As the Apostle Paul passed on his accumulated knowledge to his young protege Timothy, He included a warning that has come to fruition in our lifetime.
1 I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: 2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. 3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. 6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:1-8)
Paul warns that Jesus will judge the living and the dead when he returns. Contrarily, many religious organizations, preachers, and entire denominations do not seem to have this passage in the bibles from which they portend to speak on behalf of God Almighty.Some offer an eternity where everyone is welcomed with open arms, while others offer a celestial prison from which a soul can be sprung if the right amount of prayer, money, contrition or time served is met. Yet others proclaim the gospel of being nice.
Paul directs Timothy to “preach the word,” to be “prepared,” to “patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage people with good teaching.” Where is that approach found in a modern day church that both bows to and includes the political correctness of the current culture? Those who claim the speak for God will havre to stand before him one day to be judged themselves. It seems they are more afraid of what people think and less worried about remaining true to scripture.
Paul speaks of a time “that is coming,” but I say we are in the middle of it now nearly 2000 years later. People in general will not listen to sound teaching because they have been raised to live by their feelings and self-centeredness. The are already gathering around those who sayy what they want to hear. The hyper grace movement in the megachurches and the most recent congressional election is proof that we are indeed living in the prophecy Paul offered.
True believers must keep a clear mind that is guided by scripture. We cannot be afraid to speak the truth in love as we defend the holiness of God and the glory of his kingdom. We may face persecution, but hardships weed out the true followers of Christ from the pretenders.
Paul was near the end of his life, and had no regrets for his service for the kingdom. Can we say that we have “fought the good fight, finished the race, and remained faithful?” With whom have you shared the gospel this week? What sacrifices have you made for the kingdom recently? Are you living like Jesus could and will return to judge the living and the dead? Are you following sound biblical teaching? Are you standing against the sin-laden culture in which we are called to minister?
Today is the day to preach the Gospel. Today is the day for good, solid, clear biblical teaching. If these key components are not part of your life or place of ministry, make a move before it is too late