2 Tim 3:10 – 4:5
10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,
11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
This morning there was a post that came up on my Facebook news feed and it went something like this:
EVERYBODY THINKS I AM CRAZY.
THEY SAY, ” YOU TAKE THE JESUS THING TOO SERIOUSLY.”
WELL, I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT, WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT CHRIST TOOK ME PRETTY SERIOUSLY WHEN HE DIED ON THE CROSS.
I freely admit that I take my walk and life with Jesus very seriously. My relationship with Him is more important than anything else on this planet or anything this world or physical life can offer. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?
I felt strongly this morning that I needed to read Paul’s exhortation to Timothy again.
Paul wrote some very strong words to his son in the faith. Here he speaks about what Timothy needed to do in the face of opposition and or persecution, he points out to Timothy this:
‘But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra – what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.’
Paul started by commending Timothy for taking note of what had been going on, but more than that, Paul says that Timothy had been watching him as a role model and that his life was being influenced by what Paul himself had been through. Paul said to the Corinthians and I am sure at some stage to Timothy, ‘Imitate me as I also imitate CHRIST’ 1 Cor 11:1. Paul was acting as a roll model to Timothy.
Paul then goes on to warn him of potential trouble:
v13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Paul warns Timothy to be aware of these ‘evil men and imposters’ who could come in and deceive.
How does Paul encourage Timothy to proceed? He reminds him to ‘continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures.’
Paul exhorts Timothy to go to the scripture for therein is his safety and protection.
Earlier in this letter Paul had said to Timothy:
“ Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
The Old King James puts it this way, ‘study to show yourself approved unto God’.This is all about studying the scriptures, being able to rightly divide the word of truth. It is scripture and scripture only that we are encouraged to study, why?, because in the scriptures we have the Word of God.
Look at chapter 3:16,
“16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is the Word of God. Paul says to Timothy, ‘Preach the Word.’ How could Timothy preach the word if he did not KNOW THE WORD. The Word is life, it is bread to feed on,
John 1:1- 14
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God……
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us….”
John 6: 35
“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst…”
John 6: 53 – 58
“Most assuredly , I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as your fathers eat the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
True life and sustenance comes from feeding on the Living Word, Jesus.
Why were the scriptures given? “That the man or woman of God may be complete”.
Paul was pointing Timothy to the Living Word.
Have a look again at the portion of scripture I started with from 2 Tim. Smack in the middle of two warnings to Timothy Paul writes, ‘Preach the Word’.
Warning number one is in verse 13 of chapter 3, keep an eye out for evil men and then in chapter 4:3 – 5, he warns Timothy of a time when men will no longer endure sound doctrine but we heap up for themselves (other) teachers and will turn away from the truth.
Chapter 4 starts out saying, and may I remind you that there were no chapters and verses in the original letters so this next verse is still part of the theme Paul is addressing in Chapter 3, ‘I charge you, therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ…….
I remember when I was at bible college one of the lecturers saying that whenever you see the word ‘therefore’ used you need to ask yourself, what is the ‘therefore’ there for?
In this case Paul is pointing Timothy back to the previous verse and saying that If men are to be fully equipped for every good work and made complete, they need to be hearing the preached Word of God. Paul says to Timothy, he must preach the Word.
Paul tells him/us to be ready in season and out, in other words, when it suits and when it doesn’t suit. Be ready, preach the word, convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.
These are tough words from Paul. He is not pulling any punches. Why? Because the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires (lusts), because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth.
We are in days like this. Have a look at chapter 3:1-5,
‘But know this, that is the last days perilous times will come; For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, u thankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Hello? We are in those times now and Paul was not talking about the unsaved here. He was talking about believers, those who were considered christian but betrayed by their own actions.
Paul said to Timothy that there was only one way to deal with this issue,
PREACH THE WORD.
This dear friend is for all of us.
Are you doing the work of an evangelist? Are you fulfilling your ministry? Are you preaching the word? Or are you hiding behind a world driven doctrine called political correctness?, having a form of godliness but NO POWER?
We must stand up and preach the word because one day we will all give account as to what we did with Jesus Christ and the gospel that has been entrusted to us.