return to the main player
Return to the Main Player

Itching Ears

2 Timothy 4:3-4
ID: 4675
Program

The teaching we seek from our pastors reveals a lot about us. Do we only want them to preach what we want to hear? Or are we longing to know what God has to say? Find out why it matters when you listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.

From the Sermon

January 11, 2015

Itching Ears

2 Timothy 4:3-4

Series: Guard the Truth, Volume 4

Id: 3074
Two Things

Two Things

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25

The two most important things in our Christian journey are the life of faith and the walk of faith. The person who grasps this is not far from being a master in experimental [experiential] theology, for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unaccompanied by true godliness; on the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life that does not have at its root a living faith relying upon the righteousness of Christ.

Woe to those who seek the one without the other! There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these may be very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness! There are others who have strained after a holy life but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old, of whom the Master said they were “whitewashed tombs.”1 We must have faith, for this is the foundation; we must have holiness of life, for this is the superstructure.

What use is the mere foundation of a building to a man on the day of tempest? Can he hide himself in it? He needs a house to cover him as well as a foundation for that house. Even so we need the superstructure of spiritual life if we want comfort in the day of doubt. But do not seek a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house that can provide no permanent shelter because it has no foundation on a rock. Let faith and life be put together, and like the two supports of an archway, they will make our devotion endure. Like light and heat streaming from the same sun, they are full of blessing. Like the two pillars of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two streams from the fountain of grace, two lamps lit with holy fire, two olive trees watered by heavenly care.

Lord, give us today life internally, and it will reveal itself externally to Your glory.

1) Matthew 23:27

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.

Absalom Returns to Jerusalem

1Now Joab the son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart went out to Absalom. 2And Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman and said to her, “Pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning garments. Do not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead. 3Go to the king and speak thus to him.” So Joab put the words in her mouth.

4When the woman of Tekoa came to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and paid homage and said, “Save me, O king.” 5And the king said to her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead. 6And your servant had two sons, and they quarreled with one another in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him. 7And now the whole clan has risen against your servant, and they say, ‘Give up the man who struck his brother, that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed.’ And so they would destroy the heir also. Thus they would quench my coal that is left and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.”

8Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” 9And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, “On me be the guilt, my lord the king, and on my father's house; let the king and his throne be guiltless.” 10The king said, “If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again.” 11Then she said, “Please let the king invoke the Lord your God, that the avenger of blood kill no more, and my son be not destroyed.” He said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”

12Then the woman said, “Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.” He said, “Speak.” 13And the woman said, “Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself, inasmuch as the king does not bring his banished one home again. 14We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast. 15Now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid, and your servant thought, ‘I will speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant. 16For the king will hear and deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together from the heritage of God.’ 17And your servant thought, ‘The word of my lord the king will set me at rest,’ for my lord the king is like the angel of God to discern good and evil. The Lord your God be with you!”

18Then the king answered the woman, “Do not hide from me anything I ask you.” And the woman said, “Let my lord the king speak.” 19The king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” The woman answered and said, “As surely as you live, my lord the king, one cannot turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has said. It was your servant Joab who commanded me; it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your servant. 20In order to change the course of things your servant Joab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.”

21Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom.” 22And Joab fell on his face to the ground and paid homage and blessed the king. And Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant.” 23So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24And the king said, “Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence.” So Absalom lived apart in his own house and did not come into the king's presence.

25Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26And when he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels1 by the king's weight. 27There were born to Absalom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.

28So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king's presence. 29Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but Joab would not come to him. And he sent a second time, but Joab would not come. 30Then he said to his servants, “See, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom's servants set the field on fire.2 31Then Joab arose and went to Absalom at his house and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32Absalom answered Joab, “Behold, I sent word to you, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king, to ask, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.” Now therefore let me go into the presence of the king, and if there is guilt in me, let him put me to death.’” 33Then Joab went to the king and told him, and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.

Open in Bible
Footnotes
1 14:26 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams
2 14:30 Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll add So Joab's servants came to him with their clothes torn, and they said to him, “The servants of Absalom have set your field on fire.”

1Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body1 and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

Paul's Joy

2Make room in your hearts2 for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

5For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. 6But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 8For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

10For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13Therefore we are comforted.

And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.

Open in Bible
Footnotes
1 7:1 Greek flesh
2 7:2 Greek lacks in your hearts

The Lord Has Drawn His Sword

1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2“Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries.1 Prophesy against the land of Israel 3and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am against you and will draw my sword from its sheath and will cut off from you both righteous and wicked. 4Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall be drawn from its sheath against all flesh from south to north. 5And all flesh shall know that I am the Lord. I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again.

6“As for you, son of man, groan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes. 7And when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that it is coming. Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming, and it will be fulfilled,’” declares the Lord God.

8And the word of the Lord came to me: 9“Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus says the Lord, say:

“A sword, a sword is sharpened

and also polished,

10sharpened for slaughter,

polished to flash like lightning!

(Or shall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, with everything of wood.)2 11So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished to be given into the hand of the slayer. 12Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. Strike therefore upon your thigh. 13For it will not be a testing—what could it do if you despise the rod?”3 declares the Lord God.

14“As for you, son of man, prophesy. Clap your hands and let the sword come down twice, yes, three times,4 the sword for those to be slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter, which surrounds them, 15that their hearts may melt, and many stumble.5 At all their gates I have given the glittering sword. Ah, it is made like lightning; it is taken up6 for slaughter. 16Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed. 17I also will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury; I the Lord have spoken.”

18The word of the Lord came to me again: 19“As for you, son of man, mark two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to come. Both of them shall come from the same land. And make a signpost; make it at the head of the way to a city. 20Mark a way for the sword to come to Rabbah of the Ammonites and to Judah, into Jerusalem the fortified. 21For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows; he consults the teraphim;7 he looks at the liver. 22Into his right hand comes the divination for Jerusalem, to set battering rams, to open the mouth with murder, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up mounds, to build siege towers. 23But to them it will seem like a false divination. They have sworn solemn oaths, but he brings their guilt to remembrance, that they may be taken.

24“Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have made your guilt to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your deeds your sins appear—because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand. 25And you, O profane8 wicked one, prince of Israel, whose day has come, the time of your final punishment, 26thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted. 27A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it. This also shall not be, until he comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him.

28“And you, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord God concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach; say, A sword, a sword is drawn for the slaughter. It is polished to consume and to flash like lightning—29while they see for you false visions, while they divine lies for you—to place you on the necks of the profane wicked, whose day has come, the time of their final punishment. 30Return it to its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you. 31And I will pour out my indignation upon you; I will blow upon you with the fire of my wrath, and I will deliver you into the hands of brutish men, skillful to destroy. 32You shall be fuel for the fire. Your blood shall be in the midst of the land. You shall be no more remembered, for I the Lord have spoken.”

Open in Bible
Footnotes
1 21:2 Some Hebrew manuscripts, compare Septuagint, Syriac against their sanctuary
2 21:10 Probable reading; Hebrew The rod of my son despises everything of wood
3 21:13 Or For it is a testing; and what if even the rod despises? It shall not be!
4 21:14 Hebrew its third
5 21:15 Hebrew many stumbling blocks
6 21:15 The meaning of the Hebrew word rendered taken up is uncertain
7 21:21 Or household idols
8 21:25 Or slain; also verse 29

God Shall Scatter His Enemies

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.

1God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;

and those who hate him shall flee before him!

2As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away;

as wax melts before fire,

so the wicked shall perish before God!

3But the righteous shall be glad;

they shall exult before God;

they shall be jubilant with joy!

4Sing to God, sing praises to his name;

lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;

his name is the Lord;

exult before him!

5Father of the fatherless and protector of widows

is God in his holy habitation.

6God settles the solitary in a home;

he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,

but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

7O God, when you went out before your people,

when you marched through the wilderness, Selah

8the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain,

before God, the One of Sinai,

before God, the God of Israel.

9Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad;

you restored your inheritance as it languished;

10your flock1 found a dwelling in it;

in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

11The Lord gives the word;

the women who announce the news are a great host:

12“The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!”

The women at home divide the spoil—

13though you men lie among the sheepfolds—

the wings of a dove covered with silver,

its pinions with shimmering gold.

14When the Almighty scatters kings there,

let snow fall on Zalmon.

15O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan;

O many-peaked2 mountain, mountain of Bashan!

16Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain,

at the mount that God desired for his abode,

yes, where the Lord will dwell forever?

17The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,

thousands upon thousands;

the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.

18You ascended on high,

leading a host of captives in your train

and receiving gifts among men,

even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.

19Blessed be the Lord,

who daily bears us up;

God is our salvation. Selah

20Our God is a God of salvation,

and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.

21But God will strike the heads of his enemies,

the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways.

22The Lord said,

“I will bring them back from Bashan,

I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,

23that you may strike your feet in their blood,

that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”

24Your procession is3 seen, O God,

the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—

25the singers in front, the musicians last,

between them virgins playing tambourines:

26“Bless God in the great congregation,

the Lord, O you4 who are of Israel's fountain!”

27There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,

the princes of Judah in their throng,

the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.

28Summon your power, O God,5

the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.

29Because of your temple at Jerusalem

kings shall bear gifts to you.

30Rebuke the beasts that dwell among the reeds,

the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples.

Trample underfoot those who lust after tribute;

scatter the peoples who delight in war.6

31Nobles shall come from Egypt;

Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God.

32O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;

sing praises to the Lord, Selah

33to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;

behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.

34Ascribe power to God,

whose majesty is over Israel,

and whose power is in the skies.

35Awesome is God from his7 sanctuary;

the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.

Blessed be God!

Open in Bible
Footnotes
1 68:10 Or your congregation
2 68:15 Or hunch-backed; also verse 16
3 68:24 Or has been
4 68:26 The Hebrew for you is plural here
5 68:28 By revocalization (compare Septuagint); Hebrew Your God has summoned your power
6 68:30 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain
7 68:35 Septuagint; Hebrew your
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

Get the Program, Devotional, and Bible Reading Plan delivered daily right to your inbox.