26 June 2005

At the Wrong Time

Be ready to spread the word whether or not the time is right. Point out errors, warn people, and encourage them. Be very patient when you teach.
2 Timothy 4:2 God's Word Version

When is it ever a wrong time to spread the Word of God? There have been times when I was 'cornered' into teaching the Word of God when the time seemed wrong or inappropriate. These were times at the dinner table, when you are a guest in someone's home, and so on. It was a time when I just felt uncomfortable. It just didn't feel right to get serious about the Word of God and to deal with hard doctrines such as communion fellowship or that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Such scriptural teachings are important, but need to be carefully taught. But they were times when the Scriptures actually reached into hearts and lives.

The Christian is called to be ready to speak the Word of God whenever possible. But notice the third sentence in the Scripture above, "be very patient when you teach." Patience is a gift of God and is needed today as we teach the Word of God.

But the spiritual nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22, 23 God's Word Version
We need patience as we try to teach the Word of God to people who know little about Jesus or even have trouble with the very idea that there is such a thing as right and wrong. Patience is needed as we gently explain the Word of God to people. It used to be acceptable to be harsh when teaching the Bible, to be insistent about what had to be done. Not so today, because people expect gentleness whenever it comess to such topics as faith and the Bible.

This means the Christian must be ready at all times to share the Word of God. It is important to take time to learn the Bible, to listen carefully to the questions being asked, to be open to other ideas, even those contrary to the Word of God, so that the seeker is treated with respect. It is the Bible we are to share, not our own opinions or biases. It is the Word of God, the reliable, errorless, and holy Word, given to us for the sake of Christ and His cross.
Doc Steve


At 6:17 AM, Blogger ConradGempf said...

The real problem, of course, is how to exhibit that gentleness and openness without it being interpreted as acceptance and endorsement. For many post-moderns, anything short of out-and-out criticism of their position implies that which, for them, is the default attitude of 'whatever'. How do we prevent people from interpreting our 'I hear you' as 'that's cool for you'?

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Doc Steve said...

Yes, the context is everything. We can't prevent them from misunderstanding us, but we can work hard to be clearly understood. But for us to really deal with the hard issues means that we need to develop a relationship with the seeker so that we have the right to ask the hard questions, to come to grips with their problems. Take the time to lead one person to the Savior, and you too will grow in your faith as you search the Scriptures with them.


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