“Preaching must be marked by three elements, advised Warren Wiersbe. “Conviction. Warning. And appeal.”
In other words, “Reprove, rebuke and exhort.
To quote an old rule of preachers, “He should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.”
“If there is conviction but no remedy, we add to people’s burdens. And if we encourage those who ought to be rebuked, we are assisting them to sin. Biblical preaching must be balanced.”
In reading Paul’s letters to the young evangelist, Timothy, pastors, preachers, and people in the pews are warned about potential pitfalls in living the Christian life. Provided evidence to convince and convict us regarding the seriousness of sin. And exhorted to be guided by God’s Word.
Chapter three offers a three-fold instruction to ministers of the Word, as well as to all Christians on how to deal with “perilous times” during the “last days.”
On a side note, we hear a lot about living in the “last days.” We are. But we have been for 2,000 years. Peter proclaimed that the last days began on Pentecost when Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled (Acts 2:14-21).
#1 Realize We’re Living in “Terrible Times.”
Look at the description of ungodly people.
- Lovers of self.
- Lovers of money.
- Disobedient to their parents
- Without self-control.
- Haters of good.
- Swollen with conceit.
- Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
- Fake religious piety.
What a list! It’s both a realistic description of our day, but a discouraging one as well. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and deny the reality of Satan’s assault on our souls through his emissaries and minions.
The charge is plainly put–“Avoid such people.” Don’t be influenced by them. Don’t be deceived by them. Don’t follow them.
Furthermore, preachers should warn others about these profane people. Pastors need to be Shepherding the souls entrusted to them, realizing these dangers. And parents need to teaching and training their children to avoid these destructive and damnable influences.
#2 Follow the Example of Godly People.
Paul appealed to Timothy to “continue in the things you have learned.” Paul’s pattern of faithfulness, attitude, and purpose of life, was one that Timothy could emulate. In addition, his childhood teaching and the examples of his mother and grandmother provided a trustworthy influence he could imitate.
Find a “Paul” that you can follow. A preacher. A pastor. A parent. A faithful Christian friend. Seek companions who will provide spiritual assurance and assistance during perilous times.
#3 Turn to God’s Word for Divine Guidance.
The last two verses of this text remind us how God’s Word can help us navigate through difficult times. The Word shows you what is right. The Word shows you what is wrong. The Word helps you get right. The Word helps you stay right. And the Word equips you for every righteous work.
D. L. Moody was right when he proclaimed, “The Bible was not given for our information, but for our transformation.” If we are to resist the ungodly influences of the perilous times to conform to the world, we must be transformed.
While I’m basically a positive person, a realistic appraisal of our culture reminds me of the truth of Paul’s assessment. “Evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived”
Finally, any respite from the perils of our wicked world, will not be found in political, economic or social solutions. Rather the answer is Jesus Christ. The message must be the Gospel. Our faith founded in the Word. And our hope focused upward.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman