Be ready in season and out of season
2 Timothy 4 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
I solemnly exhort 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; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Take along Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12 But I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the overcoat which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Be on guard against him yourself too, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.
16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but I left Trophimus sick at Miletus. 21 Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters.
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
In Matthew 21:18-19 it says: Now in the early morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves alone; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. In Mark 11:12-14 It says: On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. Jesus cursed the fig tree, even though it was not the season for figs, and the tree withered. Could Jesus not just as easily commanded the fig tree to produce and it would at once have born fruit? So, was it really about Jesus hunger, or about figs, or is it a lesson for us? In today’s text it says: I solemnly exhort 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; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction. It is vital that we be ready in season and out of season. We need to be in tune and in time with God rather than with the times and seasons of the world. In John 5:19-20 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in the same way. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing...” For us to be ready in season and out of season, we need to see what the father is doing and hear what He is saying. Regardless of the natural circumstances or situation, we need to know what the supernatural God of creation is doing and join Him in His work. We need to know His written word and hear His living word spoken through the Holy Spirit.
The text continues saying: For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths. Surely, we could say we are in the time Paul is describing, a time when people will not tolerate sound doctrine. We are in a time when most people want to hear a gospel based only on the benefits and blessings of faith in Christ. They want to hear a gospel that focusses only on God’s grace toward sinners and not the need for sinners to repent. They want teachers and preachers who will acquiesce to their desires. Surely though, that is not what God is doing or saying. In Malachi 3:6 God says: I, the Lord, do not change. Hebrews 13:8 says: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever. In Isaiah 5:20 God said: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! The unchanging God still says the same thing today.
The text says: But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. Just because we are in a season when many have turned aside, a time when many believe more in the “Magic Kingdom”, or in the supernatural power of wizards and witches than in the supernatural kingdom of heaven and the power of the Holy Spirit, does not mean that our message should change. We are still to be in step with and obedient to Jesus who says in Mark 16:15-16: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. The one who has believed and has been baptized will be saved; but the one who has not believed will be condemned.” We are not responsible for the response of others to the gospel, but if we remain in tune and in time with God, the gospel will bear fruit.
The Lord will rescue me/us from every evil deed, and will bring me/us safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.