2 Timothy 6
2 Timothy ch.4.
- 9 months since last preached, never finished series in 2 Timothy, probably forgotten what it’s about so set the scene of the letter read 2 Tim 4:8-22
- everyone deserted him, longstanding colleagues had deserted the work, personal attacks, message opposed, in prison, cold, facing winter alone and imminent death
- near the end of his ministry - wanted to ensure that the faith be passed on, that the work be continued, that the faith be defended and preserved in the midst of apostasy and heresy
- time of people forsaking the faith (like today)
- older statesman of the faith concerned that the faith be passed on (Peter Partridge and Frank Visser) - message for the older men in the fellowship - discipleship, someone to carry the torch
- to ensure the truth be passed on - strong emphasis on TEACHING
Preach the word (2 Tim 4:1-5)
- this message has had a 9 month gestation, during that time this passage has had particular relevance for me personally, if not for this chapter I’d not be speaking today. read 2 Tim 4:1-8
- a solemn charge - this is of vital importance, Paul about to die, essential that the truth be preserved - PREACH THE WORD!
- So vital is the task of preaching the message that he uses all the authority available, the authority of God Himself and Jesus Christ the Lord of all is behind this charge! - He will appear, His Kingdom rule will be established. Timothy will have to appear before Jesus Himself, the King over all, the One with all authority, the Judge! and will have to give account. Timothy’s appointed task was to preach the truth of God’s Word - it seems he was slack about carrying this out - it is so easy to get distracted from this primary task but number one importance is to preach and teach the truth - otherwise the church will be decimated by error and turning away as Paul had seen (cf. 2 Tim 1:15).
Holding out, proclaiming the Scripture, explaining and expounding it is the most fundamentally important task in the church - it is its source of life - for in it Christ is revealed. It alone protects and sustains the church.
- today the Word of God is hardly taught at all (cf. Amos 8:11,12 Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the Lord. “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, But they will not find it.)
- multitude of Bible aids - but for hearing the Word of God there is a famine. Many preacher but few preaching and teaching the Bible - Scripture is remarkably and tragically lacking in their captivating messages (cf. 2 Tim 4:3,4). Faithfully teaching and preaching the truth of God’s Word and nothing else is the crying need of the church in our time.
- PREACH!- Solemn charge - preaching is imperative! Why preach? (Rom 10:13-14, 17 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of.) -
preaching is the means God has ordained - (1 Corinthians 1:21 God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.)
- Is this advice to Timothy 2000 years ago or is it relevant today? - Is it an issue- what am I doing this morning? Preaching! - I haven’t preached for 9 months (my decision not elders) - why? Because someone objected to what I said. Doesn’t mean you have to accept what I say - you have a responsibility to check it out against Scripture. The issue is what is preached what God’s Word says? - But the Word of God says things that are not pleasant to hear! - rebuked for preaching directly to someone - what is he saying - it’s OK to preach as long as it doesn’t affect me, is not applied to my life or situation, want a message that doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable or tell me that I am wrong - but what is preaching meant to do?-reprove, rebuke, exhort, instruct
reprove - point out what is wrong -to expose, convict, reprove, to prove with demonstrative evidence - it is so to rebuke another, with such effectual feeling of the victorious arms of the truth, as to bring one, if not always to a confession, yet at least to a conviction of sin.
rebuke - tell off - to honor, to mete out due measure, hence to censure, to rebuke - the word denotes in NT usage the idea of censure and sharp rebuke.
exhort - urge to the right path
teach - show the right way in contrast to the way they have been going
- do this you and you will not be popular - I like to think I’m a decent kind of bloke, that I’m right. But the Bible tells me differently. I like to think that I can run my life as I see fit but the Bible says that Jesus is King and I have to be subject to Him. I like to think things are going to continue on smoothly as they always have done but the Bible says that Jesus is coming to judge. Bible faces us up to truths we would never otherwise consider [ostrich] - But the Bible tells the truth
- convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment - these truths are unpopular but true- The Gospel is not a palatable message - it is an offense! Have you ever considered that the message we have to preach is to tell people that their whole way of living is wrong - that they are hopelessly corrupt? Tell someone that and see how they respond! It tells you that you are wrong and are going to be judged, sentenced and punished - preaching is not intended to please - it will be rejected - many will desert, many will oppose, the preacher will be persecuted - but whether welcomed or not, whether it suits us or not we are to preach - unhindered (in season, out of season), unfettered (not just what people want to hear)
- a time will come when people will not tolerate sound teaching (we are in that time now) - Why? people only want to hear what they want to hear - if it doesn't please them they seek to prevent the message - they don't like what God's Word says so they get people who will preach a message that pleases them, suits their own desires, justifies and excuses their greed and self-indulgence, rebellion and sin. - where are those that preach repentance, holiness, the LORDship of Christ today? No, the message is God will heal you, make you wealthy, successful, minister to your every whim and desire. Where is the message of discipleship, forsaking everything for Christ, sharing His sufferings, denying self, crucifying the flesh?
- [lie or truth] People have no patience with sound teaching, they don’t want it. They want new and exciting teaching, teaching that tickles their ears - entertains or appeals intellectually. They love aphorisms, "words of knowledge," the dramatic, the entertaining, the spectacular. Things that appeal to the lusts - new teachings that allow them to continue in their own lifestyle pursuing their own lusts. Teachings that excuse and even permit and encourage their own selfish behaviour [e.g. teaching on cheap "grace" - grace allows you to do anything; self esteem - defending pride, ambition and self centeredness; have a vision; establish God’s Kingdom; "we are the head not the tail" - defending ambition and lording it over others; prosperity doctrine - excusing covetousness and greed; hyper-faith - excusing selfishness, greed, self-centeredness etc]. But sound doctrine that reproves and rebukes such vices they do not tolerate - it is "negative." What rules them and determines what they accept is their lusts - any teaching that makes them feel comfortable and reassures them in their life of pursuing their own desires they will eagerly support. It’s the democratic way - what people judge to be right, what they like, is what holds sway. Preachers will preach what the plupart want.
- we are in the time when people will not endure sound teaching they want to hear what they want to hear - prefer palatable lies to unpleasant truth. - I want to do what I want to do - and seek to find justification for it. If enough people support me in it I think it’s acceptable If the lie is repeated often enough you believe it to be right.
- lusts - self orientated songs and preaching (Brian Houston) - the theme is God exists for me, for my benefit, my well being, my happiness. It is a lie! Myths! But people love to hear it. Rather, we exist for God!
Do we want what is comfortable or what is true - do you want pleasant news that is false or to know what the situation really is? (Eli Weisel, warning of holocaust)(leukemic child - “never mind she’ll soon be better”, or “she is seriously ill and needs some drastic treatment”)- the Gospel diagnoses our problem and then holds out the cure.
- preach the truth - it is the counter to myths - people believe lies because it suits them - man collects many voices to support him in his own will and hates to be challenged out of it (Ahab and Micaiah - 1 Kings 22) -God’s Word runs contrary to our own desire
- lust, my desire or the way of self-denial, doing what I want or what the King commands?
- people get caught up with these lies, think that they're the truth - lose their head - we must be sober, not caught up with the latest trend that sweeps through - instead of self indulgence there is hardship, endurance, work, duty to fulfill
- How opposite all these words are to that of pleasing one’s self, living for one’s self - There is no place for living for yourself.
Keep onto the end (2 Tim 4:6-8)
- Why was this solemn charge to preach and evangelize? - because Paul wasn't going to be around much longer. He knew he would shortly die. But look at his attitude - not a tragedy but as an offering of worship be it by his life or death - it was all an offering to God. Despite all that had deserted him, heresy, hardship and opposition he was not depressed or despondent, ready to give up - he had the goal in view, looking for the LORD’s return. He was determined to keep on to the end and that others likewise hold firm
Paul’s death was imminent and certain but it was no calamity, there were no regrets - it was a continuation of his life of worship, totally given to God, offered up to Him. As he did in his life so he did by dying - it was an act offered up to God (cf. Phil 1:20,21). The time had come to depart this earthly life - it held no dread, no uncertainty, rather joyful anticipation (cf. Phil 1:23) - having completed his mission on earth, Paul’s life of worship and service to the King would continue uninterrupted in the very presence of His Master - something he looked forward to with great longing.
- He talks of his life as a: fight, a race - and it’s no sprint, a marathon which calls for endurance
- fight the good fight [Alexander] - faced bitter opposition, no qualms about singling him out by name and pointing out he’s wrong
- finish the race [Mark]- deserted Paul but now useful - it’s not how you start the race that counts but how you finish
- keep the faith [Demas] - deserted the faith for the attractions of the world, this life, sadly we are seeing the same thing
- fix your eyes on the prize [Luke] - Dr, intelligent, could have made a name for himself, only mentioned 3x in the Bible, content to play second fiddle, not looking for recognition in this life coz looking for a heavenly reward.
- what was the prize? - righteousness awarded at the end - how do you qualify for it? - keep the faith - righteousness is not our good deeds but Jesus' good deeds, it is granted to us by Jesus - to those who live by faith. Faith in Jesus, in His appearing, holding fast to that hope
- long for Jesus’ return - that’s what motivated Paul? facing death - never disillusioned or despairing despite all that was going on around because he kept his eyes on the certainty of the coming Kingdom - Jesus’ appearing (v. 2 Tim 4:1, 8, 18) Jesus is coming soon!
He will bring us safe to His heavenly Kingdom
- Jesus is coming ans King and Judge! - Who rules? Man or God? - do we long for Jesus' appearing or this world? Would His appearing disrupt our plans, our church program? (Hebrews 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.)
- God’s presence, coming judgment, Christ’s return, Christ’s rule - these should motivate us (2 Peter 3:11-16 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these thing.)
- Jesus will come as conquering King and will rescue us. Bring us safely to His heavenly Kingdom - that is where Paul's sights were set - where our's should be also - not loving this world but looking to where our true citizenship is (Philippians 3:20,21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 1 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory.) - That is why we long for His appearing, for the Kingdom of God to come -not lies and religion to suit us and make our life comfortable here on earth for us - where is your heart set? - on the things on earth or the things above? (Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.)
- the Lord stood with Paul through it all (2 Tim 4:17) even though all deserted him and He would be with Timothy too and with us also (the “you” is plural) and bring us to His heavenly Kingdom “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”
- It is all God’s work - His plan and purpose, no one can prevail against it - He will do it! It is His doing - to Him alone be all glory forever and ever, throughout all the ages! Amen!