2 Timothy was the last book that Paul wrote. 2 Timothy 4 was the last chapter of the last book that Paul wrote.
I am beginning a series on 2 Timothy 4, which should go on for a while. Study along with me! This first post is on verses 1 and 2, and the next one will be on verses 3 through 5.
The first verse in this chapter begins with "I charge you". This is a dying man's last injunction. He says "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:". This is serious stuff. Paul isn't just asking Timothy "by the way, could you do this for me?", rather he is passing the baton of his leadership over to Timothy. Paul's work is complete, and now it is Timothy's turn.
What is the first instruction given to Timothy in his charge? Preach the word! Of all that we as Christians are commissioned to do, preaching the Word should be our highest priority (see Matthew 28:18-20). And Paul doesn't just say to preach the word whenever; he says be ready in season and out of season! Now what does "in season" and "out of season" mean? According to the original Greek, which you can verify for yourself at this link, it means to be ready to preach the word when you have an opportunity to do so, and also when you don't see any opportunities to do so. What if we feel the Holy Spirit leading us to witness to someone, but we see no favorable opportunity to do so? Just because we do not see any opportunity does not mean that God is not going to open a door and create an one. His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), and what appears to us an inopportune time to share the Gospel may be an opportunity God will create for us if we follow His call.
In what was are we to preach the Word? Convincingly, rebukingly, with exhortation, longsuffering, and teaching. Now let's slow down a bit and understand each of these words.
To preach the Word convincingly means to present the Gospel using the Gospel. There is nothing more convincing about the Gospel than the Gospel itself. What I mean is, don't try to share the gospel by using the man made gospel of "God has a wonderful plan for your life" or "Believe in Jesus and He will make you happy all the time". That is not the true Gospel. Few people are going to buy into it. Or maybe they will, but when they realize these things promised them by man, not God, when they become Christians, do not happen, they throw off Christianity, and few will ever return.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Christianity will guarantee happiness. Jeremiah 29:11-12 does say "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you", but read the following verse 13: "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." For more information on the "worldly gospel" and how to present the true Gospel, listen to Hell's Best Kept Secret by Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort of LivingWaters.com.
How do we we rebuke when sharing the Gospel? We don't rebuke; the Holy Spirit is the one who rebukes and brings about repentance.
If in order to define the word "exhort" I had to give a synonym of it, it would have to be plead and encourage. Now when I say plead, I don't mean that we are supposed to get down on our knees and pester them to be saved, rather it means to just show them you care about them. Don't preach the word in a robotic or businesslike tone. Urge them, but don't pester.
Longsuffering = patience. If they don't understand, slow down and explain.
Teaching. If they have questions, answer them if you can. If you don't know, don't fake up an answer. Be truthful, tell them you don't know, get their contact information, go home, study and find the answer, and get back to them.
Paul was wrapping up his life and was giving his ministry over to Timothy. Is there a place of leadership or service you feel called to do? Are you in a unique situation where you can preach the word in season and out of season? Remember, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (Matthew 9:37-38).
Blog Post IndexWhat Is Christmas? He Said Be Still Don't Fake It As Iron Trusting God With Goals True Friends You Have Been Called To Liberty We Overcome Memories With God All Things Are Possible Is Our Light Shining? Paul's Last Words #10: Conclusion Paul's Last Words #9: Our Faithful Lord Paul's Last Words #8: Who Are We Like? Paul's Last Words #7: Loving His Appearing Paul's Last Words #6: Keeping The Faith Paul's Last Words #5: Running The Race Paul's Last Words #4: Fighting The Fight Paul's Last Words #3: As A Drink Offering Paul's Last Words #2: Your Ministry Paul's Last Words #1: I Charge You Unicorns in the Bible Riches: Good or Bad? Do We Know Him? If There Was No Tomorrow As I Have Loved You Following Christ Forgiveness Faith and Works #4 (Final Part): Dead Faith Faith and Works #3: Works Are Your Witness Faith and Works #2: Works Aren't It Faith and Works #1: What Does It Profit? A God Who Approves Cannibalism? Happy The One Who Dashes Not Everyone Who Says To Me, "Lord" Rightly Dividing The Word?