#DailyDevotion The Duty Of Pastors & And Those Who Listen
2 Tim. 4 I 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: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Having set up the standard of authority of preaching and teaching, Paul charges Timothy to preach the Word. He does this in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead and is returning with his kingdom. Doing this in their presence means invoking their name, for when we invoke the name of God, he becomes present for us (as opposed to his general presence in providence). We have part of the creed in this statement, Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. Those living are those who have faith in Christ Jesus. Those who are dead are the people who do not have Christ Jesus as their life when he returns in his kingdom. At the judgment everyone is raised bodily for judgment. So the dead are not those in the graves and the living are not those not having breathed their last. But everyone will stand in judgment before Christ as we see in the parable of the sheep and the goats.
Now verses one and two apply mainly to pastors, preachers and teachers of the faith in the Church. These verses are applied to those men in oath form who take up the mantle of the apostles in proclaiming the faith to which they were witnesses. Preach the word! Be ready in and out of season, i.e. at all times. This requires much prayer and study. They too are charged to reprove with God’s Word, rebuke with God’s Word, and exhort with God’s Word. They are called to do these things with what they think is good and true but with God’s Word. When the man of God does these things with God’s Word, God’s people should listen and obey, for it is not the man they are listening to but God himself. Paul also adds these words “with complete patience and teaching.” Like the Israelites of old, we humans are a stiff-necked people. It may take a while so pastors should be patient with people who do not understand or grasp what the Word is saying to them. It may take a lot of teaching to bring someone to the point of understanding. Just because they don’t jump when we speak doesn’t mean they are being rebellious. They just don’t understand yet. As long as they are open to listening, learning and discovering the truth from the Word itself, we should continue to do so. If you are a layman be also patient with your pastor as he tries to explain God’s Word to you when you don’t understand.
However, there comes a time when people will not listen. They understand what God’s Word says. They simply reject it. Instead, people will gather to themselves teachers who will tell them what their itching ears want to hear. They will teach those things that approve of their sinful passions, whether those passions are for wealth, for sex, or for whatever else they think will make them happy except what God’s Word actually says. Many a Christian Churches have gone this way turning the love of God and his mercy in Christ Jesus as a license to sin.
Paul concludes to pastor Timothy and to all in the office of the Holy Ministry, “be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” My brothers in the ministry we are exhorted to be serious minded in our task of witnessing to Jesus. We must be prepared for the Gospel of Jesus to suffer all. The words of forgiveness, life and salvation in Jesus for all people must be on the forefront of our lips. In doing so we fulfill the ministry entrusted to us.
Heavenly Father, may all pastors your Son Jesus Christ gives to the Church preach and teach your Word faithfully and may all who hear listen to them as to the very voice of your Son, so that both may be received into his kingdom at his revelation with joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.