Summary: God calls us all to present His Word and persevere in it.
4/2/01 10.45 a.m. 2 Timothy 4:1-5: "To boldly go"
4 1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
When Lyndon Johnson was elected President he asked Billy Graham, with whom he had been friends for years, what particular position he would like to have in his administration. Without a moment’s thought Billy said to him, "Sir, I believe that Jesus Christ has called me to preach his gospel. To me that is the highest calling any man could have on earth."
If we read the letters to Timothy we can find out that he was young, timid, and surrounded by false teachers and living in the immoral town of Ephesus. Again and again Paul encourages him in the ministry that God has given him.
We may feel like Timothy today. Small, inadequate, surrounded by people who have different beliefs, and living in a world that rejects the ways of God. But we should be encourage to carry out what God is calling us to do.
We will now look at this passage under three headings; The Presentation of God’s Word, verses 1-2; The Perversion of God’s Word; verses 3 -4; Persistence in God’s Word, verse 5.
The Presentation of God’s Word, verses 1-2;
Timothy was to be faithful preaching the Word of God. The word translated ’preach’ in verse 2 might better be translated proclaim or announce. So this passage does not just apply to people like Billy Graham, or clergy and readers who get into a pulpit, it applies to every Christian because we all have the duty and the joy of proclaiming our faith in word and deed anywhere we may find ourselves : our home, workplace, school, local Post Office or supermarket.
This does not mean that we are to shove the gospel insensitively down people’s throats, but we should be prepared to do it all the time, ’in season and out of season’. We don’t have to wait for someone to show their ’religious side’ or wait for them to be in dire personal need before we share our faith with them. If we do they may wonder how important this faith really is if we have kept it hidden for so long ! John R. W. Stott has said about this, "This is not a biblical warrant for rudeness, but a biblical appeal against laziness."
Karl Barth was the most prolific theologian of the last century. His theology was as complex as it was profound. When Barth visited the University of Chicago, students and scholars crowded around him. At a press conference, someone asked, ’Dr. Barth, what is the most profound truth you have learned in your studies?’. Without hesitation he replied, ’Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so’.
This highly intelligent theologian summarised the gospel in a few, simple words that could be repeated by a young child. This shows that we do not need a degree in theology to share our faith. More important is an appreciation of God’s love for us in Jesus, and a willingness to reflect that love in thought, word and deed.
Why should we proclaim Jesus’ love ?
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
We should proclaim Jesus’ love because he is coming again.
We live in a material world, where for something to be real it must be seen and felt. But does this make a promise unreal if we trust the one who made it ? And does this mean that love is imaginary ? We know that Jesus will return because we can trust in God who always keeps His promises. We know the love of Jesus because this was shown by his life and death.
The return of Jesus will be good news for believers, living and dead, because we will be united with him and taken to heaven to live in glory forever. With perfect resurrection bodies, and no pain, death, mourning, war, or immorality.