The great Apostle and Evangelist, Paul, was nearing the end of his ministry and his earthly life as he wrote to the young pastor, Timothy. In his “parting words” to his young friend and protégé, the wise, older pastor urged Timothy to “be prepared in season and out of season to Preach the Word” of God with great patience and care.
Because of the presence of God and of Christ Jesus; since Jesus will come with His almighty power to be the judge of the living and the dead; and in view of the fact that He will be appearing again in all His glory, establishing His perfect and everlasting Kingdom – preach and teach the Word of God so that everyone has the opportunity to hear, believe, be saved and be prepared to receive Him when He comes again! (2 Timothy 4: 1-2)
Paul told Timothy to use the Word of God to “correct” (to point out error, fault and sin); to “rebuke” (sharply and forcefully reprimand); and to “encourage” (to bring the sweet message of God’s love, forgiveness, mercy, grace and the gift of eternal life through saving faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus on behalf of all people). As Lutherans we would say today, “With great patience and care, preach and teach the Law and the Gospel… morning, noon and night so that all people confess their sins and recognize (believe and trust) that Jesus is their only Savior from sin, death and the power of the devil.”
The Law of God always condemns, always destroys and always kills sin– or as Paul told Timothy, it corrects and rebukes. In turn, the precious message of the Gospel brings forgiveness, life, hope, encouragement, peace and joy through Jesus!
It is essential to “Serve the Savior – in season and out” by preaching and teaching the Word of God – all-the-more since “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4: 3) That time has come, and is now! Timothy faced this challenge with the people and so do we!
We live at a time when we are continually challenged by the sinful cravings and desires of the voices of our culture. Abortion, Pornography, Sex outside of Marriage, Homosexuality, Gay Marriage, Syncretism (the belief that “all faiths/religions lead to the same salvation”) are only a few examples of the “itching ears” of our generation. Those who live in such sin gather around themselves false pastors, teachers, politicians and leaders who agree, justify and encourage these sinful beliefs and practices. Every day we see around us those who “turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (the lies and temptations of the devil).” (2 Timothy 4: 4)
So, God’s call to professional church workers and to ALL God’s people is to serve the Savior, in season and out, by preaching and teaching the true Word of God. (At Holy Cross Lutheran Church and School, 45 staff members – with a combined total of 681 years of ministry experience – serve in this ministry of preaching and teaching.)
Finally, as we joyfully and winsomely proclaim the message of the gospel, Paul, by the inspiration of God, urges us to “keep [our] head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist and discharge all the duties of [our] ministry.” In other words… “Serve the Savior – In Season and Out!”
See you in church!
Blessings in Christ,