A Learning Church Preaches the Word
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). God has given me, as a pastor, clear direction as to what I should be doing. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:2–4).
They preached with urgency.
In the original Greek, urgency is stressed here: preach the Word with alertness, carefulness, insistence, urgency! Some would say that the preaching of the Word is not enough today. They insist that those with deep psychological wounds must be carefully treated by trained Christian counselors before they can understand and appreciate the promises of Scripture. Yet, we do not find this supported in Scripture.
“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:20–21).
“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. . .But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:21, 23).
They stayed away from aberrant teaching.
A more literal translation of Paul’s description to Timothy of those with itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3) would be those who have a craving for novelty, or those who are looking for interesting and spicy bits of information. Sadly, this describes many in the church today. They are willing to accept any teaching—no matter how aberrant—or any experience, no matter how bizarre. Such people use experience as their guide rather than the trusted words of Scripture.
Remember—if it is not in the Word, it is not of the Lord.
We must not be like the people Paul addressed on Mars Hill, who readily believed and embraced anything remotely spiritual: “For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21). Instead, we should heed the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls'” (Jeremiah 6:16).
They preached the Word.
They did not preach politics, morality, psychology or social issues. While these subjects can be dealt with, they must be presented in the light of scriptural teaching. When Jesus sent out the disciples, their primary objective was to preach the Word even though they also had the authority to pray for the sick and perform miracles.