Let’s read that portion. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 says, “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. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Paul, in view of the Lord’s return to the earth to judge both the quick (living) and the dead, urges Timothy (and us) to be active in reaching out to others.

*   PREACH THE WORD; BE INSTANT IN SEASON, OUT OF SEASON – All those who belong to the Lord need to live lives in service to the Lord. We need to proclaim the truth of the Word of God. We need to do it when it is convenient for us, and we need to do it when it is not convenient for us.

*   REPROVE, REBUKE, EXHORT WITH ALL LONGSUFFERING AND DOCTRINE – To reprove is to tell someone if they are committing sin. To rebuke is to warn that person to cease from sin. To exhort is to encourage that person in their walk with the Lord. We are to be longsuffering (patient) with this person. We read in 2 Timothy 2:24, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. AND we need to instruct the erring one as to what the scriptures say about their behavior and actions. It is a difficult thing to interject ourselves into someone’s life, but the instruction here is that we do that. If we truly love that person, and we truly love the Lord, we will seek to help them to stop their sin and be restored to the Lord.

Verses 3-4 warn us of the behavior of many professing Christians. Many will have no desire to know the truth, they would rather hear something that appeals to the flesh. When Paul was at Mars Hill, he made this observation of those there, “(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to HEAR SOME NEW THINGS.)” (Acts 17:21) These people do not want to hear ‘sound doctrine’. They will seek out teachers to tell them what they want to hear. That is so prevalent today. Many people flock to the teachers that will make them feel good about themselves or are ‘self-help’ type teachers. They don’t think about how they may serve the Lord. They think about how the Lord may serve them. While it is so true that the Lord wants to minister to our needs, He foremost wants us to bow to Him as Lord so that He may meet our needs…not our selfish wants.

The Lord instructs all His faithful servants to:

*   WATCH THOU IN ALL THINGS – Be sober minded

*   ENDURE AFFLICTIONS – If we truly seek to serve the Lord, afflictions WILL come. 2 Timothy 3:12 tells us, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION.”

*   DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST – An evangelist is a preacher of the Gospel. ALL true believers should be actively involved in sharing the Gospel with others as the Lord gives the opportunity. We are not all evangelists, but we can do the work of an evangelist.

*   MAKE FULL PROOF OF THY MINISTRY – Fulfill the ministry the Lord has given you to do. How good it would be for all of us to be able to say, even as the Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE, I have kept the faith.”

As we seek to honor Christ in this world, may be learn to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) (285.4)