I Am Ready to Preach the Gospel
As a young person, it is a hard decision to "pick up and move" to a new area. It is, however, a necessary decision when making the choice to "preach the gospel" to a lost and dying world. My wife, Becky, has told me many times that 1 Timothy 4:12 is "my verse." It describes how my attitude should be as well as the attitude of my peers in Christ.
Remember, the words of Paul in this passage are to a young preacher. "Let no man despise thy youth... ." In other words, do not let anyone look down on you because you are young. He continues, ". . . but be an example to the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." We can see a contrast in this verse. "Do not let any-one look down on you because you are young. To keep people from doing this, show the right example in every facet of your life."
This is something all young Christians need to remember. It would be a good idea as well to commit 1 Timothy 4:12 to memory.
Paul said in Romans 1:15, "So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are at Rome also." He continued, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth: to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:16-17). After some hindrances, Paul was "ready to preach the gospel" (v. 15). He knew it was God's power to save, and that it would save the world from sin. He considered himself the "chief " of sinners, but was ready to preach (I Tim. 1:15). There is a shortage of gospel preachers in this country, and one important reason is that men with the ability to preach are not "ready to preach the gospel."
Called Through The Gospel
Young men! There is a call from God through the gospel for sound preaching. Are you ready to answer that call (Matt. 28:18-20)7I heard this call of the gospel several years ago, but never felt "ready" until receiving the following advice from my best friend. He said, "If you wait until you `know it all,' or until it feels right, you will never go." He continued, "There will always be a subject you do not know, or an area you are not comfortable with. This is a part of life. When the time comes, you will know it and you will preach." He continued to support me while I was preaching by "appointment" for over two years. He was the best man at my wedding, and continues to be my best friend and "brother in the faith."
I grew up in a "Christian" environment, being the son of a deacon in the church. While I love my parents dearly, my faith is not inherited. Paul tells us, "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). My faith is mine, and the fact I am preaching is a decision I have made. One of the reasons I became a preacher was that I could see many being lost in sin, and without a person to help them. This is not just those who refuse to worship God, but those in denominations. While I worked in several jobs after school, then full-time secular work, I tried to talk to those outside of Christ, only to see they were "turned to fables" (2 Tim. 4:4). I only became more determined as I talked to those who did not know the church of Christ from a denomination. Can anyone relate? Young men who want to preach, have you experienced this?
I was baptized and a member of the Ellettsville church of Christ in Ellettsville, Indiana. There I received the training from Johnie Edwards who gave me the knowledge and boldness I needed to preach. As of February 1, 1995, I will have been preaching full-time for 8 1/2 months. If you add the total preaching experience, it has been just over three years. The more I preach, the more I see the need for young men strong in the faith ready to take up the sword of the Spirit and to war a good warfare (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:18). Friend, do not give up because some may discourage you, but be an "example to the believers" (1 Tim. 4:12; Tit. 2:15).
Preach The Word At All Costs
Remember what Paul said, "For the time will come when men will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (2 Tim. 4:3). It is very important that young men do not give in to the crowd, but "preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2). Yes, there are many experienced gospel preachers who are sound and who do not compromise the truth for anyone's sake, but some of our older preaching brethren do not wish to speak "sound doctrine" anymore. They let family concerns, concerns of the congregation, and views of other "distinguished brethren" sway their view on various Bible subjects. This must not be so if we wish to please God, no matter what our age may be. I learned early on that when a man preaches, he must not have a friend in the audience. This rule applies in the writing a man may do, in his relations with others, etc. When it comes to the Word of God, we cannot play favorites, just as God does not (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9)!
The apostles spoke sound doctrine at all costs (Acts 5:40-42; I Cor. 1 I :23-28). Let us as preachers of the Word be no different. Let us not fall into the trap of "hero-worship." You will be elevating a man above what he should be and you will be let down every time. We may speak the truth and alienate our friends and family (Matt. 10:21-22, 36-37), but the reward is much greater than the hurt you may endure (Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 3:13-14).
While thinking these things through, do not forget that "all the counsel of God" must be preached (Acts 20:27). As I said, a preacher must not have a friend in the audience. We need to preach the Word in its purity and simplicity. Paul preached to the Ephesians for three years (Acts 20:31). I am sure it made people mad at times, but it was for their own good. It was souls he was concerned about, not hurt feelings! After three years, he could say, "I kept back nothing from you that was profitable unto you, but have chewed you, and have taught you publicly and from house to house" (Acts 20:20). In verse 27, he said, "I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." 2 Timothy 4:2 teaches us to preach "in season and out of season." Preach it when they like it and preach it when they do not like it, is the meaning of this text.
I remember a lady coming to me after I had preached a sermon from 1 Timothy 5:22 about purity and keeping oneself pure. One of the points I made was on immodest apparel. She came to me afterward and we had a discussion on that subject. It had never been an issue with her until she heard it preached from the Word of God. After a few minutes of discussion, she agreed to what the Bible said, and has made the necessary changes since then. Can we see from this the necessity of preaching "the whole counsel of God"? We can gain a soul from the Devil when we do as Paul and the other apostles did.
Are You Ready?
Young men who want to preach, do not be discouraged! If your wish is to preach the Word, you are surrounded by many opportunities if you will only look for them. Please do not try to simply impress people, or do it for money, but preach because that is all you can think about. Be a Jeremiah, who had to preach because the word was "as a burning fire shut up in my bones" (Jer. 20:9-12). Preach because you can see the "fields are white unto harvest" (Jn. 4:35). "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few" (Matt. 9:37). Be a preacher! Be a servant of God (Rom. 1:1). Do all you can to bring others to Jesus before it is too late!
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 6 p. 16-17