Instant Christians #2

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV).

In this day and age of “instant this and instant that,” we need more “instant” Christians!

The Greek word translated “instant” in today’s Scripture is ephistemi, used elsewhere to describe: an angel “coming” (Luke 2:9; Acts 12:7), Anna “quickly coming” in gratitude to see the Christ Child (Luke 2:38), Jesus “immediately” healing Peter’s mother-in-law of a high fever (Luke 4:39), irritated Martha “approaching” Jesus (Luke 10:40), Israel’s religious leaders “coming” to intimidate Christ and His apostles and disciples (Luke 20:1; Acts 4:1; Acts 6:12), Cornelius’ three messengers “immediately” coming and “standing” before Simon’s door awaiting Peter’s arrival (Acts 10:17; Acts 11:11), the unbelievers “assaulting” the members of the household of Jason (Acts 17:5), Ananias “standing” near newly-converted Saul of Tarsus (Acts 22:13), Saul of Tarsus “standing by” holding the coats of those who were stoning Stephen to death (Acts 22:20), the Lord “standing by” Paul to comfort him (Acts 23:11), chief captain Claudius Lysias “coming” with an army to deliver Paul from a mob that wanted him dead (Acts 23:27), the “present” rain that poured as Paul and his shipmates reached the island of Melita (Acts 28:2), the sudden destruction of the future Tribulation “coming” upon the unsuspecting unbelievers (1 Thessalonians 5:3), and Paul’s execution and departure to heaven being “at hand” (2 Timothy 4:6).

In today’s Scripture, “instant” means “ready to act”—it implies intense activity or an impending quick motion (see examples in previous paragraph), not idleness or inactivity (sitting or standing around doing nothing). Paul is charging Timothy (and all Christians) to not be slothful in the ministry, hoping “someone else” will share the Gospel with others, hoping “someone else” will teach Christians God’s Word rightly divided. The Holy Ghost knows that it is easy for our flesh to surrender to opposition, to be passive or lazy, to keep the Bible but just teach it according to a denomination or church tradition for the sake of pleasing man, or to throw away the Bible completely and do what “everyone else is doing” (in religion or in “the world”).

Let us continue hearing the Holy Spirit through Paul….