Summary: The faithful teacher and preacher will pay attention to whatever undergirds the quality of his spiritual life. This sermon continues with part two of four sermons on 2 Timothy 4.
Marks of the Faithful Preacher, Part 2
The faithful teacher and preacher will pay attention to whatever undergirds the quality of his spiritual life. Although those qualities may never become public knowledge, they are under the watchful eye of God, who will evaluate all things. Paul ministered in light of that coming evaluation and wanted Timothy, his son in the faith, to do the same. We too are to manifest spiritual excellence before God and others. That comes by adhering to the marks of a faithful teacher.
I. THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE PREACHER’S COMMISSION (v. 1)
II. THE ESSENCE OF THE PREACHER’S COMMISSION (v. 2a)
"Preach the word." Although that command is brief, it states the essence of the teacher’s task.
When I was a young boy, I told my father that I believed God had called me to preach. He gave me a Bible and wrote these words inside it: "Dear Johnny, Preach the Word! 2 Timothy 4:2. "It was a simple statement, but it became the compelling charge of my heart. Ever since that day, his biblical advice has remained with me.
The Greek verb translated "preach" (kçrussô) means "to herald" or "proclaim publicly." Back in the days before radio and television an emperor made a public proclamation or announcement through a messenger. In its biblical sense kçrussô refers to one who publicly proclaims God’s Word. In saying he "was appointed a preacher" (1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11), the apostle Paul identified himself as a public herald of Scripture.
A. Timothy’s Character
Publicly proclaiming God’s Word isn’t an easy task. Perhaps that was especially true for Timothy. It seems he was timid and lacked Paul’s strength and courage. His young age apparently caused some believers to be suspicious of him (1 Tim. 4:12). Furthermore, Timothy might have felt inadequate in proclaiming Scripture for fear he would have to debate sophisticated false teachers and counter their well-developed polemic. Timothy knew that proclaiming God’s Word meant facing hostility and persecution. In those days opposition came from both the Jewish people, who as a whole were antagonistic to the gospel, as well as from the Romans, who held Paul prisoner.
B. Timothy’s Message
Timothy was to preach "the word" (2 Tim. 4:2): God’s Word. Timothy was also told to "retain the standard of sound words" he received from Paul (1:13). Paul also said, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth" (2:15).
Timothy was to guard the truth (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:14) as well as proclaim it. That two-fold responsibility is so basic, yet many preachers teach something other than God’s Word. In Romans 10 Paul carefully explains the importance of emphasizing Scripture: "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ’How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!’. . . So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (vv. 13-15, 17).
By applying human reason, logic, and wisdom, gifted orators can move audiences by the power of their persuasive speech. But no man can be a faithful preacher without preaching the Word.
Let me tell you why preaching the Word is the only way to preach.
1. It allows God to speak rather than man.
When we preach the Word of God, we aren’t preaching the word of man. Men can say things that are entertaining, interesting, informative, or even helpful. But it’s imperative that you and I allow God to speak through His Word. One way God gives voice to His Word is through the preacher.
2. It brings the preacher into direct contact with the mind of the Holy Spirit.
Since the Holy Spirit is the divine author of Scripture, digging deeply into the Word is like delving into the Holy Spirit’s mind. For that reason, studying Scripture is even more exhilarating to me than preaching. Interacting with the Holy Spirit’s reasoning, logic, and truth provides a tremendous time of communion with God. Expository preaching—a verse-by-verse explanation of Scripture—allows both the preacher and the listener to interact with the Holy Spirit’s thoughts.
3. It forces the preacher to proclaim all the revelation of God.
Expository preaching allows the preacher to declare "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27, KJV). He will preach passages that convict him as well as his hearers. That produces integrity in his ministry.
4. It promotes biblical literacy.