If you read I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus you will see that there are many areas of an evangelist’s life that are challenging. Recently I was thinking of a young lady I once tried to help obey the Lord. She worried about sinning so much that she feared anything that was remotely close to a sin. She worried often about situations, temptations, appearances, etc. She had such an overbearing conscience that there were times when I told her not to study the Scriptures, but to take a mental break. The reason I told her that is because the Scriptures had become more of a prison for her than the comfort they are meant to be (Romans 15:4). There were often things I desired to teach her, for fear of her soul, but her overreactions to the truth hindered that. To this very day I am saddened over that (cf. Psalms 119:136).
Near the beginning of the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon penned these words: “And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:17-18). Near the end of the book, we read this: “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Too much learning can create mental anguish. Yet, not enough learning is a violation of various requirements God places on us all (Matthew 11:28-30, Acts 17:30, Hebrews 5:12-14, II Timothy 2:14-18, and II Peter 1:3-12; 3:15-18). Finding the balance is challenging.
Teaching and learning are time sensitive subject matters. Since tomorrow is not promised (James 4:13-17), we know that we have to try and save people with the truth as fast as possible. Some situations just cannot be left alone (Galatians 2:1-5). However, there are times too when things absolutely need taught, but the person or persons that need taught are at present incapable of learning. It is not a teacher issue, it is a student issue. There are just times when something cannot be taught no matter how bad it is needed.
When They Aren’t Ready
Before we get to the Scriptural point here, let me briefly write something. So many preachers are just pitiful, useless, weak, compromising, idiots. They will take points as the one we are about to address and use them for their excuse to allow erring saints to continue in sin without saying a word. An evangelist is charged with teaching the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:20; 26-27 and II Timothy 3:14-4:5). Allowing a person to be in sin and not trying to convert them is essentially an unloving act of murder. No disciple of Christ should ever be able to sit back and watch their brethren be lost without saying a word (Galatians 6:1-2, James 5:19-20, and Jude 1:22-23). Telling someone to repent is not what we are addressing here. You can rebuke someone before they are ready to learn why they are being rebuked (Matthew 16:21-23 and Luke 22:31-32). Having said that, let’s get to the point.
Jesus made these statements: “And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples… I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” (Mark 4:33-34 and John 16:12). Paul wrote this to the erring congregation in Corinth: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men” (I Corinthians 3:1-3)? The Hebrew writer stated: “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing” (Hebrews 5:11).
The Scriptures above clearly prove that there are times when the Lord’s people need to learn something, but they are not ready to do so. That applies to times when sin is occurring and times when it is not (based on contexts of the examples above). Again, rebukes may be necessary when teaching them the point isn’t possible.
The reasons that cause people not to be ready to learn vary. Some are just still too unlearned to get the point. Some are still struggling with a carnal mind too much. Whatever it is that keeps that person or persons from being ready to learn a certain truth is what must be handled first. Teaching is progressive. You cannot get a certain point when the points before it were not learned or understood properly (Hebrews 6:1-3). Now this should somewhat scare us all for a reason. Not being ready to learn is not an excuse.
The Lord has a closed door policy when it comes to people who are unprepared to meet Him on the Day of Judgment (Matthew 25:1-13). If you don’t work to be ready to learn you can be sure you are going to be untaught and thus unlearned and unprepared to meet our Lord on the Day of Judgment.
Let go of traditional and/or worldly thinking (I Corinthians 3:18-23 and Colossians 2:18-23). We often discuss how it takes a good and honest heart for the word of God to work (Luke 8:1-15). Make sure your heart is ready to receive all truths. Have a mindset to grow more and more (I Thessalonians 4:10).