2 Timothy 4:1-8              Saturday, December 31, 2011
Key Verse: 4:2                 Kevin Jesmer NIU UBF

“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

Dear Lord, heavenly Father, thank you for New Years. Thank you for this opportunity for a new beginning in Jesus. I pray that we may think deeply about your grace and guidance in our lives and find clear direction for our lives and ministry 2011. Please help us to begin to reach out to others by faith. Help us to throw out our nets for a catch. Drive any despair and fatalism from our hearts. Give us new hope and new strength to try again, in faith. I pray that my kids may keep a clear Christian identity and have a sincere desire to introduce Jesus to their peers. May they all have a sense of urgency and know how to navigate the people of their generation to Jesus Christ. Please kindle a fire in our hearts. Grant me one word to hold onto. I thank you and I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

1. Paul’s charge to Timothy (1-5).

Verses 1-5, read, “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.”

Paul would soon depart from this world (6). Therefore, he wanted to leave Timothy with the most important final instruction. Paul charged Timothy to preach the “Word” (1-2). The capitalized “W” indicates the person of Christ as revealed in the Scriptures. Preaching is not just explaining, but proclaiming in the power of the Spirit, the truth of Christ’s victory over sin and death and his coming kingdom. It is urging people to repent and accept Christ with faith. This message must be delivered with reverence for God and patient love toward people (2). It is not easy to do this when people’s ears itch to hear something pleasing to their sinful desires. But it is the only message that saves men’s souls (3:15). Paul encouraged Timothy to preach the Word faithfully, persistently, and constantly (5). All Christians share this charge (Ro 1:5; 1 Pe 2:9).

I need to preach the Word. I need to have a priority. What do we do in this society where our young people will have no good jobs. What do we do when our young people think $50,000 in debt is OK and they are falling away from Jesus in droves and ignoring their life in the church? What do we do when our young people have so many personal problems but very few are turning to Jesus and the gospel for answers? Do we despair? Do we give up? Do we just give up and wait it out until we die? No way. We must have top priority to preach the word.

I need to preach the word in a meaningful way. It is not just casually talking about Jesus without deeply listening. It is not just speaking about things shallowly with no intention to make a decision of faith. It is a sincere attempt to reveal Jesus and the Gospel and help people to understand and accept Jesus. I pray that I may engage in this type of ministry this year.

2. Paul’s example (6-8).

Verses 6-8 read, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
Paul’s life had been poured out preaching the Word throughout the Roman world. It was not easy; it was like a fight or a marathon. But he kept his faith to the end and finished his task. Now he was looking forward to the crown of righteousness in a heavenly award ceremony. This glorious reward comes to all who have longed for Jesus’ appearing.

I can not say that my life is being poured out like a drink offering. I am living. Most of the time I am just living my life and sleeping and resting. My life is really safe and secure, almost numbingly so. It is no where like the pouring my life like Apostle Paul. I pray that I may experience the victorious life of faith that he experienced and the victory that he tasted in his life. I can pour out my life in daily bread writing, in Bible message preparation, in working an providing for my family and in raising disciples and in going on international journeys to encourage the brethren in other countries. There are times when I feel like my life is being poured out through emotional struggles in trying to live a house church with a sense of mission. It is not easy to keep everyone “on the same page” in regards to seeking Jesus and the kingdom of God and serving the Lord. There are many stresses involved, inwardly, some of which drive me to tears. But Jesus gives me strength and brings me through each time. All of my sufferings, inwardly and outwardly has absolute meaning. I am winning a crown that lasts. I am not just suffering senselessly. I am suffering for Jesus the kingdom.

Prayer: Lord, help me keep the faith, preach the Word, and gain a crown of righteousness from you.

One Word: Preach the Word

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