God’s Inspired Word
“SPEAK thou the things which become sound doctrine.” The word, “speak” here is used in the sense of preaching. Speak, declare, proclaim, and preach sound doctrine. Preach God’s inspired word. To have evangelistic impact, raise a spiritually healthy church, restrain the false prophets and limit their influence, we must preach the word. To fulfil God’s purpose for the ministry, establish new converts and strengthen the believers so that they are no more like children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, we must preach the word. To train, equip and raise a new generation of leaders, make the church steadfast in turbulent times, encourage and help the persecuted to have staying power, as well as prepare God’s people for the coming of Jesus Christ, we must preach the word. Both in public declaration and private conversation, we must speak only the things that become (things that are fitting for) sound doctrine.
The word, “speak” is in the present imperative, conveying the idea of continuity and persistence. It is a command. Titus was not to be intimidated by the number or the fanatical zeal of the many false prophets in the land. He was to boldly declare God’s saving truth. He was to be as aggressive in preaching sound doctrine as the false teachers were in spreading unwholesome doctrine. He was to be more zealous in preaching God’s inspired word than the false prophets were in teaching their damning error. In spite of the proliferation of commercial, religious assemblies, speak the things that become sound doctrine. Despite the multiplicity of churches devoted to error and falsehood, affirm and preach the word that has power to transform lives. Be not afraid, do not compromise, neither give up nor give in, be bold in the evil day, for the sake of souls, and to rescue the perishing, speak.
Titus was not only commissioned, he was commanded to speak, to preach. No other activity, however important or significant can be an acceptable substitute. To study is a necessary discipline, but he must preach. To develop himself might be a worthy goal, but he must preach. To raise a family and provide for the family cannot be neglected, but he must preach. To pray and have a deep, private devotional life is desirable, but he must preach. To lead and organise is indispensable, but he must preach. Speak! Speak the word to the congregation; speak the word to individuals, too. This command is as old as the early days of the Old Testament. The servants and messengers of God were commanded to speak God’s incorruptible word. Even when their audience breathed threats and hatred, that did not excuse or release them from the responsibility. The command was not withdrawn, they were still to speak. Isaiah was to cry aloud and speak the word with conviction. Jeremiah was to speak without fear even when his life was threatened. Ezekiel was to speak boldly whether the people will hear or forbear. All the prophets were sent to speak and they were not to fear the faces of men.
There were many wonderful ministries in the New Testament, but preaching was the central, indispensable work. There are many commands in the New Testament, but the command to speak and preach stands out above all others. The command is extensive and universal, and it is no longer limited to a few prophets and apostles. We are all commanded to speak. In the New Testament, persecution, imprisonment, suffering, poverty, antagonism and violent opposition by the authorities were common, but preaching continued in the midst of them all. After being beaten, the apostles continued to speak. After being chased out of their houses, they continued to speak. As they were scattered everywhere, they continued to speak. We must speak. It is a task that must be done. Preach the word; preach God’s inspired word. Preach sound doctrine. Disobedience to this command renders obedience in all other areas and to all other commands incomplete. Speak!
Many Bible characters were courageous without being conscious of it. Like many other virtues received by grace and manifested for God’s glory, the possessors are not usually conscious of possessing them. Possessors of humility are not always conscious of being humble. Think of Moses before Pharaoh, Samuel revealing the vision to Eli, David before Goliath, Elijah confronting Ahab, Daniel speaking to Kings Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. They were courageous without stopping to check on their boldness. Peter before the council, Paul before kings, Jews or the Gentiles, Stephen in Jerusalem, Philip in Samaria all fulfilled their assigned tasks courageously without being conscious of how courageous they were.
We breathe best when we are not conscious of breathing. Our courage fails and falters when we become too self-conscious. When we abandon ourselves to our task and focus on our responsibility, not being mindful of pain or pleasure, gain or loss, praise or blame, we manifest courage without being conscious of it. Courageous leaders do whatever they have to do in spite of how they feel internally. While concentrating on what they have to do, their fears leave and courage quietly takes possession of them. Pray and stand on God’s promises.
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