2 Timothy 4:1-5 Continue the Work: Preach the Word!

2 Timothy 4:1-5

Continue in the work: Preach the Word!

Paul instructed Timothy in 3:14 to continue in what he had learned and had firmly believed. So Paul encouraged Timothy that this learning had come from the Scriptures that are breathed out by God and profitable for equipping the man of God for every good work.

Now, Paul charges Timothy and the church at Ephesus to take that word and preach it since it’s that profitable.

So, let’s take a look at the passage.

 

We are charged by the Coming Judgment of Jesus, the Return of Jesus and Jesus’ Kingdom Rule v. 1

In view of the fact that he is facing the end of his life, Paul wants to express himself with the utmost solemnity. The charge is connected with three facts—the reality of the judgment of Christ, the certainty of his return and the establishment of his kingdom.[1]

Take note of the fact that Timothy, the Ephesians and all of us are “charged”. That is that we are given a duty and responsibility.

The charge is based on the unchanging fact of Jesus as the coming and reigning judge of all things.

Therefore, our duty and responsibility requires attention and execution. This is not something to play with. This is an eternal and vital task.

What follows is the duty and responsibility of every pastor especially and every follower of Jesus particularly.

This charge is the “why” to the “what”. The “what” is going to be to preach the word. Why?

  1. Jesus is going to judge the living and the dead

– Revelation 20:11-15

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

– Followers of Jesus are judged for reward

– Colossians 3:23-25

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.”

– 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

– Those who did not follow Jesus are judged and sentenced to hell

– Revelation 20:15

“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

  1. Jesus is coming in person to do this judging

– 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

  1. Jesus is Judge and King, so he rules with absolute authority and power…we better be telling folks.

Charged to be Ready to Preach the Word (command) v. 2 (see Romans 10:14)

  1. In season and out of season

(eukairos – convenient and akairos – not convenient)

This is when it’s convenient and when it’s not convenient. In other words, always be ready to preach!

– We must be saturated with the word

– We must be ready to communicate what we are saturated with

– We must practice telling what we have learned.

– This can happen in RL groups as we lean on each other to be gifted by the Spirit to share what we have been taught.

“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” – 1 Peter 3:15

  1. Reprove (command) – To convict (show one to be in the wrong and thus have to change)

– Pointing to the truth to show one to be in the wrong

  1. Rebuke (command) – To strongly warn with urgency and authority

– Perhaps the strong challenge to debatable decision-making

  1. Exhort (command) – To aid or comfort (same word used by Jesus to describe the ministry of the Holy Spirit)

– In exhorting we may be ministers of grace and tangible evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

  1. Preach with patience and teaching

Preaching is not teaching and teaching is not preaching, but when pastors preach they had better be teaching.

In other words preaching is the vehicle and the content is the substance of instruction.

Preaching is a passionate and urgent and content rich diet of truth that will nourish a soul.

 

                        – Preach patiently – realize that we are working against the grain and that the Kingdom works like yeast in dough and takes time. So don’t always expect instant results!

– Preach with content – don’t just be passionate, but passionately have something of value to convey.

– Busy yourself with knowing the truth and its application.

– Think hard on knowing your times and how to engage your            time in history.

Why Preach the Word? Many People Will Not Endure Sound Teaching v. 3-4

  1. They have itching ears

This is presented in the future tense, but only in the sense that it will be in the future of the completion of his letter. Paul had already encountered that junk and this is why he had to pen so many letters to correct the results of itching ears gathering soothing teachings.

– We never are to preach to satisfy the masses.

– We are to preach to exalt the King and his Kingdom that those with

itching ears may hear and be rescued from darkness.

  1. They accumulate teachers who tell them what they want to hear

Be wary of the popularity of “preachers” whose message contains on reproof or rebuke or biblical exhortation (like “suffer well for the kingdom”, “make disciples of the nations”).

  1. They turn from truth to myths

They prefer “myths” to “the truth” as some today turn away to “humanism,” “bolshevism,” “new thought” or any other fad that will give a new momentary thrill to their itching ears and morbid minds.[2]

Paul may have in mind the “myths” from the extra-biblical sources about Old Testament figures that he referred to in 1 Timothy. We may also have in mind any number of alternative metanarratives that stand opposed to the faith (naturalism, transcendentalism, unorthodox teachings about Jesus).

Charged to Fulfill the Ministry v. 5

  1. Be sober-minded
  1. Endure suffering
  1. Do the work of an evangelist

Worship!

Psalm 147:1

“Praise the Lord! It is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

[1] D. A. Carson et al., eds., New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1309.

[2] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), 2 Ti 4:4.

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2 Timothy 3:10-13 Personal Mentorship and Proper Expectations

2 Timothy 3:10-13

The first church sponsored global engagement trip recorded in Scripture is in Acts 13.

Paul and Barnabas are sent out from Antioch of Syria and they travel to Antioch (of Pisidia), Iconium and Lystra.

At Lystra there is a family and a young man named Timothy (Acts 16:1-5).

Whether Paul’s ministry is first hand in Timothy’s entrance into the kingdom or first hand in equipping Timothy for the work of shepherding is not super clear, but we know that Paul considers Timothy his son in the faith.

Also at Lystra, Paul is stoned and left for dead (READ: Acts 14:19-23).

So, Timothy, is for sure a first hand witness of the cost of following Jesus and he is also a first hand witness that even being stoned and drug out of the city being left for dead is not a death sentence because, in fact, the Lord is the author of life and death and he can over-ride human foolishness to physically rescue any he wants to.

Paul knows this and Timothy also knows it first hand as a witness of Paul’s life.

In the passage today Paul draws on that personal mentoring as an encouragement to Timothy to replicate that mentoring and also on how to set his expectations regarding kingdom work.

He will state that explicitly in verse 14 when he tells him to “…continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed…”

One of the constant challenges of reading and being instructed by the Manual is that it simply will not affirm the lies of the world system that are constantly bombarding our thinking.

For example we are taught that success equals numeric and financial growth.

There is nothing innately wrong with numeric and financial growth. I want both.

However, they are not necessarily marks of blessing.

The scriptures remind us that we are in an epic battle of the ages in which our King is taking back enemy held territory.

The King gives to some more than they can imagine and they are to fight the urge to hoard and are to distribute it freely to the mission.

The King gives to some the honor of suffering in like manner of the King himself and gives them riches in faith and endurance to walk through what the King himself walked through.

The King gives to some a measure of both of these.

Success equals faithful obedience to invest and use what he has given us to multiply his rule as best we can until he returns to take account.

When we read passages like 2 Timothy 3:10-13 we have a tendency to ignore them because they can feel like downers if we have bought the lie or they can become hobby horses to curse those whose life does not contain Pauline level suffering and demand everybody become a sour puss for Jesus.

Our lens for viewing this text properly will, in its proper setting, to be a model of personal mentorship and a sober and real expectation of work in the kingdom.

 

We have to note that there is no command in our text today.

Our text for today is the introduction to the command that is coming in verses 14-17.

What we do see is the model for personal mentorship and having a sober and real expectation when executing the command he is about to give.

So, let’s get ourselves prepared to receive the command.

A Model of Personal Mentorship:

Who Are You Influencing and What Is the Influence? v. 10-11a

“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra – which persecutions I endured;”

  1. Who are your people? Are you in covenant membership and therefore

covenant life together with people who share the same spiritual DNA?

  1. Men: Who are your men? How are your men?
  2. What are you teaching your people?
  3. What is your conduct in front of your people?
  4. What is your created purpose and how are you living it out in front of your

people?

  1. How do you live in faith in front of your people?
  2. Do you exercise Spirit filled patience to wait on the Lord for your people?
  3. Do you love your people?
  4. Are you steadfast? Can your people see your steadfastness?
  5. Do you suffer well when you suffer and are persecuted for the sake of the

kingdom?

  1. Do you people see you suffer well or do you hide it or are ashamed of it?

No doubt Timothy watched Paul’s stoning and him being drug out of the city and left for dead and he also saw the Lord raise him up.

Our living like this in front of and for each other is a grace from the Lord to each other. It accomplishes some amazing feats.

  1. It gives a model for living
  2. It gives a model for decision-making
  3. It gives a model for living on mission
  4. It gives a model for setting values
  5. It teaches how to love well
  6. It teaches how to hurt well

This kind of grace requires that we actually be together in covenant community!

  1. Are you in a RL group with people who you have signed to covenant with and are accountable to?

Sober and Real Expectations:

Misplaced expectations or unreal expectations have wrecked many people and many relationships.

Sober expectations are a steady ballast to a life that keeps us from wrecking ourselves in the storms that are sure to come.

The Lord did not leave us without clear expectations. It’s not a lack of clarity on the Lord’s part. It’s our failure to know the expectations he gave to us.

The Lord is faithful to his people v. 11b

“…yet from them all the Lord rescued me.”

Timothy has first-hand knowledge that the Lord can rescue from the most intense situations due to having witnessed Paul’s stoning and healing.

Timothy also has first-hand knowledge that the Lord may choose to rescue by releasing his servants from their broken physical existence by taking them to the intermediate state at the hands of evil people. He has this knowledge because Paul is about to tell him that he is being poured out like a drink offering and his departure time has come (4:6).

  1. Expect the Lord to rescue in every sense of the word.
  2. Rescue through deliverance from the circumstance.
  3. Rescue through allowing the circumstance to be what brings about

our departure.

Listen the Lord Jesus set our expectations for us:

“Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.” (Luke 21:10-19)

  1. Do expect rescue in one sense or both. The Lord never leaves his people.
  1. Expect no eternal harm to be done to you. You are too valuable to Jesus

who purchased you by his blood.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:26-31)

Expect Opposition, But Not Whimsical and Non-Providential Opposition v. 12

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”

  1. Expect opposition from the enemy and the enemy’s agents.
  2. The Christian life is a war not a vacation.
  1. Persecution will come in light or dark providences but take heart that

they are, in fact, providences not whims of chance.

God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes. (Grudem)

We must expect persecution, but we must interpret that persecution through the lens of Scripture.

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

“God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take: The clouds you so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace; Behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.

Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan his work in vain; God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain.” – William Cowper

William Cowper wrestled with deep and dark depression his whole life. One evening he hooked up his horse to his buggy and drove off into the London fog to drive into the Thames River to commit suicide and he got lost in the fog. He gave up and his horse found his way back to Cowper’s house. He determined the Lord had done that and he then penned the words to this hymn.

Expect Weeds to Keep Being Weeds v. 13

“…while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

Evil: in a moral / spiritual sense

Impostors: A conjurer, an enchanter. Plato mentions góēs in company with pharmakeús (5332) which word is akin to pharmacist or druggist, meaning an enchanter with drugs, and sophistḗs, a cunning cheat. In the NT, by implication góēs is a deceiver, an impostor (2 Tim. 3:13).[1]

  1. Weeds can’t produce the fruit of wheat

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” (Matthew 12:33-35)

  1. Expect weeds to pop up in the fellowship
  1. Expect to have to love weeds and prevent their spread

Weeds are not wolves. Weeds are the work of Satan. There may be wheat who have been influenced by weeds and need to be rescued by love and patience. There may be weeds who are just weeds and Satan’s planting and have to be dealt with accordingly.

Expect to Worship

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).