Summary: This sermon continues the "Marks of a Faithful Preacher" series by addressing the personal responsibilities and manner of a faithful pastor from 2 Timothy 4:3-5
Marks of the Faithful Preacher, Part 3
A. A Call to Spiritual Commitment
In 1 and 2 Timothy Paul gave a breadth of responsibility to Timothy. Timothy was to correct those who taught false doctrine. He was to call people to a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. He was to fight for divine truth and God’s purposes. He was to pray for the lost and lead those in the church to do the same. He was to call women to fulfill their God-given roles of submission and rearing godly children through faith, love, and holiness.
Timothy was to exercise care in selecting godly men for church leadership. He was to nourish believers continually through preaching God’s Word. He was to discipline himself in godliness so that others could follow his example. He was to read, explain, and apply the Scriptures publicly. He was to progress toward Christlikeness. He was to be gracious and gentle in confronting sin. He was to give special consideration and care to widows. He was to honor faithful pastors who work hard and not receive an accusation against any of them unless it was substantiated by two or three witnesses.
Timothy was to care for his health that he might have strength to minister. He was to flee the love of money, but pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. He was to fight for the faith in the midst of hostile opposition. He was to obey the Lord’s commandments and guard His Word as a sacred trust. He was to keep his spiritual gift fresh and useful and not be timid. He was not to be ashamed of Christ or those who serve Him. He was to reproduce himself in faithful men.
Timothy also was to expect and willingly accept suffering and persecution for the sake of Christ. He was to keep his eyes on Christ at all times. He was to exercise leadership with authority. He was to interpret and apply Scripture accurately. He was to avoid useless conversations. He was to be an instrument of honor by setting himself apart from sin. He was to flee sinful desires. And He wasn’t to be contentious, but teachable, gentle, and patient—even when wronged.
B. A Call to Spiritual Excellence
Giving Timothy such a breadth of responsibility was also a call to spiritual excellence. Paul never measured Timothy’s spiritual excellence by the size of a church or the amount of money it took in. Neither did he consider the world’s acceptance of him. That’s because Paul made a distinction between spiritual excellence and worldly success.
What honestly motivates you: worldly success or spiritual excellence? Pride is the source of success, but humility is the source of excellence. Excellence says, "I’m content to be the best I can be." Success says, "I’m not content until I’m better than you."
In 2 Timothy 4:1-5 Paul gives several requirements to help us live up to our God-given potential and achieve spiritual excellence.
I. THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE PREACHER’S COMMISSION (v. 1)
II. THE ESSENCE OF THE PREACHER’S COMMISSION (v. 2a)
III. THE SCOPE OF THE PREACHER’S COMMISSION (v. 2b-f)
IV. THE URGENCY OF THE PREACHER’S COMMISSION (vv. 3-4)
"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; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths."
A. The Unbeliever’s Intolerance of Truth (v. 3)
1. What he doesn’t want to hear
"The time will come" introduces a prediction similar to 1 Timothy 4:1: "The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons." Second Timothy 3:1 says, "In the last days difficult times will come." The Greek word used in all three incidents (kairos) refers to an epoch or season. Throughout church history there have been times when people didn’t want to hear God’s Word.
Christ spoke to His disciples about those who would reject the truth: "I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the courts, and scourge you in their synagogues; and you shall even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. And brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes" (Matt. 10:16-23).