PREACH THE WORD
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, preach the word? You may picture an individual holding an open Bible speaking to a congregation. That is included in the meaning, but the word, preach, is not limited to formal speaking. The final chapter of the Apostle Paul’s last recorded letter presents the responsibility we have to proclaim God’s word,
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. – 2 Timothy 4:1-2
Paul informs his colleague in the faith, Timothy, that he must conscientiously preach the word. Paul points out the eternal responsibility involved in preaching the word. The word for preach in this context occurs over sixty times and it portrays a herald proclaiming a message of great importance. Regardless of your occupation: busy homemaker, factory worker, corporate executive, or salesperson – you are to preach the word.
You must be ready to preach God’s word in season and out of season. You are to proclaim God’s word when it’s convenient and when it’s inconvenient. You must take the opportunities and you must make the opportunities. What opportunities do you have on a regular basis?
You must also preach the word comprehensively. What’s involved in preaching the word? First, we see a convictive aspect; the word reprove means to show people their sin and summon them to repentance. Next, we see a corrective aspect; the word rebuke seeks to change one’s behavior from the negative to the positive. Finally, we see a constructive aspect. The word exhort occurs over 100 times in the New Testament and it literally means to call alongside and is frequently translated to implore, exhort, or encourage.
Finally, you must be courageous when you preach the word. Paul gives the following warning of the predilection of our audience,
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. – 2 Timothy 4:3-5
Proclaiming God’s word can be a challenging ministry, but it carries a great reward,
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:6-8