ALWAYS BE READY (2 Timothy – 15)
READ: 2 Timothy 4:1-2
Paul has been giving Timothy good advice about pastoring. As he comes to the end of his letter, he gives him five very important commands, orders for pastors today as well as back then (2 Timothy 4:1-5). These imperatives are “preach,” “be prepared,” “correct,” “rebuke” and “encourage.” In the last blog we talked about the command “Preach the Word.” Now we want to look at the other commands.
“Be prepared” means pastors are always to be ready to “preach the Word.” That refers to explaining God’s truth in group sermons or personal conversations. Peter Hammond, a missionary to Sudan. Once said, “A missionary needs to be prepared to preach, pray or die at a moment’s notice.” That is very true for pastors as well. That’s just what Paul is telling Timothy. We must always be ready to apply the truth of God’s Word, when it is convenient or when it is very difficult (“in season and out of season”). “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).
That means we must be ready intellectually to answer questions people may have about how we know God exists, the Bible is true and Jesus is God. We must be able to prove from the Bible that salvation is by grace. We must know the answers about living the Christian life and anything else people ask. (For more information about these subjects see my books, “Know Why You Believe” and “Topical Index of Bible Verses” available at https://www.christiantrainingonline.org/our-ministries/india/books/)
We must also always be prepared spiritually to share God’s truth. There can be no sin in or life or anything that will hinder God’s Holy Spirit from speaking through us (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). We must be growing spiritually and spending time in worship, prayer and meditation.
Finally, we must be ready socially to speak God’s truth to people when we have an opportunity. We must have a good reputation and have earned the respect of others so they will listen. We need to befriend those around us so they feel comfortable with us. We need to listen to others and be sensitive to their needs instead of just thinking of ourselves and doing all the talking. Learn to listen.
Always look for opportunities to speak to others about Jesus. Know the Bible well enough so you can answer their questions and objections about spiritual things. Be able to explain what you believe and to defend your beliefs when necessary. If you don’t know an answer, honestly tell the person you don’t know but will study to find the answer and get back to them. Never pretend you know when you don’t. That is all part of what Paul means when he commands us to “preach the Word.” He isn’t just talking about a Sunday morning sermon, he is talking about our being ready all day every day, no matter the circumstances or response.
PAUL’S ADVICE: Doing a good job of preaching the Word means you must be prepared, and that takes time and work.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
How well prepared are you to answer questions and objections about your faith?
Are you alert for opportunities to bring God’s truth into a conversation?
Do you pray and look for times when you can share the Bible with others?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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