A gospel preacher once said that "there are times when silence has the loudest voice" , and certainly, as Christians, there are times when we should be silent. However, just as there is "a time to keep silence" there is also "a time to speak" (Eccl. 3:1,7).
Now friends, having said that, my question for you is this: have we lost the ability to discern when we should be silent and when we should speak?
In II Timothy chapter 3, the apostle Paul delivers words of warning to the young preacher Timothy. His warning culminates with the statement that "evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (II Tim. 3:13). Following this warning, Paul offers Timothy encouragement and instructions so that he may deal with the approaching wickedness and error. Paul tells Timothy, "But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 3:14,15). In verses 16 and 17 of that chapter, Paul goes on to proclaim the inspiration and benefit of all scripture.
Paul then charges Timothy in the next chapter to "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (II Tim. 4:2). Why does Paul do this? He issues this charge because, as he tells Timothy, "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables" (II Tim. 4:3,4). Friends, we live in such a time today.
Realize that Paul did not tell Timothy to keep his mouth shut when he encountered error. He did not tell Timothy to be silent. Rather, he told Timothy to preach the word, to convince, to rebuke, and to exhort. In other words, the apostle charged Timothy to speak up!
I look at the state of the world today and I ask myself, are we convincing, rebuking, exhorting, and teaching to overcome wickedness and error? Or are we just being quiet? I hate to admit it, but I would have to say that many are choosing to be quiet.
Think about it, what do we say when . . .
Dear listeners, if we are saying nothing, are we not implying that these things are okay? Are we not indicating that we view these things as acceptable and true? Make no mistake; there is "a time to keep silence," but we should always be ready to speak the truth in love when it is required. We should never let sin and error go unchallenged because souls are at stake.
Are you guilty of too much silence? If you are, I charge you as Paul charged Timothy to "convince, rebuke, [and] exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." Now is the time to speak up.