Part of the work of ministry and of preaching the word of God ‘in season, out of season’ (or when it’s convenient and when it’s not convenient) is reproving, rebuking, and exhortation. Remember, all ‘preaching’ means is to proclaim or tell others what God says in the Bible. Part of our job is to tell others what God thinks of their works so they can learn to live in obedience to Him. Most likely born again, blood bought children of God will have a deeper appreciation for this then the world. Nonetheless, the Bible will be the measuring ruler that is used on the last day. Therefore, we must be about the Father’s business of winning souls and discipling them.
It's hard to rebuke a sinner of their sin because they don't really care. But we can still do it. When they say "Well, I'm just living my life the way I want to." We can say - no. God wants you to live a better life. Some people say, "Well, that's all right. When I die. I'm going to hell. That's where all my friends are anyway." Yet we learn in the true account of the rich man and Lazarus that the rich man in hell did not want his brothers to go there (Luke 16:27-28); that’s how hot and devoid of life hell was. He wanted to warn his brothers what happens to those who ultimately turn their back on the Lord; the word he used about hell was torment. That’s an example of reproving and rebuking.
Yet, there are other times when we can exhort which simply means to help, encourage, or comfort believers. We can use the word of God as part of our ministry to comfort other Christians. But how are we supposed to do that?
With all long-suffering and doctrine. How many times have you been witnessing to somebody and they say, no. And you try again? And they say no. Or you are trying to help a believer who's fallen into sin and you're trying to convince them that's not how God wants you to live. And yet, what do they? They keep rejecting what you're saying. Long suffering means have patience. Be patient with people.
Sooner or later, hopefully, the Lord will grab hold on them. Not always. If they don’t listen, that's their problem, not yours. Our job is to proclaim the Word with long-suffering, be patient, and make sure you encourage or admonish with sound doctrine. That means get your message from the teachings of the word of God. It's not your opinion. It's not your political thoughts. Don't mix politics with religion. It's not the opinion of others you're trying to share. It's the word of God we must share because only God can bring the needed healing salve of the Cross to a dying world.
This devotional has been adapted from the message, Yes, You Have a Ministry, preached by Pastor Dr. Doug Mann from 2 Timothy 4:1-8.
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