Summary: An effective Christian is one who is involved in communicating God’s Word to others.
How To Become An Effective Christian
“PREACH THE WORD!”
November 2, 2002
Harry Reginald Hammond, better known as “Reg” to all of his friends, had felt a calling on his life to serve as a minister in the Church his whole life. Reg’s father was an Episcopal priest as well as Reg’s four brothers. Reg seemed to somehow dodge the ministry though. He was well established in the grocery business when World War II broke out and he enlisted in the Army. The horrors of war deepened his faith in ways that he never imagined. He was awarded five battle stars and a Bronze star. Reg says this about his war experience, “I saw more bodies in a short time than most undertakers will see in a lifetime. Young men dead alongside the road. Every night I would pray for those guys and for myself.” After the war, Reg still couldn’t embrace the call to ministry. He went to school and became a teacher. He felt that he “was drawn to service of some kind”. Over the years he started and dropped ordination studies twice. Finally, many years after his retirement in 1980, he finally accepted the call to ministry and was ordained in the Anglican Orthodox Church. At age 79, he was the oldest person ever ordained in the Anglican faith. As he was ordained, fulfilling a calling that had been on his life for so long, Hammond said he had, “a deep sense of satisfaction…a sort of wonderment and pleasure.” One of his parishioners said of Reg, “When he was ordained it seemed as if he was correcting a mistake.” (Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation)
Tonight, I want to talk with you about a calling that everyone of us has as a Christian. That calling is to preach the Word of God. In the Bible, the word “preach” means to “announce, make known, or spread a story widely”. Preaching is announcing to the world the good news of the gospel of Christ. This is a responsibility that we all share. This is the responsibility that Paul leaves for Timothy to carry on as he begins to conclude his letter to him.
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” II Timothy 4:1-8
An effective Christian is one who is actively involved in preaching the Word. This was the most important component of Paul and Timothy’s ministry. It must be the most important part of our service to God as well. The message of God’s Word is the most vital message a person will ever receive, but they must have someone to tell it to them. Paul describes three situations we all face as Christians in relation to preaching the Word of God.
I. THE ORDER: DUTIFULLY PREACH GOD’S WORD.
Paul orders Timothy in II Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction.” Jesus also gives the command to preach in Mark 16:15, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.’”
It is our duty, it is our calling to preach the Word of God. It is an order from God that cannot be ignored. Paul emphasizes the importance of this order by prefacing it by saying in verse 1, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:” When we are not obedient to the will of God in our lives, it causes trouble. We were made to worship God. We were made to spend our lives serving Him. We were made to spread his Word to the world. Paul writes in I Corinthians 9:16, “Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.”