Purchase the CD of this sermon.
Orders remain unchanged: just preach the Word. The preachers of the Gospel need to be men ready for action and given the opportunity, they preach the Word and they preach it precisely, plainly and passionately. On the negative side, in his preaching, a pastor will confront and rebuke, he will expose sin, he will confront disobedience, he will rebuke bad behavior and false doctrine. But on the positive side, he will encourage, he will exhort, he will preach the great and exceeding promises of God, he will preach the glory and sufficiency of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Let the Bible speak. Don't impose your thinking on the text. Familiarize yourself with the text. Know the people of your congregation. Be patient in sanctification. People don’t come ready assembled. You must be faithful in faithless times, you must step into the ranks of faithful men who across time have expanded God's Word without fear. In fact, be what they’ve been. Pick up the baton and run the race.
More From This Series
Philip De Courcy (00:00):
Let’s turn to 2 Timothy 4, we’re in a series on 2 Timothy that’s called, Without Apology, because one of Timothy’s admonitions from Paul is to be unashamed, so we have been working our way through this letter of Paul, his last letter, he writes it around AD 67, he’s enduring his second imprisonment, he will not escape this imprisonment, soon after writing this letter, we believe through church tradition that Paul was martyred in Rome, so he writes to his young minister and his young, “Son in the faith,” and encourages him to certain ends, and we are in 4:1-5, and we started to look at this last month, so this is a part two on a sermon I entitled, Stay on Message, Stay on Message, listen to what Paul says, “I charge you therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who will judge the living on the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.”
[NEW_PARAGRAPH]”Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, exhort, and with all long suffering and teaching, for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside fables, but you be watchful in all things, endure reflections, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
In rising and then rallying the British people to fight Hitler and the German army, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the early days of World War II stood before the House of Commons and in June of 1941 he said this, “I have only one purpose, the destruction of Hitler and my life is much simplified thereby,” there was a certain purpose and a certain calling that framed and focused the life of Winston Churchill, he was captured by a calling, the destruction of Hitler and Hitler’s Germany, he was a man on a mission and he was a man with a message.
Now, as we turn to 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul is in the process of framing and focusing the life and the ministry of young Timothy, it’s AD 67, he writes from Rome, he’s enduring his second imprisonment, he will soon die, and so he writes to charge this young man to stay on message, to stay on mission, he’s going to simplify Timothy’s life, “Preach the word, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
And so we started to look at these verses and I want to come back to finish our exposition, just as a reminder, we believe that these verses are the emotional climax to the book, there is a bond between these two brothers, Paul calls Timothy a beloved son or a, “Son in the faith,” he had seen him come to Christ, he had seen him grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, he had been partied to separating this young man for gospel ministry, and so there is a deep emotional bond and Paul is writing for the last time and we likened it to the image of a father dying, and there he lies on his deathbed and he grabs the hand of his son and he charges him, “Look after mum,” or “Take care of the business,” or “Don’t forget to live out what I taught you,” and that’s what’s going on here, it’s a very emotional letter.
Number two, it’s not only the emotional climax of the book, it’s the centerpiece of the book, the language is weary and solemn, “I charge you therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus, he will judge the living and the dead, that his opinion and his kingdom, preach the word,” this is the centerpiece, this is the final and most forceful of Paul’s imperatives to Timothy.
Now, we looked at the passage and we put it under four headings, the coming, the charge, the contrast, and the continuity, we covered the first one, the coming that’s verse 1, “I charge you therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing in his kingdom,” Paul wants Timothy to preach with a fear of God, with a sense of eternity, with a weariness, a solemness to all that he does because someday he will be judged by Jesus Christ at his coming and his kingdom, and I’m not going to underscore much more of that, Timothy had an audience of one, the congregation may have been to the foreground, but God in his glory and his holiness and Timothy’s accountability to God is clearly to the background and never far away.
So there’s the coming and then there’s the charge, it’s, “Preach the word, preach the word,” and we started to look at the preaching of the word as Paul explains it and exhorts it here, we started to see that Timothy was to preach the word precisely the word preach, here is a Greek word, it carries the idea of a herald, a messenger of the king, he has a prescribed message, his words are not his words, his words are the words of another, the king, and he comes to a time or he goes to a foreign country and he declares what the king has already written and that’s the message of Paul to Timothy, that’s the calling of Paul to Timothy in ministry, “Hey, God has given us His word and you need to preach it, you need to preach it precisely, you’re not the chef, you’re the butler, the food has already been made, it’s your job to present the food in a way that indeed will bring satisfaction and fulfillment to the famished soul.”
But he’s not only to preach it precisely, he’s to preach it plainly, with authority, he’s to be clear in his exposition, he’s to be authoritative in his presentation because implicated again in the idea of the herald is that the herald has a message from the king, he has been sent under the authority of the king, commissioned by the king and that allows him to speak with authority, with plainness. The Christian minister is not to stutter and the Christian minister is not to mutter, he’s to get up with a Bible, he is understood correctly and declare, “Thus, says the Lord,” and he says it to the church and he says it to the culture and he says it to the kings and those in authority.
Now we’re catching up to where we left off. Thirdly, Timothy is to preach passionately, precisely, cleanly, passionately, let’s get back to our text, verse 2, “Preach the word, be ready In season and out of season,” there’s to be an earnestness, an urgency, a passion to Timothy’s presentation of the gospel, he’s not to play at preaching, the expositorisium in target is the text and he should be ready to preach it at a moment’s notice. Remember what Paul said since he’s telling Timothy to, “Be ready in season, out of season?” Remember what Paul said in Romans 1:15, “I am ready to come and preach the gospel to you in Rome, I’m ready.”
Remember what Peter said in 1 Peter 3:15? “Be ready to give a reason for the hope that lies within you,” the man of God, and certainly the preachers of the gospel need to be men that are ready, they’re cocked and they’re loaded for action and given the opportunity, they preach the word and they preach it precisely and they preach it plainly and they preach it passionately.
The word, “Be ready,” carries the idea of be alert, be on your guard, it was used of a soldier ready for battle, it’s used of keeping a vigil, if we were to take it into the sports realm it’s, “Have your game face on,” and to go back to the idea of the soldier being ready, I remember when I was a police officer in Belfast, when we were leaving Antrim Road Police Station in North Belfast, we went out into a pretty difficult area where the IRA was very active, when we went to the loading bay to check our weapons, I always remember a sign that was on the loading bay, on the brick wall that was there and it was this, “Stay alert, stay alive.”
Those are the last words you saw before you left the station to go out onto the roads of North Belfast, be ready, put your game face on, be alert, be prepared, and this was something that Timothy needed to hear because remember what we saw in 1:6-7? Where he needed to stir up the gift that was given to him by the laying on of the hands of the elders, the word stir up is in the Greek, find the flame. Timothy had a tendency to become timid and tepid and Paul’s urging him, “Preach the word precisely, preach the word plainly, preach the word passionately,” exposition should never be listless or lackadaisical in its manner, “In season, out of season,” plainly means all seasons, Timothy was to preach not just when it was convenient, not just when it was well received, not just when he felt like it, he was to preach it at every opportunity that was presented to him, and so he used to preach passionately.
Maybe one of the great verses that speaks to this is Jeremiah 20:9 were Jeremiah is a little discouraged as he speaks to the nation that will soon be exiled, mix of prophecy concerning Israel’s exile to Babylon, But as he gets discouraged because the people aren’t listening, he basically begins to write his resignation, doesn’t want to preach anymore, and what do we read in Jeremiah 20:9, “But you know what, when I didn’t want to speak, I had to speak because your word burned in my bones.” The man that’s called of God, the man that’s in dwelt by the Holy Spirit, the man that understands his commission before God and in the light of eternity will be a man who will preach passionately, he will be ready to preach and he will be faithful, few things will put him off his mission and his message.
Remember a year ago we had my young friend from Northern Ireland, Johnny McLaughlin give us his testimony, former rugby player, God saved him, now he’s in the ministry there in Northern Ireland, having graduated from The Master Seminary? He told me a story some time ago that on one Sunday morning he was up doing the announcements, then after announcements there was another song, and then after that he was to preach, and as he’d gave the announcements, he started to feel sick, he hadn’t fell sick up until that moment, but he started to feel nauseated, so much so that he kind of cut the announcement short and as the congregation was singing the hymn, he kind of went out into the side room where there was a bathroom because he felt like, “Hey, I could be sick here,” and he was, literally was, he got in there just in time, got on his knees, look straight into a toilet bowl and let it all out.
And he felt awful, fever was breaking, you know that feeling, it’s horrible, nauseated, vomiting, fever, and he’s going, “What do I do? I’m meant to be up here in a few minutes to preach the morning message, should I just tell the assistant, ‘Hey, you know what brother? You’re on your own'” And he was trying to think this out, and literally he told me, while his face was in the toilet bowl, he remembered something that Alex Montoya had said at The Master Seminary, we’ve had Alex, Alex’s a man’s man, then one of the preaching classes at The Master Seminary, Alex was preaching on faithfulness and courage and passion in the ministry and just do what it takes to be a servant of Jesus Christ, and he made this statement one day in the class that you know what he said? “Preachers don’t call in, they crawl in.”
And you know what? Young Johnny McLaughlin spilling his guts, looking into a toilet bowl, that came into his mind, “Preachers don’t call in, they crawl in,” and he just mastered whatever energy he had, prayed God to keep whatever was left in his stomach dying and he got back up into the pulpit and he preached the morning sermon, “Ready in season and out of season.” We’re not only to preach precisely and preach plainly and preach passionately, Timothy was to preach pastorally. Notice what comes next, “Convince, rebuke, exhort,” “Convince, rebuke, exhort,” and that’s the language of preaching to a congregation, that’s not evangelistic language, you don’t rebuke and you don’t convince and you don’t exhort unbelievers, you call him to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ flat out. Now, this is a call to expose God’s word there at Ephesus to Timothy, he was to indeed feed the flock over which God had meet him an overseer.
And so he is to preach pastorally, “Convince, rebuke, exhort,” that’s the function of biblical exposition, go back to 3:16, and notice the ability of God’s word, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, notice for a proof, notice for correction, notice for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God, not the unbeliever, the man of God, the people of God may be complete and equipped to every good work.” So Paul is calling Timothy to preach the word pastorally, now, later on in verse 5, we’ll get there before we’re done this morning, he’ll tell him to do the work of an evangelist, but clearly this is pastoral exposition to God’s people and it’s centered on two things, on the negative side, in his preaching, a pastor will confront and rebuke, he will expose sin, he will confront disobedience, he will rebuke bad behavior and false doctrine.
On the positive side, he will encourage, he will exhort, he will preach the great and exceeding promises of God, he will preach the glory and sufficiency of Jesus Christ and his gospel. Maybe we could summarize it by words given to me by Dr. Iver Oakley at the Irish Baptist Collage in Belfast where I was first trained where said to us, “As a body of young men hoping for ministry, man, you have a twofold ministry, disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed,” basically that’s what Paul’s saying here to Timothy, “Rebuke them, convince them, exhort them.” You know, some of God’s people some of the time need a slap in the ear and in at other times they need a pat in the back, the good minister in his exposition will not only be strong and sometimes severe at other times, in fact, probably within the same sermon needs to be gracious and kind and uplifting and encouraging, bottom line preaching is to be pastoral.
Now, I want to speak to preachers for a moment, especially young men perhaps in our leadership track, certainly those among us who are teaching God’s word, do notice that preaching is developed and directed towards people, biblical preaching is developed and directed towards people, we talk about expository preaching, it needs to be expository preaching. Now, let me explain those two words, what do we mean by expository? That means that we come to the text with the best tools in submission to the Holy Spirit, in a peripheral mindset we try to understand the text in its context, and so expository preaching is preaching out of the text, it’s expository, we let the Bible speak, we don’t come to impose our thinking on the text, we don’t come with our culture and the day we are in and the things we are fearing and impose that on the text we allow what happened then to speak deny.
That’s expository, but it’s expository preaching, it’s out of the text into a context, into the life of a congregation, our preaching must meet people’s needs, we’re not to preach simply to educate ourselves or to enjoy the thrill of preaching itself, we’re to preach to people, hurting, battling with sin, in the world and the devil, facing decisions, raising a family, trying to be light in the darkness, we’re to feed and encourage those people. So, guys, for those of you who aspire to preaching, familiarity with the text is only half of the equation, familiarity with your congregation or the people you’re addressing is the other half of that equation, our sermons must be people friendly and people focused, I think that’s what Timothy’s being told here, “Preach the word, be ready in season, out of season, and you know what? Convince, rebuke and exhort your people.”
Preachers are in the people business, that’s why preachers need to be pastors and pastors need to be preachers, I don’t think anybody can preach really well unless they have a congregation they love to preach to because it’s out of knowledge of God’s people that a preacher or myself takes the text and weds those two worlds together to the benefit of the body of Christ. In fact, I find as much as I travel and as much as I like to travel, as much as you’re king enough to let me travel, I never preach as well anywhere else as I do as in the pulpit of Kindred Community Church because that’s the way it should be, because when I’m on the road, I’m preaching to a people I really don’t know and I can love them and I can apply in a precise way, but it’s not the same of getting up on a Sunday morning and looking down on a congregation, on a face of people that I’ve visited their homes or been in the hospital with or sat and counseled or enjoyed some joyful experience in life with.
I like what Warren Wiersbe said to a church who invited him some years ago to become their pastor, it was a big church, it was a fine congregation, he would’ve been well looked after, and you know what? They dangled this carrot in front of them, they said this, “You know what Mr. Wiersbe? If you come, all you have to do is preach, we’ve got a big enough staff that they’ll visit the sick, they’ll bury the dead, they’ll wed lovers, you just have to preach, in fact, you may not even have to come to the leadership meetings if you don’t want to, you’re a preacher, you’re a writer, you know what? Would you come?”
He refused and he surprised them in his refusal, and here’s what he said in his refusal, “You’re asking me to minister to a faceless crowd, I cannot do it, sure, I could preach acceptable sermons week by week, but they wouldn’t be messages that would meet the needs of the people, I’d be distanced from the church family and that would make the sermon less and less personal and more and more academic and it won’t work and I’m not coming.”
That’s why the great reformed evangelist George Whitfield wrote in his journal early in his ministry, in fact, early enough to be an interim ministry said, “I frequently learned as much by an afternoon’s visit as in a week’s study.” Here’s another thought, “Preach patiently,” keep your eye on the text, “Convince, rebuke, exhort,” with all long suffering and teaching just as the first command, “Preach,” is qualified by the second command, “Be ready,” and it’s two odd verbs, “In season and out of season,” so the three commands, “Convince, rebuke and exhort,” are qualified by the preposition, “Free as with all long suffering and teaching,” “So preach precisely as a herald, preach plainly as a herald, preach passionately, preach pastorally, but, Timothy, make sure you preach with grit, patience.”
In fact, Paul had modeled that, hasn’t he? Go back into 3:10, “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, perseverance,” Paul is not asking Timothy to do that which he has not himself done, but the point is this, guys, the pastor teacher, the man of God must have a loving heart because he’s to preach pastorally to a people he loves and wants to feed and he’s to preach with a patient spirit, he must put time in and work in while he awaits a better day in terms of people’s sanctification and people’s personal holiness. He understands that you can’t get up in front of a congregation and wave your Bible like a magic wand and all of a sudden you’ve got a congregation of perfect sense, doesn’t work that way, never has worked that way.
God’s people can’t be instantaneously made mature or united, no, pastors got to be long suffering. Now, let me say this by way of qualification, that doesn’t mean a pastor tolerates open and glaring sin, it’s not a call to postpone necessary leadership decisions, but it is a call to bear with people’s faults, grapplings, feelings where possible, it’s a recognition that it takes time to grow up in the Lord Jesus Christ, sanctification unlike justification is progressive, there are degrees to it, you can go forward and you can go back. Many, many years ago I enjoyed reading one of Charles Swindoll’s book, I love the title, it went something like, Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back, and I grabbed that as a young christian, I go, “That sounds like me,” I’m making progress and then I do something dumb given to this temptation and don’t live in overcoming power through the Holy Spirit, it’s three steps forward, two steps back, and when you recognize that that will affect how you preach and how you pastor, sanctification is progressive, the flash, regressive and the world and the devil, oppressive.
Congregational life isn’t one long jump to success, it’s a series of steps, isn’t that why the great James Montgomery Boice of 10th Presbyterian said to a body of young pastors? “Don’t ever overestimate what you can do in one year and don’t ever underestimate what you can do in three,” it’s a good word and it’s a word to God’s servants not to buy to the altar of immediacy, you know what? That’s the culture we’re in, we can hardly wait for the next panel on a revolving door, that’s how impatient we are, it’s now we want it and we don’t have that fortitude and we don’t have that forbearance, but we need it and we must not buy to the altar of immediacy.
No one sermon or one series will instantly persuade or sanctify a congregation, people don’t come ready assembled, sinners don’t get saved in hearing the gospel for the first time usually, people don’t mature after a 30 day Bible study or even a 40 day Bible study, no, we need to be patient, it’ll take time. I love Shark Tank and I was watching it a while ago and one of the entrepreneurs, Lori, was challenging a wannabe entrepreneur who was selling them a story, hardly took a breath, he had it all, Neil [inaudible 00:26:00], how was going to make a success of this business and why they need to give him their hard earned dollars and she listened to it, she said, “I don’t hear a step by step plan, I don’t hear how you’re going to get there, I hear where you want to go but I can’t hear how you’re going to get there, you make it sound so easy.”
And here’s what she said, and I wrote it down because it’s true spiritually, she says, “I have learned,” and she says, “All the sharks have learned, there is no elevator to the top, you have to take the stirs,” it’s a great statement, “There is no elevator to the top, you have to take the stirs,” same in church, same in your walk with God, sanctification is hard, it’s long, must be fought over, there’s nothing instant about it.
I do like the story I came across of the comedian Yaakov Smirnoff, I’m going to guess it’s a real name, he first came to the United States many, many years ago, he was a comedian here, he comes to the United States from Russia and he’s not prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores, and one night in one of his shows, he says this, “On my first shopping trip here in the United States, having come from Russia with all its limits, I saw powdered milk, you just add water and you get milk, then I saw powdered orange juice, you just add water and you get orange juice, then I saw baby powder and I thought to myself, what a country.”
Well, sometimes we carry that kind of thinking over into our spiritual lives. Okay, we got to keep going because time’s beating us this morning, here’s the final thought under the idea of the charge, preach persistently, preach persistently, Paul has been answering a series of questions about preaching, okay? He wants somebody to preach, preach the word, becoming the charge, and he has answered why, what, when and how, now he returns to the why, why should you preach? He’s already given them one reason, did you catch it in verse 1? Why should you preach the word plainly, precisely, patiently, pastorally persistently? Because Jesus is coming and you’re going to give an account for your ministry.
Now, he gives him a second reason and there it is, in fact, here’s the way just to read it to get the point, verse 2, “Preach the word,” verse 3, “For the time will come, timothy, preach the word for the time will come when they will not endure signed doctrine. You’re going to preach the word, I know that, you’re going to preach it precisely and plainly and pastorally, you’re going to give them signed doctrine,” the word sign doctrine is the idea of healthy doctrine, he’s going to give them the meat of the word, he’s going to give them the whole council of God, he’s going to give them the full gospel, but he needs to be aware, “There will come a time in the life of the church when the church will not endure sign doctrine, but according to their own desires because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and they will turn their ears from the truth and be turned aside to fables.”
Notice the word, they, who’s the they? It’s professing Christians within the church, it’s nominal believers within the church who no longer can stomach doctrine, theology, witty issues, no, they’re going to turn from the truth, they’re going to demand feel good sermons, they’re going to demand preachers who will tickle their every fancy, they want to come to church not to repent, but to relax and feel good about themselves, theologically speaking, they don’t want nutritional food that requires chewing and digesting, they just want a sugar fix, a religious rush that they hope the band and the worship leaders will give them, they want preaching and teaching that strokes their ego, saves their conscience, they don’t want preaching that smites their conscience, speaks of judgment to come, humbles the sinner and exalts the savior, and that’s what’s going on here, notice again, “For the time will come when they,” implication that people you’re preaching to, “Will not endure signed doctrine, but they’re driven by their own desires and their itching ears and they will want people who indeed meet their requirements.”
Guys, sounds like today, doesn’t it? Church brochures and websites, “Come to our church, our pastor won’t preach at you,” then he is not a pastor, I don’t know what he’s doing in the pulpit because he’s not fulfilling 2 Timothy 4:1-5, visit churches and you’ll notice that the worship service is more like a concert venue? The stage is lit, the auditorium is dark, the congregation is passive, they’re told to sit back and enjoy the service. I was sitting having lunch with someone this week who with some embarrassment admitted that his pastor, “Does not preach doctrinal sermons,” they will not endure what? Signed doctrine. Read Christian books, notice the absence of Bible exposition, notice the presence of pop psychology, turn on your Christian television and watch and you’ll see supposed Christian ministers who are really false teachers promise people their best life and eye, and the fact that indeed if they follow Jesus, they don’t have to endure sickness and they don’t have to endure suffering, it’s all a lie.
Timothy was warned that day’s coming, we’re seeing elements of that in our day and Timothy is told in the face of that he is to preach the word in season and out of season, he’s to be a contrast to that, he’s to indeed be ready to preach the word, and by the way, signed doctrine is just another free as for the word, those are interchangeable terms, preach, sign, doctrine, they will turn from the word, preach the word, they will turn from sign doctrine, but Timothy, what are you to do? “You’re to preach it, be ready to preach it, preach it, patiently, pastorally, persistently.”
Can I go back to verse 2, “Be ready in season and out of season?” Little word study here that I think I can explain to you pretty easily, there’s two Greek words that could be used here, kronos or kairos, kronos, chronology, chronometer, it’s a word that speaks of time, linear time, one moment after another moment, one R after another R, but the word kairos speaks of periods of time, chapters within history, epics, and it’s interesting that Paul uses the word, “kairos,” here. We tend to look at verse 2 subjectively, you know what, Timothy? You know what? Doesn’t matter what your mood is and your temperament is, preach the word, but really it’s this kind of idea, Timothy, you better be ready to preach the word, and there will be times and seasons within church history where people will not want the word, but you’ve got to preach it and be ready to preach it. Read the reformation and you’ll see that’s what goes on, the rediscovery of God’s word, its sufficiency, its authority, and the return to expositional preaching the Catholic church was sacramental, the Protestant church was expositional.
There are periods in church history where the word of God is lost or demoted and Timothy’s told by implication, “You know what? You must be faithful in faithless times, you must step into the ranks of faithful men who across time have expanded God’s word without fear, in fact, Timothy, I need you to be what I’ve been because I’m about to depart, but I’ve kept the faith son, I’ve ran the res, I fought the fight, I’m handing you the baton and I need you to step up to the plate.” Timothy is being told not to have a niche for the novel, timothy is being told not to track the trans, Timothy is being told not to fear being cast as unoriginal. The Christian minister wants to be unoriginal, not uninteresting, but unoriginal because he’s a herald, he’s got the message and he’s got to deliver it, as we have expanded.
PT Foresight said, “The preacher is not to be original in the sense of being absolutely new, but in the sense of being fresh of appropriating for his own personality or his own age what is the standing possession of the church, it’s perennial trust from Christ, he makes discovery in the gospel but not of the gospel,” some preachers spoil their work by an incessant strain after novelty and a morbid dread of the common place. Can I try and fit this in for a few moments? I think it was two years ago now, June and I were in Washington DC, I made sure we got some time for Arlington Cemetery, I always wanted to go there, it was a very solemn day and a very inspiring day, we happened to be there when they were changing the guard at the tomb to the unknown soldier, which was a thrill to watch.
And it reminded me of an illustration I’d used some six months before in the church here and now I got to see it played out because that monument has been guarded, do you know this? Since 1937, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, it’s guarded by a company of 30 honor guards and whoever’s on duty will walk 21 paces across the monument, stand for 21 seconds, turn and then do another 21 paces, stop, wait for 21 seconds and turn and repeat that because in military life, a 21 gun salute is the greatest honor you can give a soldier and we’re honoring our fallen and those who we have not retrieved. But when they’re changing guard, it is said that one soldier says to the other soldier, “Orders remain unchanged,” since 1937, orders have remain unchanged. Well, my friends since AD 67, orders have remain unchanged, just preach the word.
I’m going to drop the last thought, continuity and just finished with the contrast, so we have looked at the coming, we have looked at the charge and in verse 5, the contrast, we’ll move through this very quickly, the contrast as we close verse 5, but that’s a contrastive word, “But you be watchful in all things, endure reflections to the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry,” set against this backdrop of apostacy when people will not endure the truth and turn from the truth and heap to themselves false teachers, Timothy was told, “By contrast, you be watchful in all things, endure, evangelize and fulfill the ministry.” I think I’ve alerted you to the fact that this little phrase is appears a few times in this letter, go back to 3:10, this is emphatic in the Greek, “But you,” you cannot… “But you, Timothy.”
Scroll down to verse 14, “But you, Timothy must continue in the things which you have learned,” then here in verse Five, “But you, Timothy, be watchful.” If I could put it like this, guys, for the sake of time, Paul wants Timothy to be a standout servant of Jesus Christ, just to stand out against the backdrop of apostacy and unfaithfulness, to stand out within society as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. “Timothy, I want you to be a fork in the road, I want people who confront you to have to make a decision about Jesus Christ,” and this call is centered on four imperatives, we’re not going to develop them all, watchful, I think that means be personally and morally alert, I think he’s to watch over himself, first of all, he’s to watch over his spiritual life and his prayer life and his holiness.
Secondly, be ready for incoming fire, endure hardness or endure suffering or inflictions, three, be about the work of evangelism, while he’s to preach pastorally inside the church, he’s to preach evangelistically outside the church, share the gospel with the saved. But here’s the one that interests me the most, be at your best and get the job done, “Fulfill your ministry,” it’s kind of a wrap around isn’t it? “Fulfill your ministry,” interesting word in the Greek carries the idea of fulfilling of vye. If you go back to 1:6-7, he was encouraged to find the flame of his passion for ministry, and Paul mentions his ordination, mentions the laying on of hands by the elders, plural, presbytery, and it seems like he has stepped back, was it his weakness of body or weakness of mind? Timothy had a tendency to timidity, looking at Paul and his imprisonment that he said to himself, “You know what, if I do all that Paul says I ought to do, I’m going to end up where Paul ended up.”
Perhaps he looks out on the culture and he sees a culture described in chapter 3 where man are pride blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful and holy, unloving, lovers of self, not lovers of God, lovers of pleasure, not lovers of eternal truths, he looks at all of this and he goes and he kind of steps back and Paul says, “Hey, you need to step forward, you need to fulfill your ministry [inaudible 00:40:48],” it’s a word that also can carry the idea of paying down a debt, “You made a promise to God, so, Timothy, give him your best, give your best to the best of things in the worst of times,” it’s kind of where we’re at here, “Fulfill the ministry.” The God of heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the church, your generation and lost souls all deserve your best, “Fulfill the ministry.”
My friend Jack Graham tells a story about a book he read many years ago that told a story of a minister who had left the ministry, I’m not sure whether he had decided that himself or he had done something that caused him to have to leave, but this guy had left the ministry and some years later a friend was asking him how he was doing and he brought him up to date on where he was in life, and the friend said, “Do you miss the ministry?” And the man said, “You know what? There are things about the ministry I don’t miss,” and we can kind of all guess what they might be, but he says, “There’s one thing I miss,” he says, “I miss the sound of the trumpets in the morning, I miss the sound of the trumpets in the morning,” what was he saying, guys? He says, “I miss that call to duty, the call to a work that is eternal in significance, glorious in terms of its pursuit and its focus, I miss the sound of the trumpets in the morning.”
Paul is calling Timothy to duty, to preach the word, to be a contrast to the culture, to be a benchmark of orthodoxy within the church and to be fine standing tall when Jesus comes to set up his kingdom. Let’s pray. Lord, we find ourselves challenged once again from 2 Timothy, as Paul signs off, leaves us his last letter, bequeaths us, his dying wishes, and what a passage we have just expunged these past couple of months, certainly an immediate challenge to every elder and pastor and any young man that aspires to that office here today because here we have the job description of the minister of Jesus Christ, help us to be faithful to our charge, help us to hear the blast of the trumpets in the morning calling us to fulfill the ministry, to preach the word.
But oh, God, it is an application to all man, you’ve called us all to be man of the word, to some degree or another, we will share it and we will study it and we will give a kind for our handling of it, so help us to apply this passage, we thank you that just as the destruction of Hitler simplify Churchill’s life? We thank you that this passage simplifies all of our lives and gives us a description of what it means to be a man of God and what it means to man up, for we ask and pray these things in Jesus’s name, amen-