The Preacher And His Preaching
2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Webster's 1828 Dictionary gives this as one of its definitions of charge, "To lay on, give or communicate, as an order, command or earnest request; to enjoin; to exhort." In the Scriptures, we see various charges given to others.
To Joshua: Deuteronomy 3:28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.
To Solomon: 1 Kings 2:1-4 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
To the Levites, the priests, and the chief of the fathers of Israel: 2 Chronicles 19:8-9 Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and of the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the LORD, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem. And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.
To Joshua, the High Priest (who here pictures the believer's standing before the Lord): Zechariah 3:6-7 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.
To the Thessalonian believers: 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
What is often overlooked is the reason behind the charge given to Timothy (and all preachers!) in 2 Timothy 4:1. I charge thee therefore... Whenever we see a therefore, we should always ask what it is there for! In light of his statements made regarding the Scriptures and their ability to save the lost and to equip the man of God in his service (in 3:15-17 - more on verse 16 later), Paul exhorts and encourages Timothy with a ninefold charge:
1) Preach The Word.
Of primary importance was Timothy's charge to preach the Word! Not his opinions, not man's philosophies, not the latest myths, not feel-good sermons or seeker-sensitive massages - but the Word of God itself. THAT is what the Lord will bless and where the preacher will find the power needed for his ministry.
I realize this devotional is geared more toward preachers - called to preach the Word of God - than the other devotionals in this Numbers In The Bible series, but you can make applications of each of these points in your witnessing and in your exhortations to fellow believers. What every preacher - yea, every child of God - needs to stand on is the Word of God alone - not our opinions or traditions or preferences or...
Colossians 1:27-28 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
2 Timothy 1:10-11 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
Titus 1:1-3 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
2) Be Instant In Season, Out Of Season.
Be prepared to preach the Word of God at the best of times, at the worst of times; when it is easy, and when it is hard; when it is opportune, and when it is not convenient; when the people are open to hearing from the Bible, and when they are closed to what God has to say. The Bible doesn't say for the man of God to always have a message prepared - but it does teach for the man of God (and the individual believer) to always be prepared.
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
The word for beautiful here means "belonging to the right hour or season (timely), i.e. (by implication) flourishing." When the Word of God is preached to a thirsting soul, when it answers the spiritual needs of each person, it is timely and beautiful!
Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
When the man of God - and any child of God - brings the Word of God to those seeking the truth on any given subject, it is a word fitly spoken indeed!
Webster's 1828 Dictionary gives these as part of his definition for reprove: "1. To blame; to censure. 2. To charge with a fault to the face; to chide; to reprehend. 3. To blame for. 4. To convince of a fault, or to make it manifest."
Reproving is the main ministry of the Holy Spirit to this lost world:
John 16:7-11 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Every believer, and especially every preacher, is to also reprove the wickedness around them:
Ephesians 5:11-13 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
Notice, this reproof is to be according to the light of God's Word.
Webster's list these among his definitions of this word: "1. To chide; to reprove; to reprehend for a fault; to check by reproof. 2. To check or restrain. 3. To chasten; to punish; to afflict for correction. 4. To check; to silence." The idea here is to correct and stop the wandering into sin, and to put to silence the doubts or murmurings. While there seems to be some overlap in the meanings of reprove and rebuke, both indicate correction, but rebuke seems to also carry the idea of forbidding and restraining what is wrong (ie. taking the correction one step further).
It is interesting to note that to Biblically love our neighbour means we correct him when necessary:
Leviticus 19:17-18 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Proverbs 27:5-6 Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Proverbs 28:23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
5) Exhort With All Longsuffering And Doctrine.
Strong's Concordance states that exhort means "to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation)." Webster's gives these definitions: "to encourage, to embolden, to cheer, to advise. The primary sense seems to be to excite or to give strength, spirit or courage. 1. To incite by words or advice; to animate or urge by arguments to a good deed or to any laudable conduct or course of action. 2. To advise; to warn; to caution. 3. To incite or stimulate to exertion." I believe my primary gift as a believer is exhortation, which the Lord enables me to do through my preaching, witnessing and writing (and like any gifts of the Spirit, I can only use it properly when I am walking in right fellowship with the Lord!). God expects (and equips) His children to call other believers near and encourage them to do what is right, to act upon (apply) God's Word, to give them boldness in their walks with the Lord, and to strengthen and challenge them to fulfill God's will for their lives.
Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. (To prophesy means to preach or to witness - ie. to declare the Word of God.)
1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine...
Webster's defines longsuffering as "Bearing injuries or provocation for a long time; patient; not easily provoked," and Strong's gives forbearance as part of his definition. Forbearance, according to Webster's, means "The exercise of patience; long suffering; indulgence towards those who injure us; lenity; delay of resentment or punishment."
2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Colossians 3:12-13 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
It is the Word of God that we are to use in our reproving, in our rebuking, in our exhorting - not church history, not a book written by brother so-and-so, not what some "Christian" psychologist has to say, but the Word! It is from the Word of God that we are to glean all of our doctrine - not from the creeds of our denomination, not from the "church fathers", not from some popular religious leader, but God's Word alone.
1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Years ago, I wrote this outline of verse 16 in the margin of my Bible:
Doctrine - what is right; reproof - showing what is wrong (or what's not right); correction - how to make it right; instruction in righteousness - how to keep it right.
The name Timothy means "dear to God," and Paul's exhortation to this dear man of God was, "Preach the Word."