The Church’s Charge (2 Timothy 4)

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Nearing death brings clarity & focus.

EXAMINE           2 Timothy 4                            The Church’s Legacy

Throughout the letter (each chapter) are Paul’s priority for the gospel to be

  • Protected. Paul was concerned about false teachers diluting and distorting the truth of the gospel and God’s commands. Therefore, he is commanding Timothy to guard sound doctrine in his teaching.
  • Proclaimed. Paul was also concerned for the gospel to be given away. People do not proclaim and pass on what they do not believe. But for believers, they are exhorted to preach the word and pass on to others who will be faithful to spread the gospel. Paul references a four-fold generational legacy from himself to Timothy to a faithful few, to others who would believe (cf. Ps 78:4-7).

 

These letters to Timothy have personal exhortations, but they indirectly also have applications for the church – and us today. In this last passage, Paul charges Timothy to live in the presence of God – Coram Deo.

  • If you knew Jesus were watching, would you… ?

 

These 7 actions for believers living in light of God’s presence and coming kingdom. Paul’s charge reflects a solemn ceremony, as in a court of law or civil agreement.

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2 Timothy 4:1-8 (ESV)
1  I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
2  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
3  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
4  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
5  As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
6  For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
7  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8  Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing.

A believer fulfills their ministry when they

  1. Preach the word:
  • For the preacher, this means declaring Scripture with life and lips.
    • 1 Tim 3 lists 15 qualifications for character of pastors.
    • Preaching the word first means feeding on the word.
    • Able to teach sound doctrine (1Tim 1:3, 10; 4:6; 6:3; 2Tim 1:13; 2:2, 24; 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1, 7, 10). Sound (ὑγιαίνω) meant good health and working order. If the preacher delivers unhealthy food the people will grow malnourished. But if the preacher is self-feeding on the word then he can feed others.
      • A pastor must have many skills: social & emotional intelligence, team building & leadership, entrepreneurial & financial acumen, wisdom & decision-making, but above all a pastor must preach the word.
        — You preach from Bible… (me @St Martins, guests from other churches)
        — Your sermons are long… well, if God gives something to say…!

 

  • Proclaim the word… κηρύσσω was a public proclamation about the kings business (entering town, declared peace/war, judgment, etc.).
    • Gospels speak of Jesus as a κηρύσσω, indicating arrival of a new king with a message. A king would often have a forerunner proclaiming his coming. We are the heralds announcing a new kingdom of beauty, blessing, peace, and life.
    • Preaching the word means we do more than share morals but we speak the message of salvation in Christ. Like the person who taught the message of Noah was to be kind to animals instead of crying out for rescue from God’s punishment on an unrighteous generation.

 

  • We proclaim what we pursue… sports, food, movies, relationships.

 

  • Kids who were out in a field to play a ball game forgot the ball. One kid shouted, “Who cares about the ball, just get on with the game!” Many of us try to do life / marriage / parenting / church without the word of God, which should be central in everything.

 

Illus: In our home we post scriptures on walls that our family is meditating & memorizing. Currently 2Tim 3:14-17. Sandy said growing up she had same in every corner. Families need God’s word to permeate home.

 

  1. Prepare for every season.
  • For the pastor, being ready in all seasons means being aware and attentive to the needs of people; smell like sheep; and equip people for the circumstances (Eph 4:12, ff.).
  • Readiness in all circumstances, positive and negative. Previously, Paul spoke of following his conduct, endurance, persecutions & sufferings (2Tim 3:10-11).
    • One of the missing elements of popular Christianity is enduring in difficulty. The prosperity gospel only knows one season and is unprepared for seasons of trial and suffering.
    • Another missing element in current Christianity is enduring with integrity. Some branches of Christianity are exchanging their faith influence with secular power. Their aim is to hold on to familiarity and favor of an earthly kingdom, but at what cost?
  • 1Chronicles 12:32 “men of Issachar had understanding of the times [and] to know what Israel ought to do”. These men in OT understood the fads, philosophies, and happenings of the world and they knew how to respond. Most of us know how to react but not respond. Reacting is immediate to a circumstance, but responding is intentional based on context; we need to learn how to respond with purpose and perspective. Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing opinion.” May we respond with readiness and understanding of our times.

 

  1. Patiently correct. 
  • Reprove/Rebuke/Exhort with patience and teaching.
  • Confront the behavior, convict the heart, and coach the new direction.
  • Do all these with “complete patience and teaching.” If someone enjoys or avoids confrontation, they are unqualified for the role; it requires humility, courage, love, patience, and learning.
  • Time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but having itching ears they will accumulate teachers to suit their own passions. One unhealthy teacher is too many, but these people keep a surplus of false teachers.
    • Like a child asking for cookies for every meal when they need diet of protein & vegetables.
    • Christians spending
      • all their time reading NT and avoiding OT; or reading same types of emotional/relational/topical books to exclusion of sound doctrine.
      • obtaining all news from single source of bias; listening to echo chambers of ideas and mischaracterize others who believe differently.
  • Some come to church and afterwards say, “I didn’t like the music today.” Was it for you or God?
  • When you hear a sermon, don’t rate a performance but to evaluate your own person and faith.
    • “Speak Lord, for your servant listens.”

 

  1. Practice clarity.

Paul’s exhortation is to be sober-minded, think clearly without worldly influence.

  • Living in a cluttered world.
  • Like an airline pilot flying through turbulence, we must remain calm.
  • Soberness comes through schooling – spiritual discipline.
    Do I spend more time watching tv / scrolling web & social media than reading bible or praying?
    Intake results in output.

 

  1. Persevere in suffering.

Paul’s exhortation is to persevere whether persecution from the outside or troubles on the inside.

  • Persecutions on the outside will come because you identify with Jesus.
    • If we are not experiencing persecution for our faith, are we living it out in public?
  • Troubles on the inside can come because…
    • Living in a fallen (Gen 3) world. It’s not bc God hates or is avoiding you (cf. John 9).
    • Fleshly responses from people… even as Christians. Unfortunately, the church can wound equal to the enemy. It’s why Paul spent so much time writing letters to churches.
    • Foolish choices have consequences.

 

  • Our response to suffering and/or conflict reveals our faith. If our faith is not grounded then the storms of this life will wash our house away.
    • Joshua Harris – former pastor, church conflict, personal guilt & shame, family crisis – apostatizes.
    • Judas – disciple of Jesus… we can be familiar with Jesus but still a fake.
    • – – – There are no short-cuts to heaven; only through enduring suffering and following Jesus.

 

  • Personal Sufferings: Shame of personal sin, relationship disappointment, unhelpful and wounding criticism, false accusations, ministry duress & discouragement, vocational goals unmet, financial stress, fears of future, loss of loved ones, uncertainty about family members health, parental challenges and failures, burdens of eternality for the souls of people known & unknown, not to mention general and specific spiritual warfare.
  • Turn your problems and pains into prayers – pursue Christ.

 

  1. Percolate the gospel.

    Paul’s exhortation is to labor in leading people to Jesus. Do the work of an evangelist.

  • Evangelism is for all Christians. Evangelist is a gifting to perform the work of evangelism.
  • Evangelism is work and labor.
    • Prayer is work.
    • Cultivate relationships.
    • Study contexts of people’s worldviews, as well as Christian faith.[1]
      • Alisha the agnostic / Andy the atheist / Bailey the Buddhist / Erin the evolutionist / Hari the Hindu / Jenna the Jew / Jordan the JW / Marty the Morman / Mo the Muslim / Nicole the New Ager / Sid the Satanist / Willow the Wiccan.
    • Communicate the gospel.
    • Call for response… you can drive to shore and transport on boat, you can have fancy lures & assorted tackle box with the highest cost fish rod, you can keep line in water all day, but once you get a bite – if you never pull rod and reel it in to see if fish stays, then you’re missing fishing.
      • Many Christians want to be keepers of aquarium and not fishers of men.
    • Tools
      • Pray… Pray to make a vital difference for God’s kingdom. Pray for divine appointments.
      • Tell your testimony story
      • 3 Circles: Design (Paradise) – Disaster (Problem) – Deliverance (Person)
      • Serve in the name of Jesus – tangible acts of love persuade the disinterested.
      • Ask questions…
        • Would it be ok for me to share with you one of my life’s purposes?
        • What brings you joy and meaning in life? Can I share my source of joy and meaning?
        • Where do you turn when you face life’s most difficult challenges?
        • Do you ever wonder how people get through life without knowing God hears our prayers?
        • Would you say you’re a spiritual person? Could I take a brief moment to share with you my faith spirituality?
        • A lot of people have various views about Jesus. Would you say you know who Jesus is or still in the process of discovering? Would it be alright if I shared some thoughts I have discovered by reading the Bible?
        • What do you think God says/thinks when He looks at you? I believe God thinks about how much He loves you. Can I tell you how I believe that to be true, and you can know it too?

 

  1. Perform your ministry.

Paul’s exhortation is for Timothy to complete what he’s started. The wording means to leave nothing undone and to execute tasks with excellence of your ability. In sum, the legacy of a pastor is multi-generational followers of Jesus Christ (2Tim 2:2).

  • Christianity knows no retirement season; keep investing in eternity and you won’t go bankrupt.
  • 4:6-22 Paul’s concluding remarks to Timothy are reflective of his legacy as well as his personal relationship with him. He knows his time is nearing end, “being poured out as an offering,” and “finishing the race.” He’s tried to live faithful to the Lord and is readying to stand before Him. Yet, Paul wishes to see Timothy and requests him to visit soon. Paul was hurt by some in ministry and needed the refreshment of friends: Timothy, Mark, others listed.

 

APPLY/THINK

Hall of Fame

  • Baseball is in Cooperstown, NY
  • Football is in Canton, OH
  • Basketball is in Springfield, MA
  • US Soccer is in Frisco, TX
  • US Hockey is in Eveleth, MN
  • Golf is in St. Augustine, FL
  • Boxing is outside of Syracuse, NY
  • Lacrosse, is outside of Baltimore, MD
  • Rock n Roll is in Cleveland, OH…
    so is the Polka HOF.

 

  • HOF for all sorts of categories: Automotive, Agriculture, Business, Cartoonists, Circus, Cowboy, Internet, Magic, Military, Poker, Robot, Scuba Diving, Space, Toys, etc.
  • Every HOF will fail in comparison to the Hall of Faith where you can say as Paul,
    “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up 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 loved his appearing.” (2Tim 4:7-8)

[1] See resources from https://www.dare2share.org/training/how-to-share-the-gospel/

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