Preachers

The speed with which the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ spread in the first century is indeed staggering. The dedication of early Christians to the cause of Christ placed the bar of service very high for all who followed. Two classes of disciples busied themselves in proclaiming the message. Acts 8:4 tells us that the disciples at large, even in the face of persecution, "went everywhere preaching the word." While committed to Jesus and willing to tell others about salvation in Him as they had opportunity, they had other responsibilities. They had to earn a living and tend to the normal affairs of life just as most of us do today.

Among them, a small group of men devoted themselves fully to preaching the word. The apostle Paul was one of these, as was the younger man, Timothy. Paul wrote to Timothy charging him to "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." (2 Timothy 4:2) Fulfilling his charge took great courage, tenacious love of God's truth, and burning zeal for salvation of the lost. In addition to other instructions, Paul told him what was required in 1 Timothy 4:12-16: "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you."

Timothy might have said, "Are you kidding me! What a tall order!" But apparently, he did not. He put his heart and head to the task and did his best to acquire the knowledge he needed and preach the word, just as the apostle Paul had said. And, why not? Paul didn't tell him to do anything he did not also do. Paul's life was a living sermon. He preached it plain and challenging and demonstrated in his example the lessons he laid upon others. That is what he expected of Timothy. But, not only him. Paul said to Timothy in 2 Tmothy 2:2: "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

The charge that the apostle Paul gave the young preacher, Timothy, has traveled down through the centuries and generations to our day. Preachers today do well to heed the instructions of the inspired apostle and "preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching."

The members of the Palm Springs Drive church of Christ are blessed to have such men who do that with love of the truth and the souls of those who hear them.