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Mar 21

Session 5 Recap: Begg, “Preaching In and Out of Season”

2015 | by Nathan Sherman | Category: Clarus 15

Editor’s Note: Marc Wilson is Elder and Rector at St. Patrick’s Church, Las Cruces, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of Alistair Begg’s message from Saturday morning at Clarus, March 21, “Preaching In and Out of Season,” from 2 Timothy 3:16-4:8.

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“Preach the Word!” This was the clear message from Alistair Begg who blessed those sitting under his teaching this morning at TGC Albuquerque’s Clarus ’15 gathering. What are we to do as our culture turns from God’s revelation to human speculation? How are we to engage those who want spirituality disconnected from any biblical truth? “Preach the Word” was Paul’s charge to Timothy as he contended with similar circumstances in the church at Ephesus.

At a time of transition from apostolic to post-apostolic times, Paul emphasized the important “ministry of reminder” by directing Timothy to continue in what he had learned and convinced of since infancy. That which Timothy was to remember is contained within “the Holy Scriptures” (Old Testament) and able to make one wise for salvation through faith in Jesus. Thus, Paul was passing on the gospel to Timothy at this time of transition, and the “Bible is key to gospel competence.” Timothy was not to deviate from that which equipped him for the work to which Paul charged him. That fundamental charge was, “preach the Word.” Timothy was called to be faithful to the charge of this ministry, and such faithfulness would likely result in sufferings similar to Paul’s (4:6). Begg helpfully highlighted two key aspects of this charge and their relevance for us today.

First, preaching is a Solemn Charge. The solemnity of the charge, as highlighted in 4:1, is with a view to “the Day” in 4:8.  This charge involves patiently and carefully “reproving, rebuking, and exhorting” consistently while also being aware of our environment. Even when the “season” is “daunting and discouraging,” we must trust that God’s Word speaks to people in different situations. Whether congregations are “receptive or hostile, dreadful or delightful, tuned-in or tuned-out, growing or dwindling”, the preached Word will consistently meet their needs and fulfill God’s purposes. The preached Word must be our source of confidence. The best preachers are “men who are awed with the charge of their ministry” to preach the Word. There is a great danger for preachers and the people to remain unchanged under the preaching of the Word. Preachers are accountable to God because they are keeping watch over the souls of God’s people, dealing with the eternal dimension of one’s existence.

Secondly, preaching is a Simple Charge. Confidence in God’s Word convinces the preacher that “he does not have to come up with something” to meet the diverse needs of the people because “God has come down with something.” What God has spoken is contained in the Bible. God has spoken His sufficient Word. In quoting AW Tozer, Begg reminds that “we are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not compromise but an ultimatum.” To “preach the Word” is a call for one to “look and live.” Even when the biblical assessment of fallen humanity is unappealing to its hearers, we must remain patiently confident in the Scriptures to reprove, rebuke and exhort knowing there is glorious good news for those who acknowledge their fallen condition and the need for God’s Word. The Bible contains the gospel that makes us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Therefore, whether in or out of season, “preach the Word!”