Legends cannot take the place of the Word
2 Timothy 4:1-4
1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge all human beings, both the living and the dead, this is what I command you most firmly: because of the coming of Christ and his kingdom , 2preach the message and insist on announcing it, whether on time or not. Try to convince, rebuke, encourage and teach with all patience. 3For the time will come when people will not heed the true teaching, but will follow their own desires. And they’ll get themselves a bunch of teachers, who’ll tell them what they want to hear. 4These people will turn from hearing the truth to heeding legends.
Dear brothers and sisters, this introductory excerpt from today’s message is, in fact, our entire message for today. From here, let’s reflect together on our role as Christians in the society around us.
Many Saturdays we set aside to be here together gathering. We have been in this condition for several years now and lately some have questioned the purpose of these meetings saying that this ministry does not grow in number of brothers and therefore is not “blessed” by God.
I, today with the honor of bringing the word of God to us, humbly put my own opinion: I do not agree with this statement of not being blessed. And I ask permission to explain my reasons.
When I came with my family from Brazil, we left there our Bible study group and the church where we gathered there. We were sad because it was perfect there. There were no disagreements among the members and all services were filled with brothers. Here we were looking for a church to be part of, because we needed to be with brothers in Christ. Through facebook my wife found Pastor Romualdo who directed us to Pastor Irani. We started attending services here in November 2016. We were very happy at that time and met the brothers who still attend this place today.
Back in Brazil, at the church we attended, we learned that most of our closest brothers changed churches because of conflicts! We understood, then, that it wasn’t perfect there, we just weren’t involved enough to know about the problems.
Here we also had disagreements, conflicts, intrigues and we are still here. Some brothers appeared and disappeared again. Some brothers appeared and stayed. I ask: are we “insisting on a mistake”?
NO, not at all !!
As we saw in the introductory passage verses 2 and 3:
“…2preach the message and insist on announcing it, whether at the right time or not. Try to convince, rebuke, encourage and teach with all patience. 3For the time will come when people will not heed the true teaching, but will follow their own desires. And they’ll get themselves a bunch of teachers, who’ll tell them what they want to hear…”
Brethren, “at the right time or not” also means “in the right place or not” or even “to the right person or not” which in fact is simply “preach the message”!
And to preach the message because God has sent us this way, without it mattering to us whether we will be heard or not, only God knows that, because it is written there, in verse 3, that “… the time will come when people they will not heed the true teaching, but will follow their own desires.” In another version and in Spanish it is written “…they will not support sound doctrine…”.
Brothers, if in this ministry at least one soul was saved, then all the effort and dedication was worth it! And this we see in the Bible. The passage is long and I suggest that the story told in Mark 4:35 to Mark 5:20 be read and meditated on at home. In this passage, Mestre Jesus leaves a crowd and enters a boat. It crosses the lake and lands on the other side. He meets one person (or two, the gospels differ on this number) and sets him free. He saves this soul, gets back on the boat and leaves! One soul (or two) was enough to motivate Jesus Christ to “preach the message.”
And we go further, in verse 19 Jesus leaves a command to the saved: “Go home and tell your relatives what the Lord has done for you and how good he has been to you.” And in verse 20 we read the consequence of this: “Then he went away and told in the region of Ten Cities what Jesus had done for him. And everyone was amazed.”
So it is when we preach the word. It multiplies. When we simply say to someone on Saturday morning, “Sorry, I can’t go for a walk today, because I’m going to church service” that’s preaching! And maybe that person talks to another and that other person is interested in knowing “what cult is this that seems to be better than taking a walk?” It was worth it, because the seed was planted!
Brethren, let us not let “legends take the place of the Word”, as Paul wrote to Timothy. We don’t need to understand how it works, and we don’t need to measure our effectiveness in preaching the word by counting the number of members in a congregation. Remember that Jesus said:
26 Jesus said:
— The Kingdom of God is like a man who sows his seed on the ground. 27Whether he is awake or asleep, it sprouts and grows, without his knowing how it happens. 28The earth itself bears its fruit: first the plant appears, then the ear, and later the grain that fills the ear. 29When the ears of corn are ripe, the man begins to cut them with the sickle, for the time of harvest has come.
Let us not despise the time we dedicate to God. Let us not despise the place where we worship God. We will not allow anybody to discourage us! Let’s understand that when God sends us to another place, He guides us, just as He did with the demoniac of Gerasa.
May the Holy Spirit renew our strength each day to continue worshiping and glorifying God wherever we are.
Let us pray:
Father we are grateful for your word Lord, which reaches where it is needed and at any time. We understand that there is no right place or time to talk about Jesus’ love and announce his salvation. Help us Father, to speak in your name when you command. Amen.