December 20, 2007
AN URGENT CHARGE
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 2 Timothy 4:1-16
Paul wrote with urgency, "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (4:1-2). In other words, stick with the preaching plan God has promised to bless and use. Deliver the biblical goods! Be a man or woman of the Word!
Don't attempt to be so creative and cute that folks miss the truth. No need for meaningless and silly substitutes that entertain but rarely convict the lost and edify the saved. Teach the truth. Will you notice something here? This exhortation is not addressed to the hearer, it's for the speaker. The one who is to do this is the one proclaiming the message. Be ready to do it in season and out of season. Being ready implies being prepared both mentally and spiritually.
In essence, Paul says, "Don't be lazy. Do your homework. Don't stand up and start with an apology that you didn't quite have adequate time to prepare. That doesn't wash." And do so faithfully---when it's convenient and when it's not.
Sadly, in an alarming number of churches today, God's people are being told what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. They are being fed warm milk, not solid meat. A watered-down gospel may attract large crowds (for a while), but it has no eternal impact. I've not been able to find any place in the Scriptures where God expresses the least bit of concern for drawing numbers. Satisfying the curious itching ears of our postmodern audiences is an exercise in futility.
The task of ministry is to deliver Truth. Frankly, I intend to continue doing just that, by God's grace, until the day He calls me home. And I think there is an ever-increasing number of believers who long for nourishing messages based on the Word of God, not human opinion.
The world urgently needs more Christians with the fervor and faith of Paul. Will you be one of them? Will you answer the charge? If so, there's no better time than now to begin.
Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations... and I will be with you" (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV). There is no greater challenge and no more comforting promise. Believe it. Trust it. And by the grace of God, go do it!
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.