TITLE: If You Cannot Preach Like Paul
DATE: November 12, 2019
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.
TEXT :1 Timothy 4: 1-5 – ESV - 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: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry
When Pastors are ordained it is usually customary for their brothers to bless them with a passage of Scripture. One of the most frequently used verses is the opening words of 1 Timothy 4.
There are a number of emphasis to be considered. “Preach the word, in season and out of season.”
With those words the beleaguered St. Paul was letting those who come after him that the path would not be easy. There would be times when the audience would be warm and receptive to the Savior, but there would also be times when hearts would be hard ands minds would be closed.
Then of course there is the last line of the text: “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” It is very short sentence, but there are four distinct commands found here. Be level-headed; tolerate suffering; share the Savior in all aspects of ministry.
There is little doubt that many ministers, when they hear those words, think they are embroidered and embellished. Few think that they will be doing any real, actual, physical suffering as a pastor.
Which is sad. The Lutheran Martyr, Dietrich Bonheoffer had it right when, in his book The Cost of Discipleship he wrote: ,“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
John Chau believed that.
His first year of College he felt the Lord was calling him to preach to the Sentinelese, one of the last untouched tribes in the world. It’s true, they are untouched... and they like it that way. They’ve killed visitors to their island, and the country of India has made it a crime for anyone to come within three miles of their home.
None of that deterred John Chau.
He spent four years preparing to preach to the Sentinelese. He read books; took language classes; bribed fishermen to smuggle him to the island. In all John made three short visits to the island. On the first visit he only got close before they drove him off. The second visit he was met with derision and amusement. A boy shot a metal-tipped arrow into John’s Bible he was holding in front of him. The third trip the fishermen ended when the fishermen saw John’s body was left on the shore.
When he began John wrote: "The eternal lives of this tribe is at hand and I think it's worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people. Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed .Don't retrieve my body.”
Jesus doesn’t ask us to follow John... but He does want us to witness to Him Who has saved us at the cost of His life’s blood. To do so, as John would tell us, is an honor and a privilege.
THE PRAYER: Lord, the hymnist said it best, “Hark, the voice of Jesus calling, "Who will go and work today? Fields are white and harvests waiting, Who will bear the sheaves away?" Loud and long the master calls you; Rich reward he offers free. Who will answer, gladly saying, "Here am I. Send me, send me"? If you cannot speak like angels, If you cannot preach like Paul, You can tell the love of Jesus; You can say he died for all. If you cannot rouse the wicked With the judgment’s dread alarms, You can lead the little children To the Savior’s waiting arms. In Your Name. I pray it may be so. Amen.
The devotion for today was inspired by various recent news articles. For further reading you may wish to go to this address https://www.newser.com/story/279669/he-spent-years-prepping-to-visit-the-tribe-that-killed-him.html and the article written by Kate Seamons.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html