His text was 2 Tim 3:10 – 4:5
These were almost the last words of Paul to his spiritual son Timothy. Like a dying parent imparting some precious word of wisdom for the child to remember. Paul tells him that the Book has been given by God, preach it.
In the face of people who do not believe that the Bible is the word of God, it is one thing to spend a lot of time arguing for the validity of scripture, listing various proofs. But it is quite another thing to say: This book changed my life.
The way we have been raised influences our attitude towards the Bible. Paul told Timothy that he had been influenced by the faith of a godly mother and a godly grandmother. And then Timothy was greatly influenced by Paul himself. He knew that they believed the God of the Bible and the Bible of God.
For over a 1000 years the Bible was in Latin. The people did not know the treasure that was theirs in the Bible because it was in the hands of the people, the very ones who should have taught them the word of God. Let us not blame the people of that day too much that they thought that they could go to heaven through a system of works. They did not know.
Then after the reformation in the 18th century, liberalism, falsely called knowledge, killed faith. Men went into seminary believing and came out unbelieving.
The faith of generations to come will depend on the faith in the pews today. We are standing at a point in history where we must resolve not to let go of this Book, to study it and to teach it.
A bad workman blames his tools, they say. People find pick holes and find fault with the Bible. When we are not able to use the Bible effectively to change lives, it is not that there is anything wrong with the Bible. The Bible is complete and sufficient.A good workman has to learn to handle it well. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. What a claim this is, to say that the Bible has everything that a man could possibly need. It has the information needed to live in this world that He created and how to fix broken lives. Yes, the Bible is like the manufacturer’s manual that comes with a new product; the instructions from our Creator about how we can be made complete.
Take the case of a new electronic gadget is brough home. The younger folk in the house are not patient enough to read the instructions and plug it in and it blows up. But the manufacturer has given clear instructions, but they did not read it.
Or take the case of a gadget that needs to be fixed. If you call up the service center, they will send out a trained technician to you with a tool box that has the exact items needed, the right spares and even the right screwdrivers. But if you think their service is too pricey, you will end up with shoddy incomplete work. When you go to the wrong person with your life problems they belittle the Bible and refer to popular psychology and the like. But the Bible has all the answers that man needs, provided you are trained to use it rightly.
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: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. When Timothy would have read this he would have been filled with fear. Paul was putting him under an oath and calling the judgment of God to bear on this matter. Preach the word, Paul wrote.Instead of wasting too much time arguing about why the Bible is true, let us preach it. There is perhaps a place for such arguments, but one must not be overly engaged in such activity. The word has to be preached.
The story is told of how Moody was challenged by an atheist to discuss the relevance of the Bible and the existence of God. Moody fixed the meeting for the next week saying, I would gladly meet with you, provided you bring ten men who can say that ever since they gave up the Bible and became atheists, they had become responsible, hard-working, better fathers, better husbands and so on. I will bring 20 men who will testify that ever since they came to believe in the words of the Bible, their lives had been changed. A week later Moody was waiting with 20 men but the atheist was no where to be seen.
During the life of Spurgeon when the Bible was under attack from so-called science and so-called knowledge, he did not spend too much time on defending it. When someone asked him why he approached the situation in this way, he replied “A lion does not need defending.” Can you imagine if a child was slapping a lion’s face, would you pity the poor lion? The lion does not need to be defended. Just open the cage and the lion will defend itself. In fact, everyone in the vicinity would need defending against the lion. So it is with the scriptures. Do not waste much time in its defense, release it. Preach it. Let us be faithful preachers, and God will use His word to change the hearts of men.
What is our greatest need? Not expensive church buildings, theologians, intellectuals, or miracle workers. We need faithful preachers of the word—preachers who see the broken lives of people that need fixing, and in preaching the word bring them to repentance. Let us send out preachers so that people believe that here is a Book from heaven. Like a dying parent handing over his greatest treasure, this Book that will bring you where I am going.
To hear all of Mr. Mbewe’s conference messages, go to William Chong’s post Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (STAND2010 set list).