Preach the Word

Disclaimer - These are notes in progress (as of 4-1-19, not an "April fool's" joke!) as I am preparing a sermon for a pastoral installation service of the young man who has been my Timothy for the past 10+ years. So you can use them "as is" but realize they are "in flux." The target passage is 2 Timothy 4:1-5. 

Transition of chapters 3 to 4: Paul telling Timothy to continue in the Word in his own personal life; now he exhorts him to share it with others! We must receive before we can transmit. 2 Timothy 3 was focused on Paul's exhorting Timothy (and his flock the church at Ephesus) and you and me to live by the Book, and in Chapter 4 we will see Paul exhort Timothy to preach the Book;  Paul is saying to Timothy “get it straight & give it straight!” Yes Paul is addressing Timothy as the pastor, but do not think you will get a pass, for everything Paul says to Timothy is also applicable and practical to our Christian life. That is our goal, to preach through 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (and we may only get through verse 4) in expositorily - You say what is expositional preaching? Simply put expository preaching is giving a message where both the preaching and the application are derived from the truth of the biblical passage that is being read and expounded or explained. Jason, that is your part, expound the text so that it can be understood and apply the text so that the sheep can obey it!

But we need to give a disclaimer up front - Expository preaching is more difficult to listen to than preaching filled with pious platitudes, personal stories, jesting and jokes and other man-made tactics designed to entertain!

 Expository preaching is harder to listen to, because it requires hard thinking. You have to follow God's chain of logic.

Expository preaching will invade into areas of your life that may have been off limits and from which you have been trying to keep God out -- rooms of your heart which contain secret sins, unforgiveness spirits, basitions of bitterness, simmering cauldrons of anger, and the list goes on. When the Word is preached expositorily the writer of Hebrews says it is "living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12)." In Jeremiah (23:29) God asks "Is not My word like fire? and like a hammer which shatters a rock?" Expository preaching is like a fire, like a hammer. 

Now before you get too worried that I am only going to be somber, let me remind Jason that hopefully he will never find himself in the situation of the minister who was rushed to the hospital and an inexperienced nurse was assigned to him. She put a barometer in his mouth instead of a thermometer and it read, “Dry and windy.” May God's Spirit grant that your expository preaching be pithy and practical, not dry and windy. In Jesus' Name. Amen! 

Ligon Duncan - So, as congregants, as people who sit under the ministry of the word, one response to this exhortation to Timothy is to know what you need. And what you need is the word of God. You know, there are all sorts of churches in this city where, once upon a time, you could have heard the word of God preached, and you can't hear it preached there any more. You can hear a fine, moral sermonette, or you can find some happy deliverance about this or that or the other, but there's a famine of the word of God there. We need the word. That's the first application for us out of this passage.

But there's a second one, as well, and that has to do with wanting what we need in preaching. We live in a society that doesn't like hard thinking, and it certainly doesn't like self-examination in the sphere of sin. But when we come to a passage and see God saying to a preacher, “Preach the word,” then we need to pray, “Lord, if that's what I need (and You say it is, in the word), then make me want it. Cultivate in me a desire for what I need, not for what I think I need. Cultivate in me a desire for what I really need, not for what I superficially want. Lord, make me long to sit under the ministry of Your word.”

I've thought for many years of writing a book called “How to Listen to a Bad Sermon”, mainly because I preach so many of them. And this would be one of the points: that we come to worship the living God so longing for His word, that His word sets the agenda for what we need, rather than whims of this world for the unsanctified desires of our hearts; that we’d come wanting what He says we need, rather than what we think we need. So, one response to this truth is to pray, “Lord, if this is what I need (and You say it is, in Your word), make me want it. Make me want faithful preaching of the word.”

Doesn't this passage say to us that we need to be praying for our preachers? That we need to be praying for their faithfulness? 

Derek and I had the great privilege in the last few days to interview John MacArthur on the radio for First Things. During that interview, we asked some things about how he came to faith in Christ, and how he felt a call to the ministry, and what he did in the early days of his preparation for the ministry, and he told us a very interesting story. Some of you may have heard it before. When he was in seminary, he was mentored by, and he had a great admiration for, a professor names Charles Feinberg–a brilliant man who spoke 30 languages, was consecrated and devoted to the gospel ministry, and who taught seminary in the place where John MacArthur was studying. And John MacArthur wanted to emulate him. He admired him. He was greatly taught by him and encouraged by him, and he preached his first sermon in the seminary chapel with this dear man sitting right behind him. And he so wanted to please this man that he loved and admired so much...but after that sermon, John MacArthur said he turned from the pulpit and he went to sit back down and Dr. Feinberg was there; and he said his face was ashen, and he was almost in tears. And he said, “John, you completely missed the point of that text of Scripture!” And he was almost ready to cry, and John was, as you can imagine, heartbroken at this word of rebuke and this expression of disappointment from his mentor and professor. And so the man left the room and went running back across the campus to his own office, and John followed him right there, and he sat down in his office, and he said that by the time Dr. Feinberg got to his office he wasn't sad anymore, he was mad! And he said, “John, don't you ever do that to Scripture again! Don't you ever get up and preach something that Scripture is not saying! Don't you ever get up and completely miss the point of what God's word says. You preach what God's word says!” Well, John MacArthur has never forgotten it. Forty-something years later, that image is still emblazoned on his mind, and if you've ever heard him speak about preaching, he’ll very frequently refer to that formative moment. It shook him with the realization of how significant a thing it was that he was called to do. He was called to preach God's word, and God's word is not something to be monkeyed with. He sensed its solemnity. It impressed him. He told us that every time he gets ready to preach, he pulls his Bible out, the last thing. He reads the passage to his wife, and he says, “Now, Honey, this is my main point. Do you think that's the main point of the passage?” And she says, “Yes.” John says, “Good. Just wanted to check.” And he goes off to church to preach. He still remembers it all those years later. The solemnity of what he was called to do was impressed upon him when he disappointed a dear and godly man who was his mentor.

Words spoken on a deathbed are important. People about to die do not waste words but generally get right to the point. Paul says in 2 Ti 4:6 

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure (Pulling up a tent and moving on, loosening the ropes that moored the vessel to the dock)  has come.

Passing the Baton - 2 Timothy 2:1-2 

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men (and women) who will be able to teach others also.

In practicing for a relay race, runners practice diligently make sure they handoff of the baton without juggling it or even worse dropping it, because a drop equals a disqualification! Paul is handing off the baton to Timothy in the Gospel race. 

J. I. Packer (A Quest for Godliness) wrote,

“We shall never perform a more important task than preaching. If we are not willing to give time to sermon preparation, we are not fit to preach, and have no business in the ministry at all.”

Packer goes on to add that “the well-being of the church today depends in large measure on a revival of preaching in the Puritan vein” explaining that "to the Puritan, faithful preaching was the basic ingredient in faithful pastoring.”

In other words, you can do everything else correct as a pastor but if you fail to preach the living and active Word, you will fail as a pastor and you will not hear "Well done, My good and faithful servant" from Jesus. 

"the preaching of the Word is the power-source of the church....we do not succeed in preaching the Word of God as plainly, pungently, and powerfully as we would like to do." 

Please note the following points about this definition. First, it is theological: it conceptualizes preaching in terms not of human performance but of divine communication. Also, it is prophetic: it views God as speaking his own message via a messenger whose sole aim is to receive and relay what God gives. Furthermore, it is incarnational: for it envisages God embodying his communication in the person of the messenger who both delivers it and, in delivering it, models response to it. Phillips Brooks’ famous delineation of preaching as truth through personality points to the way in which personal attitudes to God and man come through in the course of declaring God’s message, and the demeanor of preachers in their messenger-role as bearers of God’s truth and wisdom to people whom God loves will always, for better or for worse, become part of their message and affect the impact that they make. Jesus himself, God’s incarnate Son, is of course the paradigm case here. Finally, this normative definition of preaching has a critical function to fulfill; for it obliges us to test pulpit utterances, and to say of any that was not Bible-based, Christ-related, and life-impacting, in a sufficient sense, that, whatever else it was, it was not preaching in the full and proper meaning of that word. (Ashland Theological Journal - Vol 22, page 43).

Packer on listening - Many moderns have never been taught to expect sermons to matter much, and so their habit at sermon time is to relax, settle back and wait to see if anything the preacher says will catch their interest. Most of today’s congregations and preachers seem to be at one in neither asking nor anticipating that God will come to meet his people in the preaching; so it is no wonder if this fails to happen......It is now assumed that those who sit under the preaching are observers, measuring the preacher’s performance, rather than participants waiting for the Word of God. Many in our congregations do not know that there is any other way of listening to sermons than this way of detached passivity, and no one should be surprised to find that those who cultivate such passivity often dismiss preaching as an uneventful bore. Those who seek little find little.

Packer - We need the unction of the Holy Spirit for the act of preaching itself....Finally, we need grace to be spontaneous when we preach: by which I mean, easy and free-flowing in appropriate expression. This, too, is a gift from God—it is in fact an aspect of the parrhasia that the Spirit bestows—but it does not come without hard work in preparation: preparation not just of the message but also, and even primarily, of the messenger.

Matthew 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 

Phillip to the Ethiopian Eunuch - Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. (Acts 8:35)

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the LORD, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' 17  "And I set watchmen over you, saying, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But they said, 'We will not listen.' 18:15  'For My people have forgotten Me, They burn incense to worthless gods And they have stumbled from their ways, From the ancient paths, To walk in bypaths, Not on a highway,

1 Thes 2:13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

Packer - Imprecision, confusion, and muddle in presentation, so that the message and its application cannot be clearly grasped, has the same effect.....James Denney said somewhere that you cannot convey the impression both that you are a great preacher and that Jesus Christ is a great Savior; he might have added: or that the Lord is a great God. God-projection and Christ-projection rather than self-projection is the way to communicate and engender in one’s hearers a sense of divine authority in one’s preaching. Self-reliance in the act of preaching is a further hindrance to true authority in preaching, just as self-projection is. It too has the effect of inducing the hearers to attend to the messenger rather than the message—in other words, to man rather than to God—and authentic authority is eliminated when that happens.

Packer - Finally, we need grace to be spontaneous when we preach: by which I mean, easy and free-flowing in appropriate expression. This, too, is a gift from God—it is in fact an aspect of the parrhasia that the Spirit bestows—but it does not come without hard work in preparation: preparation not just of the message but also, and even primarily, of the messenger. -- W. H. Griffith Thomas “Think your self empty; read yourself full; write yourself clear; pray yourself keen; then into the pulpit—and let yourself go!” 

Context - A COUPLE OF POINTS ARE IMPORTANT REGARDING PREACHING TODAY

2 Ti 3:1-5 - Paul is describing the problem in culture here -- in 2 Ti 4 he gives the solution to the problem...

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (IN OUR CITY OVER 50% OF THE POPULATION HAS NO CHURCH - LOVERS OF PLEASURE RATHER THAN LOVERS OF GOD).  5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

Focus is on self - They had a form of godliness, but they were denying its power (3:5). They professed to be “Christian,” but their behavior did not indicate changed lives.

They were religious but not regenerate. 

Pastor friend of mind writes "I often get emails from people in other cities telling me that they can’t find a church that preaches God’s Word." 

2 Ti 3:12  Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (HOW TO LIVE GODLY? IN CHRIST JESUS - ENABLED BY HIS SPIRIT TO LIVE SUPERNATURALLY NOT NATURALLY! AND THE MORE YOU LOOK LIKE JESUS, THE MORE YOU WILL BE PERSECUTED FOR HIS NAME!) 

I will begin by reading the Word of God. It is God's inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative, all sufficient, unchangeable WORD! Listen carefully to what God is saying to our hearts and minds, so that we might obey what we hear. 

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you (YOU CAN SEE PAUL POINTING A FINGER EVEN THOUGH PAUL IS IN PRISON), be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 

Phillips -  “I urge you, Timothy, as we live in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus (whose coming in power will judge the living and the dead), to preach the Word of God. Never lose your sense of urgency, in season or out of season. Prove, correct, and encourage, using the utmost patience in your teaching.” 

Wuest -  I solemnly charge you as one who is living in the presence of our God, even Christ Jesus, the One who is on the point of judging the living and the dead, I solemnly charge you as not only living in His presence, but also by His appearing and His kingdom;

make a public proclamation of the Word with such formality, gravity, and authority as must be heeded.

Hold yourself in readiness for this proclamation when opportunity presents itself and when it does not;

reprove so as to bring forth conviction and confession of guilt;

rebuke sharply, severely, and with a suggestion of impending penalty.

Pleadingly exhort,

doing all this with that utmost self-restraint which does not hastily retaliate a wrong, and accompany this exhortation with the most painstaking instruction;

for the time will come when they will not endure our wholesome doctrine in that they will hold themselves firmly against it, but, dominated by their own personal cravings, they, having ears that desire merely to be gratified, shall gather to themselves an accumulation of teachers. In fact, from the truth they shall also avert the ear, and [as a result] they shall receive a moral twist which will cause them to believe that which is fictitious.

But as for you, you be constantly in a sober mood, calm, collected, wakeful, alert in all things. Endure hardships. Let your work [as a pastor] be evangelistic in character. Your work of ministering fully perform in every detail, for, as for myself, my life’s blood is already being poured out as a libation, and the strategic time of my departure is already present. The

Packer speaking to preachers in Scotland said that "Christian preaching is the event of God bringing to a congregation a Bible-based, Christ-related life-impacting message of instruction and direction from Himself through the words of a spokesman....we believe that when the Word of God is truly preached the voice of God is truly heard, for it is God Himself bringing a message through His Word via the lips of mere mortal. Therefore any preoccupation with the speaker is ultimately unhelpful both to the speaker and to the listeners. Not that we denigrate the existence of human gift for surely God could have spoken in other ways but chosen to take up human instrumentality, nevertheless it is to God alone we look both to hear from Him and to give Him glory for what He has conveyed." 

John Stott writes that “to preach is to open up the inspired text with such faithfulness and sensitivity that God’s voice is heard and God’s people obey Him.

We need to attend Sunday with expectation that God's voice is about to be heard. 

Packer goes on "so instead of heading to worship with an expectation of an encounter with God

The Final Charge - 

  • The Preacher's Call v1
  • The Preacher's Manual v2
  • The Preacher's Response v3-4
  • The Preacher's Responsibility v5

At the turn of the 19th century Sangster said "Preaching is in the shadows. The church does not believe in it." 

If you think that 2 Timothy 4 is just for the pastor and you get a pass, you are wrong - Paul’s words are not only a solemn charge to pastors, but are also a solemn charge to all believers to listen to biblical preaching with open ears and hearts that seek to obey in the power the Spirit provides. 

James 1:22  prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

To hear and not to obey is self-deception. It is so easy to think "Well, I just heard a good sermon and I'm good for the week." And then you go out and fail to obey something in the sermon. That is called delusion. Self-deception - and as I have told my kids many times if you are deceived, by definition you don't every know it! That's the working definition of deception. 

In the spiritual realm, the opposite of ignorance is not knowledge but obedience.

Timothy's COURSE TO FINISH (4:1-8).

  • Priority of Preaching - 
  • Problem with the Hearing - 
  • Perseverance in Preaching

ONE TITLE OF 2 Timothy 4:1-5 - "Nine Words" -

These are not just any words but (1) they are last words of a man knowing he will soon stand before His Lord (Last words are always lasting words - last words give insight into a man's) and (2) they represent 9 commands. There are nine imperatives in 2 Ti 4:1-5. Nine commands. God's commandments always include His enablements. Timothy (nor you nor I) can successfully keep any of these 9 commandments relying on our natural strength. We need a supernatural Source, the very One Jesus promised in Acts 1:8 when He said " you will receive power (inherent ability to accomplish supernaturally what you cannot accomplish naturally) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you."

How does Paul know these are his last words? Because he says so explaining to Timothy "I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come." (2 Ti 4:6)

I solemnly charge you

Paul calls the witnesses - God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ  (his full title emphasizes the solemn nature - not just "gentle Jesus" but the Master, the Lord)

Cole - I don’t know how he could have said it any more emphatically! It’s as if he grabbed Timothy by his shirt, pulled him to within six inches of his face, and shouted like a drill instructor, “Preach the Word!”

solemnly charge (1 Tim. 5:21; 2 Tim. 2:14) had a legal nuance, of taking an oath in a court of law. Paul is calling Timothy in front of God’s judicial bench and charging him under oath with the serious task of proclaiming God’s Word to those who also will someday stand in front of that bench for judgment by Christ Jesus

Shepherds will be accountable to the Chief Shepherd, the  Good Shepherd, Christ Jesus.

Piper - "No pastor lives us to what he preaches. If he does, he is preaching too low."

Robert Murray McCheyne, the faithful Scottish pastor, "The greatest need of my people is my personal holiness."

John Owen  "A minister may fill his pews, his communion, roll, the mouths of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and no more."

In the presence of God - literally meaning in the face of, in front of, before or in the presence (sight) of. (2 Chr 16:9) 

What difference would it make in all of our daily lives if we really believed EVERYTHING we did 24/7 was done in the face of God? 

Let me add an encouragement to motivate you -

2 Chr 16:9  “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.” 

Pr 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.

What difference would it make in all daily lives if we really believed we might see Him face to face. 

Coram Deo is a Latin phrase translated "in the presence of God

Presence of God - occurs 9x in 8v in all of Scripture. Three are in Paul's 2 letters to Timothy. 

Preach as if you have an audience of one - always seek to please God, not men. 

2 Ti 2:15 Be diligent (command) to present yourself (TIMOTHY) approved (tested and passing the test) to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (WHAT A GREAT NAME FOR GOD'S WORD - TRUTH CORRECTS ERROR, TRUTH RENEWS OUR MIND WHICH IS BEING BOMBARDED WITH LIES ON TELEVISION, YOUTUBE, ETC. I NEED MY MIND RENEWED DAILY!)

Specifically Paul does not say preach in a way that pleases me, but God. 

MacArthur  "The phrase in the presence of parallels a common format used in Roman courts and legal documents and would have been familiar to Timothy and others of that day. A typical summons might have begun: “The case will be drawn up against you in the court at Hierapolis, in the presence of the honorable judge Festus, chief magistrate.”

It is as if Paul is summoning his young protégé into the very presence of God the Father and the glorified Son of God to receive this solemn charge. Face to face with the Holy One of Israel!

All service should be carried out with the realization that it is watched by God’s all-seeing eye. It would do us all good to occasionally reflect on the fact that one day we will face God and our works will be judged (even the motives of those works! 1Co 4:5 = Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. 

And of Christ Jesus Who is to judge the living and the dead and by His appearance and His kingdom. 

G Campbell Morgan "I never begin my work in the morning without thinking that perhaps He may interrupt my work and begin His own. I am not looking for death, I am looking for Him." Little wonder that Morgan was so mightily used by God in His Kingdom work!

We live in the shadow of Christ's return and our lives should be governed by this spirit of expectancy. The man who is gripped by this perspective finds it difficult to squander his precious hours on earthly trinkets while millions of eternal souls still lie in the balance.  

Robert Moffatt put it well when he wrote, "We have all eternity to celebrate our victories but one short hour before sunset in which to win them."

Like Christ, we must see the eternal value of the present hour for doing the work of God: "I must work the works of Him Who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work." in. 9:4.

Of Christ Jesus - 2 Ti 4:1

  1. Christ will judge
  2. Christ will appear
  3. Christ will set up His kingdom

Who is to judge the living and the dead

IS means more literally is about to come to judge. Speaks of imminency and urgency. 

All men are walking towards an appointment with the living God.  An encounter which will determine their eternal destiny.  Since all are treading this path towards judgment, they must be told where they are headed and how they can prepare for it. 

No man will miss his appointment with the King of kings and Lord of lords

Some think - at "His appearing" that "the living" will be judged (Matt. 25:31-46) whereas "the dead" will be judged at the end of His millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:11-15).

Everyone under the sound of my voice has one of two immutable, unchangeable, fixed, set appointments on their "Day timer" - every person ever born will either appear at the Great White Throne or the Judgment seat of Christ, the Bema Seat of Christ

2 Cor 5:9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

2 Cor 5:10 For we must ALL (TIMOTHY, PAUL, MYSELF, YOU) appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed, (COMPENSATED, REPAID, REIMBURSED, REWARDED) for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (NOT SIN OR EVIL BUT WORTHLESS = OF NO ETERNAL VALUE). 

PAUL PHRASES IT SLIGHT DIFFERENT IN ROMANS 14

Romans 14:10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”  14:12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. 

2 Cor 4:17  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18  while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. (RECOMPENSED, PAID BACK). 

Adoniram Judson - A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity. The same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever. Each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny. How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness?! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly marked. 

And by His appearing - 

refers to His Second Coming.  I Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:8. 

Future looking facilitates Godward living

What you are looking for will (should) radically impact what (Who) you are living for! 

If we are looking for Him, we are far more likely to make choices during the day that demonstrate our heart's desire is to live for Him, for the eternal rather than the temporal. 

Revelation 22:20  “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

1 in 30 NT verse refer to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is coming again either at the Rapture (which could be anytime) and at the end of this age when he returns as King of kings and Lord of lords and defeats all of His enemies - guess who comes with Him (ALL WHO HAVE BELIEVED ON HIM WILL BE RIDING WHITE HORSES BEHIND HIM! Rev 19:11-16 ( 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.)

Timothy, the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is IMMINENT - simply means it is ready to take place at any time which practically means we need to be ready all the time! 

IMMINENT - an old definition is OVERHANGING. Think of a rock on a cliff that is hanging over your head. 

James 5:9 "the Judge is standing right at the door."

Appear meant more to Timothy than to us - He understood that this word was used to describe a Roman Emperor visiting a province -- they would make sure before his visit that every thing was in order and all the garbage was picked up! So Timothy preach in light of Christ's imminent appearing. Preach so your sheep will seek to "re Premove the garbage" our of their lives and be ready for the King's appearance.

Joe Stowell - Dirty Windows -  A friend of mine, Bud Wood, founded Shepherds Home in Wisconsin for boys and girls with developmental disabilities. The original ministry opened its doors in 1964 to 36 children, providing them a loving residential environment and a school that would focus on their unique needs, helping them to reach their potential. Most importantly, this ministry started with a primary goal of sharing God’s love with the residents and encouraging them toward a personal and growing walk with Jesus. Many of those original residents, now adults, still reside at Shepherds. The home, now known as Shepherds Ministries, has grown to include vocational training and a variety of other ministries all clustered around that central passion for delivering and living out the gospel. I remember Bud asking me one time, “Hey, Joe, do you know what our biggest maintenance problem at Shepherds is?” “I have no idea,” I replied. “Dirty windows. Our kids press their hands and faces against the windows because they’re looking to the sky to see if today might be the day that Jesus will return for them and take them to His home where they will be healed and complete.” I love that! Talk about having your priorities in the right place. One of the hallmarks of a committed follower of Jesus is a longing for His return.

THOUGHT - O for dirty windows that might motivate pure lives!

and His kingdom

Rev 19:11ff refers to his return as King of kings, Rev 20 to his establishment of His 1000 year Kingdom on earth, when every blood bought, heaven bound believer in Jesus Christ will actually rule with King Jesus for 1000 years. What a day it will be! This should motivate us all as if it could be tomorrow BECAUSE it could be TODAY! 

2 Ti 4:2 Preach the word! 

Preach (aorist imperative = like a general to his captain - Do this now! It is urgent! Don't delay!) They have the force of “make this your top priority.

The Westminster Directory (1645) states that “the true idea of [expository] preaching is that the preacher should become a mouthpiece for his text, opening it up and applying it as a word from God to his hearers … in order that the text may speak … and be heard, making each point from his text in such a manner ‘that [his audience] may discern [the voice of God].’ ”

Kerusso - “to cry out loudly and clearly.” In Greek usage outside of the NT, it is used of the activity of a herald making an announcement or declaration. The herald was the king’s messenger who relayed the king’s message to the people. He wasn’t free to make up his own stuff. He wasn’t a politician or diplomat or a spin doctor. His job was to proclaim faithfully the king’s message so that the people understood it. Even so, the preacher’s message should come out of the text and be governed by the text.

We do not need a pulpit
From which to speak God's Word;
It only takes our willingness
To share what we have heard.
-Sper
Jesus said, "Go into all the world" (Mk. 16:15). The world begins where your front yard ends. Although you may never stand before a public pulpit to preach, it is a fact that your life is your most important pulpit. What you say and do in your life reflects on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Preach the Word

He didn’t say, “If you love sheep or love feeding sheep …” “If you love ME, feed MY sheep.”  He didn’t say, “Peter, do you love sheep?” He didn’t say, “Peter, do you love to feed sheep?”  The question is not, do you love souls? The question is not, do you love soul winning? The question is, do you love the Lord Jesus Christ? That’s the question, for if you love the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s going to take care of feeding and shepherding the sheep God has given you. 

How do you obey this command (and all 9 commands in this section, not to mention the some 1500 commands in the NT)? There are only two choice - either you try or you die. The first is impossible. The second is Him-possible. Daily presenting yourself to God as a living and holy sacrifice, trusting solely in His enablement to obey His commandments. Mark it down, God's commandments always include His enablements. If you attempt to keep His supernatural commandments in your natural, fleshly power, you will fail, you will be frustrated and experience futility and worst of all you will come under legalism and will blunt the work of the grace of God in your life. God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven (including the grace in that kingdom). 

Preach like Peter did - Peter denied Christ when he relied on his natural power, but he declared Christ when he relied on the Spirit's supernatural power. The results were supernatural, not natural, so only God could be glorified and Christ exalted. It is the same with our preaching of Christ crucified. Here is the point  - you must be filled with, controlled by the Spirit of the Living God to proclaim with power the Living Word. I will say it again, you must have God's power from on High. You must not grieve the Spirit, quench the Spirit, resist the Spirit, but continually be filled with the Spirit, walking daily in the power of the Spirit for then and only then you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. The same applies to every saint in the sound of my voice.

In sum, God's man, preaching God's word, in God's Power provided by the Holy Spirit of Christ is an unstoppable force! Indeed may it be said of your preaching that this man has turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). When people look at your life, do they see the evidence of the transforming power of the Good News of Jesus Christ?  There’s an old poem that says:

You are writing a Gospel, a chapter each day,
By the deeds that you do, by the words that you say;
Men read what you write, whether faithless or true.
Say—what is the Gospel according to you?

The Word is profitable and preachable.

Prayer - The sheep's role! Col 1:9-12 was being prayed for me daily! Story of where is the power for your preaching - Spurgeon showed them the prayer room.

The Heating Plant -   Five young college students were spending a Sunday in London, so they went to hear the famed C H Spurgeon preach.  While waiting for the doors to open, the students were greeted by a man who asked, “Gentlemen, let me show you around. Would you like to see the heating plant of this church?” They were not particularly interested, for it was a hot day in July. But they didn’t want to offend the stranger, so they consented. The young men were taken down a stairway, a door was quietly opened, and their guide whispered, “This is our heating plant.” Surprised, the students saw 700 people bowed in prayer, seeking a blessing on the service that was soon to begin in the auditorium above. Softly closing the door, the gentleman then introduced himself. It was none other than Charles Haddon Spurgeon. —Our Daily Bread

The Word - Not a word, not about the word, but THE Word! Not pious platitudes, not entertaining stories, but THE WORD. Not sermonettes for Christianettes. But sermons that will give the saints "sound doctrine" (healthy teaching), giving milk to new born babies that by it they might grow in respect to salvation (that is they become mature disciples of Jesus), by giving them solid food which is for the mature who because of practice are able to discern good from evil. (Practice - obeying what they are taught, not by relying on their natural ability, but learning more and more to rely on the indwelling Holy Spirit, who gives us supernatural ability to obey -- note I am not saying let go and let God, as if we were passive, but more like I have come to say recently "Let God (His Spirit) and let's go!" God's sovereign power. My Spirit enabled response.

What is the aim of the Bible? The text tells us: in order that you might grow. Please note—it is not only that you may know. Certainly you can’t grow without knowing. But you can know and not grow. The Bible was written not to satisfy your curiosity but to help you conform to Christ’s image. Not to make you a smarter sinner but to make you like the Savior. Not to fill your head with a collection of biblical facts but to transform your life.

Don't fall into the trap that happens to so many Christians who are UNDER the Word of God, but not in it for ourselves. The preacher's job is the feed and guide the flock, not fleece and gouge the flock. Good preaching of the word should stimulate a desire to be in the Book and the Book in you during the week. 


ONE VERSE SAVED SPURGEON - An unknown substitute lay preacher stepped into the pulpit and read his text—Isaiah 45:22—“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Spurgeon’s Autobiography records his reaction: “He had not much to say, thank God, for that compelled him to keep on repeating his text, and there was nothing needed—by me, at any rate except his text. Then, stopping, he pointed to where I was sitting under the gallery, and he said, ‘That young man there looks very miserable’ … and he shouted, as I think only a Primitive Methodist can, ‘Look! Look, young man! Look now!’ … Then I had this vision—not a vision to my eyes, but to my heart. I saw what a Savior Christ was.… Now I can never tell you how it was, but I no sooner saw whom I was to believe than I also understood what it was to believe, and I did believe in one moment.

LET ME SUM UP SPURGEON'S PREACHING METHOD - “I take my text and make a bee-line to the cross” 

Susannah Spurgeon often helped her husband in his sermon preparation. She read Scripture to him aloud while he outlined the main divisions. On April 14, 1856, she helped him more than usual when her husband forgot to prepare his sermon. The night before, Susannah heard Charles preaching a sermon in his sleep on Psalm 110:8. She scribbled down his words and presented them to him on the next morning – and Charles preached from her notes (see “A Willing People and an Immutable Leader,” NPSP 2, Sermon 74).

Preacher, first preach the Gospel to yourself!

And so which Word? Context is king in accurate interpretation (most cults are started by taking texts out of context) and this immediate context is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The word of God is supremely profitable (3:16,17), therefore it is the word of God which should be supremely preached.

He is to be the vocal cords of God, sounding forth His eternal word to the men and women of his day. 

Let me quote one of my favorite teachers Dr Howard Hendricks who said "Shortly after I became a Christian, someone wrote in the flyleaf of my Bible these words: “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” That was true then, and it’s still true today. Dusty Bibles always lead to dirty lives. In fact, you are either in the Word and the Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ, or you are in the world and the world is squeezing you into its mold." Every preacher should write this on the flyleaf of the Bibles of their flock! It is a good and constant reminder of my desperate need for daily food provided only by the Bible.

Arp on the Word - It is still the power of God for salvation and sanctification (1 Cor 1:18). Therefore we must not preach around it or about it but according to it. It remains sufficient.72 What God has told us in Scripture is enough for us, and we must be content with it. Therefore we must not add to it. Since God is holy and man is sinful, we must preach what God wants man to hear and not what man wants to hear. God knows man’s needs and has addressed them in the Scriptures. Therefore we must preach what God wants man to know and not what man thinks he needs. Paul’s solution for Timothy’s situation is appropriate for our situation. His charge to him is his charge to us. The message is the same: We are living in problem times and we must preach the W

The Word - cf 2 Ti 3:16-17 - Scripture is profitable for teaching (what is right), for reproof (what is not right), for correction (how to get right), and for training in righteousness (how to stay right).

God's promise - Isa 55:10-11 it will not return void

Story of Spurgeon testing an auditorium - Jn 1:29  Spurgeon was once testing an auditorium in which he was to speak that evening.  He stepped into the pulpit and loudly proclaimed, "Behold the lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world." Satisfied with the acoustics, he left and went his way. Unknown to him, there were two men working up in the rafters of that large auditorium, neither one of them Christians.  One of the men was pricked in his conscience by the verse Spurgeon quoted and became a believer later that day! Such is the penetrating power of God's eternal word! No wonder it is incumbent upon us to "preach the word."

A dying woman testified that she was saved by reading a piece of wrapping paper in a package from Australia. The crumpled pages contained a sermon by British pastor Charles H. Spurgeon. The sermon, first preached in England, printed in America, shipped to Australia, and then sent back to England as wrapping paper, was the means of converting a precious soul in London where the sermon was first preached! That is the power of the Word!

Story of man who asked "When did you speak to my wife?" 

God says "Is not My Word like fire?".."like a hammer which shatters a rock?" (Jer 23:29), like a "two-edged sword" (Heb 4:12)

Whenever the word of God goes forth from our lips, we unleash upon the world an agent for change which the Spirit of God directs to its divinely appointed destination.  Often we do not see its destination in this life, but we can rest on the blessed assurance that, ". . . It shall not return to Me void.. .

 It follows, of course, that if preaching the Word is so important, then hearing the Word preached is also top priority, because a man does not preach to himself..

In the Bible, preaching (kērussō) is based on solid teachingPreaching brings us out of the world, but teaching brings the world out of us! ["Teaching" takes a lead place in the preaching and outreach of the Church – note the emphasis Christ has when re-commissioning Peter.] 

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love (agapao) Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love (phileo) You.” He *said to him, “Tend (bosko - present active imperative - feed = spiritually nourish by feeding people the Word of God) My lambs.” 16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love (phileo) Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love (phileo) You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd (poimaino = guard, guide - This Spirit-directed guidance (care) works in conjunction with feeding God's people (teaching them Scripture, 2 Ti 4:2-4)) My sheep.” 17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love (phileo) Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love (phileo) Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love (phileo) You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend (bosko - present active imperative - feed = spiritually nourish by feeding people the Word of God) My sheep. (John 21:15-17)

The image, changes from that of the fisherman to that of the shepherd. Peter was to minister both as an evangelist (catching the fish) and a pastor (shepherding the flock). It is unfortunate when we divorce these two because they should go together. 

He didn’t say, “If you love sheep or love feeding sheep …” “If you love ME, feed MY sheep.”  

He didn’t say, “Peter, do you love sheep?” He didn’t say, “Peter, do you love to feed sheep?”  The question is not, do you love souls? The question is not, do you love soul winning? The question is, do you love the Lord Jesus Christ? That’s the question. Mister, if you love the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s going to take care of the evangelism problem.

Now the soul winner’s compassion comes from a love for the Lord Jesus Christ, because of His love for us.

LOVE OF JESUS is to be your greatest motivation to feed His sheep! 

Both the lambs and the more mature sheep, need feeding and leading

Pastors are “under-shepherds” who must obey Him as they minister to the flock. Pastors then should help protect and perfect the flock.

Adrian Rogers - (John 21:16)  Now what drives me, what motivates me, is not my love for people; it is my love for Jesus. Yes, I love people, but the chief motivation of my life—the chief motivation of my life—is His love for me, and therefore His love through me. The great motivation for teaching that Sunday School class, for coaching that team, for helping these boys and girls in the orchestra, or in the choir, or in the hand bells, for being on the tree, for serving on the staff, is a love for Jesus Christ. It is the greatest motivation. That will move you—keep you going—more than anything else. Jesus said, “If [you] love me, [you will] keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The Apostle Paul said, “The love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). If you love the Lord Jesus Christ, then get Jesus Christ in you, and Jesus will love people through you.

But in the corner of our minds we know from experience that we will very likely again FALL SHORT OF His expectations, and Jesus knows that. Nevertheless, in spite of that likely possibility, Jesus still invites us to take a responsible role in His kingdom. “He tells us, ‘Come! Follow Me! Feed My sheep! Join Me in the work of My kingdom!’ How wonderful it is to experience the love, grace, and mercy of our Lord. He knows that we are but dust, yet He stretches forth His hand and invites us to come. There is work to be done. He then sends us out to share the message of salvation that our Savior is offering to others.16

What are the greatest song lyrics ever written? He didn’t hesitate. He said, beyond a shadow of a doubt, they were these words:

      Could we with ink the ocean fill,
      And were the skies of parchment made,
      Were every stalk on earth a quill,
      And every man a scribe by trade.
      To write the love of God above,
      Would drain the ocean dry.
      Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
      Though stretched from sky to sky.
(Frederick M. Lehman)

Some Cross references on Preach the Word - Why the Word? 

  • Moses - Deut 31:47 Deut 8:3
  • Job -Job 23:12
  • Jeremiah - Jer 3:15 Jer 15:16
  • Peter 1 Pe 2:2 

Be ready - How often? (next phrase)

“Be ready” implies a sense of urgency. Picture a paramedic unit on call, ready to save someone’s life. Souls are perishing without Christ. Christians are straying from the fold. As of a soldier ready to go into battle on a moment’s notice or a guard who stands continually on alert for threat of enemy infiltration or attack. In broadcasting terms the idea would be "Stand by -- You're on the Air."

KJV translates ephistemi as be instant which emphasizes the ideas of urgent, importunate (pressing or urging in request or demand) and persevering.

In season and out of season -

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.

So, why preach? Preach because of Christ’s coming judgment and kingdom. What to preach? Preach God’s Word. Third, C. When to preach it? Be ready to preach the Word at every opportunity.

Chrysostom breaks down this opening exhortation into two imperatives:take opportunities and make opportunities to preach the Word.

There was once a Church of England clergyman who was gloriously saved. When Jesus Christ transformed his life (See his Personal Testimony), he started preaching the Gospel to his whole parish, and they were all gloriously saved. Then Berridge began to preach the Gospel of salvation in neighboring parishes, and the clergymen of those parishes became offended! Remember that when Berridge was first appointed Vicar of Everton, he as not yet saved and doubtless might also have been offended by the Good News which first describes the (offensive) bad news. These offended clergy asked the bishop who had authority over the parishes to order Berridge to cease preaching the Gospel in their parishes. When the bishop confronted Berridge, the Bishop declared “I hear you are always preaching, you don’t seem to be doing anything else.” Berridge, who had been transformed by he Gospel he was now preaching boldly replied, “Well bishop, I only preach during two seasonsof the year.” The bishop said, “I’m glad to know that; what seasons are they?” He replied, “In season and out of season!”

Let us apply this to our lives - Often times we fall into a sort of "time clock" mentality in regards to serving Christ. For certain periods of the day we are "on the job" for the kingdom, but then at other times we mentally "punch out" for the day. Here we are being commanded to throw away our punch cards and be ready for any and every opportunity afforded us.

cf 1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

2 Ti 4:2  reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Preach the Word with application to life.

And Paul is saying to Timothy, ‘It's not enough to tell the people of God what's right; you also need to tell them what's wrong. They need to know the difference, and they need to learn how to discern the difference, and that means being both positive and negative in your proclamation.’

Reprove bring to the light (things hidden) - Take a glass filled with water with sediment in bottom - stir it up and then you can see the contamination. It means that even the godliest people in the world are like a clear glass of water with a sediment of sin hidden at the bottom of the glass. And when the glass is struck the sediment of sin is stirred up and exposed, and the water becomes cloudy. Preaching should "stir up the sediment" in all of our lives. 

With the implication that there is adequate proof of wrongdoing. properly, to convince by solid, compelling evidence which especially exposes what is wrong or right. Especially describes the work of the Holy Spirit producing conviction in the heart. The Holy Spirit produces inner conviction, i.e. convinces people about what: misses God's mark ("sin"); has His approval ("righteousness"); and the eternal consequences of this (for everlasting punishment or reward). We constantly need the Holy Spirit to convict us about what is right as well as what is wrong so we don't hate what is wrong . . . more than love what is right!

Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 

To expose, to convict, to reprove, to shame or disgrace and thus to rebuke another in such a way that they are compelled to see and to admit the error of their ways. To show someone that they have done something wrong and summon them to repent.

Biblical preaching should show people where their lives are not in line with God’s truth and help them to make the necessary corrections to obey that truth consistently.

Martin Luther once said “Always preach in such a way that if the people listening do not come to hate their sin, they will instead hate you.”

Stated another way your sermon should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable!

To do this, a preacher must make an appeal to the reason of the hearers: “Reprove.” This is a legal term that means to present your case in such a manner as to convince your opponent of his wrong. A preacher must present his case in a logically convincing manner 6 from the Word, so that his hearers are persuaded that what Scripture says is right even if their behavior is wrong. The Holy Spirit’s task is to reprove (convict) the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). He does this largely through Spirit-filled biblical preaching.

Rebuke

Second, a preacher must make an appeal to the conscience of the hearers: “Rebuke.” This moral aspect of preaching says, “You are sinning against God; you need to repent!” We tend not to like that sort of thing, but it is desperately needed in our day of watereddown, feel good Christianity. William Barclay rightly said (The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon [Westminster Press], rev. ed. p. 207): “Any teacher ... whose teaching tends to make men think less of sin is a menace to Christianity and to mankind.”

Exhort

Third, a preacher must make an appeal to the will and emotions of the hearers: “Exhort.” The word means strongly encouraging someone to right behavior. Some people need rebuke and some need encouragement. If you encourage those who need rebuking, you’re helping them to go on sinning. But if you rebuke those who need encouragement, you’ll discourage them. Someone has said, the preacher’s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. Only the Holy Spirit can take His Word and apply it individually to a congregation made up of all sorts of needs.

Duncan - You’re to admonish them. You’re to have a tender, fatherly affection and exhortation to the people of God in the things which are right, because we don't simply do the right things because we're told them. We need to be warned off the wrong things. We need to be encouraged in the right things. If you could simply announce what the right thing to do, and close the book and go home, well, that would be fine. But that's not how it works. We’re tugged by our hearts to do things which are wrong; we're conformed to the mindset of the world, and we need to be warned against those things.’ So, the Apostle Paul is exhorting Timothy to preach the word. 

And the first application is this: If Paul is telling Timothy what he must do for the people of God, to be a faithful minister, then you, as the people of God, must need what Paul tells Timothy he must do. In other words, if Paul is saying to Timothy, ‘Timothy, in order for you to be a faithful minister, you must preach the word,’ then it must mean that the people of God need to hear the word preached.

When we come to a passage in Scripture in which God is telling a preacher what he must do for the people of God, because we know that God loves His people and doesn't tell His servants to do anything that is not for His glory and the good of His people, then whatever it is that He's telling His servants to do, you and I must need. And so when we come to a passage like this, where Paul tells Timothy and all faithful preachers, “Preach the word,” then we ought to be praying something like this: ‘Lord, if you are telling a preacher what You want him to tell me, then You are also telling me what I need to hear. So, Lord, grant that I would listen to what I need to hear, and would not simply want ear-candy.’

Paul is telling Timothy what the people of God need. And if this is what the people of God need, then we need to be praying that God will cause our hearts to want to hear what we need. And of course, what Paul is telling Timothy here is to preach the word of God; to preach the message of God in the Holy Scriptures; to preach the scriptural message.

That's what we need in preaching: we need faithful, biblical teaching and preaching. We need what we call ‘expository’ preaching: that is, the preaching and the application are derived from the truth of the biblical passage that is being read and expounded. That's what we mean by ‘expository preaching.’

And I want to say: Expository preaching is harder to listen to than a lot of varieties of communication out there. There are a lot of people who think that preaching is some sort of a moral deliverance on some relevant subject, with pious advice and counsel. But Paul says that preaching is heralding the divinely authorized message of God to a sinful and needy world, and that the way to do that is to preach His word, to explain His word, to apply His word. And that kind of preaching is harder to listen to, because it requires hard thinking. You have to follow God's chain of logic.

But it also is harder because it gets into areas that you might rather not get into, because it sneaks into places in your life that you have been trying to keep God out of, and it convicts of sin, and it raises your need before your eyes, and it points you to your Savior. And those things can be very painful processes, and yet, Paul says, ‘Timothy, preach the word.’ That's why we're committed to expository preaching. Now, our goal is not for preaching to be boring! That's not our goal at all! John Reed Miller, the pastor of this church for many years, used to take me out to lunch every couple of weeks, and he’d say, “Now, Ligon, it's not a sin to be interesting, is it?” And it's certainly not! That's not our goal (to be interesting), but it's also not our goal to give you simply what you think you need; it is our goal to give you what you need.

Very often when you’re preaching the word, people will say things to you like this: “You know, your problem, pastor, is you’re answering all sorts of questions that nobody is asking.” And that may well be true. And some of that may be the pastor's fault. But you know what? If you’re preaching this Book, whether people are asking the questions that this Book asks and answers or not, these are the questions and answers that need to be answered. These are the answers that need to be had. And when you’re preaching God's word, you are giving people answers to the real questions, the right questions. And so we are committed to preaching the word.

So, as congregants, as people who sit under the ministry of the word, one response to this exhortation to Timothy is to know what you need. And what you need is the word of God. You know, there are all sorts of churches in this city where, once upon a time, you could have heard the word of God preached, and you can't hear it preached there any more. You can hear a fine, moral sermonette, or you can find some happy deliverance about this or that or the other, but there's a famine of the word of God there. We need the word. That's the first application for us out of this passage.

But there's a second one, as well, and that has to do with wanting what we need in preaching. We live in a society that doesn't like hard thinking, and it certainly doesn't like self-examination in the sphere of sin. But when we come to a passage and see God saying to a preacher, “Preach the word,” then we need to pray, “Lord, if that's what I need (and You say it is, in the word), then make me want it. Cultivate in me a desire for what I need, not for what I think I need. Cultivate in me a desire for what I really need, not for what I superficially want. Lord, make me long to sit under the ministry of Your word.”

I've thought for many years of writing a book called “How to Listen to a Bad Sermon”, mainly because I preach so many of them. And this would be one of the points: that we come to worship the living God so longing for His word, that His word sets the agenda for what we need, rather than whims of this world for the unsanctified desires of our hearts; that we’d come wanting what He says we need, rather than what we think we need. So, one response to this truth is to pray, “Lord, if this is what I need (and You say it is, in Your word), make me want it. Make me want faithful preaching of the word.”

Doesn't this passage say to us that we need to be praying for our preachers? That we need to be praying for their faithfulness? —because there are plenty of congregations out there with faithful preachers, who don't appreciate those faithful preachers. I am very glad to say that this is not one of them. You’re more appreciative than I deserve. But there are many faithful brothers, even in our own city, who are laboring faithfully and powerfully, and yet, their word is falling on many deaf ears. And the people of God aren't responding to it. You need to pray for those brothers to keep on being faithful. You need to be praying for those men to understand the truth of God before they stand up to explain it. It's hard work. Sometimes it's easy to mistake the point of a passage and to make the kind of error that John MacArthur admitted. You need to be praying for those ministers to explain with clarity the truth of God's word, and to bring it home to our hearts with faithful, searching application. Sometimes that's the hardest part of preparing a message: applying it faithfully and biblically to believers. Pray. Pray for your ministers here at First Presbyterian Church, but pray for other gospel ministers, that they will be faithful; that they won't simply give the people what they want, but they will give them what they need. We need to be praying for faithful preachers. There's no greater curse than a famine of the word, and if you look around the evangelical world today, you can find plenty of sermons filled with jokes and stories, or practical lessons that are dis-attached from the truth of God; but you’re hearing less and less of the meat of the word of God, and there's no greater curse than a famine of the word. We need to be praying for faithful gospel ministers who will preach the word.

Great Patience = long suffering (makrothumia = long burn on his fuse).

Describes his attitude toward the sheep - manifesting a spirit which never grows irritated, never grows annoyed, never grows weary, never despairs, never retaliates. Only careful instruction will bring the response that will produce sound, healthy Christians. Paul combines the instruction with long-suffering. They go together. Neither is complete without the other.

People require time to change. They don’t always get it the first time around. So the preacher of the Word must say it over and over again from different biblical texts. Patience does not mean tolerating open sin, but rather, bearing with people’s weaknesses.

Instruction = didache = 

the preacher doesn’t just leave the people in their weakness; he gives them practical instruction so that they can grow in Christ.

Stuart Briscoe say that he asked a Sunday school class what they did with the commands in the Bible. A little old lady raised her hand and said, “I underline them in blue.” That’s nice, but not exactly the point! The commands of the Bible should be obeyed because God gave them to us for our good.

Summary - This is what Paul commands Timothy to do. He is living in difficult times (2 Ti 3:1ff). How should he minister in those difficult times? He must preach the Word. He must preach the Word at every opportunity. As he preaches it, he must convince, rebuke, and exhort his hearers. He must do this with long-suffering and instruction.

2 Timothy 4:3-4  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth (THE GOSPEL, ORTHODOX SOUND TEACHING - THE LAST THING THEY WANT IS VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION!) and will turn aside to myths.

For - explains why preaching the word is critical - Things will happen - 4 fold reason - (1) will not endure (PUT UP WITH) sound doctrine (ROLE OF ELDERS - Titus 1:9) (2) will heap up teachers (3) will turn ears from the truth (active voice) and (4) will be turned aside to myths (fables) (passive voice). When they actively turn from truth, they are now vulnerable and will be turned by the lie. 

(1) So the people will know how to recognize myths, exposing area, identifying falsehood. 

(2) We need to be careful to not fall into the trap of preaching to itching ears.

Summarize - They will find teachers who tell them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.

Duncan - He gives the context of his charge to Timothy. He gives a pastoral context for it that explains its urgency. ‘Timothy, you need to keep on preaching God's message. You need to keep on preaching the truth, because a time is coming when people will prefer myths to truth.’ Paul is giving the reason why it's so urgent for Timothy to be diligent in his work: “Because there's going to come a time, Timothy, when they won't listen...the task of preaching God's message from God's word is so urgent because of the imminent spiritual dangers to the flock of God. And again, my friends, we look around us today and we see those dangers everywhere: Worship services where the word of God is never, ever, read; worship services where the word of God may be read, and then the message has absolutely nothing to do with it; worship services which lead the people astray with false teaching; congregations where once the gospel was clearly proclaimed, where it's completely lost. The imminent spiritual dangers of which Paul warns Timothy are around us today everywhere to see, and therefore, my friends, this passage is not just a passage that's relevant to preachers. 

In the Pastoral Epistles Paul frequently mentions “sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1; “sound words” in 1 Tim. 6:3; 2 Tim. 1:13). “Sound” means healthy (we derive our word “hygienic” from it). Sound doctrine results in healthy Christian living. Note that Paul sets sound doctrine in contrast to what people like and thus it must be endured! Like healthy food, healthy doctrine isn’t always something we like, because it confronts our selfish desires, but in the long run it yields healthy Christianity. Why didn’t God make broccoli unhealthy and ice cream healthy?

Myths

myths—the religious ideas of men as opposed to God’s revelation in Scripture

they want to be liked, to give people the ice cream of popular worldly myths instead of the broccoli of God’s truth.

But don’t judge a man’s preaching by whether you like it or not. Rather, answer the question, “Does his preaching line up with what God’s Word says?” Does it come from the text?

2 Timothy 4:5 

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 

Why the "but" the contrast?  Perseverance in preaching the Word is required in view of inevitable opposition. When people won’t listen, the preacher must keep preaching the Word anyway.

Be sober (don't become intoxicated)

When people get intoxicated with the latest winds of false doctrine, you’re the designated driver. Keep your head about you and continue preaching the truth.

Endure hardship 

Harry Ironside (Timothy, Titus, & Philemon [Loizeaux Brothers], p. 236) said that he sometimes received letters from people (invariably people he didn’t know personally) who would say, “I resent your personal attack on me last Sunday. I don’t like your preaching; and I don’t think you had any right to expose me in the way you did. I don’t know who has been talking to you about me.” And invariably they closed by saying, “It’s not true.” Then he quoted someone who said, “If you throw a stone into a pack of dogs and one of them yelps, you know who got hit.”

Do the work of an evangelist

Don’t get sidetracked but keep preaching the gospel bc the gospel is how God saves sinners. And the gospel also strengthens the saints.

TELL PEOPLE TO BELIEVE IN JESUS FOR SALVATION.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Too often we think the Gospel is just for the lost, those who do not yet know Jesus. To the contrary, the Gospel is also for those who are already followers of Christ - In Romans the greatest exposition of the Gospel in the English language, Paul spends 1-3 showing us we need to be save, in Romans 4-5 how to be saved and in 6-8 showing the saved how to live the Christian life in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Paul's evangelistic approach - And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (1 Cor 2:1-4)

Fulfill your ministry - This summarizes everything else 

"Once you are there, be all there!"

Eccl 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going. 

Don't bail out when the seas become choppy. 

Keep on so that you will be able to also say (2 Ti 4:7)  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

 

 

 

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