2 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-5
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:1, 2.
In this his last letter to Timothy, Paul held up before the younger worker a high ideal, pointing out the duties devolving on him as a minister of Christ.... Paul bids him preach the word, not the sayings and customs of men; to be ready to witness for God whenever opportunity should present itself—before large congregations and private circles, by the way and at the fireside, to friends and to enemies, whether in safety or exposed to hardship and peril, reproach and loss.
Fearing that Timothy’s mild, yielding disposition might lead him to shun an essential part of his work, Paul exhorted him to be faithful in reproving sin and even to rebuke with sharpness those who were guilty of gross evils. Yet he was to do this “with all long-suffering and doctrine.” He was to reveal the patience and love of Christ....
To hate and reprove sin, and at the same time to show pity and tenderness for the sinner, is a difficult attainment. The more earnest our own efforts to attain to holiness of heart and life, the more acute will be our perception of sin and the more decided our disapproval of any deviation from the right. We must guard against undue severity toward the wrongdoer, but we must also be careful not to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. There is need of showing Christlike patience and love for the erring one, but there is also danger of showing so great toleration for his error that he will look upon himself as undeserving of reproof....
With the growing contempt for God’s law there is an increasing distaste for religion, an increase of pride, love of pleasure, disobedience to parents, and self-indulgence; and thoughtful minds everywhere are anxiously inquiring. What can be done to correct these alarming evils? The answer is found in Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, “Preach the word.” In the Bible are found the only safe principles of action. It is a transcript of the will of God, an expression of divine wisdom.16
Jesus longed for His fledgling church to come together in purpose, harmony, and mission. Today, amid perhaps unprecedented polarization in the world, our nations, and our church, we too need to heed Jesus’ counsel to seek His Spirit and come together for mission, especially for the least of these. The task seems daunting and impossible in our humanity. That’s why we need to pray as never before for the miracle of healing and reconciliation that only God can bring.
Faith and optimism—two simple words that can change you, your church, and your future. A positive, healthy attitude based on hope and faith is the number one human ingredient in church growth. In this inspiring article produced by Ministry Magazine (Dec. 2012), author and pastor Joseph Kidder shares real life examples that will challenge your thinking paradigm in leadership.