Preaching In and Out of Season
It’s the worst of times. It’s the best of times. There’s good news and there’s bad news. We live in a world that seems to be a curious mix of both.
On the one hand, we’re seeing things happen in a world we could never see in our wildest dreams. On the other hand, we’re seeing things happen we couldn’t imagine in our worst nightmares. Sometimes our culture sees the gospel as good news. Other times, the gospel is rejected as bad news. In it all, like Timothy, we preach the gospel in and out of season (2 Tim 4:2).
And in the middle of this, we are called to preach. Our cultural circumstances aren’t particularly unique. Every great preacher has faced a culture of greed, narcissism, hedonism and violence. We always want to read the biographies of Luther, Wesley, Spurgeon and Moody outside of their historical setting.
Try this little experiment. The next time you read the biography of your favorite preacher, read a secular history book of the same period. I think you’ll get a new appreciation for the troubled worlds our heroes lived in. Even for Billy Graham, the times of his ministry were retching for our nation. Yet, in it all, Dr. Graham preached a very focused gospel message.
I’m a preacher writing to preachers to remind us about our times: while they seem like no other time in the world, they aren’t unlike the other times of history when the gospel was preached. I also write to remind us that as in all other times people still need Jesus. Like the preachers before us, it’s up to us to hear the longing of our culture and use these questions as the beginning of our preaching. Jesus is the answer whatever the question is. To the despair of our culture, we respond with the hope of the Good News of Jesus.
Yes, this is a tough time. Our world is very broken. On the other hand, this is the best time ever to preach. It seems everyone is asking Jesus questions.
My friend Greg Nelson was a co-writer of the great song, “People Need the Lord.” After he and his co-writer had written the song, Greg told his wife about it. She told him that was the stupidest idea for a song she’d ever heard. Everyone knows, she said, that people need to the Lord.
True, everyone who has Christ knows it. And those who don’t. . .well, they’re the reason we keep preaching– in good times and bad, in and out of season. . .always ready to give word to the hope we have in Christ Jesus.
Praying for you right now.
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