I solemnly exhort 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; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.2 Timothy 4:1-5 NASB2020
Every believer, chosen and called by God for salvation, is called to be a minister of the Gospel. We are a holy nation, a royal priesthood.
We don’t choose our calling, we discover it. God gives us gifts, talents and abilities according to His good pleasure. Over the course of life, we begin to understand how to be used most readily of the Lord.
As unique and different as we each are, there are some basic fundamentals to the Christian life that we should all know and practice. Those would be the things we call discipleship, the practices of a disciple.
Christianity is more than a belief in Jesus as Messiah, it is the lifestyle of faith, or a walk with God through Creation. It’s not enough to be a hearer of the Word, we must be doers of the Word. It’s not enough to know all about how to walk. One must actually walk to move forward.
God has called you to something. He’s called you to Himself. He has placed something of Himself in you so that as you express it the Christ in you would be revealed. You are a new creation in Christ. When we come to believe we are born again from above. We have a new nature, the divine nature. We have a new identity, we are a child of God.
Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren. He is the first and perfect Son of God. He was born of a virgin who was made pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is truly His Father. We get grafted into the Body when our heavenly Father adopts us as His own. We have a new family, the Church of the living God.
In view of this, we have some new family responsibilities. We ought to attend family meetings. Whether that be meeting up regularly with a fellow believer for fellowship, prayer and encouragement, attending a house church or joining a larger congregation, the life of a disciple is intertwined with the rest of the Body at one or more points.
Belonging is the first step in growing strong in God’s family. Humans need attachment, unconditional acceptance. Just as God loves us no matter what, we need that shown to us in bonded relationships with other humans which we can see and touch. This is where the Church becomes a place of rest and healing for those who come from dysfunctional families and broken homes.
Our modern, secular, materialistic world has sacrificed harmonious family relationships in the name of satisfying our base, selfish needs. Happy and content people don’t make good consumers of all the addictive products and services used to extract wealth from the masses. There is a great need for the Church to make itself visible and known as the reconciliatory force of God in this world.
This leads us to today’s Scripture quote. The Apostle Paul, in his final letter from prison to his spiritual son, a pastor in Ephesus named Timothy, gives his final instructions before he is executed for preaching the Gospel.
He says, in effect, by everything that is holy, preach the Word of God, preach the Gospel, preach Jesus. That’s the most important message to tell people. That’s the message that we live and die for.
He says to always be ready to preach. That means whether there is opportunity or not, you know the message by heart and are eager to share it with anyone who will listen. The best way to be ready is to review and practice daily.
Spiritual maturity doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not a fungus, it’s more like a tree. It takes years to develop deep roots and broad branches heavy laden with the fruit of the Spirit. Just as humans take years to mature in the natural, so it is in the spiritual.
In light of this, you’ll deal with many new and immature believers. Teach them with loving patience like a mother cares for her children. We are all in one family now, God’s family. We’ll be together forever so let’s learn how to correct, rebuke and exhort with grace and humility, always striving to preserve the relationship while we both grow in wisdom and grace.
Timothy is told to do the work of an evangelist and thus, fulfill his ministry. Whether you are a pastor, an evangelist, or simply someone who believes in Jesus and isn’t sure of God’s specific calling on your life yet, we are all called to do the work of an evangelist. What is that work? To preach the Gospel. Proclaim the Good News that Jesus Christ has rescued us from our sinful lifestyles and made a way for us to enjoy communion and fellowship with God the Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ, through His blood sacrificed on the Cross and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Christianity isn’t a one time decision to believe. It’s a daily decision to live for Christ, in Christ, with Christ. It’s a moment by moment decision to abide in the vine, to remain in Him, to say no to our selfish desires and say yes to God and His sovereign will.
Have you said yes to God today?