“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. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” II Timothy 4:1-4 NASB
Paul told Timothy, a time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine. Clearly, we are living in those days. I often hear people say, preachers included, “We don’t need doctrine, we just need Jesus.” How do we know we need Jesus apart from the biblical doctrine that teaches us of our need of Jesus? Doctrine is simply biblical teaching. Jesus Himself commissioned the church to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Jesus didn’t tell us to only baptize the nations, which is important and indicates their clear need of Jesus, but also to make disciples, followers of Jesus, and teach them. What do we teach? We teach the Word of God, “all that I commanded you.”
To preach simply means to proclaim or make known. Clearly the pastor on Sunday morning preaches to the congregation, however, preaching should not be limited to this time nor is it only the pastor’s responsibility. We find Steven, who was just appointed as a deacon, preaching to the Jewish leaders in Acts seven. Clearly, the proclamation of God’s word doesn’t have to be directed to a large gathering of people either. Philip proclaimed God’s Word to the Ethiopian Eunuch while Paul and Silas shared God’s Word with the Philippian jailer.
I believe every Christian is responsible for the proclamation of God’s Word. I also believe the reason we have such moral decay in our world today is the direct lack of sound biblical teaching and preaching. I’m not saying there isn’t good solid preaching from the pulpit today. Clearly there is. However, every Christian is responsible to carry that good solid word to their families, their communities, and their world. Whether we are teaching our children around our dinner tables within our homes or conducting a bible study, with and individual or with a group, while on break at word, we should be proclaiming God’s Word.
Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. Jesus, with evangelism in mind said Go therefore. To evangelize is to share the gospel for the purpose of compelling someone to put their faith in Jesus. When Jesus said Go therefore, He was literally saying as you go. As you go about your everyday routine of life evangelize in the name of Jesus. We need to make a point to plant gospel seeds everywhere we have had a presence.
Imagine for a moment if every Christian began proclaiming God’s Word throughout this world and standing firm upon their biblical convictions. This world would quickly be changed for God’s glory. I know you are full of excuses as to why you can’t do this. You don’t know God’s Word well enough right? Do you own a bible? Yes? Then you have your solution. Pick it up and start studying it. You’re not bold enough right? Then pray for boldness as the church did in Acts four and God will give it to you just as He did them. As a matter of fact, if we trust in the Lord, He will give us everything we need, all He requires of us is faithfulness and obedience.