There are many cultural Christians who eagerly seek to have ego boosting trash taught to them; they want the Word of God to be pleasant to listen to. Therefore, they seek ineffective and unbeneficial false teaching. According to John Calvin:
But shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymeneus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:16-18)
[A particular] doctrine may not seem bad to us at the first view, yet notwithstanding, if it has not a tendency to lead us to God, and strengthen us in His service, to confirm us in the faith and hope that is given us of everlasting life, it will deceive us in the end; and prove to be but a mixture which serveth no purpose, except to take away the good which we had received before.
To be short, those that have not this in view, to draw the world to God, and build up the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He may rule among us, mar all. All the labor and pains they take but increases their wickedness; and if they be suffered to go on in this way, a gate is set open to Satan, whereby he may bring to naught whatsoever is of God. Although this is not done at the first blow, yet we see the end is such. To express this better, St. Paul adds, “Their word will eat as doth a canker.”
The word “eat,” mentioned here, is not commonly understood; it is what the surgeons call, an eating sore, and what is also called, St. Anthony’s fire: that is to say, when there is such an inflammation in any part of the body, that the sore eateth not only the flesh and sinews, but the bones also. In short, it is a fire that devoureth all: the hand will cause the arm to be lost, and the foot the leg, unless at the beginning, the part that is affected be cut off; thus the man is in danger of losing his members, unless there be fit remedies provided for it; in this case we should spare no pains, but cut off the part affected, that the rest be not utterly destroyed.
Thus we view it here spiritually: for St. Paul showeth us that although we may have been well instructed in wholesome doctrine, all will be marred, if we give place to these unprofitable questions, and only endeavor to please the hearers, and feed their desires. Seeing we understand what St. Paul’s meaning is, let us endeavor to put this exhortation into practice. When we see men go about, endeavoring to turn us aside from the true doctrine, let us shun them, and shut the gate against them. Unless we take it in hand at the first start, and entirely cut it off, it may be as difficult to control as the disease of which we have spoken.
Therefore, let us not be sleeping; for this is a matter of importance; it will prove a deadly disease, unless it be seen to in time. If this exhortation had been observed, things would be in a better condition at the present day in Christendom. (“Pure Preaching of the Word”)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Evil, God, John Calvin, Preaching, Satan, Sermon, Theology, Worship | Tagged: Christendom, Christian, Jesus, Philetus, Second Epistle to Timothy | Comments Off