II Tim. 4 outline
Extension # 006
A CROWN FOR FAITHFULNESS
[Introductory Scripture] I Cor. 9:25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
[Introduction] Eric Liddel was a great athlete. All of us have probably seen Chariots of Fire. During the Olympic games, he refused to run on Sunday because he knew that it did not honor God. Liddel showed with his life and with his running that only true faithfulness and endurance will be rewarded.
As we come to our text today, we will see what it takes to be rewarded on that great judgment day. Although this text is primarily directed toward pastors we all can learn things from it as ministers of God’s Word to our circle of influence.
[Announce and read text] II Timothy 4:1-8
[Prayer for illumination]
[Contextualization] In chapter one God, through Paul, is exhorting Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel. He gives him the following three reasons why Timothy needed not to be ashamed: because He has not given us a Spirit of fear but of power (:7), because we can see His work in us (:9), and because of who Christ is (His ability to keep us) (:10, 12). As Paul closes chapter one, he sights a few positive and negative examples of being ashamed of the Gospel. In chapter two we saw how Timothy was to suffer [for suffering would come if he was living a godly life (II Tim. 3:12)]. We noted that Timothy was to be made strong, to commit the doctrine to faithful men, and to take his share in the suffering. Paul closes chapter two by speaking about false teaching. He tells Timothy to remind Christians of the danger of false teaching, to handle the Word correctly, and to avoid the error of false teaching himself. Paul uses an analogy of a clean vessel to further strengthen his point. Timothy was to have the characteristics of a good leader. In chapter three, Paul continued his thought by explaining to Timothy (and to us) what to do in perilous times. He told him to know and turn from evil men (:1-9) (who and when) and to continue to follow and to remain (:10-17) (what). In chapter four Paul continues his thoughts in explaining what to do.
[Fallen Creature Focus] Our tendency as fallen man is to give up when hard times come. Paul charges us to be faithful and speaks of his own example of faithfulness.
[Theme] As servants of God we must follow faithfully God’s instruction and Paul example if we are to be rewarded.
I. If we would be faithful, we must follow Paul’s charge (:1-5)
A. The motivation of the charge (:1)
Paul bases his authority in commanding Timothy on God and on Christ Jesus. What Paul was commanding was not his own opinion which would have no authority. Paul was commanding Timothy to do something by God’s authority. It will be Christ who will judge when He comes. This should give us a holy fear of Christ. We will be judged according to how we live and how we use (or do not use) God’s Word. Another motivation seen in this verse is that Christ will judge the unsaved. This should inspire us to witness. Christ will do all this at His coming (II Thes. 2:8; I Tim. 6:14; II Tim. 1:10; II Tim. 4:8; Tit. 2:13).
[Application] What is your motivation for living the Christian life? Is it selfish pride? When you minister to others, do seek to exalt yourself? Do you serve so that others will see you? (Eph. 6:6)
B. The content of the charge (:2, 5)
Paul now gives us the content of the charge. These are the final general commands (as opposed to the commands meant only for Timothy in the latter half of the book) that Paul leaves Timothy. They sum up what he has been writing in the book and what he has been teaching him for years.
1. Preach the word (:2) The Bible is the only book worthy of preaching. Our opinions and experience have no authority. The Bible alone has authority because it came from God Himself. These words also imply that we have a tendency to not speak about God’s Word.
[Illustration: David Larsen said, “Preaching caries the church.”]
2. Be ready (:2) This verb is only used one other time outside of Luke/Acts. In II Tim. 4:6, Paul states that the time of his departure is at hand. Literally this verb means “to stand upon.” We are to be standing, ready at any time (Mk. 14:11)
a. In season: when it is convenient in good times.
b. Out of season: when it is not convenient in bad times.
So many times we let our situation determine whether we will be faithful to God. Paul tells us to be faithful even when it is not convenient to us.
3. Convince (:2) While Titus 1:9 speaks of convincing the gainsayers and James 2:9 speaks of being convinced of the law, most other passages usually translate this word as “rebuke.” Rev. 3:19 uses this word to describe God’s loving rebuke of Christians. Heb. 12:5 uses the word in the same sense.
Other passages give us the same command as found in this context (I Tim. 5:20, Tit. 1:13, 2:15). Ephesians gives the most help in understanding the meaning of this thought when it says we should reprove those whose works are in darkness (Eph. 5:13). A major theme that goes along with this word in other passages is light. The light of God’s Word rebukes people who live in darkness (Jn. 3:20; Eph. 5:11).
[Illustration] John the Baptist was imprisoned because he “rebuked” Herod of his sin (Lk. 3:19).
4. Rebuke (:2) This idea follows very closely with the preceding. Perhaps that is why the translators chose “convince” instead of “rebuke” for the last one. It is translated “charge” sometimes. The idea is similar. We are to consistently charge those who are doing evil to live according to God’s Word.
5. Exhort (:2) We are not only to focus on the negative. Paul tells Timothy to encourage and to exhort. This word is used many times describing the Holy Spirit and sometimes Christ Himself. They are our comforter. As Christians living according to God’s Word, we are to comfort those who are hurting. We must also encourage right actions when those around us do them. There is an important lesson here: rebuke evil (mentioned twice), encourage good (mentioned once).
a. With longsuffering
This is a characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit. Just as God is longsuffering (Rom. 2:4, 9:22; I Pet. 3:20; II Pet. 3:15), we are to imitate Him and be longsuffering (Gal. 5:22, Eph. 4:2, Col. 3:12)
b. With teaching
Exhortation includes teaching. We must teach those who God chooses to let us influence by exhorting them to good.
6. Be watchful (:5) We are to be sober for a number of reasons. Because Christ’s return is coming soon (I Thes. 5:6, 8; I Pet. 4:7), because we must be holy (I Pet. 1:113), and because we have an enemy (I Pet.5:8).
We are to practice this characteristic in all areas of our life.
7. Endure affliction (:5) This reiterates one of the main themes of II Timothy. Paul once again tells Timothy to endure. See chapters one and two for a full explanation of this. James 5:13 tells us what to do when we suffer evil: PRAY.
8. Do work of an evangelist (:5) Paul exhorts Timothy to be a good news teller. Just as Phillip evangelized Samaria and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 21:8), we must tell others of the glorious good news of the Gospel.
9. Fulfill your ministry (:5) Paul sums up his charge by telling Timothy to fulfill his service. Timothy must be a good servant. As a leader in the church, one must never forget that one’s purpose is service (to God and to man).
[Illustration] Robert E. Lee Illustration
[Application] Have you been preaching your own opinions? Are you always ready, or do you let your situation determine whether you will be faithful to God or not? Do you have enough boldness to call sin “sin”? When is the last time you have exhorted someone? Do you get impatient with those that need exhortation? Are you alert to the sin around you? Are you evangelizing the lost? Are you serving?
C. The urgency of the charge (:3, 4) (the time is coming) Just as Paul started out chapter two, he uses the future to indicate certainty. Timothy had already seen the rise of false teaching in the Ephesian church. The time had come.
1. They won’t endure sound doctrine (:3) (II Cor. 11:4) The word used for healthy is the same word from which we get our word “hygiene” (III Jn. 2, Lk. 5:31, 7:10). These men would not endure healthy teaching. They would endure the opposite. As humans, we tend to enjoy what does the most harm (cf. I Tim. 1:10; 6:3; Tit. 1:9, 13, 2:1, 2).
2. They will heap up teachers (:3) Instead of following good teachers, they would find those who would council them with words they wanted to hear. How many times do we seek advice from people because we know what they are going to say? You can find someone to agree with your sin-usually pretty quickly.
a. Because of their own desires (:3) Men desire companionship in evil. They want to be comfortable. People who teach the Word of God as it comes from God are not popular because they do not sink to the level of man’s desires.
b. Because they have itching ears (:3) Our spiritual need for agreement and our desire for teaching that is not godly can be described as a physical need. As a drug addict’s body becomes dependent on a drug that their mind wants, so false teaching allures the mind to such a point that even the body craves it.
3. They will turn their ears from the truth (:4) Natural man’s ears do not long for the truth (Tit. 1:14, II Tim. 1:15). Just as their ears itch for falsity, so truth actually hurts their ears. But, in order to be saved we must not turn our ears from the truth (Heb. 12:25). Only God’s truth can save us.
4. They will turn to fables (:4) Instead of turning to truth, they will turn to lies. This is so apparent to us in the world around us. Evolution, Hollywood, and the commercial industry all tell lies to people. And people believe these lies and live accordingly. They believe them to such an extent that they would die for them (in more than one way).
[Application] Are you like one of these people? Do you chafe at good doctrine? Do you enjoy falsehood? It is attractive. We must discipline ourselves to godliness (I Cor. 9:27).
II. If we would be faithful, we must follow Paul’s example (:6-8)
A. Paul’s condition
1. He is being poured out (Phil. 2:17)
2. His departure is near
B. Paul’s culmination
1. Fought the good fight (Lk. 13:24; I Cor. 9:25; Col. 1:29; I Tim 4:19)
2. Finished the race (Acts 13:25, 20:24)
3. Kept the faith (I Tim 6:12)
C. Paul’s recompense (I Cor. 9:25)
1. The reward
2. The Judge
3. The recipients
[Illustration] Poem by George Liddell
[Conclusion] Paul’s charge and example inspire us to faithfulness. In a world where people like the ones described in 4:3, 4 are everywhere, we must follow God’s commands. The motivation is clear. The charge is emphatic, and the urgency is compelling. We (especially pastors) must follow these commands to ensure faithfulness to God. Paul left a superb example for us to follow. He practiced what he preached and it was evident in his life. His words are made more powerful by the life behind them.
I plan to divide this passage of Scripture into two sermons. I developed the first point in this one. I plan to put the second point into final form when I preach it. I did not feel that I should take away (either time or space) from the development of the first point to develop the second. I included the second point so you could see where I was going. I have done just as much research on these verses as I did for the first five.
Thanks again for all you do.
Give me a man of God—one man,
Whose faith is master of his mind
And I will right all wrongs
And bless the name of all mankind.
Give me a man of God—one man,
Whose tongue is touched with heaven’s fire,
And I will flame the darkest hearts
With high resolve and clean desire.
Give me a man of God—one man,
One mighty prophet of the Lord,
And I will give you peace on earth,
Bought with a prayer and not a sword.
Give me a man of God—one man,
True to the vision that he sees,
And I will build your broken shrines
And bring the nations to their knees
“War can bring out the best in nation and in a person. It can also bring out the worst. The American Civil War provides examples of both, however, one man most known for his valor during the war, did not need the war to bring it out, nor did the war diminish his character in the least. Like the Apostle Paul, who could have bragged about his lineage, General Robert E. Lee could have bragged about his forefathers as royal governors and Revolutionary War generals. Instead, at the height of the war, he considered himself “nothing but a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone for salvation.” His own decision to fight for the South brought great turmoil in his heart, but in the end he decided himself unable “to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home.” He cautioned his soldier from being too boastful after victories and consoled them after defeats. His humility is also seen in his prayers for the “enemy” North, saying, “I never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them.” Following the war, this great man turned down more lucrative offers to become the president of Washington College in Virginia. There, he counted it a failure “unless these young men all become real Christians.” Honor, courage, valor, and humility all describe the nature of this great Christian.”