Summary: Why do so many show an initial interest in Christ and then turn away? How can we be more effective in giving the Gospel?
Fear of the Final Call
Purpose: To describe how many people will react to the gospel.
Aim: I want the listener to work at being more aggressive in giving the gospel to others.
INTRODUCTION: In my 22 years of ministry I have seen a lot of people who showed interest in spiritual things, but then later turned away from the truth about Christ. Why do they do that? What can we do about it? Paul is addressing the realities of the ministry to Timothy.
✔ Many show an interest in Christ, few will really follow Him.
1:1-2:13 I. How Should a Christian React to Stress?
2:14-26 II. How Should a Christian Relate to Fellow Believers?
3:1-17 III. How Can a Christian Reside in a Hostile Culture?
4:1-22 IV. How Can a Christian Remain Faithful to Christ?
Vs.1-5 A. Put First Things First
Vs.1 1. The seriousness of the commands “solemnly charge you”
Vs.2 2. The importance of the Word
a. Proclaim the Word only “preach the word”
b. Prepare to proclaim the Word “be ready”
c. Apply the Word to others “reprove, rebuke, exhort”
d. Apply the Word patiently “great patience and instruction”
Vs.3-4 3. The urgency of the commands
Last week we learned that God’s Word is the only tool we can use in order to see lives changed. It is a powerful weapon, but today we will see that it should be used vigorously.
George Sweeting, in his book “The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing,” tells of a man by the name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1968, Currier’s sentence was dismissed and a letter bearing the good news was sent but he never received it. John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that work farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told.
Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man.
Sweeting concluded that story by asking, “Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message – the most important in your life – and year after year the urgent message was never delivered?”
We who have heard the good news and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible to proclaim it to others still enslaved by sin. Are we doing all we can to make sure that people get the message? [Our Daily Bread, November 6, 1994.]
Here Paul is talking about a certain group of people. He says “they will not endure.” Who are these people? Look back at verse 13 of chapter 3. Paul says that there are those who are just evil – he described them in verses 2-4. Basically he is describing what we are all like apart from Christ. Then he said that there are also impostors and he describes them in verses 5- 9. We know that Paul is talking about about those who don’t know Christ because in a moment he will remind Timothy to do the “work of an evangelist.”
Only God can change a heart, but we need to be diligent in delivering the Gospel to others. 2 Timothy 2:24-25 24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, (NAU)
Vs.3a a. Some will listen to the truth “the time will come”
This phrase tells us that there is a time when unsaved people will listen to the truth. Paul knew what he was talking about, he had experienced this in his ministry.
Acts 17:19-21,32 19 And they took him [Paul] and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? 20 “For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.” 21 (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)32 ...some began to sneer” (NAU)
Acts 19:8-10 8 And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. (NAU) They listened closely for 3 months before they turned on Paul.