This is the question that pops into many of the minds of those sitting in our worship services each week. How long is he going to preach? Ask ten different pastors how long a sermon should be and you may get ten different answers but that’s not actually the question I’m talking about. (We’ll save that debate for a different time.)
Paul told Timothy, in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, that there was a day coming in which people will no longer listen to sound doctrine. Paul states that people will “heap up” teachers to “suit their own passions,” which means, they’ll basically only listen if someone’s telling them what they want to hear. That’s just a little scary.
But, there’s a charge from Paul to Timothy in verse 2 to “preach the Word” which in context is equated with sound doctrine, and preach it, when it’s convenient and you feel like preaching and even when it’s inconvenient and you don’t feel like it. Obviously, these words to Timothy are meant to charge and encourage him to keep preaching even when it’s tough; and trust me sometimes it’s tough.
So, why would we keep preaching? How long should we keep at it?
It’s easy to focus on the people that Paul describes in this passage. That is, those who are not interested in hearing doctrine and realizing the change and growth that the Scriptures can deliver. But, the charge is to focus on, and keep preaching in the hearing of, those who do have ears to hear and those who are spiritually prepared and ready to hear from God. And here’s the good news, even today there are still many, many people who want to hear from God!
The only thing that limits the power of God’s Word and the Gospel is the lack of an ear to hear. So, as long as there’s someone listening we must keep preaching! As you plan your worship time this weekend in your church, be sure to recognize that God wants you to hear His Word preached and that’s for your edification. Don’t worry, if you plan to attend Vienna Baptist Church my average sermon is less than forty minutes long.
To all my preacher friends out there, be encouraged; there are people still listening! Preach the Word!