“I solemnly charge 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; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2 NASB95)
Listen to the seriousness of this charge the apostle Paul gives to the young preacher, Timothy. Paul charges Timothy in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is the Judge of the living and the dead. He charges Timothy by the appearing of Christ and by His kingdom. As Paul writes, he is quickly nearing the end of his life. What is this solemn charge that he wants to make certain Timothy understands and appreciates the gravity of? The charge is this: preach the word!
We have a great need in the church for biblical preaching and teaching. Why is it so important? It is the word of God that breathes life into us. It is the word of God that will renew our minds and transform us with the Spirit’s help. There is nothing else in the world that can do that. When we faithfully preach the word of God, the saints of God are hearing the voice of God through the word. What an amazing thought that we have the words of God Himself handed down to us. And what a tragedy it is when the word of God is not proclaimed! When the church is not fed with the word, spiritual malnourishment and atrophy quickly begin to set in.
I ask myself often, what is biblical preaching and teaching? What is it not? I have observed over the years that there is a type of preaching that seems biblical at first glance but is actually not very biblical at all. This type of preaching (and teaching) gives a nod to the word of God, and then goes its own way. It is a type of preaching that only uses the Bible to prove what we think we already know. There is very little actual listening to God. There is very little dealing with the text and wrestling with its meaning. The listeners can come away with a good feeling that “God agrees with us,” but we never carefully listened to what God said. We didn’t sit at His feet to listen in humility. Instead, we passed over the scripture like a stone skipping over the water.
To those who preach and teach among us: let us heed the solemn charge of God. Preach the word! To all of us who assemble to hear the word of God proclaimed (myself included): cherish the word of God and take it into your heart. May God bless us all in this endeavor.