Summary: 2 Timothy 4:1-5. The necessity of preaching the word of God is seen in the ministry of Timothy.
PREACHING: ANTIQUATED OR MANDATED?
- Every Sunday morning, millions of people around the world gather together in buildings, huts, houses, or whatever else provides an acceptable meeting place, for the purpose of worshiping Jesus Christ, a man who claimed to be God, and because of this claim was crucified on a Roman cross. According to the accounts of his followers, three days after he was crucified he rose from the dead.
- So his followers, believing that faith in that death and resurrection for their sinfulness brings them eternal life; come together and, usually, sing together, pray together, give of their resources, and some time during their meeting sit down and listen to a person talk.
- For 20, 30, 45, or heaven forbid 60 minutes the church, this gathering of believers, listens to this person speak. We are quite familiar with this. Each week we gather together here, and everyone knows at some point I am going to come up to this podium and begin to talk.
- Now I want you to stop and think for a moment about why that is. What in the world would make someone want to sit and listen to one person talk for an extended period of time? And further, what on earth would cause someone to brave standing in front of an audience for that long?
- We call this phenomenon (and I’ll explain why I call it a phenomenon in a moment) preaching. We call the people who work at this craft preachers. We call the final product a message or a sermon. Now public speaking is by no means unique to the Christian church, but why is there such an emphasis among Christ followers on one man standing before a group delivering a message?
- What is this person, called a preacher, supposed to be doing? Is he free to talk about whatever he wants to talk about? Or does he have certain responsibilities? We could personalize it like this: why are you sitting there listening to me talk? And what am I supposed to be doing, now that I have your attention?
- Today I want to give biblical answers to those questions; and provide biblical justification for the act of preaching in a local church. I want to do this by looking at 2 Timothy 4:1-5. Turn there if you would. As you are finding your place I want to say that I am not saying these things because I feel I have to defend my occupation. If the Lord called me to some other work I would still have these convictions; because they come from the word of God.
Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5
- As we look to this passage of Scripture in order to understand why, after thousands of years, we continue to gather under the teaching of one individual, even at this very moment, I want to illuminate what these verses mean by answering three questions. The first is:
WHO IS THE “YOU”?
- In v.1 Paul, the author of this letter, writes: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus. Now before we get to what that charge is, I want to talk about to whom the charge was given. Who is Paul charging here?
- Now we might guess by the name of this epistle that the “you” to whom Paul is writing is a man named Timothy. I want to take a few moments to paint a portrait of who this young man was.
- We first read of Timothy in Scripture in Acts 16. Paul meets this young man and, in essence, recruits him to serve with him in ministry. There is not a lot of biographical information on Timothy; although we do know his mother and grandmother were followers of Christ, though his father was a Greek.
- From there Timothy is mentioned approximately two dozen times, always in close association with the Apostle Paul (with the possible exception of the book of Hebrews). And by the time he is receiving this letter from his father in the faith, he is the pastor-teacher in Ephesus. 1 Timothy 1:3 says: As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine.
- So Timothy was the pastor of a church. Accordingly then, much of our ecclesiastical instruction (that is, instruction regarding church practice) is found in the letters that Paul wrote to him. In 1 Timothy we find that an overseer or pastor should be a man, the husband of one wife, sober- minded, self-controlled, respectable, able to teach, and so on.
- And our passage in 2 Timothy is more instruction regarding what Timothy is to do as an overseer in the church, as the pastor of his flock. And every pastor standing in a pulpit today is a modern day counterpart to Timothy. And the Bible is clear concerning why these men do what they do.