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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

PREACH THE WORD IN EVERY SEASON

2 Tim 4:1-4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

In this scripture, God, as the Heavenly Father, and Creator of all thing known to mankind, and the Lord Jesus Christ as the divine, eternal judge of mankind, are both called as witnesses to the charge Paul makes to Timothy in this inspired message. Here. and in other instances, the apostle Paul charged Timothy to continually preach the truths, found in God's Holy Word, at every opportunity throughout his lifetime. Although specifically given to Timothy, this same charge, by inference, surely applies to all Christians of every age, beginning on the Day of Pentecost, following the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

In order to receive the greatest benefit from the teaching of God's word, both the teacher and their students should be fully aware of the Day of Judgment, and the awesome finality it brings to men and women of the world. Fearful reverence of that day, and the power of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, to determine where we will spend eternal life, will make the hearts and minds of every man and woman more receptive to God's will, as found in His inspired word. Realizing that we all must give an account of the stewardship over our God-given talents and abilities, should instill a desire to obediently carry out the will of our Heavenly Father.

By using these blessings righteously, we must demonstrate our love for God, and our fellow human beings, in order to enjoy the hope of eternal salvation. And what is God's will for all Christians? It is that we should carry out this universal commandment: Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. Preach what? Preach the word! Jesus Christ is the word! Speaking of Jesus, the apostle John opens his gospel message by saying: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Therefore, Christians must preach the Word, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world.

The next question is: when are we to preach the word? It is to be preached both in season (and) out of season! The meaning here is, that teaching God's word is to be carried out at all times! There is never a season in our lifetime when it is not to be taught. There are to be no "Spring Breaks" or "Vacations." When times are good, and when times are bad, we must preach the word! In times of peace or war and turmoil; in times of gladness or sorrow and grief; in times of prosperity or want and depression; in times of good health or sickness and disease; at midnight or noontime. At all times, we must preach the word in all seasons of life.

For what purpose must the word be preached? First of all it is to be preached to cause all sinful men and women to repent and be baptized ...for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), that they may be reconciled to God and, by Him, added to the church (Acts 2:47). Secondly, the word must be preached to all members of the church of Christ to reprove, or convince them to hear, believe, and religiously obey the truths found in God's Holy Word. The word must also be preached in order to rebuke Christians, when they err from the commandments of God, realizing that the authority to do so is not found in the preacher but in the word that is preached. The word is also to be preached to all members of the body of Christ to exhort (them) with all long-suffering and doctrine. Christians are to be patiently, gently, and earnestly encouraged by preachers to steadfastly continue in God's doctrine, as found in His Holy Spirit-inspired word - the Bible.

Finally Paul gives us the urgency to preach the word. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. When Christians fail to preach the true word of God, those searching for the hope of eternal life will fall away from obedience worship, study, and be good examples to their families, friends and neighbors, as well as their fellow Christians. Falling away from Christ, they could accept the untruths taught by false teachers and lose their souls forever. Therefore, Christians are exhorted; yea, commanded topreach the word in every season.