A study of 2 Tim.4:1-5
As Paul comes to the close of his directives to Timothy, he emphasizes the importance of preaching the Word: “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 Tim.4:1 (NIV)>.Timothy, as well as all servants of Christ, must be aware of the importance of our responsibilities, especially when called to be leaders in the Church (local or national), for Christ will be the judge of our effort when He returns for His Church <see 1 Cor.3:12-15>. Paul now proceeds to give nine objectives to the servants of Christ:
- Preach the Word; there has to be a commitment of the servant to deliver God’s Word by preaching and teaching the pure Word of God at all times, it should be our constant duty <see 1 Tim.4:13>.
- Be prepared: “in season”; that is when it is convenient or is scheduled, such as in the public worship of the Church: “out of season”; that is when it may be inconvenient; those situations where or when there are hindrances, embarrassments or discouragements; or where we might have to create an opportunity.
- Correct: as stated earlier, the Scriptures are to be used for correction of errors that have been introduced by false teaching; such teaching should only be corrected through scripture.
- Rebuke: unfortunately, there comes a time when this is necessary, either privately or in public, all sin in the church must be immediately dealt with when exposed <see 1 Tim.5:20>.
- Encourage: every church leader must be quick to encourage the “flock” with patience and careful instruction, especially where church discipline has occurred.
- Keep your head in all situations: be alert against error and sin; that is, do not be distracted by Satan from what is transpiring among the members of the church <see 1Cor.16:13>.
- Endure hardships: difficult times will come not only from outside of the church but also from within, and at such times we must rely on the leadership of The Holy Spirit to do business with what is occurring. The hardships that we face from outside the church must also be under the control of The Holy Spirit for we are fighting against the unseen enemy, and we will only overcome by following Paul’s example instruction <see 2 Tim.1:8; 2:3>.
- Do the work of an evangelist: this is the appropriate business of all Christ’s servants, for we are all appointed to proclaim the joyful news of salvation because non-believers are incompetent and their eyes blinded to God <see Eph.4:18>.
- Discharge all the duties of your ministry: “Timothy was so to discharge the duties of his office as to furnish “a fair illustration” of what the ministry could do, and thus to show the wisdom of the Saviour in its institution. This should be the aim of all the ministers of the gospel. Each one should resolve, by the blessing of God, that the ministry, in his hands, shall be allowed, “by a fair trial,” to show to the utmost what it is adapted to do for the welfare of mankind.” (From Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997-2014 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Paul’s reasoning for these instructions is seen in his statement: “For the time will come when men 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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” <2 Tim.4:3-4 (NIV)>. It is quite evident in our present-day society the fulfilment of this statement, for increasingly we see this attitude displayed by individuals today. Ungodliness is apparent in the lifestyle of many individuals for they refuse to hear anything relating to the Scriptures; they mock God, the scriptures are misinterpreted and such misinterpretation is used for their pleasure, they refuse to hear or listen to the truth of scripture, to the extent that some have instituted their own churches in opposition to what is taught in the New Testament – their satisfaction is sought in their personal desires, there is no worship of God! This was the attitude of the Israelites during the siege of Jerusalem, when God’s message through Jerimiah was that they should not go to Egypt to escape the Babylonian army; “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord! We will certainly do everything we said we would…” <Jer.44:16-17 (NIV)>; they chose to listen to the voice of their associates rather than the word of God. Unfortunately, this is the attitude that confronts every servant of God today!
After Christ’s resurrection and just prior to His ascension, He commissioned His disciples, and all future followers: “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” <Mk.16:15-16 (NIV)>; and this was the message that the disciples preached to all people during the early days of the Church <see Acts 2:22-24. 32; 3:15>; and this message has been preached in Churches down through the centuries to the present day and millions have responded, but unfortunately many more have turned their backs on God’s offer of salvation. As Paul has already warned Timothy (and all Christ’s followers today) that “There will be terrible times in the last days” <2Tim.3:1> when people will oppose and totally reject God, and the evidence of this is seen in governments passing laws to obstruct the preaching of the gospel because individual persons will hear and possibly turn to God. The following is a partial quote from Premier Christian News UK: “However, many …… plans, which could see conversion therapy banned …… Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee’s public petition…. show that many back the idea in order to ensure the safety of …… people……Conversion practices that try to change a person …… are harmful, discriminatory, and have no place in our society.” And such laws will continue to be updated and become more inclusive to the extent that preaching the gospel will become increasingly difficult for God’s servants; but we must be obedient to Christ’s commission. Relative to this, let us understand one important fact of salvation: true repentance in any and all persons will result in a complete change in thought, actions, and life-style, and unless this is evident there has been no repentance. (To read more on Repentance you can follow this link: https://biblicalcontemplation.com/category/repentance-12-02-2021/ )
As it has been for many decades, people will refuse to hear God’s message of salvation, and their refusal is not so much of the message that we deliver but a refusal of God Himself since they do not want His influence in their lives. The unfortunate result of their rejection of God will be God’s rejection of them, and although they may presume that they will enter God’s heaven, their end- result will be eternal death and separation from God! If we desire to enter God’s heaven we must enter on His terms! <see Rev.21:8, 27>.