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Preach the Word

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Preach the Word

Introduction:  Dr. A. J. Gordon, while preparing his Sunday sermon, was so tired that he fell asleep in his study. He dreamed that it was the next morning in the pulpit and the church was packed. A stranger walked in and a deacon let him have his seat. The stranger was so commanding yet attentive, and Gordon found himself as if speaking to him alone. He decided to meet this stranger after church.

As the congregation filed out one by one, the pastor (in his dream) looked in vain for the stranger until everyone was home. “Do you know him?” he asked the deacon. “Why, yes. He is Jesus Christ.” “Oh. how I wished I could have talked with him!” Gordon lamented. “It is alright, pastor,” assured the deacon, “He’ll be back next Sunday.”

Gordon awoke; realizing in a new way that everytime he preaches and speaks about Christ Christ is in the midst and hears every word. This dream revived both pastor and church.

This is what Christ centered preaching is really all about.  It is a focus that regardless of the world around us, finds at its most defined point the single clear image of Jesus Christ.  Chris as you and Becky leave this place and God opens new doors for your ministry there will no more important words that I can speak to you than these three, “Preach the Word.”

Jeremiah has already given us the promise from God that if we return to him, he will return to us, and if we extract the precious from the worthless we will be as his mouth.  The precious is Jesus Christ, and nothing else.  The worthless is what Paul is warning young Timothy here in this passage to avoid.

Body:  There is only one point to be made in this sermon.  (One Point Sermon)  There are several other imperatives in this passage but only one drives them all.  The imperative command to “Preach the Word.”  

        1 Paul gives Timothy this charge-steeped in four theologically foundational points all packed within one verse:

                a. In the presence of God the Father—implies a Son

                b. Jesus Christ the Son who is the Judge—over those who are living, at the time of his return—speaks to the second coming, and the dead are those who will experience the resurrection.  Two deeper theological points which needed to be reinforced. Jesus had not returned yet, as some were claiming, and there would be a resurrection, those who have died wont miss it, nor will they be exempt from the judgment.

                c. The third point is Jesus’ appearing—promise of his return

                d. Jesus’ Kingdom—Christ will be ruling.

        2. Preach the Word--It refers to the message of salvation along with the truths and moral demands that accompany it and support it.  (Not just plan)

Paul is giving Timothy his focus.  “There is a lot of things you can preach about, but if you focus on clearly teaching the message of salvation, along with the truths and moral demands which support salvation, you will do well, and there is no time to waste, because Jesus is coming back to judge!!!

        This should speak to those of us who listen…if there is something important that needs to be preached  (primarily God’s word or “words”) then we need to listen…because Jesus is coming back to judge!!!

The remaining four imperatives in v.2 tells us how we are to go about preaching.

1.       In Season and out of Season: stay with the task whether or not you feel like it.  Furthermore, declare the truth whether or not your hearers find it a convenient time to listen.  And realize that the occasion is always “seasonable” for proclaiming the gospel.

The next three words speak to the use of preaching the word.  To reprove, rebuke and exhort.  I believe these three deal with the intellect, the conscience and the will. 

Reprove—correct error by the use of reasoned argument.

Rebuke—He was to rebuke a straying conscience whenever the need appeared.

Exhort—He was to give hope to the fainthearted by providing tender encouragement in the face of discouraging opposition.

Do all of this with patience and teaching.  Guthrie in his great commentary on the pastoral epistles says this about patience and teaching. “Christian reproof without the grace of long-suffering has often led to a harsh, attitude intensely harmful to the cause of Christ. … To rebuke without instruction is to leave the root cause of error untouched.” Teach to learn, not just correct!

2.       vv. 3-4 Give the reason for Timothy to Preach the Word, primarily three things:

a.       Some will not put up with sound doctrine

b.       Find teachers to suit their own passions—I’ll just leave!!!

c.        Satisfy their itching ears—Listen for curiosity, novelty.  These kinds of preachers, toy with the minds of the hearers but leave the intellect uninformed, the conscience unchallenged, and the will set in a direction away from God.  Not forced to think hard about God and eternity.

Think Paul is speaking to un-believers here?  This letter is to believers.  Don’t fool yourself that it can’t happen.  Sin persuades, it tugs and pulls us away.

Paul defines for Timothy, and us, two ways believers will fall away:

a.       Turn aside—listening to truth of the gospel—(leave the truth…)

b.       Wander off into myths—(dislocate) speculations instead of sound stewardship of the Word.  Satisfy itch, rather than satisfy thirst.

Conclusion:  v.5 is for you.  As you Preach the Word,

(NIV—Keep your head—Present imperative—stay alert, Satan will try…

Endure suffering (Paul knew about suffering), Three times Paul defines this.

Spread the gospel message, not an office, all Christians have the duty to do this task—in their time it was clearly understood.

above all Fulfill your ministry--“service for the Lord.” Finish the Race well!

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