Verse: 2 Timothy 4:1-2 (NIV)
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.
Have you ever had a pastor, a close friend or your spouse get really serious with you? You can tell by the words and the tone of voice that the issue about to be discussed is not a joking matter. Paul is nearing the end of his letter to Timothy and now wants to summarize his message. He loves Timothy but his love for God compels him to tell Timothy seriously what he needs to do. He gives him a charge for his life which can also be a charge for us as Christians.
Preach the Word. We are told to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15). I was recently thinking that we all tell people about the most recent Netflix series we are watching that we love. Or we want to spread the news to our friends about the latest really good restaurant that just opened. Yet we find that the best news that we have, that Jesus died for each of us to pay for our sins and bring us freedom, we are hesitant to share. Paul would encourage us and even charge us to Preach the Word.
He adds that we should be ready to do this at all times. There will be times that we know we need to speak a word from scripture to someone. Then there are times that we are prompted by the Holy Spirit to talk about Jesus at that moment with no warning. We need to be ready to share our lives and our experiences. If someone asked you today to tell them what Jesus has done for you, could you tell them? Now is the time to think about this before you are asked.
Lastly we are to use the Word to correct, rebuke and encourage others with patience and by being careful. I find it easier to use the Word to encourage people. I think I need to have a deep relationship with a lot of trust before trying to correct someone. And yet how is someone to learn about the right paths of life without a true friend helping them see that path? Paul is right that it needs to be done with great patience and careful instruction. We can’t just barge into someone’s life and spout off a scripture of rebuke and then leave them with it. If we really care about someone and consider how they will respond, we can get wisdom from the Holy Spirit on how to approach delicate subjects.
Are you being called today to talk with someone about God? Maybe the first step is to invite them to church. Or to your small group. Definitely pray about how you should do this. Also you might talk to someone older in the faith to give you wisdom. But if God is nudging you that way, take is seriously, just as Paul has told Timothy to take his charge seriously.
Lord, help me to be ready to tell your story and what you mean to me. Holy Spirit, give me the words to say and the opportunity to say them. Lead me each day to seriously do my part in bringing people into your kingdom.
Author: Brad Dunn