Summary: For a truly solid, God-honoring ministry, integrity, comprehensive Biblical teaching, or accuracy in presenting the Gospel are not individually enough; we must have all three.
The Complete Package
1. Mel Blanc was one of my favorite comedians, the man of a million voices.
2 He did all the Looney Tune voices – Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, The Martian, Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester and Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck – and many others.
3. These words are written on his tombstone: “That’s All, Folks.”
4. Some people document the funny sayings found on tombstones across America.
• Uniontown, Pennsylvania: Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake – [He] Stepped on the gas instead of the brake.
• Silver City, NV: Here lays Butch, He was quick on the trigger, but slow on the draw.
• Ribbesford England: Anna Wallace - The children of Israel wanted bread & the Lord sent them manna, Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, And the Devil sent him Anna.
• From Albany, New York: Harry Edsel Smith – [He] Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down. It was.
• From Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada: A victim of fast women and slow horses.
6. When Paul the apostle was near death, some of the last words he penned were in
2 Timothy 4:7-8, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Main Idea: For a truly solid, God-honoring ministry, integrity, comprehensive Biblical teaching, or accuracy in presenting the Gospel are not individually enough; we must have all three.
I. Sincerity: the MESSENGER Matters (17-19)
A. The SETTING (17-18a)
Miletus was 30 miles away, but it was a winding path. Probably 3 days to send a messenger and return with the elders.
B. Paul’s example became a RUBRIC for future teachers (18b-19).
C. His LIFE honored God.
D. His character was not feigned, but GENUINE.
1. He was characterized by HUMILITY.
• A healthy satisfaction for what one has accomplished can be a good thing.
• 2 Corinthians 10:13 is an example: But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you.
• Dr. Leonard Sax, in Boys Adrift, talks about boys/men addicted to video games, “Secretly, these boys often believe that they are special...that they have a hidden destiny the will be revealed in time…they may not want other people to understand them… because they sense that [they]..will appear ...egocentric…”
• True humility recognizes both ones own strengths and weaknesses. A humble person can say “I am good at this, medium at that, and really bad at the other thing.” Humility is correlated directly to wisdom. Arrogance is correlated to foolishness.
2. His TEARS bore testimony to his deep concern.
3. His PERSEVERANCE amid opposition evidenced he was not a charlatan.
E. It is possible to be sincere, but sincerely WRONG, but Paul’s teachings aligned with pre-existing Scripture.
II. Quantity: DETAILED Truth Matters (20)
Quality cannot substitute for quantity, and vice versa; Whole Counsel of God
A. Paul’s teaching ministry was COMPREHENSIVE.
B. He believed the Word of God was PROFITABLE.
• He had the conviction that all Scripture was profitable.
• 2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
• He didn’t avoid difficult or controversial teachings (topical vs. expository)
C. He trained church leaders to focus upon EDIFICATION (building up in the faith).
III. Quality: Our RESPONSE to the Gospel Matters (21)
A. The Gospel message involved the ATONEMENT of Jesus and His Resurrection.
B. But what RESPONSE does God call for so that the benefits of the atonement are applied to us?
1. Repentance toward God, a decision to RETURN to obedience.
• The Greek word means a change of mind. But it is a translation of the Hebrew word, which means a return to God.
• Matthew 7:13-14, ““Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
• Acts 11:18b, And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
• Repentance means recognizing that you are a sinner, being unhappy about that, and wanting the Lord to help you live the right way. It is an intent, not a guarantee.