Commissioned By God
2 Timothy 4:1-6
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus…I give you this charge…” vs. 1
Who Said That?
Presidential quotes and do we or did we believe them when they said them.
“I am not a crook!” –Richard Nixon
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” – Bill Clinton
“Read my lips: no new taxes” -George H. W. Bush
As you have noticed, these are words from our Presidents, our leaders, those in a position of authority that we are supposed to trust and believe. But, as we have seen, their words have not always bee truthful and trustworthy. Who can you believe? Whose words can we trust? Let’s look at what Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4:1-5 say to Timothy about the words we speak:
Read Passage – 2 Timothy 4
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
I think it’s safe to say that most people want the truth but at the same time we are very skeptical people. Often I hear people using the phrase “Believe me…” when they are speaking. It’s actually kind of funny because when I hear that, it often makes me wonder if they are telling me the truth. I think they are trying to assure me but it really has the opposite effect. Paul starts this charge to Timothy by telling him the plain truth in verse 1:
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom…” vs. 1
The truth he relates to him is that one day we will all die and stand before God. At that time, we will be judged about our life and weather we believed God’s Word that Jesus is Savior and Lord or did we deny it. If we accepted Jesus, we will gain eternal acceptance to God’s kingdom and if we don’t, the reality is that there is a hell and those who don’t trust Jesus basically choose to go there. Paul is telling Timothy, and his congregation, that they are responsible for getting that message out to the world. Paul is building up the pastor, Timothy, and he is sending the same message to his congregation. His charge in this passage reaches beyond Timothy and extends to his congregation that they have the same charge as Timothy.
Stop for just a moment and think about those closest to you. Even those sitting around you right now. We want those we care about and those closest to us to be in heaven. But, we also want to see everyone have the chance to know Jesus and go to heaven. I know I want to help in that process and Paul is saying that we all have a part in that process. We can all help.
Two-Part Commission: Preach and Reach
Helping in that process is what I call being commissioned. Paul gives Timothy a two-part commission. It’s a catchy little phrase; Preach and Reach.
The first charge is to preach the word.
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” vs.2
Last week in our study of 1 Timothy 3 we read that Paul said:
“All Scripture God-breathed and useful…” 2 Timothy 3:16
Now you might be thinking, isn’t Paul speaking to a pastor at this point? What does this have to do with me? We have this useful tool at our fingertips and we really need to make sure we use it. You might even think, “well, preaching, that’s for Ron, for pastors, and for those in the ministry.” What runs through your mind when I say the word “preach?” Here is the definition of the word “preach” that we see in this verse; to proclaim or to tell. Actually is probably a lot more simple than most people think; it’s just to tell others what God has done and what he has done for you.
Paul also says to be ready in and out of season, that is another way of saying to be ready anytime the opportunity presents itself. And, there three things it can be useful for; correcting, rebuking, and encouraging. Now, I think we get the correcting and rebuking part. In fact, I’d say that many people stop right there. I want to encourage you to do the third the most, encourage. Scripture can be very uplifting and helpful. Scripture doesn’t need to be a weapon that we beat someone over the head with, it can be a source of encouragement and building up of others. Let me give you and example of the way we encourage others with Scripture.
Ex. Proverbs 31 on Mother’s Day many men use verse 30, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” I know for the women in my life that is a huge complement and encouragement.
I love it when I get a card for Father’s Day, Pastor’s Day, etc. and there is a verse on there and it encourages me. We need to do this more often and not just on holidays. Encourage people and affirm who God has created them to be.
Paul also gives us two keys when it comes to preaching and telling people about what we believe.
The first is to preach patiently. Many of us say something and expect people to get it the first time. That can be a bit optimistic. Studies have shown that for someone to really absorb something it has to be heard 7 times or written 3 times. We need to be patient with others in their pursuit of God and allow God to work in them. We are the messenger. God will do the work and change their heart. Be patient.
The second is to preach carefully. We need to be considerate of others, their lives and temperament as well as the need to know the truth. We can share our faith and affirm others if we are careful in our approach.
Both of these are attitudes we bring and they come from building our relationship with God. The closer we are to God, the more we are in communion with him, the more we are willing to share our faith and to do it with the right attitude. We are all charged to do the duty of ministry but that does not mean all the duties of ministry are on us. I can sum it up with the saying that is on our sign right now, “Do your best, let God do the rest.” We do all we can and then turn it over to God and allow him to do what is right and best and we eageraly watch and wait on him.
The second part of Paul’s message is to reach our community. Notice his words from verse 3-4:
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” vss. 3-4
Others are not afraid to share their message, knowledge, and story. We don’t need to be shy about wanting to make a difference in our community.
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16
We are called to be active in our community and to be reaching out. So we spend time with others, even those who are not like us. We realized everyone is in need of God and we are to be, as Jesus said in Matthew 5, the salt of the earth and the light to the world. He is the light and we bring that light to a dark and hurting world. Sometimes that is with words, sometimes it is with our actions. St Francis of Assisi said:
“Preach the gospel at all times, when necessary use words.” – St. Francis of Assisi
Keep Your Head
Finally, Paul gives an important perspective to Timothy about this whole idea of preaching and reaching, it’s to keep your head, verse 5:
“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” vs. 5
Keeping your head means to keep the right perspective. Let me explain this point with a story from an incident that happened in San Antonio, TX on a hot September day.
Ex. It was a 99-degree September day in San Antonio, when a 10 month-old baby girl was accidentally locked inside a parked car by her aunt. Frantically the mother and aunt ran around the auto in near hysteria, while a neighbor attempted to unlock the car with a clothes hanger. Soon the infant was turning purple and had foam on her mouth.
It had become a life-or-death situation when Fred Arriola, a wrecker driver, arrived on the scene. He grabbed a hammer and smashed the back window of the car to set her free. Was he heralded a hero? He said, “The lady was mad at me because I broke the window. I just thought, What’s more important–the baby or the window?” Sometimes priorities get out of order, and a Fred Arriola reminds us what’s important.
Ray Tiemann, Fredericksburg, Texas. Leadership, Vol. 11, no. 3.
What was more important the baby or the car. Unfortunately for this aunt at the time it seemed to be the car. I’m sure, in retro spec, she would look back and say, of course, the baby was more important. At the time that perspective was lost. We know material things can be replaced and that people cannot. Our emphasis should be on people, their hearts and their souls and God’s desire to see everyone come to the understanding of who Jesus is and that he is our Lord and Savior.
“Preach the gospel at all times, when necessary use words.”