As far as the rest of us, the world thinks we need to keep our beliefs to ourselves...all the time. The world doesn't want to hear us preaching. It doesn't want to hear that accepted behavior is ungodly. It condemns us as haters and bigots and accuses us of judging others if we tell them their actions are contrary to what the Bible teaches. And even when we encourage others to find and follow God's will, we are castigated and despised.
But God's doesn't change, and His Word doesn't change. Jesus said the only way to get to Heaven is through Him. We are promised that eternal life in Heaven awaits if we acknowledge Him and accept Him. He ordered us to love our fellow man, even when that love is not reciprocated. And in the Great Commission, we were told to go out and share the Gospel with the world.
I spent a lot of my 44 years on this earth thinking I could just witness to people through example. I thought, if I lived right, others would see and attribute that to my belief in Christ. Though I still don't think a lot of souls are won by beating people over the head with the Bible, I now realize I was wrong. To be an effective witness for Jesus Christ, we must tell others who Jesus was, what He did, and how coming to know Him will get us to Heaven.
" 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people 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. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." ~ 2 Timothy 4:2-5
Paul explained this to Timothy when he told him to preach the Word, in season and out of season. That means we have to be ready to tell people about Jesus at any given moment, in any given situation. Opportunities arise to share the Gospel in places where we would fully expect them, but also in places and at times when we would least expect them. In church, at work, at home, or any place in between, a chance to tell someone about Jesus could appear anywhere. We have to be ready. And when that time comes, we're to "preach the Word."
If we don't tell people about Jesus, others will. But they'll tell them their version. In numerous places in the Bible we're told to beware of false teachers. Here, Paul tells Timothy people are going to listen to someone's teaching, and there will come a time when people are more inclined to listen to what they want to hear than what they need to hear. People want their lusts and desires to be approved of, and if teachers exist who will offer them approval, they will flock to these teachers who will tell them what they "want to hear." You don't have to look far to find these false teachers today. Evangelists preaching the Prosperity Doctrine and its variations are raking in untold sums of cash because they're telling people what they want to hear. Whole denominations are corrupting the Bible by accepting those practicing unacceptable behaviors as pastors and leaders in the church, and they're filling their pews because they're preaching what the world wants to hear instead of what God gave us in His word. The people are "turning aside to myths" and ignoring the truth.
So how will they hear the truth, if nobody stands up and preaches it? If the only people who preach the Bible are preachers in the pulpits, there will be nobody to reach the multitude who are being misled. They're not going to go to those churches and listen to the truth when they can walk in the church doors down the street and hear exactly what they want to hear! If we don't preach the word, they won't hear the Truth!
But it's not an easy thing to do, to stand for Truth when the world demands lies. To stand up and defend the Word of God in our society today does not make one popular. In fact, it often brings ire of the multitude to bear. Stand up and preach the word and some will avoid you altogether. Others will call you a hater or a bigot. You might be disciplined, or even fired, at work. Not long ago, even military chaplains are being intimidated to preach the Word by a country which claims to be "one nation, under God" and prints the words, "In God we trust." on all its currency.
But that's why Paul told Timothy to keep his head up in "all situations," and to "endure hardship." Paul was beaten, imprisoned, and threatened with death as he traveled the known world to spread the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. He knew the troubles that preaching the Word brings, but still he pressed on. And he ordered Timothy to do the same. And we're to do the same!
Every man, woman, and child who believes in Jesus Christ, who places their faith in Him, has a ministry ordained by God. Only a handful of those will actually work as a full-time minister preaching from the pulpit. But every one of them, every one of us, will be appointed a ministry by God that involves telling others about salvation through Jesus Christ.
So preach on my brothers and sisters! When it's popular and when it's not, preach on! When your sermon brings pats on the back and cheers from the crowd, or when you're spit on and cursed, preach on! If we don't tell the truth, many will never hear the truth. So "discharge all the duties of your ministry" and preach on!
If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.