2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.2 Timothy 4:2 (KJV)
The West is facing a tempestuous season of attack on God’s kingdom. Now more than ever Christians must proclaim Christ.
Particularly those in America are seeing blatant, rampant and widespread attacks on churches, freedom and Christian values.
While persecution has been a common occurrence for many Christians throughout history, for most Christians residing in the States, it’s an unprecedented season of challenge. They are facing things they never have before.Riots, arson, cancel culture, and yes even capitulation from large mainline churches, are challenging the gospel at every turn.
Riots, arson, cancel culture, and yes even capitulation from large mainline churches, are challenging the gospel at every turn.
However, despite everything, now is the time to remain steadfast in God’s truth. Now more than ever American Christians need to proclaim His truths and 2 Timothy 4:2 shows us how.
Keep the Faith
It is no coincidence that Paul’s last words, which are contained in the second epistle to Timothy, centered on endurance and faithfulness to the Christian cause.
Paul told Timothy in this epistle that he had fought a good fight. He finished his course and most of all, he kept the faith. (2 Tim. 4:7 KJV)
Paul guarded, obeyed and protected the teachings of Christ and His Word, until the very end.
This was his priority in life, and it is to be the principal priority in the lives of all Christians. (Heb. 10:23 KJV, 1 Cor. 15:58 KJV)
Keeping the faith coincides with consistently and constantly guarding and defending it.
This means that we must remain instant (present and ready). That is, we must preach and proclaim God’s Word at all times.
This means to proclaim His Word when it is convenient and there is favorable opportunity (“in season”). “…we must preach and proclaim God’s Word at all times.”
It also means to proclaim His Word when it is inconvenient, and when opportunity is hard to find (“out of season”).
Even during this time of social upheaval, a time that many Christians are tempted to believe is out of season, we are to still proclaim God’s Word.
Reprove, Rebuke and Exhort
Being instant also means saying what needs to be said. We must not be ineffective witnesses who only speak what is comfortable to us.
Nor are we to relegate ourselves to saying only what current societal trends want us to say. We have to preach all of God’s Word.
Being instant in every season involves reproving, rebuking and exhorting. This is certainly not easy in the wake of fierce opposition. Nor is it easy in a society that is becoming increasingly polarized. “We cannot avoid truth just because people think it is inconvenient.”
Nevertheless, people need to know they are sinners, they need to know about God’s offer of forgiveness, and they need to know the wages of sin and about the wiles of the devil.
We cannot avoid truth just because people think it is inconvenient.
However, patience is our aid. Our proclaiming Christ and His Word must be marked by patience (“reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering…”).
It is one thing to “take a stand” for God, it is another thing entirely to remain standing for God.
To remain standing is to ultimately finish the race well.
We have to remain upright and focused, even when our churches burn, our freedoms are restricted and God’s Word is challenged.“We have to remain upright and focused, even when our churches burn, our freedoms are restricted and God’s Word is challenged.”
In today’s climate many say that stating the truth does not show the love of Christ. This can make our patience run thin.
These rail against Christians who reprove, rebuke and exhort, claiming that they are insensitive. However, the reality is completely opposite of their accusations.
Teach and Instruct
As we remain patient, and speak truth, it is imperative that we do so in light of doctrine (“reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine”).
Specifically, this means that we are to proclaim God’s Word with the specific intention to teach and instruct.
Those who teach and instruct people about God’s truths are not insensitive or unloving.
In fact, we are at our most sensitive and act purely out of love when we are teaching and instructing others about Christ.“…we are at our most sensitive and act purely out of love when we are teaching and instructing others about Christ.”
We share the gospel and point out where man has erred because we want to teach about the right way.
We want others (and especially our enemies) to see the path of life, to experience the fullness of the joy of God’s presence, where at his hand are pleasures for evermore. (Ps. 16:11 KJV)
We are sensitive to the souls of the unsaved. We see so clearly what they do not, namely the damage being done to themselves by their wicked actions as they war against God and serve the enemy.
As such, we love them because we want to see their lives changed. This is why we reprove, rebuke and exhort. It is all of love. (Eph. 4:15 KJV)
This is all the more true because we were once like them, walking in darkness but now we are children of light. (Eph. 5:8 KJV)
Love is not just nice words, no its truth as well, and truth can sting.
Yet we teach and instruct because, contrary to all who say otherwise, we love those who are lost. We are not just teaching and instructing them, but are pleading for them to become children of God.
Now more than ever we must keep the faith. We must remain ready, this includes reproving, rebuking and exhorting in patience and with the express goal of teaching and instructing those in the ways of our Savior in an effort to make Him their Savior as well.
Be ready, now more than ever, to take a stand, and remain standing for God’s Word, for it is during times like these that it is most obvious that the world needs Christ.
You have Him, now let others know of Him as well. Soli Deo gloria!