16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17
One of the big problems in the church today is that preachers are not willing to bring a word of challenge or a message of correction. We’re hoping people will “get the point” without those of us who are leaders and teachers having to point it out to them! Our reluctance to deliver the goods on the full counsel of God is not without reason—though I’m convinced it’s not a good one. Nobody wants to go to church to hear that something is wrong and it needs to be made right. People avoid uncomfortable truth (are you starting to squirm?). Everybody wants good news. Crowds want a smiley-preacher pep-talk. Everybody wants some warm, fuzzy, make-me-feel good sermonizing.
But there's a big problem with that. Second Timothy 3:16 says that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable . . .” Profitable for what? Well, profitable “for teaching,” us what to believe. Then also, “for reproof.” Reproof is like "Knock it off!" I love when I come to church and get that one. One of the ways I’m sure that God loves me is when He says, “Cut that out!”—because that’s what love says. And then, “for correction.” Correction is more along the lines of "Do this, not that—here’s the way to go now.” And finally, “for training in righteousness,” is kind of the how to do life in a way that avoids constant reproof and correction!
Now the Word of God is profitable for reproof and for correction, and sometimes we need reproof and correction. Most often at church the application of the message is for us as individuals, but 2 Timothy 3:16 is a corrective word for the church—our church and the church down the road and the one across town and the one across the city and state and in our country, the church everywhere it is found.
One of the best ways you can pray for your church and your pastor is to ask God to give him the courage to preach the whole counsel of God and to give the church the willingness to listen and respond with obedience.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I realize that the task of leading Your people is not an easy one. Help my pastor to be filled with Your Spirit and bring to us all that Your Word has for us, in every way that we need it! Thank You for the amazing gift of Your Word! In Jesus’ name, Amen.