In our last study together, I shared with you two reasons why we preach God’s Word. I said, “Preaching is our Mandate,” and “Preaching is our Need.” Both of those points were from Paul’s second letter to Timothy. He said to Timothy in 2 Tim.4:1-4, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
Here Paul gives Timothy a serious and specific charge. It is serious because of who it is before: “the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is also serious because of what He is going to do: “judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.” This charge is also specific. He tells him in verse 2 to “Preach the Word.” Timothy is to proclaim the Word of God as an official spokesman for the King. Since that is what he is to do, he is not to choose what to proclaim. The command is specific. He is to “preach” all “the Word.” To do that he must be ready at all times. He must preach it when there is opportunity and when there’s not because the climate is going to change. That’s why preaching is our greatest need. A day is coming when churches will accumulate the kind of teachers that preach what the people want to hear. They will no longer tolerate sound doctrine so Timothy is to preach it regardless. As we continue our reasons for why we preach God’s Word, let me share with you one more. We preach God’s Word because preaching is our mandate and it is our need but we also preach because preaching is the method God uses to call sinners to repentance.
Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, “‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’” Throughout the Word of God we see God sending out His “laborers into His harvest.” He did that first with Noah. Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Since the preaching of Noah, there has followed a long-line of faithful preachers of God’s Word.
Jonah preached to the people of Ninevah repentance. Jesus said in Luke 11:32, “The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.”
Throughout the Old Testament we hear “Thus says the Lord” or “the Word of the Lord came to me saying,” giving a message of repentance and destruction to the people of Israel and abroad. God said to Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem in Jer.35:15, “I have also sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, 'Turn now everyone from his evil way, amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them; then you will dwell in the land which I have given you and your fathers.' But you have not inclined your ear, nor obeyed Me.”
John the Baptist was a prophet who preached repentance. Matthew 3:1-2 says, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’”
Jesus Preached repentance. His ministry began with preaching. Mat.4:17 says, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
From this we see His disciples doing the same. They were sent out in Matthew 10:7 to “preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
The gospel is to be preached to the whole world. Jesus preached to the poor (Mat.11:1), the rich (Mat.19:16-22), the religious (Jn.3) and the powerful (Mat.26:64). We are to preach to the whole world as well. Mk.13:10 says, “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.”
As you survey the methods you use to evangelize unbelievers, remember it must include the preaching of repentance and the coming of God's wrath. To leave these out, is not the full gospel.