Preach the word! (2 Timothy 4:2a)
There are many good things a pastor can do. There are a number of those things he should do. There is one thing he must do. Paul’s charge to Timothy was above all, “Preach the word!”
This is a call to EXALT THE MASTER (v.1). Paul was an apostle—his favorite title, however was, “a servant of Jesus Christ.” The man of God is not his own. I know that every child of God belongs to Christ and has been purchased by His blood, but in a special way a preacher has been set apart for the service of the Lord.
One factor that motivates the pastor’s obedience is THE AWARENESS OF GOD, “I charge you therefore before God….” Every thought is read in heaven—it is before God as an open book. Every word spoken is heard in heaven—it is before God. Every deed done is witnessed by God—it is before Him. Nothing escapes His scrutiny.
The second factor is THE APPEARING OF CHRIST, “and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom….” Our accountability is not ultimately to our fellow elders, the deacons, or even the congregation, but to Christ. Your reward or lack thereof is going to be determined by your faithfulness to Christ. Words have such power. They play a significant role in our accountability because they are so powerful.
We are then charged to EMBRACE THE MANDATE (v.2a). Preaching is our mandate. God only had one Son and He made Him a preacher. If you are called to be a preacher, don’t stoop to become a president. Good activity can become the enemy of the great priority. The first Apostles refused to let important ministries divert them from their ministry of the Word and prayer. If the Word of God won’t do it—it won’t get done. Stand, with a Bible in your hand and speak with the authority of heaven as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. Preach the Word and not your opinions!
Make certain to EXPOUND THE MESSAGE (v.2b-4).
Preach the word CONTINUOUSLY, “Be ready in season and out of season.” Preaching is always in season, even out of season. Use every opportunity to communicate the truth—individuals, small groups, large gatherings, in written and spoken form.
Do it CONVINCINGLY, “Convince….” We are not merely giving out information about God—we are demanding a verdict.
Preach CORRECTIVELY, “rebuke….” The preacher must confront sin. A good doctor probes a sore spot. He cuts out any cancer. People are spiritually sick. Spiritual surgery with a Scriptural scalpel is painful, but essential.
Proclaim truth COMPREHENSIVELY, “with all longsuffering and teaching.” Our messages must be Biblically based, theologically sound and doctrinally instructive—the whole counsel of God.
Preach the word COURAGEOUSLY, (v.3-4). We must be faithful in the face of opposition. Don’t tickle their ears with truth tailored for their tastes.
Don’t fail to EXHIBIT THE MINISTRY (v.5). Model the message. “But you be watchful in all things….” You have been appointed an “overseer.” You must guard the church from wolves who would prey on the flock. This requires you, “endure afflictions….” Trials are going to come. Don’t quit! Make sure to “do the work of an evangelist….” Set the standard for soul-winning. Thus, you will “fulfill your ministry.” Demonstrate your devotion daily. People had rather see a sermon as hear one.
I solemnly charge you—as one who will answer to God—a dying man to dying men, preach as never to preach again!