"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: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For 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, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."
If ever there was a time God's people needed to heed the words from Scripture, this is the time and this is the passage. These particular verses come in the last chapter of 2 Timothy, which was written by the Apostle Paul to his protege Timothy. Paul is sitting in a Roman prison, and likely knows that his execution and death are near. These are his last words of encouragement for his "son" in the faith, who will have to carry on Paul's mission of preaching the Word to the world.
Notice how heavy the responsibility is ... Timothy is being "charged" in the presence of God and Jesus Christ. In other words, Paul is testifying earnestly and ardently, and before God and Jesus, that Timothy MUST CONTINUE TO PREACH THE WORD. He is also testifying to who Jesus is... the One who will judge both the believer and the sinner; and the Son of God who appeared on earth at his first coming, and will establish His Millennial Kingdom on His return.
We, too, must continue to preach the Word and proclaim who Jesus is. To paraphrase the great theologian Matthew Henry, "It should concern us all, both ministers and people, to seriously consider the account that [we] must shortly give to Jesus Christ of all that He entrusted us with." While many will maintain that this passage is primarily aimed at pastors and preachers, I believe that we are all to listen to his charge -- especially, in these times, when sound preaching of the Word is hard to find in the Modern Church.
Indeed, it is not Pastors' own ideas and theology that they are to preach, but the pure plain word of God. But too many in today's churches corrupt God's Word; not preaching it sincerely, or as if it came straight from God, or as if they are in the sight of God, or as if they were Christ's own representatives. So, what are we Christians to do? Certainly, not sit idly by, waiting for the Pastors to do their jobs! We must pick up the baton and run the race!
We must be ready in season and out of season; don't waste any opportunity that presents itself to share the Gospel, nor postpone our duty "because it doesn't feel right". We are to constantly and consistently be ready!
And then here comes the hard part of this passage ... reprove, rebuke and exhort. In this politically-correct culture no one wants to hurt or offend anyone else. But the time is running short for the lost to be saved and redeemed. Now, only Jesus Christ can do that, but we are to carry out His Great Commission so that He might do His redeeming work. We must be bold in convincing people of their lostness and their wicked ways; it's no time to sugarcoat the Truth. They must be brought to the realization of their need for repentance. We can plow the heart and let the Holy Spirit and Jesus seed it and harvest it. But we accomplish this through patience and sound teaching.
Because as we all know, there are forces in this world that are deceiving people. Our friends and family members are falling for lies and half-truths because the plain truth of the Bible no longer "excites" them. They have grown weary of sound doctrine and long for pretty words that make them feel better about themselves; and there are far too many preachers who are willing to give them what their itching ears want to hear.
I ask you to pray about this passage and ask God to help you spread His Gospel. Both fellow Christians and non-believers need to hear the plain-spoken Truth that only the Bible can offer. Time is running out and the doors of opportunity will begin closing. In fact, I fear that those of us who proclaim the Truth will soon be denounced by society, our lawmakers, and even foolish so-called Christians. The time to be bold is now. The time to preach the Word is now. May God bless all those who truly follow Him!