There is but one anchor, in the storms of life, and that is Jesus Christ, and we find comfort and hope in our link to Jesus Christ, which is Godís word the Bible. And the amazing discovery is that being in Christ, and in the Word, we are no longer blown this way and that, in Christ we become a new creation, no longer a lost dying leaf, we have become the children of God, with our feet firmly on the ground.
And so we stand, by the grace of God. But standing four ourselves, is not enough. For though the Word of God shows us the way of salvation by grace through faith, in Jesus Christ, it does not stop there. There are 2 purposes of the Bible, the way of salvation, and training us for holy living. Holy living, is a way of talking about how the children of God are to lead the world. Holy living, not because we are perfect, but holy because we bring the presence of God into a world that is lost, alone and in the darkness - to them we bring the good news of salvation, we bring light and life.
But sometimes the world around us makes us think that holy living is more than we can do. We cannot lead, because all we can do is stand, and that not by our own power. There are a thousand excuses, but no reasons. You see, God has given us a wonderful promise. God has breathed life into his word, in the same way that god breathed life into the lump of clay, and man became a living soul, so God has breathed life into his Word. And God promises that all of his Word is useful, no - Profitable.... why/how? Well the Word is what trains and teaches us in holy living. God promises that the Word contains everything needed so that we may be prepared for the work God has given us to do.2TI 3:16 "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;" Thatís the work weíve been given to do, to proclaim the law, that shows us our sins, and tells us of the wrath of God, and also to proclaim the Gospel, which shows us our savior, and tells us of the grace of God. Its not hard to tell that somethingís wrong, many people are already doing that, but without the grace of God, we tend to see the symptoms and not the cause. You canít cure a runny nose by cutting it off, so the cure for this worldís ills cannot be found until you can see the sin, which is their root.
The answer, is the same as the good work to which God has called us:2TI 4:2 "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." Why? in part because the signs show that the end is near, and the kingdom of God is at hand. In part, because there is no other salvation to be found, "for there is no other name given under heaven among men in which there is salvation".
All of this moves us, so that the Word of God dwells in us richly, for our sake, for the sake of our friends and family, and for the sake of the world which is perishing. Grow in the Word.