Johnie Scaggs, Jr. Co-Editor

             The Bible is very clear that there will be those who will have itching ears and also there will be those who are willing to scratch those ears. Paul wrote, “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; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Tim. 4:3-5).

             There are various reasons why men do not love the truth and are willing to let some one scratch their ears. Some of these reasons may be listed as.

             (1) Their works of darkness are revealed by the truth. Jesus said, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:19-21). Men who love the darkness do not want the light to reveal their evil deeds. Many Christians have a hard time understanding that there are those in the church whose motives are not pure. Paul said, “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel” (Phil. 1:15-17).  It is possible that those who preach the truth out of envy and strife will do some good and some may obey the truth regardless of the preacher. But what about the preacher who preaches falsely for the same selfish reasons? Will people find the truth through false teachers? Most likely not! Thus, they will both be lost, Jesus said, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt. 15:14).

             (2) Another reason could be that they have a personal agenda for teaching false doctrine. Many preachers and fellow Christians have families who are living lives that are not in harmony with the will of God and instead of teaching them the truth, they are willing to compromise in order to attempt to smooth things over with them. However Jesus reminds us that we are to put Him first in all things, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).  He further stated, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt. 10:34-39).

             We must not ever compromise the Word of God. I recall the words of my own father when I first begin to preach. He stated that as long as I preached the truth, he would also be there to support me in the truth; however, the day I begin to preach falsely, he would be there to fight against me. Thus he was putting into practice what the Lord had directed him to do, via. Matthew 10:34-39, etc. This is not always easy, but it is always right.

             (3) A third reason could be that they are preaching for the wrong reasons. For example many preach for the money, others preach for prestige, because they want to be somebody in the brotherhood.  These motives and others like them are impure. The only reason to preach, is because you can’t do any thing else. By this I mean that you would not be happy doing anything else. When I first began to want to preach a fellow preacher said to me that if I could do anything else, then go do it. What he meant by this was that if you do not love to preach more than anything else, then you need not put your hand to the plow. Those who preach for the wrong reason are hirelings. The inspired author wrote, “As a servant earnestly desired the shadow, and as an hireling loseth for the reward of his work” (Job 7:2). Those who preach for the money look to that as their reward and they will do whatever they need to do in to make sure that the money continues and the more the better. Likewise, those who preach for prestige look for the praise of men. Jesus said, “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Matt. 6:2). Those who preach for the wrong reasons do not care about the Lord’s people, “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep” (John 10:12-13). Those who preach for the right reason will receive a reward as well. Jesus said, “Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:24).

             We have a great responsibility to make sure that we preach the gospel of Christ for the right reasons. We should always remember that we hold in our hands our own soul and also the souls of others. Even when there are those who call upon us to preach in order to itch their ears, we must not give in, for in doing so we will lose our eternal reward and they theirs.