The pastor was rocking the pulpit. He was preaching through the book of 2 Timothy and he had come to chapter 4. This is a passage that is sweet and strong to those who bring it: from the pulpit and in the classroom. You remember the passage:
[4:1] 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. (2 Timothy 4:1-4 ESV)
And he spent some time hanging on :3…and he should have…and he named names…and he should have in light of Paul calling Peter out in Galatians 2. He warned of heresy and referenced some recent comments by some ‘Christian rock stars’…and he should have. He called people to be locked onto Scripture to be discerning from the wolves of our day…and he should have. And in all the good things that he said that should have been said, there was a minor misstep. Not everyone noticed and I’m sure no one cared, but here’s the thing: he was smiling as he spoke.
I’m sure there have been times when that fabricated tale has been true of me…a long time ago and recently. I am an expositor and a Bible preacher and I love the truth and want to wave the yellow flag where Scripture does…I want to call out heresy because it maims and ruins and destroys…but it shouldn’t be done with a smile…it should be done with seriousness and with a grieving heart. Much of North American Christianity has bought into everything from Bible lite, (which tastes great to some but is less filling to all) to an all out full frontal assault of strange anti-biblical heresy. And it’s easier, as you get more of a handle on the truth from God’s Word, that you become more discerning…but you can also get a swelled head.
Some of my readers may find themselves in positions of teaching and preaching. You may have walked into the classroom or up into the pulpit just yesterday. You may well be starting a new book of the Bible or a new sermon series or some new Sunday School curriculum. I want you to give consideration about how you are going into the classroom and how you walk up the stairs to the pulpit. We should be pumped up by the truth of God’s Word…prayed up that God would do something incredible with our feeble words…but we should also go humbled up.
I was prepping for Sunday School class, a couple of days ago, and was considering part of my lesson, that we are to study theology with humility. I’m not suggesting that we don’t bring it boldly or without certainly, but we should bring it with humility, particularly if we are addressing a popular idea or theology that is not biblical…but when we bring it, we should have our humble on.
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5b)
7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7b)
Paul had been asking the Corinthians a series of rhetorical questions. They were divided and they had forgotten that their abilities and blessings were all from God. They had forgotten that they didn’t have anything to do with it. If we wrap our heads half way around the fact, that all is from God, it causes us to kneel in humility or lift our arms outstretched in praise.
It is very easy to take shots at a lot of the watered down junk that’s parading as the real deal gospel. Sometimes what I see makes me want to throw up…and it should when you think about all those being lead down the garden path to destruction. Sometimes it makes me want to name names…and correct…and it should…but not with a smile. False teaching should be outed…but with a grieving heart and a tear stained face…but also with thanksgiving to the glorious God who brought us to the glorious gospel, in all it’s power and all it’s purity.